After meeting at The University of Alabama, working side-by-side as bartenders and forming a solid friendship, Kathleen Strawn and Thomas Williams’ relationship shifted gears. Just a few months prior to Kathleen’s graduation, she started dating Thomas, who is a year her junior. While Thomas stayed in Tuscaloosa, Kathleen made her way back to Nashville, where she was born and raised, and they spent the next year in a long-distance relationship. Four years later, they hosted a wedding that was a stunning illustration of family traditions and love. Find the details of their nuptials below.
Thomas eventually made his way to Nashville, and in the fall of 2013, he asked Kathleen to be his wife. Thanks to the help of Kathleen’s sister, he was able to put on a production with candles and music to surprise Kathleen with the big question. Totally elated and in a state of glee, the couple celebrated the engagement with friends and family. The first step in planning the wedding was selecting a date that neither conflicted with the Alabama football schedule nor the availability of their venue of choice, Scarritt Bennett. Thankfully, September 6 fit the bill, as Alabama was playing a small school and Thomas, a die-hard Alabama fan, was willing to sit this game out. Kathleen attributes this to the stars aligning, and her dreams of a Nashville fall wedding began to take shape.
On September 6, 2014, Kathleen, in a customized Romano Keveza gown with Monique Lhuillier tulle skirt, walked down the aisle in Wightman Chapel, the largest chapel at Scarritt Bennett. Many of the thoughtful details surrounding the wedding stemmed from Kathleen’s desire to embrace the traditional. “I preached from the very beginning that I was traditional and wanted everything to follow that same path,” Kathleen shares. Keeping with this motif, the couple refrained from seeing or speaking to each other the day of the wedding. Once the ceremony commenced, a string quartet played traditional wedding music, and the couple exchanged very traditional vows. Two hundred and seventy-five of their dearest family and friends watched as they became husband and wife under the blessing of Kathleen’s childhood pastor.
The importance of food fell second to the importance of tradition. Kathleen filled us in on the family’s commitment to food: “Our story is unique, in that my parents are caterers and in the event business. So, of course, they catered our wedding. My parents own a few restaurants, and so the food was never a question.” That said, the food decisions were left in her parents’ hands, and the couple was not disappointed. During the cocktail hour, which was held at Grace’s Plaza, guests were treated to passed appetizers of crab cakes and fried green tomatoes. Following the cocktail hour, everyone ascended the winding staircase to the second floor for dinner and the cake cutting. The food table was center stage, and there were additional food stations off to the side. The assortment of food included, but was not limited to, a pasta station, fruit and cheese, a beef tenderloin carving station and the seafood station, which served crab claws, shrimp and oysters. “I still hear about the seafood station!” Kathleen laughs.
The chapel was decorated with white flowers and garland, and the dinner venue was piped and draped, and Oriental rugs graced the floors. Large flower arrangements acted as the centerpieces for the food table, and garland from the church adorned scattered bistro tables. The rooftop, where the band played, was tented and offered soft seating, huge balloons, bistro tables and a dance floor. After the newlyweds enjoyed their first dance to James Morrison’s “You Make It Real” (the song which was playing during Thomas’ proposal), the crowd braved the heat and hit the dance floor. Thanks to a few fans and no shortage of drinks, the party lasted well into the night.
Kathleen and Thomas, thanks for sharing your special day with us. We wish you the best as you continue to build your life in Nashville!
Photography: Joe Hendricks
Church: Scarritt Bennett
Venue: Grace’s Plaza
Bride’s Gown: Romona Keveza gown, Monique Lhuillier Tulle Skirt, Ivory & White, Birmingham, AL
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jim Hjelm, Bella Bridesmaids Nashville
Hair & Makeup: Katie Russo Beauty
Tuxedos: Jos. A. Bank
Flowers: Mack & Kate’s
Catering: Mack & Kate’s
Cake: Julia’s Bakery
Band: The Erik Blue Band (through Prime Source Entertainment Group)
Getaway Car: Grand Avenue
Wedding Planner: Jayne Bubis Events
Rentals: Classic Party Rentals