Hannah and Aaron’s intimate wedding was the definition of timeless elegance—we love how the blue details from the invitations to her bouquet tied in perfectly with the regal ballroom. With most of their guests coming from out of town, they made sure the celebration was welcoming and relaxed yet totally stunning!
Photography by Jennifer Blair.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My mother made my veil, which was such a special touch. My mother has made clothes for me since I was a little girl, so having her make my veil seemed fitting.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Be thoughtful about how you spend your money—some details make a bigger difference than others. Things like bouquets, photography, and food have a big impact. Other details can be done more inexpensively and still have the same impact. Using the same location for the ceremony and reception was also an unplanned budget savor. We only had to decorate one space and were able to repurpose a lot of decorations. While I originally planned to DIY a lot of things, I found that my floral designer and decorator had lots of things for sale or rent at a cheaper or equal cost as compared to me making them. Ask around before your make a decision or dive into a DIY adventure.
Stationery by Minted.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Spend the reception together! A friend advised me that Aaron and I would be pulled in a million directions all evening, and recommended that we make a point to enjoy the night together. We made an effort to come back together the whole night, whether it was dancing, eating, or chatting with friends.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? My something old was my pearl necklace, which was grandmothers, my mothers, and is now mine. My something borrowed was a handkerchief from my mother. My something new was my veil, which my mother handmade for our wedding.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Focus on the why—why are you getting married? Constantly coming back to that moment will remind you of what is important. Also, talk to friends and family who were married years earlier. They will help you maintain perspective. A lot of details are probably forgettable, even though they seem extremely important in the moment (for example, your programs).
Hanna’s lush bouquet was filled with peonies, roses and sprouted eucalyptus and tied with a flowing blue ribbon.
Floral Design by Stems.
“We loved the Biltmore long before we got engaged. We walked past the outside of the building regularly, as we both worked and lived in that neighborhood. On several walks, we mentioned how wonderful it would be to get married there. When one of my bridesmaids and I walked into the Biltmore for a tour after our engagement, I immediately turned around and said to her “this is it!” The space had this grand, elegant feeling, but also seemed very classic. We loved that the building had a strong history and was right in the middle of midtown Atlanta.”
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We worked with our pastor to plan the ceremony. We followed the traditional structure for Presbyterian ceremonies, and selected music and readings that fit with our history and personality. Our pastor did an excellent job of incorporating personal details about us, and the ceremony was very fitting.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We did not see each other until the ceremony. While we went back and forth about doing a first look, Aaron really wanted to wait until the ceremony, and we did. While I was initially insistent on wanting a first look, I loved that Aaron wanted to wait until the ceremony. It made that moment really special.
Your ceremony in three words: Intimate, classic, romantic.
Who officiated your ceremony? How did you choose him/her? We chose the pastor at our church it Atlanta, which we joined shortly after moving here.
What were your ceremony readings? 1 Corinthians 13
What were your vows like? We followed the traditional vows for the Presbyterian Church.
What was your ceremony music? We selected several instrumentals, played by our harpist, Catherine Rogers.
Ceremony music by Catherine Rogers.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Prior to the wedding, our pastor has us privately write down what we loved about each other. We didn’t know that he was going to read them to us during the ceremony, which was the most special moment. Hearing all the things that we loved about each other was such a special way to start our vows, and created such an intimate moment for the two of us. Of course, it made me start crying and I cried through our entire vows.
“We chose to use the same location for the ceremony and reception to allow for more time with our guests. The majority of our guests were from out-of-town. They were already traveling a long way, and we wanted them to be able to relax and enjoy the wedding, not get lost in Atlanta traffic. Holding the wedding and reception at the same location allowed us to spend more time with our guests, and allowed our guests to sit back and relax.”
How would you describe your reception? Effortless. Elegant. Relaxed. Fun. We had a really small, intimate environment, and Aaron and I were able to spend time with each of our guests, which was so important to us.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? So many things! We spent a lot of time reflecting on how we wanted to feel on our wedding day and how we wanted our guests to feel. We really wanted to create something that felt welcoming and relaxed, but also classic and elegant. Focusing on the feeling we wanted to create helped us anchor every part of our planning. The Biltmore Imperial Ballroom was a huge inspiration for the colors and design of the space. The ballroom ceiling was the perfect shade of blue, and we pulled that into our décor. The Biltmore is such a classic space, and we wanted to pull that feeling into the entire wedding. We also didn’t want to distract from the gorgeous architecture of the room. Once we committed to The Biltmore, we were able to plan the rest of the wedding around that space. We chose colors that highlighted the ballroom and planned a classic southern reception that reflected the history of the space.
Event Planning & Design by Stella Harper Events.
What was your wedding menu? Classic southern food with a twist: pimento cheese, friend green tomatoes, mini ham biscuits, and mushroom tarts were passed during the cocktail hour. For the dinner, we had stations with beef sirloin and grilled vegetables, shrimp and grits, southern greens, tomato pie, and a mac n’ cheese bar with toppings.
Catering by Soiree Catering.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?
Honestly, no. We are so happy with how everything turned out.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. During the reception, we were able to sit and chat with every table during dinner, which we really enjoyed. Having our guests there to celebrate with us was so special, and we wanted to enjoy being with them. We are so glad that we chose to do a small wedding, because it allowed us to connect with all of our guests.
What was your first dance song?
First Dance: “Come Rain or Come Shine” by Ray Charles
Father/daughter: “When Somebody Loves You” by Alan Jackson
Mother/son: “Days Like This” by Van Morrison
Reception music by Complete Entertainment.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Cupcakes! Aaron has always given me cupcakes throughout our dating relationship, so it seemed fitting that we would serve them at the wedding. We had several flavors: champagne, red velvet, and Kentucky bourbon. I was not one of those brides who only ate a bite of cake during the cake cutting. I absolutely ate an entire cupcake at the reception!
Desserts by Gigi’s Cupcakes.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? At the end of the night, when all the guests were gathering for the exit, we took one more dance on the dance floor. I loved that moment – it was just us, with all the beautiful memories of the evening.