We met Carrie and her sister Colleen, also her matron of honor, at a beautiful historic home on East St. Julian Street. John and his best man, James, got ready at the Marmaduke House which is another gorgeous Savannah home nestled among the row houses on Oglethorpe Ave. The ladies took Pedi Cabs to the wedding ceremony in Ogelthorpe Square while the gentlemen enjoyed a brisk walk to meet them for the event. After the ceremony guests convened at the Marshall House and enjoyed a cocktail hour followed by a fine evening of dinner and dancing. Both families share a deep connection with the City of Savannah. Carrie and John met in the fall of 1990 while in high school. They became friends but parted ways three years later when John moved to St. Louis. Life brought them back together again 15 years later when John moved back to the Chicago area. John took a chance and contacted Carrie and the two discovered they only lived three blocks from each other. They met for cocktails after work one day and the two have been inseparable ever since. That Thanksgiving they took their first of many trips to Savannah together. Years later they returned to Forsyth Park and John asked Carrie to marry him. Carrie, of course, said “yes”. When John informed his father of the good news he discovered that his grandparents were also engaged in Forsyth Park 60 years earlier! Carrie’s sister was also engaged in Savannah in 2003.
Please tell us a bit about yourselves: Carrie is a Case Manager at a Social Service agency in Chicago. John is a Service Manager at a glass and metal company. When we come home from work we love to cook together. We enjoy trying new foods and recipes. We also love music and enjoy going to record shops. Every Thursday night, we try to turn off the t.v. and listen to records instead. Basically, John and I met in High School. We had crushes on each other but never dated. We lost touch when I went away for college. He called me out of the blue 5 years ago and we met each other for drinks and instantly clicked. He swept me off of my feet. He could have asked me to marry him that first day…I would have said yes. Sometimes you just know.
What made you decide to have your wedding in Savannah with 45 Bistro as your reception venue? John and I fell in love with Savannah after we visited 5 years ago for Thanksgiving. We make a point to visit Savannah once or twice a year so a wedding in Savannah was a natural choice for us. After we got engaged in Forsyth Park, we went straight over to 45 Bistro to have a cocktail and celebrate. Our close friend is the bartender at 45 Bistro and he was the first to suggest having the reception there. By the time we left 45 Bistro that day, we had the whole reception planned.
What do you like most about the Savannah area? Do you visit here often? What are some of your favorite local places that you recommend to others? It’s hard to say what we like most about Savannah. There are so many wonderful things: the people, the squares, and the food are all at the top of the list. It just feels like people enjoy life in Savannah and it is a great way for us to take a step back from our fast paced lives in Chicago. Our favorite places are 45 Bistro, the tavern downstairs at the Olde Pink House, Alligator Soul, McDonough’s, Owens-Thomas house, and of course we love the ghost tours.
Where did you get the inspiration/ideas for your wedding details? The Asian influence? The Music? Also, the idea to go to the Olde Pink House to have drinks after the ceremony with your Best Man and Matron of Honor. John and I have always gravitated to Asian inspired things so we knew that we wanted to incorporate touches of this into our wedding. We wanted our guests to see our touch in everything from the parasols to the flowers. The colors were a bit out of the ordinary for us since I generally shy away from pink. However, I love pink orchids and cherry blossoms which is what drove the color choice. Plus I knew my nieces were going to want to wear pink dresses. Fuchsia and Navy just happened after that. I do love those colors together. We had a great time picking out the music for the wedding. We found out about a group, The Vitamin String Quartet, that covers just about any song you can imagine. We just bought the songs from iTunes and played them on wireless speakers at the ceremony. We thought it would be fun to see which guests would be able to figure out the songs while they were waiting for the wedding to get started. We chose songs from Phish, Pink Floyd, Queen, and Incubus. These choices are a bit out of the ordinary but sounded great translated to string music. Every time we visit Savannah, we eat downstairs at the Pink House. During our last visit, one of the bartenders suggested that we come down for pictures in the wine cellar. We didn’t know they would let us do that and were happy that they would be so accommodating. We loved taking pictures there. It shielded us from the rain plus allowed us to have a more relaxed time together. It calmed my nerves before the whirlwind of the reception started. John and I love art photography so we wanted to primarily focus on getting some artsy photos for our walls rather than tons of group shots. When John and I started planning the wedding and reception, we knew that we had to have these things: great food, cocktails, and music. After all these are some of the things we love to do together, cook and listen to music. We wanted our guests to feel like they were going out for dinner and cocktails rather than going to a wedding reception. This is why we had a plated seating and didn’t go for a big cake. I wanted people to sit and eat there dessert with the meal like they would do at any restaurant. I feel sometimes people forget to eat the cake at receptions. We also cut out the bouquet toss, garter, the entrance, and formal greeting line. All of that seemed a bit forced and would take away from the restaurant experience. John and I also wanted to shy away from the traditional wedding band and find something that reflected our music taste. We love blues music, especially live. One of our favorite blues bands is local to Savannah, Jubal Kane. Which is why we were overjoyed when they agreed to play our wedding.
Approximate planning time for wedding: 1 1/2 years
Any planning obstacles with this being a long distance wedding? I actually thought it made planning easier. I had to limit my choices and just stick to them. If the wedding was in Chicago, I would probably overthink everything. We also had a day of planner. I would recommend this to anyone but it was more important to us since we are not from Savannah. It took a lot of pressure off my back on the wedding day. I can’t imagine what it would have been like to try and organize the ceremony and get ready. We also had a bit of a set back with the first date we chose which ended up being the Rock N Roll Marathon. Thank goodness we changed the date.
Approximate # of Guests: 70
Wedding Gown: Martellens, Lemont, IL
Shoes: Corso Como
Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather Ferguson
Bride’s Jewelry Earrings: Helzberg Diamonds barrowed from a close friend
Accessories: barrowed diamond and sapphire tennis bracelet from my aunt
Bridesmaid’s Dresses: Mod Cloth
Bridesmaid’s Dresses/Accessories/Jewelry: Lia Sophia bracelet
Groom’s attire: Zeglios, Chicago
Ties: Tie Bar
Groomsmen’s attire: Macy’s
Event Planner: Everlasting Occasions
Officiant: Rev. Schulte
Ceremony Music: Vitamin String Quartet/recorded
Wedding Songs: Otis Redding: That’s How Strong My Love Is. (our first dance), Ray Charles: Ain’t That Love (father daughter dance), Van Morrison: Crazy Love (parent dance)
Band: Jubal Kane
Florist: 45 Bistro John Wax
Cake: Bakers Pride
Caterer: 45 Bistro
Transportation/Trolley/Pedicab/ Limousine: Pedicab. We got this at the last minute because our planner said there was no parking by Oglethorpe Square. Thank goodness—another save from our planner. Plus, the ring bearer and flower girl had a blast on the pedicab.
Was there a Rehearsal Dinner? Where? B & D Burger
Guest Accommodations: made recommendations to Savannahgetaways.net and Marshall House
Honeymoon Plans? Costa Rica in February