Some say grandmother knows best, and Emily Snowden's grandmother knew she should date Brad Allen. But the pair resisted the wise woman's sage advice for more than six years, only casually chatting at family-attended Vanderbilt University football games, before they both gave in and fell head-over-heels in love in 2011. Two years later, to celebrate their second anniversary, the couple headed to Savannah, Georgia, for a weekend getaway. On their last evening away, while walking to dinner, Brad sat Emily down on a bench and presented her with a gift: A picture frame with what would be her new married monogram engraved in it. And as the realization sank in, Brad dropped to one knee and proposed. "I was so surprised," Emily says. "It was just perfect."
After selecting the bride's family's church for their ceremony, Emily and Brad chose Atlanta, Georgia's, The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead for their "unforgettable night of celebrating and dancing," as they describe it, on May 17, 2014. Photographed by Anna and Spencer Photography, the late spring affair was dedicated to a theme of magical twinkle lights, brought to life by wedding planners Kate and Campbell Creative Weddings and Events. "We wanted flowers and twinkling lights everywhere to transport our guests into an elegant garden feel," Emily says. Read on to see how they succeeded!
Emily borrowed more than just her grandmother's dating advice. When shopping for her wedding day style, the bride-to be selected a dress that was similar to the one grandmother had worn so many years before. Her Romona Keveza gown, which was made of silk and lace, featured long sleeves and a deep V-neckline. "It was a modernized take on her dress, to fit the current time," the bride says of the lookalike style. "It was classic and elegant, and I felt so comfortable in it."
Along with other heirloom jewels, including a fifth-generation pearl necklace and diamond earrings that had been passed down through Brad's family, Emily donned a sequin tiara that was worn by both her mother and grandmother on their respective wedding days. Her bouquet was as classic as her ensemble and was comprised of peonies, ranunculus, and lily of the valley.
Bridesmaids' dresses in a deep, teal blue popped against the couple's otherwise ivory, pink, and lavender color scheme. The scoop neckline proved to be the perfect cut for Emily's bridesmaids, who, as she says, wouldn't have been comfortable in strapless dresses all night long. "These felt very Jackie O. to me," says Emily.
Floral wreathes were displayed on the heavy wooden doors of the bride's hometown church, the Cathedral of St. Philip, while white blooms and dangling greenery decorated its pew candelabras and altar.
Emily's father walked her down the aisle as an organist played "Trumpet Voluntary" by Jeremiah Clarke. At the ornate altar, Emily and Brad exchanged traditional Episcopalian vows.
As they recessed down the aisle, an organist played "Toccata" by Charles-Marie Widor. "The recessional was my favorite part," Emily says. "It was so lively and fun to walk out to. Plus, my parents had used the same song during their wedding."
Emily and Brad stole a few precious moments together before joining guests inside the Ritz Carlton's ambient ballroom. They even got a sneak peek of the décor before the room was crowded with their closest 200 friends and family. "We got to wander through the ballroom and take a moment to admire everything. The cake, the flowers, the whole ambiance, while it was still quiet," Emily recalls. "It was just beautiful, untouched, sparkling, and ready for the guests to enter and the party to start. It was such a special moment to be still and take it all in."
She continues, "The ambiance of the reception, with all of the twinkling lights, the trees, and the natural chandelier made the evening feel like we were in another world. It had a magic garden feel to it that is difficult to describe."
Deep lavender linens topped tables decorated with a variety of centerpieces — tulips, peonies, garden roses, spray roses, snapdragon, vines and greenery were placed in alternating tall silver candelabras or low-sitting silver bowls. No matter the centerpiece, they were surround by glowing candles and bud vases filled with rose-hued blooms. "The floral displays were loose and natural, not overly structured, but not rustic either," Emily says. "Loose and natural in a more formal, elegant manner."
Two 10-foot-tall Manzanita trees towered between tables on either side of the room and were draped in tea lights, greenery, and flowers. "It was that magical-twinkle look that we were going for," says Emily. "These trees became an immediate backdrop for all of our guests taking pictures with their dates."
When it came to their wedding cake, the couple once again borrowed form Emily's grandmother. "I wanted a replica of my mother's and grandmother's wedding cakes, all white and covered with spun sugar flowers," Emily says. "Simple in the request, but the result was an intricate, textured cake absolutely covered in flowers. It was beautiful."
For the groom's cake, the bride requested a tribute to Brad's college football team and the site of so many of their initial meetings at Vanderbilt. "The pastry chef surrounded the cake with wheatgrass to resemble the football field," she says.
Once the couple took their first twirl to "Unforgettable" by Nat King Cole, they didn't stop dancing, and neither did their guests! "We danced nearly the entire time, and were surrounded by our friends and family," says Emily. "Everyone, even those who never dance, were on that dance floor. To be surrounded by loved ones, and everyone having such a great time, we were simply overcome with all of the love and joy in that ballroom."
Emily and Brad were showered in rose petals as they left their reception for their honeymoon, a dream getaway in the British Virgin Islands. Looking back on their big day, Emily advises, "Every minute of the wedding day is so precious. Don't waste any of it."
Ceremony Venue: The Cathedral of St. Philip || Reception Venue, Catering, Cake & Accommodations: The Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead || Wedding Planner: Kate and Campbell Creative Weddings and Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Romona Keveza || Veil: Toni Federici || Shoes: Manolo Blahnik || Hair: Vis-a-Vis Salon || Makeup: Love Makeup Hair || Bridesmaids Dresses: LulaKate || Mother of the Bride Dress: Giorgio Armani || Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank || Wedding Bands: Classic Creations || Florist: Faith Flowers and Legendary Events || Invitations: Exquisite Stationery || Music: Mo Sol || Transportation: Atlantic Limousine || Videographer: Evolution Video || Photography: Anna and Spencer Photography
Did you love this formal southern bash? Then check out another couple's Georgia wedding in the video below.