Cody and Raven’s Knoxville wedding at the stunning Dara’s Garden was full of the fun you hope for on a wedding day. The weather was perfect, too. Periods of warm sun amidst a sky full of summery storm clouds and a day that ended with a little sprinkle during a quick blue hour sneak away with the bride and groom. And Dara’s Garden is one of those venues where you drive in and immediately notice just how many little nooks there are to get lost in. Shady spots with bright pink azaleas, fragrant walkways of purple irises and garden roses, gazebos and pagodas with ornate trees, little arbors and bridges tucked away by the creek that runs through the property… All sorts of other little details. Dara’s is located on an old marble quarry and its character just grabs ahold of you and makes you want to linger just a little while longer – it’s truly one of those spots MADE for a spring wedding. Planning a Knoxville wedding was the best way to get their families and friends from all over to be able to attend, and Dara’s Garden was truly the most beautiful way to leave an impression.
I met Cody and Raven for the first time in February of 2017 for their engagement session at Yorktown Beach here in Virginia, right after I had finished PT for a shoulder injury. They were the first couple I’d photographed after my accident, and it was such a blessing! They were so laid back and had such a great chemistry, that I’d completely forgotten just how scared I was to lift my arm holding my equipment. Cody was about to be deployed with the Navy, and their engagement session was the sweetest way for them to make memories before he left. Raven had met Cody through a friend in 2015, and after a night spent walking the shore in Virginia Beach, they began dating shortly after. When it came time for the proposal, Raven had planned a night to stay in Chicago while they were visiting Cody’s family in Illinois over New Years. She had made plans for the day, but the finicky Chicago winter had other plans. It was a rainy, foggy winter night, and Raven had planned to go to famous Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower for those of you who know it by that name, which overlooks the entire city. Cody had planned to propose at the Willis, but Raven jokes that she ruined his plan by saying it was pointless with all the fog. After few drinks at a local bar, though, Cody asked Raven if she’d like to go sightseeing, in the rain, with his friend and girlfriend who had come along. They walked along the streets of twinkling lights and decorated trees, and when they stopped to take a few pictures, Cody kept fiddling in his jacket pocket. Raven joked with me about how she’d been getting annoyed at the fact that he wouldn’t stay still long enough to take a good picture. After he stopped long enough to fire off a few photos, he whispered in her ear, “What if I got down on one knee?”. And he did. Raven’s first reaction was to panic and say “no” – he was always joking with her about proposing – but after he pulled out the ring, it was a “yes”! This story is truly so perfectly Raven and Cody and the silliness that makes their relationship so much fun to watch. Between their elegant red & navy attire and the beautiful little DIY details, this wedding was exactly what I envisioned for them! (And be sure to look for Cody’s reaction to Raven and all the veil shots that Raven loves so much!)
I think it’s time to share them with you, yes? And if you ever feel like planning a Knoxville wedding, I highly recommend Dara’s Garden and all the amazing vendors I was blessed to work with listed below! Cody and Raven, thank you so much for choosing me to join you in Knoxville. It was an honor seeing all those beautiful wedding day moments unfold for you, and I wish you both SO many blessings in your marriage and in life!
Venue // Dara’s Garden
Planning & Coordination // Janna Edwards Fowler of All About Weddings
Officiant // Dan Mickel
Floral Designer // Lisa Foster Design
Caterer + Rentals // Rothchild Catering and Rentals
DJ // Brad Gentry of The TC Show
Cookie Favors // Magpies Bakery
Hair & Makeup Artistry // Tatyana Wilcox
Bridesmaids’ Attire // David’s Bridal
Groom + Groomsmen’s Attire // Men’s Wearhouse
Jeweler // Kay Jewelers
Ceremony Signage // Sisters Vintage Rentals
Photobooth // Special Notes Entertainment