EMBER & ADAM
May 14, 2016
Tell us how you met: We initially met in high school band where we both played saxophone. I was a freshman, Adam was a senior, and we and had an innocent two week long fling (ah young love!). We reconnected five years later through mutual friends when we were both in college (me at Georgia Tech and Adam at UGA). There may have been some libations involved…We’ve been together ever since!
Proposal Details: Adam decided to propose on our eight year anniversary. I had just gotten home from an exhausting day at work, and he had cooked a delicious dinner for us (which he does every night anyway!). He gave me a beautiful white gold key necklace, which I learned later was the decoy gift. I told him I was going to take a shower and turn in for the night, and when I got out of the shower, I noticed my sweet orange and white tabby cat, Mr. B, had a small satin ribbon tied around his neck with a sparkly ring on it. Adam asked me to marry him, and I said “yes, finally!”
How did you select your venue: Since we’re both Georgia-grown, and the majority of our family lives there, we wanted something in the great Georgia outdoors that was naturally serene and secluded. After lots of internet browsing, I found Dunham Farms and scheduled a visit. It was the only place we looked at because it was perfect! Meredith Devendorf and her staff at Dunham Farms really helped us execute our vision seamlessly, even if we weren’t sure what it was at first!
The Gown & Accessories: I wanted something classic, elegant, and understated. I initially shopped in the Savannah area with my mom and Adam’s mom and grandmother. There were several dresses that I really liked, but I still hadn’t found THE dress. Eventually at a local dress shop in Gainesville, FL, Adam and I found (yes he helped me pick out the dress!) a gorgeous Maggie Sottero corset-back ivory gown with two layers of floral lace for plenty of richness and texture and a small amount of beading. We added beaded floral lace and tulle straps and vine lace trim to the top of the gown around the neckline and back. For some subtle bling, I wore an intricately beaded crystalline ivory sash with a vine pattern that had a vintage feel. I kept the jewelry pretty minimal, wearing a delicate diamond necklace that was given to me years ago by a close family friend and diamond stud earrings gifted by my hubs-to-be! I wore mint green sling-back peep toe wedges (you don’t want to sink into the grass in stilettos!) because I love the color, and your shoes should always be fun.
I changed for the reception into an ivory satin pleated A-line Cynthia Rowley cocktail dress with a cute bow detail low on the back, and most importantly, pockets! I also swapped the heels for some mint green Converse sneakers that wouldn’t cramp my dance moves.
The Hair + Makeup: My hair was braided on one side into a soft up-do which we finished with a dainty ivory and silver beaded hair comb. I don’t normally wear a ton of makeup so we kept it natural with an emphasis on the eyes.
Bridesmaids Attire: My ladies wore short A-line slate gray lace dresses by Jenny Yoo with a simple grosgrain ribbon at the waist and convertible lace sleeves for some slight variation. It was very flattering on everyone.
Ceremony Site + Personal Details: We situated the ceremony on the edge of the property near the waterfront underneath an enormous shady oak tree, naturally draped with wispy tendrils of Spanish moss. The chairs were arranged in a semi-circle for a more intimate atmosphere, and the aisle was sprinkled with dried lavender and flanked by fresh flowers in hanging mason jars. We kept the décor here fairly minimal since the breath-taking scenery pretty much speaks for itself. Brad Garner (a friend of the bride and groom) played an acoustic guitar piece which he wrote for us as the entrance music. We wrote our own vows to exchange, and the whole ceremony lasted maybe ten minutes, short and sweet! Seth and Jessica Watts, close friends of ours, talented musicians, and also in the wedding party, performed an original song as we left the ceremony as husband and wife, which brought everyone to tears!
Groom + Groomsmen Attire: Adam wore a gray wool vest and pants with a faintly patterned off-white shirt and brown leather shoes and belt with wingtip detailing. The grooms-people (one was a girl!) wore snazzy plaid lavender dress shirts, gray pants/skirt, brown leather suspenders, and off-white Converse sneakers. The groom and grooms-people wore mint green linen neckties and funky mismatched striped or spotted socks. Adam also had tie bars custom printed with a personal note of inspiration for each of his grooms-people.
The Invitations + Paper Details: The invitations were casual and simple: square linen-colored cardstock with a fun modern font, green accents, and green diagonal detail on the back. We used brown craft paper envelopes and sealed them with a wax seal of the deathly hallows from the Harry Potter series (we’re a little nerdy). We also had pewter gray ‘quiz question’ cocktail napkins that had fun facts about us printed on them in question and answer format.
Guest Count: 85
The Favors: Small potted succulents expertly handmade by Susan Allen, the mother of the groom, with a note of donation on behalf of the guests to the humane society
Aesthetic + Color Palette: I wanted the wedding to feel natural, rustic, and timeless. We used soft, predominantly neutral colors—gray, mint green, tan, and ivory, with pops of lavender.
The Décor: The décor was earthy, simple, and country-chic. Susan Allen, the mother of the groom, made the stunning centerpieces which included succulents, aloe plants, moss, drift wood, and strings of fairy lights. We also used lanterns, many LED candles (venue does not allow open flames), chalkboards, ceramic birds, and a few quirky golden dinosaurs, courtesy of Ivory + Beau. Adam, his father, and my father skillfully hung bare bulb café lighting over the reception area and dance floor in a broad zig-zag pattern. We used a combination of circular and rectangular tables for the reception to create an interesting and inviting layout with tan tablecloths, sage napkins, and burlap accents. Adam and I had our own sweetheart table at the heart of the party.
The Send-off/Getaway Vehicle: Guests tossed dried lavender over us as we left the best party ever. It smelled amazing to say the least.
The Food + Beverage: We love southern comfort food and didn’t want anyone to go hungry! Our cocktail hour included barbecue spare ribs, hummus and house-made pita chips, and miniature chicken and waffles. Food stations were used during the reception, where guests could dine on shrimp and grits, an assortment of grilled veggies, mason jar salads, beef, pulled pork, crab, or veggie sliders, and miniature shepherd’s pies. Magnolia Grill did a fantastic job making sure we got exactly what we wanted, and everyone couldn’t stop talking about how tasty the food was!
Adam and I like to think of ourselves as beer connoisseurs so we included many of our favorite craft beers, highlighting the different places we’ve lived together (Athens, GA & Gainesville, FL). Adam even brewed his own habanero stout for the wedding! We also selected our favorite wines from San Sebastian winery in St. Augustine, FL.
The Flowers: I wanted everything to look very natural, romantic, and not too over-the-top. We used a combination of fresh flowers and plush greenery throughout the ceremony, cocktail area, and reception. The fresh flowers in the bridal bouquets specifically included freesia, white tulips, lavender kale, lavender roses, dusty miller, succulents, white stock, dried lavender, silver dollar eucalyptus, and lavender football mums.
Late night snacks/special treats: Boiled peanuts, yum!
Best Piece of Advice for Brides-to-be: You would like to think that you can do it all, but you can’t! Let your friends and family (and fiancé!) help with all the meticulous details, and enjoy every minute of it because it all goes by so quickly. When it’s finally your wedding day, take a moment with your new hubs to look around and appreciate everything that you and your family did to make it happen and see your guests enjoying themselves.
What Lowcountry elements did you incorporate into your big day? We focused on easy, laid back style with family and friends enjoying each other’s company, tasty Southern food, and rockin’ music.
The Cake and Sweets: We chose an assortment of delicious cupcakes from Baker’s Pride in Savannah, GA—lemon, strawberry, Georgia river mud (chocolate with coffee frosting), and hummingbird. These were arranged on multi-tiered rustic black walnut cake stands. Our small top tier cake was topped by a wooden peg doll family, customized by us! Adam and I painted each other and each created one of our two kitties, Glen & Pippet.
What were the most important elements about your wedding day to you and your husband? Besides making a lifelong commitment to each other, we wanted this to be an incredible party for our family and friends. They waited for nine years for us to get married, so we wanted to let them know it was worth the wait! We carefully chose our venue, food, and drinks and booked an outstanding band (Traveling Riverside Band) that kept us dancing the night away. Everyone couldn’t stop smiling!
Is there anything else our readers would love to know about your wedding day? Having a really good photographer is crucial for capturing every priceless moment. We love you Mackensey Alexander!
- Adam’s uncle, Ricky Allen, graciously officiated our wedding.
- Adam handmade his own brushed silver wedding band, and my rings were made by a local jeweler from a combination of Adam’s grandmothers’ rings which was very special to us.
- Our guestbook was a 3 x 2 ft plank of darkly-stained wood on which guests could write a note with paint pens. Kayla Sharp (the one and only grooms-lady!) designed and executed the personalized graphics on the guest-board.
- Adam’s family is very musically talented so we used some hard shell guitar cases propped on bales of hay as signs which we wrote on with chalk markers. Adam’s dad, Mark Allen, even sang and played guitar during the cocktail hour which everyone loved.
- The mother of the bride, Susan May, prepared a framed section of chicken-wire with a series of black and white photographs of the bride and groom through the years which the guests really enjoyed seeing.
- Adam is a budding brew master so he brewed a small batch of his own habanero stout beer for the reception which was quite a hit.
- We made our own personalized wooden family cake topper, complete with kitties!
- Guests were asked to leave us ‘keys to a happy marriage’ where they could write their own message of advice on a paper tag which we had tied to antique skeleton keys. These were collected in a fancy golden jar, and we can’t wait to read them!
- Guests could also ‘leave us a word of wisdom’ where they formed a collective crossword puzzle on a scrabble board. We photographed this and will glue the tiles in place and frame the board—what a great keepsake!
Venue: Dunham Farms l Event Planning & Floral Design: Ivory + Beau l Catering & Bar: Magnolia Grill Catering l Photographer: Mackensey Alexander l Cakes & Sweets: Baker's Pride l Gown: Maggie Sottero l Dress Shop: Bridal Boutique (Gainesville, FL) l Bridesmaids Dresses: Jenny Yoo l Hair & Makeup: Lavender Hill Salon & Spa l Men's Attire: Men's Wearhouse, Kenneth Cole, Converse l Rentals: Beachview Event Rentals l Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas l Ceremony Music: Brad Garner, Seth & Jessica Watts l Band: Traveling Riverside Band l Rehearsal Dinner: Dorchester Lodge & Shooting Preserve l Officiant: Ricky Allen l Reception Dress: Cynthia Rowley l Seamstress: Alterations by Maria
In the mood for more Lowcountry inspiration? Check out other real wedding features from our Winter 2017 issue below...