What Dreams are Made Of (part 1)

A few months ago, we spoke to floral designer extraordinaire Evan Leggoe of Thicket Creative about doing a wedding shoot. Evan recently moved to Chattanooga from Atlanta, and is building her business locally. We had a shared dream of stringing carnations on a line, like you see on temples in India.

From there, Evan pulled together the most amazing group of vendors:

Dresses: Monicas Bridal | Hair: Shaina Ramsey Beauty | Makeup: Gabriella Bordo | Furnishings/Tableware: Ramblewood Events | Florals: Thicket Creative | Photography: OK Crowe (Rachael Crowe) & Wonderly Creative (YeeWon Wilkey) (Part 2) Models: @nenerina @davywidt  & @angeladominessy @carlsimakoff17 (Part 2) |

And they made magic…

Photographer Rachael Crowe brought in the smoke bombs to add some serious movie-style mood to Evan’s impressive floral installation in the rocks. (all photos in part 1 are by Rachael Crowe).

And then there’s the barn:

We are loving how our whitewashed barn is letting all the colors pop! Evan imagined a beautiful table setting with daffodils, kumquats (those are tiny citrus fruits), and of course, the verrrrry cool strands of carnations. Ramblewood killed it with heavy-handled silverware and weave & thatch plateware, with deep gold napkins to heighten the drama.

Back up to the Cottage, and a few getting ready photos:

Gabriella Bordo applying makeup to Angela Dominessy (p2)
Shania Ramsey on hair!

We always always always love this wall:

The talented Evan Leggoe at work:

And finale!

If you are interested in having your own theatrical, jaw-dropping, epic wedding, email cottageatoakleaf@gmail.com – or call/text 706-409-0218

A Wedding Vendor Dinner

What’s better than seeing a wedding head table setting idea? How about six of them, from six different wedding pros!

multiple wedding table ideas with flowers arranged in various styles. Wedding couple and beautiful wedding dress.

Better yet, this included a styled shoot, and a dinner party for wedding vendors. We work events together, but don’t really get a moment to talk or get to know each other very well. With wedding season starting in full at the start of April, the timing was perfect! Photos by Life with a View Studio unless otherwise marked.

Moss and branch wedding table setting, with light blue napkins and black plates
Table designed by Wildflower Wedding Planning

There were so many beautiful tables!

A spring green wedding table setting, with brass candlesticks, mismatched china, vintage books and stunning florals
Red Roof Farm Vintage Rentals

A floating floral arrangement on brass bases, brass candlesticks, and stunning blue napkins
Divine Designs by Amanda
Shaun Mosley in a pretty coral dress, wedding table setting in a white barn in chattanooga tennessee
The mastermind behind the event, Shaun Mosley of Cue the Champagne with her gorgeous table setting!
navy blue and coral wedding table setting, white candles, white barn
Trilogy Design Group — photo is from my iphone (sorry! will replace with a pro photo soon!)
beautiful bride in stunning low cut wedding dress, wedding hair softly pulled back, on a handpainted blue wall in Oakleaf Cottage
Can you believe this dress? It came from Mrs. Bridal!
Beautiful wedding couple in the forest, standing among mossy rocks in early spring
Fun fact: Our models are not married (nor engaged) and this is their
fourth wedding photoshoot together!
bride and groom snuggling happily over their wedding table. Beautiful low cut wedding gown, white barn,
Wedding photography set in an old forest. Bride and groom posing on a large fallen tree, view of mountains in the background
Bride and groom deep dip in photo in forest, barn in background
wedding catering table set up with white tablecloth, small vases with white roses and gold candles
I don’t have pictures of the dinner (yet) by The Little Caterer — but they also styled the food and dessert tables! The red velvet cake, and the cheesecake, were both yummy!
stunning wedding photo with light behind the couple, beautiful wedding dress glows from the light inside the venue

Event Planner: Shaun Mosley, Cue the Champagne

Photos: Life with a View Studio

Model: Bobby Pinning by Brittney

Hair and Makeup: Scenic Event Solutions

Catering: The Little Caterer


Wildflower Wedding Planning

Summerfield Studio Floral Design

Trilogy Design Group

Cue the Champagne

Red Roof Farm Vintage Rentals

Divine Designs by Amanda


It’s Painted White!

For several months… ok, a year… maybe more, I’ve wanted to paint the barn white inside. To me, the dark rustic-ness didn’t fit the Cottage or feel seamless with it. The Cottage is bright and happy inside, and a little trendy.

The red oak in the barn didn’t feel that way. We had the trendy lighting (which is easier to see now, and I loooooove that) but it didn’t jump out well against the natural walls.

Now I feel like all of our black hardware makes a statement, and the brick in our floors is more apparent as well. Brick will be in a few places throughout the venue as we keep adding.

It adds a more modern vibe too. It’s so light, bright and happy in here, even on a SUPER cloudy day. Our location under so many trees in the forest puts us in the shade much of the year.

These are all iphone photos, which (for me) are not the easiest to edit — I prefer to shoot in raw and edit in lightroom nowadays. Our lovely couple from yesterday’s wedding left the flowers from the arbor behind just so I could come up with a quick tablesetting for this blog post. We seriously have the best couples.

Florals were by Creighton’ Wildflowers, over in Chickamauga. Faith is so talented — isn’t this beautiful?

Stay tuned for more — we have a few fun photoshoots lined up with some of Chattanooga’s best, most talented wedding vendors!

White barn wedding venue with tablesetting ideas for the head table. White and pretty deep pink flowers, mixed china and glassware.

If you ever want to be the first to know the changes out here at Oakleaf, follow our Stories on Instagram! Dave is working on a super cool new change for our front ceremony area (it’s going to rock!) <—- yes that’s a clue.

Our Fave Wedding Trends

Making the jump from interior design to loving all kinds of wedding design has been a pretty short hop-skip over. We’re always keeping an eye on the trends to see what the latest is, and to dream up our latest take on all the styles.

Pampass Grass

Green Wedding Shoes

Long the semi-hated yard staple, these giant puffs of fluff have breathed hot new life into floral installations. We’ve found images of them flowing down the aisle, bursting in beautiful wedding bouquets, and adding billowy greatness to the wedding arbor. We love it all.

Green Wedding Shoes


Green Wedding Shoes — and we LOVE that bright dress!

Shaped Wedding Arches

image from Green Wedding Shoes

Be they diamonds or triangles, circles or even asymmetrical, these seem to be fast becoming a staple of boho wedding design. Dave insists the triangle is too simple and then starts doodling in his sketchbook. A new arbor design is on its way for us, but it will have a definite ‘Dave take’ on this trend.

Green Wedding Shoes
Junebug Weddings


Green Wedding Shoes

So unlike the wedding headdress worn by my great-great-great grandmother for her wedding, these floral creations challenge even those famously worn by Carmen Miranda – minus the fruit, of course. We love everything about the next image —

Green Wedding Shoes

Floral, or Patterned Suits:

Green Wedding Shoes

A fresh take on traditional attire! It takes a confident fellow to step out in a floral suit, which is why we think we’re seeing more with patterns. Maybe paisley will make a comeback? Dave and I agree though – a patterned jacket and coordinating tie would be a more approachable option.

Green Wedding Shoes
Green Wedding Shoes

Outdoor Receptions

Junebug Weddings

Well, you KNOW we love these! DUH. We’re surrounded by outdoor gorgeousness. I’m besotted with the long, neverending table concept.

Green Wedding Shoes
100 Layer Cake

Big Floral Installations

100 Layer Cake

These big, showy greenery installs are stunning in every way. Gracing arbors, showcasing the aisle or changing a ceiling into a display of color perfect for photo ops.

100 Layer Cake
Green Wedding Shoes

What’s your favorite trend?

Images courtesy of Green Wedding Shoes, 100 Layer Cake, Martha Weddings, and Junebug Weddings

Sanity Saving Tips for Planning your Wedding

Congratulations, you’re getting married! Seconds after anyone sees your ring or hears the news, the very next questions are all about the wedding. Suddenly everything from the guest list to how the ceremony should proceed is on your plate, and what seems like a million decisions big and small are demanding your attention. How can you not feel overwhelmed?

First off – take a few moments to just enjoy being a happy engaged couple, and don’t let “The Wedding” take over your life. It’s easy to let that happen, but the wedding is part ceremony, and part celebration, of your life together.

Before we get to bullet points, a few overall suggestions:

  • Set aside blocks of time for wedding planning. Don’t try to do “a little here, a little there,” because it will quickly overtake your every waking moment and leave you feeling scattered. Sit down together, and come up with a few basics to get started:
  • Prioritize what you both want for your wedding, sorted by “Must Have,” “Really Want,” and “Would Be Nice.” Hold on to this list, and then:
  • Set a Budget – Nobody ever likes this word, but it helps so much in prioritizing what is important for your wedding, and your life, and in being able to say “no” when it’s not something you really need.
  • Work on your guest list – this is a big factor in the expense of your wedding, from chairs to tables, place settings and catering, and even determining the size of your venue. Oakleaf Cottage, for example, has a max capacity of 125, while others may accommodate upwards of 300 guests.
  • Hire a Planner. No joke. It’s the best money ever spent. Your planner will be your best friend as you pull together the details of your wedding. Having an experienced planner by your side, someone who has all the connections and existing relationships with the right vendors for you is going to help you SO MUCH.

“Part of what I love about helping pull all the pieces together is watching the couple’s stress level dissipate over the course of our meetings together,” says Khloe Jackson of Wildflower Wedding Planning. “There are SO many decisions that need to be made and my clients have told me they feel a sense of ease knowing they have a professional opinion to consider when making all those decisions.”

One more note on a Planner – talk to a few, and decide who you “click” best with. After all, you’re going to be pretty close throughout the duration of your engagement.

  • Next up: create a new email address just for wedding planning. We have a few couples doing this, and it makes so much sense! All of your emails are then easily searchable, and you won’t be distracted by wedding emails in your personal (or work) inbox.

Keep it simple! It’s so easy to get elaborate, with the table setting, the extras, the décor… Pinterest is a massive overflowing fountain of ideas, but even the ideas can get overwhelming before too long.  There is an elegance to simplicity, in focusing on the bigger details, in not having to pack or store gobs of décor ahead of your big day.

Don’t forget, Dave and I are happy to help! Whether you want advice on the decor, or an outside opinion, or need help narrowing down the best vendor for you, know that we really enjoy doing whatever we can to make your day (and the days leading up to it) a breeze.

Photo Credit: Amber Phinisee Photography

Conner + Austin Wedding

So, so excited to share with you a few shots from Conner & Austin’s wedding the first weekend of October! The weather was just perfect — warm while the sun was up, then gradually cooling as the sun settled behind Sand Mountain.

Photography: Kelsey Dawn Photo

Florals: Melia Worley

Chairs: Something Vintage



Renovations Galore (part 1)

The month of August, we undertook a few big projects. One that I will reveal later, is our new parking lot (which is SUPER exciting all by itself!). But first, I wanted to reveal the big change in the ceremony area behind the barn:


IT’S LEVEL! And it has grass. And brick steps. And steps leading down to the trail where folks like to explore and some of the BEST wedding photos happen among the rocks.


Here is how it looked a couple of months ago for a photoshoot — you can see it isn’t quite flat, but it also slopes quite a bit off the barn. We had added five feet of dirt earlier in 2017 and it compacted enough for use just in time for weddings last November, but over time it was still settling and nowhere near as level as we wanted it to be. Plus the grass from seed kept dying. We went for sod this time.

destination wedding venue mountains

I went digging for how much this space behind the barn has changed since we bought the land just over two years ago — I found this one, from January 2017 (with Cookie in it, which made me sad all over again).

barn before

You can see how MUCH it sloped — there was barely a useable area back here at all, certainly nothing for ceremonies.

And now, with 2 feet more of dirt in some places, plus rock — we treated it like a golf course, after a friend’s excellent suggestion. We have a couple inches of rock below the topsoil — that way, the ground dries faster than if it were only dirt alone. Drainage considerations on a mountain are serious stuff:



We did most all of this leveling by HAND you guys. That means shovels, and wheelbarrows, and sore bodies. There’s no way to get equipment through the barn, and to go around back is a little dangerous for machinery… and still slow. So by hand it was. We have the muscles to prove it. For a while we were looking pretty svelte too… but I think a few quarts of ice cream may have caught up with us since then.


The first little set of stairs are reclaimed brick from an old chimney in St Elmo, set with railroad ties to make them pretty long. They were not leveled yet in this shot– just placed down so we knew we had enough of them.


Same view, from a few months ago with our photoshoot with Hillary Leah.


One last before and after! We’re so thrilled to have it looking like…. an event space!


Next post… parking!