Jake and Shanelle met one February evening on a terrace overlooking the city of Chiangmai, Thailand. They were both teaching English in China and met through their program's conference there. Shanelle told me that when she first saw Jake she thought, "that is the most attractive man I've ever seen... I bet he's married." A mutual friend introduced them and they started talking and realized they were both from Nashville. They instantly connected. I think they saw a bit of "home" in each other, being so far away from their actual home. Over the next few months they kept in touch from afar since they were stationed in different parts of the country. That summer when they were both home in Nashville, Jake asked Shanelle out to lunch. Shortly after, they met each other's families, friends and finally started dating. Back in China, they were able to grow and build their relationship, encourage one another, share their ideas and dreams, and take long train rides to visit each other. That next year, at the same conference where they met, Jake proposed.
Shanelle was the fifth family member to wear her grandmother's dress. I love meaningful details like that!
I was touched by their personal, meaningful, intentional vows and wanted to share some of the words spoken to each other.
"I covenant to love God by loving you unconditionally—by providing for you before myself— protecting you—by being kind to you—by honoring you—by loving you even as Christ loves the Church."
May He make our joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, and united in Spirit. I promise to always honor, love, and follow you so that we might with one voice make His name known wherever we go.
Where God leads you, I will follow. Where you serve, I will serve by your side. Jacob, you are my forever partner, and I give you my heart. I give you all that I am and all that God intends me to be."
This wedding was extra special because Jake and I grew up in the same church and our parents are good friends. Therefore, my Mom was there breaking it down on the dance floor and that was awesome.
It was such an honor to be a part this wedding and to witness Jake and Shanelle's love for each other, their family and for the Lord. They're going to great things together, that's for sure.
You might remember this couple's winter wonderland Engagement session. They are back, and I couldn't be more thrilled to share their elegant Nashville wedding. See below for the story of their wedding day, with some thoughts from Ashley herself.
What was your most memorable moment during your wedding day?
For both for us, it was that first look moment. Everything was amazing about our wedding, but nothing can compare to seeing each other for the first time that day. Our decision to do a first look was probably half for the sake of having more time to have fun at the reception and half to be able to settle our nerves and have a few minutes of time together before the hectic day began.
When searching for a wedding dress, Ashley knew she wanted something "very unique and non-traditional." She definitely succeeded in her search, and the result was simply stunning.
While we wanted a formal, elegant wedding, we also really wanted a natural vibe to it as well. Hence, the succulents, the flowers, and the shades of green.
One of the passages read during the wedding ceremony was from 1 Corinthians 13.
If I have all faith so as to move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
If I give away everything I own, and if I hand my body over so that I may boast but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, is not pompous,
it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails.
While finding a beautiful church was important to us, we also wanted it to be the church where we were members. It just so happened that the Cathedral of the Incarnation was the church that we felt most at home with AND it was beautiful!
For escort cards, Ashley's mom planted small, individual succulents in miniature containers with the guest's names on them. They doubled as favors!
Our first dance song holds a lot of meaning to us. During the very beginning of our relationship it took a lot for me to let my guard down and let Jordan in. "I Won't Give Up" by Jason Mraz always seemed to play at just the right times in our relationship.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding?
Hiring a wedding planner was the best decision we ever made! We made an attempt to look for a reception venue by ourselves for a day and ended that day completely stressed out and confused. The moment we talked to Helen, we felt completely at ease and actually excited to plan the wedding.
Photographer: Rachel Moore, 2nd Photographer: Austin Lord, Planner: Helen Morisette, Ceremony Venue: The Cathedral of Incarnation, Reception Venue: The University Club, Florist: The English Garden, Videographer: Dallas Wilson Video Productions, Wedding Cakes: Khan's Desserts, Hair Stylist: Ashlea Hunter, Makeup Artist: Katy Moody, Officiant: Fr. Mike Williams, DJ: JD's Music, Bridal Gown: The White Room
After meeting in Charleston and later getting engaged in the same city, Nicholas and Kristina decided to wed in Nashville where Kristina's family is from. They made it official this April with their ceremony at the beautiful Scarritt Bennett and reception at Belle Meade Plantation. Kristina was an art student in Charleston and enjoys printmaking and painting and Nicholas is an officer in the Navy. After the wedding they headed to Annapolis, MD to make it their new home.
When asked her favorite qualities of her groom: "His strength, determination and love and loyalty for family and friends. His ability to make me laugh."
When asked his favorite qualities about his bride: "She is always there for me supporting me in every decision, her laughter and joy, her understanding and patience. Her Love for the Lord, her family and friends."
2nd Photographer: Lauren Stewart, Ceremony: Scarritt Bennett, Reception: Belle Meade Plantation
Not many people can say that meeting someone in line at the grocery store changed their life, but Geoff and Julia can. After running into each other multiple times that same day, they finally introduced themselves and Geoff invited Julia to dinner. They started dating, and the rest is history. Geoff and Julia live in Baltimore, but chose to have their wedding in TN since Geoff grew up here and they wanted a fun destination for their guests. These two were so trusting, positive and truly excited during my whole process with them. Julia, thank you for sharing thoughts from the day in this post!
What was your most memorable moment during your wedding day?
For Geoffrey, it was our first look out on the golf course; he says everything became real in that moment and the event we had been looking forward to for a year had finally arrived. For Julia, it was saying our vows and hearing what Geoffrey had written to me and what our fathers had written to us; it was a pretty special moment.
We wanted a clean, modern, elegant look and so we used a lot of whites and ivories with accents of grey, green, blue, and lavender which are some of our favorite colors. My favorite part of the flowers were the succulents that were in my bouquet, Geoff's boutonniere and on some of the tables because it reminds me of Los Angeles (where we have spent a lot of time over the past two years while Geoff has been working there) and the Getty Center, which is where we got engaged.
Our fathers performed the wedding ceremony; that will always be one of the most special memories of our wedding day. I loved hearing what they both had to say and having two of the closest people to us be such an important part of our day was amazing. Geoff and I wrote our own individual notes to each other and then we wrote common vows which we both said to each other. Our favorite line of our vows was "I offer you my life and my love so that you may use them to build a home filled with family and friends."
What's next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life?
We are going to enjoy married life, hopefully do some traveling, and figure out what our next big adventure should be...we're excited to find out what the future has in store for us!
Second Photographer: Alyssa Valletta, Venue: Hillwood Country Club, Hair/Makeup Artist: Amy Lyn Larwig, Florist: Village of Flowers, Reception Band: Pat Patrick Band, Bride's Dress: Olia Zavozina
Revisit the story of your wedding day from beginning to end with your very own wedding album. It will become an heirloom that will be shared with family and friends for generations to come. Made by hand and built to last by the album making company RedTree based in Louisville, KY. It’s a beautiful book that comes in a variety of fabric and leather cover options. Your choice of your names/wedding date embossed or a photo cutout on the cover. Simple, clean design to make your photos the main focus.
"He proposed right in the middle of the kitchen. I wouldn't have it any other way. It was absolutely perfect and absolutely us." - Katie For this wedding I got to travel to Wilmington, NC where my husband and his family are from. When Brett and I started dating, we would visit Wilmington frequently, and I got to know not only his awesome family but also their family friends. When you get married you are blessed with more people to call family, and for that I am thankful! Katie's (the bride) family are long time friends with my in-laws. I was incredibly honored when they asked me to be their wedding photographer. Katie and Ben were fully present on their wedding day, full of emotion and joy, savoring the people that were there to celebrate with them, and it was a privilege to witness and document.
Ceremony: Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church | Reception:
| Reception and Floral Designer: Brenda Moore
Jonathan and Julia came down from Alaska for their wedding on top of Signal Mountain at Laurelwood Farm. I enjoyed adventuring out to Chattanooga and meeting up with my friend Alex who 2nd shot this wedding with me. I didn't get to meet this couple before their wedding but immediately felt welcomed upon arriving and being warmly greeted by their family and friends. The preparation was filled with gifts and letters being exchanged amongst the bridal party, flowers being set up and string players tuning their instruments. Their ceremony, held under a tree, was unique in that it included four Catholic priests, who all had something special to add to the ceremony. Right after the ceremony we had a chance to get photos with the llamas on the property- it was hilarious to say the least. After first photos of the bride and groom together, we headed out front for a big group shot and introductions of the bridal party. After toasts, first dances, dinner was served and the cake was cut, everyone danced the night away. Their exit was filled with streamer-waving smiling faces.
Cacy and Jarrett met at Belmont, where they were introduced to each other by their mutual friend Emily Fitzmaurice (who I have photographed before, way to go Emily)! They became friends through ping pong matches, basket ball games and haunted houses, which led to their first date on "The Hill" on Love Circle in Nashville. Years later, Jarrett proposed on that same hill. Their beautiful wedding was held at Belle Meade Plantation, where Cacy wanted a classic Southern setting. One of my favorite parts of the day was witnessing their sweet relationships with their parents. They had each written letters to their parents and read it to each of them before the ceremony, which was emotional for all of them. The ceremony was held in the garden, and the reception in the Carriage House. I have to say that this was the most entertaining reception I have ever witnessed. Cacy and her father had their Father/Daughter dance, and then broke out into a hilarious choreographed dance to mo-town music. Jarrett, his twin brother and a couple groomsmen also had a choreographed dance that they performed for Cacy and her Dad. Everyone loved it, and danced the night away.
Ceremony and Reception Venue: Belle Meade Plantation | 2nd Photographer: Molly Wantland | Florist: A Village of Flowers | Cake: Jay Qualls Cakes | Caterer: Wildberry Catering | Dress Boutique: Lela Rose | Ceremony Musician: Todd Sansom | DJ: Richie Amico | Videographer: Nyk Allen | Hair/Makeup Artist: Nfuse Salon, Jordan Bryers | Day of planner: Mary Jane Ross
Inspired by the Southern charm and sophistication of great Southern names like Garden & Gun and Billy Reid, this shoot boasts beautiful spring florals, intimate settings and manicured gardens with real-life couple Meredith + Cody. The twist? The love story came to life! Read on for the romantic details.
This fresh Spring day started at Lilly Belle’s in the upstairs bed and breakfast. The light was bright and soft. Meredith, our bride, wore a stunning laced BHLDN dress and her golden hair was crowned with fresh flowers. Cody, our groom, is pictured in his navy suit with a German Shorthaired Pointer.
We then proceed to Carnton Plantation and featured the historic estate and gardens. The intimate reception table is set between a row of trees, features a mixture of brown and white china, homemade pecan pies, wooden dog placards, beautiful earthy flowers, vintage playing cards, whiskey decanters, deer antlers and champagne with blackberries.
Meredith graciously shared how she and Cody met!
“Cody and I met our freshman year in college. We had the same math teacher, but our classes were back to back. Naturally, we would pass each other every day and catch the other’s eye from time to time. Cody and I go in your “opposites attract” category. I came from a small school in Nashville, was a perfectionist, and I was social but an introvert at heart. Cody, on the other hand, was always the life of the party, smart without every trying, never forgot a name, and was incredibly charming. I went to Knoxville devastatingly homesick for Nashville, catching rides home every weekend. Finally, a few weeks into the semester, I had to face my biggest fear: staying the weekend on campus. Somehow I ended up hanging out with Cody, and it changed everything. For the first time, I got to see Cody in his element: his city, his family, and abundant excitement for life. After that I never could quite shake him. There was something about being around him that brought the light-hearted and ridiculous side out of me in the best way possible. I learned that grades didn’t have to come at the expense of my college memories, and I learned that getting an A+ is not always worth the adventures missed out on."
He proposed! I’ll let Cody tell you all the juicy details:
"I can tell you right now that I’ve always known I was going to marry Meredith. One of the first things I told her was, “You remind me of my mom.” (Romantic, right?) It sounds weird, but I am a huge momma’s boy. Meredith may not have known it at the time, but that was the best compliment she could have received. Anyway, fast forward a few years down the road. We graduated from UT, I started working, Meredith went to Vanderbilt, and we entered in to dating long distance. It wasn’t easy, and we knew that if we could survive a long distance relationship, we were in it for the long haul. Mere said, “I don’t think I want to be engaged during school.” Naturally, I proposed the day after she graduated.
We were at a wedding in December when Rachel unknowingly kicked my plan to propose in high gear. She asked Meredith’s friend, Tori (the bride) who we were and if we would be models for a styled shoot. Sure, we weren’t married yet, but I am a photographer myself and we jumped at the opportunity! As details for the shoot started unfolding, I picked up the phone and called Rachel. She LOVED the idea of a proposal during the shoot.
I talked to Mere’s parents, got the ring, and coordinated with Rachel (all under Meredith’s nose). Finally, the big day was finally here. I couldn’t sleep for three days before, but I wasn’t nervous. The best way I can describe it is that feeling you get before Christmas when you know you’re getting an awesome bike. You can’t sleep because you’re so excited — and I wasn’t getting a bike, I was getting a wife!
I hid the ring all day and we had so much fun at the shoot. There were numerous “marriage” comments but Meredith still had no idea what was about to happen. At the end of the day, Mere had changed into her getaway dress, and Rachel set up the shot for us to be “leaving the reception” so I could pop the question. Now, the whole reason we waited til the end of the shoot was so if Meredith cried, her makeup wouldn’t be messed up and ruin the entire shoot. Before I could get all of my words out, the waterworks were in full effect. Mere still didn’t believe it was happening (as her face shows in the pictures) until I pulled out the ring. Then, she said yes! After that, Rachel had brought us a bottle of champagne and captured the whole thing on photo and video. In the end, I’d say it worked out perfectly."
Featured on Southern Weddings / Location: Lillie Belle's / Location: Carnton Plantation / Styling: Lauren Ledbetter / Flowers: Soul Flowers / Hair and Makeup: Sarah Adams / Calligraphy: Hardink Calligraphy