A Magnolia Evening: The Mann-Ellington Wedding
By Morgan Winter
Photography By Woody and Pearl
Lauren Elizabeth Mann, daughter of Mister and Mrs. Patrick (Lisa) Tanner Mann of Bells, Tennessee, and Samuel Radford Ellington II, son of Mister and Mrs. James (Libba) Radford Ellington of Brownsville, Tennessee, married on May 12th, 2018. Reverend Sammy Tillman presided over the ceremony at the First United Methodist Church in Brownsville, Tennessee.
Lauren and Ford first met as children in church—where they saw each other every Sunday. Years later, while reclining on the bank of a small pond on the property of their future farmhouse, Ford presented Lauren with a champagne sapphire and diamond ring and asked for her hand which she joyfully accepted.
The day of the wedding arrived, beautiful and perfect. The bridesmaids, Rachel Ellington, Madison Kellum, Brena Riseling, and Elizabeth Siler, and the maid of honor, Victoria Shetler wore full-length black satin dresses. Kate Mann, the flower girl, wore a white dress with lace accents on the skirt and neckline. Bo Tritt, the ring bearer and the groom’s cousin, also wore an all-white ensemble, complete with black and white saddle shoes.
Lauren Mann captivated all in her Calla Blanche ball gown, which boasted a cathedral train. The bodice was heavily beaded with rhinestones with a plunging v-neckline. The natural waist began with cascades of tulle for the skirt, balancing the glamour of the bodice with simplicity. Chase Thomas of Palm Beach Florida styled the bride’s hair into soft curls and pinned them into a graceful low bun. Victoria Shelter, Lauren’s bridesmaid and cousin, kept the bride’s makeup subtle with a soft brown smokey eye and pink lipstick.
For the traditional “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue,” Lauren borrowed the groom’s grandmother’s blue garter. New earrings were gifted to the bride from her parents.
Beside Ford on his wedding day were his groomsmen: Evan Ellington, Tritt Ellington, John-Micheal Mann, Ryan Siler, Hunter Campbell, and Josh Perry. His father, Rad Ellington, stood beside Ford as his best man. They wore a traditional black suit and tie by Micheal Kors. Ford Ellington II also wore a traditional black suit, but with a bow tie instead of a tie. A white rose boutonniere completed the ensembles. My Best Friend Jenna in Jackson provided the suits.
As friends and family arrived at the First United Methodist Church in Brownsville, they were greeted by Elizabeth Mann, the bride’s cousin, who handed programs to them as they entered the church. Guests were ushered to their seats by the bride’s cousin and uncle, Elliot Hay, and John Mann, respectively.
When the ceremony began, the wedding processional was accompanied by multiple musicians. Michelle Tillman was the pianist and organist, Audrey Hazelhurst the violinist; Sherry Tritt and Mitch Platz the soloists.
Cascading hydrangeas, pink and white garden roses, dusty miller, ferns, limonium, and smilax decorated the choir rail. The flowers perfumed the air as the towering stained glass windows allowed the sunlight to shine on the happy couple.
After the ceremony ended, the bride and groom departed in a vintage Mercedes-Benz convertible whilst guests were transported via carts to the Magnolia arch featured on the front lawn of the historic Eader House in Brownsville. Guests could either enter the magnolia adorned antebellum house for food and refreshments or enjoy the entertainment on the patio or underneath the canopy.
Inside the house, the center dining room table featured an antique cherub supporting garden roses and chrysanthemums. The cherub had belonged to the groom’s Great-Grandmother. Fireplace mantles were draped with magnolia garlands. Tables were set with white linen and the food was beautifully presented on silver serving pieces; Nolen Taylor and John Austin, guest chefs from Nashville, made the food. Guests choose from a cheese and charcuterie board (with the traditional accompaniments, of course), Masa fried chicken on Hawaiian rolls, fried green tomatoes with Tripp bacon pimento and cheese, crudité platters with a choice of whipped feta and green goddess, gulf shrimp and Geechie Boy Mill Grits, a seasonal fruit platter with a whipped yogurt dip, and local watermelon garnished with lime, chili, and smoked sea salt. The guests quenched their thirst with a champagne punch, sweet tea, and a bar provided those of age with red and white wine. Champagne was reserved for the newlywed’s fathers’ toasts.
In the living room of the Eader house, the centerpiece of the room was a four-tiered white wedding cake adorned with pink and white garden roses. The groom’s cake was classic, a two-tiered chocolate cake, with chocolate shavings covering it. A pair of wooden pintail ducks, set atop ferns and moss, flanked on one side of the cake, as the groom is an avid duck hunter. Both cakes were baked and decorated by Jessica Childress from J.C. Cakes in Humboldt.
The guests danced to music provided by The Sensation Band out of Memphis. Lauren and Ford enjoyed their first dance to Luther Vandross’s “Endless Love” featuring Mariah Carey. Lauren and her father swayed to Michael Bolton’s “Daddy’s Little Girl.” Ford and his mother danced to Lee Ann Womack’s “I Hope You Dance.”
The floral arrangements for the reception were designed by the Eader House and Treasure Chest in Brownsville. Clayton Productions and Rentals in Henderson provided the rentals canopy, tables, chairs, and the like. The fairytale day was immortalized by the photographers Woody and Pearl from Jackson.
Ford and Lauren enjoyed their honeymoon in Perdido Key, Florida before returning to work at Delta Electric in Jackson, Tennessee and Alamo Medical Clinic in Bells, respectively.
The Ellington Family hosted a coffee in honor of Lauren at the Eader House in Brownsville. The hostesses provided a selection of brunch foods and coffee. Friends and family of the couple showered them with various gifts for their upcoming married life. Andrea Hay, the bride’s Aunt, hosted an additional shower as well, held at ZZ’s on the Square, also in Brownsville. At the shower, Lauren inherited several family heirlooms as gifts from her parents. Guests enjoyed chicken salad, petit fours, and drank fruit tea.
The bride and her bridesmaids gathered in her future farmhouse home for food, fun, and gifts specifically for her honeymoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Radford Ellington hosted the rehearsal dinner at Mr. Bob Bond’s elegant country home in Denmark, Tennessee. Family and friends filled the patio to celebrate the couple. Guests were served perfectly grilled filet mignon by Iris Byrd Catering of Bells, Tennessee and satisfied their sweet tooth with a buffet of various sweets from Muddy’s Bake Shop of Memphis.
Black and white linens dressed the tables. White china with magnolia leaf place cards and urns filled with hydrangeas and ferns completed the table settings. Rachel Ellington custom designed the place cards as well as the wedding programs, napkins, and invitations; all magnolia themed. Meredith Gunn, of Mississippi Ink, lent her calligraphy talent to address the invitations.
The bridesmaids’ luncheon to celebrate the bride was held at Just Divine Tea Room in Halls and was followed by an afternoon of shopping.