Come in and sit a spell with us. This southern wedding completely enraptured us with its story and gorgeous images by Caroline Ghetes. Andy and Heather (who is also a wedding photographer, Wander and Scrawl), the couple, tried getting married three times. Three! The first time they didn’t get married due to a few family issues and the second time, they had to cancel their wedding due to an unexpected job loss. As fate calls it, by the third time the stars aligned and they had the most beautiful wedding one could ask for. Andy and Heather were the winners of Caroline Ghetes‘ free photography giveaway, and you can read their story (they’re the second couple) here. View all images from their wedding in the gallery!
From Heather, the bride: Our theme came about organically throughout the process of selecting a city, venue and date. We narrowed in on magical Savannah, GA and an outdoor ceremony beneath the moss-covered oaks became the obvious choice. We found an historic pharmacy circa 1890 for the reception and from there, a vintage apothecary theme revealed itself as a really fun direction to take. Andy is a graphic designer by trade and I’m a photographer, so we knew from the get go that we wanted to create most elements of the wedding from scratch for creative and budgetary reasons. We came up with a series of logos playing off of the pharmacy and 9-10-11 wedding date, which we used throughout the design of our programs, décor and favors. We didn’t want to compete with the rich colors and historic elements of the pharmacy, so we chose a muted, soft color palette with ivory, white, pastel yellow and black. Our centerpieces were comprised of baby’s breath, local herbs and a handmade palm flower from a street vendor. I made our bouquets and boutonnières by hand with organza, silk, ribbon and personal buttons and beads. For favors, we made bookmarks and personalized prescription bottles filled with candy. In keeping with our local theme and color palette, we decorated tables and bay windows with old-fashioned, handmade sweets. Along the walls, we hung over a hundred square, black and white, candid photographs of friends and family using twine and tiny clothespins. Mounted on cardstock with photo corners, these were some of my favorite pictures collected over the years, including a few stolen from facebook to fill in the gaps. When guests first entered the pharmacy, they thought they were looking at images of us, but slowly discovered themselves in the photographs, which was a super fun surprise and another favor for guests to take with them, leaving us little décor to pack up at the end – win/win!
We wanted our wedding to reflect our casual, sometimes silly approach to life in general so we aimed for relaxed, fun, lighthearted and humble with a focus on family and friends. With that in mind, we bent some of the traditions to make for a more intimate experience and let a lot of the formal wedding expectations fall to the wayside. We injected a sense of humor wherever we could without offending anyone (too much) and tried our absolute best to have fun with the planning and execution of the big day.
Financing this wedding on our own had long led me to believe that an amazing photographer was out of the question. That is until I heard about a contest being held out of Charlotte, NC. I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the work of the photographer. Without letting myself get too excited, I submitted our story. To my amazement, we made it to the final round, but lost terribly in a public vote to two other couples who were far better looking than us. Alright fine, they also had great love stories. Like, really, really sweet love stories. And in an act of overwhelming generosity that I still haven’t fully comprehended, Caroline Ghetes decided to give all three couples free wedding photography. Not only did she charm my socks off the minute I met her (and throughout her emails as the date approached), she did an incredible job capturing the entire day, offered to clean up at the end (who IS this woman?) and met up with us later that evening for a couples session once the sun was low and golden. I will never be able to thank her enough for how artfully she captured our wedding. Her work is raw, unexpected and creative to a degree that warps my mind. I never thought I would be lucky enough to have a wedding photographer of her caliber, let alone share my special day with an artist I look up to personally and professionally.
We did everything ourselves from our home in Chapel Hill, NC. If budget would have allowed, hiring a planner is definitely something we would have done. Planning at a distance proved to be quite a challenge and required a lot of trust when it came time to selecting vendors. We can certainly appreciate the idea of a planner on the day of the wedding to help set the pace, herd family and keep you on schedule. That being said, I had a lot of time available to dedicate to research, brainstorming and crafting. If your life is already busy and you can afford it, hire a professional. There are some really dedicated, passionate wedding planners out there who would love to help you. If it’s just not in the cards, don’t be afraid to ask family and friends. Our guests really stepped up and happily shared the roles a wedding planner/designer would have had on the day of the wedding.
How you decided upon your ceremony and reception locations? Savannah is unique in that it is a historic city boasting over 20 public parks and spaces available for rent, each with its own style and personality. We considered the park’s proximity to our guests’ hotel, restaurants, bars and attractions. And to seal the deal, it was just a block away from the historic pharmacy building that we had fallen in love with. Guests were afforded a perfect view of the pharmacy’s antique storefront, while standing in the park during the ceremony. The pharmacy had two unique connections to Andy – it’s currently owned by a wonderful museum next door where Andy worked while attending Savannah’s art school (SCAD) and was renovated by a preservation class at the same school in 2008. With room for approximately 50 people, we knew it would make for the unique and intimate feel we were after.
I made our bouquets and boutonnières by hand using recycled and craft materials. I wanted a bouquet I could keep forever and didn’t like the idea of shipping a bunch of exotic flowers around the world. After looking at several of tutorials and images online, I used a combination of techniques to make organza flowers, which I bunched together and bound with ribbon. A friend had made me a series of mini buttons with cute phrases like “I still have a crush on my husband” and “A+H” which I pinned throughout thebouquet. The boutonnières were one of my favorite DIY projects. I made mini flowers out of melted organza strips and pages from an old poetry book. I found fortune cookie fortunes suiting each dude and put those, as well as the stem of the flower into a super tiny jar. The end product was a small flower resting in a vase, which had it’s own message in a bottle. It came to me at 2 in the morning after melting far too much organza into the shapes of petals for my bouquet! I probably should’ve opened the windows…
Caroline Ghetes. Andy and Heather (who is also a wedding photographer, Wander and Scrawl), the couple, tried getting married three times. Three! The first time they didn’t get married due to a few family issues and the second time, they had to cancel their wedding due to an unexpected job loss. As fate calls it, by the third time the stars aligned and they had the most beautiful wedding one could ask for. Andy and Heather were the winners of Caroline Ghetes‘ free photography giveaway, and you can read their story (they’re the second couple) here. View all images in the gallery
Any advice for brides planning their weddings now?
I got great advice from my friends during the planning of my wedding and I couldn’t wait to share it with other brides. The wedding industry can be creatively stirring and exciting, but it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Constantly remind yourself of the big picture. The goal is to marry your very favorite person! Your day will be magical – it will FEEL magical (I promise) – regardless of how many of your DIY efforts come to fruition, regardless of whether or not you lose that extra 10 pounds – regardless of whether you find the perfect shoes, veil or something blue. At some point, something will go wrong, so expect it to and just go with it. It won’t make or break your wedding and you’ll still get a husband out of the deal who thinks you’re the bee’s knees. Don’t forget to have fun, even with the little things. Ask for help if you need it. Solicit the help of people who get you and get your vision. We all have an inner bridezilla who we should fearlessly embrace. Let that sleeping bridezilla sing when you need her, but reel her in if you find yourself hyperventilating, screaming or crying. Find vendors who truly love weddings. Hire capable people who can provide references, who you trust and who give you exceptional customer service. Do yourself a big favor and get professional hair/makeup and photography. Schedule days off from wedding planning and wedding conversations. Getting hitched is a big deal, so make time for you and your groom, together and alone, before, during and after the wedding. Honeymoon right after the wedding – don’t go back to the real world just yet and let yourselves ride the wave of wedding bliss. One of the bes pieces of advices I got? Ride the ride. Planning a wedding is a lot like a big Disney roller coaster. You wait forever for it, and it’s thrilling while you’re on it, but it’s over in a flash and then it’ll be a glorious memory. Give your wedding lots of loving energy and reverence, but don’t forget that it’s one day.
Processional: Street Spirit, by Radiohead
Processional (bride): No One’s Gonna Love You Like I Do, by Band of Horses
Recessional: Start Me Up, by Rolling Stones
Wedding Vendors and Venue (Savannah, GA):
Ceremony Venue: Warren Square / Reception Venue: Kennedy Pharmacy / Wedding Photographer: Caroline Ghetes / Makeup & Hair: Salon Aqua / Cake/Dessert/Vegetarian Luncheon: Thrive / Flowers: Kato Floral Designs / Additional Flowers: DIY from Street Vendors / Wedding Dress: Galina from a consignment shop called A Bridal World / Second Wedding Dress: Vintage dress from a local thrift shop / Bridesmaid Dress: Evelyn Feather Print by Pinup Girl Clothing / Hair Accessory: Vintage brooch borrowed spontaneously from MOH / Groom’s Suit: Men’s Wearhouse / Bouquets, boutonnieres, signage, programs, and decor: DIY