May 1, 2011

Love Prevails :: Beth and Brian

Photos by Waldorf Photographic Art

Sunday, May 2, 2010, was a historic day for Nashville. The second and most devastating day of the “500 year” flood with 28 inches of rain.  It was also the most significant day of Beth Clarke and Brian Whaley’s relationship – their wedding day.  One year later we are still touched by Beth and Brian’s grace and their commendable ability to place the purpose and significance of their marriage above the most daunting of obstacles.

Surrounded by Tennessee hills and Whites Creek, Cedarwood took on torrential water. The grounds were saturated, the barn and Pavilion held standing water, and Whites Creek Pike was impassable in some areas. Yet when Beth’s army of family and friends (and our staff) struck out in finding an alternate wedding location, we told Beth if the shuttle company could deliver their guests, we would make it happen at Cedarwood!

As Beth and Brian arrived, a miraculous reprieve from the rain allowed them to step outside for a few photos by their incredible photography team, Christy and Bill of  Waldorf Photographic Art – total troopers and impeccable professionals!

Christy recalls, “Beth and I talked earlier that morning and when we thought that the wedding couldn’t be held at Cedarwood, I helped her call various other locations trying to find a place that could have her wedding. She didn’t at one time sound discouraged, disappointed or let the rain cloud the fact that it was her wedding day and that she was marrying her soul mate. I had seen Beth alone a few times before for her bridal portrait and whatnot, and she is a wonderful and stunning woman; but when I saw her with Brian for the first time, it was like she was on fire. Their relationship is so inspiring, and I was astonished by the fact that they obviously have such an impact on so many people’s lives, that people not only flew from literally every corner of the U.S. to come to their wedding…they came when every local and national weather station was telling everyone to stay put because of record flooding. I mean a school was floating down the interstate!

It was such a testament to Beth and Brian’s relationship, not only with each other but with their friends and family, that as soon as everyone arrived at Cedarwood, no one gave a second thought to the weather…it was so powerful.  And Lord, I can’t tell you how thrilled Beth was when she called to tell me that you all were able to make it work so that she could have her wedding at Cedarwood. In a completely unexpected way, it was a perfect day. Any couple who can make you forget it’s flooding outside must have something pretty powerful.”

Hats off  to Waldorf Photographic Art for their ability in challenging circumstances to capture the beauty of Beth and Brian’s love and the magic of their union.  Our heartfelt gratitude to Cedarwood’s incredible friends at A Dream Come True Catering who sent their staff en masse to help us remove water; and to Patty Cakes‘ Patty Russell and her dear family who pitched in; and to Anthony Montgomery, the best bartender on the planet, who did the job of two people all night long; to Rob Higginbotham, Nashville Wedding Guitarist, who spent five hours driving across town to play for the ceremony; to the talented band, The Dickens, who traveled through two states and flood ravaged roads to make it; and to Beth and Brian’s guests who car pooled from their hotel when the bus cancelled service.  AMAZING people, committed to their clients and their trade. This post is a tribute to each of them and to the people behind the cameras who document the art of our lives.

Foremost, it is a tribute to the power of love to prevail all circumstances – an acknowledgement of the love between Beth and Brian Whaley, their families, friends and guests – such amazing and gracious people. Happy first year anniversary Beth and Brian! We hope your hearts remain forever filled!


Here are the touching recollections of Beth from her wedding day:  “The blog was wonderful and very kind, and I can’t thank you, your team and all of the other service professionals enough for going above and beyond to make our day perfect!  We have so many fond memories.  Although the rain threatened to wash away our wedding, it actually made us focus on and appreciate the most important thing—our love for each other, for our family and friends, and for our community as a whole.  We couldn’t have had such a great day without everyone’s love and support and we are so thankful to have so many wonderful people touch our lives.

“The day of our wedding, Brian and I woke to the phone ringing and the make-up lady apologizing profusely about the fact that she could not make it to the hotel that day due to the flooding in her house.  We were aware of the extreme weather forecast and “battened down the hatches” mentally for what the day would bring us.  Before we even got out of bed, we reminded each other that no matter what the day would hold logistically,  to not lose sight of the fact that the most important thing is that we love each other and are getting married–and Brian also gave me a very sweet love letter.  That moment was a great place to anchor myself throughout the day when everything else was crazy.

 “The phone was ringing non-stop by 9 am,  and it was all hands on deck for fielding calls.  We knew that Cedarwood had experienced considerable  flooding, and you were trying to figure out alternatives.  It was amazing to see my family and friends, and all the wonderful people with the various wedding vendors in action.  I was deeply touched by all that everyone did to help out.   I know that the Cedarwood team was committed to making the wedding happen even if we weren’t able to do it on-site, and we appreciated your offer to bring the wedding to us, wherever we were.  My aunt and uncle immediately offered their home as a back-up, which gave us a certain degree of peace of mind, but we continued to try to secure a venue that could accommodate the band as well.   Before we knew that Cedarwood would ultimately be able to host the wedding, your team and our photographer were helping call various venues around Nashville, our minister was helping talk to the venues as well, and my bridesmaids were coordinating phone trees for guests and sending around updates.  Several of my girlfriends came up and helped the wedding party do make-up and get ready, while another friend was coordinating with the transportation vendors.  My uncles rescued the liquor from my mom’s flooding basement, reboxed it and delivered it.  After it was clear that the buses for the guests weren’t going to make it, all of the guests met in lobby of the hotel and introduced themselves to each other and car-pooled out to Cedarwood.   It was truly a team effort!  Through it all, Brian and I stood side by side—amazed and thankful for everything that everyone was willing to do for us. 

 “We can’t thank you enough for all you and all of the wedding professionals did for us!  We know how hard you all worked.  The Cedarwood team clearly went above and beyond and pumped water, cleaned and made the wedding gorgeous despite the rain and flooding.  The flowers were beautiful, the food was great, and the cake was yummy!  The band rocked–and there was tremendous sense relief and celebration as everyone danced their asses off all night!   We couldn’t have asked or a more perfect day—a very real sense of love and community.  It should be what every wedding day is all about!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!”   –All the best, Beth

It was our honor Beth! Thanks to Christy Bryan and  Waldorf Photographic Art for sending us these images!

Linda & the Cedarwood Event Team

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