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Natalie & Chad Copenhaver

Photography by Natalie Watson

Natalie Brooke Bell married Charles Curtis Copenhaver on October 7, 2017 at the RT Lodge in Maryville, Tenn. Natalie is the daughter of Steve and Becky Bell of Knoxville, Tenn. She graduated from the Webb School of Knoxville and graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in marketing. Chad is the son of Curtis and Nena Copenhaver of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was a letterman tennis player at the University of Tennessee.

They met through friends, but it wasn’t exactly fireworks at first. “I wouldn’t make direct eye contact, not to mention my entire neck and chest was broken out in hives! But somehow during dinner he started to win me over…he asked if he could walk me home after dinner and as he was telling me goodnight, he accidently let my dog out. He spent the whole night driving around and even took the time the next morning to make flyers to pass out.  Luckily someone found my dog and called two days later, but I knew early on he was special!”

Natalie knew that Chad was the one for her after a weekend trip to Asheville, North Carolina. “We spent the weekend exploring the city, trying different restaurants, and discussing life over cocktails in the most romantic, cozy spots. Once we got back to Knoxville and he pulled up to my loft, I remember thinking I never wanted to be apart from this man,” said Natalie.

Chad surprised her on Thursday morning, September 21, with an unexpected trip to the Highlands in North Carolina. “We had lunch at Old Edwards and then he suggested hiking a trial he heard had beautiful views of the mountains. Once on the mountain, he got down on one knee and proposed!! It was such a blur and we spent the rest of the day and night celebrating!”

“For the ceremony, I really wanted to keep things simple because of the stunning natural surroundings on the windy road. My florist, Colby West, did an amazing job of keeping things simple but contemporary and impactful with a variety of candles lining the aisle and pops of color in two huge arrangements against the natural background. I love the added vintage rug that we stood on during the ceremony. 

“When it came to my bridal party, I really wanted my bridesmaids to feel beautiful in their own unique way. I let each girl choose their own dress…short, long…whatever they wanted, but I asked them to choose a dress in a neutral/blush color scheme. Instead of flower bouquets, each girl carried a long-tapered candle down the aisle, then lit the candle and placed it on a table where we said our vows. They all looked so beautiful on our big day, and I loved how the various dresses somehow complimented each other and looked uniformed!  My maid of honors and matron of honor (my two sisters and best friend), wore long chiffon dresses in Ecru from Bella Bridesmaids. 

“My dress was all lace with a corset, unlined bodice, and I wore my mother’s veil. My sister also wore my mother’s veil at her wedding, so it was so special that it worked with my dress as well! The veil took care of my something old and borrowed, and my something blue was my husband’s initials sewn in my dress, a surprise done by my seamstress, Sandra G.

A few special moments from the ceremony included Chad’s daughter, Caroline, as the flower girl and Natalie’s nephew as the ring bearer, and the officiant was Chad’s brother-in-law. It was truly a family affair. The choir sang the prayer during the ceremony (Joyful, Joyful) and then broke out in the happiest rendition of Oh Happy Day after the couple said I do. It was a moment that truly surprised and wowed the guests.  After the ceremony, they had a cocktail hour on the front lawn, where waiters passed out a signature cocktail, a Moscow mule, on monogrammed linens.

Natalie was thrilled with the entire event. “The reception was held under the Sperry tent, and I cannot brag on my florist, Colby West enough. He truly nailed my floral design, keeping most bouquets and arrangements neutral, while adding pops of blush, wine, and seasonal berries and fruits. Magnolia leaves served as runners on the long farm tables for the reception, while lucite and gem stone candle holders added a touch of contemporary glam. The tent had a whimsical feeling with strung bistro lights and a ceiling installation of various branches covered in delicate white blooms. Our guests enjoyed dinner, and then danced the night away to a Motown band from Nashville, Tennessee. Our first dance was to Ray LaMontagne’s You Are the Best Thing, and it was such a sweet and special moment to dance with my father to My Girl, while Chad danced with his daughter, Caroline. 

“Our cake was simple but elegant… a three tier, Italian cream cake that was decorated with real flowers. For the groom’s cake, Chad wanted an assortment of cookies from Moonshine Cookies… a real crowd pleaser we were told!”

The couple honeymooned in Santorini, Greece and in Italy along the Amalfi Coast. They returned to make their home in Knoxville.

Behind the Scenes:
Wedding Planner – Katherine Stinnett 
Photographer – Natalie Watson
Caterer – RT Lodge
Floral Design – Colby West Designs
Invitations – The Happy Envelope 
Gown – Galia Lahav from the the Dress Theory in Nashville, TN
Wedding Cake – Daisy Cakes
Venue - RT Lodge – ceremony and reception
Hair Stylist – Katie Clowers from Salon Visage
Makeup Artist – Claire Balest
Ceremony Entertainment- Robyn James Ensembles
Reception Entertainment –Masterpiece from Nashville, TN

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