Gatsby Themed Garden Wedding | Lindsay Campbell Photography

When: April 22, 2017 | Where: Franklin, TN | Theme: Spring, Gatsby, Garden, Art Deco | Colors: Navy Blue, Blush, Gold

Today’s couple and wedding style are absolutely WINNING on all levels! From their proposal story (no, really, y’all need to read it!), to their impeccable fashion and a detailed styled gatsby themed garden wedding, Shaunte and Sydney are filling our style appetite to the max!

1920s Gatsby Themed Garden Wedding

“We decided to have a 1920s Great Gatsby wedding. We knew our pictures would look really nice with all our guest in 1920s attire. It also allowed our guest to be creative and have fun with their outfits.

Our colors were navy blue, blush, gold, and cream, a twist to the traditional black and gold Gatsby wedding. Our wedding was called “The Fears Experience”. During the entire planning process we were thinking about ways to create an unforgettable experience for our guest. We decide to go with CJ’s Off the Square because the venue was breathtaking and the staff was very accommodating. Although we were planning our wedding from another state, after our initial conversation with CJ’s, I knew that was the venue for me. Plus the vintage and historical elements of the venue added to our theme.”

Wedding Attire

“We really liked the idea of the bride and groom standing out but wanted to do something different from the traditional all-black wedding party attire. So we decided to have our wedding party in all-navy blue and we were in Ivory.”

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Proposal Story

“Love and its narrative have always been an intriguing topic for me. Love is one of the few, if not the only force outside of the laws of nature that transform instinct into a state of feeling which calls to action the definition of its true meaning. Love creates a binding fabric that is real and observable by pattern yet unavailable for one to actually see or touch…

…So then the beginning dates to the summer of 2008 before I even officially met Shaunte. I was always captivated by the concept of love or more or less inspired by what it compels those to do who inevitably subscribe. I thought of it as an energy that was unlimited and untainted in its pure and divine intent, yet its thorn in the flesh would be the binding earthly circumstances to which it was born.

So, that summer of 2008, I wrote a poem that was entitled, “When the Sunset Meets the Moonlight”. I told myself I would read it to my future wife, and I so happened to share the poem with Shaunte that fall of 2009. I guess that’s how this ship sets sail… After about a 6 year relationship, 3.5 years of which were long distance—from the point of my graduating from the University of Tennessee to the point Shaunte graduated and moved to Dallas,TX— one can empathize with how my heart became sincere with the vision to propose.

The time was finally here; at last we were in the same city. I was in my last semester of graduate school and the timing was perfect. I saved up and settled with a beautiful ring. The center stone was an elongated pear which was rich in meaning analogous to Shaunte’s personality— traditional yet not defined to tradition, romantic but daring, and tasteful yet trend-setting. I had the vision and I had the ring and by Thanksgiving of 2015, I formally asked Shaunte’s father and mother a blessing upon my intent to marry her. So by then, I had the vision; I had the ring; I had the blessing; now all I needed was a plan to consolidate them all.

It was coming up on our 6th dating anniversary in the winter, so I planned for the engagement to be on Friday, January 15th, a day after our dating anniversary on a beautiful gondola ride Las Colinas, TX. Shaunte, who for months had been eager to find clues of possible ideas of a proposal, would think it was just to celebrate our anniversary, but she had no idea. I had the vision; I had the ring; I had the blessing; I had the plan; now I had to put it into action and pray for great weather.

I met Shaunte at her apartment around 3:30 pm with a big bouquet of balloons. I was extremely nervous, but as we got in the car I calmly said “Happy Anniversary,” and she just smiled. At this point, she had no idea where we were going. When I told her about the date, I kept the location a surprise. After about 30 min we arrived to a restaurant known as the Avocado grill. She was a little confused as we walked in, but I excused myself to the restroom as I secretly went through the back of the restaurant to talk to the gondolier and manager. I came back and said “We are going to cut through this restaurant, it’s a shortcut to where we are going.”

When we walked out the back of the restaurant a guy, who was soon realized to be the gondolier, welcomed and invited us to the gondola. We set sail into the canals of Las Colinas as if were in Italy, while being served fresh sparkling cider and appetizers. The gondolier rowed the boat upward and started singing sweet, romantic songs (not limited to a great rendition of Georgia by Ray Charles) and the sun began to slowly set. We could not help but to be happily entangled in the moment, thinking and talking about all our memories and how that we were finally together again.

As the gondolier continued down the canals, he made a right turn into an opening where we could see a beautiful waterfall beside us. As he turned around in the waterfall area, we instantly started taking pictures. It was the perfect back drop. As we were returning into the canals, the gondolier said to Shaunte, “In a few minutes, I am going to need you to pick up something out the water.” Not understanding him, she gave him a confused look and asked, “You want me to reached down in this water and grab what?”

At this point, we were approaching an object in the water (which the gondolier had placed there beforehand) and he directed her to pick it up. She slowly realized it was a glass bottle with a scroll of paper in the inside. She picked the bottle up and opened it to find 6 questions I had written about our relationship, which is an informal tradition we have done for our anniversaries; however, the last questions read, “What poem did I write that I read to you” and “Who is that poem ultimately for?” As she answered the last questions, I could tell her mind was fixated in a realm I will never forget. “I wrote this poem eight years ago for my future wife”, I told her.

She knew the poem was for her, but her excitement was bound by question. She wanted to believe, yet it was too good to be true. It was as if hope was at the tip of her tongue yet no words had been spoken to declare her joy; so she sat in anticipation.

I manned up and began to recite my poem from memory, it was like a force was moving in me, I was calm and collected and I could feel her gazing at me as the gondola pushed forward. The canal began to open up into a breezeway where the breadth of Lake Carolyn was visible in the front. The sun had begun to settle and the reflection of the water danced as if it were all park of the act. I stood up and proclaimed more passionately the words that were materializing in front of our very eyes. As I was finishing the poem I stood her up, got down on one knee and said, “Shaunte Hunter, we’ve come a long way…I want to be with you forever, will you marry me?”

She was still in shock and I remember I was nervous the ring was going to fall into the water; however, when I opened the box and revealed the ring she shouted with much exhilaration “Yes Mudder!” (Mudder being one of the many ‘lovey dovey’ names she has given me). It was perfect.

To top off her moment of euphoria, after we exited from the gondola area, we drove around for her final surprise, to meet her parents I had fly out to Dallas early that morning. She jumped into their arms and continued her celebration of joy. We all then rode to together to enjoy dinner at Five Sixty in the Dallas Reunion Tower. It was a great ending to an unforgettable moment. It was magical; it was splendid; it was perfect.

The day of my engagement declared to me that design plays a big part in our destiny, but that design is both tangible and eternal as we live and act it out and as God does the things we cannot. So then, as the Sun takes its seat beneath the clouds, just as I took my resting knee; and the moon radiates downward with unparalleled beauty; with my request and her acceptance we both rose and fell in a leap of faith, so that Shaunte and I can dance forever and ever…” – Sydney

Wedding Planning Advice

“It’s your day and it only happens once in your lifetime…So do what makes you happy for the perfect moments. Don’t let anyone influence your decisions for your special day.”


Photography: Lindsay Campbell Photography | Ceremony Venue: CJ’s Off the Square | Reception Venue: CJ’s Off the Square | Floral: Enchanted Florist Nashville | Stationery: paper affair dallas | Wedding Cake: wolfe gormet cakes | Videography: John Jordan Films | Linens: CJ’s Off the Square | Photo Booth: premier nashville | Makeup: winks and kisses | Painter: Joy Varnell Live Event Artist | Transportation: grand avenue nashville | Wedding Dress: Mori Lee | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaid Dresses: Hayley Paige | Veil: David’s Bridal | Wedding Dress: Sherri Hill

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