A Colorful, Fiesta-Inspired Tennessee Wedding
Caralee and Zach
In a place as fraught with politics as a high school cafeteria, few freshmen would dare approach a group of upperclassmen. But Caralee Fox was not a shy teenager. Homeschooled until she turned 14, she didn't know any of her peers except for a few seniors, including Zach Pridemore, whom she'd recently met at Ohio's Great Darke County Fair. So at lunchtime, she sat down at his table and began telling jokes. "She was pretty bold," says Zach, a construction foreman. "I played it cool, but we all thought it was charming."
The two became friends, keeping in touch while Caralee finished high school and Zach attended college nearby. Then in 2011, nearly six years after they'd met, "something shifted and I said, 'Hey, I like you,'" says Caralee. Though opposites in many ways—he's bookish, and she's happy-go-lucky; Zach's family is small, while Caralee has five siblings—they bonded over little things like a mutual love of Top 40 pop music, and found they shared values, like the importance of family. Five years later, on Caralee's 25th birthday, Zach proposed over breakfast in bed at their home in South Dayton.
The couple wanted a destination wedding that would feel like a vacation for their 46 loved ones; they settled on Parkside Resort in the Great Smoky Mountains, where everyone could stay together in cabins. "I love bold colors and texture," says Caralee, a hairstylist, and one of the first decisions she made was her dress with a brightly embroidered bodice. "It felt a little Mexican, a little boho." Wedding décor followed suit, with cacti and maracas mingling with ribbon wands. Nearly every detail was a DIY for Caralee, who spent months crafting and scouring thrift ores with help from her mother and sisters. "It was hard work, but we had fun," says Caralee.
The weekend kicked off with a pizza dinner at the bridal party's cabin, setting a relaxed tone for the festivities. The next day, September 24, 2016, Caralee's brother-in-law led the outdoor Christian ceremony; then guests returned to a taco-bar buffet. As dinner segued to a dance party, the couple cranked up music from a Spotify playlist and grabbed the mic for a duet of the Chainsmokers' "Closer," the perfect tune for longtime loves who are now tighter than ever.
The Stationery Suite
Carolee's Nina Cherie sandals picked up on the day's bold color scheme.
The Bridal Bouquet
Caralee carried a cascading bouquet by Floral V Designs, made of king protea, garden roses, ranunculus, salal leaves, seeded eucalyptus, bay leaves, and Italian ruscus.
Pretty in Pink
The bridesmaids, dressed in pink tops and skirts, held garden roses, ranunculus, and seeded eucalyptus. The bouquets were tied with bedsheet fabric cut into strips.
Caralee's mom and sister Jenny yarn-bombed boutonnieres, by Floral V Designs, of blush ranunculus, bay leaves, and local gomphrena.
The Ceremony Setup
Caralee's mom grew the mandevilla and portulaca plants that framed the ceremony marker. The bride and her family painted the wicker stands and arches.
Streamers, glued to yarn-wrapped dowels, awaited guests. Caralee and Zach spent all summer on the project. "DIY weddings are a ton of work," says Caralee. "I spent so much time visualizing what I wanted, but without the help of family and friends, we wouldn't have been able to implement any of it." One of Caralee's favorite moments was seeing everyone waving them after the ceremony.
Arrangements of Italian ruscus, pink king protea, seeded eucalyptus, and roses, as well as potted cacti and tapers, lined the picnic tables.
The Place Settings
Yarn tassels and ball fringe hung from a clothesline above the bridal table. Caralee and her mom made over 100 tassels. "My mom would sit at home every night and just do tassels for two hours," says Caralee. "She loved tasseling. It almost became a hobby for both of us."
A Bountiful Buffet
Salsarita's set up a taco bar with chips and three kinds of salsa. "I love bold, bright colors, and a fiesta style felt like the right fit," says Caralee.
A Petite Cake
On the dessert table, a basket held iced sugar cookies from Bumbles Bake Shop, made in cactus shapes or painted with a cactus image.
Location, Parkside Resort
Flowers, Floral V Designs
Photography, Jenny Haas
Cake, The Cakery
Cookies, Bumbles Bake Shop
Rentals, Prime Time Party Rental
Bride's gown, Sherri Hill
Bride's jewelry, Francesca's
Bride's wedding band, Michellia Fine Jewelry & Designs
Hair and makeup, Sweetly Pinned Hair & Makeup
Groom's tie, Azazie