A dreamy venue in the mountains of Georgia was the ideal setting for this longtime couple's destination nuptials.
1 of 21
Elizabeth and her best friend took a weekend getaway to Savannah, Georgia in February of 2012. There, 200 miles away from her home in Atlanta, the women collided with another group out celebrating a birthday. Among the attendees was her future husband, Jake. They immediately hit it off, discussed everything under the sun, and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening. Despite the distance, they made good on their plans to reunite in the same city for St. Patrick's Day—which was just before Jake had to deploy. The two kept in touch as much as possible over e-mail after he shipped out. "Distance meant nothing to us since we both were constantly thinking about the time we spent together," Elizabeth, who now works as a high school Spanish teacher, recalls. Upon Jake's homecoming, the couple made their relationship official, but they still weren't living in the same time zone: Elizabeth soon left for grad school in London.
Letters, e-mails, and transcontinental phone calls helped them stay connected until her return stateside, when the duo settled into life together. After more than four years of dating, the pair took a weekend trip to the mountains of North Georgia, where Jake planned to pop the question at Montaluce Winery. After a two-hour meal served by an unexpectedly chatty waiter, Jake was forced to improvise and asked Elizabeth if she'd like to go for a stroll around the grounds. "I was taken aback a bit since it was almost dark and I was not wearing the right shoes. But I didn't think too much about it, surely influenced by the tasty wine I had already consumed," she candidly remembers. On that walk, Jake dropped to one knee and asked Elizabeth to be his wife.
They set the date for May 12, 2018, and invited 110 guests to gather at Glen-Ella Springs Inn in Clarkesville, Geogia, for a Tuscan-inspired outdoor wedding ceremony, full of details deeply personal to the longtime couple and their modern love story. Wedding planner Eva Clark of Eva Clark Events had worked hard behind the scenes to help the day go off without a hitch.
2 of 21
The bride's love of art and Italian culture was infused into every detail of the day, starting with stationery by Kelsey Malie Calligraphy and calligraphy by Myrtle and Lloyd. "Boticelli's 'Primavera' was very much the inspiration behind the theme," wedding planner Eva Clarke says. Eva even visited the actual painting at the Uffizi prior to their last design meeting to ensure they got the details right.
3 of 21
A Special Place
Because they wanted to gather family and friends from near and far—some of their loved ones travelled all the way from Mexico!—the couple chose to get married somewhere that loved ones would feel encouraged to spend the several days. The Glen-Ella Springs Inn, a historic 16-room bed and breakfast, proved to be an idyllic setting, and allowed the bride and groom to host their families and the wedding party for the entire weekend. The celebration began on Thursday night when some of the group gathered to kick of the weekend. On Friday, close family and friends arrived for a picnic at the inn's veranda, followed by the rehearsal dinner. A welcome bonfire served a festive end to the evening.
4 of 21
Elizabeth says she's a huge Hayley Paige fan, so she knew from the get-go that she'd wear one of her wedding dresses on the big day. In fact, she saw one of the designer's newest dresses on the runway and was certain it was "the one," but getting her hands on the garment proved tricky. The brand-new design hadn't hit store shelves by the time Elizabeth went dress shopping, but she tracked down one small boutique that was bringing in the brand's latest designs. She quickly made an appointment and was stunned when she finally saw it. "Most brides cry when they try the dress on. I cried when I saw it in person for the first time," she reveals, adding that the sparkling skirt that appeared to be "sprinkled with stardust."
Sparkle was a big part of her look, in part thanks to her jewelry. In addition to her old European-cut diamond engagement ring from Doyle & Doyle, Elizabeth also wore a second diamond ring on the big day. As a wedding gift, her groom-to-be gave her a custom ring from Brilliant Atlanta, which featured an east-west oval diamond and a halo setting.
5 of 21
Elizabeth wore stars in her hair as a symbol of eternal love for her future husband. It was another detail of the day that had been inspired by a mythical work of art: Titian's illustrious painting "Bacchus and Ariadne." The dazzling headpiece and clips were designed by Jennifer Behr and the veil crafted by Hayley Paige. "The moon played a big role in our relationship since it was the one constant between us when we were apart. We also got married on a crescent moon and met on a crescent moon," the bride says, making her constellation-chic accessories a fitting choice for the big day.
Swipe here for next slide
6 of 21
8 of 21
A Patriotic Salute for the Groom
Jake wore a custom suit by JoS. A. Bank, with the wedding date embroidered inside. In honor of his military service, Jake and his groomsmen sported ties from Vineyard Vines with patriotic motifs. The groom wore a star-printed tie—complementing Elizabeth's starry hair accessories—while the groomsmen wore striped neckwear.
10 of 21
Ceremony in the Meadow
A friend of the couple's officiated the Christian service, which commenced in a meadow near Panther's Creek. That's when and where Jake's favorite part of the day unfolded. "Seeing her walk down the aisle brought tears to my eyes. She looked so beautiful and happy. I could not wait to marry her," Jake says.
Two poignant readings were shared, starting with Ruth 1:16-17 recited by Jake's grandmother, and then one of the bride's favorite poems "Amor Eterno" by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer, which was recited by Elizabeth's godmother in Spanish.
Swipe here for next slide
11 of 21
The bride and groom chose to exchange traditional vows but swapped wedding bands that were reflective of their unique personalities, both designed by Henri Daussi and purchased at Solomon Brothers. The bride chose an antique-style milgrain marquise-and-dot diamond-and-platinum band while the groom selected a thick platinum band.
Joyful music brought the intimacy of the ceremony to life. "The Book of Love" by Gavin James played for the entrance of the parents and the wedding party and "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles rang out for the recessional.
12 of 21
Elizabeth's parents walked her down the aisle to Ellie Goulding's rendition of "Your Song." Her mother and father, along with the groom's parents, wisely advised the couple to enjoy the planning process and have fun with it.
13 of 21
Guests mingled in the venue's rose garden during cocktail hour and dined on savory hors d'oeuvres including ricotta, fig jam, arugula and bacon bruschetta, country ham biscuits with herb butter, and fruits and cheese. The couple's signature drink was a twist on their go-to cocktail: a Bloody Mary featuring a bunny rabbit pick as a sweet nod to their mutual pet name of "Bunny." One of Elizabeth's high school students played a selection of classical music on his cello.
14 of 21
Guests signed a night sky-themed keepsake. The couple feels most grounded when they are outdoors beneath the night sky, and believe that the stars played a critical role in uniting them together in the first place, so a celestial guest book was a must-have.
15 of 21
A Monogram for Two
Greenery was twisted into the shape on an "H," then hung directly behind the bride and groom's reception seats.
Swipe here for next slide
16 of 21
Elegant place settings, midnight linens, and bright floral centerpieces made for lively dinner tables. Wedding planner Eva Clark wove the eye-catching detail of the orange trees from the "Primavera" painting into the space by featuring kumquats and cutie oranges in bowls abound.
17 of 21
Choosing the dinner menu was a highlight of the wedding planning process for Jake. Guests dined on a feast of citrus salad, fresh pecan trout, pork tenderloin, Glen-Ella macaroni and cheese baked with herb breadcrumbs, and roasted seasonal vegetables tossed in balsamic vinaigrette.
18 of 21
A Cake of Nuts and Fig
The newlyweds were thrilled with their simple, flower-adorned wedding cake made of nuts and figs prepared by Delights by Dimples of Nashville. Not only are figs delicious, but they symbolize blessings, too!
19 of 21
Since celestial details were an essential part of the couple's wedding theme, they made sure to choose a first dance song that fit the bill. Nice Entertainment performed Ellie Goulding's "How Long Will I Love You" as they hit the dance floor, a fitting choice as the tune references stars throughout.
20 of 21
A Sparkler Send-Off
The newlyweds shared a last dance beneath the moon to "Tennessee Whiskey" by Chris Stapleton. Then, they bid farewell to their loved ones with an iconic sparkler sendoff around 10 p.m. Guests then left with their arms full, with cozy pashminas and handmade bookmarks from Mexico as favors.
Swipe here for next slide
21 of 21
Photography, Harwell Photography
Engagement location, Montaluce Winery
Wedding venue and catering, Glen-Ella Springs Inn
Event planning, Eva Clark Events
Flowers, Forage Botanical
Stationery, Kelsey Malie Calligraphy
Calligraphy, Myrtle and Lloyd
Cake, Delights by Dimples
Music, Nice Entertainment
Bride's gown, Hayley Paige
Wedding bands, Solomon Brothers
Hair and makeup, Raney O'Keefe
Bridesmaids' dresses, Wtoo By Watters
Menswear, JoS. A. Bank