Traditional Church Ceremony + Luxury Ballroom Reception in Atlanta

Bentley and Dillon

Photographed by: Harwell PhotographyLocation: Atlanta, Georgia, United States

“I knew I wanted to marry her before I even met her,” Dillon Lee admits regarding his first impression of Bentley Phelps. During his freshman year of college, he had heard a lot about Bentley from her older sister, and they finally met after a University of Alabama versus Mississippi State football game. The pair quickly hit it off.

A few years later, Dillon surprised Bentley with a trip to New York, her favorite city, just days before Christmas. “He knew I had always wanted to experience snow around the holidays,” she muses. Bentley noticed her beau was acting a bit strange – most notably, not eating anything for lunch, which is unusual for a college football player. The reason was clear once they walked through Central Park and approached the Gapstow Bridge. “There were roses laying on the ground, and he asked me to marry him in front of everyone!” exclaims the bride.

Bentley was surprised to find that planning a wedding for 400 guests was relatively easy – thanks to the help they received from Suzanne Reinhard Events. “My planner made it a breeze,” the bride reveals. “She is now a close friend and we still talk on a regular basis.” In order to make things as convenient as possible for both their local and traveling guests, the couple – who reside in Sugar Hill, Georgia – elected to host their nuptials in Atlanta.

Though the reception would be held in the ballroom of a luxury hotel, it was always understood that the ceremony would take place in a house of worship. “It was important to my family, especially my grandparents, and me for [the vow exchange] to be centered around God. We believe the foundation of a strong marriage starts in the church,” Bentley confides.

The bride walked down the aisle in an exquisite lace fit-and-flare gown with pearl straps, her long blonde hair in soft, romantic waves. Bentley's cascading bouquet featured a variety of white blooms, including gardenias, stephanotis blossoms, garden and spray roses, sweet peas, lilacs, and peonies. The dramatic high ceilings of the magnificent church made it unnecessary to decorate the space, save for a floral arrangement below the cross at the altar.

The reception, on the other held, was absolutely filled with flowers, including a wall of blooms for the perfect photo op. Bentley and Dillon sat at a table adorned with a garland of ivory hydrangeas and varying types of roses that cascaded from the table down to the floor. Floating and votive candles were interspersed along the way to create a lovely glowing effect. “My mother also surprised me by using all of her antique linens on the long estate tables,” the bride shares of the sentimental touch.

Following a sit-down dinner, revelers were treated to the stylings of a live band performing classics from the 1980s to more modern hits. “There wasn’t one person who wasn’t dancing,” states the groom. Glow sticks were handed out to the crowd that partied until midnight. The tall, four-tier strawberry shortcake confection with cream roses between each layer helped give attendees the energy needed. Serving the decadent sweet wasn’t without its mishaps, however: “The knife got stuck and the cake almost fell over,” laughs Dillon. “It was hilarious.”

Though favors are often an afterthought at weddings, Bentley took the opportunity to plan something very special. “My grandma is an unbelievable baker – she has the best pound cake recipe of anyone!” the bride affirms. Thus, she and her grandmother teamed up to bake and package miniature versions of the sweet treat to give guests at the end of the night, with a sweet note Bentley wrote about her grandmother attached. “She really loves to cook, just like her grandmother, and it was a special memory for them to share during the process of baking together,” the groom notes.

In the end, the bride feels everything flowed perfectly and wouldn’t change a thing. “Remember this day is about the love you share with your partner,” she advises. “Put your full attention on each other.”