A Family Christmas Wedding

Thursday, January 5, 2012

If there was one overwhelming theme to this wedding, it was that this wedding was all about family.  Throughout all of the planning, decisions, and creative meetings, it all came down to how much Amy and JD love their families and each other. 

Amy and JD have been together so long, the wedding at times seemed like putting the "period" at the end of their sentence.  Amy's family had already brought JD into the mix- he already WAS family.  They just had to make it official.  One of the most touching things Mr. Turner (Father of the Bride) said during his welcome blessing was telling all of their guests how much he had always loved JD, how happy he was to have him in the family, and that he could now say it! 

This wedding was quite a whirlwind.  The Turners hired SHE on September 30, just 3 months before the wedding.  They had already booked The Trolley Barn in Atlanta for both the ceremony & reception, but needed guidance in booking their other vendors and navigating the ins and outs of planning a wedding.  Of course, when I met them for the first time I asked when JD proposed (just a month earlier) and then why the short engagement.  The answer was simple.  They wanted a Christmas wedding (and when you've been dating as long as they have, there's not much sense in waiting a whole year for Christmas to roll around again!). 

So September 30 came and went, and every day from that point forward was filled with appointments with caterers, the florist, choosing the linens, the cake tasting, and more!  Everyone in the family chipped in to make this happen, from the handmade & embossed invitations, programs and menu cards, to the hand tied jingle bell ornament favors.  We all had a great time on our craft days and became quite the efficient assembly line.  Julia, Amy's younger sister was a bow tying machine!  At one point, I believe I just gave up, my bows were nothing compared to hers.  So I moved on to the heat dryer for the embossed invitations.  I ended up being pretty darn good at that task. 

Here are some highlights from the wedding & reception: 
  • Amy's younger brother, Mason, officiated the wedding ceremony.  Because of the timing of the wedding, being the Friday after Christmas and the day before New Year's Eve, it made finding an available Pastor a bit difficult.  After seeing the love between everyone in this family, it almost seemed meant to be, because it opened the door for Mason to officiate the wedding.  I'm not going to sit here and tell you I wasn't a bit worried in the beginning.  The ceremony is a big deal, right?  And not everyone is great at speaking in front of large crowds.  And oh boy, the pressure NOT to mess up the wedding... and for your sister no less.  Well, I can tell you after meeting Mason for the first time (2 weeks before the wedding!), I was a lot LESS worried.  He is a very nice young man and seemed more than up to the task.  Bottom line, Mason did an incredible job.  Another visible element that showed this wedding was all about family. 
  •  Amy and JD wanted to involved their extended family and close friends in the ceremony as well.  All of the Processional and ceremony music was preformed by some of the groomsmen, best man, and bridesmaids on the cello, guitar, flute or vocally.  The bride's mother and father also did a reading; the father's was an excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit. 
  • Another really sweet moment was at the end of the Welcome and Blessing.  Mr. Turner asked that the immediate family, Amy, Julia, Mason and mom Karen come up and they had a family hug where they all wrap their arms around each other to form a circle.  He explained how this had been their family tradition since the kids were young enough that he and Karen could lift the kids feet off the ground.  As a mom now myself, it thought this was incredibly touching and heartfelt.  You could feel the sentiment and love and when they called JD up to do their new family hug, it was very clear that this could be a tradition for the newlyweds and their little ones in the future. 
  • And now onto the WOBBLE!  This was my first experience with the wobble.  I'm very accustomed to the Cupid Shuffle, but not the wobble.  I'm sure my face showed my confusion on occasion as I often seemed to stumble upon impromptu dance lessons/practices.  The wobble was of course a surprise to the guests and was to take place after the Father-Daughter dance after dinner had been served.  The whole bridal party really got into it, which ended up getting a lot of guests to join in.  I must say, the best part of the wobble was seeing the Bride's mom, Karen dancing and enjoying the moment.  She knew every step and danced like no one was watching (my favorite way to dance)!  The dance floor was full the entire night- the ultimate sign everyone is having a great time!!
  • The bridesmaids gifts were so personalized and sincere.  Amy searched for months online for vintage gold lockets for each of  her girls.  Vintage and gold because that fit the style and the theme of the wedding, but where she made them unique was the personality specific style of the locket each girl received and the handwritten mini note she put inside. 
  • Another surprise for the guests was the Christmas light adorned, horse drawn carriage exit.  Because The Trolley Barn does not allow for any items to be tossed, we had to get creative on making the exit exciting and unique.  I am one of the many millions of people addicted to Pinterest, and early in the planning process I came across a pin of two little jingle bells tied together and thought, "why don't we have the guests ring jingle bells for Amy & JD's exit?!"  After talking it through with Amy and the family, we came up with the dual purpose of the jingle bells being the wedding favor/memento for the guests to hang on their Christmas tree each year.  This idea was really cute, totally fit the Christmas theme, and turned out great! 
I'm sure I'm neglecting a detail somewhere- this wedding was so filled with love and laughter! 

To the Amy, JD and the Turner-Gutermuth family, THANK YOU for letting us be a part of this special day for your family.  It was a whirlwind, but we did it!  Happy New Year!





Event Planner: Stella Harper Events

Venue:  Trolley Barn
The perfect setting for a Christmas wedding!

Photographer:  Derek Wintermute Photography
Amy really wanted outdoor evening pictures and that is what drew her to Derek Wintermute.  The pictures are beautiful and exactly what Amy and JD were looking for! 

Caterer:  Endive
The food was insanely delicious and the presentation- flawless!  Amy is a vegetarian, so they served and fish/vegetarian only family style meal (there's that family centered theme again!) complete with:
  • assorted artisan breads; holiday salad of mesculin field greens and baby lettuces with cinnamon poached gala apples, dried cranberries, montrachet goat cheese, praline pecans and a calvados-spiked brown sugar cidar vinagrette; butternut squash au gratin with fresh herbs and melted gruyere cheese (my favorite!); wild mushroom orzo gratin with aged gruyere cheese topped with fresh herbs; vegetarian cashew nut curry with fresh ginger, turmeric and garlic served with garlic naan, thosai and pappadams; and soy burbon glazed petit salmon filet over wilted coleslaw. 
Florist:  Stems Atlanta
  • Stems created a winter wonderland for Amy & JD using prodominetly white flowers, pinecones and frosted twigs and berries to create a romantic holiday setting. 
Cake:  Eileen Carter Creations
  • The cake was an almond cake with raspberry buttercream filling.  It was delicious!  The flavor of the almond cake and raspberry filling was an unexpectedly wonderful combination.  Eileen designed the cake to tie in with the winter holiday theme that Stems created for the reception using frosted twigs, berries and pinecones paired with a softened horizontal finish. 
DJ:  Spectrum Entertainment
  • Lou Guzzo of Spectrum Entertainment kept the party going and guests on the dance floor ALL night!  Enough said, right?!
Lighting:  Geri Sims
  • Geri is awesome at what she does.  She is efficient and always willing to go the extra mile for her clients.  The white christmas lights hanging from the beams of The Trolley Barn were what made the wedding a Christmas wedding (and what the bride was most looking forward to!). 

Linens:  BBJ Linen
  • Doug Vincent of BBJ Linen worked with us to make economical decisions that fit within our design goals.  The linens were the perfect accent to the food and overall decor! 
Horse Drawn Carriage:  Carriage for Hire
  • Affordable, reliable and on time (they were an hour early- that's my kind of vendor!).

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