What was your total budget? Please provide a detailed budget breakdown.
- Venue, Catering, Decorations – $9, 000
- Alcohol- $500
- Attire for Bride & Groom- $3,000
- Videography- $2500
- Floral- $800
- DJ- gifted
- Cakes- gifted
- Photography- gifted
- Invitations- gifted
- Favors- gifted
How many guests did you have?
We had around 140 guests attend our wedding
How did you meet?
Justin and I met at a dirt track in Winder, GA through mutual friends. That night was the first of many fun nights with Justin. As time went on Justin and I became great friends. We would go to downtown Athens together (and dance the night away at 9d’s Bar), go out to eat together, partake in Margarita Monday together, tailgate at Georgia games together… we spent A LOT of time together. He would even fix my car (multiple times) for FREE!
And then people started asking questions– ha!
As you see, from the beginning I knew that Justin liked me and I definitely had a little thing for him as well, but it just wasn’t great timing. In other words, I made Justin wait for a while, like almost 6 months (ouch!). I can remember him sitting on my couch one day telling me, “I like you. It’s okay if you don’t want to be more than friends, but I want you to know that I like you. And I’m never going to stop liking you whether this goes somewhere or not.” Wow. What a guy. I was pretty blown away from that comment. So he was pretty much saying, I like you and I don’t care if you give me anything in return because I’m still going to like you no matter what. What guy says that!?
Needless to say, I finally came to my senses. I finally realized that Justin was the man I had been waiting for. I needed a man in my life, like Justin, who was going to love me unconditionally. And boy, am I so thankful he was patient and waited for me.
What is your proposal story?
Okay for some backstory…
On our first quick weekend getaway, we traveled to Tallulah Falls, GA. We spent the day hiking up the trails of Tallulah Gorge and admiring the scenery. While I was looking in the binoculars down into the gorge, I spotted an old blue truck. I thought it was so cool and was hoping there was some crazy story as to why this truck was down in Tallulah Gorge. Turns out someone pushed it down into the gorge as an insurance scam! Ha! How uneventful.
Fast forward a year-ish later. We decided to take another “quick” weekend getaway to the same exact town, to see the same exact gorge, and stay at the same exact resort. We got there late Saturday night and the snow had really started to fall. It was beautiful. The next morning we woke up bright and early to go see the gorge and get some good pictures on our brand new DSLR camera before the snow melted. Mind you, Justin was videoing almost the whole thing. At each lookout, we’d stop, set out the tripod and take a few selfies and just admire God’s beauty. We finally got to the same lookout where I spotted the old blue truck from the last trip. Justin got out the binoculars and asked me to look for the blue truck again. While I was doing that he set up our camera just as he did every other time. I eventually spotted it and said, “There it is!” He then said, “Okay now look to the right of the truck there’s a sign or something…” I have no idea what he is talking about so I’m looking and looking and then I see a sign nailed to the tree right next to the truck (all through binoculars by the way). The sign read “Will You Marry Me?”
So, when we got back to our resort he showed me a video on his phone. It was a video of him making my ring. Y’ALL HE MADE MY RING! Like he bought platinum stock, rolled it out and welded the band and prongs. Not to mention, the diamond came from his mother’s original engagement ring. Wow. The. Most. Perfect. Proposal.
Tell us a little about your wedding vision.
We knew we didn’t want a long engagement so we had about 6 months to plan the wedding. We got engaged in December and were wed in May.
Justin and I are very simple people/easy to please. My go-to line is “surprise me” when people ask what I want. We definitely didn’t want anything super fancy or formal and we had a pretty conservative budget. All we really cared about was our friends and family and good music.
We chose a very neutral palette of dusty blue, different shades of grays, and green.
Tell us about your attire choices.
I let my bridesmaids choose their style dress because who wants to wear a dress you don’t really like or feel comfortable in? They were ordered from Tulle & Chantilly. They had great customer service by the way! The groomsmen wore gray suits from The Black Tux with dusty blue ties and brown shoes.
GET THE LOOK
What was most important to you two while planning? Was there anything you chose to splurge on or skip?
There were so many things we thought we were going to have to skip on because of our budget. We were so humbled by how many people donated their time and effort to us. We had our DJ, invitations, cakes, favors and photography gifted to us by friends or family. This helped us tremendously while planning our perfect wedding. Because of this, we were able to spend more money on other things like videography.
I’d have to say though, the most important thing to us while planning was photography. We knew that to have a great photographer you had to pay the big bucks. Everyone that we had talked to said to spend the money on photography because that is only of the only things you have after the wedding (other than your husband-ha)!
And that is when Amanda Shaver from Amanda Olivia Photography came to our rescue. We had a friend tag us in her Wedding Photography Package Giveaway on Instagram. Intrigued, I went through her pictures from previous clients and I longed for her to be our photographer. I messaged her our engagement story and started begging all of our friends and family to please tag us and help us win. Boy did our friends and family show up. I am pretty sure our WHOLE family contacted Amanda. Not to mention our friends and my coworkers. Justin and I were blown away by the support from everyone. I can remember finding out that we won like it was yesterday.
Words cannot express how thankful we are for Amanda. She is so kind and genuine. We loved working with her. Our pictures were beautiful and I am so thankful we were given that opportunity. I will never forget how gracious she was to do that for us.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
I loved the whole day. Honestly, it was the best day of my life! But here are some memories that really stood out to me…
I loved getting ready with my girls. It was so special to have my mom, sister, future mother-in-law, future sister-in-law, as well as my 3 best friends with me getting ready. My absolute favorite part of getting ready was letting my mom see me for the first time in my dress. We definitely had a moment of tears. I had been waiting my whole life for that moment and I know she had been too.
I also loved our “First Look”. Everyone had told me that Justin was so nervous. I remember walking up and tapping him on the shoulder. He turned around and gave me an up and down with a huge smile. It was such a sweet moment for us. He said that seeing me made all of his nervous go away. I am so glad we did the first look and to be able to have that moment between just us two.
Probably the funniest moment of our wedding was saying our vows. We had practiced them a lot, but when it came time to do them in front of everyone… Justin could not remember a single word. It was so funny. He could repeat about two words of the entire line and then he’d forget what Chase (our officiant) had said. I ended up mouthing his entire vows to him while he read my lips. Good thing he went first because when it was my turn I asked Chase to break them up a little more!
I loved seeing all of our people dancing on the dance floor. Literally, everyone was up and dancing with us. It was such a great time. DJ Louie did an AWESOME job!
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
Our florist was Dean Pannell from Pannell Designs and Events. Dean is such a fun guy. He made us laugh so much while we were planning for the wedding. I believed in his work so much that I pretty much said, “I want you to do whatever you think will look good.” And he definitely lived up to our expectations and then some. He was amazing and makes such beautiful arrangements. As for the actual flowers, we had white roses, eucalyptus, and dusty miller. The boutonnieres also incorporated pheasant feathers from a pheasant Justin shot while hunting in South Dakota.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Wait until you hear this! Joshua John Russell from Man About Cake made not just 1 delicious cake, but 4 delicious cakes for FREE. I’m telling you we were so humbled by how many people donated their time and efforts to our wedding.
The funny thing is, we totally let him do his thing too! We were completely surprised by what kind of cakes he chose to make. We never did a cake test!
1. Banana Cake with caramel buttercream frosting, caramel drizzle, and nougatine
2. Red Velvet Cake with cheesecake filling and graham cracker crust
3. Chocolate Cake with dark chocolate buttercream frosting, fresh strawberries, and white chocolate drizzle
4. Vanilla Cake Madagascar with bourbon vanilla bean buttercream frosting, white chocolate drizzle, vanilla, and granola
He even made cupcakes too!
Y’all should have seen the line for these cakes!
What did you do for favors?
Coozies that said “The McWedding” with our date and city on them. My maiden name is McNutt and his last name is McRae. So pretty much everything we do we put an “Mc” in front of it. Lucky for us, Justin’s cousin printed our Coozies as a gift.
Please describe any handmade, DIY, or personal items.
Other than my custom handmade engagement ring… 🙂
My wedding band was custom made as well, with the help of T.K. Anderson in Athens, GA. We were able to use the rest of my mother in law’s diamonds from her engagement ring to design a one of a kind infinity wedding band. We went with T.K. Anderson because they were so kind and helped Justin with my engagement ring. They answered all of his questions and even set the diamond in the prongs for him. We love supporting small business!
Justin and I make hand-painted signs on the side so we decided to make our own decor for the wedding. This included a “welcome to our wedding” sign and a seating chart.
Also as a sweet surprise, Justin wrote a little note on the soles of my shoes. It had our date on it as well.
I had a patch made for my dad’s tie as well. It was in the shape of a heart and said: “Of all the walks we have taken together, this one is my favorite.”
Do you have any advice for couples planning their wedding now?
Don’t sweat the small things! Enjoy this time together, it goes by SO fast. The wedding came and went in the blink of an eye. Remember that when planning all the small little details! There will be things that don’t go as planned, but people will still have fun and enjoy being around you two!
Photography: amanda olivia photography • Ceremony Venue: The Cotton Warehouse • Reception Venue: The Cotton Warehouse • Floral: Pannell Designs and Events • Film Lab: The FIND Lab • Videography: Spark Weddings • Wedding Cake: Man About Cake • Hair: Bombshell Creations • Wedding Dress: Dressing Dreams • DJ: DJ Louie Productions • Bridesmaid Dresses: Tulle and Chantilly • Makeup: Bombshell Creations • Wedding Dress: Essence of Australia • Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux • Submitted via: Matchology