Katie Bell and Jeff Berry first met as sophomores at Vanderbilt University in 2008. “We were at an ‘80s-themed frat party,” Katie remembers. “That’s how every fairytale starts, right?” Well, it worked for them! A few weeks later, Katie invited Jeff to her sorority’s upcoming party as her date, and the rest is history. Their years at Vanderbilt started a lifelong love affair with Nashville, and even after moving to New York City after graduation, the pair still makes a point to head back every year. “We usually visit around our anniversary in February, and by the time we went in 2015, I was hopeful that Jeff would be proposing on our trip,” Katie remembers. And she had a reason to be suspicious: Jeff couldn’t stop emphasizing that she look nice for their dinner date! As they shared a drink before their reservation, Jeff got down on one knee—and Katie said yes as the bar’s patrons applauded and cheered. “We celebrated with dinner at the restaurant where we had our first date seven years earlier,” Katie says.
Of course the next chapter in their love story would take place in Nashville, too! On August 6, 2016, the pair invited 130 guests to join them in the city where it all started, celebrating at a modern-meets rustic wedding at The Cordelle. With the help of Fête Nashville, they accented the space with bare farm tables and classic white flowers, adding modern touches (like ghost chairs!) to keep it feeling fresh. Photographers Jen & Chris Creed were there to capture this beautiful Nashville wedding. Take a peek, below!
“We incorporated the Tennessee Tri-Star everywhere we could,” says Katie. From welcome bags and koozies to the groom’s Tennessee-shaped cake, Jeff and Katie didn’t hide their love for the state—or for Music City.
Katie looked gorgeous in a lace gown by Romona Keveza, falling for the non-traditional lace pattern before she even saw it in person. “The floral design gave it a bit of a twist that I loved,” she says.
Jeff and Katie didn’t have a wedding party, instead only having two flower girls walk down the aisle. “We didn’t want to single people out or make anyone feel left out, and we know being in a wedding can be expensive!” Katie explains. The flower girls wore J.Crew dresses with jeweled necklines, and topped their blonde curls with crowns of greenery.
The bride and groom exchanged vows on the lawn of The Cordelle, which was thankfully covered with a clear-top tent to shelter everyone from the rain.
After the al fresco ceremony, guests headed indoors for the reception. Table assignments were displayed on a board in a rustic frame, topped with white roses and jasmine vine.
Long farm tables were left bare, with garlands of mixed greenery running the span of each table. White hydrangeas, roses, and delphinium were tucked amongst the leaves. Simple place settings combined white plates, charcoal gray napkins, and sleek silver flatware. Printed menus were topped with sprigs of rosemary.
White blooms also filled the cocktail hour space. Guests sipped “Rosé All Day” (Katie’s mix of sparkling rose, vodka, lemon juice, and blackberries) and “El Jefe” (Jeff’s blend of tequila, soda, and a splash of lime). “We really wanted the menu to have a southern feel and include our favorite foods,” says Katie. That meant sweet potato biscuits with pimento cheese and grilled polenta bites at cocktail hour, a kale salad with cornbread croutons and sorghum dressing, and pancetta and shallot-rubbed chicken with Brussels sprouts and bacon for dinner. “You can’t forget the late-night grilled cheese and tater tots!” The bride says.
The couple’s textured wedding cake featured sour cream pound cake layered with caramel. Moss and white roses added a rustic element to the modern table.
“You’ll feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions, but try to really be in the moment on your wedding day,” Katie advises. “When you look back, the memories you’ll cherish most will be those with your new spouse!”
Ceremony & Reception Site: The Cordelle
Planning & Design: Fête Nashville
Bride's Dress & Veil: Romona Keveza
Shoes: Jimmy Choo
Hair & Makeup: Katie Russo
Groom's Attire: Suit Supply
Florist: Enchanted Florist
Invitations: You're Invited
Ceremony Music: Rob Higginbotham
Entertainment: Prime Source
Cake: Desert Designs
Transportation: Grand Avenue
Videographer: Zane Karl Studios
Photographer: Jen and Chris Creed