By CATHI AYCOCK
Photos by Melissa Madison Fuller
For Hailey Blackburn and Grant Minchew, Nashville, Tennessee, was home sweet home.
Though the two lived mere miles from each other growing up, and then both attended the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, they didn’t meet until post-college. They were both starting out in their careers, but sparks flew between the two true-blue Tennesseans.
Fast forward several years and Grant was all set to create a surprise proposal for Hailey. With a little best laid plans caveat, Hailey laughs when she admonishes “beware the digital age” when it comes to surprises.
“I was using my mom’s iPad when a text from Grant popped up on the screen. Not thinking anything about it, I opened the text, saw a discussion with dates, and quickly closed the screen,” says Hailey.
Grant still managed to surprise Hailey, he had her parents ask her over after work one evening. When she got to the house, he had set up their back patio with candles, flowers, music and wine. After the proposal, the newly engaged couple ended the night with a surprise engagement party at Hailey’s best friend’s house.
The wedding weekend started with the entire wedding party staying downtown at the historic Hermitage Hotel.
“I loved being downtown. The bridesmaids and my parents stayed Friday night at the Hermitage Hotel. It was very fun to wake up with our view looking out onto War Memorial and to have a slow and intimate morning with some of my favorite people,” says Hailey.
Having the wedding in downtown Nashville was also something of an homage to Hailey’s family history. And was part of the “something old” portion of the wedding.
” My something old was my grandmother’s garter. We pinned it inside of my dress. She was also married in downtown Nashville so sharing multiple things, such as a middle name, is very special to me. My something new was a Tiffany’s pearl bracelet Grant gave to me as a wedding gift. My something borrowed was really fun. I had my sorority sisters meet me before the ceremony to serenade me with a ritual song we sang together many of times, right before they each brought their Phi Mu pin and we attached them to my bouquet,” says Hailey.