Real Wedding | Courtney & Ryan

If you ask me, all you have to say is “Savannah” and “springtime” and you know that the wedding will be stunning.  And that is exactly the case for Courtney and Ryan’s May wedding held in a historical park and venue.  Pure Southern. And simply beautiful.

Courtney & Ryan | May 1, 2010 | Savannah, Georgia

How he proposed
We had been looking at rings for a while, so I knew a proposal would be coming sometime in the near future. But I was also fairly sure that Ryan hadn’t yet made a final decision on the ring, so I thought I still had a month or two until he actually proposed. For him, the most important thing was to make sure that I was totally surprised when he proposed – he definitely accomplished that when he proposed late on a random Monday night as we were walking our dog around the pond near our house! I absolutely did not see it coming. He had grabbed an old silver ring off my dresser, and later we went together to pick out my beautiful engagement ring!

The ceremony
Our ceremony was held under a canopy of oak trees and Spanish moss in a beautiful public square downtown in Savannah, Georgia. There was a 20% chance of rain that day, and we did have a backup rain location, but we decided to go ahead with the outdoor ceremony anyway. As our minister pointed out at the rehearsal, a 20% chance of rain also means that there’s an 80% chance that it won’t rain! We were lucky to have a bright, beautiful day for our ceremony. We live in the Savannah area, but all our family and most of our friends were flying in from New England, so we were glad that the Savannah weather cooperated and our guests were able to enjoy the beauty of the city!

The moment Courtney will never forget
Standing in front of all our family and friends saying our wedding vows – I was so happy and overwhelmed that the moment we’d been planning for a full year had finally arrived that I wanted to just shout my vows from the rooftops for the whole world to hear! I couldn’t stop smiling – my face ached at the end of the day!

The reception
Our reception was held in the ballroom of the Mansion on Forsyth Park in Savannah. We told our venue coordinator to make sure that they set up the room with the largest possible dance floor, because we knew our guests would be all over it! Our wedding colors were navy and chartreuse – I needed to find a color palette that worked with the colors in Ryan’s family tartan, since he had his heart set on wearing a kilt for our wedding. The groomsmen were definitely not as excited about the kilt idea, but once they got them on they loved them!  And I incorporated Ryan’s tartan into our wedding decor by using tartan fabric as bouquet wraps for me and my bridesmaids, and also by having adorable tartan shoe clips custom made!

Splurges and Savings
We knew that having great photographs was a top priority, so we went with our top choice photographer. We also knew that if our guests were all flying in from out of town, we wanted to be sure that they had an amazing time at the wedding, so we definitely allocated the majority of our budget for the reception itself! We saved by doing DIY programs and ceremony decorations. My mom also learned calligraphy for our invitations and place cards, and they turned out beautifully!

What made her wedding dress ‘The One”
I only went shopping at one store – Priscilla of Boston in Boston. My mother had bought her wedding dress there in the 70s, so she suggested we have a look there for our first dress shopping outing. I really didn’t have anything specific in mind, so we told our consultant to just bring in a variety of styles within our budget. I tried on about a dozen dresses – my dress, the Lia by Melissa Sweet, was actually the second dress I put on. All of the dresses were beautiful, but the Lia made me feel like I was straight out of a bridal magazine! It was simple, but still dramatic and elegant. I decided on the spot that it was “the one,” and I couldn’t be happier with my decision!

Her advice for other brides
No matter how stressful the planning process gets, never lose sight of the fact that the marriage is more important than the wedding. Even if the DJ doesn’t play that crucial song, even if the cake ends up being the wrong flavor, no matter what little things may go wrong, the only thing that matters is that at the end of the day, you’re married to the one you love!

Courtney’s Wedding Dress: Melissa Sweet Lia
Photography:  Nichole Barrali Photography