I’m really excited to cover Amanda’s story, because I know her in real life and in blog life! She is great in both. Also she teaches at our old high school, which is my younger brother’s current school, which is kind of a fun twist, ya know? Check out her blog, chai am woman to get to know her and her family, and Athenista to get to know her style. I was excited to show her wedding story and photos, especially since I wasn’t able to attend her wedding, so now we can all relive it with her!
Amanda married her husband Paul on the evening of July 26, 2008 at the Vines Botanical Gardens in Loganville, GA, just one month after getting engaged. “At that point, we had been seriously dating for about six years, we were going to be living together, and would have had to wait another year to get married with me starting a new teaching job and Paul beginning his next level of schooling to become a paramedic. So we just said, “Let’s do it!” and started planning.”
“The whole planning process was charmed for us, starting with the dress… I found my dress on the first day of looking at the first boutique where I tried on dresses. With such limited time to plan, it was pretty vital that we only look in shops where we could buy a sample or have one altered to fit. We happened to walk in on the girls in the boutique setting up a sample sale that was supposed to start the next day. After discussing our timeframe with them they let me go ahead and pick, choose and try on the dresses that caught my eye. After a few duds, and based on my ‘dream’ description, the manager brought out a dress she believed would I would love and that would flatter my figure. The sample was actually two sizes too big (which is rare, I think, they are usually much smaller than my size… we had some serious luck!) and the seamstress took it in to fit me. Amazing!”
She wore an ivory, strapless gown by Melissa Sweet constructed of silk charmeuse with a French lace overlay and a short train with a matching elbow-length veil.
Amanda chose black, brown, green, and cream for her wedding colors, “I wanted bright, jewel tones to pop here and there so I let them do the talking through the flowers in my bouquet, arrangements and centerpieces.”
“My bouquet was a doozy. I may have pored over the bouquet more than any other element to my own ensemble or for the entire wedding. I wanted ‘delicate,’ ‘pop,’ and ‘whimsical.’ I provided a picture of something similar to what I envisioned as far as the colors, but left the rest up to the florist. I had high expectations for my bouquet but what I got was even better. Like a million times better. One of my friends accurately described it as not only whimsical but “Seussical.” Seuss gone bridal. My bridesmaids’ bouquets were composed of green hydrangeas and calla lillies — two of my favorites. Paul’s boutonniere was a calla with green hypericum berries and the groomsmen wore green “button” flowers for theirs.”
“Aside from my bouquet, my only big request for the florist were the balls of “button” flowers we used to mark the family seating on the aisle. One of my favorite decor elements. I love that they were simple and gave such a fresh touch to the ceremony. Flowers can be pretty formal and change the whole look of a room but I wanted that element to be pretty simple.”
Amanda and Paul had a bridal party of eight: “Four ‘maids, four ‘men. The guys all wore black tuxes from Men’s Wearhouse.” For the girls they “settled on a little number from White House Black Market. The dresses were a black scoop neck with brown cummerbunds. Most of my bridesmaids are pretty busty so I tried to keep that in mind to make sure the dresses were flattering (i.e. – no strapless). It also helped that I had three of the four with me to try them on!”
Like most brides, Amanda’s choice of who was in her bridal party was a difficult one. “I had several ladies that I wanted for bridesmaids but due to the size of our ceremony room, time constraints and financial burdens (let’s face it… being a bridesmaid ain’t cheap, y’all!), and the number of groomsmen, I needed to keep it to 4. And with two sisters-in-law who I really wanted to be a big part of our wedding, that got difficult. Initially, I think there were some hurt feelings but it was understood. I still wanted those girls to feel special and like they really were my bridesmaids so I did arrange for them to have corsages to wear in our floral colors and they all wore black so it worked out fabulously! The bridal party can get so ‘political’ and you have to take that in stride, too, along with all of the advice you receive.”
With a guest count of about 190 Amanda was overwhelmed by everyone who attended her wedding. One of her favorite moments of the wedding day was, “seeing everyone who came to watch us get married… there was quite literally standing room only. So many people stood in the back!”
But her absolute favorite moment was one between her and her groom: “Paul and I saw each other before the wedding. We had a special moment where we met up and had some time (mostly) alone before we took pictures and really got things rolling. We knew once guests arrived we wouldn’t have a spare moment so we opted for the moment beforehand.”
Amanda describes their ceremony as “quick” and “traditional” and the reception, which included a sit-down, buffet-style dinner, as casual and fun. “Especially after we all hit the dance floor! Nothing formal about the Sprinkler. Or the Shopping Cart, for that matter.”
“Who doesn’t love the dance floor? After we spent some time talking with all of our guests and tossed the bouquet, I got to dance with my best girl friends for a little while before we left and it was such a great time. Those are some of my favorite pictures.”
Both their ceremony and reception were held in the mansion located on the Vines property. “The entire property is just lovely and added a fun, garden touch to the wedding without us actually needing to be outside.” Because remember, this is late July in Atlanta… no need to be outside for too long!
I asked Amanda if she would change anything: “The only things I would change are superficial. I wished my hair was longer so it could have been styled the way I really wanted. Or maybe that I’d worn it down but I was too afraid of the summer heat! And the sweat! And I also really, really wished that I’d done my own make-up. The stylist who did my hair also did my make-up, which was honestly just a big mess. My “simple, just a little smoky” was her “black all the way to the lid, baby!” The whole thing was just a disaster and didn’t look like me at all so I ended up removing and re-applying my makeup. Some tears, lots of stress and it still wasn’t exactly how I wanted it… I would definitely have prepared to do it myself if I had known the drama it would be! That said, it was the only thing that really went ‘wrong’ and it turned okay so I can’t complain too much, right?”
When asked what advice she’d give other brides, she said this, “Do your own makeup! Haha! And take everyone’s advice with a grain of salt and in good spirits. Everyone just wants to feel involved and like they are a part of your special day so just do your best to take it in stride. Also, let people do things for you! I got to relax and have so much fun with my guests because I simply sat back and let other people take care of the details… my biggest advice post-wedding, American Express or some other credit card as ‘insurance’ just to make sure you get what you pay for.”
“I mentioned before that we had such a charmed planning process, and we honestly didn’t have any major bumps in the road. We had a large guest list but my first choice of venue was available and able to accommodate our guests. On the whole, our families are pretty easy going and we all enjoy each other. We are loved, lucky, and blessed.”
All photos by Martin Photography
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