Meet Emily, our September Bride of the Month. Emily and her fiance James had a beautiful engagement shoot on the Atlanta Beltline and a wedding planned for September 2, 2017, until James found out he was being deployed in August. The couple planned an elopement and was married on May 24, 2017. Read more about this couple’s amazing story!
When did you get married? We got married on May 24, 2017 at Parish (restaurant on the Beltline in Inman Park). Our original wedding date was September 2, 2017 to be held at the Hunt’s Barn in Dacula, GA, however on May 5th, we found out my husband was being deployed with the Army in August. Therefore, we decided to elope so we could be married before he left!
How did you meet? James and I met on January 3, 2016 while serving at a church conference. Both of us were fully embracing our single seasons and not looking to date. However, that afternoon James saw me from across the room and came over to talk to me. We made minimal small talk before I told him that, “I’m sure you’re a very nice person, but I’m just trying to have some introvert time right now.” James replied with, “Great, so what do you do for work?” and we haven’t stopped talking since.
How did he propose? My birthday is in March, and about three weeks leading up to it, my friends suggested a quick mountain getaway for my birthday weekend. All sounded good to me, and when the day arrived to leave for our trip, they ensured I was dressed up. They told me we were going straight to my birthday dinner restaurant and we would not have time to change. Made sense to me. I put on a new dress I had purchased for the occasion. As we are driving, we had almost reached our destination, and one of my friends suggested that we pull off. The sun was about to set and we could do a champagne toast. They assured me it would allow for great pictures, which is always a good hook. We drove into Tallulah Gorge, and I commented, “Oh, James and I came here last year for my birthday,” but I was still not connecting any dots. We get out of the car, and the temperature has dropped. Fortunately, they were able to convince me to leave my jacket and Uggs behind in the car. We wandered around the trail (in dresses and heels, remember!) for a few minutes until they stopped and handed me a present. I opened it and it was a Bible with my name inscribed on it and a note sticking out where Proverbs 31 is located. The note was from James, and I still did not fully make the connection that I was about to be engaged until mid-way through the note – James is known for his romantic gestures, so it would not have been unusual for him to send a gift with my friends for me to have while I was away. However, I read the note and it said that he had my current name put on the Bible because it would not be my name for long, and wanted to ensure I had one with my maiden name on it first. He ended the note with, “I have one question to ask you, follow the arrows.” I turned around and he had cleared a path and placed marquee arrows to direct me. It was the same path we had hiked last year for my birthday that led to a cliff where we sat and talked for hours. I followed the trail, and eventually made it to James, who had that very spot from the previous year, decorated to perfection. He helped me down to our official “spot” and made a beautiful speech. Then, he got down on one knee and proposed. My response was, “Absolutely, of course!”
What was your overall vision for your wedding? Because our wedding looked different than planned, I’ll give you both visions. For our elopement, our vision was simple. We wanted to make the experience special and get married by a pastor, while still allowing it to feel like a wedding and not just a quickie ceremony. Walking the Beltline is one of our favorite activities. Thus getting married at a restaurant on the Beltline was a no-brainer. Because the restaurant already had a rustic-chic vibe, we barely decorated. We put our focus towards what we would each wear and florals. For our September wedding, our vision was not much different. We wanted something simple that really felt like a big, celebratory dinner party, rather than all the tradition of the wedding. Our goal was to let the vintage barn we were to be married in be the star of the show, complimented by beautiful florals.
Which wedding details have you most enjoyed and why? For both the elopement and full wedding, there were two details I was most excited about. First, to carry my grandmother’s handkerchief around my florals at the elopement (she had recently passed, and I was given her monogrammed handkerchief). Second, to gift my groom the prayers I had been praying for him before we even got married. Oh, and I was also very excited about our dinner for our guests: we were going to do a food truck so that the atmosphere was fun, laid back, and ensured everyone was well fed and having a good time.
What has been the most difficult and most fun part of wedding planning? The most difficult part of the planning was planning something quick for the elopement – we planned our elopement in two weeks. Generally, it was also very difficult to maintain a reasonable budget; finding vendors we trust coupled with budget friendly pricing was difficult. The most fun was planning the honeymoon – knowing that you’re planning a vacation as newlyweds is almost as blissful as the actual vacation!
Congratulations, Emily and James! We can’t wait to see more pics from Horn Photography and Design of the post-deployment celebration this fall.