EDITOR’S NOTE: This story and photo were the featured article in the FALL BRIDAL Special Edition containing ideas and information about fall and holiday weddings. The special edition was published Sept. 11, 2012 Chickasaw Journal.
GALLATIN, Tenn. – Houston native Anell Pullen may not have dreamed of a fall wedding in the mountains when she was a little girl, but life led her in that direction.
After graduating from Houston High School and Mississippi State University, Pullen landed a job with Shaw Industries in South Carolina.
“I loved the people, the closeness to the ocean and the city life, but felt so disconnected from my family and roots here in North Mississippi,” Pullen said.
When the opportunity arose to transfer to Winchester, Tenn., “I jumped on it,” she said.
The change of locale led to the biggest change in her life so far.
Pullen made friends and got involved with a local Baptist church. In Oct. 2012, she attended a pumpkin carving at the church where a certain young man caught her eye.
“Not by his clothes or his handsome face, but by the fact that he was carving a pumkin with a blade from a jig saw,” Pullen said.
After their first date, “We both knew it was the other who we wanted to spend the rest of our lives with,” Pullen said.
Five months later, Howard Wright proposed to Pullen and they started looking for a date, finally settling on a fall ceremony.
“I asked for at least six months to get the wedding together since my family lived farther away and I wanted my mom to be as involved as possible,” Pullen said.
Their nuptials are planned for Nov. 2, the anniversary of their first date.
Location, comfort and beauty
Pullen and Wright began looking for a wedding venue around the Winchester and Nashville areas and wanted one big enough to accomodate both the ceremony and the reception.
“We wanted our guests not to have to disengage from the wedding atmosphere to drive to a separate venue and plus we knew it would be easier on our decorator – also known as my mother,” Pullen said.
Both Pullen and Wright enjoy the outdoors and mountain views but ruled out an outdoor ceremony for fear of inclement weather.
“Due to the unpredictability of the South, we decided to move it indoors,” Pullen said. “We wanted somewhere that captured both the beauty and simple elegance of rustic without going into full Pinterest mode with burlap and mason jars. I like to think of it as rustic chic.”
The couple booked the renovated Kraft plant in Gallatin, Tenn., originally built in the 1920s.
“It has the original columns and beams with beautiful brick and steel,” Pullen said. “It was perfect and we fell in love with it the moment we walked in.”
Colors for the season
Fall in the mountain areas of Tennessee is a kaleidoscope of color and Pullen didn’t want to compete with nature. She chose instead to complement the beauty of the area with accent colors in purple and burnt orange.
“Our venue has large, dark brown, wood columns so we wanted something to bring out the vibrancy of the season,” Pullen said. “We went with nature to provide inspiration for the colors. It did a lot better than we ever could.”
On the road to the wedding day
As Pullen’s family are based largely in North Mississippi, transportation and lodging were addressed early in the planning stages. Pullen found travel was not an issue, but lodging posed a bigger problem.
“Gallatin is a relatively small town with only a handful of hotels,” Pullen said. “When we went to reserve a block of rooms for the wedding, the manager informed us that they only had 15 rooms in the whole hotel for the weekend of our wedding due to a baseball tournament that same weekend.”
Through the conversation, Pullen learned all the other local hotels were booked well in advance for events throughout the fall. From her experience, Pullen offers words of advice.
“If you are having a wedding where more than a few rooms are needed, my best advice would be to block off rooms in one hotel and then inform guests of other hotels in the area that you’d recommend.”