A Retro-Inspired Casual DIY Wedding in Georgia

Photo: Corbin Gurkin
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Maggie and Bryan

Corbin Gurkin

Laid-back is not just a word to Maggie Copeland and Bryan Gardner: It's a way of life. The Columbia, South Carolina, natives met in 2005 at a mutual friend's party while both were juniors at the Savannah College of Art & Design. After feeling sparks, they became a bona fide couple and moved to New York City together in 2009.

Two years later, Bryan dropped to one knee in their apartment and proposed. They made it official in a fun ceremony and Southern-inspired reception on May 12, 2012.

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Bride-Designed Wedding Invitations

Corbin Gurkin

Maggie took the calligraphy-free route and put her Adobe Illustrator skills to work for their invites. She also made program fans, favor packaging, drink signs, cocktail napkins, and passes for a photo booth. In the process, she may have landed herself a fledgling side business: "A couple of friends have since asked me to do their wedding invitations," Maggie says.

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Railroad Ceremony Site

Corbin Gurkin

Bryan Gardner and Maggie Copeland hopped aboard an antique locomotive at Savannah's Georgia State Railroad Museum, their ceremony and reception site. "It has great history, but without being too fancy," Bryan says of the venue.

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A Personal Wedding Dress

Tropical Flower Crown
Corbin Gurkin

Maggie wore a cotton lace and silk-chiffon dress she designed based on her mom's gown and a floral crown.

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Floral Bow Ties

Corbin Gurkin

The groom, his 'men, and even Attila wore bow ties in a Liberty print named "Tana Lawn."

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Pretty Natural Bouquet

Corbin Gurkin

Maidenhair ferns, small-leaved spirea, and Queen Anne's lace surrounded rose geraniums, ranunculus, gomphrena, astrantia, and snapdragons in the bride's bouquet.

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Dog Ring-Bearer

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The pair's Shiba Inu, Attila the Hound, served as ring-bearer.

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The Bride and Her 'Maids

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Maggie queued up with some of her 'maids, outfitted in seafoam chiffon J.Crew.

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Cute Flower Girls

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A childhood friend of Maggie's made the flower girls' frocks using fabric the bride selected.

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Fan Ceremony Programs

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Maggie printed pun-filled ceremony programs on paper fans just in case the day turned out to be steamy (which it did).

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After the Ceremony

Corbin Gurkin

After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed with Atilla, whom Maggie called "a little grumpy" that day.

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Photo Booth Tickets

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Guests grabbed "tickets" to a train-car photo booth on their way into the reception hall.

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All Aboard!

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One of the museum's locomotives dates back to 1913.

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Welcome Station

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A welcome station reinforced the day's theme with a ledger-style guest book, a set of clocks showing the time in the three cities they've both inhabited (Columbia, Savannah, and Brooklyn—all EST, but a cute touch nonetheless), and family photos on a wire postcard holder.

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Reception Decor

Corbin Gurkin

Glass votives and pails of snapdragons, ranunculus, euphorbia, variegated ivy, chamomile, craspedia, and alstroemeria enlivened tabletops, while string lights dangled from the ceiling.

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Corbin Gurkin

The reception centerpieces contained a variation of the blooms in Maggie's bouquet and crown.

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Family Photos

Corbin Gurkin

The couple "antiqued" family photos with sepia and black-and-white filters and displayed them on a wire rack at the reception.

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Brooklyn Flavor

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Brooklyn chewing gum served as a nod to the bride and groom's current dwelling place.

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Photo Booth Props

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Pinstriped engineers' hats and vintage luggage found on Etsy propped the photo booth.

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Party Perks

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Bryan propped the photo booth with vintage luggage, a camera, a bindle, and a conductor hat.

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Flower Adorned Cupcakes

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Crepe paper flowers topped vanilla cupcakes from Back in the Day Bakery.

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Homemade Pecan-Pie Bar Favors

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For a sweet takeaway, Bryan's mother baked pecan-pie bars, which were wrapped and labeled with Attila's image, then snapped onto a chip-clip display.

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Just Hitched Ride

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Bryan's groomsmen festooned the trunk of the getaway car—a 1965 Mercury Comet—with a "Just Hitched" garland

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Rock On

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The couple, both Southern musicphiles, enlisted one of their favorite Savannah bluegrass groups, the Eric Culberson Blues Band, to jam at their reception.

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Corbin Gurkin

Location: Georgia State Railroad Museum
Catering: Cape Creations Catering
Wedding photography: Jenny Ebert of 1. Art Beauty Life
Stationery: Designed by the bride; printed by Print Icon
Program fans: RAP Graphics
Cupcakes: Back in the Day Bakery
Music: The Blue Iguanas; Eric Culberson Band
Rentals: Savannah Special Events by Ranco
Bride's patternmaker and seamstress: Angela Gattulli
Bride's accessories: Franklin Square Design (jewelry); No.6 (shoes)
Hair and makeup: JW Salon & Spa
Bridesmaid dresses and menswear: J.Crew
Bowties: The Cordial Churchman
Flower girl dresses: Zippity Do Da
Cake: Chisolm Crouch of The Hydrangea House
Lighting: JLK Events

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