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Real Wedding | Carly + Connor

Tell us a little about yourselves!

We met back in high school as acquaintances, but it wasn’t until 2017 that our story really began. I was living with our mutual friend Drew, Connor would come over to our apartment to hang out with him. Connor would share his interest in me and Drew would give the same answer he told all guys “you don’t have a chance.” That was definitely the case up until one fateful memorial day lake trip, where Connor finally caught my eye out on the dock with his sense of humor and smile. When Connor sought Drew’s opinion yet again, before he could finish his sentence Drew stated, “she’s into it.” We were inseparable from that weekend on.

One of those relationships that forms so naturally, you have to go back and decide on your anniversary date after the fact. For all the ways we are polar opposites, we share a common love of raunchy humor, always being right and road trips. All the ways we are opposites helps to create a balance in our relationship, that allows each of us to take charge respectively in our strengths as individuals. Carly is the dreamer, always thinking of her next project and our next trip. She is always dreaming bigger for the two of us. She is creative and an artist at heart, but can’t choose one medium to stick with. She is kind and compassionate, going out of her way to help others whenever she can. She has been vegan for 8 years. Connor is the jokester, always cracking jokes and inspiring laughter. He is very logical and straightforward, some might call brutally honest. He loves music, is passionate about his growing vinyl collection and gaming. Throughout our relationship, one of our favorite things to do together is travel. During the pandemic, we made a switch to spontaneous day road trips that landed us back home by end of day. We love disconnecting from the world, to get to talk, jam out to music together, as well as see some amazing sights in the process. We share a love of music and have started a vinyl collection this last year, most evenings we spend curled up on the couch, listening to our records and conversing. We celebrated each of our anniversaries at Boulevard Brewing Co. with a pint and photostrip, up until the pandemic so we have a gap for 2020 and 2021. We were stoked when we found out the brewery we were stopping at on our wedding day had a photobooth to start the tradition back up on our new anniversary date. We adopted our dog JJ (Jamison Jethro Hays) back in September 2019 and he is the center of our world as an opinionated, personality filled bulldog-hound mix. He was front and center during Connor’s proposal, very confused as to why no one was paying attention to him. Connor threw a New Years’ Eve party with our immediate family and popped the question at the end of the evening. It was a beautiful way to end 2019 and a great way to start off 2020. Though the fun of planning a wedding quickly dissipated as the lockdowns began and pandemic continued on.

Why did you decide to get married where you did?

We chose to get married at Whittier Mill Village Park because of the historical brick buildings located in the park. Connor’s dad is a brick mason and he works alongside his father as an admin, while Carly has always admired stone homes and old architecture. It was recommended by our Maid of Honor and once seeing pictures we knew it would be the perfect backdrop.We actually didn’t see the park until the day before our wedding when we went to scope out the exact spot for the ceremony.

How many guests did you have?

We only invited our wedding party for our elopement for a total of just seven guests. We always knew we wanted a small wedding and even considered eloping just the two of us, but we couldn’t imagine the day without our best friends and knew they would help make it the best day of our lives.

Tell us about your outfits.

We both lean towards a timeless style but with unconventional twists that reflect us. Connor went with a navy blue as it compliments his ginger complexion, he chose a textured pant to help him stand out and break from a traditional matched suit look.

Achieving a timeless look for myself was a little more difficult, being heavily tattooed, I did not want them to distract from my bridal look. I chose a long sleeve with a deep V-neck and a leg slit from ASOS. This helped me to cover my back piece, while still having features that made me feel sexy. Though timeless and classic is my favorite style, I do have a love for the seventies flare - and knew I wanted to wear gold heels for a pop of personality. I also wore a hair piece as something blue and wore my maid of honors’ wedding earrings, as my something borrowed. Every detail came together, even better than we had imagined, on the big day.

What was the most important aspect for you, in terms of planning your wedding?

We had considered so many different types of weddings throughout our planning talks, the two things that remained true in our planning was we wanted a destination wedding and an intimate ceremony that would allow us to be ourselves. We wanted our wedding day to be an unforgettable experience but still be low-key, relaxed and pressure-free to allow us and our guests to fully enjoy the day. We were offered a farm to have our wedding locally in Kansas City with no cost to us, so we booked our wedding photographer for a traditional wedding in October of 2022. Over the 2021 holidays we realized we weren’t excited for a big traditional wedding, even if the venue was free. After months (and years) of not making any more forward progress on planning, we started to ask ourselves why we found even thinking about that wedding to be stressful. Ultimately we are an unconventional couple, that aren’t big on traditions, which lead to us always considering eloping in the back of our minds.

Once we realized Connor’s grandfather’s 100th birthday was coming up, on Tuesday February 22nd, 2022, a rare opportunity was being presented to us. What were the odds we would be able to get married on that date? It felt like it was meant to be, as 22 was a lucky number for both of our families. In December 2021, our photographer reached out to meet and talk more about the big day. We met on 1/2 for coffee and asked if Tarmine Guichette would be willing to adjust her wedding package to be able to travel with us for an elopement. Luckily she was able to!

From that day on all of our planning fell into place and we were able to quickly make all the decisions we needed to after years of being indecisive. This just made it even clearer that eloping was the right choice for us. We chose Atlanta, as it was our favorite city we’d previously visited together. Luckily my Maid of Honor lives there, so she was able to help us in the planning, locally. We were able to make all of our plans ahead of time, with a loose timeline that was sent out to our guests in advance. Any loose ends we tied up once arriving in Atlanta the weekend prior. We truly went into the week believing everything would fall into place and trusting that this was so right, nothing could go wrong.

As a bit of a perfectionist, we both knew this was the type of day that would allow Carly to enjoy it without stressing over every little detail being exactly right. Our friends thought of any details we didn’t consider on the spot, such as the flower petal aisle. The full day of events: We grabbed coffee at Black Coffee ATL on our way to the courthouse to get our marriage license the morning of. Once we got back to our AirBnb we had pastries with our guests and then split off to get ready. The women got ready at the AirBnb, while the guys were able to get ready at the MOH’s house. We did our own hair and makeup for the day, then grabbed an Uber to meet the guys at Whittier Mill Park for the ceremony. As they finished setting up, I waited at the entrance of the park and received congratulations from those walking in the park that afternoon. My MOH helped me walk out to the ceremony spot and walked down the aisle to one of our favorite songs “O.T.D.” by Brad Stank. The ceremony started out overcast and the sun came out during the middle of our vows. We finished off the ceremony and celebrated officially being married to “You and Me” by MEUTE.

From the park we went to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to take photos and explore as a group. After spending the afternoon in awe of the gardens, we made a pit stop at Best End Brewing Company for celebratory drinks. We were excited to see they had a photobooth, as this had been an anniversary tradition for us prior to the pandemic, so we were able to get a photostrip for our new anniversary. After finishing up a round of drinks, we went back to the AirBnb for a private dinner by Nisha’s Soul Food Kitchen. It was the best meal of our lives and such a cool experience to get back to the house and dinner was ready. We made infused simple syrups in tincture bottles so we could experiment with different mule drinks with dinner. Once dinner concluded we got changed into comfy clothes and made crepes ourselves, as this is our favorite late night snack and was the perfect dessert as non-cake people. We made a toast at 22:22 as we were finishing up dessert. Ending the night listening to records and playing games as a group. It was the low-pressure day we had wanted, filled with so much love and laughter! The following day was rainy and we spent the morning listening to records, conversing and enjoying each other's company. It was such an amazing trip and we are so grateful to get this time with our friends. It felt surreal to have this experience, after a long 2 year and 2 month engagement (and a pandemic) we were finally married! We were ready to be married and it felt like all the stars aligned for us to have such a special day.

Were there any elements that were important for you to incorporate?

With our family not being present at our wedding, we decided to incorporate items into our day that would honor and represent our love for them. We chose our wedding date as a way to honor Connor’s family, as it would have been his grandfathers’ 100th birthday. We also included wood photo boards his mom had made for us previously. Carly wore her mom’s wedding dress to the courthouse the morning of the wedding to get our marriage license. I lost my dad when I was 15, which made it difficult for me to ever look forward to my wedding day after that. I just imagined walking down the aisle on my own and dreaded the sorrow that would come with that moment. I chose to honor my dad on our day by wearing one of his mechanic shirts to get ready in, in lieu of a robe. I felt him with me so strongly that day getting ready and I am so proud to say I was excited to get to walk down the aisle and I felt no sadness going into that moment, which I had always dreaded. Though unconventional, we did do one tradition - Both of my parents’ items were my something old, while my hairpiece was my something new and blue, and I wore my best friend Emily’s wedding earrings as my something borrowed. From the start of our planning it was important to us to support black/POC artists and creatives, as weddings are such a huge expense we wanted to be mindful in our choice of vendors. With our switch to a February wedding, it became even more meaningful that we were able to support a majority black businesses on our wedding day. With our love of road trips, we wanted to make sure to incorporate this into our elopement. On the trip back, we made a pit stop in Louisville to visit my brother and share the news in person. After spending a day with him we drove the rest of the way back to KC and stopping by our parents to break the big news!

Any tips for couples getting married, particularly during the pandemic?

Everyone says it, but do what makes you happy! It’s difficult to plan a wedding, but even more so one you’re not excited for and something that isn’t you. It may be difficult to let others down, but letting yourself down shouldn’t be an option on your big day. The people who love and support you will understand your decision because your happiness will make it clear that your decision was the right one for you. Others’ expectations surrounding your day should not impact your decisions and choices. This is the start of your marriage and ultimately, it comes down to what is best for you as a couple. Don’t stress the details - your day will be perfect as long as you have found your person. Knowing and believing in that fact is all you really need come wedding day. As I was freaking out the night before about making sure we would have everything we needed, I was given the reality check I needed at that moment and hopefully you enjoy this advice as much as I did. So remember: “Don’t let anyone else ruin your day. It’s YOUR day. Ruin it yourself.” No one has the power to ruin your day but yourself, so make sure to allow yourself to be present in the moment and sit squarely in your joy for the day. Choose present over perfection, for yourself and your own happiness.

Are there any vendors that you would like to tell us a little more about?

Our photographer, Tarmine Guichette, went above and beyond for us. She worked with us in changing our wedding to an out-of-state elopement and arrived early to help us scope out the ceremony location. We were lucky enough to have Tarmine stay at the AirBnb with us. That way, she was a part of the entire experience! She captured every moment we could have wanted and she captured us in a way that felt so natural and organic. She is truly an amazing artist and captured our day in such a unique way.

As a fellow artist I could not be more in love with our wedding photos. Our wedding photos are truly works of art, it has made it extremely difficult to choose photos to print as we love them all. Tarmine brought a polaroid camera to capture our day on film in a artistic, candid way, which was such a thoughtful touch. We are so grateful to have had her document our day so perfectly and to have her be such a big part of our celebration!

Photographer : Tarmine Guichette @tarmineguichette | Ceremony Location : Whittier Mill Village Park | Reception Location : ATL AirBnb @boutiquebnb_peerspace | Photo Location : Atlanta Botanical Gardens @atlbotanical | Flora : Idlewild Floral @idlewildfloral | Catering + Beverages : Nisha’s Soul Food Kitchen @Nishas_soul_food_kitchen | Carly's Dress : ASOS @asos | Connor's Suit : Mens Warehouse @menswearhouse (Shirt/Tie/Jacket) + Moss London (Pants @mossbros) | Engagement Ring + Carly's Wedding Ring : NY Fine Jewelry @nyfinejewelry | Connor's Wedding Ring : Thorum @thorumco | Carly's Shoes : Sam Edelman @sam_edelman | Connor's Shoes : Fortune from Liberty Shoes @libertyshoesltd | Garter : AnnaBridalBoutique on Etsy | Hairpiece : JM Jewelry Shop


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