Our Wedding

Getting Ready

The summer sun shined on the morning of July 30th, 2011. I woke up early and drew in a breath of relief that the day had come. Soon, all the preparation and stress would finally cease when I would finally be that man's wife. I put on a baby blue sundress and drove just a mile from home to my hair salon where I was joined by friends.

I applied my makeup in the silent calm of my own bathroom.

Alone with myself. I enjoyed that time before the whirlwind was to begin.

A group of special ladies, composed of family and dear friends, hosted a bridesmaids luncheon for my girls and I.

My hosts, Kay, Teresa, and Aunt Mary. They made the morning classy and special. Peaceful and sweet. Strawberry Chicken Salad, Hawaiian Sandwiches, and a decadent dessert were all apart of the midday pick-me-up we needed. And Peach Mimosas. They were important too.

With my flower girls, Lexie and Ellen-Claire

With the ladies in my life. Mrs. Pam, Joan, Nonnie, and Meemaw.

Family and friends.

Back at the church, just after stepping into my dress, I soaked in a few moments of the peaceful emptiness. I passed all the vacant pews, hoping there would be enough space to hold our most special friends and family. The hush was accompanied by the swishing of my dress on the floor and the ceiling fans humming over the aisle in preparation for the warm summer evening.

It was like being on an empty, quiet stage just before opening number of the final dance recital or in a quiet gym just before the big game. Feeling that space out of its element is so serene. The calm before the storm.

I wore ruffled, summer wedges...

...And my ring with the diamond my mom used to wear.

My bridesmaids each wore a different dress in a light shade of peach. I made each of them a wooden hanger with their name.

Airy and flowy. Summery and fun.

With a few hours before showtime, the wedding party met at the farm for some priceless pictures. In the 6 months that have passed, I have almost forgotten how the late July southern heat felt on my skin while standing by that barn! But I am sure those guys would be quick to remind me...

After the boys pictures were taken, Sean and I made our way around opposite sides of the farmhouse to the open area where we sat for an autumn picnic on September 12th, 2010; the day he asked me to marry him.

We're finally here. It's been a long but fast 7 year journey but this day came not a moment too soon. Or too late. Every breath, every change, every passing year developed and grew us into... us. The two people who could stand there that day on the verge of such a commitment, with unequivocal sureness and ease.

Upon seeing each other, there were no nerves. No anxiety. But butterflies of excitement. We knew undoubtedly we would see each other before the ceremony. We didn't see why we should stay apart on a day that is all about us together. A day we knew would disappear in a flutter. We were relieved to be able to enjoy the rest of OUR day together.

I made the gardenia hairpiece that I wore. One flower had a yellow butterfly pin in the center and the other, a peach flower.

I also made the guys boutonnieres and pocket squares.

Sean and his guys wore light gray seer sucker suits. The embodiment of a southern, summertime wedding. They wore them with classic white Converse Chuck Taylor low tops.

My girls and I traipsed through the garden to the barn for pictures.

Time was drawing near, but it seemed to hang on pause.

My flower girls were absolutely precious. They wore white sun dresses with flower halos that I made for them, and barefoot sandals.

Their mom, my cousin Jenni, with cousins Emily and Elizabeth constructed the sandals of organza ribbon, beads, and flowers.

I tried to cool down after coming in from the heat. Glistening sweat does not lend itself well to your wedding day debut!

Fred and I in the dressing room. We are used to getting ourselves all ready for showtime!

I peered out the church door window as our guests arrived. Don't you wonder what I was thinking?? Well...I was wondering just how well my whole look would hold up in the afternoon shower that suddenly came upon us just moments before we had to walk out to the church entry way!

I think we made it alright. We huddled in the foyer just moments before.

The Ceremony

All of our guests entered the doors of this red brick church. The church in which I grew up, sang, and spent every Sunday morning for just over 10 years straight. You heard that right. Perfect attendance in Sunday School at Marion First Assembly of God until the age of 13, for this girl. (And my brother as well).

Here, I developed the foundation for the faith within me and the character about me. Here, I recited John 3:16 at age 3 about the ultimate love and everlasting life...and here I would marry the love of my life.

The rain shower came just as we gathered to walk around the front of the church. My bridesmaids held my umbrella and my dress. I held my breath.

All guests had taken their seats. Our families were escorted down the aisle to the music of Ave Maria, in angel voices.

My bridesmaids walked down the aisle, to an instrumental of Dancing by Elisa, followed by my flower girls in their bare feet, carrying my hand-made pinwheels with ribbon streamers.

No one was left in that tiny room but my Daddy and I. There was no time for fear. Panic. Nerves. And no need or want for it either. It was unknown at which exact second those doors would open to the gaze of 200 sets of eyes. To explain what I felt is a waste of breath. There are no words to combine every emotion with no emotion. Every thought with no thoughts. The strangest state of being. All that matters is I heard a whisper..."I love you, baby," and we were ready.

"Can't Help Falling in Love" on piano played as we walked slowly together. I realized about halfway down why I was walking. I got caught up in seeing all the people I had known all my life like it was a red carpet event and I forgot to look at my groom until then. Woops. Terrible bride. But once I saw him, I never looked away.

Pastor Brian Mize welcomed our guests and we prayed over the ceremony.

The first reading I selected to be shared was, to me, an ideal wedding ceremony scripture. When I hear it, I feel like it is God's step-by-step instructions for a husband and wife on their wedding day and each day following.

12 Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.
Colossians 3, 12-17

10 A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than jewels. 11 Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. 12 She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life.
Proverbs 31:10

Sean's Mom sang "If It Wasn't For Your Love" by Heather Headley in honor of my Mom. I chose this song to dance to the year after she passed away. I knew it would have a place in my wedding, because I always pictured myself as a bride when I listened to it. And Mrs. Pam was the brave soul who took on the challenge. And soared.

Would I be standing here
after all these years
among the stars above?
Maybe not,
If it wasn't for your love

Smiling faces all around
like when the king has just been crowned
A battle has been won
that I'd have lost
If it wasn't for your love

A fairytale unfolds
More true than stories I've been told
At last my chance to shine, and all in perfect time
a life I once dreamed of

Who'd have thought
If it wasn't for your love

And oh the wonderful surprise
to have a light so bright it blinds my eyes
But finally I see, how it feels to live a dream
But would I have touched the sky?
Ever flown so high?

Not I,
If it wasn't for your love
Your Love.

Next, we were asked to place our hands together as the preacher read the hand ceremony.
"As an expression that your hearts are joined together in love, will you please take one another’s hands, so you may see the gift that you are to one another"

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you, that are holding yours on your wedding day as you promise to love each other today, tomorrow, and forever.
These are the hands that will work alongside yours as, together, you build your future.
These are the hands that will love you and cherish you through the years, and with the slightest touch will comfort you like no other.
These are the hands that will tenderly hold your children.
These are the hands that will help you to hold your family together as one.
And these are the hands that, even when wrinkled and aged, will still be reaching for yours,
still giving you the same unspoken tenderness with just a touch.
Let us pray:
Dear Father, bless the hands that you see before you this day. May they always be held by one another. Give them the strength to hold on during the storms of stress and struggles. Keep them tender and gentle as they nurture each other in their love.
Help these hands to continue building a relationship founded in your grace, rich in caring, and devoted to reaching for your perfection.
We ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior who lives with you now and forever.

I, Katie, take you Sean, to be my husband, knowing that you will be my constant friend, my faithful partner, and my one true love.
On this day, in the presence of God, I promise to stand by your side as your wife in sickness and in health, in joy and in sorrow. I promise to love you, comfort you and cherish you for as long as we both shall live.
I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit

Just after we vowed these promises to each other, my best friend and matron of honor...and second brave soul...sang a soft, slow ballad version of Gavin DeGraw's Follow Through.

Oh, this is the start of something good
Don't you agree?

I, haven't felt like this in so many moons
You know what I mean?
And we can build through this destruction
As we are standing on our feet

So, since you wanna be with me
You'll have to follow through
With every word you say
And I, all I really want is you
you to stick around
I'll see you everyday
But you have to follow through
You have to follow through

These reeling emotions they just keep me alive
They keep me in tune
Oh, look what I‘m holding here in my fire
This is for you
Am I too obvious to preach it
You're so hypnotic on my heart

The words you say to me are unlike anything
That's ever been said
what you do to me is unlike anything
That's ever been

This song, done this way, was so unique. And I mean that seriously. I always sang this song slow and serious in my head and knew it would be perfect for playing just after our vows. The problem was, the song done that way, did not exist. There were a couple of youtube videos of short acoustic versions, but nothing I could download and play at our wedding.
I know Lindsay didn't think I was serious when I first asked her amidst crafting fabric pew flowers at my dining room table . Then like a true best friend, sister, and maid of honor, she said "Well just tell me what you want me to sing."
That is Lindsay and I singing together in that same church. You can barely see him, but my Dad is on the far left side smiling (or laughing...) while he listens. We appear to be singing a version of "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider"...but considering the aforementioned foundation for my faith, I would assume it is Jesus Loves Me, or something to that effect...
After brainstorming musicians and running into a few rejections, I thought of a great high school friend who I knew could do ANYthing I asked him on piano. He and Lindsay also knew each other and were able to work together to create an original rendition just how I heard it in my head. Not even her enemy of the wedding week, E. coli, could get her down. Truly amazing.
After breathing a sigh that we had made it through everything, we were pronounced husband and wife.
Sean, you may now kiss your bride!

For our recessional, we chose Amos Lee's Sweet Pea. Light and skippy for a happy summer day!

We did it!

And as if on cue, the sun beamed once again as we exited the church as newlyweds.

Our guests and party mingled just outside the church doors.

We assembled back into the church for pictures


Our best friends looked like a page in Southern Brides magazine had come to life on that day.

I didn't want to ruffle feathers so I wasn't going to mention taking bridal party pictures at the farm the day of the wedding. Although it was just 5 minutes down the road from our house in town, I didn't want too much confusion or chaos with a last minute change of plans and knew staying at the church was easiest. Not to mention it was late July and the sun was out in full force that summer day. Guys and heat do not mix.

But my photographer was ballsy and just made the call for me.
"Let's go to the farm."
And I am SOOO grateful to have these gorgeous pictures.

First, for my GQ looking men.

We chose a really light gray seersucker for our summer wedding, so they would be as cool as possible. The groomsmen wore white button-ups underneath and Sean wore a peach shirt.

The suits looked just perfect with their white Chuck Taylors. Stylish but casual.

I just have to say...Damn, they looked goood!

And Gabe, our ring bearer was beyond precious. I found his little suit at Macy's on sale for $13!

I'm so glad all of Sean's buddies are such great guys. They are fun-loving and always a blast to be around. They made our wedding the fun and memorable event that it was!

I truly love them all.

Not to be outdone, of course, my girls looked beautifully flawless and perfectly coordinated in shades of peach and light fabrics with ruffles and flower embellishments.

I don't think much more personality can fit in one picture.

They are all playful, smart, and gorgeous as can be.

I love this one. Pure happiness.

And Hayden makes me laugh in this one every time!

To Fredisha, Hayden, Marissa, Jenni, Lindsay, Meghan, and Nina,
You are all talented, gorgeous, and special ladies. I am lucky to have yall!

I love the sun and shade through the trees and the dresses blowing in the breeze. And I did not intend for that to rhyme.

The family shot with me, my cousin Marissa, cousin Jenni and her daughters Lexie and Ellen-Claire, and cousin Gabe.

Sean and I with Lexie, Ellen, and Gabe

We are refined when necessary...

...and rowdy when needed.

So sweet.

This picture honestly looks heavenly to me. Which seems appropriate.

"Heaven gives us friends to bless the present scene."
Edward Young

"It is a good thing to be rich and a good thing to be strong, but it is a better thing to be loved by many friends."

Our Reception: Setting the Scene

The reception was the heart and soul of our wedding. It was always most important to us because we wanted our closest family and friends to be together in celebration and have a great time! In our search to find THE place, we visited an old train station, art galleries, a historic mansion, an art museum, a garden, and a children's museum. But once we saw Memphis Waterworks, nothing compared.

Our reception venue, Waterworks, was our ideal backdrop for an indoor/outdoor summer night party. We hoped it would convey our uniqueness, down-home spirit, and love of all things imperfectly beautiful, aged, and antique. After all, not just anyone would picture their wedding reception to take place in a 100-year old lumber shed, but to us, it was perfection. Waterworks is a store and showroom for antiques, garden fountains and elaborate water features.

After leaving the church, our guests crossed the bridge and headed to Memphis. They entered through the red french doors to the Waterworks showroom.

Brick pathways were underfoot, as well as original wide-planked, beat-up wood floors.

Our guests left their finger print "balloon" on a drawing I sketched of our house with strings attached, inspired by our favorite animated movie, Up.

And we had a traditional guest book too.

Water fountains and features created a constant serene trickling sound around every turn.

Ferns and industrial lights and lanterns hung from the exposed wood rafters.

Garden benches and patio tables provided lots of different ambient conversation nooks.

Antique, imported doors lined the walls.

The stone statues and fountains were beautiful.

I wrote our menu on an old broken window with a white paint pen.

We served southern favorites like shrimp-n-grits...crawfish cakes...barbecue nachos...fried green tomatoes...sweet potato fries...
Catered by Me and My Tea Room

And served our favorite classic, glass-bottle cokes.

Our cakes were displayed on large stone fountains that I made round table tops for out of wood and fabric.

What was supposed to be a white cake decorated with all white gardenias, instead looked like this. But it was still beautiful and I saw no reason to complain with all the blessings and beauty around me.

Sean's chocolate Groom's cake was an Arkansas Razorback ice chest with bottled cokes on top.

Another set of red french doors, led to the outdoor courtyard.

Outside, the landscaped courtyard was tented and strung with twinkle lights.

The koi pond was lit up and all the outdoor water features gave off a light mist whenever a welcomed breeze came through.

Our band, The King Beez blues band, played feel-good, Delta blues classics and were the perfect sound for the whole night. More on them later!

The first song I heard when I walked outside after Sean and I arrived was 'Sittin' On the Dock of the Bay' by my favorite, Otis Redding. Life was so good!
We couldn't believe we were finally here.

Early in the evening, everyone ate and mingled, stepping inside to visit or cool off.

We were sure to fill our plates with a little of everything we had chosen.

MMm mmm gooood.

I so wish I could've frozen that moment. Hear the sounds, see the people, have the feeling again. The moments were a blur and happened too fast to process. What a fun night it was!


Sean and I, along with great friends, spent a weekend in "the land where the blues was born," Clarksdale, Mississippi for our friends' wedding a couple years ago. We spent an epic night we will never forget at Ground Zero, the blues club co-owned by Mississippi native Morgan Freeman. We felt like we'd been transported to another era, in the city known for its deep blues heritage. Up until that night, my now husband, was not a dancer. But the raw, earthy rasp of the night's act, Super Chikan, and rhythm of the slide guitar teamed up and crawled up inside him that night...and he's been a dancin' blues machine ever since! During a brief break to sit at our checkered table, we decided that this was what we wanted our wedding reception to feel like.

We scouted numerous blues bands in Memphis, and kept our ears open each time we spent a night out on Beale. We set our sights on James Govan and the Boogie Blues Band at Rum Boogie, but they were happily playing every weekend there and were not available for weddings. The band was number one priority for us so I weeded through every name on my researched list, thinking, "Too pop. Too laid back. Too jazzy. Too old."

It dawned on us that instead of getting a band that might give us the same bluesy sound from that night...Why not just get that same band?? We knew Super Chikan was probably too big for our standards. (What? You haven't heard of him??) But nevertheless, Sean got in touch with his agent and they said he was willing to play our wedding reception! But he alone would cost the same as most bands and him with his band was triple...plus the cost of a hotel room for all members for the night. We considered. But knew there was something more perfect.

We finally had dinner at Huey's one night to hear the night's entertainment, The King Beez, former house band for B.B. King's Blues Club. The very first song they sang was by my favorite, Otis Redding. Done.

They were so much fun!


We wanted our first dance to set the tone for the night. "This Year's Love" just would not do. Ray LaMontagne's "You Are The Best Thing" was the most perfect upbeat and bluesy choice. I listened to it a million times in the months leading up to the wedding and couldn't wait to finally make it to that moment when all the work and formalities were behind us. The moment the horns would blare and the band would sing,

"Baby, It's been a long day, baby.

Thing's ain't been goin' my way,
You know I need you here

Here by my side, all the time.

And baby, the way you move me, it's crazy.

It's like you see right through me and make it easier

You please me and you don't even have to try.

Oh, because, you are the best thing

You are the best thing

You are the best thing

Ever happened to me.

Baby, we've come a long way, baby

You know I hope and I pray that you believe me

When I say this love won't ever fade away.

Because, you are the best thing

Ever happened to me.


I had heard this song, an all time favorite of mine, a MILLION times before. Sang it. Hummed it. Heard it while Sean was proposing. But never thought of it as a song for me and my Dad. It magically clicked when I was deep in the trenches of wedding planning. I opened a new tab on the laptop to break the silence and listen to this song that always put me in a good mood. It had a whole new meaning to me when I heard Amos Lee open Southern Girl with:

Farewell, my sweet.

Well the time that was coming
The road has begun to move beneath my feet.

Good things come to an end

Well I hope through the pain
The heartache and strain
That we can still remain friends

Something bout a southern girl, Make me feel right
In a Mississippi mornin', She's an angel in flight.

In the blink of an eye, She'll be out of your sight.

Somethin' bout a southern girl.

Your a soft melody.
Well I swear that I heard
From a lost mockingbird stuck up in the tree
We got alot goin' on.

Even though I'm not here, please don't shed any tears for me
Day when I'm gone.

Something bout a southern girl, Make me feel right
In a Mississippi mornin', She's an angel in flight.
In the blink of an eye, She'll be out of your sight.
Somethin' bout a southern girl.

I never meant to leave you lonely
It was only, in your mind
I never meant to leave you lonely

It was only a matter of time.


Sean's Mom wanted the same upbeat feeling that we were going for with our first dance. Our reception was no time for a sappy, sad moment. It was a fun celebration! So she chose Stevie Wonder's You Are the Sunshine of My Life. So appropriate, because he is her pride and joy.

You are the sunshine of my life

That's why I'll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye.

Forever you'll stay in my heart

I feel like this is the beginning,
Though I've loved you for a million years

And if I thought our love was ending,
I'd find myself drowning in my own tears

You must have known that I was lonely

Because you came to my rescue,
And I know that this must be heaven.

How could so much love be inside of you?

You are the sunshine of my life, yeah,
That's why I'll always stay around.

You are the apple of my eye.

Forever you'll stay in my heart


Music for the ceremony and reception was one of the most important elements. To me, it's the opportunity to set the exact mood, emotion, and feeling that you want the event to have. For our ceremony, I didn't want the most traditional choices and I also wanted our first dances to be unique, so I spent endless hours researching and revising. I am SO happy with every song we decided on.


Seating Family: Ave Maria in Angel Voices

Slideshow: Forever Young by Rod Stewart (1996 Slow Version)
Use Somebody by Laura Jansen (Her version gives this song a whole new meaning. Very beautiful, and moving. Perfect for a wedding! I was thrilled to find it.)

Processional: Dancing by Elisa (Instrumental)

Bridal Procession: Can't Help Falling in Love (Piano Instrumental) by Jon Schmidt
**Loved this version! Perfect for walking down the aisle because it begins sounding similar to the beginning of 'here comes the bride' then blends into the Elvis classic. Beautiful.**  

Solo: If it wasn't for your love by Heather Headley

Solo: Follow Through by Gavin Degraw
(Great lyrics for meaning what you say in your vows. My friends created their own slow ballad version of the song on piano, similar to this guy's beautiful version.)

Recessional: Sweet Pea by Amos Lee

First Dances

THE first dance: You are the Best Thing by Ray LaMontagne
Father/Daughter: Southern Girl by Amos Lee
Mother/Son: You are the Sunshine of my Life by Stevie Wonder
Last Dance Song: Let's Stay Together

And let them eat cake!

You're first, my dear husband!

Look at how beautiful that place is.

And how funny that face is!

I can't for the life of me remember what the cake tasted like. The bite we fed each other was all we ate so I don't really know!

This, for some reason, is one of my absolute favorite pictures of the wedding. I know it's bizarre, but I've pictured it blown up in my dining room. I'm sure it would cause most guests to lose their appetite, but it just looks so full of life to me.

I love all the twinkles in the background.

I do not, however, love whatever face that is. :)

My poor eyes were getting blood shot. We still had a long night ahead!

He is so satisfied with himself.

But always takes care of me.



Ok, time to get cleaned up.

And hit the dance floor!

After the cake cutting and first dances were behind us, our band kicked it up...and Sean and I danced back out onto the dance floor to kick off the party.

It wasn't long before guests young and old were coming together to dance to the feel-good bluesy classics our band played.

The moves...and the temps...were steamy hot. Our lead singer kept cool with her fabulous red fan.

My poor matron of honor was so ill (not that you could ever tell from the pictures!) so she could not stay past the start of the reception. Luckily, she was able to stick it out long enough to get 2 pics with her life-long best.

I hated to say goodbye. And really hated that she had to miss this party...

I loooove how this picture highlights the ruffles.

One of my favorite pictures from the whole night...

There were so many great moments that night.
Here are just a few of my favorite highlights.

Like Meghan's daddy, Tony the Tiger, saving his best dance moves for his dance with the bride.

Meg loved it!

Trev and I hit the dance floor for 'Mustang Sally'

Beautiful little Bella shined with me in the center of the dance floor.

As is wedding tradition, Tay gave the band's drummer a breather and became our personal rock star for a song.

I made a wardrobe change...

...And revealed my dancin' shoes. White Converse Chuck Taylors to match my guys, but with peach ribbon laces.

And with those on, I was really ready to cut loose!

Here, you see Sean's sweat towel hanging from his pocket and Trevor's around his neck. Sean's dad screen printed small towels for us to give as favors.

They read:

It's like I've waited my whole life
for this one night
It's gonna be me, you, and the dance floor.

Next, we had a pop quiz.
Caleb said, Ooh! They know the answer!

Apparently, Nina said the answer was Cupid Shuffle!
And I thought...'I'm really gonna need to hike up the dress for this one.'

I rocked those ruffles like an accessory!

Logan started a "solo-dance circle" with this move...

The groom had his moment in the center.

And so did the bride.

Then we joined together to bring everyone back out.

For some reason, this picture really reminds me of the 'Dirty Dancing' late night staff party. I can just hear "Do you love me?" playing!

"Nooooowwwww...that IIIII...
Can Daaaaaaancccee...

Watch me now, HEY!

Me and Fred have been dancing together since we were 5!

So many wonderful couples had a blast.

Pam and Snake. Dylan and Melinda.

Devin and Nina

Caleb and Ashton

Trevor and Whitney

Dustin and Ashley

Logan and Ashley... :)

Logan and Mrs. Pam... :)

And finally, Logan and Sara.
Her face makes me laugh every time!

Meghan with her best friend's new husband.

With all these special people enjoying themselves, my world was happy.
I sang in my happy world.

I danced by myself.

And everywhere I looked, I saw smiles.


And more smiles.

I smiled a little.

Okay, I smiled a lot.

And I laughed a lot.

You might say Sean was content as well...

We could have danced all night, but eventually the evening wound down.

{Me and Nina}

{Me and my little brother, Steven}

We would have loved to stay wide-eyed and danced forever.

...But all good things must come to an end.

I wish I could have bottled up the sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of that night to keep forever. But these pictures are pretty priceless too.