Brittany and Wes planned a gorgeous wedding day rooted in Southern traditions, while at the same time, expressing the creative free-spirits of the couple. The atmosphere at their “festive secret garden party” at The Hill, was joy-filled, warm and filled with stunning details planned by Molly McKinley Designs. Some of our favorites are the rustic calligraphy signage by Bohemian Ink and the show-stopping, overflowing bouquet by Estorie. We love the couples’ mix of bohemian and classic styles and there was no one better to photograph all the fabulous moments of the day then Rustic White Photography. Check this one out—we know you’ll love it!
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
The dress is an Anna Campbell gown. During the ring-shopping and dress-shopping processes, I had a hard time finding pieces that truly felt personal. As a designer, I value unique qualities, often hand-making my own version of things I can’t find. My fiancé and I went down the custom-design path for my engagement ring, and I planned to do the same, re-fashioning my mom’s wedding gown, until I found two new designers that encapsulated everything I could have imagined without having to go through the tedious custom processes. Heidi Gibson retro-fitted my mom’s original engagement ring into a masterpiece and Anna Campbell’s customizations to her dress styles felt unique while still traditional, bohemian and ethereal, sparkly and romantic all at the same time. It was love at first sight!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
From the evening we got engaged, I was asked again and again about our wedding “theme,” “vision,” or “color palette.” Perhaps because I’m an identity designer, but I never had a concept to answer the question until it all developed. It’s really a hard thing to boil your relationship down to a party theme or singular essence. In many ways we’re creative and free-spirited, but we also appreciate the depth and ritual of tradition. In the end we made highly personal decisions: choosing our favorite little town, picking a potentially impractical, but truly magical outdoor location for steamy mid-May, adapting the Southern traditions that made sense to us and ditching the ones that didn’t. It was in the culmination of those decisions that a phrase emerged to help vendors and friends wrap their head around the day. We wanted to throw a “festive secret garden party.” Intimate yet lively. Dashing yet natural. Etherial yet classic. The day became a mix of bohemian scripts on hand-pressed papers, crisp black tuxedos, wild, sculptural florals, hand-died napkins, old-fashioned cocktails, and the mingling of warm spirits. The ceremony was all about a unique gathering of individuals coming together to witness our covenant to God, toward the cross. It was worshipful and deeply meaningful. The cocktail hour and reception was truly a time-stopping moment of celebration, for both young and old (my 90 year old great great uncle out on the dance floor!). My greatest wedding treasures from the day are our coffee table bible where guests marked their favorite passages, our wedding video and photos (as photographers, these are a no-duh) and a collection of recipes from our families and my bridesmaids that my Matron of Honor gifted me with as a surprise.
What was the most memorable part of the day?
The unplanned moments really stood out. Watching the junior bridesmaids head out to the fields to find wildflowers for our hair, my dad bringing me a honeysuckle latte right when I woke up, accidentally hearing the band rehearse not one but two surprise songs and breaking out into a dance with the wedding party. Little surprises are better than the most perfectly planned parts.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
My favorite story is how we met, because we love stories and it’s a wild one. We met in fourth grade — teachers’ kids and both very nerdy. Wes was really into sports jerseys. We went to different middle schools before I moved to Missouri, but we ran into each other nine years later as freshmen at the University of Georgia. We were supposed to go on a date, but it didn’t happen until four years later, our fifth year. We’d both been photojournalism majors all along but didn’t know it until his schedule got mixed up and he landed in my class. While both in Columbia, Missouri (of all places) for the first ever UGA/Mizzou game, sparks flew and we firmly decided to finally have that first date.
Leading up to engagement we’d laugh at how it felt like we’d been together forever and also how fast our relationship had flown. I don’t know when we knew we loved each other or were going to get married, because in many ways we were in rhythm from our first date forward. I continuously found myself believing this thing couldn’t really be real and really be this natural or wonderful. The engagement was thoughtful and a killer time. He tricked me into believing I was planning a getaway for my best friend (duping the master planner) and showed up in Athens to journey me around campus stopping for a private tour of the stadium, and other special places to us and our families. He took me into our old classroom as he’d prepared a documentary of our lives together thus far. Then he proposed on campus and had friends + family, from almost every corner of the U.S., waiting at our favorite bar.
Photography: Rustic White Photography // Planning & Design: Molly McKinley Designs // Videography: Rustics Films // Reception & Wedding Party Florals: Gardenia Floral // Bridal Bouquet, Flower Crown, Head Table & Signage Florals: Estorie // Print Design and Signage: Brittany Blankenship at Matchstic // Calligraphy: Bohemian Ink // Venue: The Hill // Cake: Cecilia’s Cakes // Band: A-Town-A-List // Hair & Makeup: Jennifer C Nieman // Dress Designer: Anna Campbell // Dress Boutique: The Dress Theory // Bridesmaids Dresses: Various Designers // Groom & Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux // Shoe Designer: Something Blue by Betsey Johnson // Catering: Epting Events // Linens: BBJ Linen // Reception Tent & Chargers: Peach Tree Tents // Furniture & Speciality Rentals: Blue Eyed Yonder // Farm Table & Chair Rentals: Barron’s Rentals