Cator Woolford Gardens Wedding by Laura Leslie Photography
January 18, 2012
A lovely outdoor venue can transform an entire wedding with one glance at its pretty tree-lined gardens or a peek of sunny blue skies and the best part? All that's needed is a few fabulous details to really make it sparkle. Cator Woolford Gardens is just such a venue and this Atlanta wedding is spot on with it's effortless details that only add to the beautiful surroundings. Then there is Laura Leslie Photography and her dreamy, light-filled images. It's a whole other layer of gorgeousness that we could literally get lost in for an entire afternoon but alas this little blog doesn't run itself so while we get back to the grind, you should take a little break to enjoy the knock out views in the full gallery.

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From the bride... I had initially wanted an extremely small, simple and intimate wedding. My suggestion for a destination wedding with only our immediate family and closest friends was quickly turned down by Carl and our parents. My biggest challenge was coming to terms with feeding, entertaining, and being in front of 100+ guests for an entire night. Throughout the entire planning process, I was very worried about the number of people we had invited and was still dreaming of a simpler wedding. Now that it's all done, I am so glad to have no regrets. We had the time of our lives and felt so blessed that we were able to celebrate with so many wonderful people who love us as much as we love them!

We wanted our flowers and cake to be very understated and natural. We wanted to take advantage of the beauty of the gardens and didn't want to down play the gorgeous setting with lots of large flowers and different colors. Unfortunately, I know nothing about flowers and had only found about two pictures of bouquets and boutonnieres that I liked. After meeting our florist, Dawn, I just felt that she totally understood my vision. I showed her some of our other details and explained my idea for mostly white flowers with green accents and lots of texture. Dawn exceeded all my expectations and built our florals just how I imagined. The bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces all had the organic feeling I had wanted but were still timeless and traditional. She wrapped the bouquets and boutonnieres in twine to match our rustic theme and played up all of the different sizes and shapes of our antique bottles with a wide variety of flowers and greenery. Our cake was another easy decision. We knew we wanted a fairly simple, round design and chocolate. Our baker showed us a picture of a recent one cake she had made, and my mom and I both loved that the subtle, vertical lines were reminiscent of the pleatings in my dress. It turned out lovely and was, most importantly, delicious!

Our cocktail hour and reception had lots of personal details starting with our "signature cocktail," PBR tall boys. Carl is known for his love of PBR among all of our friends, and the butler-passed cans of PBR were the perfect welcome to our laid-back garden reception. Our guests were also able to enjoy our favorite yard games, including a monogrammed corn hole set made by Carl. We highlighted some of Carl's carpentry skills with our homemade signs, rustic menu chalkboards, wood bowls, and wood tags. I put lots of my flea market finds to good use by re-purposing plantation shutters for a photo display and vintage milk bottles for our centerpieces. My mom made all of the burlap runners to continue our rustic theme to each table, and I used the extra fabric to make a few burlap wreaths for extra decor. We added string bulb lighting across the dance floor that created the perfect glow for our late summer/early fall dance party. We decided to give monogrammed, reusable aluminum water bottles as favors. We can't live without ours and thought it would be a great sustainable gift to match our garden wedding. We wanted our dinner menu to include some "Sunday Supper" classics. Some of our favorites included the mac n' cheese, BBQ pork tenderloin, blue cheese potato chips and cole slaw. Near the end of the night, we served boxes of Krispy Kreme donuts, a true Atlanta staple, with individual cartons of milk.

Photography: Laura Leslie Photography / Event Planning: Erin Stroup of It's All in the Details Event Planning (now based in Seattle) / Venue: Cator Woolford Gardens / Florist: Candler Park Flowers / Wedding Cake: Chef Nancy of The Flour Shoppe / Catering: Bold American Events / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Hair + Makeup: Ashlee Kidd and Lindsey Byrom of Renee Paige Salon (770-632-5999) / Wedding Gown: WTOO (Holly) via J. Andrews Bridal / Bride's Hair Accessories + Veil: DIY by mother of the bride / Bride's Shoes: Kelly & Kate via DSW / Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff, Watters + WTOO via J. Andrews Bridal / Groom + Groomsmen's Ties: Tommy Hilfiger / Groom + Groomsmen Attire: J & R Clothing