creative direction


a backyard wedding


Rylee Hitchner and Andrew’s wedding was one of the most sweet and genuine events I have had the pleasure to be a part of. Their personalities set the course of the event. From day one we set out to make everything as organic, delicate, original, and personal as they are themselves. So many talented friends and family members pitched in. But no one worked as hard as her sweet dad. He spent months building the patio for the reception from reclaimed bricks, working from 4am for the final month before his regular work day began. And probably my favorite detail was the arbor he surprised Rylee with the week of the wedding. The tree that held her tree swing throughout her childhood had fallen recently in a storm. He cut some big limbs from the tree and fashioned it into an arbor for her to be married beneath. He also built two tables to be the head tables–one for them to keep for their kitchen and one for his daughter to take to her new home. So many sweet sweet details like this…

Andrew and I met when we were 14 and 17 and five years later we got engaged on the hammock in my parents backyard. 8 months after, we married in that same spot.

The prep time before the wedding felt like a dream- it started early and went by slowly. I totally embraced the process and valued those morning hours with my friends and family. I felt completely at peace but embarrassingly giddy at the same time.

I loved putting on my dress- within each hand-stiched thread held so many memories. The fall before the wedding, my mom & I found a delicate silky soft piece of lace we knew would be a great inspiration for the dress. Joy  then sat me down for a creative session & blew my mind as she gracefully & magically pulled my desires for the dress & the wedding out of my heart and put them onto paper. We then met the wonderful Cheryl Taylor who handcrafted each piece of the dress and found the most beautiful fabrics- while also including the piece my mom & I found. Cheryl was such a fun part of the process. Besides the dress, she also handmade my lace shoes & found my 100+ year old hairpiece and veil which I will cherish forever.

Andrew designed my ring using his great grandmothers diamond & a rose gold setting and paired them with two thin bands. Along with my rings, I wore small boxwood pearl earrings & a tiny bracelet I bought in Italy as my only other pieces of jewelry. “

I always dreamed of getting married in my parents backyard & I feel so blessed that everyone gave so much to make that happen. The week before the wedding, by dad surprised me with something so special to me. The ceremony structure that surrounded us as we said our vows was made by my dad with branches from a tree which used to hold our childhood tire swing before it fell the month before our wedding. Fittingly, we call this tree ‘the giving tree’ now :)

My favorite moment of the wedding day was with my dad. As we walked from the house to down the aisle, he stopped me just before walking down the aisle and whispered ‘Stop right here and take this all in for a moment…” 

Styling and Design: Joy Thigpen | Photographer: Tec Petaja | Planner: Ginny Au | Flowers: Joy Thigpen with assistance by Cloth of Gold | Paper & Calligraphy: Meagan Tidwell |  Pana Cotta: Caitlin Van Horn | Hair: Joanna Ballentine | Makeup: Brittany Massey | Chairs & Flatware: Market 46 | Tables & Lines: Special Events | Brides accessories: Hair Piece & Veil: Vintage | Earrings: Wildlife Wonders | Gown: Cheryl Taylor | Shoes: Cheryl Taylor | Assistants: Nina Mullins and Mandy Busby | Napkins: At Home Furnishings | Grooms Suite and Tie: J Crew | Glassware: Zara Home | Venue: Bride’s Home | Wholesale Flowers: Fifty Flowers