Laura & Jay: A Southern-style Wedding in GA

Laura Hahn grew up in New Jersey; her parents live in San Diego; and Jay Bonds hails from Knoxville. So when Laura and Jay got engaged, deciding where to have their wedding wasn't easy.

THE BRIDE Laura Hahn, 29
THE GROOM Jay Bonds, 33
THE DATE June 7
THE SCENE Ceremony at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church and reception in The Grand Overlook Ballroom at The Atlanta History Center.

SETTING THEIR SITES At first, Laura and Jay thought they had the best solution: they would have a destination wedding somewhere tropical like a Caribbean Island, or even south Florida. But when they realized that their busy work schedules would not allow much time for planning, they decided to keep things more low-key. Atlanta-the city where they met, dated, and lived together-became the best place to say I do.

SOUTHERN STYLE And so a southern-style celebration was planned in historic Buckhead. From the save-the-date packets to the wedding website to the welcome bags (which included local items like chips and fiery peach salsa, mints, and a map of Atlanta), guests were treated to true southern hospitality. Even the favors had a southern flair: a local bakery created Pecan Queens, a sugary confection that made for a sweet ending to the weekend wedding.

ALL NIGHT LONG Laura and Jay tied the knot in the Sanctuary at the Peachtree Road United Methodist Church in a ceremony that lasted just 20 minutes. A cocktail hour immediately ensued at The Atlanta History Museum; and then a reception unfolded in The Grand Overlook Ballroom at The Atlanta History Center, which lasted into the early hours of the next morning. To give guests a taste of the south (literally), the couple chose to serve local favorites such as Savannah-style crab cakes and jalapeno biscuits with smoked southern ham and honey chipotle mustard. A shrimp and grits martini bar, and stations of homemade pasta, meats, and fish-plus a Viennese dessert display that included a four-tier white wedding cake topped with a traditional monogram-rounded out the menu highlights.

A PARTY WITH PANACHE During dinner, the 10-piece band played Sinatra tunes; once the dishes were cleared, the band performed everything from the Beatles to Madonna. When guests needed a break they were encouraged to step onto the terrace, where a woman was giving cigar-rolling demonstrations. Here, guests were free to sip cocktails and smoke their personalized cigars. There was a constant ebb and flow of energy from the ballroom to the terrace, though most guests were sure not to miss what was perhaps the biggest surprise of the night: one of Jay's fraternity brothers, who played in a band when they were in college, took a band member's guitar and sang "Tequila Sunrise" with the band to serenade the newlyweds.

--Allison Micarelli
photography © Greg and Sandra Scott

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see right-hand column of this page.