How did Judge and you meet?
Judge and I met through my best friend, Jessica Longino. In the summer of 2009, I taught English as a Second Language in Amman, Jordan. During that time, Jessica and Judge became good friends through a campus ministry we all attended, called the Wesley Foundation. When I returned to the University of Georgia in the fall, Jessica introduced us when Judge asked for a ride to Bank of America. It was a quick meeting and I thought nothing of the encounter, as Judge sat in the front passenger seat and I behind him. However, from that moment on us three began to hang out every day. It was most definitely not love-at-first- sight. In fact, I was annoyed at first that he would always tag along and hang out at our apartment long after the usual crowd departed. However, I slowly warmed up to Judge over that year and felt comfortable around him. I felt safer with Judge than I had around any other man. He was a strength and conditioning coach for the UGA football team during my Junior year, and I was not one to go for athletes. I didn’t think Judge was my type, as he often was wearing football work-out gear. We were just the closest of friends. The next year, after he left his coaching internship, I grew attracted to Judge. I’ll never forget the first time I saw him all dressed up for a Legacy ball we attended together as friends. My heart shifted when he wore dress pants instead of sweat pants. From there, the fireworks began. We started dating that August of my senior year of college.
How did Judge propose to you?
During my Master’s Program, I worked as a graduate assistant for a study abroad program, The UGA at Oxford Program. I was in Oxford for a three-month stay in the Spring helping undergraduates acclimate to life in the Oxford University system. Every spring, the colleges in Oxford throw a ball. I invited Judge to fly over to be my date to Keble Colleges Romanov Ball. Judge tried to propose twice during that week; once on the Oxford Canal and another time on the London Eye. However, I kept foiling his plans in one way or another usually with my desire to fly off to the next location so we could see “all of England” before he left. Finally, he decided to get on one knee in the UGA house on Banbury Road. We were able to celebrate with my students and friends for the rest of that lovely sunny afternoon.
What was the inspiration for your wedding?
I wanted my wedding to be stripped-down. I wanted the details to be antique, natural and bare. Originally, I wanted to be married in an old, abandoned white church in the mountains. I searched and searched for this envisioned space in North Georgia, and finally found the perfect spot in our own back yard. I wanted to be married in a holy space where not many are married today. For some reason, I was adverse to the pre-packaged marriage venues that feel like nuptial factories and didn’t want to be wed in a spot that a lot of people knew about. The sanctuary of Watkinsville, which is now a private residence, provided the perfect spot. The church was built in the 1800s and is focused on the large windows in the back that bring in beautiful natural light. The lovely couple who own and live in the space, also sometimes act as florists and so the room is often used as a greenhouse for plants in the fall and winter. We used some of the greenery from Mrs. Steuck’s collection for the ceremony. It was very easy to bring the outside in.
I’ve always been enamored with woodland accents, and when I saw this Garnett and Orange bouquet I knew I wanted it to be my inspiration for all the florals and decor
One of my bridesmaid’s mothers, Lee Garner, did all the flowers at cost. We used a lot of seeded eucalyptus, Cala Lillies, sticks, gold pinecones, orange berries and, white roses. I wanted it to feel as if any of the materials we used could have been gathered outside.
I wore my grandmother’s gold locket, and so all the accents down to the chargers were a muted gold.
One of my best friends, Pete Hutchison, made the wedding cake from scratch for us. He worked with our florist to make sure all the details of the cake lined up with the theme of the wedding.
Also, I made the center-pieces three months before our ceremony by buying wooden flowers from Michaels. We also addedsticks and gold to the arrangements. I love that we will have these tall centerpieces forever and we didn’t pay thousand of dollars for flowers that would die right away.
What were your favorite moments of your big day?
My favorite part of the event centered around the music. I had four musical acts throughout the day. Through college, I was a member of the Hill Chapel Gospel Choir and they sang three songs during the ceremony. The acoustics of the old wooden church were phenomenal. They sang my grandfather’s favorite hymn, How Great Thou Art, and it was the crowning moment of the day. My grandfather also walked me down the aisle with my dad as we are very close. Grassland String Band (a local bluegrass act) played during our reception dinner at the State Botanical Gardens. I love that the natural beauty of the Conservatory blended with the Southern expressions of the music. Our reception was heavenly. I’m still struck by the beauty of the scene when I look at the photographs. Lee Garner and other members of my creative team did an amazing job setting up the reception in less than 2 hours.
I am very happy that we took all our pictures before the ceremony. I didn’t want our day to focus on pictures. I wanted to be able to focus on our guest, because so many came from out of town as I grew up outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Instead of hosting a happy hour while we took pictures, we opted instead to show up to our own reception first. We greeted all of our guests with hot cider at the door. This really set the tone of the ceremony, I wanted to bless and honor my friends and family for all they had done to bring Judge and I this far in life.