Ivey + Josh On Film by Hannah Shea

Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love…

JW-Ivey and I live in Nashville, Tennessee. I produce music, she’s a photographer and videographer – so creating is central to who we are, both as individuals and as a couple. Ivey, for example, has this insane ability to create beautiful moments, beautiful memories. Before sitting down to eat our dinner of frozen pizza, she’ll light a candle and put on Etta James, and suddenly a memory is created out of what would otherwise be a forgettable moment. She’s good at that.

She likes crafting things – recently, it’s been book binding. I have my penchant for books as well, just not the binding part. I like collecting beautiful copies of my favorite books. I like reading and re-reading those books. We love mornings that move at a snail’s pace, antiquing on the weekends, being in bed by 10pm. In case you haven’t already put the pieces together, we are essentially an old, retired couple – forty years ahead of the curve.

How/where/when did you meet – and what were your first impressions?

JW-I met Ivey in a college class in 2018. She sat next to me, and one day she complimented my handwriting as I was taking notes. I told her – and this is true – that in elementary school, I modeled my handwriting after Abraham Lincoln’s. While that’s an inadvisable pickup line, it did open the gates of conversation.

I was fascinated by Ivey. She had this economy of language, this ability to command my attention with only a word or two. She never filled space with autopiloted conversation – if our talking reached a lull, she’d sit comfortably in the silence. It was fully disarming, even intimidating. But I remember hearing her laugh for the first time: somewhere inside me was this sympathetic resonance with that sound – as if I’d heard it before, as if I knew it. And I was in love with it. I set about trying to make her laugh as much as possible – more for my sake than hers – because a part of me was made whole, was healed, by making her laugh.

When did you first realise that this was someone you’d like to spend the rest of your life with?

JW-I think the realisation is much more subtle and all-encompassing than knowing you want to spend your life with someone. For me, it was taking stock and realising, simply, that I couldn’t live my life without Ivey. The engine wouldn’t run without her. Just five months into dating, in March of 2020, COVID made landfall in the United States, so Ivey and I were quarantined together for months on end. I know many couples did the same in that era, and it proved to be the litmus test for many relationships. For ours, it was a beautiful affirmation that we function so well together, no matter what was going on in the world around us. Spending week after week with Ivey, hour after hour, there was never a moment that I wanted to be around someone else. I only wanted to be with her.

As lockdowns eased, we moved to Georgia to help take care of Ivey’s dad, who was dying of ALS. The following year was beautiful, tragic, and transformative. In Ivey’s parents, and in her dad’s final moments, I saw marriage in its most crystallized form. I saw Ivey’s mom hold her husband as he passed away. I saw true love. Those phrases you hear during vows – “in sickness and in health, till death do we part” – those phrases which seem so hard to comprehend because of their scale, they finally made sense to me. I saw what marriage was really about. And I knew I wanted to marry Ivey.

Was there a proposal? Tell us a little about it…

JW-Last July, I told Ivey that I wanted to take her on a weekend trip to Fall Creek Falls, Tennessee. What’s in Fall Creek Falls? I have no idea. That plan was a decoy – when we woke up the morning of the trip, I took Ivey to the airport, and we got on a plane to New York City. The following day, on the evening of July 10th, we hopped on the subway to go to the upper west corner of Central Park (when Ivey held my hand on the subway ride, my sweaty hands betrayed me – she knew something was up). I had a picnic set up by a quiet pond, and I asked her to marry me. She said yes.

As a fun postscript to the occasion, I had a gondola ride booked for us. We left our picnic and walked through the park to get to the lake, and, just my luck, it started raining. By the time we got to the boathouse, it was a torrential downpour. Our gondolier told us that there was no chance for a ride. I was devastated because my plan, which had unfolded flawlessly to that point, was falling apart. The closest subway station was a fifteen-minute walk away and getting soaked wasn’t exactly how I envisioned ending the night. But our gondolier asked us where we were staying. As it happened, our hotel was just down the street from his apartment. He offered to drive us home, and we had the best time getting to know this stranger who drove us over to Brooklyn, still dressed in his striped gondolier outfit.

Tell us about the vision you had for the mood or style of your wedding…

IW-We decided almost immediately that we wanted our wedding to take place at my family’s farmhouse. We had spent most of the previous year there with my parents, and the home began to hold sentimental value for us as a couple. During that time, my parents had given us the task of renovating the upstairs. We spent months scraping off the popcorn ceilings, painting the walls, hosting yard sales, etc. The farmhouse became a place of shared memories for us, and we knew it would feel incredibly special to get married there. We also knew it would be beautiful in the springtime. We actually picked our exact wedding date because that’s the weekend where the flowers are in their peak bloom in the front yard – vibrant pink dianthus, soft purple irises, and foxgloves lining the front garden.

The vision was: French, springtime garden party. We wanted it to feel whimsical and comfortable but also elevated and chic. We honeymooned in Paris afterwards, and knew that we wanted to bring that classic French feel into our wedding day in subtle ways. We served French 75’s and Old Fashioneds during cocktail hour with a big cheese course of French cheese that we quite literally shipped in from France days before the wedding. A live jazz band played as people filled up on cheese and baguettes in the front yard before moving to the dinner table. We are very do-it-yourself kind of people, so instead of renting linens for our dining table (which I insisted would be one very long table that winded around the curve of the driveway) we decided to source all of our own fabric. In the months leading up to the wedding, we took frequent trips to antique stores to gather a variety of white cloth napkins and antique serving dishes and brass candlesticks. We used old curtains that my mother and I sewed years ago as the tablecloths for the 105 foot long table. We stubbornly never hired a wedding planner, and chose to have my cousin to officiate the wedding (even though it required her to get legally ordained). We wanted every detail to feel as personal and as true to us as possible, which kind of required us to be in complete control of the planning process. The result was a wedding weekend that had our fingerprints all over it – we wouldn’t have done it any other way.

What was one element you were happy to splurge on?

JW-Photos, absolutely. I can’t really put into words how in love we are with our wedding photos. Hannah Shea is a genius – she has a rare ability to capture this kinetic energy in her work – every picture feels so alive and so true to how we remember it. Browsing our wedding gallery almost feels like time collapsing on itself – our wedding day, which came and went in a blur, becomes something we can access and inhabit. To capture more than just the image, to capture a feeling, is a rare, rare gift, and we are forever thankful to Hannah giving us the invaluable gift of getting to relive our wedding day over and over again.

Did anything happen on your wedding day that you laugh about in hindsight (even if it was stressful at the time)?

JW-Since our wedding was outdoors, we were crossing our fingers all year that rain wouldn’t spoil the day. We reserved tents as a contingency plan, but we really didn’t want tents. The Tuesday before the wedding was our deadline for making the call on tent delivery, as the company would load the truck on Wednesday and deliver the tents on Thursday. At the time of our decision, the forecast showed complete sun for our wedding day – so we rolled the dice and said that the day would be tent-free. But Wednesday afternoon, the forecast took a turn for the worse. Thunderstorms predicted for Saturday. At that point, we had really backed ourselves into a corner, because it was too late to deliver tents, and we now had no backup plan (our best option was cramming all 100 guests into the house). It’s hard to describe the stress of that week. We had spent a year meticulously planning every detail of our wedding day, and we were now prepared to watch our entire plan disassemble before our eyes. In the end, we took a leap of faith and decided that we will continue with our day as planned, outside, and just really hope that the forecast wouldn’t materialize. In fact, thunderstorms continued to be in the forecast until two hours before the ceremony. Then, not long before ceremony time, the clouds turned from grey to white. The forecast cleared. We ended up having perfect weather the entire evening.

Do I laugh about this in hindsight? Not quite. I get residual stress even thinking about it. Give me a few years, and I might let out a chuckle.

Tell us about your main outfits, what was unique, is there a story?

IW-Wedding dress shopping was at once the most enjoyable part of wedding planning and also the most agonizing. I am so indecisive! I was hung up on two dresses – each seemed to encapsulate two different visions I had for the wedding. One was whimsical and unique, the other (which is the one I ended up choosing) was more classic and sophisticated and chic. I was very insistent on my wedding dress being something that feels very *me* and also feels different from a traditional dress. The Leanne Marshall cape is what sold me on the outfit. I loved the romantic sleeves – it made me feel like Christine Daae from Phantom of the Opera (my childhood hero and icon). And that, ultimately, was what made me fall in love with the outfit. I decided to wear the cape at the reception and wore a veil during the ceremony. The veil had wildflower embroidery on it, which added the whimsical garden party feel to the dress that I felt it needed.

For my exit dress, I wore a dress that was handmade for me by a talented seamstress in Nashville named Natasha Andrews. I wanted the dress to capture the energy of the other whimsical, interesting dress that I ended up not choosing for the wedding. I wanted it to feel young and unique and for it to be a bit of a statement. I met with Natasha a few times over the months leading up to the wedding, choosing fabric and having fittings in her living room. I’m so happy with the way it turned out!

It is also worth noting that on the morning of the wedding, I wore my grandmother’s nightgown from the 1950’s that she wore on her honeymoon. And for the rehearsal dinner the night before, I ended up wearing my aunt’s homecoming dress from the 1970’s. Both fit my vision so perfectly, and it was so fun being able to wear dresses that are pieces of family history!

VENUE: The bride’s family’s farmhouse in Bremen, GA / PHOTOGRAPHER & VIDEOGRAPHER: Hannah Shea, @hannahsheaphoto / ENTERTAINMENT: Emerald Empire Band, @emeraldempireband / FLORA: Bouquet Atlanta, @bouquetatlanta / CATERING & BEVERAGES: Kyle Campis, @kmcampis / CAKE: Gingerspice Bakery, @gingerspicebakery / FORMAL INVITES: Idyll Paper / SAVE THE DATES: Paper and Toys, @paperandtoys / DAY-OF STATIONERY Papier June, @papierjune / BRIDE’S ATTIRE: The Alcott dress from Dear Heart Bridal, @dearheartbride / CAPE: Leanne Marshall / VEIL: Ofrenda Studio, @ofrendastudio, / CUSTOM SILK ORGANZA DRESS: Natasha Andrews / GROOM’S ATTIRE: Custom Brothers Tailors, @brotherstailorsofficial / RINGS: Consider the Wldflwrs; Crown Nine, @crownnine / SHOES: Loeffler Randall, @loefflerrandall