“Good things come to those who wait” has proven to be true for Natalie Bursi and Clay Hefferman, a Memphis couple who first met in the seventh grade while attending their respective all-girls’ and all-boys’ schools. After being friends for many years, sparks flew during their time at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville – and the rest is history. Thirteen years of dating later, Natalie and Clay tied the knot in October 2019 with a classic church wedding followed by an elegant reception at Memphis’ historic Pink Palace Museum.
In August 2018, Clay enlisted the help of Natalie’s sister, brother and a few of their friends to surprise his soon-to-be fiancée. After a typical weekend brunch downtown at Paulette’s, the couple arrived at Natalie’s house and stepped onto her back patio to find rose petals, lanterns and pictures of themselves that were all secretly set up while they were out. Then, Clay got down on one knee and asked his best friend to be his wife. But his thoughtfulness didn’t end there. “Afterwards, I thought we were heading to my parents’ to celebrate,” says Natalie, “but he had planned a surprise party at my friend’s house with my whole family and a lot of our friends.”
With a little over a year before they’d walk down the aisle, Natalie and Clay hired wedding gurus Jordan Scarleski and Mallory Lester, co-owners of Ashley Lang Events, to plan their big day. Jordan oversees the logistics of events, while Mallory takes over the design side. “Jordan does the nuts and bolts, and I make it pretty,” says Mallory. The planners immediately hit it off with the bride, and this good rapport lasted throughout the entire planning process and wedding day. “The stars aligned, and everything was perfect from the very beginning,” says Mallory. Jordan echoed the sentiment by exclaiming, “We became friends! And she just has such good taste.”
Natalie’s inherent discerning taste — in collaboration with Jordan and Mallory’s expertise — culminated in an event full of style and timeless touches to leave a lasting impression. The green-and-white color scheme began with her bridesmaids’ forest-green dresses and found its way from the invitation suite to the flowers. The reception venue’s green roof even played into the theme, tying it all together into one cohesive celebration.
After the ceremony, 350 guests filtered into the foyer of the Pink Palace for a cocktail hour where flutes clinked with champagne. Themed food tables were set up, including a Memphis station, a carving station (including one with seafood) and a Cajun station. The cake was especially memorable, with each layer offering guests a different flavor. And to top off dessert, ice-cream sandwiches were passed out with each slice. But that’s not even the best part – after breaking a sweat on the dance floor to the soulful sounds of Memphis Soul Revue, everyone was surprised with fast food from Krystal.
All good things must come to an end, and this soirée’s ending featured an exit for the couple that included more guests than Ashley Lang Events had ever seen. “There were maybe 150 people still there, and usually you’d see about half that for this size wedding,” says Mallory, which shows just how hopping this fête really was. After running down the exit aisle beneath ribbon wands and tossed rose petals, the newlyweds waved goodbye from a 1955 Chevy Bel Air. Natalie and Clay set off for a honeymoon in New York City before starting their new life together as Mr. and Mrs. Hefferman.
Thanks for sharing this special day with us, Natalie and Clay, and to Christen Jones Photography for the beautiful photos.
Photography: Christen Jones Photography
Videography: Sami Sue Studios
Ceremony: Holy Rosary Catholic Church
Reception: Pink Palace Museum
Event planning & invitation suite: Jordan Scarleski & Mallory Lester of Ashley Lang Events
Watercolor on invitation suite: Martina Visnjic of Lana Dreams Design
Calligraphy: Beth Mitchell
Catering: Draper’s Catering
Cake: Kipp Holmes of Kipp’s Cakes
Band: Memphis Soul Revue
Photo booth: Memphis Magic Mirror
Rentals: Mahaffey Event & Tent Rentals
Bridal gown: Modern Trousseau Nashville
Bridal Alterations: Orhans Alterations & Tailoring
Groom’s & groomsmen’s attire: American Tuxedo
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaids Memphis
Bride’s earrings: Olive + Piper
Makeup: Kasey Acuff
Hair: Karissa Dickerson
Transportation: Tennessee Limousine Service
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