You know it's a good wedding when you can tell all of the guests (and the bride and groom) are having FUN! You can see it all over Penelope + Andrew's faces at their Nashville mansion wedding at Reunion Stay! Sarah Goude of Regalo Design created a beautiful outdoor scene for the couple beneath a clear top tent on the rolling hills of the property. As you can see from the photos by Chad Erickson Photography, guests danced the night away, a piñata was cracked open, the dance floor was packed and the night was complete with a 30 foot waterslide exit. Yes - you definitely need to scroll through their photos to see this! I'll let Penelope take it from here and tell us all about her wedding!
Tell us about your engagement!
Penelope: After months of me incorrectly guessing and reading into proposal signs that did not exist (including an emotional rollercoaster on Christmas day in which I found a business card for a local fine jeweler in Andrew's wallet when he asked me to grab his credit card, and then my present--a lovely pair of earrings in a suspiciously ring-sized box--was hidden at the bottom of a Christmas stocking) Andrew finally took me completely by surprise on a cold Tuesday afternoon in January. He called me while I was jogging on the treadmill and asked me if he could interrupt me and have me come outside, because, he said, "I made an expensive purchase without consulting you. It's brand new, it's sparkly, it's got great lines, and I drove it straight home from work." I assumed he meant that he had finally done something nice for himself and purchased a new car to replace his very dilapidated, ancient Honda! I jogged outside, completely sweaty from my workout and sans jacket (I figured we'd sit and warm ourselves in the cockpit of his new car), to find Andrew standing in front of a white Mercedes. My first thought was "really? A white car? He's always said he hated white vehicles!" confused, I jogged up to him, where he hugged me hello.
"Is this what I'm supposed to be looking at?" I gestured to the car.
"No, that was just a ruse to get you to come outside. I DID make an expensive purchase without consulting you, though... would you like to see it?" I turned around to find him on bended knee, with a red ring box in hand.
What was the vision for your wedding?
Penelope: As a couple with family on both sides of the country, we dreamed of a destination wedding that would have everyone meet in the middle in a place that is near and dear to both of us (Nashville is the first place Andrew and I ever traveled to on a just-us adventure). We wanted to find a venue with on-site accommodations that would allow our family and close friends to stay with us and give us space for an entire weekend of celebration.
What was your theme and what inspired it?
Penelope: Our theme, which we jokingly referred to as "backyard pool party chic" was inspired by the venue we chose. Reunion Stay is a stunningly designed property which, in addition to gorgeous house and rolling green acreage, has a pool with a sixty-foot slip and slide. This particular detail excited Andrew, and we knew that we wanted our wedding to be a combination of sincere, serious declaration of our vows mixed with frivolity. On the day of our wedding, guests staying at the house hung out around the pool, eating takeout Chinese food and doing cannonballs. The slip and slide quickly went from being a joking additional element in our wedding to a major piece of it: we actually used it to make our official exit, changing into swimsuits at midnight and "taking the plunge" before sending off our guests!
Can you share any special moments or highlights from your wedding day?
Penelope: After four days straight of rain, I was fortunate enough to awaken to idyllic blue skies on the morning of our wedding, and the entire day proceeded with an air of magic about it. There were so many wonderful moments (seeing my 92-year-old grandmother, who flew all the way from California, proudly march down the aisle and take her seat of honor; having a wedding invitation FROM MY HUSBAND-TO-BE jokingly delivered by the best man; cracking open a wedding-cake-shaped piñata and showering our dance floor with cake pops), but I think, for me, the most meaningful was having my father, a brilliant man of few words, marry Andrew and me with a beautifully personalized homily.
What are some tips you can share with other brides planning their weddings?
Penelope: If the budget will allow for it, hire a coordinator or planner. Sarah Goude (of Regalo Design) is the reason our wedding was the deeply personal, meaningful, SEAMLESS and fun event that it was, and her professionalism and true investment in our wedding's success gave us both such confidence that I awoke on the morning of my wedding with a clear, TRULY CALM head and heart that allowed me to really take in every moment of the day, and be a guest at my own wedding.
Also: if you receive any wedding-related gifts or correspondence in advance, write the thank you cards as you receive them to avoid a backlog!
Finally: have the courage of your convictions. Andrew and I made a list of things we felt we must have for our wedding (#1 and #2: each other), things we felt we would like to have, and pie-in-the-sky extras, and approached our planning that way. We regretted none of the decisions that we made.