Making an Entrance
When Amy Donovan arrived late to a wine tasting back in 2006, she was concerned about finding a place to sit. She didn’t expect to find her future husband, architect Derek Schmidt.
“I paused for a minute, trying to figure out where to sit, when a handsome gentleman waved me down and offered me a seat at his table,” Amy recalls. “We really clicked that evening. We exchanged email addresses at the end of the event, and were friends from that day onwards.”
That friendship blossomed into something more, and Derek proposed to Amy during a sunset walk on the beach in Seaside, Florida. Months later, to celebrate with their friends, the couple threw an engagement party — or so their guests thought. “About 45 minutes into the party, I changed from my cocktail dress to a wedding gown, Derek added on a jacket, tie and boutonnière, the bluegrass quartet changed to “Canon in D,” and the minister strolled out from the wings. Surprise! Our engagement party was actually a wedding.”
The ring: An antique tanzanite and diamond ring from Walton’s Jewelers in downtown Franklin.
The wedding location: “We were married at a gorgeous, art-filled property in the 12 South area owned by family friends Doug Knight and Catherine Snow,” Amy says. “We got married outdoors, on a beautiful, sunny day right before sunset.”
The dress: The “Mara” gown by Modeca, a taffeta, mermaid-style gown with a sweetheart neckline, bustled flower details on the bust and side hip and a rouched bodice. Amy paired the gorgeous dress with 4-inch gray satin wedge heels. “I loved those shoes and still wear them now!”
The best thing on the menu: “We went for an upscale Southern menu catered by the Clean Plate Club,” Amy says. “As a food blogger [fearlesshomemaker.com], this was one of the most important details for me!” The Clean Plate Club dished up plenty of goodies throughout the evening: mini country ham biscuits with apple butter, and white bean soup during cocktail hour; iceberg lettuce wedge salads, slow-roasted pulled pork and chicken, three-cheese mac and cheese, black-eyed peas with collard greens and roasted red pepper, fried green tomatoes and okra, squash casserole, and succotash for dinner; and mini banana puddings, strawberry shortcakes, red velvet cupcakes, and whoopie pies for dessert. Drinks included vodka thyme lemonade, Tennessee bourbon iced tea, Yazoo beer, wine and prosecco.
Advice for Nashville brides: “Stay true to your style and your husband’s style,” Amy says. “While there were times when I worried that we should’ve gone a more traditional route, I was ultimately thrilled with our non-traditional surprise wedding, which was 100 percent us.”
Photo by Gregory Byerline
“I was putting up my Christmas tree when I got the phone call,” says Teri Johnson-Hiett, referring to the moment she found out she had breast cancer. It was right around Thanksgiving in 2005, eight short months after losing her mother at age 51 to the same disease. Teri was only 29.
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