Family and friendship have always been the most important parts of Jamie Gravlee’s life. She passed her childhood in Lake Martin’s Raintree community, and the times spent with loved ones along the shores of the lake made a lasting impression on her.
“I grew up on Lake Martin. It was wonderful,” said Gravlee.
When she left home to attend the University of Georgia, Gravlee found herself wishing she could share the peaceful quality of her lake childhood with her college friends.
She met her future husband, Stevenson Gravlee, at the engagement party of a mutual friend. When she and Stevenson got engaged two years later, Jamie knew she wanted a low-key wedding that would bring together their friends and family from all over Alabama and Georgia.
“I wanted it to be a relaxing, whole weekend event,” said Gravlee.
The couple first considered venues in Atlanta, but the bustle and distraction of the city wasn’t right for the effect they wanted to achieve.
“In Atlanta, people can go off and do something else. I wanted everyone to be together the whole weekend, to create a small family feeling,” Gravlee explained.
Lake Martin had the answer.
When Gravlee attended a wedding at The Stables at Russell Crossroads, she knew she had found the perfect intimate space for her own special day. She and Stevenson wasted no time booking The Grand Oak for their ceremony and The Stables for their reception.
The guest accommodations were a bit more challenging. The Villas at Willow Point were completely booked for the June 20 wedding weekend. The couple was at a loss as to where their friends would stay.
Gravlee’s father, Joseph Branch, came up with a novel solution.
“My dad went online and mapped out every available rental house less than 5 miles away from the wedding site,” said Gravlee. “He made a map, and we sent it out to my friends.”
More than half of Gravlee’s guests rented lake houses for the entire weekend of the wedding, creating the sense of togetherness she had dreamed of.
With their guests taken care of, Gravlee turned to local Lake Martin businesses to help her design and craft the perfect wedding day.
She called on Vickie Lux and Robin Holcombe of Madison House Restorations in Alexander City for decorations and floral arrangements, as well as overall styling.
“I really cannot say enough about Vickie and Robin,” said Gravlee. “The amount of work they put into every detail was unbelievable!”
The women of Madison House are experienced in furniture restoration, and that expertise helped them add some truly unique elements to Gravlee’s wedding décor. They hand painted signs with Stevenson and Jamie’s initials and built lanterns from reclaimed wood, filling them with fresh flowers to hang from The Grand Oak during the ceremony, just to name two projects.
“I thought they took our budget and gave us a wedding that looks like they spent double,” said Gravlee.
The rest of the event was made possible by other vendors from the Lake Martin area. The food was catered by SpringHouse, with alcohol provided by Emporium Wine in Alexander City. The bride’s and groom’s cakes were both made by Peggy McKinney of Montgomery. For hair and makeup, the bride turned to Kristen West and Spa 180, both of Opelika.
With guests relaxed from a weekend on the lake and every detail planned to perfection, the wedding party was all smiles on the big day. Even the happy couple’s dog, Brooks, got into the spirit of the day and donned a bow tie to pose for some photos.
For the ceremony, The Grand Oak was accented with a spiraling garland of greenery, baby’s breath and roses. Garlands of grapevine woven with twinkling lights decorated the reception dining area at The Stables.
More tables and seating were set up outside, including a mix of hand-restored, vintage style couches, chairs and tables from Madison House. During the reception, guests moved from the seated dining area to the outdoor dance floor.
Jamie and Stevenson celebrated with family and friends until it was time for their big finale: Running down a tunnel of sparklers to their getaway car, their big weekend completed and the stage set for a happy life together.
Now, Jamie says she has even more joyful memories connected to Lake Martin.
“I haven’t lived on the lake in 12 years, but it’s still my favorite place,” she said.
She and Stevenson live in Atlanta, but they still make it back to Raintree to visit her parents as often as they can.
“We will definitely be back,” she said.