This Couple Tied the Knot in Front of a Grand Staircase at Their Parisian-Inspired Wedding

bride and groom kissing beneath trellis of pink flowers
Harwell Photography

Taylor and Chase met on a November weekend in 2016 at the University of Georgia—though neither party actually attended UGA (Taylor was at Georgia Southern University and Chase was at Auburn), they each had friends there and decided to drive to Athens for a football game. As it turns out, they never bought tickets; ultimately, their friend groups ended up at the same bar downtown, where they could watch via a flatscreen. As everyone began to mingle, Taylor was introduced to Chase, and he asked her if she wanted to take a shot. They hit it off that night and Chase spent the next few months slowly chipping away at Taylor's shell via text before they had their official first date.

Three years later, in November 2019, Chase asked Taylor to take a few days off from work in December. "I am not a big surprise girl (I am the planner in our relationship), so I was definitely trying to figure out where we were going over the next month," Taylor says. Chase told her to pack for a winter destination, and when they got to the airport, Chase handed Taylor a ticket to Miami; Taylor joked she would have to buy a whole new wardrobe once they got there. Then, she saw the Miami to Paris ticket, and it all clicked.

On their third night in Paris, the couple was walking to dinner when they stopped on a bridge overlooking the Eiffel Tower. After a heartfelt speech, Chase asked Taylor to marry him, and the couple spent the next few moments taking pictures with the photographer he hired before celebrating at dinner. With Paris in mind, the couple chose to host their nuptials at The Swan House at the Atlanta History Center in Atlanta, Georgia. "It was the one place in Georgia that felt like it brought us back to Paris and offered that Old-World European feel," Taylor says. They invited 150 guests for their Paris-in-Atlanta-inspired wedding on May 15, 2021, and felt instantly transported back to the City of Love.

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Romantic Suite

custom wedding invitation stationery suite with a vellum wrap and wax seal
Harwell Photography

Chase and Taylor worked with their stationer to customize their invitation suite, complete with illustrations of the Eiffel Tower and the Bir-Hakeim Bridge, where they got engaged. They selected blush envelopes with gold hand-script calligraphy; invitation cards were foil stamped in gold while the RSVP cards were letter-pressed with a light gray ink. "We liked the idea of mixing the printing methods to let the invitation really shine and to create a more unique and curated look," says the couple's planner, Emily of Browne & Towers. A vellum wrap and wax seal were the finishing touches.

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Confetti Time

bride and bridal party popping confetti
Harwell Photography

Taylor and her bridesmaids got ready together with plenty of bubbly and confetti. "My bridesmaids are some of the most important people in my life, so getting to share the day with them made it what it was," Taylor says. "They made me feel so beautiful, special, and celebrated."

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The Full Look

bride wearing low cut v-neck subtle mermaid style wedding gown
Harwell Photography

Taylor went wedding-dress shopping in New York City with her sister (her maid of honor), her mother, and her cousin. She initially couldn't decide between two Galia Lahav gowns, but the low cut V-neck, subtle mermaid silhouette, long train, and shoulder bows on the very first number she tried on sealed the deal. "I love details and this one had all of them," Taylor says. "It was very feminine and a mix of everything I thought I wanted." Despite shopping all weekend, Taylor went back the next day to buy the one she couldn't forget, plus a tulle veil made to match.

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Celebrity Inspiration

white jimmy choo shoes with bow details
Harwell Photography

Taylor selected Jimmy Choo shoes with bow details. "Ever since I saw Hailey Bieber wear them to her rehearsal dinner, I knew I needed them," she says. "They paired perfectly with my dress."

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Fragrant Blooms

asymmetrical organic bridal bouquet of peonies sweet pea and garden roses
Harwell Photography

The bride held an asymmetrical organic bouquet of peonies, sweet pea, delphinium, garden roses, fritillaria, and Italian and butterfly ranunculus. For texture, blush wax flower, bleached ruscus, and rice flower were integrated. The flowers ranged in tones of pale blush, lavender, creams and whites; bridesmaids held smaller versions of Taylor's arrangement.

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Guys Getting Ready

groom holding bourbon whiskey bottle
Harwell Photography

Chase and his groomsmen shared some bourbon whiskey to kick off the festivities. "When the boys were getting ready and Chase was about to leave for our first look, all the groomsmen and the dads got in a circle and went around and said their favorite thing about Chase," Taylor says, which was a major big-day highlight for the groom.

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A Mix of Gowns

bride with bridesmaids wearing varying styles in shades of blush mauve and champagne
Harwell Photography

Taylor had a difficult time selecting bridesmaids' dresses; she liked satin, but wanted each attendant to feel her absolute best. "I didn't want anyone to wear a gown they don't feel comfortable and amazing in," she says. "We pivoted from all satin and decided to include a mix of four different styles, fabrics, and colors."

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Nothing Better

groom with groomsmen wearing tuxedos
Harwell Photography

Chase wore a black tuxedo with a sleek satin lapel, Gucci dress shoes (a pre-wedding-meets-birthday git from Taylor), and a Junghans watch (a big-day gift from his bride). His groomsmen wore similar ensembles: "It just doesn't get any better than a man in a classic black tux," says the bride.

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Forever Memory

groom crying while sharing first look with bride
Harwell Photography

The pair shared their first look in the gardens at The Swan House. Taylor admits to feeling some nerves—the only jitters she felt that day. "I was nervous to see if he liked my dress and just to see how he was feeling," she remembers. When he turned around and saw his bride for the first time, Chase had tears in his eyes. "I had no clue he was going to react that way. It is a precious memory for me and a moment I will always hold close to my heart," she says.

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The Vows

bride and groom privately exchanging vows
Harwell Photography

After their first look, Taylor and Chase exchanged hand-written vows. "It seemed more 'us' to have this be a private moment, rather than during the ceremony," says the bride.

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On Location

outdoor wedding ceremony setup with acrylic napoleon chairs
Harwell Photography

The ceremony took place at the base of a double staircase and fountain outside the Swan House, where acrylic Napoleon chairs lined the petal-covered aisle. "Guest chairs were capped with florals that coordinated with the altar installation," says Emily. "This ensured that the space looked beautiful from all angles and brought the floral vision full circle."

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Warm Welcome

welcome table and ornate welcome sign
Harwell Photography

Guests were greeted by a welcome station, marked by an ornate sign. The table held a velvet gray guest book with a feather pen as a nod to the venue's name.

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Custom Programs

custom tassel wedding programs displayed on gold tray
Harwell Photography

Attendees also grabbed custom tassel programs (which doubled as fans) from the welcome table, where they were displayed on a gold tray.

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The Processional

mother and father accompanying bride down staircase
Harwell Photography

Live musicians played Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love" as Taylor walked down the aisle. She was accompanied by her father down the grand staircase and joined by her mother at the base.

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Rose Garden

wedding ceremony floral arch comprised of a variety of roses
Harwell Photography

Two rose-heavy floral installations by Max Owens Design flanked the altar, where the couple was married by a member of the church they attend.

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Swan Planters

swan planter with pink roses atop wedding bar
Harwell Photography

The outdoor cocktail hour space featured more color; highboy tables were dressed in lilac velvet linens and bistro tables were covered in pink velvet iterations. Blush sofas and custom-made bars turned the lawn into an upbeat mingling area, which was soon flooded with guests. Swan-shaped planters held floral arrangements and were placed atop the bars alongside the signature drink menus.

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Drinks and Food

wedding guests enjoying cocktail outside historic property
Harwell Photography

Guests were treated to an open bar all night; during the interlude, they enjoyed passed appetizers including wedge salad bites, shrimp with sesame slaw served in a crispy wonton taco, short rib empanadas with salsa verde and cotija cheese, and mini sweet potato biscuits with chicken sausage and collard green pesto. The Luna Strings Trio played jazz classics to play off the 1920s-era mansion.

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Champagne Tower

champagne tower with purple flowers in the coupe glasses
Harwell Photography

"The newlyweds' Champagne tower pour kicked off the party and showcased all the fun the evening would bring!" notes Emily.

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Sunset Portraits

bride and groom embracing on venue lawn
Harwell Photography

Taylor and Chase left their cocktail hour a bit early to squeeze in a few golden hour portraits. They also entered the reception space before their guests to take in every last detail. The bride loved the creative aspects of planning and came up with many of the design elements herself, so she was particularly excited to see it all come together.

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Find Your Seat

escort card table with flowers and glass cloches
Harwell Photography

Miniature floral arrangements and cloches served as the backdrop for the escort card station; guests found their seating assignments on calligraphed cards, propped up by flower frogs.

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Cherry Trees

cherry blossom tree inside reception ballroom
Harwell Photography

The reception took place inside the ballroom, where a mix of round and banquet tables were set up; Champagne draping and warm uplighting created a soft ambience. Round stations were covered in French-inspired velvet linens, while the longer ones featured gray cloths and a cream chiffon runner. The focal points of the party, however, were the 16-foot-tall cherry blossom trees Emily brought into the reception space. "We were initially planning to use large live green trees, but two weeks before the wedding, we received the news that the trees were sick and no longer an option," Emily says. "Thankfully, we connected with Sejour Events who came to our rescue and had these brand new beautiful cherry blossom iterations available."

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At Each Spot

wedding reception place setting cream chargers and gold flatware
Harwell Photography

Place settings included cream chargers with a subtle French-inspired pattern, satin napkins, blush menus, and gold flatware.

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Blush and Cream

wedding reception centerpieces featuring blush and cream florals and taper candles in glass hurricanes
Harwell Photography

Blush-and-cream florals defined the centerpieces, which were arranged in varying heights and featured textural elements. Blush taper candles, housed in glass hurricanes, and blush tea lights were the finishing touches to the tablescapes.

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The First Dance

bride and groom smiling while sharing first dance
Harwell Photography

Taylor and Chase shared their first dance to "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You" by John Adams, a song that Chase, who was in charge of finding the right tune for the moment, had curated on a playlist of options. Ahead of the big day, they took dance lessons to prepare for the moment—but didn't realize how Taylor's dress might restrict her movements. "We ended up scratching a lot of what we had practiced and created our own rendition. It was us and it made us feel comfortable and confident—and it went perfectly on the day-of," Taylor says.

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Dinner Stations

guests enjoying wedding reception dinner beneath cherry blossom trees
Harwell Photography

Celebrants visited several dinner stations during the party, which offered pasta, grilled flank steak, and Southern classics, like Atlanta fried chicken with green beans, mac and cheese, and buttermilk biscuits.

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Art-Inspired Cake

blush four-tier wedding cake embellished with gold filigree and monet painting
Harwell Photography

The couple's blush four-tier confection was embellished with sugar flowers and gold filigree details. The filigrees' interior spaces featured a floral Monet painting—the same one that was featured on the invitation's envelope liner.

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Dessert Display

wedding dessert croquembouche tower
Harwell Photography

In addition to cake, guests enjoyed desserts like mini eclairs, a macaron tower, a croquembouche, pink dipped donuts, cheesecake shooters, lavender shortbread cookies, and fruit and floral chocolate bark.

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bride and groom kissing on stairs of wedding venue
Harwell Photography

Photography, Harwell Photography
Videography, Square City Productions
Venue, The Swan House at the Atlanta History Center
Wedding Planning and Event Design, Browne & Towers
Flowers, Max Owens Design
Invitations and Paper Products, Every Little Letter
Bride's Gown and Veil, Galia Lahav
Bridal Boutique, Bridal Reflections
Bride's Shoes, Jimmy Choo
Bride's Hair, Lindsey Ryan
Bride's Makeup, Erica Bogart
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jenny Yoo
Groom's Attire, The Modern Gent
The Groom's Accessories, Gucci; Junghans
Groomsmen's Attire, The Black Tux
Guest Book, Claire Magnolia
Music, Luna Strings; I Love This Band
Catering, BOLD Catering
Cake and Desserts, Sweet Details
Rentals, Sejour Events; La Tavola Fine Linen
Transportation, Mint Life Limo
Lighting, Active Productions
Draping, Unique Event Elements

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