A Family-Focused Wedding Planned in 3 Months
July 12, 2017
RusticEstate WeddingsSummer Weddings
Andrew and Billy's wedding planning story is one filled with unwavering hope, the importance of family, and a remarkable amount of love. Due to Billy's mother's health, they planned their Tennessee nuptials in just a few short months, and the special day included a tribute to love even in the midst of incredible loss. Ryon:Lockhart Photography captured each moment with such grace and we invite you to see even more in the gallery.
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From Andrew... As I think back on our first date at a small wine bar in Los Angeles, I’m not entirely sure what it was that made me fall for Billy so instantaneously on that warm June night. Maybe it was his sea blue eyes and dimples, maybe it was the fact that he was an even more avid lover of 90’s country music than I, or maybe it was our shared choice of a career in nursing. Or maybe it was just the wine. Whatever it was, Billy and I knew there was something pretty incredible between us right from the start.

After just eight months of dating, Billy and I made the decision to make a cross-country move from Pasadena, CA to his hometown in rural Kentucky to live with and help take care of his mom, who was fighting stage IV breast cancer. Unbeknownst to Billy, it was just two days before we packed up the car and headed east that I snuck away to buy rings from a local jewelry store in Pasadena (which I promptly stowed away in the spare tire compartment of my car in a paper bag labeled “lug nuts” – Billy is notorious for accidentally spoiling surprises, so I felt the need to take extra precautions with this one). As Billy’s mom’s health began declining at a more accelerated rate, I moved my planned proposal forward a few months and we dove headfirst into wedding planning almost immediately.

Just a two-hour drive away, Billy and I took weekend trips into Nashville fairly frequently during our time living in southern Kentucky. With an incredible food scene, some of the best breweries and bars in the south, and the best live music in the country, we quickly settled on Nashville as the location for our destination wedding. As our wedding research began, Billy and I knew that we both wanted our wedding to have a country, rustic feel to it. Through an hour or two of online research, we stumbled upon our dream venue: Homestead Manor. Situated about 40 minutes outside of Nashville in a Civil War era manor, Homestead Manor features an on-site, farm-to- table restaurant, an incredible cocktail lounge, a climate-controlled barn for events, and the most delightful event staff a couple could ever hope to work with.

Homestead was the first and only venue we visited, and we booked them immediately. On that same weekend trip to Nashville, Billy and I wandered over to The White Orchid floral design boutique and didn’t hesitate in booking Jerry and Michael as our florists. Since our venue conveniently offered catering from their absolutely delicious, farm-to- table restaurant, we were able to check another important vendor off our list! Next, we turned our focus to finding the perfect photographer. I grew up just one house away from Sarah Lockhart, where she and her sister Andrea served as my parents’ go-to babysitters for as long as I can remember. With Billy’s mom’s health in mind, we left ourselves just three months to plan our entire wedding. With this short of notice, I was certain Sarah and her husband Tim would be booked but I decided to shoot off an e-mail anyway.

Being the absolutely incredible and selfless people they are, Sarah and Tim agreed to fly into Nashville on the morning of our wedding after shooting a wedding in NYC the night before! We were ecstatic. And, sure enough, the photos Sarah and Tim captured during our wedding left us speechless. Our wedding photos perfectly and beautifully captured the happiest day of my and Billy’s lives.

After our move from a bustling suburb of Los Angeles to a rural and remote town in Kentucky, Billy and I found ourselves with a lot of spare time on our hands. We used much of this time to hand-make a lot of the décor for our big day. We designed and constructed the program fans that sat on each guests chair as well as the flower holders that lined the aisle, we repurposed old barn wood into various signs that we then painted and situated around the venue, and we took a stab at some basic carpentry to build three different lawn games for our guests to play during our cocktail hour. The time Billy and I spent together planning and creating pieces that we used in our wedding was an absolute blast and helped keep the cost of our decorations at a minimum.

Now for the part of our story where fairy tale and real life collide head first. Unfortunately, Billy’s mom did not make it to our wedding day. After a years-long battle with breast cancer, she passed away two weeks to the day before our wedding. One of our favorite personal touches in our wedding was the bouquet that Jerry and Michael made for Billy to lay on the seat that we had reserved for his mom: it was comprised of beautiful pastel yellow roses, vibrant bright craspedia, and a single pink rose to symbolize her fight against breast cancer. While the absence of Billy’s mom was palpable on our wedding day, the love and joy that surrounded us on that day made it feel as though she was a part of it all. Billy and I walked away from our wedding hand-in-hand through a path lined with friends and family, their faces aglow with the light of their sparklers. This unwavering love, support, and light surrounding us has yet to fade and will always illuminate each and every step we take together as husbands.