Jena and Chad have known each other since high school, and though it took them a few years to finally start dating, they eventually fell in love. And then they shared their gorgeous Italian-inspired Southern wedding with us! Beautiful photos by Rylee Hitchner.
Nods to the groom’s Italian heritage included the bride’s Italian lace cathedral-length veil, loaves of bread as favors, and a band that sang in Italian. The intimate reception took place at Veranda on Highland, an historic Southern home that has been converted to a restaurant.
The bride answered some questions for us about their wedding…
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? My parent’s wedding was at Canterbury, so when I got engaged it seemed like the natural spot to choose for our ceremony. The chapel is more intimate than the sanctuary, which I think might have been a bit too big for us.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I tried to use bits and pieces of our everyday life in the details because I wanted the wedding to feel like us. We were married where we grew up, in a fairly formal and traditional setting, but there were little reminders, almost secret, that we included. For example, we love the little bakery down the street from our house. It is the most relaxing place to have coffee and breakfast, and we went once a week or so for the entire four years we were dating. It may sound somewhat trivial, but that bakery was the place of so many of my favorite mornings with Chad, and he had the fantastic idea to have our favors be baguettes from the bakery.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? I actually want to mention my favorite moment of the whole weekend, which was Chad’s speech at the rehearsal dinner. It was the most incredible, impromptu tribute to our friends and families. He and I were both so overwhelmed with the sentiments expressed all evening. I think emotions were even higher than expected because Chad and I were moving from Birmingham to Boston the day after the wedding, and I know our families were particularly emotional about our leaving. He was able to stand up and put into beautiful words our mutual feelings without so much as a hint from me. It was a moment where I was thinking, I cannot believe I get to marry him.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? To celebrate Chad’s Italian family, we included the Italian wedding song (“Luna Mezzo Mare”), sung by Chad’s uncle, complete with the circle of friends dancing around us. I was a little nervous about including something so boisterous, thinking it might be a bit much for the small room we were in, but I was so wrong. It was one of the highlights of the reception. There is something about being in the circle of all those smiling faces, full of genuine joy and well wishes that just struck me. I hope every bride and groom get to feel that love on their wedding day.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? This is somewhat specific in nature, but the best advice I got regarding the wedding was about the invitations. I wanted something a little less traditional, and I was told that though most of the wedding choices were mine to run free with, the invitations were in fact, from my parents. The only thing my mother and I had really any disagreement over was that she wanted more formal invitations than I did. I ended up heeding the advice I was given, and the invitations were stunning.
What advice do you have for other brides? Two pieces of advice. 1.) Don’t be afraid to go with new or emerging companies if they come highly recommended. The florists for the wedding were new, did not even have a website put together, when we chose them. They were amazing. Professional and kind, which was wonderful, but honestly the flowers were far beyond anything I had imagined. 2.) Do not try to micromanage every detail. I gave everyone quite a bit of freedom. The florists, the chef, the stylist, I just feel like people shine when they are not bound up with very strict rules. It worked. I really loved everything they put together, and I never could have come up with it all myself.
See the full gallery here.