As much as I love the gorgeous gown, lovely flowers and all the other pretty details at this Georgia wedding, my favorite part of this day is that the Bride and Groom asked guests to unplug as they exchanged I Dos. Without the distraction of phones and cameras, everyone could focus on the most beautiful part of this whole day: the couple’s love. See all the pretty from Simply Sarah Photography in The Vault!
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From The Bride… John and I met while in high school through a persistent mutual friend – turned matchmaker. Although I told this friend that the boy she kept telling me about was too young for me, she went on to tell that ninth-grade boy that we would be the perfect couple. Then, one day in 2007, as I logged onto MySpace I was greeted by a message that read, “Hi I’m John. I’m Courtney’s friend. I don’t know what to say so what’s up?” I almost didn’t respond because after all, I was in tenth-grade and had no desire of dating someone younger than me. That would have been the biggest mistake of my life. That fist message somehow sparked several weeks of online chatting and long home phone conversations (because neither of us had cell phones yet…or licenses for that matter). John asked me to be his girlfriend later that year and it has always been him ever since. Although we were at different schools, we got to experience high school together and the sweet memories that came along with after school hang outs, proms, graduations, and everything in between. After high school, we went on to different colleges and continued dating. The college years brought us new friendships, community, a new church to call home, road trips, hard times, Netflix binges, date nights, both choreographed and freestyle dances, and most importantly, stronger relationships with God.
John proposed on November 15, 2015 at Fall Creek Falls in Tennessee. It was a picture-perfect proposal planned so well by my “not a planner” fiancé. We were overlooking a large waterfall with romantic candles lit and a bouquet of my favorite flowers was prepared for the event. A photographer was hired to capture all the precious moments. I was serenaded by several of our closest friends to my favorite song, Yellow, while John spoke words of truth, encouragement, and endearing love to me right before he got down on one knee to ask, “Will you marry me?” I responded with an awkward hand gesture and said, “Of course I will!”
While we were dating, I dreamt of the perfect day when my best friend would become my husband. I prayed for this man, for this day, for years.
As our wedding day approached and the weather forecast predicted rain, I feared our day wouldn’t be “perfect.” Although rain came, it held off during the ceremony and we were still able to have a beautiful outdoor wedding. Curls fell and makeup ran, but I learned a lesson from our wedding – even when the situation is not “ideal,” it can still be something truly beautiful. October 3, 2015 was a perfect day because it was exactly what God planned for us and He was glorified. That is all John and I could ever ask for.
When John and I became engaged, we knew early on that we wanted to have a pretty large wedding. John has a big family and I have a lot of people who I consider family. Given our large guest list, we were forced to get creative with how we were going make our budget work.
We both agreed that we wanted the majority of our vendors to be ones who meant something to us and who we had personal relationships with. It made our day that much more special knowing that many of those involved in our wedding were people we had known for years. People who had invested in us, supported us, and loved us. One of the easiest decision during the wedding planning process was who we wanted to marry us. We asked my childhood pastor, who now leads a young adult Bible study that John and I are a part of. I may be biased, but it was the best wedding ceremony I have ever been to. John’s brother, Jack, along with a few of our close friends sang during the ceremony. Pastor Scott’s wife, Sandy, helped plan the wedding and worked alongside a long-time family friend, Cora with The Southern Bell’s, in decorating the venue. Our venue, The Inn at Oak Lawn Farms, is owned by my middle youth pastor. The bridal party’s attire all came from John’s family’s store, Prom USA, where I work as a manager. The bridal party’s hair was done by close family friends of over 15 years. John’s parents also own a catering company, A Taste to Remember, and they offered to prepare all the food. Our cake was made by a family friend, Don with Cuppalicious Gourmet Bakery, that we have known for years and who we go to church with. Our invitations were designed by a co-worker from my very first job, Sara from Sarabelle Designs. We even knew our photographers, Simply Sarah Photography, as I went to high school with both Sarah and her husband/second-shooter Will. It felt like one big family working together to make our big day happen. We met our other vendors through local bridal expos and we were so fortunate to find them. Allie with Bowman & Clark was able to completely re-create my “Bridal Blooms” Pinterest board. Flowers are a love language of mine and she nailed it. Our makeup artists, Vigilante Cosmetics, worked their magic on my bridal party and everyone looked stunning. John and I cannot say thank you enough to everyone who worked our wedding day. You guys are rockstars and we are so grateful!
For some DIY elements, John and a few of our family members and friends built 30 farmhouse tables. We were crazy and did not realize how big of an undertaking it was initially, but they were exactly what I had pictured. John knew I wanted them and he made it happen. I married a great man. We constructed a few wooden signs and had John’s siblings paint some of my favorite quotes on them to use for decor. We spray painted inexpensive frames that were purchased at thrift stores and The Dollar Tree and framed lyrics from some of our favorite songs and quotes from favorite books and poems and used those on the tables. My sister made 30 linen table runners that we used to anchor and unify all the reception tables. She even made us napkins with the leftover fabric that we were able to use this year for our first Thanksgiving as a married couple when we had the family over. My mom and I thrifted every now and then and found several brass, silver, and gold candlesticks that we also used for decor. I liked the idea of mixed metals.
For my bridal look, I wore a lace Ivory and Champagne mermaid gown by Allure Bridals for the ceremony and first dances. It was my dream dress. I chose a belt, also by Allure, to pair with the gown to add some sparkle and to accentuate the waistline. I ordered individual lace pieces that matched my wedding gown from Allure to have a custom veil made so there was no differentiation in the lace patterns. I always knew I wanted a mermaid gown, but I also loved the timeless look of long sleeves. When I found my wedding gown, I gave up on the idea of long sleeves…that is, until about two months before the wedding. John’s sister, Christina, and I were attending fashion shows during a buying trip for Prom USA. We were sitting in front row of the Jovani showroom and down walks a model wearing a beautiful, simple, lace long sleeved dress. Christina mentioned that the dress came in Ivory, so we ordered it shortly after to be my reception dress. It was form fitting and extremely comfortable. John and I love to dance and I knew I wouldn’t be able to move as much as I wanted to in my mermaid gown. The Jovani dress was the perfect choice for dancing the night away.
I wanted our wedding to be romantic, personal, and very natural. The bridesmaids wore a shade of taupe that was called “Mocha” by Allure Bridals. I was so in love with the bridesmaid color and how well it went along with my Ivory and Champagne wedding gown. The flowers consisted of soft ivory and blush tones and had lots of greenery to make everything feel natural and organic. The navy blue tuxes allowed us to stray from the norm a little bit and add a pop of color while stay remaining neutral. The music played as guests entered the ceremony was carefully selected. The playlist was made up of mostly acoustic covers of some of mine and John’s favorite songs. The paper I used to write my vows on was my dad’s old stationery from college. I love sentimentalism and the meaning behind all of the personal details from our wedding day.
Photography: Elizabeth Lanier Photography | Event Planning + Design: Southern Bells Events | Floral Design: Bowman & Clark | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridal | Cake: Cuppalicious | Invitations: Sarabelle Designs | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Allure Bridal | Catering: A Taste To Remember | Hair + Makeup: Vigilante Cosmetics | Venue: The Inn At Oak Lawn Farms | Reception Dress: Jovani