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