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A Sentimental Atlanta Wedding That Was Planned the Couple’s Way

Planned by Simply Charming Socials.

The details are up for debate—they knew they met 13 or 14 years ago in the Atlanta art and music scene—but one thing’s for sure: bridal salon owner Gabrielle Lee and filmmaker Raymond Carr were meant to be in each other’s lives forever. Though the couple remained platonic friends for years, a clandestine night out changed the course of their relationship forever. 

“[Someone] asked me why I wasn’t dating the incredibly good-looking and kind guy that just swooped in to save the late night, and well, I just didn’t have a good answer,” Gabrielle says. “So many things clicked and I realized he had been my person for a lot longer than either of us still care to admit. Raymond and I shared a first kiss that night outside the bar and it was pretty much game over after that.”

Both Gabrielle and Raymond agree that they most likely met at Atlanta’s Carroll St. Café, which made it the perfect place for him to propose in February 2021. “​​We ordered our go-to meals and took wine glasses outside to the courtyard to wait in the fresh air,” she recalls. “I talked about the sweetest bride we helped that day who brought tears to my eyes while Raymond fumbled around with his pockets, finally getting on one knee and nervously babbling about the ring and about how much happier I made everything. There were tears and yeses, and then a few regulars came from around the corner with Champagne and well wishes.”

Eight months later, the couple returned to the cafe with 60 of their favorite people to become husband and wife. As the founder of The Sentimentalist—a bridal salon in Atlanta—Gabrielle has helped brides create their dream day. But, when it came to her own nuptials, she wanted to host a party that reflected her and Raymond.

“I always envisioned something late-night, in a crowded restaurant with high fashion, lots of candlelight, plenty of levity, and an epic dance party,” she says. "Something sentimental and memorable, not too serious, but still so romantic.” 

With a little help from Kristine Cooke of Simply Charming Socials, the day was everything the couple had imagined: the perfect happily ever after to their dynamic love story. Read on for an intimate look at the day, as photographed by Jeremy Harwell of Harwell Photography.

Gabrielle and Raymond's minimalist invitations with a red rose

Photo by Harwell Photography

We made every move intentionally, to reflect us and nothing else.

Gabrielle and Raymond's black-tie optional dress code on their invitations

Photo by Harwell Photography

From the moment Raymond and Gabrielle got engaged, they knew they wanted to have a wedding that was completely on their terms. “We didn’t feel beholden to do anything ‘expected’ or even just simply out of necessity,” the bride shares. “We made every move intentionally, to reflect us and nothing else.” The couple kicked of the festivities on the right foot with these pared-back-yet-personable invitations from Ashley Buzzy of Press Shop.

Gabrielle and Raymond's venue site at Carroll St. Cafe in Atlanta

Photo by Harwell Photography

Carroll Street Cafe is a homebase for the couple and their inner circle—so it was only fitting that it played an integral role in their special day. “I wanted the event to feel like one of the great art parties we attended while dating—a pop-up performance space in a public area that one could only use for a wedding if they didn’t care about the rules,” Gabrielle explains. “That was us and I wanted to find a space to do us justice.”

Gabrielle getting her hair straightened on her wedding day

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle's black wedding boots with crystal embellishments and white bouquet wrapped in black ribbon

Photo by Harwell Photography

Hours after the couple got engaged, Gabrielle slipped on some sidewalk stairs—breaking her leg and shattering her ankle. This required a lengthy recovery in the process. Though she wanted to sport heels on her special day, hitting the dance floor was much more important. She said that she ultimately opted for a pair of studded combat boots, which had the “presence and attitude” that she needed.

Raymond's white dinner jacket and black tuxedo pants

Photo by Harwell Photography

Raymond's white dinner jacket, black tuxedo pants, black bow tie, and glasses

Photo by Harwell Photography

The groom looked dapper in an ivory silk dinner jacket and tuxedo pants from Guffey’s of Atlanta. Rounding out the look was a set of custom set of gold cufflinks and crystal collar chain from Hushed Commotion.

Gabrielle and Raymond doing their first look outside in the fall

Photo by Harwell Photography

Raymond admiring Gabrielle's black off-the-shoulder wedding dress during the first look

Photo by Harwell Photography

Raymond holding Gabrielle's hand and admiring her black wedding dress during their first look

Photo by Harwell Photography

One of the couple’s favorite parts of the day was their first look, which lasted two hours. “We met just across the street from the venue, at the historic Oakland Cemetery for a few shots in the iconic—and, yeah, maybe a little morbid—Atlanta skyline spot,” the bride shares.

Gabrielle and Raymond holding hands while they walk across the lawn

Photo by Harwell Photography

We leaned into a classic shape, reminiscent of a ballet waltz gown.

Gabrielle and Raymond holding hands while Gabrielle is holding a gold and black purse

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond taking photos around downtown Atlanta

Photo by Harwell Photography

As the proud owner of a bridal salon, Gabrielle wanted to stray away from the typical white gown. Instead, the bride stunned in a black silk moire gown, made in collaboration with Elizabeth Dye. “She was my first boss in the industry and has been a dear friend and mentor ever since,” she says. “We’ve also carried her collection since day one and it’s a constant inspiration. She’s the queen of colorful bridal and her silhouettes are truly vintage-inspired, so we leaned into a classic shape, reminiscent of a ballet waltz gown.”

Gabrielle and Raymond kissing while taking couple portraits in downtown Atlanta

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond kissing while taking photos around Atlanta

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond riding in a vintage convertible around Atlanta

Photo by Harwell Photography

Of course, the first look fun didn’t end at the big reveal. “We then took a short joyride to some of our favorite city spots, with [photographer] Jeremy Harwell close behind,” Gabrielle adds. “A longtime girlfriend of mine brought out her 1963 Mercury Comet convertible to drive us around the city and eventually to our venue.”

Gabrielle and Raymond holding hands while they walk down a hallway with art murals

Photo by Harwell Photography

After the couple’s first look-turned-photoshoot, Raymond and Gabrielle met their family and walked over to their ceremony in Atlanta’s Whisper Park.

Gabrielle and Raymond's wedding guests standing outside of the venue

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond's candlelit ceremony in a garden at night

Photo by Harwell Photography

Since the ceremony started after dark, the couple placed small votive candles in every nook and cranny. “The inspiration was loosely inspired by the Phantom’s descent deep beneath the Paris Opera House,” the bride shares. “When we walked around the corner to see the fiery secret space, I gasped at the transcendence. It was the Christine Daaë moment I couldn’t have dreamt of.”

Gabrielle in a black wedding veil holding Raymond's hands during their candlelit night ceremony

Photo by Harwell Photography

The bride walked down the aisle to an a cappella version of Robyn’s “Call Your Girlfriend.“ "Yeah, we know. It’s a breakup song,” Gabrielle says. “But for us, it’s a ‘break-up with everything else but you’ song. It’s the song Raymond would play on his DJ nights at Carroll Street whenever I walked in the bar, the song that kept me afloat after my divorce, and actually, a song Elizabeth Dye introduced me to during long days of heartbreak and wedding dress slingin’ at the English department. It’s odd, but it’s our song. I can’t hardly describe what it was like to hear the acapella version being softly sung from the park while we approached.”

Raymond reading his vows to Gabrielle while standing at the altar during their late-night candlelit ceremony

Photo by Harwell Photography

Raymond kept me so calm and smiley that I was able to keep myself together and still truly enjoy the moment

Gabrielle reading her vows to Raymond during their candlelit ceremony

Photo by Harwell Photography

With their friend Tarik—who is also the bartender of Carrol Street Cafe—presiding over the ceremony, Gabrielle and Raymond felt comfortable to recite personalized vows. “I haven’t been the best with vulnerability since knowing Raymond, so I really wanted to gift him a hearty dose of heartfelt mushy romance,” she shares. “We wrote our own vows. I thought they would feel impossible to read aloud, but Raymond kept me so calm and smiley that I was able to keep myself together and still truly enjoy the moment. It was emotional, but joyful.”

Gabrielle and Raymond exchanging wedding bands during the ceremony

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond sharing a first kiss after their ceremony

Photo by Harwell Photography

The couple exchanged wedding bands—courtesy of Worthmore Jewelers—and sealed their marriage with a kiss.

Gabrielle and Raymond's reception with black chairs, a red floral arch, taper candles, and string lights

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond's reception tables with black napkins, purple taper candles in gold candle holders, and a purple runner

Photo by Harwell Photography

Kristine Cooke of Simply Charming Events took the reins on the reception, transforming the cafe with antique lounge furniture, velvet linens, and moody accents. “We swapped out all the bar art with antique mirrors. Philo Floral brought hundreds of red roses and carnations onto the wall and mirrors behind the table, sprinkling in the occasional lily or spray of white baby’s breath,” the bride adds.

Gabrielle and Raymond's place settings with black napkins and cork place cards

Photo by Harwell Photography

Though Carroll Street Cafe took care of the cocktail hour, catering company Craft & Curation delivered with a mouth-watering dining menu of Southern classics. Highlights include fried chicken, pulled pork, collard greens, and macaroni and cheese. “She even included a personal pan of banana pudding, topped with cookie chess pieces, and folded with fresh whipped cream," Gabrielle shares. “It never made its way to the dinner table but came out at around 3 a.m. in the lobby of the iconic Hotel Clermont. We grabbed plastic forks from the coffee cart and created one of our favorite memories with a handful of late-night friends stunned by the magically appearing banana pudding.”

Gabrielle and Raymond's black welcome sign with couple's names and wedding date

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond's rainbow streamers at their reception

Photo by Harwell Photography

“[There was also] an epic arrangement to hang from the end of the bar,” Gabrielle explains. “We kept the dance room in a metallic party mode: disco balls, gold fringe, strings lights, and colorful lighting.”

Gabrielle and Raymond kissing in the garden late at night

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond sharing their first dance outside in the garden surrounded by candles

Photo by Harwell Photography

I wanted our wedding day to be a collection of our favorite things, not just a collection of expectations and obligations.

Gabrielle and Raymond kissing during their first dance outside

Photo by Harwell Photography

Raymond twirling Gabrielle during their first dance in the garden surrounded by candelight

Photo by Harwell Photography

The newlyweds managed to sneak away to take some extra pictures with Harwell. “I wanted our wedding day to be a collection of our favorite things, not just a collection of expectations and obligations,” she shares. “Driving around Atlanta, music up and top down, taking pics at our favorite landmarks with Raymond in that suit was downright magical.”

Gabrielle and Raymond kissing in the restaurant while eating dinner

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond's guests sharing speeches during dinner

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond listening to speeches during their reception in a restaurant

Photo by Harwell Photography

Gabrielle and Raymond's guests giving a toast and raising their glasses

Photo by Harwell Photography

The night was filled with well wishes and toasts from their inner circle. “We only did what we wanted, invited who we wanted, participated in the traditions we wanted to, and that’s what made the night so magical,” the bride shares.

Gabrielle changed into a yellow dress with puff sleeves while dancing with Raymond

Photo by Harwell Photography

After dinner, Gabrielle slipped into a stunning marigold gown from Tara LaTour and joined her husband for their first dance to Gallant’s “Weight in Gold.” From there, Mike Stazny rocked the night with a lively playlist.

Gabrielle and Raymond holding hands and dancing

Photo by Harwell Photography

Though Gabrielle and Raymond had a clear vision since day one, the bride says their dream day wouldn’t have been possible without a team of committed vendors. “Hire professionals and let them do their thing—it’s liberating,” she says. “It was our sixth year together and my ninth in the Atlanta wedding industry, so most of the vendor selection was done before it started,” she shares. “I knew that I could stress over vendor selection forever, so instead I just booked people I enjoy working with—quickly and decisively—and then I didn’t look back.”

Wedding Team

Ceremony Venue Whisper Park

Reception Venue Carroll St. Cafe

Planner Kristine Cooke of Simply Charming Socials

Bridal Gown Designer Elizabeth Dye

Bridal Salon The Sentimentalist

Bride’s Veil Kate Burke

Bride’s Jewelry Hushed Commotion

Bride’s Hair Amber Casciano of Chrome Rose Salon

Bride’s Makeup Jade Jamrozy

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Gown Leanne Marshall

Bride’s Rehearsal Dinner Makeup Cori of Vigilante Cosmetics

Second Bridal Gown Tara LaTour

Bridal Robe Daughters of Simone

Bridesmaids’ Dresses Elizabeth Dye

Mother of the Bride’s Dress Carol Hannah; The Sentimentalist  

Groom’s Attire Guffey’s of Atlanta

Flower Girl Attire Elizabeth Dye

Ring Bearer Attire Amazon

Engagement Ring 1st Dibs

Wedding Bands Worthmore Jewelers

Floral Design Philo Floral

Invitations Ashley Buzzy of Press Shop

Chalkboard Art Ashley Buzzy of Press Shop

Music Kristin Haverty; Mike Stazny

Catering Craft & Curation

Cake Sugar & Slate

Rentals Peachtree Tents & Event; Mayker Events; TableMade Co.

Favors Ashley Buzzy of Press Shop

Transportation 1963 Mercury Comet Convertible

Accommodations Hotel Clermont

Photography Harwell Photography

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