“Everyone – I mean, everyone – is going to have an opinion about your wedding,” starts Sarah Pannill,  “From the venue, to the flowers, to your hairstyle, to the napkin color, to the icing on the cake, people are going to tell you what they want.”  She goes on: “Here’s the thing: it’s not their wedding! This is one of the most special, important, and memorable days of your lives, and as long as you and your groom-to-be are happy, that’s all that matters!”

Though advice and guidance can be greatly appreciated when requested, Sarah and Mack were content with knowing they were planning their wedding their way – and were certain that the event would symbolize their personalities and illustrate their love. The childhood friends enlisted the help of Sarah’s mother and began planning a grand affair focusing on three characteristics for the celebration: stunning, sophisticated, and classic.

First, they quickly settled on a ceremony site. “That was an easy decision, since my husband and I met and fell in love at our home church,” shares Sarah. “It was very important that the next chapter of our lives start where it all began.” The aisles of the sanctuary were decorated with satin ribbons and florals in vanilla and Tiffany blue, while the altar was adorned with candlesticks and a large flower arrangement in colorful, but light-hued tones.

Bridesmaids wore elegant strapless gowns in a shade of robin’s egg blue and carried bouquets of roses in hues of pink and white. Sarah looked every bit the bride in a strapless satin gown with glittering crystals and bead embellishments. Sparkling accessories and a flowing veil added to her timeless style, while the frothy peonies she held were wrapped in bling to provide a dash of glamour.

Following the heartfelt service – which included many sentimental touches, such as having two ministers officiate and the couple penning their own vows – guests were ushered into another area for cocktails before making their way into a beautifully decorated ballroom. Muted turquoise uplighting highlighted gilt elements of the space, which paired perfectly with the golden chiavari chairs that surrounded round tables clothed in satin linens. Towering floral centerpieces and romantic candlelight also bedecked tabletops. In lieu of tangible wedding favors, Sarah and Mack opted to make donations in each guests’ name in memory of the couple’s respective deceased grandparents. “We made these donations to organizations that our loved ones were heavily involved with and supported,” explains the bride.

For the couple who befriended one another in elementary school, maintaining a wedding style that truly represented their romance felt instinctive. “We have a rare, yet beautiful, privilege to grow up and grow old with each other,” asserts the bride.

Sarah and Mack’s intuition to remain focused on each other through the planning proved positive. Not only did their celebration result in a day of love laughter for others, but the bride treasures one memory most. “As soon as the church doors opened, I saw the warm glow of the candles, lush flowers around the altar, and a sea of smiling faces,” she recalls. “Most importantly, I saw my groom beaming at the end of the aisle, and to this day I can close my eyes and put myself back into the moment.”