After admiring Amy and Den’s colorful-meets-industrial-cool wedding, I was not surprised at all to learn that they’re architects! Their early days of competing against each other in Mississippi State architecture classes didn’t stop them from falling in love, enduring a long-distance relationship, and heading up North to follow their career dreams. With the help of their families and friends, they planned their April Alabama wedding from a distance, pouring their hearts into preparing for marriage all the while!
Thanks so much to Natalie Elyse for sharing this fun day with us!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided that no matter where we were the first time we saw each other, it would be special. While we are very traditional, we did want the excitement and joy of the ceremony to flow right into the reception. Not having to stop and take pictures post-ceremony was a blessing, and we got to hang out together for much more of the day! Our first look was midday, and everything felt perfect. As I approached him from behind, Den waited a long time before turning around–he did not want the moment to end. When he did turn around, we hugged and then danced!
We did not write our own vows; however, they were written by the presiding minister, who also happens to be Den’s father! It was incredibly special to have him as an integral part of our wedding ceremony. Our wedding vows were the same vows that were used in his parents’ wedding.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Getting married in a church was very important to us, so we chose a Lutheran church in my hometown. The reception venue was a historic train depot roundhouse. Being architects, we were especially inspired by the historic and raw quality of the space. We saw it as a blank canvas with endless possibilities.
We are both makers and designers at heart, and we made the majority of the details and elements of the wedding. We handmade our save the dates, invitations, reception decorations, table centerpieces, menu cards, welcome bags, church programs, and even the photo booth backdrop and props! While it took a lot of time, it was something we were able to do together, and it brought us closer throughout the process. It also made the day feel very personable and intimate for both us and for our guests. My favorite was the marquee letters that we made together last summer. We used chip board, patio lights, foam core, gold spray paint and a ton of hot glue to make 4′ tall letters spell “A+D.” They really popped in the space and became a wonderful backdrop to the evening. Den’s favorite detail was the table numbers. We incorporated pictures of ourselves throughout our childhoods (ages 1-25) to coordinate to each table number. Guests especially enjoyed being able to connect to each picture at various stages in our lives.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The graphic motif for our wedding was the outline of the states of Mississippi and Alabama. I grew up in Alabama and Den grew up in Mississippi, and the two fit together, just like we do! It was used in our save the dates, menu cards, and on the dance floor. We had a giant MS and AL outlined in white tape, which formed the perfect setting for a bride’s side vs. groom’s side dance-off! We featured our favorite liquor at the bar: Tennessee whiskey. However, having all of our family and friends together from near and far is what truly made our wedding feel Southern.
Music is especially important to us. I see my life as a string of moments that all have a very specific soundtrack. We definitely wanted to curate the wedding so that our memories would be associated with music that is important to us. The entry song for our mothers and grandmothers was “How Beautiful,” which we felt was especially fitting for the day. I entered to “Ode To Joy.” “The Gambler” (FUN) has always been our song, and was our first dance. “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson was the first song everyone got on the dance floor to dance to. Den is from Jackson, so the shout out to Jackson, Mississippi in that song was especially fun. We insisted that “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend be the last song played at the wedding–that song represents a thankfulness for where we come from, and undeniably acknowledges the importance of stepping out on our own and forming our “we.”
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After four years of friendship at Mississippi State University, we began dating. We never thought we would have a romantic relationship–we were competed against each other in our architecture class. We dated for four years and went from being in school together, to a long-distance relationship, and then finally transitioning into our first jobs in New Haven, Connecticut. The distance brought us closer together and we bonded over shared interests in architecture, music, travel, and biking.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Den: I was working on a restoration of the the New London Connecticut Harbor Lighthouse (c.1802). I thought it was such a timeless place, and fitting for a proposal. I led Amy to believe there was an open house before the renovations began. We walked up the 108 steps to the top of the lighthouse, and I got on one knee, and proposed. She said yes! The funny part was, as I was asking her to marry me, the light from the lighthouse shined in her face, momentarily blinding her. The yes ended up sounding like a yelp! We laughed and cried and hugged.
When did y’all get married? April 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something borrowed was my Mom’s silk robe that I used while getting ready. I had two something blues: one was my birthstone (aquamarine) in a ring that I have worn since my 21st birthday, and the other was a small blue flower that my sister crocheted for my garter. My something old was my garter, which my mom handmade out of lace from her wedding dress and my great grandmother’s wedding dress. My something new was my dress! (And shoes, and earrings…)
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Planning for our marriage was very important to us throughout our engagement. We began with counseling through Den’s home church (where his father is a minister) and continued with private counseling near where we live in Connecticut. While planning the wedding was an on-and-off task over our 18-month engagement, working toward being married was a constant and conscious effort. We learned more about each other than ever before, and we learned valuable tools for confronting all of the new circumstances that will surely come our way.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Read 1 Corinthians 13, and remember that your wedding is about love. It takes patience, it takes kindness, it takes all humbleness and understanding, and it definitely takes perseverance! Lean on loved ones and ask for help. So many people were integral to our day and helped us in ways they might not even know.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We will continue to live and work in New Haven, CT, and look forward to not only living together, but also working together someday. Wedding planning was a great project for us and we look forward to more design projects in the future. We are most looking forward to being a part of each other’s growing families. Fun family get-togethers with parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews will be abundant in the future!
Photographer: Natalie Elyse Photography / Videographer: Chris Daniels at VisionScribe Media Services / Ceremony Planner: Margie Cook / Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church / Reception Venue: The Huntsville Depot Roundhouse / Florist: In Bloom Florist / Cake Baker: Hamley Bake Shoppe / Caterer: The Chef Next Door / Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions / Lighting and DJ: Metropolitan DJ / Bride’s Gown: “Rubie Joe” by Heidi Elnora / Bride’s Accessories: Greco Fiore / Hair Stylist: Terrame Salon and Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Reed Krakoff / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters / Groom’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse / Bar Service: Premium Shakers / Additional Vendors: Purity Dairy
The Chef Next Door is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!