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A Downtown Memphis Wedding

by - 10:00 AM

On the sweetest October afternoon, the love of my life and I, surrounded by our closet friends and family became man and wife. We had private ceremony in downtown Memphis, that was perfect.

I have never been the girl who dreamed about her wedding. Of course I'd imagine I would get married one day, but I never really gave much thought on the wedding itself. After four years of dating, in Christmas 2015 we got engaged. I was soo enamored in just having a fiance that the preceding 6 months were a blur.  It wasn't until October that we realized we needed to get serious and talk about our wedding. Neither of us really had a clue where to start. When I tell you were on the struggle bus of wedding planning I am not being facetious. We looked at wedding shows, attended the weddings of family and friends, and even consulted with my cousin who does wedding
My Wedding Dress

 All the time, effort, and MONEY that went into putting on a wedding was just too much for us to wrap our minds around. Being truly transparent here, the entire wedding planning process was OVERWHELMING. It was too such an extinct that I put the entire thing on hold.  Before we knew it, almost 2 years had passed by since we had gotten engaged. Well at the beginning of this year, we made the promise to not let another year pass without us finally saying our I dos. We sat down and had a true heart to heart on what we wanted, what we did not want, and what we were willing to sacrifice in order to have the perfect day. Though our ideas for the location differed, him the courthouse, me something scenic, we did agree that we wanted it to be true to who we are as a couple.  We also agreed, we were not going to spend all of our coins. 

 my something burrowed, my mother's vintage slip 
 beautiful vintage Chanel earrings were my something old

Keeping the cost down while being true to who we are was an important factor. We went over several options for venue and agreed on having the ceremony in Court Square in downtown. It was also important to have small private ceremony so that ultimately saved on the cost of having groomsman and a bridal party. 
Most of my wedding look I already owned.  I had recently attended the inaugural Dinner en Blanc for Memphis. I had several extra dress selections, one of which was the perfect wedding dress. I knew when it arrived, that I wanted to wear her on my wedding day. 
My shoes were a pair of beautiful Manolo Blahnik mules that I got via Ebay, and I wore a pair of vintage Chanel earrings I had found on Etsy. 

my wedding shoes were my something new

I had been accumulating items of over a span of two years, so we already had things such as our invites, favors, and decorative touches. Additionally I was a DIY, thrifting, creative queen when it came to this wedding.  My headpiece was a sweet and really simple DIY. It was composed of two pearl garlands I picked up from Micheals. I removed the pearls from one and used it as my crown, and the over I warped around the front of my hair.  I also DIY'd our broom by picking up one from Target in their Halloween decor section. I used ivory ribbon and the loose pearls left over from my headpiece. 

We also saved on some coins with my husband's attire. He wore a vintage Yves Saint Laurent tie and Christian Dior shirt that he already owned (if you know me, then you know I thrifted these beauties). He also wore a vintage tie clip that I gifted him for Christmas a few years back. We opted though to spend our coins on his suit and a beautiful pair of shoes.  His boutonniere was plucked from my bouquet that morning, cause even with a small wedding, something is bound to be forgotten.

Let me talk about this bouquet, while we are here. It was GORGEOUS and I made it! I used my favorite flowers, peonies and hydrangeas. Of course it was made of silk flowers, cause me trying to keep some flowers alive until our wedding day just wasn't going to happen. Plus they were super inexpensive.
my bouquet contained my something blue

We are both native Memphians, and have lived in Memphis for the majority of our lives. We have had minor stints away for our hometown. My husband lived overseas while in the Army, and I moved to Michigan for a few years in high school, but we both found our way back and have stayed.  So, it was important to us that we incorporate the beauty of Memphis into our special day. We worked with local small businesses and used iconic downtown Memphis landmarks to make our wedding perfect and memorable.

For our wedding weekend and mini moon, we stayed in the Juliet Suite of the Peabody hotel. The suite was gorgeous. It was perfect and beautiful and made our weekend even more special.  Our first night we were met with a welcome package of local snacks accompanied with a complimentary bottle of champagne. On our wedding night we returned to find another bottle of complimentary champagne along with a selection of gourmet chocolates. The suite had concierge service that was superb and allowed us to have a special bit of luxury and just enjoy each other and savoir the moment.

The Peabody was the perfect location.  After the ceremony we had celebratory drinks in the Corner bar with our friends. The following evening we had dinner for two at the Capriccio Grill. Being in the heart of historic downtown Memphis allowed us to have endless options for our mini moon, one of which was having brunch on Beale Street at one of our favorite spots Ms Polly's.

For the venue we wanted a local spot, that was quintessential Memphis, easily accessible, and reasonably priced. Court square in the heart of downtown Memphis was all of this. The gazebo in Court square is vintage Memphis with the most dreamy fountain which was the perfect backdrop for our ceremony. 

Our ceremony was truly the depiction of our relationship and us as a couple. It was easy going, loved filled, and timeless. We waited in the gazebo for our friends and family to arrive. We greeted them as they joined us and the over-pouring of love from everyone was beautiful. As we did not have a wedding party, our respective best friends were our honorary best man and maid of honor whom we gave our rings to as they arrived.

We wanted a ceremony that reflected our values, beliefs, and spiritual growth. Our ceremony was officiated by Tamy Sawyer, who was recently elected as a Shelby County Commissioner. Her involvement meant soo much. I have known her for a while and am truly inspired and proud of the work that she has done for the Memphis and Shelby county community. It was an honor to have her be apart of our day. Another important aspect for us were our vows. We wanted something traditional yet still unique. We wanted vows that were rooted in love and time honored.

"With all my love, I take you to be husband. I will love you through the good and the bad, through joy and sorrow. I will try to be understanding, and to trust in you completely. Together we will face all of life's experiences and share one another's dreams and goals. I promise I will be your equal partner in a loving, honest relationship, for as long as we both shall live. "

 It was also important that we include the broom ceremony to honor our ancestors and those that have came before us. Our culture, as African Americans, is tied to that of joy, pride, pain, and perseverance. As tradition states, we ended our ceremony by "jumping the broom". 

"We end this ceremony with the African American tradition of jumping of the broom. Slaves in this country were not permitted to marry, so they jumped a broom as a way of ceremonially uniting. Today it represents great joy and at the same time serves as a reminder of the past and the pain of slavery.
As our bride and groom jump the broom, they physically and spiritually cross the threshold into the land of matrimony. It marks the beginning of making a home together. It symbolizes the sweeping away of the old and the welcoming of the new; the sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives. It is also a call of support for the marriage from the entire community of family and friends. The bride and groom will now begin their new life together with a clean sweep!."

Not having a reception was another cost saver. Since we opted out of having one, meeting our friends for cocktails, champagne, and hors d'oeuvres instead, there was no need for a huge fancy cake.  We got cupcakes from a local cupcake boutique, Cupcake Cutie, as chic and perfect substitute. We had vanilla rum flavored cupcakes half with buttercream icing and half with cream cheese icing. Let me tell you, those cupcakes were BOMB. They were soo delicious that we almost didn't want to share!

We were happy to use Cupcake Cutie as it was our aim to incorporate the true essence of Memphis as much we could. Additionally supporting a locally owned small business was perfect.
the first time I was called Mrs Graves

Our day was perfect, thanks to our family and friends. The day was captured by my good friend Kim of KPFusion. It was truly special and meant soo much to have someone so close to us share our day by documenting this important milestone in our relationship.

Our wedding turned out to be exactly what we wanted. I could not imagine anything more perfect. Having those the closet to us share this momentous occasion was beautiful. Sticking to what we wanted created something that was truly wonderful and created such a sweet experience. Looking back I can't believe we actually had the wedding of our dreams while keeping costs down. Planning our wedding taught us that you can be creative, make your wedding your own, to not be afraid to think outside of the box, and be willing to compromise.

Venue: Court Square Gazebo
Hotel: The Peabody
Carriage Ride: The Carriage Company
Cupcakes: Cupcake Cutie
Photography: KPFusion

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