The campus of Washington & Lee University set the scene when Anne Hartley Meric (who goes by Hartley) met Blair Andrew Crunk while taking an economics class. The two started doing homework together, and before long realized they wanted to be more than just study partners.

After dating for three years, Blair decided to propose to Hartley on a holiday trip to see her family in New Orleans. Just before New Year’s 2007, Blair took Hartley to dinner at Ralph’s on the Park, across from City Park. Afterward, Blair’s plan was to walk through Celebration in the Oaks and propose to her underneath the oak trees strung with lights. But his brilliant plan was foiled when they walked over and noticed the walk-through was closed for the night because everything was soaked from a storm earlier that day. Without panicking, Blair noticed a few lights were on through the trees for a wedding reception at the Pavilion of the Two Sisters. Blair walked Hartley over to the Rose Garden in the park and proposed right there. She said yes! Afterward, the couple joined Hartley’s parents and brother at The Old Absinthe House for drinks – the same spot Hartley’s parents went after their engagement years before.

The couple decided on a long engagement to ensure they had time to plan a New Orleans wedding from Atlanta. On April 4, 2009, the couple were wed at Sacred Heart, where Hartley attended school.

The night before the wedding, the rehearsal dinner was held at the very same place the couple went the night of their engagement, Ralph’s on the Park. The party was held in the upstairs rooms opening onto the balcony, with a gorgeous view of City Park. Blair got up to toast his soon-to-be-wife, but instead played his guitar and sang her a song he wrote titled “Tomorrow.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

At the ceremony, the bride walked down the aisle in an ivory strapless Jenny Lee gown fitted and ruched through the midsection with a long train. She also wore the cathedral-length veil of illusion and handmade Belgian lace her mother and two aunts wore for their weddings. Hartley carried an all-white bouquet of gardenias, roses and lilies of the valley, while her bridesmaids carried bouquets of pink and orange flowers and wore floor-length bright-pink strapless gowns by Jenny Yoo.

The elegant reception was held at the New Orleans Country Club. The bride and groom entered the country club through the foyer bordered with four copper trees adorned with greens, white flowers and dangling candles designed by Meade Wenzel. Hartley and Blair knew that a lot of couples get married at the country club, so they wanted to make their reception a little different. Hartley loves to sail, so she decided to add a sailing room at the venue, which held a sailboat filled with bottled beer on ice, along with shrimp and oyster shooters. There were also nautical-themed cookies being passed around and goldfish in bowls on the tables, reminiscent of all the time Hartley has spent at the Southern Yacht Club.

Another great surprise of the reception was the groom’s cake, made as a replica of a group of academic buildings on Washington & Lee’s campus, the Colonnade. The cake, created by Zoë’s Bakery, layed approximately 4.5 feet long. “It was enormous,” the bride says. “I couldn’t believe how real it looked.” The wedding cake, created by Swiss Confectionary, was a more classic, four-tier cake with icing dots and fresh gardenias on each layer.
The couple danced their first dance to “Beyond the Sea” by Bobby Darin. The band, Burgundy, had guests dancing well into the night. One of Hartley’s favorite moments was when the four flower girls formed a circle with her and Blair and danced their hearts out.

The couple honeymooned for a week at The Turtle Inn in Placencia, Belize. The newlyweds reside in Atlanta where Hartley is a financial analyst for SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and Blair is a ninth-grade English teacher at Marist School.