Many of y’all may remember our popular Southern Bride of the Month series, and we’re tickled pink to be bringing it back with a new gal every season! Our Southern Bride of the Summer is Ashlyn, who is planning a sweet, undeniably Southern celebration in Montgomery, Alabama exactly one month from today. We loved getting to know her and her fiancé, Wes, through her interview, and we hope you do too!
Hi! What’s your name?
What’s your fiancé’s name?
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Samford University is small school tucked in the hills of Birmingham. I was a junior when Wes waltzed in as this cute former-high-school-QB freshman and joined Sigma Chi, which happened to be the guys I hung out with. I confessed my crush to my close friend Ryan, his fraternity brother, and Ryan told me he’d “endorse me like Nike” to Wes.
One day after class, my best friend and I were walking and our paths crossed with Wes and Ryan. There was a brief hi-and-shake-hands moment, and as we walked off, Ryan turned around and yelled “Like Nike, Ash!” Embarrassing for me, but fortunately, Wes took it as “Game on.”
Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
Wes wrestled my type-A planner habit away from me by staking claim to a January Saturday. Kindly, he let me make the brunch reservation, so naturally, I still thought I was planning things :) He picked me up and we spent the morning laughing and chatting over coffee, eggs, gravy-covered biscuits, and French toast at no. 246 off the Decatur square. Side note–I had the stomach bug the night before, y’all. Poor Wes didn’t sleep a wink as me and my germs almost wrecked his plans!
After brunch, he drove us down Peachtree Street toward Buckhead. ANY notion I had of “Maybe this is it” was null and void–surely, he wouldn’t ask me since I had been feeling woozy! He pulled over to Duck Pond Park and led us to a bench, where he told me he wanted to talk about something important. God washed a peace over us, and we had the sweetest next few moments together worshiping: Wes led us in prayer, and then read from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Ch. 5) about biblical marriage, and said he wanted this with me. Next thing I knew, he was grinning on one knee while–duh–I cried.
Wes drove us back to my little Buckhead townhouse of four girls, where my roommates and about 25 friends and family members had the Veuve Clicquot ready to pop! He thought of everything, and having dear ones there to celebrate was so special.
Wes’ sweet proposal and Ashlyn’s beautiful ring! By Katie Bunn Photography
When’s the big day?
August 15, 2015
Where might you two be tying the knot?
Knot typing specifically will be at First Baptist Church of Montgomery, where I grew up. Then, it’s on to Montgomery Country Club.
How did you pick your ceremony and reception venues? What do you love most about each space?
It was fairly easy: First Baptist is the church I grew up in, and my parents are tremendously involved there. We wanted a Christ-exalting ceremony, and while I don’t necessarily believe that can only happen in a church, I wanted to respect my parents and pay homage to nostalgia–I have so many sweet memories in that beautiful, old, Southern church. Montgomery Country Club ended up being the winner both sentiment-wise AND budget-wise: a place like a country club gives you an all-in-one-place convenience, and I have a lot of memories from growing up there–plus, I’m the biggest Zelda Fitzgerald fan you’ll meet. I have about 18 books on the Montgomery girl who won F. Scott Fitzgerald’s heart, and they met at MCC in 1918. Only fitting, right?
Tell us a little bit about the wedding you’re planning: style, theme, feel, colors?
As far as style, my florist just wrote down “Southern elegance” on her worksheet–does that count? :) If there’s a theme, I told her the theme can be magnolias. Charming and gracious, they’ve always said “home” better than any other flower or tree to me. I love their scent, glamour, and beauty. I even had a blog when I traveled for ADPi called “Miss Magnolia!”
Years ago, I probably would have assumed my 27-year-old bridesmaid-veteran self would veer towards out-of-the-box wedding ideas. Instead, I’ve been saying a lot more of “Well, Momma, what did you do/what would you do?” Wedding invitations, for example: traditional ecru folded paper with black Rook typestyle has worked for decades, and if it ain’t broke…
Some gorgeous magnolia details from Ashlyn’s Pinterest boards! Chair garland by Tim Willoughby via Southern Weddings, chandeliers by Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay via Southern Weddings, cake by Jarrad Lister via Southern Weddings
Who or what has been most helpful and/or inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Hands DOWN A Christ-Centered Wedding by Catherine Parks. My goodness gracious. This book is a must-read for a bride trying to wrap her head around how to point AWAY from herself and towards what marriage was created for. It’s complete with easy to do lists and check boxes. After reading it, I wrote these three things at the front of my wedding binder: 1. Will this help us GET MARRIED, and foster a God-pleasing marriage? 2. Does this SERVE the people attending the wedding? 3. Will it bring glory to God?
She’s good, that Catherine. Thanks, Southern Weddings–y’all introduced me to the book!
A Birmingham welcome bag by The Birmingham Bride
What part of wedding planning, if any, has made you the most anxious?
I moonlight as a wedding calligrapher, and taking on my own wedding was tough–eek! Such a perfectionist.
Which part of your wedding have you been most intentional about planning?
Well, our marriage, of course, through things like working through The Meaning of Marriage by Keller in marriage counseling, and having Love and Respect and You and Me Forever scattered all over my nightstand!
I’m fixing to give a silly, but hopefully practical, intentional tip for brides: clean OUT that Pinterest! Right after Wes popped the question, I tackled my (yes, it was hidden) wedding Pinterest board–streamline that puppy, y’all. I broke it into ceremony, food/reception, flowers, paper, maids/dress, and general tips. I deleted photos as we planned, too: treating it a bit like a checklist. I also used a Southern Weddings tip and made inspiration boards using Microsoft PowerPoint: I just copy/pasted my favorite photos onto some slides. I can’t tell you how many vendors–from wedding dress boutiques to my florist–found it visually helpful. I think that is really helping me nail the look I want.
Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go? What will you be wearing on the big day?
I’m a girly girl, but I’ll be honest, the food and band seemed like more fun details to plan! Too much pressure. My momma, my sister, and I made four appointments in Atlanta one Saturday. You think you don’t care until you turn around and see yourself in the mirror in “the one.” Changes everything. :)
My best advice? Girl, you can make a small amount of money work on a dress, no matter WHAT they tell you in the stores! To be tacky and talk about money, I was a hardliner on finding a $1K dress, because I wanted to reserve money to honor guests in other ways. Bel Fiore helped me find the most gorgeous gown. They’re gems.
What do you love most about Southern weddings?
Mercy–all of it?! I love the tradition and the focus on honoring your heritage and family. Naturally, Southerners take food seriously–and I manage PR for a celeb chef and his restaurants, so you know it’s important to me, too! From a hometown pastor to confederate jasmine stuck in a bouquet, to family pearls and hush puppies and beignets, there’s just always a sense of place with weddings in the South. I think that’s lovely. Oh, and no one in the South bats an eyelash that we planned a life event around two SEC football schedules. That’s nice.
Tell us about planning with your fiancé. Has it gone smoothly? Is he more involved, or hands-off?
He’s a complete dream. This is cheesy, but I sat down with Wes and showed him my little wedding binder and pictures at the beginning: it was sweet! Just a good way for us to get on the same page. No, he couldn’t have cared less about the custom monogram pictures I pulled, but I think it was good to be like, “So, I’m thinking right before six at a church, buffet food, and I kinda wanted you in a black tux, amiright?” Wes has stood firm on one thing: he doesn’t want to see me before the ceremony. I really respect that as his dream! We’re working everything out with the photographer to that end, and I think it will be worth it!
What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
First Baptist’s doors swinging open and looking down an aisle I grew up in to see the guy I used to daydream about taking to a sorority party about to become my HUSBAND. WHAT!? Dreams come true! We are so ready! It has been a long time coming, and our God is so good in His timing and His gifts.
What are you most looking forward to about marriage?
Getting to be roommates with my best friend! A few of my high school besties are married, and they offer such a sweet, real-life picture of marriage. Life won’t always be easy, but I finally get to do it living alongside my best friend. Also, Wes and I are renovating a sweet little home in East Lake, Atlanta–so fun!
Our current theme is called Summer Love and it’s about revisiting childhood adventures, making new memories, and growing in love. Are you pulling any wedding inspiration from your childhoods or childhood memories?
Yes! I grew up going to games in Jordan-Hare Stadium, so there had to be a subtle Auburn nod at our August wedding in Montgomery, right? We will hopefully have Doritos with melted pepper jack cheese served in paper boats to salute local restaurant Momma G’s. My parents used to go on dates there at Auburn, and if Wes’ UGA-die-hard soul would allow himself one kind word about Auburn, he’d say his life is better with Momma G’s Atlanta midtown location.
Also, I wanted my bouquet to pull from the flowers I grew up with Mama having in the house from her garden: hydrangeas, gardenia, jasmine, and roses. Good, barefooted memories come to mind when I smell that combo!
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Ashlyn! Y’all help us wish her well in this last month of wedding planning! :)