One Couple's Rustic, Family-Focused Wedding in Tennessee

amanda william wedding tennessee couple
Photo: Cassidy Carson Photography

Though this couple said "I do" in a barn outside of Nashville, the bride's wedding dress and accessories were totally chic.

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amanda william wedding tennessee couple in woods black and white
Cassidy Carson Photography

Alphabetical seating gave William Bruce a leg up on getting to know Amanda Brown: The pair sat next to each other in contracts class in their first year at Harvard Law School. (Amanda jokes that she noticed him while she was drafting a prenuptial agreement in class.) Then, a few months later, they were in a five-person workshop together—again, thanks to their last names. Will used the opportunity to impress Amanda with his humor, eventually landing a pizza date at which the pair bonded over a shared love of The West Wing and The Golden Girls. Four and a half years later, during a vacation in Hawaii, he proposed.

Though Chicago residents, the couple decided to have their September 16, 2017, wedding in Will's native Tennessee, on Trinity View Farm, in Franklin. He was especially taken with the venue's sweeping views. "The ceremony location was on top of a hill overlooking an expansive, green landscape that the sun always seemed to hit just right," he says. Amanda loved that it was a good match for her vision of an elegant cookout—complete with lawn games and dancing—that would feel like a family gathering for their 155 guests.

In honor of the location and the groom's southern roots, they decided to give bottles of Jack Daniel's as favors, and chose a menu of whiskey-pecan chicken, collard greens, and biscuits. But the Chicago-native bride didn't want to go overly country or rustic in the décor. Planner Ashley Coston helped them set the tone, built around a loose, earthy palette with refined gold accents. Displays of local blooms suited the venue and the time of year—that sweet spot when late summer meets early fall.

The outdoor ceremony included personal vows and a reading from Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage. It said, in part: "No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were." For two family-centric lawyers, that message was a perfect fit.

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A Metallic Save-the-Date

amanda william wedding tennessee save the date
Cassidy Carson Photography

The save-the-date by Olive Juice Press incorporated an illustration that echoed the floral embellishments on the bodice of the bride's wedding dress.

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Dressing the Part

amanda william wedding tennessee couple
Cassidy Carson Photography

Amanda first tried her Vera Wang wedding dress in ivory, but really fell for it when she saw the rose version online. Will chose an ivory tuxedo jacket from Street Tuxedo.

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An Edgy Accessory

amanda william wedding tennessee bride clutch jewelry
Cassidy Carson Photography

The bride added a little bit of edge to her ensemble with a gold Alexander McQueen knuckle box clutch featuring a skull and delicate pearl details.

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A Barn Setting

amanda william wedding tennessee barn building
Cassidy Carson Photography

"Most of my friends and family were traveling for the wedding and had not spent time in Nashville, so I loved the idea of having scenery so quintessentially Tennessee serve as the backdrop," says Amanda. "I'm also a sucker for white-painted brick—I loved, loved, loved the look of the stable."

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A Floral Arch

amanda william wedding tennessee floral arch
Cassidy Carson Photography

Florist Petal and Pine used dozens of local dahlias, garden roses, and more to create a ceremony arch that framed the stunning landscape.

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The Processional

amanda william wedding tennessee processional bride father
Cassidy Carson Photography

Amanda's father escorted her down the aisle to Pachelbel's "Canon in D" played by Silver Strings.

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The Recessional

amanda william wedding tennessee couple walking recessional black and white
Cassidy Carson Photography

A string quartet played as the newlyweds recessed and the ceremony transitioned into cocktail hour. Will chose the songs for the playlist, mixing classical tunes with contemporary ones by bands such as Coldplay and the Beatles.

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The Bridesmaids

amanda william wedding tennessee purple bridesmaids
Cassidy Carson Photography

Amanda's bridesmaids, including her sister (third from left) and close friends, wore Jenny Yoo gowns in pale-purple hues.

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The Boutonnières

amanda william wedding tennessee boutonniere
Cassidy Carson Photography

The groomsmen wore black tuxes from Street Tuxedo, with boutonnières of English roses, scabiosa pods, and petite berries.

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Cocktails by the Barn

amanda william wedding tennessee drinks cocktail hour barn
Cassidy Carson Photography

Cocktails were served before the ceremony for guests to enjoy while mingling outside the venue's timber-frame and brick barn.

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The Drink Menu

amanda william wedding tennessee signage
Cassidy Carson Photography

Amanda is a big cocktail fan, so they hired a mixologist through Aperitif Events & Cocktails to serve a range of the classics, like Old Fashioneds and mojitos. During their tasting, they were sold on two signature drinks: a citrusy gin one called the "Lucky Will," and a riff on the spicy margarita, the "Spicy Mandy" for the bride.

Passed apps by Dream Events & Catering included Caprese skewers, fried green tomatoes, bacon-wrapped figs, and more.

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Parental Guidance

amanda william wedding tennessee parents
Cassidy Carson Photography

Will's parents, Bill and Lois, had been married for 41 years at the time of the wedding.

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Calligraphed Escort Cards

amanda william wedding tennessee escort cards wax seal
Cassidy Carson Photography

Guests were led to their seats with calligraphed escort cards mounted to a mirror, which the couple now has hanging in their home. The floral emblem on the wax seals tied in the embellishment motif that nods to the bride's gown.

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Motherly Love

amanda william wedding tennessee mom bride
Cassidy Carson Photography

Amanda and her mother, Andrea, were all smiles throughout the day.

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Dining Outside

amanda william wedding tennessee dinner seating
Cassidy Carson Photography

Dinner was served outside at pale-pink-linen-covered tables. Strings of lights and simple wooden chairs contributed to the laid-back vibe.

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The Table Décor

amanda william wedding tennessee centerpiece table number
Cassidy Carson Photography

Loose arrangements and gold calligraphed table numbers kept the al fresco dining setup elegant and casual.

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Birds of a Feather

amanda william wedding tennessee audubon guest book
Cassidy Carson Photography

Instead of a traditional guest book, family and friends wrote well wishes in an Audubon book; it's now a coffee-table fixture in the couple's home.

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A Simple Cake

amanda william wedding tennessee white cake
Cassidy Carson Photography

The four-tiered confection by Dulce Desserts included layers of vanilla, banana cake with salted caramel buttercream, and chocolate with raspberry buttercream and ganache.

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The First Dance

amanda william wedding tennessee first dance black and white
Cassidy Carson Photography

The newlyweds shared their first dance to "That's How Strong My Love Is," by Otis Redding.

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amanda william wedding tennessee nude dress bride
Cassidy Carson Photography

Location, Trinity View Farm

Event planning, Coston & Co.

Catering, Dream Events & Catering

Flowers, Petal and Pine

Photography, Cassidy Carson Photography

Officiant, Lovejoy Weddings

Stationery and signage, Olive Juice Press

Cake, Dulce Desserts

Music, Nashville Silver Strings; Memphis Soul Revue

Rentals, La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; Music City Tents & Events; Please Be Seated; PoshPrivy

Bride's gown, Vera Wang

Bride's accessories, Kendra Scott earrings; Tiffany & Co. necklace (worn as bracelet); Marina Pecoraro Jewelry bracelet; Alexander McQueen clutch; Valentino shoes

Engagement ring and wedding rings, dimend Scaasi

Hair and makeup, Kat Marie

Bridesmaids' dresses, Jenny Yoo

Groom's attire and menswear, Street Tuxedo

Lighting, Bright Event Productions

Transportation, Signature Transportation Services

Bar service, Aperitif Events & Cocktails

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