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Westin and Kelsey's boathouse wedding in Beaufort, NC

As seen on Brides

In June of 2015, Westin Brawley surprised his girlfriend, Kelsey Mann, with a getaway to Asheville, NC, to celebrate a recent promotion. Kelsey desperately wanted to take in the views at the top of Black Balsam Knob in the Pisgah National Forest, and when the couple reached the top of the mountain, Westin made the climb even more memorable with a proposal

The couple set plans into motion for an elegant wedding on April 23, 2016, with 105 guests in Beaufort, North Carolina. Kelsey’s parents both live in Beaufort, and her dad works at the maritime museum which runs the Watercraft Center, an active boat workshop. “The first time we walked in to consider it for our wedding we both knew it was ultimate venue for us. It was rustic, raw, simple, and has so much character. The waterfront views were also a plus!” Kelsey says. With intimacy in mind, Kelsey admits that keeping the guest list to a minimum was the most difficult part of planning her wedding. “I wanted a small intimate wedding, and was so amazed at how hard it was to keep the guest list down,” the bride says says. The couple enlisted the help of the bride's mother (as well as a day-of-coordinator) to plan a cozy affair with a simple, neutral color palette.

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center | Day of Coordinator: Heather Willett of Humble Bee | Bride's Gown: Sarah Janks from LVD Bridal | Earrings: Kate Spade | Shoes: Sam Edelman | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Joanna August | Groom and Groomsman's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Engagement Ring: J. Yontef | Wedding Bands: Barker Diamond | Flowers: Betsy Earnest of Elizabeth Earnest Florals | Music: Another Level of Sam Hill Entertainment | Catering: Beaufort Grocery Co. 

 

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Ben + Margaret | Nashville Wedding at Glen Leven Farm

Perhaps by some standards, our wedding was not perfect. We had planned an outdoor wedding, but it rained. The shuttle got lost, and our outdoor ceremony started twenty minutes late with looming clouds. But I would not have changed a thing. Our wedding was not supposed to be perfect, it was supposed to be “us.” And everything we did during the planning process—from the proposal to our venue to the wedding day itself—was a reflection of us as a couple. Perfectly imperfect.

Ben and I met six years ago in Washington, D.C. through mutual friends. Over the years, our own friendship grew into something more. Ben is unlike anyone I’ve ever met. Not only is he tall (I’m 5’11”, so that was pretty important), funny and in my opinion pretty handsome, but he is truly the most genuine person I have ever met. In 2013, Ben moved with me to my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee so I could start law school. I always knew Ben was special, but the fact he wanted to move with me and made such an effort to make Nashville his home too was really amazing. Last year, I told Ben I had planned to take a class one weekend in September. Unbeknownst to me that was, of course, the weekend Ben had planned to propose at my family’s lake house. He had invited our out-of-town family and friends to be there, so moving weekends wasn’t an option. So he improvised, and on a walk in our favorite park with our (crazy) dog, Larry, Ben asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes.

Right away, we knew we wanted to get married at Glen Leven Farm, just minutes from our house in Nashville. The property itself is perfectly imperfect—a (somewhat) restored historic home, a working farm, and sixty-five beautiful acres all just four miles from downtown Nashville. It doesn’t have manicured lawns and some of the interior paint is chipping, but that’s one of the reasons I love it. More than anything, Glen Leven just had an amazing energy that we wanted to guide our planning. Not only does the property have a lot of historical significance, but it now serves the Nashville community in numerous ways. And, the previous owners willed the property to the Land Trust for Tennessee with a conservation easement (all facilitated by my amazing Dad, an estate planning attorney), so the land will never be developed. It’s pretty neat to get married at a place that has been around for hundreds of years and that you know will be around forever.

With our venue decided, it was time to move on to planning. Glen Leven had never really had a wedding of more than 100 people, so we really just had to make things up as we went along. Our main goal was to figure out how to showcase the natural, at times imperfect beauty of Glen Leven. Our unbelievable vendors (who thankfully knew what they were doing!) made our wedding vision come true. Kathryn Christenbury (Fleur de Letters) designed a beautiful invitation suite that set the tone of the event for our guests. The amazing Melissa Broadwell at Vintage Florals made our already beautiful ceremony backdrop—the front of the home—into a dream, from the wreath on the upper balcony to the railing design to the amazing arrangements. She showcased the beauty of the home by decorating each of the six fireplaces with beautiful arrangements, and she brought the outside in to our tent, with greenery all along the tent ceiling. Our caterer, Jeannette Goddard, fixed a feast that our guests continue to rave about (and the best shrimp and grits I’ve ever tasted). Our band, Scat Springs, kept guests on their feet the whole night. And our unbelievable photographer, Cassidy Carson Lynch, captured the whole wedding perfectly.

Sure, there were things beyond our control. A rouge GPS made the shuttle late. But it didn’t start raining, so the ceremony still took place outdoors. And as soon as our officiant pronounced us as husband and wife, a ray of sunshine came through the trees and found us for our first kiss as a married couple. That wouldn’t have happened if everything ran on time. And when the rain came, it brought all of our guests under the tent to dance the night away.

Our favorite part of our wedding day was our “family dance.” Instead of a traditional father-daughter, mother-son dance, my Dad and I started out dancing to “What a Wonderful World.” We were joined a few seconds later by Ben and his Mom, then my Mom and Ben’s Dad, and my brother and his fiancé. Toward what should have been the end of the song, the band invited our friends and family to join us. My Aunt and Uncle jumped up, and soon the dance floor was full of our friends and family all dancing to an extended version of “What a Wonderful World.” All the most important people in our lives dancing together as the rain poured down around us. That is as close to perfect as it gets. We will remember that experience for the rest of our lives, and we are so thankful for all of those who were able to make that moment—and the amazing moments before and after it—a reality for us.

Photography: Cassidy Carson | Floral Design: Vintage Florals | Wedding Dress: Mikaella Bridal | Cake: Publix | Invitations: Fleur De Letters | Bride's Shoes: Sergio Rossi | Jewelry: Deepa Gurnani | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjlem | Catering: Chef Works | Makeup: Leslie Ellis | Hair: Kimberly Averheart | Calligraphy: Fleur De Letters | Band: Scat Springs | Groom's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Wedding Venue: Glen Leven Farm | Bridal Boutique: Arzelle's | Groom's Shoes: Florsheim | Groom's Tie: Charles Tyrwhitt | Rentals: Southern Events

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Katey + Josh | Engaged

Katey and Josh's engagement session was the best day. Not only do I adore these two, but I got to spend an evening walking around a local state park getting to know them even more. I met Katey in my Bible study and not long after met Josh at a friend's birthday party. I knew we could all be fast friends from the start. Not long after that they were engaged and I was so excited when they asked me to be a part of their day! They got married this past weekend and their day was so full of joy. Even the temperatures (which were in the teens) couldn't detract from the happiness of the day. They were such troopers and I can't wait to share those images! I'm thankful for sweet souls like Katey and Josh who are fun, laid back, and love well. 

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Jonathan and Maggie's Cheekwood Wedding in Nashville, TN

Margaret Waltemath, owner of interior design firm Margaret Ash Design, and Jonathan Ash, an investment banker, met at a martini bar in San Francisco through mutual friends. "I was immediately caught by the figure of a woman across the room," he recalls. "I made it a point to introduce myself." At the end of the night, Jonathan walked Margaret home, and the two shared a kiss with promises to follow up with a date.

After two years of dating, Jonathan had plans to propose and enlisted the help of a photographer to capture the big moment. Jonathan convinced Margaret to go for a walk with him in a park before a dinner reservation. Upon completing a final loop around a pond, Jonathan got down on one knee and recited the lines he had been memorizing. Margaret said yes, and shortly after the two ventured up to Sonoma Valley for a celebratory trip, complete with a hot air balloon ride. 

With the help of event planner Linley Stokes, the pair tied the knot about a year later, over Memorial Day Weekend, on May 29, 2016. The third milestone to occur in May, between meeting, getting engaged, and tying the knot, in the same month but different years. "We were 'May-ed' to be together" says Jonathan. They celebrated with 188 guests at the Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Artin the bride's hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. Following the secret garden-like ceremony, there was an elegant reception at The Belle Meade Country Club, which combined themes of their Southern roots with their new life in California. 

You can see more of Jonathan and Margaret's wedding featured on Martha Stewart Weddings!

Floral Design: Vintage Florals | Videography: Needle & Thread | Officiant: Reverend Elizabeth Waltemath | Stationery: Ink Nashville | Spot Calligraphy: Hardink Calligraphy | Cake: Dessert Designs | Music: Avery Bright, Atlanta Allstars | Rentals: Nashville Tent and Awning, Please Be Seated, Quest Drape, Music City Tents & Events | Bride's Gown: Monique Lhuillier | Bride's Accessories: Muna Couture, Badgley Mischka | Hair and Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty, Michelle Clark of Clark & Co | Bridesmaid's Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Dessy | Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss | Groom's Cufflinks: The Flaming Galah | Lighting: Bright Events, Visual Elements | Transportation: Hello Trolley | Welcome Boxes: A Signature Welcome

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