It's pretty surprising that Kayla and Jeff didn't formally meet earlier. "We crossed paths so many times while living in New York City, and even lived in the same apartment building during summer internships in 2007," she says. But it wasn't until June of 2011, when they were both invited to visit a friend's summer home in the Hamptons, that the pair was introduced. After a few days of beach volleyball and nights out dancing, they made a plan for their first date, and have been together ever since. "So have five other couples who met at the house that same summer!" Kayla reveals. Two years later, Jeff was planning a Labor Day proposal when Kayla suggested a road trip back to the Hamptons for Memorial Day. He quickly put his plan into action, then during a hike in Montauk, Jeff proposed on a cliff overlooking the island.
Though Kayla and her parents moved to Atlanta 25 years ago, she and Jeff didn't consider the southern city as a spot for their destination wedding until, after scouring dozens of other locations, Jeff said, "You know what? I love Atlanta." With a beautiful backdrop, low-key vibe, and the gorgeous Swan House at the Atlanta History Center as their venue, Kayla and Jeff were perfectly prepared for a garden- turned dinner-party, with Southern sensibility and a little European flair. They invited 240 guests to Georgia on April 11, 2015 — including photographer Julia Robbs for Our Labor of Love, who captured every detail!
Kayla didn't find her wedding shoes until days before her last fitting — when her seamstress said she needed to bring the shoes or her dress wouldn't be ready in time. "I bought strappy gold Christian Louboutin heels on impulse, and never looked back," says the bride. She paired the sandals with vintage Chanel earrings and a gold-accented clutch.
An anchor and reporter for CNBC, Kayla is no stranger to dressing for the camera, but finding her wedding attire was a little different. "I tried on dozens of dresses to see what was out there," she says. But one Amsale gown she'd seen on the runway was stuck in her mind, and was the first dress she tried at the designer's boutique in New York City. "I chose the 'Lenox' wedding dress, but didn't love having so many embellishments for an outdoor wedding. We kept the 'Lenox' neckline, added straps from the 'Magnolia' and the body and detachable train from 'Jane.' I wore the straps and train for the ceremony, then slimmed down to the strapless column for the party," she says.
Kayla's textured bouquet combined garden roses, ranunculus, and a hint of Lily of the Valley for fragrance.
The bridesmaids wore navy blue Jenny Yoo dresses with fluttering sleeves. "I've been in enough weddings to know the dress probably won't get worn again, so instead I focused on something that would be comfortable to wear all day and a style that could transition from day to night," says the bride. Their bouquets mixed antique blue hydrangeas with ranunculus and garden roses.
Jeff and his groomsmen all wore classic tuxedos, paired with monogrammed suspenders that were a gift from the groom. "Jeff wanted the groomsmen to all look simple and classic, in a look that would stand the test of time instead of looking overly fashion-forward," says Kayla.
The groom rocked a custom notch-lapel tuxedo by Louis Purple, with cap-toe oxfords and a classic tuxedo shirt. He wore studs and cufflinks from his bride, and his wedding band was a family heirloom: It was the one his father wore on his wedding day in 1983!
Kayla attended the Cathedral of Christ the King on special occasions growing up, and knew there was no place more majestic to have their ceremony. "They have an incredibly talented guild that coordinates the holiday floral arrangements. Our wedding was the week after Easter, so the altar was flanked with cherry blossoms, daffodils, and orchids. The church's stunning architecture took care of the rest!" says Kayla.
Even though she's on television every day, Kayla was nervous before she walked down the aisle. "My dad made a joke about filing taxes with my new married status, and he and I were laughing by the time the doors opened!" she remembers.
"So few couples have had an outdoor reception at the Swan House, so we didn't have many pictures as our inspiration," says Kayla. "We had a tent built to the exact specifications of the lawn, and everything from tables to restrooms were brought in for our guests." The pair took advantage of the stunning grounds, encouraging guests to wander during cocktail hour.
All of the calligraphy (including the font on the invitations!) was Kayla's own handwriting. "Since we were using my handwriting on the invitations, I decided to complete the look by taking a calligraphy class and addressing all of our envelopes and escort cards," she says. "Jeff was a huge help in keeping me on track, organizing my work station, and erasing all of the faint pencil lines. That's love!"
Included in the invitation was an illustration of Swan House, created by the bride's father. "My dad is a graphic designer and artist, so I turned to him for help with the color scheme and our invitation design. It was a wonderful labor of love, but I don't think he'll ever take me on as a pro bono client again."
Beneath the tent, greenery-covered lanterns hug over the dance floor and a huge garland was draped over the head table. Dark cross-back chairs popped against the subtly patterned linens.
Neutral-hued patterned linens in shades of ivory and blue-gray topped a mix of round and square tables. The florist combined blue and white porcelain and gold accents for an elegant garden party vibe, and filled the vessels with white hydrangeas, peach garden roses, ranunculus, and fresh peaches.
"Our florist, Jackson Durham, used a combination of single-stem vases and stacks of books to give the tables an interior design-like feel," says the bride. "We worked with Cheree Berry to create a watercolor pattern inspired by a Christian Lacroix ikat fabric. We used it on our invitation liners, appetizer trays, and the welcome boxes."
Each guest's place card was tucked into a fresh peach — with gilded leaves, of course! The peach theme was carried through to the signature cocktail, Midnight Train to Georgia. "Jeff and I love Old Fashioneds, so we put a southern twist on it with muddled peaches and peach bitters alongside the bourbon," says the bride. Even the stirrer boasted a miniature version of Kayla's father's illustration of Swan House.
"Though we live in New York City, Jeff and I love Southern cuisine," says Kayla. The menu included fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese, baked brie and fig jam crepes, and a surf-and-turf entrée with filet and shrimp.
After their first dance, to "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra, Jeff and Kayla cut into their five-tier cake, simply frosted with white icing and separated by tiers of fresh hydrangeas. "Jeff has quite a sweet tooth, so we had tiers of chocolate and peanut butter for him," says Kayla. "The other flavor was salted caramel. I've had a chocolate allergy since I was a kid, so having each tier separated by flowers meant there wasn't a risk of the ingredients mingling."
The couple knew they wanted a crazy dance party, and Atlanta Showstoppers brought it. "They learned songs like 'Blank Space' by Taylor Swift and 'Edge of Glory' by Lady Gaga for us, as well as all of our parents' must-hear tunes. We made a Spotify playlist of every song they played and listen to it all the time!" The dance party felt more like a concert than a wedding reception, and Kayla and Jeff had the time of their lives.
"The day before our wedding, a massive thunderstorm rolled in, and a hail storm knocked out the power in our church," says Jeff. "But the day of our wedding was absolutely gorgeous. We had a number of friends say they wanted to move to Atlanta because the weather was so great. And then our wedding was followed by eight days of rain, the longest streak in Atlanta since 1935!" It just goes to show that, no matter how well you plan, you can't plan for everything — but you just might get lucky!
Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of Christ the King
Reception Venue: Swan House
Wedding Planner: Lindsay Sims of TOAST Events
Bride's Wedding Dress: Amsale
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Makeup: The Moore Agency
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jenny Yoo
Groom's Attire: Louis Purple
Engagement Ring & Bride's Wedding Band: Camilla Dietz Bergeron, Ltd.
Floral Design: Jackson Durham
Music: The Atlanta Showstoppers
Catering: Bold American Events
Cake: Lush Cakery
Favors: Momofuku Milk Bar
Videographer: The Reason
Photographer: Julia Robbs for Our Labor of Love