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A Wedding at The Savannah Roundhouse Museum

We met Sarah and Jon at 17 West Park Avenue which is a charming historic rental property that overlooks Forsyth Park. We did their individual getting ready portraits at the home, then continued on with Sara’s bridal portraits in Chatham Square. While Sara was having her bridal portraits,  Jon went over to the Railroad Museum and took photos with friends and family. He then enjoyed some cordials in the vintage dining car which the couple had rented for the day. They then met for a first look in the Roundhouse building and had portraits taken. Their intimate wedding ceremony followed in the side courtyard of the railroad museum as the sun set.  Afterwards, immediate family remained in the courtyard for photos and the entire group enjoyed a cocktail hour into the twilight hours. The weather was perfect as guests sipped on mint juleps and basil gimlets while some enjoyed cigars from the Savannah Cigar Bar, all of which which were wonderful custom touches. Cocktail hour was followed by a catered reception at The Blacksmith’s Shop which was decorated with vintage lighting, books and natural plants (a tip: things to consider when hiring a wedding caterer). Dessert of wedding cake and Georgia Peach Cobbler with ice cream were served. Nine members of the group then toasted the couple.  Each guest spoke about the couple from very different perspectives and reminisced about various stages of their lives as individuals and then as a couple. The entire event was gracefully arranged by two wonderful people that we really enjoyed getting to know!  S&J

Accommodations: West Park Vacation Rentals /Approximate # of Guests: 46 /Officiant: Nathan Paxton, Ph.D / Wedding gown: J.Crew /Seamstress: Adrienne Cornberger of Stitch (Liberty and Bull St., Savannah) /Shoes: Nina (bride), Bostonian (groom) /Hair and makeup: Salon Aqua (Gaston St., Savannah) /Accessories: Clutch: Marjorie Bloom, from No. Four Eleven (Whitaker St., Savannah); hummingbird pin: family heirloom/Bride’s jewelry: Earrings from Folklorico (Bull St., Savannah) /Groom’s attire: J.Crew /Florist: Harvey DesignsCaterer: Creative Catering /Cake: Publix /Lighting and audio equipment: Stage Front / Invitations and menus: / Videography: Tim Arnold (bride’s brother and filmmaker)    

About Us: The short version is that I’m an editor originally from Massachusetts and Jon’s a scientist originally from California. Jon and I have lived outside Philadelphia for the past two years, though we have a history of cross-country moves. We spent the two years prior to that near Pasadena, in southern California, and before that, we were in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where Jon was in grad school (that’s where we met; I had moved to Boston after college). Moving is part of being attached to an academic. Jon is currently a biology professor, but his background is in geology–if you want to get specific, he’s a paleobotanist, like Laura Dern’s character in Jurassic Park. We have fossil plants all over the apartment, he has a great collection of crazy near-death fieldwork stories, and he’s really fun to camp with. Fortunately, what I do is pretty portable. I’m an editor. My background is mainly in K–12 educational publishing, which is what I did in the Boston area, but I worked in university communications while we lived in California. When we moved to Pennsylvania, I decided to try freelance copyediting full-time, which has been working out well. It also means that my work schedule is very flexible, so I come down to Savannah as often as possible!

What made you decide to have your wedding in Historic Savannah? This was an easy choice: my parents live in Savannah now. They fell in love with the city when my brother started studying film at SCAD in 2005, visited as often as they could, and moved here full-time in 2011, so for the past eight years, this area has been the backdrop for many family memories. It made perfect sense for the wedding. Jon and I are originally from opposite coasts, our family members are scattered around the country, and we’ve moved as a couple several times during our six years together, so there was no other place that had the same clear draw–a place that had personal meaning to us, was fun and accessible for our guests, would keep the planning process simple, and would make for an unusual and memorable setting. We loved the idea of introducing so many of our guests to Savannah, too.

What do you like most about the Savannah area? What are some of your favorite places to visit while you are here? It’s remarkable how quickly Jon and I relax whenever we come to Savannah. That calm–a combination of the slower pace and the striking friendliness–is one of our favorite parts of the place. We also love its quirkiness and lushness and air of perpetual celebration. Over the years, we’ve accumulated some favorite spots to eat and hang out, but we’re always discovering new ones. We used AppyCouple, a new wedding website option that creates a corresponding smartphone app for guests, to make a simple website filled with recommendations for the weekend–especially for food. This helped us tell guests about our favorite places and keep that information accessible on the go. The list included the Distillery–where we had a casual and delightful rehearsal dinner followed by a sprawling “welcome gathering” the night before the wedding–as well as Rancho Alegre, Crystal Beer Parlor, B. Matthews, J. Christopher’s, Fire, Goose Feathers, Gallery Espresso, and Sentient Bean.

Where did you get the inspiration and ideas for your details such as the vintage items and accessories?We adore the railroad museum and wanted to play up its look, tone, and vintage feel while keeping things pretty natural, so we stuck with shades of green, white, and the muted colors in air plants and succulents to accent the beautiful whitewashed brick and wood surfaces and grassy spaces. Keeping the look plant-based rather than floral felt right to us. Our Florist did an incredible job with the ceremony centerpieces, table arrangements, bouquet, and boutonniere, incorporating quirky things like green trick and purple fiddleheads. Beyond that, we just loosely embraced the vintage travel theme of the museum and then we added things like the vintage suitcases and ink jars. I customized a HelloLucky design to print menus that mimicked the look of those you’d find on old rail lines. The vintage geology books were already decorating our apartment, so I had to incorporate those as a finishing touch. Much of the ambience came from gorgeous cafe lighting–Edison bulbs strung in rows along the rafters–in the blacksmith shop, which is a space that has a lot of rustic elegance to begin with.

What gave you the idea to have the mint juleps and the basil gimlets? It was a very nice touch!  We liked the idea of offering a specific cocktail or two, and the mint juleps were a nod to the Southern backdrop. The basil gimlets were more personal. There was a restaurant in Cambridge called Casablanca that had been a fixture in Harvard Square for generations, and Jon and I used to frequent its bar, a hidden, coolly romantic space with an old-world vibe where we had our epic first date–and, years later, where he proposed. The drink to get was the basil gimlet, fresh and bright and a little dangerous. It was the taste of our early days together, just as the jukebox’s nostalgic offerings were a large part of our soundtrack. Casablanca recently closed, which saddened us both, and some of our guests were also very attached to the place, so including that cocktail at the wedding was a given.  

How would you sum up your wedding experience? One of our priorities was to have a wedding that was guest-centric and intimate, where everyone felt included. We also wanted to avoid a stressful planning process, at least as much as possible, and to keep things simple. To that end, we dispensed with a bridal party, minimized the number of vendors we used and kept with local small businesses, managed music ourselves with playlists we created, wrote our short civil ceremony with our officiant (a close friend), and made use of the talent and generosity of friends and family members. We ended up with an amazing group of people whose joy just spilled over into every aspect of the wedding weekend. It was smooth and happy and full of love, start to finish–and to top things off, we couldn’t have dreamed up better weather!