Jennifer + John | Alvina Valenta Wedding by Mary Rosenbaum Photography
Today’s wedding will give you a big old dose of Southern hospitality. So sit down a spell and have a refreshing sweet tea as you view John and Jennifer’s elegant wedding. It took place on the grounds of Nashville’s historic Belle Meade plantation, which is over 200 years old! The combination of lush green gardens and rustic mansion made for a gorgeous, refined ceremony with a comfortable but chic country feel. The reception featured a cigar, whiskey and bourbon bar in lieu of a groom’s cake, lots of dancing and a wonderful send off in a silver vintage Jaguar for John and Jennifer, making for a simply stunning Southern affair!
From the beginning, John and I wanted our wedding to be a really enjoyable experience for all of our guests and for us. Living in different cities over the years we’ve made friends all over the country so we knew we had to make it a special event that everyone would remember. As we now live in New York, we liked the idea of showing our NYC friends my hometown of Nashville that will always hold a special place in my heart. And I knew our friends in New York would receive a proper warm southern welcome from our crew in Nashville. We chose the Belle Meade Plantation to combine all of the wonderful people we love as it is a gorgeous space with lots of history as well as memories for me.
My gown was lace, Alvina Valenta, with sweetheart neckline, a champagne underlay and subtle tiers at the bottom. I carried a beautiful bouquet of white hydrangea, white anemones with green centers, white freesia, white peonies, green jade roses, queen anne’s lace and accented with lily of the valley and fresh green maiden hair fern. I wore gold kate spade shoes that each of my bridesmaids signed with a special message before I walked down the aisle. My earrings were a combination of aquamarine and diamonds given to me by my father for the wedding and my bracelet was pearls and crystals from BHLDN.
My bridesmaids wore the Blakely dress from J. Crew in Pacific blue and each chose a brooch to adorn the dress. They carried smaller versions of my bouquet with the monochromatic theme. The groom and groomsmen wore khaki Michael Kors suits with blue seersucker neck ties and John stood out in his blue suede shoes – it’s what you do in Nashville! John’s mum Margaret came from John’s hometown of Harrogate, England and looked lovely in her silver lace dress and her lily of the valley corsage. And my father, a Jack Daniels squire, looked quite dapper in his khaki Michael Kors suit and green seersucker tie. Our flower girls wore blue seersucker sundresses and carried either white rose petals or white hydrangea flower balls down the aisle.
The colors reflected the mellow, yet warm and welcoming theme I was trying to create. Nile blue tablecloths, burlap French country chairs and couches dotted the carriage house along with rustic birch tree flower pots and lanterns on each table. We added candles both down the aisle and around the carriage house to give the feel of a soft glow once the sun set. Down the aisle we also added empty bottles tied with twine to sticks that fresh wildflowers poured out of. We also included old family photos in vintage mirrored frames to remember our loved ones that have passed. Our signing book was an old print of the Belle Meade Plantation with a large border to collect the signatures and messages from all of our guests.
After the ceremony, we enjoyed a lovely cocktail hour as the sun was setting with mint juleps in silver cups and striped straws to match our color theme. After our champagne toast to welcome our guests, we dined on delicious southern favorites including shrimp and grits and Jack Daniels basted ribs with au gratin potatoes. Dessert was a mix of our backgrounds: New York cheesecake lollipops and mini pecan pies in mason jars. The grooms “dessert” was a bourbon and whiskey bar complete with signature cigars to depict our wedding day. The men enjoyed sips of Woodford Reserve, Hudson, and Tennessee Honey to name a few. We danced the night away to The Nashville Blue Tones before we said good-bye. At the end of the evening our guests wished us well with sprinkles of lavender as we rushed to our vintage silver Jag to meet them again later at the Oak Bar in the Hermitage Hotel.
I knew that I wanted a dress that felt elegant and classic. We were getting married in the South and in a garden/carriage home setting so I felt it needed to blend nicely within that atmosphere. I also knew I wanted a dress that I could look back on in 20 years and think, wow I still love that dress; something timeless! I love lace but wanted to be sure that it was well-made lace.
When I saw the Alvina Valenta I was blown away the lace is so beautifully sewn and detailed and the mocha sheath underneath makes the creamy lace pop so well, especially in photos. This is a dress that will stand the test of time and honestly can be worn in any season. I liked the style as it was, but thought on my figure it would be more flattering to wear a sweetheart neckline so we cut the cap sleeves off and altered it to my needs. The shop I bought the dress from, Wedding Atelier in NYC, did an amazing job and the fringe of the lace or the “eyelash” can still be seen above the sweetheart neckline making it look so natural. I was told all evening how beautiful the dress was by almost every guest.
How Jennifer Felt in Her Wedding Dress
Elegant. Poised. Powerful.
Why Jennifer Decided to Sell Her Wedding Dress
I’m selling the dress because a) I’m not getting married again and b) the dress is too gorgeous to live in a box – it should be shared!