Caitlyn + Joe live in east Africa. For the two years leading up to their August wedding, Caitlyn was in the Peace Corps in Rwanda teaching at a large government high school in the village, and Joe has lived in Kenya for the last four years doing sustainable and social business with internally displaced people with an organization called Uhuru Child. Thus they knew from the get-go that they wanted to have some east African flair at their wedding! They did this by using Rwandan fabric or igitenge for – well everything!
They wanted their wedding to be a colorful, casual celebration where they could just be comfortable and enjoy the time with friends + family (especially since they rarely see them!). Their wedding took place at the beautiful venue of Cedarwood Weddings in Nashville (the bride’s hometown) and their outdoor ceremony was perfect (especially with the giant paper flower arch Caitlyn and her friends made) for their bright fun vibe complete with lawn games + burgers. Big congrats to Caitlyn + Joe and thanks so much to Rylee Hitchner for the photos!
For my dress, I decided to buy a slightly less expensive one so I could make it my own. I sat with the seamstress for hours drawing out my ideas before we got it just the way I envisioned it! We removed the under layer of the dress that had lace appliques on it. Then we cut out the appliques to construction a snazzy new back and straps. I loved it more than anything I saw on the rack!
The most memorable moment of our wedding was probably the first reveal. It started raining about 2:00 on the day of our wedding and the anxiety set in. We had planned an outdoor ceremony with a GIANT paper flower arbor (made by me and some trusty craft buddies) and rain was simply not going to fly. When it was time for the first reveal (which we kept delaying and delaying because of the downpour) I shakily made my way to the dock where we had chosen to meet. When I saw Joe and we kissed under the umbrellas, I knew it really didn't matter if it rained or not because I was about to marry my favorite person in the world. And thats just what we did. As an extra bonus, five minutes before the ceremony was set to begin the clouds cleared, the sun came out and it was absolutely perfect.
Processional: Ought to Be – Audrey Assad
Recessional: I Do – Colbie Callait
First Dance: By the Way They Dance – Jump Little Children
My advice for those planning right now is to feel free! Don't conform to tradition if thats not your thing. Be expressive and creative and YOU! Don't be afraid to be too bright or too colorful or to cut your dress! Also, get as many people involved as possible. We had so much help and support from friends and family (since we were planning the wedding from Rwanda!) and that just made the planning process so much more fun. We had craft parties to make pom poms, iron parties to get bunting just right, baking parties to practice desserts we would serve and sing-a-longs with my sisters who sang for the ceremony! The group effort just made us feel so loved, supported and pumped about our big day instead of stressed!
photography: Rylee Hitchner // venue name: Cedarwood Weddings // event design: Cedarwood Weddings // planning: Cedarwood Weddings // wedding dress: Wtoo // bridesmaid dresses: They picked a navy dress of their choice // makeup artist: Amy Stanfield // groom attire: Express // paper goods: Design in Paper (designed by the bride) // catering: A Dream Come True Catering // cake: Patty Cakes // music: Jace Aaron DJ // floral design: Cedarwood Weddings // invitations: Design in Paper (designed by the bride)