Even before she officially met him, Talley Cook knew that she and Joey Sharp were meant to be. “I was told by several people before I even met Joey that he would be my future husband,” she recalls. “I knew of him peripherally and often saw him walking around [the University of Georgia] campus or studying at our favorite coffee shop, Jittery Joe’s.” After introducing herself in October 2013 during a clandestine run-in—and a day spent together in St. Simons—Talley and Joey proved everyone right and became a couple.
Though the pair spent four years in a long-distance relationship, their love blossomed over a mutual love of dogs, hiking, and travel. “Joey pushed me to my limits on hikes and open-water diving with Humpback whales, and always encouraged me to do things I never thought possible for myself,” Talley gushes.
In May 2019, Joey got down on one knee and proposed to Talley during a trip to the Grand Tetons National Park, the same place they explored during their first summer of dating. While the couple set the date for May 2020, the enduring COVD-19 pandemic had other plans. “Joey has always been interested in pursuing infectious diseases as a specialty and, much to our dismay, suspected that we would be in this for the long haul,” the bride shares. The couple postponed their wedding to April 2021, but had a legal ceremony on their original date.
“We decided to have fun with our ‘legal ceremony, so we dressed up in vintage 1980’s attire and [planner Lindsay Sims of Toast Events] officiated in full Axl Rose attire,” Talley recalls. “I walked down the aisle to ‘Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now’ by Starship. We had a socially distanced ceremony with only our dog, our parents, and siblings via FaceTime in attendance.”
Fortunately, the rest of their wedding plans went off without a hitch: The couple and 65 guests celebrated their union on April 17, 2021 at Hotel Domestique in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. “We loved Hotel Domestique because it reminded us of a European countryside villa, but was only two hours from Atlanta and on the edge of the Blue Ridge mountains that we have spent so much time exploring as a couple,” she shares. “We were also able to rent out the entire hotel for the weekend so it turned into a weekend party rather than simply a few hours with friends and family.”
With personalized touches that tapped in their shared passion for adventure and animals, the bright and cheery celebrations felt uniquely Talley and Joey. Read on for an in-depth look at the day, as planned by Toast Events and photographed by Perry Vaile.
Since their 2021 celebration happened shortly after many of their guests received the COVID-19 vaccine, Talley and Joey wanted their special day to “reflect that sense of hope and rebirth.” “It was the first time we felt that we could gather safely, give hugs, and share stories after such a difficult year,” she explains. “With that in mind, we selected spring florals, with warm and inviting tones throughout the rest of our decor.” To set the tone, the couple selected a soothing-yet-upscale invitation suite from Paper Daisies Stationery. “They created a beautiful theme look for all our accessories that matched our invitation suite,” Talley adds. “It kept everything very cohesive, reflecting both the venue and overall design.”
Before she slipped into her wedding dress, Talley snuggled up with Nelle, the couple’s new dog that they picked up on the way to their rehearsal dinner. “Our golden retriever, Rory, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer five months before our new wedding date,” she shares. “Despite undergoing cardiac surgery and cancer treatments, it spread to her lungs the week before our wedding. We had to say goodbye to our best friend days before what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of our lives. Much to our surprise, one of the breeders told us she had a nine-week-old girl who wasn’t picked up and needed a home.”
Talley wanted to look like an “elevated version” of herself on her wedding day and stunned in a gown from Monique Lhuillier. “I just knew the moment I saw it,” she says. “I love classic and elegant design with a bit of a bohemian twist. The dress’s lace fabric is timeless, but the silhouette feels modern and fresh.”
Rounding out the look was a pair of Sam Edelman heels, anklets from Grace Loves Lace, and a custom, cathedral-length veil to match the gown.
“We didn’t have a traditional wedding party but I got ready with some of my closest friends,” the bride shares. “I asked them to all choose dresses that would match our color palette.”
During the couple’s first look, they captured some sweet photos with Nelle. “We wanted to include her in our special day and still find a meaningful way to honor Rory’s memory,” Talley says. “We asked all our family and friends in attendance to help us name her. We settled on Nelle and she has been such a joy in our lives since our wedding.”
Though Talley and Joey had a first look so they could enjoy cocktail hour with their guests—“efficiency above all else,” as the bride says—the alone time was reminiscent of their legal ceremony. “This felt like we were reliving that special moment,” the couple explains.
Guests were greeted to the ceremony with a picturesque champagne cart. “I wanted guests to feel like they could unwind and start the party even before the ceremony,” Talley shares.
The ceremony area was dressed up in bold blooms from Floressence Flowers and two Turkish oushak rugs.
According to Tally, the flower girl and ring bearers had their ensembles sourced from Amazon. Adorable and affordable? We are here for it.
The bride and her father glided down the floral-flocked aisle to “Follow the Sun” by Xavier Rudd.
Though the couple wrote their own vows, Joey’s uncle took his role as officiant very seriously. “[He] had each of us write some thoughts regarding our relationship titled ‘Reflections’ and pieced them both together to be read during our ceremony,” the bride recalls. “This ended up being one of the most memorable and special parts of the ceremony. He was able to capture the unique aspects of our relationship and personalities and weave them into our love story.”
Talley and Joey exchanged wedding bands from Ascot Diamonds and sealed their lifelong love with a kiss. The happy couple then recessed down the aisle to ‘As We Ran’ by the National Parks. “The lyrics say, ‘We belong in the Great Tetons,’’ Talley shares. “A nod to our engagement location.”
After the ceremony, guests could enjoy signature drinks named after their pets, complete with napkins with hand-painted watercolors of each of them. The Rory, named after their late pup, was a strawberry vodka spritz with champagne. Meanwhile, the couple paid homage to their cat Izzy with a blackberry jalapeño margarita.
Another furry addition to the day? Guests were welcomed to cocktail hour by an assortment of llamas. “Many guests asked if there was any special significance to the llamas,” Talley says. “No, none at all. But, who doesn’t want to drink a margarita and pet a llama at a cocktail hour?”
I wanted things to feel bright, upbeat, and inviting.
The tented reception area was dressed to the nines with color blooms, tall candles, and suspended lighting. “I wanted things to feel bright, upbeat, and inviting,” the bride shares. “We decided to incorporate elements from my coastal hometown [of] Naples, Florida by blending sunset colors throughout the florals and décor.”
“We’re big on food and Hotel Domestique worked with us to create a hand-crafted, locally sourced menu,” the bride shares. In addition to a delicious cheese board and canapés, the venue whipped up a delicious menu of herbed chicken, mahi mahi with citrus cream, tortiglioni, and roasted seasonal vegetables.
Instead of ordering a traditional wedding cake, the couple opted for a smattering of desserts such as tiramisu, apple tartlets, and white chocolate cheesecake.
“Paper Daisies Stationery handled all our signage, programs, menus, and [the] seating chart,” Talley says. “They created a beautiful theme look for all our accessories that matched our invitation suite. It kept everything very cohesive, reflecting both the venue and overall design.”
During the reception, the couple shared a first dance to Patrick Baker’s “Go With Me.” Uptown Entertainment kept the vibe just right with a playlist the couple made. “We wanted the music to feel like us,” she adds.
When looking back on their special day, the couple’s advice is simple: Be flexible. “You never know what will happen during the planning process,” Talley notes. “Be it a pandemic or losing a family member, it’s important to keep perspective. The day is for you and your future spouse to celebrate with your loved ones. If the day does not go exactly as you had originally envisioned, just remember to live in the moment and cherish the special time with your loved ones—it goes by way too fast.”