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Jennings Pitts & Ryan Barnes

November 16, 2013 in Memphis, Tennessee


Ryan Barnes and Jennings Pitts had mutual friends from the University of Tennessee. They had known of each other but never really got to know each other until the Memphis in May Barbecue Festival in 2009. 

“My best friend and future Matron of Honor asked me to go with her” remembers Jennings. “We met up at Ryan's house that night and instantly hit it off. We joke that he tried to kiss me that night, but I turned him down. A few weeks later we went on our official first date and the rest is history!”

Their shared love for UT football and Memphis really is what brought them together. However, there are a number of interesting things they have in common. For instance, they are only 10 days apart and were even born in the same hospital in Memphis. Jennings is the oldest of three with a brother in the middle, and Ryan is the middle brother between two sisters. 

Being a past King of Carnival Memphis, her dad loves to promote the city and help businesses prosper there. When the couple were coming up with ways to make their wedding uniquely Memphis, they of course thought of Elvis. So Jennings' dad, Ryan, and his dad wore blue suede shoes to the wedding and Jennings matched them in blue shoes of her own.

“My biggest concern about the wedding” says Jennings “was being sure everyone had enough food to be able to dance the night away! Of course, that meant bringing in our own late night snacks of sliders from Krystal and having the club make french fries in cones to hand out to everyone at the reception. I think our ploy worked because everyone stayed until the very end and were dancing the whole time!”

The wedding cake was something Jennings wasn't very interest in because she has Celiac Disease and does not eat gluten. Their wedding planner recommended they use The Flour Garden to make a gluten-free cake. “I had told her what colors I wanted, white and gold, and let them do the creative process” says Jennings. “I can not describe my awe when I saw the cake. I think it weighted two-hundred pounds and could not have been more gorgeous.”

“For the groom's cake,” she continues, “I had given her a list of Ryan's likes and interests. I had also mentioned in conversation that we love going to the Tennessee River and driving the pontoon boat. Laura came up with the most amazing groom's cake. It could not have been more perfect. The people looked like us and our dogs. Ryan and I each have a dog, mine is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel mix and his is a purebred Cavalier. We could not imagine our wedding day without them being involved.”

Her good friend, Collins Tuohy, owns Whimsy Cookie Co., so Jennings had her make cookies in the shapes of their dogs. Each cookie had a tag that said which dog it was and some fun facts about the dog. People grabbed them on their way out the door to snack on the way home. Of course, they turned out to be adorable and were a huge hit. 

“My favorite aspect of the reception decor,” says Jennings “was the flower backdrop in the tent behind the band. I had seen something similar on Pinterest and Angela said she could make it. It really set the scene. It reflected the lights and looked like love flowers. It is something I will never forget and love that it is in the background of our pictures.”

Her favorite part of the whole night was the confetti drop at 10 p.m. Jennings hadn't told anyone about it so at 10, the band started playing Rihanna's "Where Have You Been" and confetti started flying. Right before that, her dad had passed out blow up musical instruments and sunglasses customized with "Jennings & Ryan, November 16, 2013" so the party really started then. 

“One of the most special things about the wedding,” says Jennings “was being married by the same minister who married my parents almost 30 years ago. It really meant a lot to Ryan and me to be able to share that special moment in the same space that they married in.” She continues, “The absolute best moment of the whole day/night was having my dad walk me down the aisle before anyone else was in the church to see Ryan. To see him without people around and be able to have a few moments to ourselves was amazing. We were both able to get our nerves out of the way and really focus on each other. And it was a really special moment to have my dad there to give me away.”

Location and Caterer: Chickasaw Country Club Memphis, TN; Cake: Flour Garden Bakery Memphis, TN; Event Design, Planner and Rentals: Angela Mazanti Event Design Memphis, TN; Floral Design and Linen: Garden District Memphis, TN; Lighting: Event Production Services Memphis, TN;
Entertainment: Big Blast & The Party Masters Atlanta, GA; Stationery: Bella Figura New York, NY; Wedding Dress and Veil: Elie Saab; Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik; Engagement Ring: JB Star;