The first time Rachel Sullivant’s college roommate, Shay, invited her old friend Anthony Graham over to their apartment, it was kismet. “I remember coming out of my room and seeing him for the first time; I just fell in love with him instantly. He was so handsome and funny, so unlike anyone I had ever met before. He made some totally off-kilter comment to me and we haven’t stopped talking since!” Rachel recalls of their first meeting. Little did they know, matchmaker Shay would eventually become the maid of honor in Rachel and Tony’s wedding!
Tony surprised Rachel with an engagement ring on New Year’s Eve. “Each year after Christmas we take a mini-vacation to Nashville and stay at the Opryland Hotel as a nice little romantic getaway,” she explains. The couple walked around the hotel, admiring the elaborate Christmas light displays that evening. In front of a stunning picturesque Christmas tree, Tony had Rachel pose for what she thought was just a photo. Instead, he switched the camera to record himself getting down on one knee to propose to her! “Everyone started clapping for us – it could not have been more perfect!”
The couple planned a stunning May wedding at the historic Belle Meade Plantation. That morning, a limousine transported Rachel and her attendants to Altra Salon for hair and makeup. Chef’s Market provided lunch for the girls as they primped for the day ahead. They were then whisked away to the plantation, where Rachel slipped into her vintage-inspired wedding gown and met her future husband for their first look. “Nothing could have compared to the way I felt when I saw Tony for the first time,” the bride says. “We met in the aisle and he just took my breath away. He had a huge smile on his face and looked so incredibly handsome. I got to straighten his bowtie and he kissed my forehead – I will treasure that moment always.”
The ceremony, held in the gardens, was adorned simply but elegantly. Rachel’s two fathers escorted her down the aisle. Despite her fears of tripping on the one step that leads to the center aisle, she took one look at her groom at the front and took her step in stride. “Once I made it past the stairs, Tony gave me two thumbs up [for not falling]! I don’t think anyone else noticed it but us – I just love that moment between us!”
The reception was relaxed and gorgeous, designed with a color palette of gold, petal pink, and netural tones. “We had guest tables surrounding the Carriage House on the porches. Inside was more of a laidback lounge feel, to make our guests feel comfortable,” says the bride. Champagnes in the wedding colors were served as the signature drink, tying everything together cohesively. “All of our vendors were so incredible; I could not have asked for a better team to make our day so perfect,” Rachel beams. Even despite having guests from all different walks of life, everyone came together and became instant friends! Rachel’s mother revels, “Love radiated from Rachel and Tony so much, the evening air was electric. Everyone danced, laughed, and just loved sharing the evening together!”
Photographer: Divine Images
Ceremony and Reception Sites: Belle Meade Plantation; Wedding Planner: Alice Hendry; Bridal Gown, Bridesmaid and Mother of the Bride Dresses: The White Room; Catering: Chef’s Market; Cake Designer: Jay Qualls Cakes; Videograher: Limelight Cinema; Florist: A Village of Flowers; Rentals: Music City Tents & Events; Linens; BBJ Linens; Accents: Visual Elements; Lighting: Bright Event Productions; Music; Blue Tone Music; Makeup: Elliott Katz; Transportation: Matchless Transportation