After Postponing Their Nuptials Twice, This Couple Eloped at Their Original Wedding Venue in Whimsical Fashion
Cayla Conway, a physician, met her future groom David Allen, a business consultant, after he "SuperSwiped" on her Bumble profile back in January 2018. During their first online conversation, they talked about their mutual love for travel—it's safe to say that they immediately hit it off on the app. The duo later met for an in-person date (they went to listen to live music), and haven't looked back since. Just over a year later, shortly after they returned home from trip to Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, David popped the question at the Atlanta Botanical Garden on April 6, 2019, with specific parts of their future in mind. "Although he considered proposing in Asia, he wanted to be sure the place he proposed would be a place that we could easily return to and even show our children one day," Cayla says. "After he proposed, we returned to his home where, much to my surprise, family and friends from all over were waiting to celebrate with us."
Their engagement went off without a hitch, but their path down the aisle came with its own set of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cayla and David originally planned to tie the knot on May 23, 2020, at Montaluce Winery in front of 180 guests, but they knew that plan might change all along: When they sent out their invitations, they added a disclaimer noting that they were keeping their eyes on the coronavirus outbreak and would make the best decision for loved ones' safety down the road. On May 1, they decided a wedding would be too unsafe under the circumstances, so the bride and groom then pivoted to search for new venues and revise their guest list to get married in August. "As a physician at one of the local hospital systems, I received regular emails about the number of COVID positive admissions. The numbers in August were worse than the numbers in May," Cayla shares. Seven members of David's family also contracted the virus. And while they all recovered, the bride shares that it still didn't feel right to continue on with their plans—especially as someone who has seen the harmful effects of the virus on the frontlines. "Our now 40 guests were growing increasingly concerned and sending their love, but regrets. We knew we would need to postpone for the second time," she adds.
Despite the changes in their wedding (twice over), they didn't lose hope in their big day—even if it would be a small one. They considered everything from a courthouse wedding to a park elopement, but once the couple's newest venue opportunity fell through, their initial location for their May wedding became a saving grace. "In a moment of total dejection, we had an exciting realization: what if we got married at our original venue with just our immediate family? We Googled it in that moment and found that they had an elopement package," Cayla recalls. "This would allow us to have a small ceremony and even a reception of sorts! We were excited all over again. Our wedding would be on a Wednesday with way less people than we had planned, but that no longer mattered—we were getting married!" With 18 loved ones by their sides, Carla and David finally started their journey as husband and wife on September 9, 2020, in whimsical and ethereal fashion.
Cayla sported a white crêpe Rime Arodaky jumpsuit with a hand-embroidered tulle bodice and train as an alternative to the dress she initially planned to wear on her wedding day. "I wanted to change into this for my second look at my original wedding," she says. "When we began planning for the third time, I immediately went back to this outfit, as it captured the magical essence of the elopement day."
The bride's lush, garden-style bouquet matched the couple's muted apricot, peach, marigold, cream, and gold color palette. Atlanta Flower Bar completed the handheld arrangement, which included peach O'Hara garden roses, white David Austin roses, yellow freesia, yellow tulips, and white lisianthus, by tying it together with a silky, ivory satin ribbon.
A navy blue Hugo Boss suit from Neiman Marcus, a navy blue bow tie, and cuff links defined David's look for the big day.
In honor of their African ancestors, the couple planned to jump the broom—which is a wedding tradition meant to symbolize commitment and marriage.
Processional to Remember
Erica Ransbottom, a cellist, played "The Prayer" by Celine Dion as Cayla walked down the aisle alongside her parents.
In personalized vow books, the bride and groom wrote loving words to each other, which they then recited them on the big day.
Jumping the Broom
After being pronounced husband and wife by their premarital counselor and officiant, Darlene Henderson, the couple held hands as they jumped over the ribbon-accented broom.
"We will never forget being in awe with how full our hearts were on our micro wedding day," Cayla shares of their nuptials.
Relishing the Moment
Even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the couple wouldn't trade their wedding experience. They recommend that other newlyweds-to-be embrace the joy that will come with their reimagined big days. "While it may not look or feel like the wedding day you originally planned, it is still going to be your dream day!" Cayla shares.
Keeping with the whimsical theme of the wedding, each reception table—generously spaced for social distancing—was covered in colorful florals.
Taper candles and personalized agate place cards, courtesy of EdenandEv, also accented each station.
Showing the Love
"Instead of a guest book, we had a custom illustration of us in our wedding outfits framed that all our guests could sign (this is now displayed in our home)," Cayla says of the custom piece by Kathryn Selbert. The couple also placed framed photos of them and the guests in attendance on another table for a personal touch.
Stepping to Love
"Best Part" by H.E.R. ft. Daniel Caesar played in the background as Cayla and David shared their first dance. The song has sentimental value for couple. "This is a song David sent to me when we first started dating," the bride says.
The dances with their parents were more impromptu, Cayla shares. "My dad randomly came over to dance with me on 'Smooth Operator' by Sade," she recalls. "David's mom then danced with him to 'Best of Me' by Anthony Hamilton."
Cake Envy created the pair's pink champagne cake with berry purée filling and vanilla meringue buttercream.
Cayla and David cut their two-tier cake—which also featured wafer paper stained-glass flowers—hand in hand.
Since the couple downsized their guest count, they were able to celebrate in more intimate ways than they envisioned—including giving each guest a personal toast. Another memorable detail from their big day? The sparkler exit. "It was an element we thought we would not have, because our postponement venue did not allow it," Cayla shares. "With our micro wedding, we were able to have that magical moment."
Photographer, Amanda Olivia
Venue, Montaluce Winery
Planner, Shatila Davis
Florist, Atlanta Flower Bar
Place Cards, EdenandEv
Vow Books, Our Vows
Officiant, Darlene Henderson
Bridal Gown, Rime Arodaky
Jewelry, Olive + Piper
Shoes, Badgley Mischka
Hair, Latanya Gray
Makeup, Bee Gandy
Bridesmaids' Dresses, ASOS
Groom's Attire, Hugo Boss at Neiman Marcus
Engagement Ring, Adiamor
Wedding Bands, Tacori (groom); A.Jaffe (bride)
Guest Book, Kathryn Selbert
Music, Erica Ransbottom
Cake, Cake Envy
Wine Cork Favors, CorkeyCreations
Mask Favors, ForYourParty
Transportation, Hennessy Transportation