Love at first sight. It’s a lovely concept, but one that can go awry when only one of the pair immediately sees hearts. Love at second sight, however …
Sammantha Rhea and Connor Kelly first met when they were set up while on a visit to Lake Lanier in northern Georgia. While Connor admits to immediately knowing that Sammantha was the girl of his dreams, he acknowledges that she was not quite as receptive to him initially. He told us about their meeting at the lake: “Conversation was short, and body language was guarded. Not a great start, to say the least.” Determined to try again, Connor found his second chance at the 2008 Georgia-Alabama football game. Connor, a Georgia student, invited Sammantha to come cheer on her beloved Tide in Athens. The two tailgated and talked all day. Sammantha warmed up to Connor, leaving him feeling like the day had been a big win, even though his Bulldogs lost. Five years later, Connor proposed at Lenox Park near Atlanta’s Buckhead area, and this is the story of their happily ever after.
The couple married at Ashton Gardens, a private garden and chapel venue perfect for weddings. The beautiful chapel and reception hall with floor-to-ceiling windows provide an ideal place to have an indoor event with an outdoor feel. Sammantha told us that Ashton Gardens was perfect for her wedding last fall because the expansive windows allowed guests to enjoy all the changing colors of the trees on the private grounds. She even arranged for outdoor lighting so that everyone could continue to enjoy the autumn colors after dark. To further emphasize the beauty of the season, most of the colors in the wedding fell into the family of warm oranges, deep reds and bright yellows.
With their traditional vows said, Sammantha, Connor and their guests were ready to celebrate! While the DJ warmed up, guests filled up. Petite pulled BBQ biscuits for nibbling, a seasonal field green salad, decadent shrimp and smoked mozzarella chicken roulade, crisp, pan-seared lemon-pepper Gulf snapper, a beautiful cheese display, an étouffée and grits martini bar, and much more filled the buffet table. Sammantha told us the food was one of the easiest parts of her wedding planning because she left everything to the experts at Ashton Gardens. She received rave reviews from all her friends, she adds. With a menu like hers, it’s not hard to imagine why!
Sammantha and Connor wanted everyone to enjoy their celebration as much as they did. DJ Louie’s music kept the bride, groom and all their guests up and moving late into the evening. All that dancing certainly had people working up an appetite, which they satisfied with some late-night snacks. Grilled cheese and french fries satiated the hunger for those who were over-danced—or over-served!
One of the couple’s favorite wedding details was the wine bottles on every table. The bottles served the dual purpose as table markers for guests to find their seating, as well as a guest book of sorts. Each bottle was surrounded by sharpies, and guests were encouraged to write notes to the couple on the label. The bottles were then collected for the bride and groom to save. The pair plans to drink the bottle with the table number that corresponds to the anniversary they are celebrating. With their first anniversary approaching this October, we’re sure they will enjoy savoring bottle #1 and all the memories it holds!
- Cake: Whole Foods
- Photographer: Sugar Snap Photography
- Catering and venue: Ashton Gardens
- Flowers: Design House of Flowers
- Wedding and bridesmaid dresses: Bride Beautiful
- Entertainment: DJ Louie
- Wedding party photos prior to ceremony: Sims Lake Park