Brandy & Robert’s Falling Waters Lodge Wedding
Today’s wedding completely celebrates the love between the bride, the groom, and their beautiful horse — a very important family member who Brandy had known since she was 16. Wearing a garland of flowers around her neck, “flower girl” Joy trotted down the aisle, taking her beloved Brandy on her back to meet and join hearts with the eagerly waiting Robert. There is so much more to their story which you will definitely hear about from the bride herself later. Meanwhile, please enjoy their love and the beautiful scenery as captured by Steffi Smith of Cariad Photography.
I think no one is better suited to talk about this lovely wedding and their EPIC back story than the bride herself, right? So… over to you, Brandy!
I’d say our theme was country, outdoor, mountain, horsey……we just tried to put all the things into it that we liked. We had our cold drinks iced down in whiskey barrels, for example. Country cooking was on the menu. We both grew up in Stone Mountain back when it was still sort of country. We have an appreciation for small-town living and enjoy the outdoors. We absolutely did not want a common wedding. We wanted it to make a statement about who we are, our love, and what is important to us as a couple.
We both sat down and made our separate lists for the type of wedding we wanted. We then got together and shared our lists. We both wanted my horse, Joy, to be an integral part of the wedding. We decided I would ride her “down the aisle” with my Dad leading her. She was my flower girl complete with a garland of flowers around her neck. After the ceremony, I would remount and my husband, Bob, would lead me out on her. She is part of our family. I’ve known her for 16 years and she is definitely like my child.
My husband and I met in the 6th grade. I actually still have the majority of the notes we swapped as children and teenagers. I had his handwritten note (folded in the crazy way kids fold notes to each other) where he asked me to “go with him” in 6th grade. I flattened it out, laminated it, and had it on display in a 2-sided frame at the wedding. We “went together” and/or dated off and on through 7th grade and then on and off again in high school. I still remember being 15 years-old and seeing him walk into the lunch room and my heart would skip. In my soul, I knew he was the one for me. However, after graduation, we started college and lost touch. Our lives went in different directions, but I never forgot him. A little over 10 years ago, he saw my name on an interoffice envelope. It turned out we worked for the same large company. He contacted me and we re-friended. He is a avid motorcyclist and racer and he’s taught me to ride motorcycles and I now have my license. I’ve ridden horses for most of my life and he has encouraged that passion of mine and is learning all he can about horse care. We’ve also run 3 half-marathons together and numerous 5k and 10k races. He encouraged me to race since I’ve run for many years. I then got him interested in it once he saw how much fun it could be. We’ve run races in Georgia, Virginia, Florida, Alabama, and South Carolina. I’m reminded of a somewhat cliché’ quote: “If you love something set it free, if it comes back to you it’s yours… if it doesn’t it was never meant to be.” We let each other go… and we both came back. I am so blessed to be married to my best friend and soul mate.
I wore my favorite cowboy boots that I bought on a trip to Nashville for Bob’s birthday a few years ago. I had no idea at the time that I’d be married in them later. We did write our own vows and Bob’s vows were the most amazing vows ever. If you watch the video trailer, you will hear part of them. They make me cry every time I watch.
I met my horse, Joy, a just turned 3-year old when I was offered the ride on her from a friend at the time. I had owned horses for most of my life and decided I would do it the less-stressful way and just ride other people’s animals. I had no intention of owning another horse. After 5 months of riding Joy and seeing how special she was, that friend decided to sell her… to someone else. There was no way I was going to let that happen. I couldn’t let her get away from me. She was and is that special. I made an offer and she became mine. We showed in the hunters for years with numerous wins and championships at both local and rated shows. She is so smart. She just loves to be the center of attention and that is how I bestowed her with her registered name, Enjoy The Spotlight. I have known many other horses in my life and ridden since the age of 10. I have never come across a horse like this. Personality to boot.
She was supposed to be my “forever horse”. I was never going to let her go. Sadly, however, sometimes life changes and requires us to make decisions we don’t want to make. It broke my heart. When she was 9, I sold her to a (carefully-screened) woman who would later become my friend, Melanie. Melanie was my Matron of Honor.
I kept in touch while Melanie had her and would go and visit and ride Joy. For most of 2010 and 2011, I had been going regularly. Melanie had acquired other horses and also had Joy’s only baby, so she was happy to have someone spend more time with Joy.
Last December 22, I was on a vacation day from work and was spending the afternoon at the barn. Bob (Robert), my boyfriend, surprised me by dropping by for a visit. After going out to lunch, we returned to the barn to finish up. While I was grooming, he asked me to be his wife right there in front of Joy. He said he didn’t know what kind of ring I liked, so he said he got a simple carat ring. He opened the box and it was a carrot made of leather on a key chain. It was so funny. Of course, I accepted! Then Joy sneezed all over him and it was sealed. We both carry a carrot key chain on our keys ring. He surprised me with a dinner at the Ritz downtown that night and he actually had a real ring with him and surprised me with it in front of the Christmas tree there.
Two days later, on Christmas Eve, we made our trip to the barn to give the horses their treats and spend some pre-holiday time. Joy wasn’t in her paddock. Very odd because she’s always in her paddock during the day in the winter. Thinking something might be wrong, I went to check her stall in the barn. There she was… with a big gold bow around her neck. A stocking on her door held a carefully penned and heartfelt note from Melanie telling me she was “returning Joy to my care” as an engagement present. She said it was about the circle of life. I cried. Bob cried. Melanie cried. Her husband, Danny, cried. Very emotional. Turned out Bob had known because Melanie had told him what she wanted to do after we told her about the engagement and she wanted to make sure the timing was right. He said it was. I couldn’t believe I got both my babies in one weekend. I gave my parents a stuffed horse on Christmas Day with a card from Joy telling them their granddaughter had come home. This horse is special to all of us.
Joy truly has come “home”. Melanie and Danny took really good care of her during a time when I couldn’t and I’m so grateful to have her back.
We were very selective about the venue. It had to have a barn to accommodate her and we wanted a quaint outdoor ceremony in the country. When we found Falling Waters with the giant gates to make my entrance through and a lake to be married in front of, we were sold. It was perfect. We kept my horse’s participation a secret from everyone except my Mom and Dad, Matron of Honor, Best Man and the vendors. Nobody knew she was on the property or that I was riding until the gates opened. The overall response from guests was that they had never been to a wedding quite like it. We were just doing what was important to the two of us and we didn’t compromise on what we wanted.
My Dad handmade the majority of the wedding signs and routed our names and wedding date into a tree slice to hold the wedding cake. My parents went above and beyond on helping us make this a wedding to remember. A lot of the special little accents we put together ourselves. They saw our vision and embraced it. My Dad also made the heart –shaped tree slices that say Bride and Groom at the end of the video trailer
Parting advice for those of you planning your wedding:
It is your wedding. Do it the way YOU want. Don’t try to please anyone but you and your future husband. You cannot start your planning too early. Even if you have all the time in the world, you will still be racing at the end. You will get tired and frustrated, but keep working until you get it the way you want it!
Every vendor was fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about Steffi and Laura. Harriet and Tim at Green Gables were so wonderful to work with. Paul and Elaine at WOW. Roger Patterson at Falling Waters was a Godsend.
Thank you so much Steffi for sending this beautiful celebration my way, and congratulations Brandy and Robert! Here’s wishing you two (and Joy!) a lifetime of wedded bliss!
Photographer: Cariad Photography
Catering/Event Planning: Green Gables Events (catering/flowers/day-of-wedding coordinator/tents/benches/chairs/tables…everything that didn’t already belong to venue). Tim and Harriett Williams Day-of-Wedding Coordinator: Harriett Williams from Green Gables Events
Venue: Falling Waters Mountain Lodge (Bride’s note: Roger Patterson is the Innkeeper and was enormously helpful with the process!)
Videographer: Walk On Water Productions (WOW) , Paul and Elaine Larson.
Bridal shop: Wedding Angels
Hair Stylist: Susannah Ash
Makeup Artist: Alicia Davis
DJs: The TC Show (theTCshow@gmail.com)
Officiant: Diane Veach
Image submission via Two Bright Lights