– Real Bride & Groom’s Names: Madison and Matthew Crownover

– How did he propose? Matthew and I were high school sweethearts! We dated through college and both played college sports, baseball and softball at different colleges. We knew we would get married we just had decided that we both needed to graduate first. In 2014 Matthew’s mom, Susan (also my former high school softball couch), found out that she needed a kidney transplant. There were several difficult months of people getting tested and being denied as possible donors. One random day my mother, Kelley, decided she would get tested to see if she was a match and she turned out to be almost a PERFECT MATCH! So on November 25th, 2014 our mothers under went surgery at Emory in Atlanta, GA for the kidney transplant which we now refer to as the “Kidney Swap”. Fast forward one year later, Matthew had just finished his first season of professional baseball. He was home for the off season and I was home from school for Thanksgiving break. The two of us along with our parents and our sisters went out to eat to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Kidney Swap. After we finished eating Matthew asked me if I wanted to go see the Christmas Lights at Rock City and I was like heck yeah, because Christmas lights are my favorite thing EVER. As we are walking through the beautiful scenery I start speeding up because I was FREEZING and honestly ready to leave, but Matthew kept telling me to slow down and kept telling me how beautiful I looked. We finally get to the part where you can see all of Chattanooga. Naturally, I walk over to the edge to look out but it was dark outside so I started to walk away. About that time Matthew grabs my hand and starts telling me how he has known since he met me that he wanted to be with me forever. I was FLOORED, speechless. All of a sudden he is down on one knee asking me to be his wife and showing me the most BEAUTIFUL diamond ring I have seen to this day. I finally say yes and turn to see his sister standing in front of us sneaking pictures! It was the most perfect proposal I could have asked for!

– Tell us about your venue and why you chose it: We chose to get married at The Vineyard at Howe Farms. The venue is drop dead gorgeous, from the groom’s get ready room to the PERFECT bridal room. We also knew we would have a pretty hefty guest list and Howe Farms was one of the only venues that fit my “wedding vision” for something whimsical and romantic while still being able to hold our large guest list. Another main reason I chose this venue was the breathtaking backdrop for pictures from “ceremony hill”. The venue did NOT disappoint.

– What was your favorite and least favorite part about the wedding planning process? My favorite part of the wedding planning process was definitely getting all of the stuff for my centerpieces and of COURSE finding my dress. We decided very early on to do different centerpieces for every table. Since we traveled a lot for softball and were engaged for a full year, we were able to pick up picture frames, vases, crates and lanterns from all different cities. It doesn’t sound like that big of a deal, but honestly it was like everyone in my family and my SWEET wedding coordinator was constantly on the lookout when they went to a new city to find something unique for the centerpieces. Looking back on the pictures from the wedding it is so cool to see all of the different ways it came together.

Another plus of having the long engagement was literally becoming a part of the Monica’s family! We were seriously coming in and out of those beautiful green doors for a solid two years. I had looked in the windows at Monica’s since I was in high school (I went to GPS and would drive by EVERY DAY to see what dresses were in the windows). So obviously Monica’s was my first stop literally the weekend after I got engaged. I had to take a break from looking when I went back for my final semester of college but when I got home that summer Monica’s was the first place I went. They never even batted an eye at the fact that I probably tried on EVERY dress in the store. Also, I had heard from so many brides that getting the guys stuff would be a hassle, BUT of course ours went off without a hitch thanks to the ladies at Monica’s. So yes, heck yes Monica’s was one of my favorite things about wedding planning!

My least favorite part of wedding planning was getting my day of timeline together. Yall, that was stressful trying to do it myself! My photographer finally took over and thank goodness for that! I highly suggest letting someone else help you at every step of the way.

Any advice for other brides planning their big day? Every tiny detail feels SO important while you are planning and while the small details do matter, they will not make or break your day. Enjoy every step of the process and remind your self that at the end of the day it is your big day and you’re marrying the man of your dreams in front of the people you LOVE!

– What was your favorite part of your wedding day? My favorite part of my wedding day is the hardest question to answer and I have been asked this a ton! The whole day was my favorite BUT since I can’t pick them all I will say this: schedule a little time to be alone with all of the important people! I had alone time with my parents, my sister, my bridesmaids, the groom, and each of our families. I distinctly remember all of these times from the big day and I truly believe I always will. Also, having a moment to myself right before I walked down the aisle was amazing. Howe Farms had a peek-a-boo door in the bridal suite so I got a second to look at all of the guests, the gorgeous wedding party as they entered and of course my sweet dad as he walked up the stairs to get me to walk me down the aisle.

Photography by The Southern Bride

Gown  Martina Liana Bridal

Groomsmen Tuxedo Central

Venue Howe Farms