There’s something so romantic about the rustic, southern ruins featured in this Georgia wedding from Carla Gates Photography. Bright pops of hot pink provide a soft contrast to the red brick ruins and the candlelight throughout the evening reception is breathtaking!
What (or who) helped you most in your planning process and/or on your wedding day?
My mom and husband were my biggest helpers in making our special day perfect! My husband and I live in Oklahoma and got married in Georgia, so we did countless hours of research to find every vendor and to choose every detail of our wedding! My mom helped in so many ways – from helping to research vendors, to traveling to Oklahoma to help me choose my dress, to accumulating all of the wedding “stuff” (favors, photos, decorations, etc.) at her house in Ohio and then driving them down to Georgia.
Another life saver was a wedding binder that I received as a gift from a bridesmaid. The binder was a huge help in staying organized and accumulating all sorts of wedding information. It also provided us a nice timeline to help keep us focused and on schedule during the planning process.
What was the most important thing to you when deciding who to work with for your wedding?
Since we live out of state, the most important thing were the online reviews. Reviews on Wedding Wire and The Knot really helped us narrow down choices for each vendor. Our venue (Barnsley Gardens) was also a huge help by giving us a list of their preferred vendors… With so many businesses out there offering to help make our wedding day perfect, we really needed some help narrowing down the choices. Once we decided on our top picks for each major area (flowers, cake, photography, etc…) we called them and asked a lot of questions. Weddings are very expensive, and although we were not paying for the vendors, we wanted to make sure we thoroughly looked into each potential choice.
Once we narrowed down our options, we were able to plan one trip to Atlanta (where most of the vendors were located) to meet with them and do the fun “in person” things (i.e. trial run for hair and make-up, meeting with florist, cake tasting, etc…). Overall, looking back on our wedding, there was not one vendor that we were not 100% happy with! The research paid off!!!
What was your inspiration for your wedding details and/or design?
The inspiration for our wedding was the garden setting in which we were married. We also wanted to have a slightly vintage feel. The setting for our outdoor wedding was gorgeous!!! It was in an open garden/grassy area that was next to an old civil war house/ruins. The cocktail hour was in the ruins (house) and our reception was in a garden area directly next to it! It was such a unique venue and we were so excited to have our special day surrounded by such a beautiful backdrop!
What is your best piece of advice for other brides?
Start the planning early! Things take a lot longer than I thought they would before I started planning a wedding! One example is the time it takes for your wedding dress to arrive, and another is how quickly vendors get booked…so book early! I had no idea! Also, there is just so much to do…wedding planning can really be a full time job!
I would also give the advice to take the time to make your wedding extra special by adding personal touches. As I said in one of my previous answers, my husband and I spent so much time trying to add as many personal touches as we could…so that our special day really did represent us! In the end–it was well worth it! Along the same lines, don’t be afraid to be SPECIFIC with your vendors! If they are not willing to go the extra mile to accommodate your wishes, then you do not want them doing your wedding. Everything is important on your big day – from the flowers on top of the wedding cake to the songs the DJ plays, no detail should be overlooked. Take the extra time and go the extra mile to make it your absolute dream wedding! You only get married once!
Cara’s advice is absolutely perfect! And I love that Cara and Dustin took a chance on having their wedding and reception at a completely outdoor venue- with spectacular results!
Are any of you planning an outdoor event? Do you have a back-up plan for inclement weather or will you just go with the flow? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!