Megan and Joe’s classic wedding at Bloomsbury Farm was filled with natural elegance and just the right touch of southern charm. After eight years together, most of which were long-distance, they knew in their heart that the South was the only place to say “I do”. Though the weather called for rain and wind all day, the the sun came shining out over the green rolling hills and their day was just about as perfect as it could be.
Photography by Austin Gros.
“A month before our wedding we followed the Southern tradition of burying a bottle of bourbon upside-down at the ceremony site. We flew out from California specifically for this reason because I was terrified of having a rainy wedding day (even though our photographer and makeup artist were married in a beautiful rainy day at Bloomsbury and assured us it would all turn out perfectly). The whole week leading up to the wedding we were overwhelmed with serious daily downpours and threats of 100% chance of rain during the hours of our ceremony and reception, even up to the night before the wedding! This resulted in many tears, many hours of consulting the reality of needing a rain plan, and completely changing around our ceremony location plans. After all of the stress, we woke up on our wedding day to bright, clear skies—just as my husband said we would. Not a single drop of rain fell until we drove off in our getaway car! We are now firm believers in this tradition, and because we never dug the bottle up, we believe it’s still bringing us luck—it didn’t rain once on our honeymoon to Thailand on the cusp of monsoon season either!”
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? For my something old, I had my late grandmother’s locket tied around my bouquet. She was given this as a gift from my grandfather on the day my mother was born, so this has always been a very special piece of jewelry to me. My something new was my wedding dress. My something borrowed was my mother’s diamond and pearl Mikimoto earrings that have always been my favorite piece of jewelry of hers—they’re so elegant. Lastly, my something blue was my Mommy in her navy Carolina Herrera dress—I couldn’t have gotten through the day without her!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? The best money you will ever spend is on your photographer and videographer. At the end of the day, all you have from your wedding are the memories you made, the impossible amount of love and gratitude in your heart, and the photos and videos that were captured to remind you of all the details you hold dear or that you completely missed. Our photos and videos are our most cherished possessions as a married couple and we are eternally grateful to our incredible photographer and videographer for that gift! And for brides who think they should skip out on getting a videographer because of cost—make it work in your budget. It is so, so worth it!
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? If you’re doing a destination wedding, be sure to determine whether or not your planning visits (airfare, hotel, rental car, etc.) are going to be included in your budget or not! This could potentially create a large additional expense that you have to factor in. Also, if you choose a venue that is a blank slate as we did, remember you have to bring in EVERYTHING – bathrooms, electricity, tents, chairs, flooring…I even had to bring in a kitchen! Rentals ended up being around 70% of our budget, and because I didn’t estimate correctly from the get-go, we ended up going more than 30% over budget. To that I say: I LOVE YOU, MAMA!
“Immediately when we drove on the property, we knew Bloomsbury Farm would be a special place to us. It was one of those “when you know, you know” moments. Everything about it – the gorgeous rolling hills, the blank canvas it provided, the friendly owner – made us feel at home and allowed us to more clearly see the vision we had for our wedding. It truly spoke to our hearts and it was hard to drive away – it wasn’t fair to any of the other venues we looked at!”
Your ceremony in three words. Personal, joyful, perfect.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Our officiant did a great job of planning our ceremony. We knew that we didn’t want our guests to sit through a long, non-engaging sermon, so we opted for something short and sweet; a few anecdotes about the sacrament and meaning of marriage, our personal vows, and then traditional vows—as our officiant said, to make sure they stuck!
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? Ever since Joey and I started dating, his family has been so supportive, loving, and wonderful to me, and I always knew that I wanted his grandfather to walk me down the aisle. It was really emotional and special for the both of us. I didn’t want my mom to be left out—as she, my sister, and my husband are the most important people in my life—so when I got to the end of the aisle, she stood up with Joey’s grandfather to give me away. Having both of them next to me and being able to give my mom a quick kiss before I got married was so special to me. I’ll never forget the amount of love I felt in that moment—being given away by my mother, and being embraced into a wonderful family.
Who officiated your ceremony? Wes Howard from Cross Point Church officiated our ceremony. When I lived in Nashville during college, Joe and I would attend Cross Point Church and so it made sense to reach out to them to find a pastor to officiate our wedding. Since we were planning our wedding from Southern California, we had several Skype meetings with Wes and knew he would be a great fit for —he was spiritual, laid-back, and had a great message as well as a great personality!
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We tried to keep our wedding pretty simple, so the only thing “traditional” about our ceremony was that we spoke traditional vows. Though I loved reciting our own, personally-written vows to one another (and they are something I cherish more than I thought I would!), it was very important to me to speak the traditional biblical vows that have been recited for generations. Why not have both!?
What was your ceremony music? My husband’s family is very musical—his grandfather is amazing at playing guitar and also collects them, his father is equally as talented and is also a singer/songwriter, and Joe is a phenomenal singer—so we had an acoustic guitarist perform the music for our ceremony as a nod to that. The bridal party processed to “Marry Me”, which was the song Joe sang when he proposed to me. Because I have always been obsessed with the movie Father of the Bride, I took a cue from Annie Banks and processed to “Canon in D”. We recessed to Brown Eyed Girl, though I don’t think anyone heard it due to all of the cheering and applause!
Ceremony Music by Crescent Moon Entertainment, Inc.
What were your vows like? We recited both personal and traditional vows. It was important to my husband that we write our own vows that were personal and meaningful to us, and it was important to me to speak traditional, biblical vows, so we compromised. Isn’t that was marriage is about? Part of my compromise was that we had our personal vows approved by our mutual best friend, and one of my bridesmaids, to ensure they were the same length and generally cohesive. After we sent them to her, she told us that if she didn’t already know we were meant to be, that this confirmed it! They were the same length and mentioned many of the same things. I think this really helped to make sure one person didn’t feel outdone by the other and gave us both a sense of calmness and peace to share our hearts to all of our guests.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? If I had to pick one moment, it would be walking down the aisle. We didn’t do a first look—that tradition was important to the both of us—so when we finally saw each other at the end of the aisle, it was an extremely special moment. I will never forget the look on my husband’s face and the tears in his eyes and seeing him mouth “you’re beautiful” as I walked towards him. That will be seared in my heart forever and I’m so thankful our photographer captured that moment from my perspective!
“Being that the venue isn’t much of a venue at all, it gave us the perfect opportunity to create our dream wedding from scratch. We wanted to build our wedding around the greenery and natural beauty of the farm while also creating a classic, formal aesthetic with a black and white color palette and touches of the blushiest of blush. Our black and white dance floor under a draped tent spoke to the timeless look we wanted to achieve, while the clear top of the tent and our floral garland chandeliers brought the natural aspect in.”
What inspired you while you were planning your wedding? We wanted to come up with something that hadn’t been seen before. We’re both drawn to classic elements and wanted an elegant and formal feel to juxtapose with the casual, laid-back feel of the farm. I was mostly inspired by the beauty of our venue and had so much fun bringing in our own personal style to make the space truly ours.
“When asked what our vision for the wedding was throughout our engagement, we described it as ‘formal on a farm.’ A few of our vendors and most of our guests couldn’t see the vision we had in our head, but Tori kept everyone on track and dissuaded me when I leaned a little too far towards ‘farm’ and too far away from ‘formal.’ In the end, everything turned out exactly how we had envisioned it in our head over the 13 months of planning and looking back, our favorite things about our wedding are the vows we spoke, the memories we made, the beautiful space we created, and all of our vendor-friends who we now consider family.”
What was your wedding menu? We had the most amazing food from Loveless Cafe! We wanted to show our guests, most of whom weren’t from the South and had never been to Nashville, all of our favorite things! We started the night with biscuits with assorted jams and sorghum, fried green tomatoes with goat cheese and balsamic glaze, mini baked potatoes, and ham sliders on yeast rolls. We opted for a buffet-style dinner, mostly because I didn’t want to have to deal with a seating chart. We had several stations set up for our guests to choose from: a fried chicken station with mashed potatoes and gravy; a mac and cheese station with several different cheese and topping selections; a slider station with pulled pork, catfish, and fried chicken; and a grits station with shrimp and beef short ribs. Our guests still rave about our food to this day!
Catering by Loveless Cafe.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a three-tiered cake, and we each selected our favorite flavor. We may have had two cake tastings because we just couldn’t decide! He chose a cream cheese pound cake with raspberry filling, and I chose a sour cream pound cake with Grand Marnier filling.
Cake by Dessert Designs.
Did you have a signature cocktail? We didn’t have a signature cocktail, but Loveless allowed us to provide all of the alcohol for the bar, so we were able to choose all of our favorites to serve! We served a variety of SweetWater brews—since we can’t get those west of the Mississippi—and served them in personalized koozies. My husband also selected one of his favorites, Bulleit Bourbon, to serve. I chose my favorite Prosecco, La Marca.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Near the end of the night, Joey and I took a step back from the reception and just took it all in. We saw our guests gathering and chatting in the pavilion, and drinking and dancing in the tent—all of the people we love most in the world were there, together, to celebrate with us. We felt so special and so loved.
What was your first dance song? “Stay With You” by John Legend. This has always been a very meaningful song to us, and one that I learned to play on piano for Joey for our one-year anniversary back in 2007.
Reception music performed by Bigg Skyy Entertainment, LLC.