Kristin + Justin's Intimate Fall Wedding Weekend at RT Lodge in Maryville

This one is a bit personal as it’s my very own wedding!

Having dated for nearly 6 years, Justin and I had already discussed our hopes for our eventual wedding and knew we wanted an intimate, elegant, and organic celebration.

We adore living in Nashville and recognized that it had a ton to offer, but when I came across RT Lodge in Maryville when I was sourcing venues for a client long before we were planning a wedding, I knew it would be perfect for us! A few weeks after we got engaged, we made the 3-hour drive from Nashville to Maryville in east Tennessee to view the property. We fell in love the second we pulled through those stone columns.

I work with couples to create a “mission statement” at the beginning of their wedding planning journey so that they can hone in on the 3 or 4 pieces that matter the most to them. That “mission statement” serves as both a reminder of where they should devote the most time and attention during the planning process and the ways in which they can make the wedding unique to them as a couple. Similarly, Justin and I decided early on that the most important facets of the wedding for us were an intimate ceremony, a killer family-style meal and a relaxed and inclusive weekend away for our guests. Having our wedding at RT Lodge allowed us the opportunity to check all of those boxes and to host our 50 guests for the entire weekend.

Everyone arrived midday on Friday and after a quick rehearsal with my maid of honor (my only sister) and Justin's best man (his only sibling) we joined all of our guests for a casual Southern-style feast. A definite highlight of the weekend was spending so much time with our family and friends! From the welcome dinner, to the continental breakfasts each morning in the lodge, to the casual conversations over games of checkers - we were not limited to the 4 or 5 hours with our guests that a traditional cocktail hour and wedding reception would have allowed us.

 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer

As a planner, it can be difficult to hand over the reigns to an event you've planned - but Katie Stinnett and the RT Lodge staff were so incredible that I had zero hesitations about trusting them to execute our vision for the wedding when the weekend finally arrived. I hired a yoga instructor to join us at RT Lodge the morning of the wedding for a private practice with my girlfriends. Justin spent the better part of the day playing disc golf on the property with the guys.

 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer

We planned a subtle bourbon theme in homage to our home state and Justin's drink of choice. We drank a lot of whiskey during our 12 months of planning, saving bourbon bottles to use as centerpieces. I mailed a tiny bourbon bottle topper to our florist, Always in Bloom, to incorporate into Justin's boutonniere as a sweet surprise. I carried my grandparents' wedding bands on my bouquet. 

 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer

Far and away our two favorite moments of the day were our first look and reciting our vows. Neither of us had any idea that we would be so emotional during our first look but, let’s be real, we both sobbed. We wrote our wedding ceremony ourselves under the guidance of our wonderful officiant Emily Dameron and recited our vows in a call-and-answer style that allowed us to speak directly to one another in lieu of repeating after Emily. Aside from the gorgeous venue and the delicious food, we received the most compliments on our sweet and simple ceremony!

Chef Trevor Stockton at RT Lodge is so incredibly talented and worked with us to create a family-style meal that incorporated some of our seasonal favorites. He even created a bourbon peach compote for Justin's favorite dessert - cheesecake! We loved looking around the room and seeing our favorite people passing these gorgeous dishes around, as if they were having dinner with us in our home. Initially, we weren’t going to serve wedding cake, but once Art of Cakes told me they’d use my father’s recipe to make hummingbird cake - my favorite childhood dessert - we were sold.

 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer
 The Gifford Collective | Knoxville Wedding Planner + Knoxville Wedding Designer

Planning + Design: The Gifford Collective

Photographer: Jessie Holloway Photography

Venue, Catering + Lodging: RT Lodge

Florist: Always in Bloom

Bridal Gown: Katy by Willowby by Watters

Bridal Boutique: Hyde Park Bridal

Groom’s Suit: C. McGill Made to Measure

Beauty: ALL Bridal

Ceremony + Reception Music: Ogle Entertainment

Officiant: Reverend Emily Dameron

Cake: Art of Cakes

Linens: Liberty Party Rental

Paper Goods: Designs in Paper


Kristin Gifford is a design-focused full-service wedding planner and event designer working in Nashville, Cincinnati, Lexington, Louisville and beyond. Kristin’s approach centers around the unique vision, priorities and characteristics of the couple. In addition to full-service weddings, Hitched by The Gifford Collective offers highly-personalized all-inclusive elopements in Nashville. The Gifford Collective has been featured online and in print in publications like Bridal Musings, Kentucky Bride, Nashville Lifestyles, Ruffled and Wedding Sparrow. If you're looking for a Nashville wedding planner, Cincinnati wedding planner or Kentucky wedding planner or if you want to elope in Nashville, get in touch with The Gifford Collective!