While working at a corporate office in downtown Nashville, Catherine Watkins was quite content to sit alone with a book during her lunch break. Her co-worker Andrew Ainsworth had the same lunch break, but he thought it silly to sit in silence when there were great conversations to be had. And thus began the meet-cute that eventually led Catherine and Andrew down the aisle! From bold and beautiful floral arrangements to emerald accents (including the groom’s suit!) and custom lighting, this is a wedding you’ve got to see.
The engagement story goes a little something like this: It was March 2021, and the happy couple was heading to dinner at Tailor Nashville to celebrate Andrew’s recent promotion. “I’d gone on a walk with a friend earlier that day and complained that Andrew was being really intense about cleaning the house,” explains the bride, “even going as far as hanging curtains we’d been meaning to hang for months!”
Confused at her beau’s sudden insistence on tidying up, Catherine set about getting ready for dinner. “I asked him to lint roll my back since I was wearing a black sweater,” the bride tells us. “When he finished, I turned around, and he was on his knee! We celebrated at dinner, then when we got home, our friends and family were at our house for an engagement party.” The mystery of the cleaning frenzy was solved.
Booking the venue was first on Catherine and Andrew’s agenda, particularly given how busy 2022 was already shaping up to be in the wedding world. They chose September 24, 2022, at Ruby, a soulful boutique event space in Hillsboro Village. Perhaps surprisingly, the bride had never given much thought to her wedding day details — even when she and Andrew were discussing marriage. “I got on Pinterest and started browsing,” she tells us, “and I found myself drawn to bold, moody colors. Andrew was into it, so we just went with it.”
They went on to secure vendors and pinpoint their aesthetic, then reached out to coordinator Audry of Poppy+Co to bring everything to life for the big day. “We booked all the vendors and made design choices but had a month-of coordinator who made it all actually happen,” says Catherine. “There were so many small details that Audry brought up and handled that I would never have thought about. Her experience and help definitely brought the whole thing together.”
Next, the bride set out to find the perfect dress, which wound up being a smoother and quicker process than she anticipated. “I got it at The White Room in Lebanon and found it during my first appointment!” She tells us. “I knew I wanted something romantic and A-line. I also wanted sleeves but wound up having those added on during alterations. My dress had a lot of texture and lace accents.”
In place of a traditional veil, she opted for a pearl and crystal headpiece — a graceful, charming touch. For her jewelry, the bride chose simple pearl drop earrings and a necklace her mom found on Etsy. “Between the headpiece and all the details on the dress, I just wanted something simple for the rest of my jewelry,” she says. “I was afraid of having too much going on.”
When their September nuptials approached, the bride and groom gathered to celebrate with their bridal party and just shy of 100 guests. For Catherine, the day began at a friend’s house in East Nashville, where everyone had their hair done and enjoyed each other’s company. Meanwhile, Andrew and his groomsmen watched football and tackled a few last-minute projects, such as assembling balloons for the wedding reception entrance.
As the ceremony drew closer, the bride and groom met up for first looks, which Catherine was grateful for. “I definitely think it was worth it because we were able to do all our portraits and group photos before the ceremony,” she tells us, “which allowed us to join cocktail hour after the ceremony. It also made it easier, so we didn’t have to sneak around trying to stay out of each other’s sight.”
Additionally, the couple chose to retreat to the bridal suite to exchange personal vows before the ceremony — an opportunity to offer each other intimate life promises outside their traditional vows. “We both liked the idea of saying something personal,” says Catherine, “but I knew there was absolutely no way I’d be able to say something personal at the altar; I would definitely cry (I cried anyway). The private exchange was perfect because we got to say exactly what we wanted, without feeling self-conscious that everyone was watching, and didn’t have to edit anything.”
For the ceremony itself, Catherine and Andrew’s friend, Stephen, officiated. “He was INCREDIBLE,” gushes Catherine. “He took the time to write something super personal, and we were blown away. He had me laughing and crying. My mom said he gave her a glimpse into our lives and relationship that she, and other out-of-town guests, don’t get to see since they don’t live here. It was so special, and we’re so thankful for him!”
Following the ceremony, everyone made their way to a sunset cocktail hour on the patio, where a grand entrance and several signature drinks made a lasting impression. “We didn’t do a big exit,” explains Catherine. “Instead, we did a grand entrance!” The cocktail hour wowed with passed hors d’ oeuvres from Actual Food Catering, such as bacon-wrapped dates and goat cheese crostinis. Not to mention, everyone enjoyed partaking in the three signature cocktails. “Mine was a gin cucumber Collins, which was very popular,” Catherine says. “Andrew’s was a mezcal margarita. The third was a Summer Pounder, a beer topped with Aperol and a lemon slice. We first had them at Inglewood Lounge, which is affiliated with the caterer, Actual Food. It was an easy add since we already had beer … It’s an easy drink, but it feels elevated due to the Aperol.”
For dinner, the bride and groom chose a seated dinner with a staffed buffet serving fig salad, beef tenderloin, vegetable ratatouille, Piri Piri chicken (which, if you’re an Inglewood Lounge fan, you’re undoubtedly familiar with!), and sides of potato and onion gratin, and crispy Brussels sprouts. Once dinner ended, the dance floor became the evening hotspot, as guests moved back and forth between enjoying the live band and taking in the beautiful weather on the patio.
As the evening came to a close, guests lined up outside of the venue to bid farewell to the happy couple. Eager for the festivities to continue, Catherine and Andrew invited guests to their hotel rooftop, where an after-party ensued.
So, what advice does the bride have for those in the throes of wedding planning? “So many people are going to offer you help in any way you need, and you should take them up on that,” says the bride. “My friends were so wonderful and offered help endlessly, and I kept telling them ‘no’ because I felt bad. I eventually gave in, but if I had accepted their offers [in the first place], I would have been a lot less stressed!”
She also praises the benefits of hiring a wedding coordinator. “You might think you don’t need a coordinator, but you do,” Catherine says knowingly. “I had a lot of stress leading up to the day of my wedding, but the moment Audry took over, it was such a relief. I was able to enjoy the day, knowing she and her team had everything handled. Even if you are an incredible planner, having someone else run it on the wedding day is so worth it. I’d have done full planning services if the budget had allowed!”
Congratulations, Catherine and Andrew! And thanks to Lizzy Oakley for the stunning photos.
Ceremony & reception: Ruby
Wedding coordinator: Audry at Poppy+Co
Photographer: Lizzy Oakley Photography
Flowers: Flowers by Rachael
Hair: Kayla Kiser
Bride’s Dress: The White Room
Bride’s shoes: Dolce Vita
Groom’s attire: Loring & Co from Stitch-It & Co.
Invitations: Basic Invite
Catering: Actual Food Catering
Cake: Nashville Sweets
Entertainment: Emerald Empire Band
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