An Elegant, Autumnal Wedding in Tennessee
Bekah and Chris
Rebekah Klarr was vacationing with family when her sister asked her to come along on a date. It was with a guy who happened to be bringing his cousin Christopher, a polo player in town for a match. "That was the first time being a wingman ever worked out," she says. Did her sister and the guy wind up together? "No, not at all," Bekah, a freelance writer, says. But they did walk down the aisle—as bridesmaid and usher in Bekah and Christopher's wedding.
With that start, it's no surprise this couple's celebration was a family affair. Even the proposal: Christopher popped the question with his great-grandmother's ring. After an 11-month engagement, the pair wed at Blackberry Farm, a Walland, Tennessee, resort where Bekah had spent many vacations. They worked with the Easton Events team to create a four-day wedding focused on the people they love, their shared heritage, and the stunning locale. "It was important that everyone spend that time together," says Christopher.
First came a family-only wine-cellar dinner on Wednesday. Then all 148 guests attended Thursday's hunt-themed welcome party. "A lot of people wore fox-hunting gear; a lot wore camo, so it was a funny, whimsical mix," says Bekah. "We had a wild-game barbecue and a bluegrass band."
On Friday, the couple and their guests competed in "wedding wars," a series of tennis, archery, and fly-fishing contests—bride's team against the groom's—ending in a Scotch-tasting competition, which "the girls won," Bekah says, "but only because we cheated." At the rehearsal dinner that night in the barn, toasts were made with New Zealand wines honoring Christopher's relatives from that country.
The next day, Bekah donned an ivory lace cathedral-length veil that's been in her mother's family since 1895. The groom's uncle, who was ordained to marry two of Christopher's sisters, performed the Christian ceremony. The Knoxville Pipes and Drums corps played as the pair recessed, a nod to their shared Scottish heritage. After a cocktail hour at the farm's main house, everyone took a short ride to Bramble Hall for a seated dinner. The night turned into "a really sweet, sweet dance party," says Bekah. And more important, into an event full of details that made the weekend a celebration not just of two people getting married, but also of two families coming together.
A Berry Nice Save the Date
A Handsome Invitation Suite
"I stared at the invitation box for an hour when I got it," says Bekah of the suite by Amber Moon Design, letterpressed on pearl paper and secured on a rich back-drop with die-cut, foil-printed pheasant feathers. A custom mailing box held the rehearsal-dinner invitation and itinerary, as well, and was mailed to the addresses calligraphed in metallic ink by Curlicue Designs. The itinerary, which was sewn together with a debossed leather cover, included a bookmark reminding guests to bring the booklet along for the wedding weekend. On its cover and again on the papers that surrounded the invitation itself, the couple's crest (created by Emily J. Snyder) was incorporated using various techniques and mediums.
Though they weren't invited to the wedding, everyone was happy to see this flock of sheep, who live on the grounds of 4,200-acre Blackberry Farm, in the Smoky Mountains where the wedding took place. Many of the guests stayed on site and enjoyed the hotel's renowned cuisine—much of which hails from the property itself thanks to the onsite master gardener, baker, cheese maker, forager, sommelier, butcher, and chef.
Welcome to Walland
Best Foot Forward
Bekah paired her gown, which she calls "the prettiest thing I'll ever wear," with low-heeled Oscar de la Renta shoes.
First worn by Bekah's great-great-grandmother in 1895, the ivory, rose-point-lace cathedral length veil was (according to family lore) originally made by Belgian nuns. It also made appearances in 1925 at her great-grandmother's wedding, 1953 at her grandmother's wedding, and 1984 at her mom's wedding. Bekah's sister and multiple cousins also wore the heirloom. For her big day, Bekah paired the vintage piece with a nude Monique Lhuillier veil, to tie it in with the color of her gown, also by the same designer.
Along with her veil, Bekah had a 150-year-old heirloom sixpence tucked in her shoe as something old, her dress as something new, diamond earrings as something borrowed, and a sapphire bracelet her parents had given her on her 18th birthday as her something blue. She also made sure the ceremony started at 3:30 because, she says, "my grandmother told me we had to get married on the upswing of the clock!"
The Ceremony Setting
A Sweet Ride
Bekah and her father rode to the outdoor ceremony in a horse and carriage whose owners, dressed for the occasion, sat up front.
Taking it All In
Attendees—including Christopher's parents, shown here with two of his sisters and their husbands—were given plaid wool wraps to ward off the November chill.
The Ceremony Music
Both the bride and groom's families have Scottish heritage, which made the Knoxville Pipes & Drums, kilts and all, a fitting choice to play the ceremony music. A single bagpiper played as Bekah walked down the aisle, but for the recessional, the whole Celtic band joined in on "Highland Cathedral."
With These Rings
Today, Bekah wears the 1911 family ring Chris gave her, shown here, as her band, together with a sapphire ring he designed with the help of her sister (a gemologist) and surprised her with the day before the wedding. Chris had broken his finger playing polo and a regular ring would not slide over his knuckle, so Bekah's sister, who helped them choose the platinum and rose gold design and order the ring, added a joint so it could be open and closed.
The Wedding Party
Plaid About You
Calligraphed wooden escort cards, backed in Pendleton plaid, were propped up in a grooved wooden board.
An arrangement of hydrangeas and fall branches drew attention to the escort-card table.
A Scotch table was set up so that guests could sample a range of Christopher's favorite drink—a passion he shares with his parents and in-laws.
Ice, Ice Baby
A Brand New Venue
Bekah and Chris were the first couple ever to have their reception in Bramble Hall, a new building on the Blackberry Farm property. "It was built by architect Keith Summerour whom I'm a big fan of," Bekah says.
The Cozy Reception
A roaring fire in the barn added to the "romantic late-fall feeling" Bekah had envisioned for the wedding. "It being mid-to-late fall, I didn't want too many bright colors in the flowers," says Bekah. All of which gave floral designer Mindy Rice an idea. "I have always loved the tones of dried PeeGee hydrangeas—a beautiful tan color," she says. "Nothing fresh gives that same feeling." So, she dried 2,000 stems of the late-summer flowers for months in preparation for the late-November wedding.
The Dinner Table
The Place Settings
Bekah and Chris now have these linen napkins, trimmed in green fringe and embroidered with their crest, in their home. Event designer Lynn Easton and floral designer Mindy Rice collaborated on the place-settings, arranging the linens with antique silver and horn flatware and napkin rings, and accessorizing them with feathers, some from the bride's mother's collection.
"Leading up to the wedding, everyone said, 'Oh, as the bride, you'll never get to eat anything you picked out,' " recalls Bekah. But since they had a receiving line as guests entered the reception, "we had already hugged everybody, so we got to sit and enjoy our meal. I ate every single thing!"—from the toast-points-served-on-garden-hoes starter to the carrot-cake dessert.
The wedding dinner kicked off with a starter of caviar on cornmeal hoe cakes served on a garden hoe, a perfect symbol of Blackberry Farm's farm-to-table cuisine. Next came a broccolini and farro salad with preserved lemon, and a choice between North Carolina mountain trout with roasted sweet potatoes, radishes and turnips, and beef ribeye with smoked potatoes, creamed kale, and grilled mushrooms. "We took guests' orders for their main course at the reception dinner instead of on the rsvp cards, so they could choose whatever they felt like that night," says Bekah. "It gave the meal more of a 'fine-dining' feel, which is what Blackberry is famous for."
The First Dance
When the couple entered the party, they launched right into their first dance, to "True" by George Strait.
Following the first dance, they couple opened up the floor for dance sets throughout the evening. "We had this great band, Project N from Elan Artists, that came in from California," says Bekah.
In front of the stage, the flowers that had previously been used behind the back row of benches at the ceremony were lined up to add to the festive fall feel.
The Wedding Cake
Taking the Cake
An 8-piece vintage, silver cake cutting service set from Small Masterpiece was used by the couple. After cutting the cream-cheese-frosted confection, the pair drank from a "bridal cup" shaped like a bride that is an heirloom in Bekah's family.
Location and catering, Blackberry Farm
Event design, styling, and production, Easton Events
Flowers and design, Mindy Rice
Photography, Jose Villa
Videography, Artisan Production
Stationery, Amber Moon Design
Cake, Magpies Bakery
Ceremony music, Knoxville Pipes & Drums
Reception music, Project M
Bride's gown and veil, Monique Lhuillier
Hair, Mandi Zink
Makeup, Claire Balest
Bridesmaids' dresses, Belle New York for the Stylish Bride
Groom's suit, Balani Custom Clothiers
Groom's and groomsmen's bow ties, J.Crew
Lighting, Technical Event Company
Bridal fashion stylist, the Stylish Bride
Ceremony structure, W. B. Richardson
Ice stamp, Scotka LTD
Napkins, Halo Home by KSW
Welcome bags, A Signature Welcome