Easy Does It
By Debbie Lagestee • Photos by Valerie & Ed Photography
Jamie and Kelsey Pettus are best friends, life partners and have been happily married for 5 years. They met in Chattanooga, Tennessee through mutual friends. Kelsey convinced Jamie she loved football although it was a slight exaggeration, it was the perfect opportunity for him to invite her for dinner and watch the Monday Night Football game together. As they say, the rest is history! In 2014, they took a trip to Charleston, SC. It was the first time visiting for both, but Jamie did his research and planned the perfect weekend. One night before dinner they took a walk on the pier at Waterfront Park. Jamie surprised Kelsey by getting down on one knee and proposed. It was a magical moment all caught on camera by a photographer Jamie hired to capture the event. The next day came another surprise for Kelsey, an engagement photoshoot at the beautiful Boone Hall Plantation. Kelsey reflects, “It felt like a scene out of The Notebook”. That weekend is one of their fondest memories together. They solidified their love for one another and fell in love with Charleston simultaneously.
Photos by by Karson Photography
Kelsey and Jamie were married in Kelsey’s hometown of Memphis, TN in 2015. They agree it was the best day of their lives. With the love of Charleston still burning in their hearts, they made the decision to relocate in 2016.
In 2018, it was Kelsey’s turn to surprise Jamie. In the same spot on the pier at Waterfront Park, Kelsey shared the news he was going to be a dad. They shed many happy tears and began planning for their new baby. Waterfront Park has become a very special place for them. Their sweet baby girl Kinsley Grace arrived in 2019. She is now a happy 18-month-old. She runs everywhere she goes, and she is learning new words every day. She is curious, full of personality and has a smile that lights up the room! Their Labrador Retriever named Tucker completes their family. He is 6 years old but still behaves like a puppy. He loves playing fetch, and the beach on Sullivan’s Island is his happy place!
Kelsey graduated from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and later earned a degree in Respiratory Therapy. She works as a Respiratory Therapist at MUSC and Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Her job has many aspects and is often filled with high adrenaline moments, and Kelsey finds it extremely rewarding to help her patients.
Jamie graduated from the University of Alabama in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. After working for Volkswagen in Chattanooga, he enrolled at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and earned his MBA. Jamie continues to work in the automotive industry. He is an Engineering Manager in the Supply Chain Logistics department at Volvo.
This year Jamie and Kelsey put their partnership to work. They started a part-time small business called CHS Coastal Charcuterie. They specialize in making custom charcuterie boards and platters. Along with traditional charcuterie boards of meats and cheese, they have expanded to “birthday boards” and “movie night boards”. With Kelsey’s creativity and Jamie’s business background, they look forward to growing their business. They recently purchased a food truck which will enable them to attend pop-up events and weddings. “The love and support from our community has been overwhelming and it’s been such a joy to be a part of so many unforgettable events”, says Kelsey.
Although they are a young family, The Pettus’ have already begun creating Christmas traditions. When Kelsey was a child, her family spent Christmas Eve at her grandmother’s home, visiting, opening presents, and eating brunch together. In the evening Kelsey’s Dad read the Christmas Story from the Bible and the book The Littlest Angel. “It’s something I want to continue with Kinsley for years to come”, remarks Kelsey. Kelsey’s family attended the candlelight service at their church each year on Christmas Eve. Jamie and Kelsey continue the same tradition at Seacoast Church when they are not traveling to visit family for the holidays. Christmas Day included getting dressed up and going to the Christmas Buffet at the iconic Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN.
The tradition will continue this year as Jamie and Kelsey plan to bring Kinsley for the first time. Kelsey’s sweet grandmother had the family motto, “Easy does it”. She passed it down through the generations. Kelsey explains, “It sounds like a simple motto, but to us it means this; Life is short, don’t hold on to grudges, enjoy small moments (that is where happiness lies), your friends and family are your lifeline so love them BIG, put God first in everything you do and everything will fall into place.” At Christmastime and through the holidays, it is a great reminder and a wonderful philosophy to live by!
Jamie and Kelsey moved to Bolton’s Landing in August 2017. They were searching for a family-friendly neighborhood and they found it. They have fun participating in the neighborhood events, spending time at the beautiful pool, and enjoy grabbing a bite to eat from the food trucks that stop by the neighborhood each week. A perfect weekend for the Pettus family is one spent relaxing, walking around downtown Charleston, taking their boat out exploring the Charleston waterways and islands. Leaving friends and family behind in Tennessee was a difficult decision, but their neighbors welcomed them and helped make Charleston feel like home.
They feel lucky to have found the perfect place for them and a great place for Kinsley to grow up. They look forward to making great memories here and perhaps experiencing more surprises at Waterfront Park.