Why did we choose the wedding location of Caney Springs/Chapel Hill, Tennessee? Because that is where the Nathan Bedford Forrest Boyhood Home is located. It also happens to be the Rainey home place, ancestors on my mother's side. It has been wonderfully preserved and restored because of it's connection to the famous general.
Nathan Bedford Forrest, a famous southern general during the War Between the States, was the first cousin of my great-great-great-grandfather, Elisha Franklin Rainey. Nathan Bedford was born in this house. He was 15 years older than his cousin, Elisha, whose parents, Stephen Rainey and Melinda Forrest, bought the home from Forrest's dad when he moved from the area. Forrest stayed on in the home, living with his uncle Stephen and aunt Melinda for a couple of years as a teenager, attending school in the area. Elisha also served in the war, and we assume he served with Forrest, but haven't been able to confirm it. Since Jordan's reenactment group is Forrest's Artillery, it seemed perfect to have the wedding on the grounds of this home which has played such a significant role in our past. The place is now owned by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
Elisha Franklin Rainey
The 'Fairy Ring' where we took our bridesmaids photo shoots is actually an old sink-hole with a rock lined well in the center where the ladies of the house would keep their milk and butter cool.
It was simply perfect as the backdrop of our ceremony. Originally I had in my head that I wanted lots and lots of wildflowers everywhere - but when we arrived in Tennessee, it was quite obvious that Spring was not cooperating. It was *very* late, the trees were not even trying to be green, and there was hardly a flower to be seen. I was quite disappointed at first. (but as usual, God often has hidden blessings in disappointments) Our only options were a florist shop (which I was quite against), or to use what was available. Which basically was - white pear blossoms that were growing throughout nearby neighborhoods, and pink peach blossoms that were growing at Jordan's house.
So, on the morning of the wedding day, Cim and I, Aspen, Rebecca and the Covey girls all loaded up in our pickup and started scouting a nice-looking neighborhood for blossoming trees. It took us a long while to decide on a house (we were very nervous about knocking on a door to ask, so we kept finding problems with each house - there was a creepy car...or they didn't have as many trees as the next...lol) Finally we settled on one, and Cim was the brave one and knocked on the door......and no one was home. So, he and I walked next door and asked two ladies if we could have some of their pear blossoms for my wedding. At first they were suspicious, but after we explained they said we could have all we wanted, and even loaned us clippers and a hatchet! So, we happily started gathering branches....
We took them to the Forrest house and started creating different sized bunches to decorate with.
I wasn't the only one in curlers that morning...
Mean while everyone else had been busy fixing up the refreshment tables,
and getting everything else ready.
The men had done a wonderful job building these canopies in case of rain.
Nothing could have gone on without Mom!
and Lydia was our invaluable ceremony coordinator. What a life saver! :)
Mom and many of the girls surprised me by completely cleaning out and redecorating the upstairs room - - making a perfect place for us to hide away on the wedding day before the ceremony.
Waaay back in the summer, Mom and I had bought quite a few lengths of life-like greenery at Hobby Lobby, and it all worked out perfectly for decorating the porches and mantles.
Deciding....is hard work!
The canvas canopies up, draped with fabric and decorated with flower branches.
The backdrop for the ceremony - cream gauze curtains
decorated with greenery and blossoms.
Peach and pear blossoms - the colors coordinated perfectly with the wedding party!
The greenery decked porch.
Name tags on the chairs...these actually were for the lemonade glasses, but they worked great!
As much as I loved the outside decorations, the inside décor turned out so cute it made my heart hurt.
Little brother Stockton had been busy gathering up lizards and various woods things - like moss. Which gave us the idea to use the plentiful live moss in the woods for decorating - it was beautiful and lent just the right whimsical touch.
Antique silver + thrifted cream and white china dishes. Mom, Granny, and several wonderful friends had been gathering all this up at estate sales and antique shops for months ahead of time...
The cake tables were so beautiful. Everyone that helped was so creative and artistic -
I just had to keep looking.
Some of the cakes were made by Mom, Aspen, and I,
but the rest were done by many family and friends - doesn't everything look just scrumptious?
Guest book sign-in table
Lemonade and coffee were served on the back porch:
Jelly jars for lemonade glasses....
So - there you have our wedding location! I am so thankful to have had such a beautiful place to use. Everything turned out even so much better than I had imagined.
Pictures credit Sophie Covey