Wedding in Review Part One: Location, location, location

As Jocelyn mentioned in her previous post, we took quite a hiatus from the blogosphere for a while because big things were happening around here.  Jocelyn moved out to become a fancy doctor and I have spent the 13 months leading up to January 2nd to plan to be a fancy wife.

So in my wanderings I’ve noticed that wedding planning, for whatever reason, is a happening topic in the blogosphere so I thought I’d share my infinite wedding wisdom.  And by infinite I mean… how to plan a wedding by the skin of your teeth without knowing what in the world you’re doing!

So T-Rone and I got engaged in November of 2008 and on the night he proposed it was utter bliss and happiness.

The next morning I almost didn’t get out of bed because the first thought in my head when I woke up was… “oh $&#(@$, now I have to plan a wedding!!”

I would argue that wedding planning is a daunting task no matter the circumstances.  Here was my personal dilemma: how to have a meaningful wedding that my guests would thoroughly enjoy without breaking the bank.  As I lay in my bed that November morning I thought that if such a task were possible, to attempt it would surely kill me/us or at least leave us seriously maimed.  However, I am proud to report that we made it!  Our final wedding bills cleared this week (a month after the fact… a bit of a downside…) and we cleared our budget with $$ to spare.  Miracles!

I will attempt to do a few posts chronicling our experience.  Beginning with…


After deciding TO get married, our first dilemma was deciding WHERE to get married.  For weeks we were stumped.  And overwhelmed.  We basically saw ourselves as having two options: Chattanooga (where I grew up) and Nashville (where Trone and I both currently reside).  But we ran across a problem: Trone and I felt that the site of the wedding itself was as important (if not moreso) than the reception site.  We met at church camp after all; we didn’t want to get married somewhere that didn’t have meaning to us.  But here were our problems:

1) My family no longer attends the church I grew up at in Chattanooga and I don’t have a relationship with any of its clergy.

2) At the time, Trone and I had yet to decide on a church home in Nashville.

We were stumped.  And I was forlorn.

At the time, I was interning at the University School of Nashville on my way to becoming a College Counselor.  I was sharing my frustration with one of the women in the office who said to me, “Catherine, tell me this: in what church in the world do you feel most at home?” and I said, “Well, at Kanuga.  But we could never get married there.”  And then she asked the magic question…


I don’t know why I had foreclosed on the idea of a wedding at Kanuga but I had.  However, when Karen asked me why I couldn’t get married there I was forced to name some reasons why it wouldn’t be the right choice.  And I couldn’t!  I couldn’t think of a single good reason why a wedding at Kanuga wasn’t the right choice.  Certainly there were pros and cons but the pros of Kanuga far outweighed the cons and beat the pros of any other place we considered by a landslide.

So we got the Kanuga ball rolling and made a few phone calls.  Here was the shakedown of the pros and cons:


1) Getting married where we met: how cool is that?

2) Getting married in the place where we both feel more at-home spiritually than most places.  Priceless.

3) With one down deposit, we got a rehearsal dinner venue, a church, a reception venue and lodging for up to 300 guests (our deposit didn’t pay for the guests’ lodging but reserved those rooms for them should we need them).

4) Kanuga is GORGEOUS.

5) We are familiar with the staff and the venues from working countless youth conferences there so we knew what to expect.


1) A wedding at Kanuga would mean a “destination” wedding which might mean that fewer people would be able to make it out.

2) Planning a wedding from afar can be logistically troublesome.

3) When we called Kanuga to inquire about our wedding they told us that the only possible dates weren’t until mid December 2009 or January 2010.  Oof.  If we wanted to get married at Kanuga, we would have to wait an entire year and we weren’t overly keen to drag it out so long.  Our dream was September or October, but alas, we can’t always get what we want…

Because the pros SO far outweighed the cons, we settled on January 2, 2010 (it’s a palindrome) for our big event!  We chose this day over the mid-December days because it would be after the holidays and immediately following Winterlight (the youth event that we worked every year and which our Kanuga friends would be at so they could  just stay for our wedding) and it would be during everyone’s Christmas breaks (friends in grad school, etc. and we were also anticipating that I would have a school job… which I do!).

So that was step one: secure a venue and set the date.  While we weren’t quite sure how a January wedding would work, it turns out that it was ideal.  Here’s a sneak peak of the beautiful background that we had for our winter wedding.  (Pictures courtesy of Josh Malahy, our fabulous photographer!  Check out his magnificent work.)

The entrance to Kanuga. We love the simple beauty of this place.

Beautiful landscapes by the Kanuga lake.

The doors to the church on wedding day.

Another nature shot. 'cause I just can't get enough of this place!

Securing Kanuga was the first wedding leap of faith that we took and we are SO glad we did.

It was a budget conscious decision and the RIGHT decision.  So glad when that happens and it seemed to keep happening throughout this whole process.  We were so blessed during the whole wedding planning venture.

After choosing the date/venue we were on to the truly important choice… the DRESS.

Stay tuned!


2 responses to “Wedding in Review Part One: Location, location, location

  1. Lovely post, my friend!

  2. Two good friends of mine got married at the camp where they met. It is a wonderful idea!

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