When people find out we're getting married in Historic Oakland Cemetery, the first question is always, "But...why?" We assure you, it isn't because we've gone gothic; nobody will be holding a seance at our ceremony, and you don't have to dress up like a zombie.  In actuality, we chose the cemetery because of the history, the gorgeous statuary, our love of photography, and simply because it's a special place to us. 

Since we met, we've been going to Six Feet Under -- the restaurant across the street from Oakland -- for weekend brunches (and excellent Bloody Maries, by the way).  Afterwards, we'd gather all of our multiple cameras, and cross the street into the cemetery for photo walks.  We'd spend all afternoon wandering the grounds, taking pictures of the lovely stones and mausoleums.  These are such happy memories for us, that when we think if the cemetery, we think of beautiful days, fascinating history, and a wonderful time spent with each other.  When we started to look for the perfect place to get married, Brian suggested that, to us, Oakland was the most special place in Atlanta.  And he was right, and we're so excited that we are able to be married in a place that is so rich with the history of the city, as well as our own history as a couple.  And, on top of all of that, it's spectacularly beautiful.  We just can't wait.

As for specifics, we're holding the ceremony at 5:30 on one of the fields of unmarked Confederate graves, under three enormous magnolias.  (You may want to get there a little earlier than that, because we'll be having passed hors d'oeuvres and refreshments, and all of that good stuff.)  Following the ceremony, you have the choice of taking a guided walking tour of the cemetery grounds, wandering around on your own, or heading directly back to the Wimbish Mansion, where our reception will be held.  At Wimbish, cocktail hour will go on from 6 until sometime after 7, when we'll have a buffet dinner (including a mac & cheese bar!), music, dancing, a photo booth, and just a generally awesome time.  Still, there's a lot for you to know about all of this, so we've tried to combine all that information below, so you'll know where you're going and what to expect.  We hope it helps!

The upside of having a wedding in a non-weddingy location is that you get to do something new and different and unique; the downside of having a wedding in a non-weddingy location is that you occasionally hit a snag or two.  For us, the biggest snag is parking.

Here's the thing -- there is very little parking around the cemetery, and none of it is technically secure; there aren't any public lots nearby, so it's mostly whatever you can find on the street.  We don't want our adorable guests driving around looking for a spot for the better part of the evening, so we've arranged for a shuttle to take people to and from the cemetery.   If you'd like to take advantage of that option, here's what you'll need to do: 

1.  If you're driving, you can park in the Central Parking Company's secure lot, which is located at the corner of Crescent and 14th Street.  Parking has been pre-paid, so just tell the attendant that you're with the Tyson/Lunsford wedding party.  From there, it's a quick walk to the Four Seasons -- about one block west down 14th street.  The Four Seasons is next door to the Marriott, and large coach buses will be waiting outside! 

2.   There are two scheduled pick-up times for the shuttles -- 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  They will be in the circle turnaround in front of the Four Seasons;  in any event, you won't miss them, as they're enormous white buses. 

Bear in mind that we'll have passed appetizers and refreshments at the cemetery as soon as you arrive, so you may want to take the early bus if you'd like some more time to partake, and to mingle with the other guests. 

Finally, if you decide to live on the edge and drive yourself to and from the cemetery, you can park at the lot once you arrive at the reception location; just tell the attendant that you're with the Tyson/Lunsford wedding, and they'll direct you accordingly!

One of the things we love most about Oakland is all of the beautiful statuary, and we wanted to give you an opportunity to see it for yourselves after the ceremony.  So, we've arranged for Oakland docents to conduct walking tours for guests who want to see more of Oakland's beauty while also learning a little about the history of the cemetery (and we promise, it's actually interesting stuff).

Guided tours will begin immediately following the ceremony, and will last approximately 45 minutes.  When you RSVP for the wedding, we'll also ask you whether you would like to take part in the tour so that we can arrange a space for you.  If you decide that you'd like to participate, bear in mind that it is, in fact, a walking tour.  And, Oakland Cemetery is old, and the paths tend to be crumbly and uneven, so you may want to dress appropriately.  At the very least, you may want to rethink stilettos.  Unless you're Leigh, in which case, you will totally wear stilettos anyway, and complain about it later.  Such is the price of fashion.

If a tour isn't your thing, that's fine, too -- the shuttle will be coming to pick up guests at two separate times, so you can hitch a ride to the Wimbish Mansion whenever you'd like.   You can go straight back (where a cocktail hour will be starting at 6), or you can wander around the cemetery on your own for a bit; whatever tickles your fancy.  Just have fun, and make sure to hop on one of the shuttles before the last pick-up occurs!  Otherwise you have to stay in the cemetery forever.  Sorry.

Unfortunately, there's no real rain plan when you get married in a cemetery.  (Well, other than umbrellas, that is, which we will supply to any guests who may need them.)  There's no way to tent the location, so we're entirely at the mercy of the elements.  But, hey!  It's an adventure!  And, with one exception, it hasn't rained in Atlanta on September 25th for 16 years (knock wood!), so hopefully, we'll be safe from any storms.

In case of a massive downpour, however, guests may choose to forego the ceremony and head straight to the reception, which will begin at 6 p.m.  There, you can stay warm and dry, sip a cocktail, and imagine the troopers in the wedding party trudging through a muddy cemetery and trying VERY hard not to be hit by lightning.  Just promise to save us some wine.

Additionally, please bear in mind that the cemetery grounds are uneven, and that pathways are incredibly old; you may want to bring appropriate footwear.  Again:  Leigh will not do this, but safety-wise, it would probably be a good idea.  Leigh is just stubborn.

Transportation will be available at the ceremony location to assist guests who are uncomfortable walking the distance from the shuttles to the ceremony location.  Water, punch, and passed hors d'oeuvres will also be provided to guests at the ceremony location; please  bear in mind, however, that Oakland Cemetery does not have a public bathroom, so you may want to take care of that particular business before you go.  We also ask that you not park within the cemetery grounds itself, as it's already pretty difficult to navigate in there.

As for the reception, we will be providing a number of vegan and vegetarian options; the vegetables will be cooked in olive oil only, and contain no butter.  The groom's cake is vegan, as well, so y'all eat up!

In all, we've tried to make this unusual experience as comfortable as possible for our guests, and we appreciate everyone being such a good sport about it.  If you have any other questions, or if there's anything else that you need, please let us know; you can email Leigh at leigh@leighandbriangethitched.com, and Brian at brian@leighandbriangethitcdhed.com.  We hope to hear from you -- and see you! --  soon!