Photography: Ashley Benham Photography
Wedding Coordinator: Kaitie Gill for Meredith Events
Ceremony Venue: Memphis Botanic Garden
Reception Venue and Catering: Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
Ceremony Music: Memphis String Quartet
Wedding Cake & Desserts: Muddy's Bake Shop
Florist: Kacie Cooper Floral Designer 
Flower Preservation: Flowers Forever, Inc.
Makeup: Ashley P. Makeup
Hair: Peyton Cheatham from House Of Aglaia

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Q&A with Melissa

By Meredith Corning

Q. How did you meet?

Garrett and I met online.... something I swore I'd never do but decided one random day in May to give it a try.  And lucky I did because he was the first and only person I decided to meet. We decided to meet at a bar in Midtown called Alchemy. As I was walking up to Alchemy I saw this cute, super tall guy get out of his car.  He looked right at me and said "Melissa? I'm Garrett!". We stayed talking at Alchemy all night , until they kicked us out. 

Since that time we have only gone to Alchemy together on each year anniversary (and when he proposed)

Q.  How did he propose?

Garrett had been playing it cool and said he wanted to go on a date night. It was a Saturday night,  so nothing out of the ordinary. He told me we could start the night by going get a drink. Before I knew it we were parked in front of Alchemy. He walked me over to the exact spot he had seen me walking on our first date. He got down on one knee and proposed. 

What made it even more special was my ring was made from the diamond of his mom's engagement ring. 

Once we had finished celebrating at Alchemy we went to dinner at Hog and Hominy where we would later have our rehearsal dinner

Q.  Describe your wedding design and style.

My absolute favorite time of the year is fall. I'm not sure exactly what it is about the season but it just puts me in a cozy/comfortable state of mind. Once we got engaged we knew we wanted a fall wedding. 

Once Garrett and I started discussing our wedding plans one thought kept coming up...intimate.  We initially discussed eloping but hated to think of our family and closest friends missing this huge and special moment in our lives. 

We wanted a relaxing evening of good food and memories with our closest friends and family. 

To have our goal of an intimate wedding we knew we wanted to keep it small. Our goal of 50 or less.... and we succeeded. 

With having such an intimate wedding we decided to skip the big wedding party and solely have Garrett's daughter as our flower girl. 

We decided we wanted an outdoor wedding. We wanted a venue which the scenery itself would provide a serene intimate setting. Once we found our venue I knew I wanted our style to have a natural color scheme with lots of greenery. 

For our reception our main goal was good food! We have always loved Flight, and again wanted an intimate setting where we could enjoy amazing food and laughter with friends and family. 

Q. Did anything interesting or funny happen that you would like to share about your wedding day?

To preface this story, the week leading up to our wedding (like most brides) I had let myself get stressed worrying about....well everything. Garrett had been super supportive and great, reminding me that no matter what happened at the end of it all we would be married and that's all that mattered. 

On the day of the wedding we had initially planned on having pictures of us signing our marriage license before the ceremony. But we were running behind schedule so we pushed it back to after the ceremony. We had told our amazing coordinator to head to the reception site to keep an eye on all the guest. After signing the license Garrett and I went to take pictures around the garden and completely forgot about giving the license to anyone. In a complete newly married blur, had just left it at the ceremony site on a chair.  We did not realized we didn't have the papers until we were halfway to the reception site. 

We quickly turning around and raced back to the Botanic Gardens.....to realized the Memphis Food and Wine Festival plus two other weddings were taking place. The line to get in the site was forever long and not moving.  I was freaking out... because the whole "it doesn't matter what happens because at the end of the day we were married" was in fact not true {at least legally true] if we didn't have that certificate. Once we got to the parking lot Garrett ran into the building and hitched a ride on the back of a golf cart that was transporting wine to the festival. Luckily the license was right where we had left it and we could finally breathe again. 

One other memory that still makes me laugh was during the wedding ceremony. My dad and I had just walked down the aisle and were standing by Garrett. Once my dad gave my hand to Garrett and walked away Garrett and I immediately went in for a kiss. oops! Luckily we realized we weren't suppose to do that (and Garrett's uncle the officiant saying not yet!) we stopped and just starting laughing. 

Q.  What is your favorite memory of your wedding day?

When Garrett and I were discussing this question one huge memory that we kept coming back to was right after we were pronounces husband and wife and we walked down the aisle to our recessional song La Vie en Rose. We stood at the back of the garden and just listened to the quartet play the song and just took it all in. The whole moment. Every time I listen to La Vie en Rose I can picture it all. For that moment, when the whole day had been a blur that memory stood still. 

Q.  Do you have any budget saving tips or advice for other brides-to-be?

My main advice is to know your budget and work in it. 

One way we saved money was choosing a garden as our ceremony site - there was no decorating that needed to be done. Nature had decorated every thing for us. 

One other idea we had was having our reception at a restaurant. We aren't big dancers so we didn't need a huge venue with a dance floor. We just wanted an intimate spot with good food. Because of that we were able to splurge on an amazing meal. And what made it even better was we didn't have to worry about rentals or having things set up. The restaurant had that for us. 

As for budget saving tips for my wedding dress. I was lucky enough to find the dress of my dreams at Maggie Louise's sample sale. I got an amazing dress at an amazing price. 

Another budget saving tip I would give would be to DIY. For the place cards at our reception I purchased a template from Etsy and printed all the cards myself. 

My biggest advice to brides to be is to not let all the planning and stress that can come with it overshadow the reason for all the planning. Once you find yourself overwhelmed and forgetting the excited engagement feeling take a step back and refocus on what's important. 

Q. What was your biggest worry and how did you overcome it?

The biggest obstacle/worry was all the huge decisions at the beginning of the wedding planning process. 

It all seems so overwhelming when you first sit down and realize everything that is involved with a wedding. 

Garrett and I knew our budget and separated out how much we wanted to spend on each big item.... ceremony, reception, photographer etc. 

We turned the huge overwhelming task into smaller tasks and set deadlines.