Katie & Joel
5.19.2019 | State Botanical Gardens of Athens
How We Met
The story of the summer is McKendree UMC childhood friends - Katie was the first! Megan has known the Brown family for the majority of her life. Growing up in a very tight knit church and both families being very involved - their paths crossed quite often. From VBS Crews to Choir Trips & Glisson Living Groups to both of their moms being on staff at church, Megan and Katie weren’t strangers even though they did run in different circles. Katie was always kind hearted & soft spoken in a crowd but was surrounded by a good group of friends. Around May of 2018, Katie reached out to us through FaceBook and asked to meet to talk about Coordinating her day and we were so excited! The venue sounded so beautiful we couldn't wait to see how Katie's touch made it more magical!
Our favorite part about spending time with a couple talking about their wedding is getting to know them. But our favorite part about our blog is getting to know their stories! Here is a short version of Katie & Joel's!
Katie & Joel met at a New Years Eve party in December 2016, where they shared a kiss at midnight, and the rest was history! Joel asked for Katie’s number, and they went on their first date the following week. After that, things just fell into place, and they fell in love. Several months later, Joel proposed to Katie on her birthday, and she said yes! After that, they continued to grow in their love and work on their relationship for two more years, until they finally tied the knot on May 19, 2019. Now they are happily enjoying married life together and are looking forward to many years ahead!
Photographer: C.Clay Digital
Down to Business
One thing we loved about planning meetings for this wedding was how involved Joel & Katie’s mom, Tracey, were. Tracey was actually the one who wanted to hire us because at her older daughter’s wedding, Tracey was so stressed trying to get everything set up, coordinating with vendors, and getting ready for the wedding that she didn’t have time to be a mom and relax. So we knew we had to be the best versions of ourselves for this wedding! Katie, Joel, and Tracey came to all meetings and were super helpful when brainstorming ideas and thinking about processes. Our meetings were always productive and full of laughs thanks to Joel who is so fun!
The Big Day
Our venue time didn’t start until the early afternoon, but we got to the venue early to walk around the grounds to get our bearings as there was a little bit of a walk from the chapel to the reception space. But once we were allowed into the space, we had a lot to accomplish! Luckily, the ceremony space was so stunning, it didn’t need a lot of decorations. The florist, Holly Gardens, brought in tall arrangements and pew markers to reserve the family’s seats, but that was really the only additional items the ceremony site needed. While the florist set up the hurricanes and pew markers, we took all the alcohol and decor over to the reception space, and put out signs to direct the guests as they made their way to the reception after the ceremony. We pinned boutonnieres on all the groomsmen as they arrived and helped Sarah & Cassandra with the first looks before moving on to the rest of the bridal party and knocking out as many photos as we could.
When our time started at the reception space, we didn’t have to worry too much because all the decor was dropped off earlier and we had already gone through it to know where everything goes. Trumps Catering had done various events at this venue, so they set up the tables and chairs while The Holly Garden set up table cloths and set out their centerpiece creations. Meanwhile, back over at the ceremony space, Megan & Olivia were welcoming guests and helping them find seats. As the time approached 5:30, we lined up all the parents and bridal party and motioned to the musicians to start the processional music - it was time to get married! After Katie & her parents were down the aisle, Olivia went over to the reception space to help finalize the details!
After a beautiful ceremony, we escorted all the parents and bridal party members back downstairs and pointed the guests in the right direction for cocktail hour. Even though it was outside, cocktail hour was stunning! A large bar with many options (alcoholic and non), a beautiful salsa and chips display, and highboy tables for resting and chatting. We only had to move the tall arrangements from the chapel to the head table and Christina’s Memory Candle to its new home. After family photos and a few more couple photos were done, we helped bustle Katie’s dress and got a golf cart ride over to the reception just in time for introductions!
We did our normal run through of things after introductions - first dance (a choreographed one at that!), welcome speech, and blessing before opening up that buffet line (and the food was SO good)! After Katie & Joel had some food in their stomachs, Sarah took them outside for sunset photos before we cut the cake and did speeches from both Best Men, both Maids of Honor, Father of the Bride, and a special thank you from our couple. Then it was dad’s turn to dance with his daughter and mom’s turn to dance with her son before we kicked off the dance floor and partied all night!
And party this group did! Right before it was time to leave and as a part of Indian Culture, Katie & Joel were lifted up in their chairs and paraded around the dance floor - such a fun way to end the wedding! Once the car had been loaded and we had everyone lined up, we did the sparkler send off! Which was so fun and the pictures turned out so good (considering we had to walk in between the photographers and videographers with a bubble machine and flashlights!). This couple really created such a fun wedding in a stunning atmosphere!
Some brides plan a wedding while they are in college getting their undergrad - it’s not easy, but it can be done. Katie took it to a new level! She was getting her Masters Degree the entire time she was planning this wedding. But that’s not even the catch - she was doing it from out of state! Talk about a superhero! We love that Katie pursued her dreams while she was planning her dream wedding to her dream guy. And a big shout out to Joel for knowing how to support Katie and making long distance work!
Like we said in the intro, Megan has known the Brown family for a very long time. She’s seen happiness and hard times this family has faced. None more heart wrenching than Katie’s older sister battle breast cancer twice before passing away. Katie & her family wanted a way to have Christina a part of the wedding day in a physical way. Along side a photo of Katie & Christina on Christina's wedding day, The Holly Gardens brought a hurricane glass, a candle, and a wreath. All of these special items were used at the ceremony and moved to the reception space along with a bouquet that was placed along side it as a way to remember Christina.
Happily Ever After
This couple has been through a lot in the few years - from finishing degrees to planning a wedding and we couldn’t be more happy for them. They get to start their lives together in the same state! Katie & Joel, we wish you every happiness as you start your lives together as husband and wife. Thank you for letting us play a role in your special day!
All Hands on Deck
Venue: State Botanical Gardens of Georgia
Instagram - @botanicalgarden_ga
Website - https://botgarden.uga.edu/
Hotel: SpringHill Suites
Website - https://www.marriott.com/hotels/hotel-photos/ahnsh-springhill-suites-athens-west/
Instagram - @sdphotographs
Website - https://www.sarahdillerphoto.com/
Videographer: Ahren Weddings
Website - https://vimeo.com/ahrenweddings
Hair & Makeup: Red Rose Salon
Instagram - @red_rose_salon_braselton
Website - http://redrosesalonbraselton.com/
Florist: The Holly Garden
Instagram - @thehollygarden_weddingflowers
Website - http://www.thehollygarden.com/
Catering: Trumps Catering
Instagram - @trumpscatering
Website - https://www.trumpscatering.com/
Cake: Classic City Confections
Instagram - @classiccityconfections
Website - https://classiccityconfections.com/
DJ: Entertainment Purposes Only
Website - http://www.entertainmentpurposesonly.com/
Officiant: Reverend Ryan Miller
Website - https://www.mckendreeumc.com/staff