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Wild & Beautiful! An eHarmony Couple, Kate & Justin,  Wed Zoo +  Vintage Style

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How do a giraffe keeper and a recording engineer meet and fall in love? To explain that story, let us introduce you to Kate and Justin. This cute couple didn’t exactly meet by chance, they were matched and they were matched well. On August 18, 2009, eHarmony brought Kate and Justin together and on July 8, 2010, Justin proposed in a photo booth. Less than two years after the matching, the two were married! But here is what’s even more fun– they are featured in this eHarmony commercial!

Kate and Justin’s entire day was beautifully put together with fun pieces mixed into vintage elements for a timeless feel. Because they each have unique jobs, they decided to incorporate a few animal prints, giraffe cake toppers, and a music room to entertain guests. As you look through their day, captured by Krista Lee Photography, you will see that these two fell in love to a degree that is visible and exceeds their facts of compatibility.

nashville, wedding, eharmony, scarrit bennett, first kiss, wightman chapel


Kate + Justin Cortelyou
Wedding Date ~ May 28, 2011
Ceremony ~ Scaritt Bennett, Wightman Chapel
Reception ~ Houston Station
Guests ~ 165

zoo wedding nashville




$20,000 –  $40,000


Photographer | Krista Lee Photography  / reviews
Rental Company | Southern Events / reviews
Guest Accommodations | Courtyard by Mariott: Vanderbilt/West End
Wedding Planner | Austin Floyd with Last Minute Planners
Photobooth | Ace Photoboothsreviews
Invitations | The Paper Mills
Programs | Myself
Gown | Allure Bridal
Veil | Tiffani Saxton Designs on Etsy
Bride's Jewelry | My grandma’s wedding pearls
Bride's Shoes | Brighton
Groom’s Tux | Men’s Warehouse
Groomsmen Outfits | Men's Warehouse
Bridesmaids Outfits | David’s Bridal -- I asked the girls to choose between 3 dresses. I gave them free choice with their shoes and they all loved the idea of an animal print, so each girl ended up with a different style and animal print shoe. It looked great!
Hair & Makeup | Glam & Gloss by Krista Adkins Badila
Officiant | Reverend Mark Faulkner
Ceremony Musician | Brady Beard
Transportation | Signature Limo
Caterer (and bartenders) | Signatures Catering
Baker | Rebecca’s Wedding Cake Design by Rebecca Schreher
Florist | Aubrey’s Flowers

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The Wedding

How would you describe your style as a couple?

Shabby chic, vintage, simple

How did you incorporate that style into your wedding?

I love vintage and shabby chic. Did I mention I LOVE vintage?

For color - I knew I didn’t want a whole lot of color in the wedding so we stuck to a classic pallet of black, ivory, gold and a small bit a blue. The only blue was in my bouquet and Justin’s bout. The reception was decorated with black linens, splashes of zebra print and the rest was ivory and burlap. Everything looked so chic.

blue, boutonniere, mens warehouse, suit, nashville, wedding

bouquet, cream, blue, lace dress, nashville, wedding

When I was dress shopping I had no idea what I was looking for but I knew exactly what I didn’t want. I wanted a dress that was me- not a dress that looks like every other dress brides these days wear. I shocked myself by picking an all lace dress but I cannot imagine a more perfect look. It was so vintage and so me. The bird cage veil added to the vintage look and Krista, my hair dresser, did an amazing job making my hair look vintage with the finger curls and waves.

The moment we walked into the Wightman Chapel we knew we had to get married there. The simplicity and perfect elegance of it was exactly what we were looking for. When you walk into that chapel, it just exudes romance. It was perfect.

scaritt bennett, aisle, vows, nashville, wedding

We were stuck for awhile on a reception venue. We looked at several hotel ballrooms but it just wasn’t us. We aren’t really “ballroom” people. Our wedding planner suggested we look at a venue that was still pretty new to the wedding scene. Justin and I both fell in love with Houston Station. Everything from the old wood floors, the exposed brick walls, the AMAZING vintage chic couches in the brides room and of course the oh so cool music room and coffee lounge. We kept our decorations simple. Simple but elegant. And 100% us. I did a lot of DIY projects.

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table assignments, guestbook, grooms cake, reception, wedding, nashville, houston station

Both Justin and I have pretty unique jobs. I’m a giraffe keeper at the Nashville Zoo and he is a recording engineer so we wanted those two aspects of our lives to be present at the wedding. We had our rehearsal dinner at the zoo in the elephant yard followed by a giraffe feeding. On the wedding day, I knew I wanted to have animal print and giraffe somewhere, but I didn’t want it to be tacky or too “in your face”. My bridesmaids all loved the idea of animal print shoes and we received many compliments on that. There were zebra print ottomans at the reception and of course our giraffe cake toppers were a hit. The music room at the reception was a great hit for all of our musically talented guests. Guests were able to get up on stage and play different instruments. People were in that room all night jamming away. It was such a cool vibe.

animal print, heels, bridesmaids, nashville, wedding

giraffe, wedding, cake, nashville, topper, cupcakes, rebecca's wedding cake design

What was the favorite aspect of your wedding?

It was 100% us. From the rehearsal dinner at the Nashville Zoo’s elephant yard to the DIY shabby chic décor, the vintage aspect of the church and the music room at the reception. It was a complete blend of Justin and I. I had so many people that day so, “This is so Kate. This is so Justin. How did you do this?” We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day.

Where did you splurge? Where did you save/DIY?

I would say we splurged in 3 main areas:
1. Photographer. We knew we wanted excellent candid pictures and pictures that captured the emotions of the day. Neither of us are big on posed, stiff photos so choosing the correct photographer was very important to us. Once we met and saw Krista Lee’s work we knew we had to book her and we would find ways to save in other areas. That was the best decision we made.
2. The chapel. It was expensive but worth every penny.
3. The photo booth. Justin proposed in a photo booth and we jump into one every place we see one, so we knew we had to have one at the wedding. The guests LOVED it. We ended up paying for an extra hour at the end of the night because the line was so long!

bride, bridesmaids, black dresses, scaritt bennett, nashville, wedding

happy couple, leaving ceremony, wedding, nashville, wightman chapel

Saving/DIY- I did a lot of DIY projects. I spent weekends at flea markets and hours searching Etsy and wedding blog websites to find ideas. We had a little wooden giraffe bride and groom to top our cake and surrounding the cake table were old wedding photos of our parents and grandparents. My mom made burlap table runners for the head table; old mason jars and chalkboard hearts served as table numbers, while salvaged windows (written on with crayon window pens) were used to locate table assignments. I made a fun direction sign out of salvaged wood and an old antique coat rack. Rather then a photo slide show, I found shutters at a flea market that we taped pictures to and propped them against a wall for guests to look at. I made the menus by printing them myself and finding fun frames. I made the ceremony programs myself, our guestbook was a photo book from Shutterfly filled with pictures from our engagement shoot, I think I could go on forever....

sign, DIY, table number, mason jar, chalkboard, nashville, wedding

DIY, photos, display, shutters repurposed, nashville, wedding, reception

Now that the wedding day is over, is there anything about your planning process you feel you could have done differently?

I don’t know how to answer this other then to say, not really. I’m pretty organized and I knew exactly what I wanted. We were incredibly blessed that everything worked out so well.

In one sentence, what words of advice do you have for couples in the midst of their planning?

Keep calm and carry on- there are things you cannot control (like cicada invasions) so smile and enjoy it- it goes by in a FLASH.


first dance, reception, wedding, nashville, houston station

Thank you to Mr. and Mrs. Cortelyou and Krista Lee for sharing your photos with us!!

About the Author:

Megan's avatar

I’m new to the wedding industry. Before getting engaged I literally avoided any websites for weddings only because I knew, once I delved in, I would become obsessed…. And it’s true. Once I got engaged, I did become obsessed and luckily, about that time, I started working in the wedding industry. So my interest increased on two levels. Now I am a newlywed and still enjoying the industry. I love writing, social media and connecting to people; happily, I get to do all of this with ABG.

See more posts by Megan »

send Posted on September 1, 2011 | Filed under: DIY & Budget Wed Finds, Real Nashville Weddings,

2 Responses to This Post
Lori from eHarmony says...

So beautiful!!!!  Congratulations again to Kate and Justin on your gorgeous wedding and your marriage! We are so thrilled to have brought you together.  Best wishes to you both for a lifetime of love and joy. <3

Posted on September 1, 2011 @ 8:44pm

Krista Lee says...

LOVE this couple!  They were so so fun and all of the other vendors did a fabulous job of bringing all of the unique details together… Such a great day!!!!

Posted on September 2, 2011 @ 12:04pm

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