Rachel Elizabeth Sanders + Daniel “Blake” Hurley
Cover Contest WINNER!
Featured in the Summer 2014 Knoxville Pink Bride Magazine
Cover contest winners certainly hold a special place in our hearts, and this stunning wedding photographed by Leah Bullard Photography is certainly no exception! We’re swooning over everything – from the elegant wedding stationery all the way to the vintage wedding transportation and venue. It’s hard to pick the most impressive among all these irresistible details, but we have to admit being partial to the outstanding bridesmaid dresses and chic men’s formalwear. Our favorite detail? How Blake and Rachel seem totally happy and completely in love on their special day.
Leah Bullard Photography does an epic job of capturing not just the details, but also that raw emotion during the biggest events of life. It’s an honor to feature her work on the latest cover of the Knoxville Pink Bride Magazine and also today on the blog. Enjoy!
Tell us about your love story!
Blake and I met at a Tennessee vs. Alabama football game. We met through mutual friends. Because we met at Neyland Stadium, we chose to have our rehearsal dinner in the skybox there. Blake is my perfect match because he balances me. He knows how to keep me grounded, calm, encourage me, lead me and make life exciting all at the same time. He popped the question at the boathouse at Blackberry Farm. I was so shocked. He told me he wanted to take a picture of me with the mountains in the background and then got down on his knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring I have ever seen. The proposal was followed by an amazing dinner at Blackberry Farm and then he surprised me with a party at mine and my sister’s home with a lot of our friends and family waiting to celebrate.
Describe your wedding planning process.
We were engaged for 10 months to the day. My mom, sister and mother-in-law helped me out. We hired a day-of planner, but wanted to be very hands on with the process leading up to the big day. I am so thankful to have done everything ourselves and with the help of amazing vendors, our day was all I dreamed of and more. We found a lot of our vendors at the Pink Bridal Show in Knoxville, including our AMAZING photographer and day-of planner. Some of the best decisions I made were our bridesmaid dresses, the venue at Crescent Bend, Leah Bullard and our band. They made the night!!
What was your wedding day budget (and for how many guests)?
We started out with a budget of $30,000.00 for 220 guests and went a little over. We didn’t splurge or go too far over budget with much, but the little things add up without you realizing.
What about the details?
I wanted our wedding to be fairly traditional and formal, but very fun and laidback at the same time. We made the atmosphere fun but formal with an amazingly fun band, but kept the venue and decorations very formal. Our ceremony was very traditional with traditional music and vows. We kicked off our reception with a cocktail hour and acoustic guitar music by the fountains at Crescent Bend and a signature HURLEYcane drink. We ended the night with late-night Krispy Kreme donuts. The servers handed out the donuts while wearing paper Krispy Kreme hats. My bridesmaids wore all beaded gowns, and Blake’s groomsmen a traditional tux with bowtie and cummerbund. I was also obsessed with our save the dates, invites and programs. We sent out koozies that said we hope we CAN join us for our save the dates along with a picture postcard. I think these set the tone immediately of fun with the koozies and formal with the postcards. I feel like we had a good mix of formal, but fun at the same time.
Recap your big day for us.
I cried when we were leaving, and I had to tell my sister bye. We had lived together for three years, and she was moving to San Diego the next day. It all seemed to hit when Blake and I went to get on our boat to leave. I also cried when I saw my Dad and when I put on my dress. Some of my most memorable moments were: 1. Blake and I did not see one another before the wedding. When I was told he was on site and I had to stay put, I got so excited my hands started sweating, and I cried. I also will never forget passing my dad through the night at the reception and just smiling, telling him thanks and that he threw a good party. The entire night was so memorable, and I relive it daily. I will also never forget when Blake joined the band and sang “You Never Even Call Me By My Name.” All of our guests joined in and everyone was singing and dancing on the dance floor. Honestly, with Judy McMillan at Crescent Bend, everything went perfectly as planned. She is a miracle worker and just made everything happen, and more, without any problems.
What’s the best advice you can give a bride and groom planning their wedding?
Enjoy the time! Blake and I started our engagement with a fun engagement party and just truly enjoyed planning our wedding and lives together. It was such a good excuse to have fun events where you could see your friends and loved ones more often. Blake and I tried, as hard as it was, not to always talk wedding when we were together. That helped a lot with the stresses we both felt.
What do you look forward to most as Mr. & Mrs.?
Just being together. It’s so nice just to come home and be with one another after a long day.
What has surprised you most during the first few months of marriage?
How much Blake loves to cook. He enjoys grilling and I LOVE that because I come home almost nightly to a home-grilled meal. No complaints here!
Photographer: Leah Bullard Photography
Wedding Planner: 29:11 Events
Caterer & Cake: All Occasion Catering, LLC
Florist: Always in Bloom
Jewelry: White Lace and Promises and David Yurman
Formalwear: Men’s Wearhouse
Reception Location: Crescent Bend House and Gardens
Bridesmaid Luncheon: Club LeConte
Bridal Shop (Gown): The Bride Room (Nashville)
Bridal Party Attire: Adrianna Papell
Ceremony Location: Lincoln Park Baptist Church
Transportation: Regal Carriages
Videographer: Something Goode Videography
Music/Entertainment: Society Express Band
Rentals and Decor: Rentals Rentals
Officiate/ Minister: Dr. Fred Patterson
Rehearsal Catering: Holly’s Eventful Dining
Rehearsal Dinner Location: Neyland Stadium
Room Block: Hampton Inn Downtown