Claire and Spencer’s April wedding was quite a cold one. If you’ve read my blog, you understand that the weather here in the Mid-South has been a little bonkers over the past two months, but I never expected it to be sleeting!
We had the day to shoot at the reception venue, Annesdale Mansion, which has been on my venue bucket list for a long time. A little cold couldn’t slow us down. Fortunately, Claire and Spencer (and their bridal party), were all troopers and we were able to get some phenomenal shots.
First, the Memphis Country Club rehearsal dinner must be mentioned. Claire and Spencer are so lucky to have such amazing family and friends. They showered them with funny stories, warm well-wishes, and even some loot to prepare them for their upcoming marriage. But my favorite part was when Spencer’s grandfather sang to Claire and played the harmonica!
“Spencer and I met in badminton class during my freshman year and his junior year at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. We didn’t really talk much until his fraternity’s Glory Days party after my sorority’s jungle mixer. Our first official date was attending the school’s Fancy Dress together that year, which we all describe as “College Prom”. We ended up going together as dates to Fancy Dress all 4 years I was there!” -Claire
“One of the most special moments of the weekend was when my mom gave me her great Aunt Kate’s diamond ring that she had reset with two sapphires on either side of the center stone. I was in awe! She kept telling me I didn’t need to worry about my “something blue”, but I had no idea! I was blown away. After getting dressed, my brother then surprised me with a beautiful double strand pearl bracelet, and the tears just kept coming!” -Claire
“During our first look, Spencer and I exchanged wedding gifts. After he gave me some beautiful pearl drop earrings, he had me open a larger box. Inside was a note from our future Corgi named Randall and a stuffed animal version of him. I can’t wait to meet Randall this summer!” -Claire
Despite the cold weather, we were able to get some STUNNING shots of Claire and Spencer on the grounds of Annesdale. Elizabeth Heiskell was so gracious to bring Claire her fur stole to wear during the photos to keep warm.
“We usually spend New Year’s at Spencer’s family’s home in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so he proposed on the mountain while we were skiing on December 29, 2016. Little did I know, he and his sister Mary were trying to keep me from going in for the day while their mom was picking up my parents at the airport. Mary had taken me on a really long, hard run in an effort to stall, but I was so tired afterwards. Spencer convinced me to go on “one last run” where I asked him to please take me on an easy blue, nothing exciting – to which he laughed and said “are you sure you don’t want anything exciting?”. He pulled off to an overlook at the top of the run and popped the question, while Mary had been hiding behind in trees taking pictures. We skied down to the bottom of the mountain so we could meet his family and FaceTime mine – but when we got there, he surprised me again with having flown out my parents for the occasion! I was in tears.” -Claire
“I think the thing that surprised us most about the weekend was the weather. We spent all week (or longer) checking the weather forecasts and praying for no rain. The forecasts did not look great leading up to our big day. April 7th turned out to be unusually cold for springtime in Memphis, and there were even a few snow flurries earlier in the afternoon. However, the clouds opened up and the sun came out right before the ceremony!” -Claire
“During the wedding, I was so nervous at the altar that, I forgot a line during my vows. I had to turn to the pastors and ask for them to repeat the words for me, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the pews laughed a little.” -Claire
“For me, Annesdale is just so beautiful and historic, so I really wanted the décor to accentuate that with classic, elegant, and traditional design. I wanted mostly white flowers with greenery, and a unique, architectural floral design for the dancefloor. I was set on having a clear tent so you could see the trees and lights throughout the night. I also asked our wedding planner to help incorporate some French flair as a play on Spencer’s last name, Frantz, and our hashtag (#HiggyGoesToFrantz). We served macarons and French wine, Elizabeth Heiskell Events helped replicate the infamous burger from our favorite French restaurant in DC, Le Diplomate, complete with French and American flags. The furniture and linens all reflected that theme as well. I certainly have my mom, Beth Higginbotham, to thank for bringing everything to life and meticulously thinking through every detail to create her daughter’s dream wedding.” -Claire
“All of the vendors were incredible and great to work with, but our wedding planner, Mona Dunlap, was the glue that held everything together and made our dreams come to life. She listened to each request with detail, helped cultivate my vision, and more than anything helped calm my nerves. I can’t thank her enough! To no surprise, Garden District did an absolutely stunning job. They really listened to the vision I had in mind when I brought maybe 100 magazine clippings to our first meeting!” –Claire
The party continued even having a family friend of the Franz’s, Dr. Randy Dickey from the Roanoke Supper Club, get on stage and sing “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”. He even whistled the whole part! It was pretty awesome!
All of Claire and Spencer’s friends and former alum from Washington & Lee gathered for a group photo to commemorate the day.
“The Infinity Show Band was AMAZING, but they definitely loved embarrassing us in front of the crowd. They even coaxed Spencer to sing “Let’s Get It On” after pulling us onstage, and I’m really glad he was wise enough to drop the mic after the first verse and dance with me instead.”-Claire
“The bouquet toss somehow turned out perfectly. I was really aiming for my cousin, Kristi. My other cousin, Amy, had given me a brief, but serious pep-talk on how I HAD to throw it to Kristi. I tried to tell her that I was just hoping to toss it in the general direction of people, but she wouldn’t take any excuses. To my surprise, Kristi actually caught the bouquet. I was so shocked and excited that I jumped in the air and undid my bustle.” -Claire
“Spencer and I want to thank his parents for organizing an amazing rehearsal dinner and post-toast and my parents for giving us the wedding of our dreams. The entire weekend was beyond perfect, and we are so thankful to have such loving parents.” -Claire
Spencer was accepted to Harvard Business School starting this Fall, so the two of them will be moving from Washington, DC to Boston at the end of the summer (with Randall, the Corgi, of course!).
Spencer and Claire, congrats on such a beautiful wedding. I know your future together will be absolute magic! Thank you for allowing us to share such a special event with you and your families! – Ann-Marie
Dress: Monique Lhuillier, purchased at Carine’s Bridal Atelier in Washington, DC | Bridesmaids Dresses: Monique Lhuillier, purchased through Bella Bridesmaids | Tux: Oak Hall in Memphis, TN | Cakes: Cakes by Mom and Me | Venue: Second Presbyterian Church and Annesdale Mansion | Coordinator/Designer: Mona Dunlap Events | Flowers: Garden District | Invitations: Ménage | Calligraphy: Melinda Sapp | Rentals: White Door Events | Music/Band: The Infinity Show Band | Rehearsal Venue: Memphis Country Club | Caterer: Elizabeth Heiskell | Hair: Rod Henson | Makeup: Kendrick Simpson