Newlywed portraits in North Georgia venue. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

June 14, 2023

How to Plan an Elegant European-Style Wedding in North Georgia | Claire + Andre

Can you think of anything more romantic than a beautiful destination wedding in Europe? There is something alluring about the old world majesty and elegant beauty of a quaint English countryside, a grand Spanish villa, or a warm Tuscan vineyard that is just quintessentially romantic. However, for many couples living stateside, whether it’s because of budgeting or travel limitations, planning a European wedding is something that they can only dream about. Luckily, with a bit of creativity and planning, it’s fully possible to recreate the timeless elegance of a European-style wedding right here in the States.

Newlywed portraits in North Georgia venue. Photo by OkCrowe Photography.

Finding a Slice of Tuscany in Georgia

No matter where you are in Europe, each country comes with its own distinct legacy and unique history that creates a particular atmosphere that can be hard to find here in the States. For Claire and Andre, they wanted to bring the feeling of an elegant vineyard in the idyllic Tuscan countryside to their wedding in their home state of Georgia. 

When it comes to planning a European-style wedding, the first thing you’ll want to think about is your venue. Your venue is what sets the tone for the rest of your wedding. The feeling of walking through the pathways of a Spanish villa is going to be very different from the sophisticated air of an English garden. As you’re looking for a venue for your European-style wedding, you’ll want to find a location that features the particular characteristics that you’re looking for. 

Because Claire and Andre wanted an elegant vineyard wedding, they searched for a venue that would transport them to the rustic beauty of Tuscany. After some search, this Atlanta couple found the Enchanted Garden at the Venue at Lilly Lou’s. Although technically not a vineyard, the lush greenery surrounding the open-air tent with low hanging trees and crawling ivy evoked a similar look and feel to a vineyard’s bountiful grape vines. Meanwhile, the natural landscape of nearby mountains and rolling valleys added to the Tuscan atmosphere.

Styling the Perfect Wedding Dress

When it comes to fashion, many European brides have the remarkable ability to look effortlessly stylish while giving off a seemingly natural air of timeless romance. Luckily, Claire is no beginner when it comes to the world of fashion. Because of her work as a fashion designer in Atlanta and just as she did for their engagement session, Claire styled her dress herself and was able to add her own unique touches to create a bridal look worthy of a European wedding. 

During the hunt for the perfect dress, Claire realized that in order to find something that fully matched her style, she would have to design it herself. She started by choosing a wedding dress from a sample sale as the base of her design. The dress she chose had plenty of classic elements to it, with clean lines and pleating and a long, flowing train. Claire did all of her own alterations, and using inspiration from the classic beauty of European styles, she crafted a one-of-a-kind wedding dress that fully reflected her artistic taste. 

On the morning of their wedding, Claire and her bridesmaids got ready in a suite in the Read House in downtown Chattanooga while Andre and his groomsmen played pool in the lounge. With some help from her mom and maid of honor, Claire stepped into her custom gown. With neutral makeup to delicately accentuate her natural features and her hair styled loose in cascading waves, Claire’s final wedding day look was simple yet refined. Two small flower-shaped earrings were her only jewelry, and a long, chapel-length veil gave her an extra bit of elegance and drama. Her bouquet of blooming white flowers and flourishing greenery was the perfect final touch to her classic look. 

A Dreamy Old World European Ceremony

Once Claire, Andre, and their entire wedding party were ready, they traveled the short 25 minute drive from the hotel to their venue for their ceremony and reception. Even though they weren’t able to find an actual vineyard for their venue, the Enchanted Gardens at Lilly Lou’s was the next best thing. 

Both their ceremony and reception were held beneath in the open-air tent. With the entire garden surrounded by bright greenery and sprinkled with twinkling lights, it was easy to forget where you were and simply feel transported to another world. Tree branches hung low, reaching toward the frame of the tent to cast the ceremony space in a cool shade while bistro lights and rustic chandeliers sparkled overhead. The large backdrop of aged wood created the look and feel of a rustic wine cellar – the perfect touch for a dreamy European-style ceremony. 

Andre waited by an intricate arbor overflowing with cascading white flowers and greens that complemented the neutral colors of the ceremony space, accentuating the place where he and Claire would finally say their I Do’s. Guided by her father, Claire made her way through the manicured stone pathways weaving through the trees to the end of the ceremony aisle. 

Because the couple had chosen not to have a first look prior to their ceremony, the moment Claire appeared in the distance was the first time Andre saw her in all of her wedding day beauty. Immediately, his expression changed from solemn anticipation to a huge watery smile that never left from the moment Claire entered the tent to the moment they had their first kiss as husband and wife. 

Dinner and Dancing in a Vineyard-Inspired Reception

After their ceremony, Claire and Andre gathered with their friends and family to make sure they got pictures with all of their guests who made the two-hour trip from Atlanta to Trenton to celebrate with them. The garden area of the venue was a beautiful location for all of their portraits with their loved ones, wedding party, and, of course, their stunning newlywed shots.  And while portrait sessions were taking place, guests moved to the side patio for cocktail hour so venue staff could transform the ceremony space into a beautiful reception area. 

If there’s one thing that a European wedding reception definitely needs, it’s an elegant, romantic tablescape. Claire and Andre had chosen a classic color palette of white and pale sage green. For their reception, long, family-style tables were set up with billowing, floor-length white tablecloths. Brushed gold chairs complemented the neutral tones of the venue and were repeated on the table through gold tableware and glittering chargers, and pale green napkins added a hint of color. However, for a truly Tuscan feel at your reception, candles and candlelight are a must. 

Candles are the perfect way to create an old world European vibe. Instead of the usual floral centerpieces you normally find at weddings, Claire and Andre opted for hundreds of pillar candles instead. Rows upon rows of candles of all different heights sat in elegant glass holders down the center of each table. As night fell, the glittering of the candles cast a lovely romantic ambiance throughout the entire reception. 

After dinner was served and the dance floor opened, Claire changed out of her wedding dress into a glittering white party dress to dance the night away. The romantic vineyard atmosphere became charged with an air of celebration and fun as this beautiful couple enjoyed the cool night dancing with their family and friends and basking in the joy of their new marriage. 

Newlywed outdoor nighttime portraits in a North Georgia wedding venue. Photo by OkCrowe Photography. 

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