This Couple Tied the Knot Beneath a Sweet Floral Arch at a Beautiful Estate in Tennessee
Florida residents Scott and Lauren's original plan was to exchange vows in front of family and friends in Kruger National Park in South Africa. However, COVID-19 struck shortly after they pinned down their date of November 25, 2020. "Over the following months, the world turned upside down, and we knew our date was untenable," says Lauren. Happy, in love, and ready to make a lifelong commitment, the pair decided to organize a micro wedding on a tight timeline. "We planned a bit backwards," says Lauren, "calling the vendors and designers we loved and asking them to provide the earliest dates they could make work." July 20, 2020, proved to be the best choice for everyone, including a gorgeous outdoor venue in Tennessee. "We picked the Cheekwood Estate & Gardens because we wanted a garden wedding and venue designed for a smaller group—the Cheekwood was, by and far, the most beautiful of properties," the bride shares. The venue was also willing to work with the pair on their vision; their vendors, designers, and family members all felt comfortable traveling there.
Out of necessity, the details for the event came together quickly. "When you don't know if a city is going to be open or shut down the next day, you can't plan too far out," says Lauren. "We put everything together within two to three weeks." The pair made decisions quickly and didn't burden themselves with onerous details. "We prioritized creating an intimate experience with family and focusing on what weddings are all about—a commitment before God and the joining of two families." The day itself was a wonderfully personal, intimate affair with just eight guests. The ceremony took place beside the property's reflection pool, where a floral arch stood gracefully among the stately trees and shrubbery. "The florist saved the day," says Lauren of Melissa Broadwell of Vintage Florals. "The venue had an installation that blocked us from the original setting we'd picked on the property, and since we could no longer leverage that beautiful landscape, we had to pick a different vantage point that required more florals. Melissa made it happen with less than 24-hours notice."
Before walking down the aisle, Lauren came to the top of the Wisteria Arbor and looked down upon Scott and the rest of the party—the only moment of the day that brought the groom to tears. After a heartfelt exchange of vows, the couple and their guests walked to another part of the estate for an elegant dinner. "Being able to come together during a difficult time in the world to celebrate our love for each other with family was a highlight," says Lauren. "We would encourage others to embrace what weddings are truly about: your lifelong commitment and the celebration of two families becoming one. If anything good has come out of this year's events, it is bringing us back to the basics, back to what really matters—the people we love."
The need for an outdoor venue required that the site be naturally beautiful—the lush grounds of Cheekwood Estate & Gardens brilliantly fulfilled this prerequisite.
Pen to Paper
Lauren took a moment to transcribe her vows before getting ready for the big day.
Though she'd always dreamed of the all-white wedding dress, Lauren immediately fell in love with a silk Monique Lhuillier ensemble with a delicate butterfly and floral print. "After trying on countless other dresses, nothing could touch the beauty of the printed 'Tuileries' gown," she says. Because her micro wedding was planned in just a few weeks, getting the dress quickly was of the essence; Lauren received the gown just two days before her flight—which left just enough time to get it hemmed.
Her cathedral-length veil from Dior was the perfect color match to the creamy parts of her gown; a pearl bracelet on loan from her mother was the finishing touch. "She used to wear it every day to work," says the bride. "I remember sitting on the floor in her bedroom, playing with toys and watching her get ready each day. I always thought she looked so beautiful. "
Barefoot in the Garden
Lauren went barefoot for the majority of the event—the rocky garden steps were too tricky to navigate in her Valentino heels (the first pair of shoes Scott ever gifted her).
Lauren's bouquet, created by Melissa Broadwell of Vintage Florals, was loosely arranged with pale flowers in pastel hues.
Scott wore a timeless navy blue tuxedo with enduring appeal.
Boutonnières, composed of blushing roses, were provided for Scott and the male guests in attendance.
A Serene Ceremony Site
Pale blossoms covered the classic arch situated beside the estate's reflection pool; trees and shrubbery stood sentry over the intimate outdoor space.
A Rush of Affection
Lauren's father gave her a kiss on the cheek before giving her away at the altar.
The couple recited their own vows to each other during the Christian ceremony. Lauren promised to stand by Scott "in life's wonderful moments and when life is most difficult," and the groom pledged to work by Lauren's side "with kindness, selflessness, and trust to create a wonderful life together."
A Stolen Moment
The newly minted bride and groom spent some time together post-ceremony to revel in the fact that they were—finally—married.
Menus and seating cards from Etsy were stylishly designed and featured organic motifs like leaf laurels and sprigs.
A Timeless Table
A single farm table provided ample room for the intimate group during the al fresco reception.
Pretty Place Settings
Gold-rimmed chargers topped with menu cards were sweetly accented by French blue ribbon.
Roses and foliage comprised a fresh floral runner that spanned the length of the table.
The Look of Love
Lauren and Scott smiled into each other's eyes during their first dance to "The Way You Look Tonight" by Tony Bennett.
Crowned with Flowers
The couple's semi-naked cake from Baked on 8th featured two stacked tiers topped with fresh floral accents, including peonies, ranunculus blossoms, and rosebuds.
Photography, Kati Rosado Photography
Venue, Cheekwood Estate & Gardens
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Eventrics
Videography, Aaron Novak Films
Flowers, Melissa Broadwell of Vintage Florals
Invitations, Paper Source
Day-of Stationery, Etsy
Officiant, Ralph Griggs, MTH
Bride's Gown, Monique Lhuillier via The Collection Bridal
Bride's Hair and Makeup, Amanda Gros
Family's Hair and Makeup, One10 Beauty
Groom's Attire, Suit Supply
Music, Jana Brown for Golden Harps of Nashville
Catering, Beyond Details
Cake, Baked on 8th
Rentals, Please Be Seated