We were married in the Graylyn Estate White Garden in Winston-Salem, NC. Our wedding was very intimate with under 30 guests and simplicity was extremely important to us. I shared some details of our wedding day that made the day perfect for us – and I wouldn’t change a thing.
Last Saturday a reminder popped up on my calendar – “Engagement Day!” I knew I would forget what day we actually got engaged so I had put it in Google Calendar, and I’m glad I did! We already had a date night scheduled for that night, so it worked out perfectly!
It’s crazy to think how much has happened in the last 12 months. We got engaged, planned a wedding, moved me out of my apartment in with friends, bought a house, moved me into the house, got married, went on a honeymoon and then moved Tommy in after the honeymoon. 2017 was a BIG year!
I realized I never shared many of the details from our wedding, so I thought I would share some of the things we did to make it our day. The only rules we followed were “there are no rules” and “simplicity is best.” (And we definitely broke some “rules.”) The details we cared about was having quality time with just the two of us, quality time with all our guests, not feeling rushed, and not losing track of what the day is really about – celebrating our love and commitment. We did not really care about flowers, decorations, invitations, party favors, or anything that was “stuff.” The experience was far more important to us than the tangible details so that’s what I focused on in wedding planning. And that’s mostly what you’ll see in this post.
I started my day with a 6 mile run and then made my go-to breakfast of eggs + potatoes + berries. I spent the morning alone (other than having our amazing photographer and videographers there) so I could have a sense of calm. And running was key to creating that sense of calm. I felt like I could run forever – it was a gorgeous morning and I was so excited!
After I ate breakfast, I wrote a letter to Tommy before showering. I also played in the backyard with Maizey for a bit.
Since I hate chaos more than anything and don’t really love being the center of attention, I decided getting ready alone was the best route for me. I had my hair done at home (by Casey Kieffer), before heading over to the Graylyn Estate to finish getting ready.
After my hair was done, I packed up my things and headed to Graylyn to finish getting ready.
After the great wedding shoe hunt, I ended up going with simple, gorgeous nude pumps that I knew I could wear over and over. (I’ve worn them almost every week since the wedding so it was definitely the right decision!)
I wore pearl earrings that my mom and dad gave me when I graduated college. And that was the extent of my accessories. Simple is best in my book.
There was a pin on my flowers that was Tommy’s grandmother’s, which his sister had given me. I was so touched when she gave it to me, along with a pair of earrings that I wore to our rehearsal dinner.
I also gave Tommy cufflinks to wear in the ceremony. (He read the note I wrote that morning and opened the cufflinks right before our first look, pictures below.)
I had eyelash extensions put on a week before and then did my own make-up (using almost entirely Beautycounter products). It was important that I looked and felt like me on my wedding day – and Tommy wanted me to look like me too. I just couldn’t get comfortable with having my makeup professionally done, so I didn’t.
My best friend Alise joined me as I finished getting ready and brought a cooler full of my favorite snacks (including a sweet potato – ha!).
Before I had my first look with Tommy, I did a first look with my mom. It was so, so special. Since she lives in Utah, she wasn’t here for most of the wedding planning and she hadn’t seen my dress in person.
Then it was time to veil up and see Tommy!
Tommy also had a low key morning, getting ready at his apartment before heading over to the Graylyn for our first look and some pre-ceremony photos.
Alise took the note and gift down to Tommy, and I watched him from above while he read it. And then I came down the stairs, and we hugged and cried and cried and cried for about 15 minutes. (You can see more pictures from our first look here.)
Next up – seeing Maizey! Our friend Christian had brought her over to the Graylyn for photos before the wedding. She was such a little angel!!!
After some pictures with Maizey, I did a first look with my dad and brothers. I have 5 brothers and I’m the only girl and the youngest, and I was so grateful they were (almost) all able to make it. It was also wonderful to have time with them before all the wedding stuff started since they had all flown across the country to be there.
One thing I knew from the very beginning of wedding planning is that I didn’t want any phones at our wedding ceremony. Despite having a blog, I am fiercely private about certain things. It’s important to me to really keep personal things personal until I am ready to share them (which is why I didn’t share on social media that we had gotten engaged for over a week). I think in the world of social media, many sacred and wonderful things are overexposed and their importance lessened too quickly by being shared too broadly, too casually.
Plus, since I don’t like being the center of attention, the thought of people taking pictures or recording during the ceremony gave me a lot of anxiety. And I paid my highly-talented photographer and videographers to take care of all of that. I didn’t want people ruining their shots with an iPhone popping up in the middle of a shot!
I wasn’t messing around – when people picked up the ceremony program and a stone for the Oathing Stone reading, they were asked to leave their phones on a table in a bag with their name on it. Neurotic? Maybe. Peace of mind? Definitely.
Alise walked Maizey of Honor down the aisle. Green Bee Florals made a gorgeous leash for her!
We didn’t have a wedding party, so I was up next. My dad walked me down the aisle and I just cried and cried. Alise gave me advice to look at every person there, and I made eye contact with everyone, which was pretty amazing. (A perk of a small wedding!)
One of the main reasons we picked the Graylyn Estate was that it’s naturally gorgeous and didn’t need a lot of decor. We got married in the White Garden, which is a very private space tucked behind the stone estate, overlooking the grounds. It was beautiful and the only thing we did to decorate was adding some greenery around the gazebo.
Our ceremony was relatively short and simple. Our pastor did an amazing job, and I can’t wait to get our wedding video because I don’t remember a thing – ha! Tommy’s brother read an Oathing Stone poem (a Scottish tradition and a nod to my family’s heritage) and my mom read a book, I Wish You More, that she had given us for Christmas the previous year. The message was perfect! (She’s an elementary school librarian, so it was a kid’s book which was fun. 🙂 )
My dog walker, Ann, was there to help wrangle Maizey so Christian and Alise didn’t have to take care of her during the ceremony. And I had told Ann that as much as I hated it, I needed Maizey to be behind me where I couldn’t see her since I knew I would look at her and I wanted to focus on Tommy. 😉 She was, of course, the first I greeted after the wedding! She’s my baby – man, this picture is making me cry!!
After the ceremony, we spent time hugging and chatting with everyone for a bit before heading off to take a few more photos before joining happy hour and then dinner.
We had a kombucha cart at our wedding, which I LOVED. I’m a lightweight so I definitely didn’t want to be sipping on wine all night. I drank way more kombucha than wine! The UpDog Kombucha owners were amazing to work with, brewing custom flavors for us and delivering and picking up the cart.
We didn’t have a DJ or a band at our wedding, but we did want to have a first dance and a dance with my dad and his mom. Our amazing musician, James Tucker, played and sang for our dances. It was all very casual – no dance lessons, nothing rehearsed.
My dad was amazing, twirling me all over and dipping me a few times. And then he just told me a couple weeks ago that he nearly dropped me on one of the dips – bahaha! Thanks Dad! 😉
When we were planning our wedding, I kept telling Tommy that I didn’t want a production, but rather I wanted it to to feel like a really lovely, intimate party where we happened to get married beforehand. And that is exactly how it all came together. Everyone was able to fit in one dining room. And like our ceremony, we didn’t really decorate since the Graylyn Estate interior is so beautiful. We had simple table arrangements, and that’s it.
We had our own sweetheart table which was lovely so we were able to have time together and soak it all in. Everyone kept laughing at us because we just kept crying! We were so overwhelmed with gratitude and love, and it was so incredible to see all our friends and family interacting like old friends even though they had just met.
There was obviously some laughter in our conversations too. 😉
My dad said a prayer before dinner and then we had a few toasts.
After the toasts and in between courses, we were able to chat with people, which was really nice.
After dinner, we had cake and cookies for people to take with them. My favorite cookies in the whole world happened to be gluten-free and vegan and they also happen to be from Boone, which is where Tommy grew up. Perfect!
On our dessert table, we had a few engagement photos and a framed quote. It was from a book I read after Tommy and I had been dating about a year, and I had saved it in my phone since I knew I would want it at our wedding: “I like all weddings, but isn’t it particularly lovely when two grown ups decide to get married?”
Rather than a traditional grand exit, we just hugged our family goodbye.
As people started to leave, we listened to James sing and play – it was like having a private concert with my favorite singer! I love music and this unplanned moment was amazing.
And after we said our goodbyes, we went outside for a private last dance. No grand exit. No sparklers or rice. We went back to the spot where we were married, just the two of us. (And James with his acoustic guitar.) It was the most lovely way to end a day that was more perfect than I ever could have dreamed.
You can see more wedding planning posts and wedding photos here.