Atlanta Wedding at The Stave Room (Vendor Reviews + Recap!)
I am not ashamed to admit it, I have truly dreamt of my wedding day since I was a little girl. I am a planner by nature, and pre-Pinterest, I was making PowerPoint presentations with the plans for my wedding, my friends' weddings, complete strangers' weddings (you get the point.)
And look, I know eloping is trendy right now (at least, that's what my TikTok FYP is leading me to believe), and I'm all for elopements if it's what you want. But I wanted a big wedding with all of my friends and family -- more on that in this post. I wanted to bring two families together and celebrate our relationship, and let's not forget the most important thing, eat some really good food.
Luckily, Erick was on the same page, and on March 25, 2022, we had our dream wedding. And friends, it truly was a dream come true. Thanks to my mom, who is definitely and without a doubt the most organized, efficient person I know, the day went off without a single hitch (at least from my view of things).
The vendors we hired were another key factor in the wedding's success. All of them provided five star (and beyond) service and made the day even more special. I want to go through them individually here, so if you're looking for wedding vendors in the Atlanta area, you know who to hire.
If you're looking for something specific, click on the links below to skip straight to that section!
Where to Begin
If you're in the process of planning a wedding, my number one advice is to think about your priorities.
When we were planning this wedding, my mom made me write down the three things that were most important to me, and the three things that I didn't care about at all. For me, my most important things were photography, food, and vibes/guest experience. My least important things were flowers, decor and a venue (in the sense that I'd compromise on aesthetic if needed for other reasons!). Then she made me make a mood board for the wedding so we could all be on the same page.
Here's what I came up with... (I think we stuck to this vibe pretty well!)
I know not everyone has the same priorities, and that's okay! In fact, I recently did a poll in my stories on Instagram, and 36% said good food was their number one priority, 9% said dance music, 27% said decor and vibes, and 27% said friends and family.
The main thing was, it helped to write down my priorities on paper, and then when it was time to make harder decisions, it was easy to just remember what I felt was most important. When you have to make a choice between multiple things, focus on your priorities and then you'll know what to do, I think.
The other thing is (and I know it's hard) have fun! It's easy to get stressed or overwhelmed, but take breaks from wedding wedding planning if you needed. There were days or weeks when I checked out completely because I needed a mental break, and that's okay!
Think about it, there are people whose entire jobs are to plan weddings. It is a full-time job to plan large-scale events, so it takes real, focused effort to have fun and not feel stressed. Fortunately for me, I genuinely loved wedding planning, so it was 99% fun for me, but if it's not that for you, that's okay too. Outsource things you don't like to people who are good at those things. For example, if you know me irl and ever need help wedding planning please know I am enthusiastic and ready to help.
(Hopefully) you only go through planning a wedding one time in your life, so I hope you enjoy it.
Finally, as I said earlier, plan the wedding you want. Don't plan a wedding for Pinterest or for your family or for whatever other pressures you feel --- plan it for yourself and your partner. Make it special for you two, make it what you want, and I truly think everyone will have a good time as a result.
At the end of the day, marriage is just a legal document. But to me, weddings represent so much more. To me, it's two families joining together. It's committment and celebration. It's people showing up for you and saying, hey, I support you in this phase of life. It's about community and love and joy, and so much more. Whatever marriage means to you, infuse that into your wedding day.
I have to start here because there aren't enough good words in the world to describe how much we loved working with Lauren & Mitchell from Roots of the Rose. I found the couple's photography business while planning our original May 2020 wedding ceremony by searching #ChattanoogaWeddingPhotographers on Instagram. At the time, I wasn't sure if we'd have the wedding in Chattanooga or Atlanta, and they were based in Nashville (they have since relocated to the St. Louis area!)
Photography was my number one priority for planning the wedding. I knew we'd have the photos for a lifetime, and it's the thing I wanted to invest in the most. I wanted a photographer who shot in a more journalistic style, and focused less on posed moments. Roots of the Rose made my short list, I sent a request for more information, and the rest was history. From the moment I spoke to Lauren on the phone, I knew they were the perfect fit for the wedding.
When COVID was in it's very early days and we hadn't yet decided to fully cancel, Lauren was the first (and only) vendor to reach out directly to me. She assured us that, no matter what we decided to do, they'd work with us. They went along with us through multiple date changes, venue changes, everything changes. They were the only vendor we kept from wedding #1, and it's because of their empathy and kindness (and AMAZING skills).
What I loved the most about Lauren and Mitchell was that they fully supported our vision for the wedding day. They were able to get all the photos we wanted within our timeline, and went with the flow according to what we wanted to do that day. They kept everyone on-time and on-track, and we were even able to mingle, eat and enjoy our cocktail hour, because they finished taking the posed photos so quickly.
When I got back the fully gallery, I was blown away. We got over 800 photos, and I have looked at all of them many times now. There's so many great photos of so many great moments that I didn't even realize they captured. I will always treasure them.
At the end of the night, Erick said to me that he'd love to hire them to take anniversary pictures every year from now. I think he was somewhat kidding, but it came from a sincere place. I can't imagine our day without these two, and the final product was incredible. I really can't recommend them highly enough, and even if you're not close to St. Louis, they do travel and are worth absolutely every penny!
You can find out more on their website - Roots of the Rose Photo + Film.
The venue, but first, a little backstory.
I have resisted negative reviews for this place, but this is a safe space, so I'll share the full story. We initially decided to have our wedding at The Metropolitan Club in Alpharetta. I'll admit, it didn't 100% line up with my vision for my dream wedding day (I had stress dreams about the ugly chairs, I confess), but I was willing to compromise in a few aesthetic areas, because I felt that they would give the best overall experience for the guests. That was honestly a big priority for me -- people having a good time, so it was worth it.
When COVID hit, they didn't really want us to postpone. When we decided to, I felt certain that we should postpone by at least a year, but they would only allow us to postpone within 2020. We settled on a date in October, remaining certain that we'd end up postponing once again before then. When COVID cases were at an all time high in the weeks before the wedding, we asked if they'd consider even a partial refund, allowing us to rebook as soon as we felt comfortable. Since it was impossible to know at the time when that would be, we didn't want to just pick yet another date and end up having to cancel again. They still refused to budge on the date.
I thought, Emily, be reasonable. They probably just don't understand the situation, and if they did, they would certainly be more willing to negotiate. I wrote them a vulnerable and heartfelt email, explaining that I had extremely high-risk family and friends who would be missing from the event. I explained that several of Erick's family members lived out of the country and, at the time, weren't able to get visas to travel here due to COVID restrictions. I wasn't willing to have the celebration without all of those important people present, so, could they please reconsider.
I won't get into the nitty gritty of the back and forth that ensued, but it culminated in an incredibly rude and snippy email from the owner assuring us that other events were happening, maskless, and we should pretty much get over it. (I'll add, events over 50 people were still banned in our state at the time, but they didn't seem to be bothered by that!) But, as a courtesy, we could push into 2021, but that extension would be the end of it.
Well. We abandoned the Metropolitan Club, and have spent a lot of time trying to restrain ourselves from leaving 1 star reviews.
I completely understand that they are a business, and were struggling during the pandemic like everyone else. It wasn't the lack of refund that was so upsetting in the end, it was the lack of empathy. The fact that all of the other vendors we worked with were so kind and understanding, even refunding us 100% of our nonrefundable deposits in every case, despite most of them being small-businesses or self-employed individuals... And the fact that the venue was the largest and most financially stable of all of those vendors. And then the tone they took in their emails. It was so disappointing and still riles me up to this day, because of the way they spoke to us and the complete lack of care they displayed.
In the end, we found a much better venue with much better vibes. I didn't feel like I compromised on anything in the end, and we truly had the wedding of our dreams. I wouldn't recommend the Metropolitan Club at all, but I would highly recommend...
The (Actual) Venue
Now on to the good part!
Once I felt ready to jump back into wedding planning, I started looking for venues on The Knot. That's where I found a few venues, and ended up touring a couple with my mom. We ultimately decided on The Stave Room due to the venue's flexibility, location and overall good vibes.
They were great to work with from start to finish. I loved how they had these huge drapes that were on tracks on the ceiling, so the room could be staged in a few different ways depending on your event size/desired configuration. The room was also super spacious, so it didn't feel cramped, and the huge sliding doors/windows could be opened to allow for fresh, cool air, perfect for dancing on a warm March evening.
The Stave Room was an excellent venue to work with, executing our vision perfectly. I would absolutely recommend this venue to anyone in the Atlanta area!
First, I am so thankful to my aunt, Alyson, for the photos she took during the getting ready part of the day! You can see a few of those in the gallery above.
I gave my bridesmaids the option to do hair and makeup if they wanted to, or they could do it themselves. Several of them opted for the professional beauty, and they all came out looking amazing! I loved working with Brandie and her time, because they really gave everyone completely different looks that highlighted their individual features and still looked super cohesive somehow. They also did my mom, Erick's mom and both of my grandmothers, and did an amazing job across the board. Some people wanted full glam, while others wanted something subtle and natural, and they were able to do an amazing job with everyone.
More importantly, though, their vibes were truly elite. They all had such a calm presence and never felt rushed or overwhelmed. They stayed on schedule and finished everyone with a few minutes to spare. They finished my makeup around 1 p.m., and I didn't get back to the hotel until 11 p.m. Even with 10 hours of wear, my makeup was still perfectly intact, and my hair was still in place. They did such a great job, I would recommend them with 100% confidence to anyone looking for bridal hair and makeup!
While I don't have a ton of photos of the food, take my word for it, it was the best wedding food I've ever experienced (in my humble opinion).
Endive Catering allowed us to book a tasting before we hired them for the event, which is a rarity. I think it's because they're so confident in the quality of their food, they know once you taste it, you'll end up booking.
They were so flexible and creative with the food served, and worked with us to execute our vision perfectly. When we asked for a charcuterie board for cocktail hour, I have to be honest I was expected one small platter of 2-3 meats and cheeses. But the lavish spread surpassed my wildest dreams, and every single bite I tried from the table was divine. For dinner, we decided on a mish-mash menu of fajita bar, mac and cheese, potatoes, shrimp and grits and a salad. They made sure to serve Erick and I our meals early, and it was all so good!
During the tasting, in passing, we asked if they'd be able to make some late-night churros as a snack as the party would be winding down. They instantly agreed and the churros they served were hot, fresh and incredible. I don't have enough good words to compliment the food, but trust me, you won't go wrong working with Endive Catering. The food, service and set up of everything was truly amazing.
Luckily, since my dad is welding-shop-owner-by-day and musician-by-night, I really had very little to do with the music at the wedding. He worked with Gwen Hughes and somehow I ended up with an incredible, musical wedding party! I loved that my dad got to play and sing a few songs at the wedding (pro tip: that's really a way to impress the guests, they can't stop talking about it!). And seeing as my only instructions were, "No Line Dancing," and, "Play ABBA," I think they nailed it.
This may be the thing I am most excited to share with all of you! Something. Borrowed. Blooms.
I have no idea how I first heard about this company, but when I did, I instantly knew I wanted to use them for my wedding one day. Believe it or not, all of the flowers pictured above are completely, 100% fake silk flowers. They provide flower & decor rentals for your wedding. All you do is order the flowers and decor you want for your day, they'll ship it to you a week before the wedding, and you return them once the event is over.
The whole process was so smooth and I received so many compliements on the flowers. Even a few bridesmaids, after holding their bouquets all day, thought the flowers were real. They're that beautiful and realistic looking in person too, not just in photos!
For me, I didn't care that much about live flowers or having tons of floral decor, so Something Borrowed was perfect for me. We spent a few hundred dollars on rentals that would've cost thousands from a florist. Plus, these are better for the environment *wink*. I highly, highly recommend as a way to save costs and still have beautiful flowers on your day.
Decor + Misc DIY
We made an effort to DIY as much of the decorations as possible!
For the table decorations, I went to McKay's (huge used book store near me!) and purchased all of the vintage-looking, blue books I could find. We ended up putting 1-2 on every table as a centerpiece.
My mom spent a lot of time hitting up Goodwill to find cylanders for candles, which were all lit for the reception and ceremony. The table numbers we found at the dollar store!
We had navy blue table clothes included as part of the catering package, but several tables were rustic wood and didn't have a table cloth on them. I purchased blue table runners online and was able to get a great deal. They really helped to tie everything together!
I designed all of the signs, invitations, save-the-dates and programs using Canva and ordered prints directly through Canva. I've uploaded all of the templates to my website, so you can click here to download my templates for many of the graphics pictured above!
Also, my amazingly talented cousin, Shaye, painted the ceremony backdrop. She took a vague vision and made it into a beautiful reality. My parents own a welding shop, and they made the metal frame and circle, and she made it beautiful. The flowers around the edge helped tie everything together perfectly!
That's all folks.
Well, that's all of it. And I know it's a lot, but I hope it helps anyone who is planning their wedding, or who is just as obsessed with weddings as I am.
If you have any questions about any of this, leave a comment and I'll be sure to respond!