Alan and I did a first look session before the ceremony and I'm so glad we did. I loved being able to have a few uninterrupted moments with my groom just to talk, pray and prepare together for the moment we would commit our lives to each other. We decided (thanks to Carrie Jo) to eat dinner by ourselves after ceremony before joining reception. It was one of the best decisions about the day. I really loved having communion with Alan before being announced as husband and wife. It was a sweet moment with Jesus. I loved having the wedding and reception at the UT Gardens! I grew up taking many family picnics to the gardens so it was really fun for me to marry Alan in a place that held a lot of good memories from childhood. I had bridesmaids come in from Texas and New York City so it was a real treat to get to have them there! We loved spending time with friends and family throughout the day!

We first met at a dinner with a large group of friends, where we talked and realized we had much in common. Our friend groups converged a few months later, when we really began to get to know and take a romantic interest in each other. We began dating a few months later. Our first date was to Tomato Head to celebrate Alan's birthday. Alan proposed by sending me on a scavenger hunt to a few places that were significant to us in our dating relationship. At each location, he had a friend or family member waiting for me with the clue to the next location. My last clue was a trail map of Ijam's Nature Center, a place we had not been together to symbolize the new adventure of our lives together. I followed the trails on the map to find Alan, who then proposed.

We wanted our ceremony to be a time of worship and so we chose our music accordingly. Bride's processional was "Great is Thy Faithfulness". As we were choosing music, I asked myself how I had really experienced God throughout Alan and I's dating relationship. Overwhelmingly, it was God's faithfulness in my life so I chose the hymn to praise Jesus for His work over that year of our lives together. Recessional was "How Sweet It Is" for a fun transition into reception. First dance was "As Long As Our Hearts Are Beating" by Jenny & Tyler.

Make your wedding what you and your future spouse want it to be. Don't add pressure from magazines or social media (especially Pinterest) to make it a bigger ordeal than what you want. It doesn't have to be catalog perfect. Keep it simple and let people help... in the end, this will keep you sane. Please grooms, help your bride and be an active part of wedding planning! The day is about both of you so help her make decisions that reflect both of your desires for the wedding day. Build into your wedding day schedule a few moments for you both to be alone with each other. Most importantly, remember that your wedding day should be an Ebenezer for you to look back and see how far God has brought you and your betrothed by His grace and then to look ahead at the journey He will take you on together for the rest of life. Do your best to use your wedding to tell His story in your lives!

VENDORS: Event Coordinator + Makeup // Camden Kitchin Florals + Decor // Susan Hamilton Hair // Julie Cochran Paper Goods // Ann's Bridal Bargains  Dress // White Lace & Promises (Designer: Essense of Australia)  Shoes // Unisa Suit + Tie // Men's Wearhouse  Venues // University of Tennessee Gardens  Rentals // All Occasions Party Rentals  Catering // Dead End BBQ  DJ/Band // Ceremony: Andrew & Emily McCoy,  Reception: Zach Cochran