Michelle and Jeff knew that in order to pull off their dream Southern wedding, they needed a dream location. “We knew we wanted to get married at a place that encompassed all of the things we value which is family, friends and of course, animals,” Michelle said. Naturally, they turned to Georgia’s Barnsley Gardens as the backdrop for their entire wedding weekend and the result was a springtime affair filled with timeless style, Southern charm, and a whole lot of love. Take a peek at their special day (including a cameo from the couple’s darling pups!) all captured by Simply Sarah.
From the bride… Jeff and I met during our junior year at Clemson University and were completely enamored with college life full of friends, football, and fun. Our paths had crossed a time or two before, but it wasn’t until the night of a football game tailgate that we decided just bumping into each other occasionally wasn’t going to cut it. Jeff was on the baseball team at Clemson and although I rode horses and knew nothing about sports, we quickly realized that we shared so many other things in common and fell completely head over heels for one another.
After graduating college, Jeff was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers and pursued a career in professional baseball while I moved back home to Atlanta to begin my first job. After only a few months of long-distance, Jeff retired from baseball and immediately jumped on a plane headed for Atlanta so we could be together again. Being ‘college sweethearts,’ we weren’t exactly prepared for the trials we would face in the transition from college to real life. Through that tough transition, one thing never changed and that was our love for one another.
On February 7th, 2016, after 6 years of dating, we went from just growing up together to growing old together when Jeff asked me to spend forever with him. It was truly the most amazing moment of my entire life! He knows me all too well and included the two most important things in our lives in his proposal: our bulldogs, Charlie and Sophie.
When it came to planning our wedding, we knew we wanted to get married at a place that encompassed all of the things we value which is family, friends and of course, animals. We wanted to get married close to Atlanta since it’s not only where I grew up, but where we now both call home. The moment we saw Barnsley Gardens we knew it was the place for us—not only is it completely beautiful and encompasses an amazing story of love, but it was the perfect place to host all of our friends and family in one location, including our two pups! Our one wish was to have a wedding weekend rather than just a wedding day, so we kicked off the weekend with a southern-style welcome barbecue in the beer garden and ended with a farewell breakfast in an old 19th-century farmhouse. We chose to have our wedding ceremony in a beautiful, intimate chapel on the grounds and then held a cocktail hour and the reception in the ruins and gardens of an old estate built in the 1800’s by Godfrey Barnsley for the love of his life. Is that not the most magical setting you’ve ever heard of to begin our new love story together?!
We aspired to have a celebration truly capitalizing on the beauty of springtime in the South. This became the inspiration for all of the design details throughout the day- from our ceremony in the chapel adorned in lush greenery to our reception in the gardens with floral arrangements in soft hues of blush, peach, ivory and blue. It’s funny where design inspiration can come from sometimes- during the search for dresses for my bridesmaids to wear, I fell in love with the steel blue color that my Maid of Honor wore. It ended up being the color inspiration in many places from linens to floral elements and paper goods. At the end of it all, we wanted to be able to look back and feel like the whole day just felt like “us.” Every design element we chose was selected with our own styles and personalities in mind; simplistic yet romantic and timeless. A day that we will look back on in 50 years and still think it was just as beautiful. The old ruins was also a huge inspiration to the design as well. There was so much natural beauty throughout the grounds that allowed the beauty of springtime to show that we truly didn’t need to do much!
Looking back we do have one favorite part of the day that stands out above all the rest. Instead of attending cocktail hour with our guests, we chose to take the time after our ceremony to spend just the two of us and reflect on everything from the day. There was dinner set up on a private patio where we could sit and eat and talk about our excitement to now be married. It was such a special moment and I couldn’t recommend doing this more to future couples! During this time, we were able to visit with our two pups too! The photos Sarah was able to capture during that time with them are some of my favorites!
Simply Sarah Photography was an absolute dream to work with! Sarah is incredibly talented and captured our wedding perfectly. Jeff and I were very hesitant when we first got engaged about being “bad” at taking photos. That thought was quickly whisked away when we met Sarah for the first time for our engagement photos. She made us feel so comfortable in front of the camera and we couldn’t have appreciated that more. We truly can’t recommend Simply Sarah Photography more! She is the sweetest, most professional person and we felt so honored to have her capture the most special day of our lives. Best decision you can make is hiring her for your wedding!
Photography: Elizabeth Lanier Photography | Coordination: Kristen Scott | Floral Design: Lindsay Coletta | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Sugar and Slate | Invitations: Marked | Shoes: Aquazzura | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Monique Lhuillier | Hair + Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman | Band: Trotline | Groomsmen's Attire: Suitsupply | Venue: Barnsley Gardens Resort | Bridal Shop: Bel Fiore Bridal | Live Painter: Paint by Chloe | Rentals: 12 Th Table | Rentals: Crush Event Rentals | Wedding Design: Tailor & Table