Taylor Carstens and Josh Kottke’s love story began in the summer of 2013, on the road, of all places. The two became more than acquaintances when Taylor was hired to be the tour manager for the band in which Josh was the drummer. “We spent three months in a van together, which is a really quick way to get to know someone really well and a fun adventure when you constantly get to be around a guy you have a huge crush on,” Taylor reminisces. The two officially began dating in May of 2014, and the rest is history.
After two years of dating, Josh proposed with a plan that Taylor will never forget. “I was leaving work one day downtown, when my manager stopped me on my way out to give me a note,” explains Taylor, of the surprise proposal. “The note said ‘Meet me where we had our first date. There’s a change of clothes and makeup in your car if you’d like.’” Josh had coordinated with Taylor’s boss to have her car moved out of sight so he could put her clothes in it. Taylor changed and headed to Local on Main Street to find Josh at the same table they had their first date, with the same order they enjoyed that first night. “We talked and laughed for a while, of course me knowing what was going to happen, when the waitress brought us another note. This one said, ‘Now let’s go to where we had our last date,’” Taylor adds.
They walked just down the street to Café Keough, a place they frequented together more than any other over the years and the last place they went on a date. “The café was closed, but once they let us in, I was welcomed with candles lit all across the floor and just one table in the middle for us to sit at. The moments that followed, although a blur, were amazing. All I remember is saying ‘yes’ and squealing and then enjoying a glass of wine or two and heading out with my shiny new fiancé.”
For the big day, Taylor and Josh chose to say their “I dos” and celebrate the evening at NOAH’s Event Venue.
Taylor explains that picking the venue was actually the funniest piece of the planning. “I booked NOAH’s Event Venue when it was just a pile of dirt in Germantown!” She had heard they were building a new venue in Memphis, but that it wasn’t completed yet. Since there was also a NOAH’s in Little Rock, the couple went there to see what that one looked like. “That venue was beautiful, and I booked it on good faith with the promise from them that it would be done. Others thought I was crazy for booking a venue that they hadn’t even begun to build three months before the wedding, but it ended up being just perfect!” It was finished in the nick of time, and Taylor was the first bride to use it.
“From the moment I decided I wanted a winter wedding, I knew I wanted to keep everything simple,” Taylor explains of the décor and color scheme. “I had always wanted to have a lot of white décor, as well as having my bridesmaids all wear white. That was probably my favorite detail of the wedding — one that many people said would look odd!” Taylor asked each of her bridesmaids to choose a white dress that they liked.
Taylor and Josh opted to exchange traditional vows. “We originally wanted to write our own, but both of us agreed that we would never be able to condense on our own what we felt for each other and then say those words in front of others without losing it,” says Taylor. “We looked through a handful of traditional vows, and then chose the ones we felt most resonated with us.” And surrounded by friends and family, the couple became Mr. and Mrs. Kottke.
After the ceremony, the guests enjoyed a cocktail hour with simple hors d’oeuvres before the reception. “The cocktail hour was between the actual ceremony and the reception, so Josh and I used this time to actually get to eat dinner and spend a few minutes together as newly married husband and wife before mingling with the guests!” Me & My Tea Room Catering catered the buffet-style meal. “We had brisket, pork tenderloin, a mashed potato bar, a pasta bar, green beans and some other veggies! It was delicious,” says Taylor.
Taylor and Josh’s first dance as newlyweds was to a song called “ILYSB” by some friends of theirs in a band named LANY. “It’s the song that was kind of the soundtrack to the beginning of our relationship and was really special to dance to,” says Taylor. Josh now has those letters tattooed in Taylor’s handwriting under his wedding ring!
Taylor loved every moment of her big day, but one moment she will never forget: “I remember one moment in particular at the reception, where everyone was dancing to ‘September’ by Earth Wind & Fire. I looked around and realized that every person I love was in the same room, and how incredible that was. My heart was the fullest it had ever been, and I felt the epitome of joy.”
We wish Taylor and Josh a lifetime of full hearts and loads of joy!
Venue: NOAH’s Event Venue
Photography: Mary Kate Steele Photography
Bride’s gown: Rivini gown from Maggie Louise Bridal
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Various retailers
Hair & makeup: Karl & Mary Smith
Groom’s formalwear: J.Crew
Invitations, programs and menu cards: Designed by the bride in Photoshop
Flowers: Whole Foods Market
Catering: Me & My Tea Room Catering
Music: It Is Well – Bethel Music (ceremony music for processional)
Cake: Kipp Cakes
Guest accommodations: Hyatt Place Germantown
Additional Photography Location: Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
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