A Wedding Photographer’s Family-Focused Micro Wedding in Nashville
Kristin Sweeting and Andrew Harshey met on Hinge in November 2018, and when they got engaged two years later, the proposal was a unique one. “We proposed to each other at Arrington Vineyards on a random Tuesday,” Kristin remembers. “My son came with us and my good friend photographed it.”
Despite the big day coming together in less than two months, the couple was very laidback in the wedding planning process. Since Kristin is a photographer in the industry, she knew just where to turn. “Everything just fell together the way we hoped,” she says. “The venue was available, the date felt important to us, our family could all come into town—it just all worked out very easily. I think neither of us put a lot of pressure on the day and just wanted to enjoy it.” That “important” date? It was November 11, 2020 aka 11/11. “We had kind of said, if this date doesn’t work out, we’ll just wait another year. But everything fell together and it felt like it was meant to be.”
There were some challenges, of course. “The hardest part was keeping the guest list so small,” Kristin says of their 20-person roster. “We had a lot of people we wanted to celebrate with, but because of COVID we had to only invite family. It took a ton of stress off to do it this way, but we definitely would have loved to have more people there.”
And yet, the intimacy of the event made it that much more special. “Everything was personal,” Kristin says. “Having it at home made it feel very special to us. We hired very talented friends to do the photography and flowers, We made local welcome gifts and did as much as we could to support people we loved.”
Read on to see how their micro wedding came together, planned by the couple and photographed by Simply By Suzy Photography.
Kristin and Andrew opted not to do a first look, or save it for the walk down the aisle. Instead, they got ready together at home. “We ordered a bunch of pasta dishes from Mama Mila’s and hung out on the porch with our two best friends,” the bride says. Andrew helped her into a chic white jumpsuit from ASOS.
“The moment when my son, Hudson, came in to get ready with us was a favorite one,” Kristin remembers. “We have some very sweet photos from that time.” Their photographer, Suzy Brown of Simply By Suzy Photography, specializes in editorial family photography—rather than weddings—so her expertise was perfect to capture their family-focused day.
Kristin’s hair and makeup artist came down with COVID right before the wedding, but the bride took it in stride. “I ended up doing my own hair and makeup,” she says. “I was going for natural, a little hippie, and I really wanted to feel like me.” The finishing touch was the most special part. “We both wore a wedding-day fragrance. 11 11 is the name of the perfume—and our wedding date—by Lake & Sky.”
“We went with neutral fall colors,” Kristin says. “We tried to lean into the natural landscape for the theme.” The groom sported a burgundy suit for the ceremony to match the palette, and the bride’s bouquet played off that. “It was burgundy and very natural. My friend Mary Love Richardson made it, and it was the most perfect bouquet,” shares the bride.
“Hudson walked me down the aisle. Having him be a big part of the ceremony and pictures was important to us,” Kristin says. “Andrew is such a special part of his life, and getting to watch their bonus dad-and-son relationship is such a beautiful thing. It really felt like becoming a family and not just getting married.” Plus, he looked adorable, sporting a velvet green jacket for the wedding.
They said “I do” at Cheekwood Estate & Gardens, a botanical garden in Nashville. “I have photographed so many weddings at Cheekwood and it’s such a magical space,” Kristin says. “I always knew I’d want to host something there someday, and it worked perfectly to have our ceremony and photos done there.”
Decor was minimal, with good reason. “Cheekwood was already the perfect backdrop and we didn’t add anything,” Kristin recalls. Their officiant, Zelda Sheldon, did double duty. “She is also a musician and she played ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ on the ukulele as we walked down the aisle.”
“We were already in the middle of COVID when we got engaged, so we always knew we had to keep the wedding small,” Kristin says. “We had everything outside and asked people to get tested or quarantine before they came.”
As they recessed down the aisle it was the perfect moment of joy—just what the bride had envisioned. “We did not use a wedding planner because being in the wedding industry, I knew exactly what I wanted and who to work with,” she says. But, she adds a caveat for other to-be-weds: “I always recommend people have a planner, though. If we were hosting anything larger, we definitely would have.”
As the newlyweds took portraits, guests noshed on appetizers from Buck + Board— “a gift from our friend Rachel,” Kristin says—and sipped Champagne.
I never needed everything to be perfect. I just wanted it to feel special to us, and it was.
“Prioritize making memories,” the bride advises other couples. “I never needed everything to be perfect. I just wanted it to feel special to us, and it was. Everything we planned was intentional and meaningful to us, and we have no regrets from the day.”
The party moved to nearby Columbia, Tennessee, where the newlyweds hosted an intimate reception at their “farmette.” “We had just bought the farmette—five acres back in the woods, an old 1800s farmhouse with a huge front porch,” Kristin describes. “It was the first house we bought together as a couple and it felt like the perfect place to have all our friends and family come and sit on the porch and enjoy the evening.”
“We hung twinkle lights all over the front porch and put a ton of candles along the tables all in different sizes; we kept the decor very simple,” the bride says. “Hanging the lighting was the biggest DIY project. Andrew spent days hanging all those lights. That was what I wanted as a wedding present and it looked so magical when he was done.”
“Keshia Hay from Sip N Bite made a custom French-inspired family-style dinner for us,” Kristin says. “Roasted chicken, seasonal vegetables, a huge cheese and fruit table, and lots of red wine and hot mulled wine. She is such a talented chef and every dish felt very special.”
We wanted to sit on the porch, eating, laughing, and drinking wine with no agenda.
“The vision was Southern-meets-French elevated family-style dinner. We wanted to sit on the porch, eating, laughing, and drinking wine with no agenda. We wanted it to feel laidback, personal—like we were hosting a fancy dinner party.”
The bride pegged another industry friend to craft a custom cake. “Rachel Schut is a talented cake designer who uses natural, local flavors in her cakes,” Kristin says. Theirs was three layers: lavender and black tea, lemon chiffon angel food with elderflower, and strawberry. “We also had a chocolate groom’s cake!”
Both bride and groom changed into a second look for the dinner reception. “I loved that we both had an outfit change,” Kristin says. Her party jumpsuit, also from ASOS, was “gold and sparkly, and Andrew wore a custom-made tweed jacket by StudioSuits.”
The night was everything they’d hoped for. “Having everyone at our home, hanging out with Andrew’s grandparents smoking cigars and drinking whiskey, was really special to us,” Kristin says. “Just seeing our friends and family having such a good time together celebrating, especially after such a hard year—it felt like people took a big, deep breath.”