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Donna & Charles // Historic Dekalb Courthouse Wedding

Historic Dekalb Courthouse Wedding // Donna & Charles

Donna & Charles wed at the Historical Dekalb Courthouse in downtown Decatur, GA this past spring and it was such a treat. Everything about the day had their stamp firmly on it. From their adorable and hilarious vows {hers written in a Captain’s Log and his somehow written inside a fortune cookie} to the performance with their marching band – the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable – to their late-night snack/wedding cake stand-in, the Waffle House food truck… everything was them. 

groom twirls bride outside Decatur GA brick building

Getting Ready

The day began with Donna and Charles preparing with their friends and family. Charles got ready at their house. I loved walking in to see the banner from their proposal still hanging on the wall. Everything was really getting real but I know that Donna & Charles were just so happy it was their wedding day! She got ready with her mom and sister and borrowed a sparkly purse from her family that was her “something borrowed” for the day. I actually loved all of her sparkly details! They were fun to photograph all day long. After both Donna & Charles were ready, they met for a first look outside the Dekalb Courthouse. 

groomsman helps groom with tie before Historic Dekalb Courthouse weddinggroomsman helps groom with cufflinks before GA weddinggroomsmen talk in house under "shit just got real" bannerWhat were you most anxious or nervous about regarding your wedding day and how did it turn out?

Other than COVID wedding planning being just a stressful mess….We DIYed a ton of aspects of our wedding and we were a bit nervous about getting everything done that we imagined. Life can definitely get in the way of wedding projects. For example, the ring box was a detail Charles had been working on for a while, however, his 3D Printer wasn’t really up to the task for it. He found himself sanding and spray painting on the wedding day itself till he got the ring holder sizes and sliding smoothly down. It worked out perfectly and our ring bearer carried his treasure box down the aisle. When it came down to the day of the wedding, we had to trust that our vendors would handle everything. Spoiler alert – we didn’t get all of the things we imagined completed BUT they didn’t end up being needed.

 mom sees bride before GA wedding dayfamily prepares for wedding day at Georgia hotelbride wipes eyes during first lookbride's red shoes on sidewalk

First Look & Portraits in Decatur GA

After the emotions and excitement of their first look subsided, we explored the beautiful Decatur Square for their portraits. There were so many incredible murals to photograph them in front of {and you know how much I love color in photos!} before we circled back to the courthouse for more photos out front. I’m all about including your venue in your photos that way! 

bride and groom kiss on front steps of Historic Dekalb Courthousebride shows groom something blue on wedding gownWhat advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

1. Don’t get so caught up in wedding planning that you forget to celebrate being engaged and getting married! Take time for date nights, binge watching TV shows and celebrate being together. 2. Your wedding isn’t going to be perfect. Things will go wrong. Hiccups will happen. But at the end of the day, all that matters is that you are getting married to the person you love and the people you love are there. As long as your loved ones see the two of you love each other, that will be perfect.

bride and groom holds ands standing in alley between white walls in Decatur GAbride and groom hold hands walking down street by colorful muralnewlywed sit in front of Historic Dekalb Courthouse during wedding photos

Wedding Ceremony

Their ceremony was sweet and lots of fun. They gave bouquets to their moms and grandmothers, which was lovely. And, it had plenty of funny moments too. Donna used a blue Captain’s Log for her vows and somehow, Charles got his to fit inside a fortune cookie. Once he opened it, he crumbled the rest of the cookie which was just hilarious to all of us! As they left the ceremony, their guests rang cowbells and everyone was having a blast. 

flower girl walks around Historic Dekalb Courthousewedding guests say hello before ceremony bride enters wedding ceremony at Historic Dekalb Courthouse with dadgrandmother smiles watching bride walk down aisleMost memorable moment from your wedding day?

For Charles – Seeing Donna walk down the aisle in her gorgeous wedding dress. It was perfect weather, and the natural lighting from outside really made her so beautiful.

For Donna – Seeing Charles read the vows he had written during our ceremony. I had been pestering him about writing his vows and he had been cagey about it. He ended up pulling out a fortune cookie. He broke the fortune cookie and ended up unfolding his vows from the fortune. It was so sweet and just wonderful. Runner up moment – slow dancing to “Cover Me Up” by Jason Isbell at the end of the night before the final songs. It gave us a quiet moment to let everything sink in and realize we were married.

bride cries during Historic Dekalb Courthouse wedding ceremonybride and groom smile together during Historic Dekalb Courthouse wedding ceremonybride makes time out sign during wedding ceremony guest ring cowbells during ceremony in Decatur GAgroom waves at guests while walking down aisle with bridebride and groom take shot of fireball with wedding partyWedding Reception

Once the ceremony was over, we were definitely into the really fun parts of the night. Donna & Charles met because of the Seed & Feed Marching Abominable, so their friends came to perform before the reception. It was perfect – because they were part of their engagement and proposal, too! I loved watching Donna & Charles do their thing {and so do their guests!}. They finished the night with a great dance party and a Waffle House food truck for dessert! 

newlyweds clap for friends performing with Seed & Feed Marching AbominableSeed & Feed Marching Abominable performs during wedding receptionwoman dances during Seed & Feed Marching Abominable performanceSeed & Feed Marching Abominable drumline performs with bride on wedding daygroom plays trombone wedding day with Seed & Feed Marching AbominableWhat did you love about your venue/wedding location?

We got married at the Historic Dekalb Courthouse. The big windows made the space feel really big and open. Accessibility was our biggest concern with wedding location. We wanted to make sure that there were multiple ways of getting to the venue, and make getting from the hotel to the venue as easy as possible. The Courthouse was also accessible to those guests with mobility issues so it worked out perfectly. An added bonus – because it was on the Decatur Square, when we played with our marching band, the public got to enjoy the performance. Overall it was the perfect space for our wedding.

newlyweds dance into wedding reception at Historic Dekalb Courthousenewlyweds have first dance at Historic Dekalb Courthousemother dances with groom at Historic Dekalb CourthouseIf you could do it all over, would you change anything?

There are three aspects we would change. We would have rented table linens so we wouldn’t have had to deal with them and launder them afterwards. Second, we would have made time to meet with our incredible day-of-coordinator, Carly, the week of the wedding to confirm details including that we had actually given her a revised seating chart not just dreamed we had. (She pulled off set up without anyone realizing we hadn’t given the proper chart.) Finally we would have added in more buffer time to the schedule. Raven was incredible about helping us pivot when things were running behind our ideal schedule but we do regret not adding an extra hour on to our venue rental.

newlyweds place order from Waffle House food truck on wedding daynewlyweds cut chocolate chip waffle from Waffle House

Any tips for future couples on how to prepare for their wedding photos?

Do not listen to the Pinterest lists that tell you all the photos you “HAVE TO GET.” Throw that out in the F It Bucket. Trust that your photographer will capture your day without having that cliched list of things you have to have. Trust that even if you don’t get every formal photo you imagined, it will be ok. – Emotional advice – if you are a type A person like Donna is, realize it is ok to let go and be in the moment. It’s a whirlwind of emotions and feelings. It’s ok just to let yourself not worry about everything you think you have to do. – Physical advice – avoid the sun and don’t play paintball a few weeks before the wedding so you can avoid being sunburnt or bruised.

wedding guests dance during Decatur GA wedding receptionbride and groom kiss on dance floor wedding guests dance during Decatur GA wedding receptionwedding guests dance during GA wedding receptionwedding guests dance during GA wedding receptionDekalb GA Wedding Vendors

Planner/Coordinator: Carly Tritley

Getting Ready, Ceremony, & Reception Venues:Courtyard Marriott Decatur and Historic Dekalb Courthouse

Florist: Mary Louton

Caterer:Fox Bros BBQ

Cakes/Desserts: Waffle House

DJ/Band/Musicians: DJ – Sir Luke from One Night Entertainment and Seed & Feed Marching Abominable

Hair Stylist & Make-Up: Pamela Maupin

Wedding Dress: Rebecca Ingram from A Formal Occasion, Alterations by Noura Alnashar

Men’s Attire: Suits by Men’s Warehouse

Accessories/Jewelry: Necklace by Andra Weber, Headpiece by Sharon Braunstein, Earrings and bracelet by Daedal Jewelry

Rings: Brilliant Earth and Worthmore Jewelers

Get In Touch to Plan Your Wedding Day

Raven is an Atlanta Wedding Photographer who captures real people on their totally unique and awesome wedding day, specializing in people who feel awkward in front of the camera. She travels throughout Georgia, including Athens, North Georgia, and beyond.

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