So WE’RE MARRIED!! Us and 6 family members went to Savannah, Ga for our September 20th wedding. And what a fun trip it was!! Then, a week later, we had friends and family to the Knoxville Zoo for our Party with the Newlyweds. In between, we had a stop-over in Charleston. NOTE: I will update this with better pix from our great photographer when they are available! I just couldn’t wait to post this…
The Savannah trip was very foodie focused (there will be a separate post about Husk in Charleston later). We arrived in Savannah on Wednesday and just relaxed and had a relaxing dinner at Anna’s on the Square. Honestly, it was tasty, but nothing special at all. Fry a piece of chicken and smother it with cheese. But we were a little tired from the trip and wanted to take it easy.
Savannah is one of our favorite cities. There’s so much history there and we see it growing every time we visit. With the addition of the new Hugh Acheson restaurant in the spring, which will be a destination spot, it will grow outside the Historic District even more. It’s an up-and-coming food town for sure. On Thursday, the rest of the family arrived and we spent the day wandering the Historic District, taking the ferry across the river and sampling pralines. For lunch, we stopped in B&D Burgers and I had a BLT (with fried green tomatoes and pimento (or pimiento depending on your preference) cheese. Wow it was delicious. M had a HUGE burger and it was equally good. When her side of the family arrived a few hours later, we took them there. It was also fun to see the building being repainted downtown for the new Spongebob Squarepants movie which is being filmed there. I still can’t believe they allowed the buildings to be painted (even though the production company will paint them back to their original colors when filming is finished.
Pre-dinner, my sister and brother-in-law hosted a toast for us and shared a very special bottle of champagne with everyone. And Bugles! $50 champagne and Bugles…perfect! For dinner, with both families in tow, we walked to Leoci’s. A wonderful small Italian place with deckspace that keeps going and going! I highly recommend this spot and Roberto Leoci is a rockstar chef in waiting. Look for his name to start showing up more and more nationally. I just wish our hotel room had a fridge so we could have kept the copious lefovers. The portions are huge, so it was nice that we had a long walk back to the hotel.
The group separated a bit at this point and my sister and brother-in-law accompanied us to River Street to take in a few bars. We settled at an Irish pub and the funny and talented Danny Quinn was playing. He dedicated Elton John’s Your Song to us which was fun.
The next day, Friday, was wedding day and breakfast was at J Christophers. It’s a chain, but each location has hometown character. The Savannah location is retrofitted into an old garage (or appears so). The inside is worn brightly colored wood with outstanding local art on the walls. Here’s a hint, don’t ask for substitues for items on the menu. They won’t be very cooperative. But the food is delicious and broadly appealing. Smoked salmon and bagels or biscuits and gravy. It’s a loud cafeteria type atmosphere but we try to make a visit each time we’re in town (or in Atlanta as well).
After breakfast we kinda all split up. M and the girls went for mani/pedis (or whatever they are called) and I had beer and cigars (and xanax :-).
Around noon hair and makeup arrived for the ladies and then our unbelievable photographer arrived about 2. Now, I think this is a good opportunity to talk about vendors. Boy did we luck up on our vendors…for the most part. Here’s a word of advice, DO NOT HIRE AMATEURS! This is too important of a day to go with anything but a professional. And always, always have a contract so you can nail them to the wall if they don’t follow through. I will break down each of our professional vendors below and give my raves. But they were so patient (mostly with me!). Early-on, I had to step back and say, “let the pros do what they do.” I couldn’t micromanage design elements even if I was in the design industry. I couldn’t nitpick photography because I work with photographers on a weekly basis. I couldn’t manage the timetable, because I get anxious. This is what they do. And they did it so well.
After sharing a few drinks at the Desoto Hilton’s bar with our bartender friend, Carol, and walking off some anxiety with a cigar and beer… BTW, Savannah is open-container so feel free to walk about the street with your beverages as long as they’re in plastic. I headed up to prepare for the big moment.
Our planner, Raven took me to Forsyth Park for the First Look. And Adrienne and her husband/assistant/right-hand-man drove M there to sneak up on me. I was apparently nervously dancing around while standing waiting (being careful not to look behind me). And Adrienne sends me a txts saying ‘STOP MOVING!!’ 🙂 Then, I get the tap on the shoulder and turn around to find my bride looking beautiful! Side Note Here: I don’t like wedding dresses. I think they are big expensive and mostly gaudy. But M picked out just what I thought she would. A form fitting pink number (OK, I knew what it looked like long before this day). She was beaming… and I was able to mostly hold it together. We were 4 or 5 blocks from the hotel at this point so we walked back, stopping at sites Adrienne had scouted earlier in the day. Other than it being a few degrees too warm for me, it was SO much fun! Adrienne is a great director and one of the most fun people we’ve ever met! Go hire this lady for your events!!
We made it back to the Hilton and had about 30 minutes to relax (and cool off) before the ceremony. The De Soto had left us a refreshing champagne and a fruit & cheese plate.
The ceremony was at sunset. 7:33. We emerged from the Desoto for the short walk to Madison Square. Sax player was serenading us with Your Song, our families were waiting and the ‘reverend’ Steve Catlett (my internet-ordained brother-in-law), looking ever so slightly nervous was ready to lead a very special ceremony for us. We had a ring-warming in the middle of the ceremony, in which each person is passed the rings to make a special wish…not a prayer because that’s silly! Then Granny D returned the rings to Steve and M and I each took part of the bow and untied them… get it? Tying the knot…untying the knot. Subtle huh? We said our promises and… DOH! My nervous sweaty finger had swollen! It was a struggle, but it got on there. Steve FINALLY let me give the Kisses to the Misses. And the Sax player started to play James Taylor’s How Sweet it is. The guests were given kazoos to accompany the Sax. One little problem! Even though they’d had the kazoos for a half hour…no one except the reverend had apparently EVER played a kazoo and it was the most hilarious display I’ve ever seen. NOTE: if you want your guests to play kazoos, send them kazoos to practice with beforehand!!
Our Carriage was waiting and took us to our dinner destination, FORM, while we shared yet another bottle of champagne (no Bugles this time!). FORM is a wine and cheese shop that hosts special dinners (they will be opening a dedicated restaurant soon). These guys are going places!! I will post a copy of the menu and not go into much more detail, but if you are in Savannah and are able to attend one of their dinners, you will receive the best food in Savannah by far! This dinner, even aside from sharing it with our family and my new bride, was a top-3 meal that I’ve ever had… in fact, I had 2 of my Top 3 on this trip! And once dinner is finished, you can hang out as long as you want and pull bottles from their shelves at a special discount. They have VERY affordable prices and you couldn’t get a dinner of this quality for twice the price anywhere else. A small hitch was that the menu we had decided on in the spring had been lost and they basically came up with a new menu for the dinner. It was a surprise and could have gone wrong if their choices hadn’t suited our palates… but they nailed it! Every course was better than the last. If I had one critique, and the chef even agreed, it was that the shrimp course (which was great), was bracketed by two such amazing course, that it seemed to lack somewhat. I think if we’d had it without the other courses though, we probably would have agreed it was some of the best shrimp we’d ever had.
Adrienne and hubby took shots of each course and were kind enough to join us for dinner as well. We let them ‘off the clock’ about 10 and they even had a couple glasses of wine. They were pros though and weren’t going to imbibe but at this point we just wanted everyone to be having a great time!
The bride was exhausted and ready to call it a night by 1AM and we taxied back to the De Soto. Our cabby is a FORM favorite named Tyson and he’s such a nice guy.
Breakfast at B. Matthews (owned by some Knoxville folks) was a little rough for me the next morning but a few gallons of water and pain relievers and I was ready for the day.
We had dinner at The Crab Shack that evening and it was tasty and again, the weather was outstanding for sitting under the live oaks peeling shrimp. We had some non-foodies in the group so we tried to mix in some more approachable spots like this and hope we were successful. The plan was to go on a ghost tour with Blue Orb Tours that evening but showers rolled in and we opted against it and instead had drinks and late night snack at The Public. It’s a very trendy little spot nextdoor to the De Soto. M had an excellent Jalapeño Spritzer and we eventually split a Savannah Philly Burger with caramelized onion, mushrooms, provolone, lettuce, tomato, and sriracha aioli. My sister and brother-inlaw accompanied us and it was a fun fun night. A special little note about our bartender, we mentioned we were waiting on friends and when seats opened up next to us, they placed menus, and half-full glasses at the seats so no one would sit in the places. That’s service!
Sunday was departure day for everyone except the bride and groom. So we said our goodbyes and headed to Tybee Island for breakfast at the fantastic greasy spoon, The Breakfast Club. People wait in line here from open to close. Seriously, the line outside was probably 50 people back when we got there. I’ll let the pics explain, but all I have to say is M’s hash browns were bigger than her head! If you can, sit at the bar. It’s great to watch them cook…and to see just how much butter is in everything!
We had dinner at Barracuda Bob’s. I had fried scallops and they were perfectly cooked. However, after multiple tries, I have concluded my body does not like bivalves and I’m not going to try it again. By 3AM, there were scallops shooting back out of my face (need more details? just ask 🙂 That said, I highly recommend the place. The service was very good and it’s a good place to get the touristy seafood that you always seem to crave at some point int he trip.
We had been working with Everlasting Occasions on planning/design in Savannah and the wonderful Adrienne Lampe on photography for both events.
Raven is the owner of EO and we engaged her services almost 2 years ago! She was able to take care of every detail for us. And while she sells it as a ‘package’, it’s completely personal with every detail. We had a few very specific things we wanted (succulents for our flowers, a sax player, carriage to the restaurant, etc.) and were able to make it ‘our own’. She does it part-time while holding down a regular 9-5. My only…ONLY complaint is that, early-on our email communication was a little slow. Some emails would take too long to get answers. Now, that bothered me when it was happening but in hindsight, I can see that if you are anal about everything for 2 years, it’d drive everyone crazy and some of the details just don’t need to be dealt with so early on. And when a small problem came up the day before the wedding she took care of it within 20 minutes. And apparently she had a LOT of trouble finding a sax player, but we were never knew anything about it…which is just the way it should be. The answer to every question was “sure that’s no problem.” Stress-free. And the week of the wedding, she was in constant contact with us via text and was extraordinary to work with. Highly-recommended!
Adrienne Lampe Photography
OK guys, we totally lucked out on this. The photographer search was my job. And because were were having events in two places, it was looking like we were going to need to have two photographer, which meant two styles of photos, and I wasn’t happy with that. Then came our hero! Adrienne and husband who is sometimes a second shooter, are two of the most fun people we’ve ever met!! Hopefully we will remain friends after the professional relationship is over. They are fellow foodies from Atlanta and travel everywhere doing amazing work!! And not only did they shoot Savannah, but they also came the next weekend and shot the Party with the Newlyweds. We could never have had anyone better to work with than these two!