Oh y’all are in for a real treat today! I’m such a fan of surprise weddings, and Abby + Sam hit the nail on the head with their engagement party turned big day! With the help of some fabulous vendors, like Abby’s good friend Meghan from M. Elizabeth Events, these two decided to switch their plans from a destination wedding in the Bahamas to a hometown wedding. The crazy part? They managed to change everything over in just three weeks! Holy cow! I also love how they chose to keep the coral motif as an ode to their original plans for a Bahamian big day!
Special thanks to Alisha Crossley for capturing such a fun surprise!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Luckily for me, my friend Meghan Cease (M. Elizabeth and Events) is a wedding planner. She set up appointments for me at Ivory and White in Mountain Brook, AL. I fell in love with the delicate details of my dress. It was perfect!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did. After talking with Alisha, I felt like it was the best for us. I knew we would both be calmer after seeing each other. Portraits were really important to me, as well as being fully present at my reception. Seeing each other before made both of those possible.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Oh gosh! I don’t think we would have been able to do anything besides repeat the ones given to us! Even with the first look, we were nervous going through our “I do’s.” I love exactly how we did it.
Describe your wedding flowers. Lush. Vibrant. Romantic. We originally planned to get married at my family’s home in the Bahamas. Since the engagement party turned into a surprise wedding, we wanted to carry over the tropical details as much as possible.
We had personalized cocktails for Sam and I. He chose the “Old Fashioned”–a true Southern gent’s drink! I went with Alabama Sunshine–something fun and Southern at the same time! We had a local food truck serving dishes. I think that trend is really picking up in the South, and I love it! Our venue was a historical location in the heart of Alabama: the historical Shoal Creek Golf Community.
As y’all know, I’m a big fan of Southern oyster houses, so I bet this food truck was such a blast!!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted something simple and sweet. We went with a plain white cake adorned by large fuchsia peonies. It was delicious!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met through a mutual friend. I was dating someone casually at the time, but Sam stole my heart! We hung out together as friends at first, but things progressed quickly!
Tell us all about the proposal! I scheduled a couple’s session with our friend and photographer, Alisha Crossley. Sam and I wanted canvases in our home, but I wasn’t patient enough to wait until we were engaged. I knew we were getting closer to Sam popping the question, but I thought things were still a few months out. Unbeknownst to me, Sam had contacted Alisha on his own after I scheduled the session. I was completely ignorant to his plans since I actually set everything up! Toward the end of the session, Sam told me he wanted to spend his life with me. I laughed and said, “Well, you have to ask me first.” He slid down to one knee and pulled out my ring–the same diamond that has been in his family for years! I squealed as Alisha captured it all! We then walked to a nearby cafe, where he presented me with flowers and a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon. We called friends and family while lounging on the patio, drinking our champagne. We spent the evening celebrating with friends at one of our favorite restaurants, Satterfields.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I really loved my dress … I felt amazing in it!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Borrowed were my earrings, blue was a diamond bracelet with sapphires, old was a broach, new was a diamond bracelet Sam gave me as a wedding gift.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was blessed in having some of my best friends surround me with their talents on my wedding day. Meghan as well as my friend Madi (hairstylist) worked to make everything perfect for me.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Well, since we decided to turn a destination wedding planned for October into a local wedding in May THREE weeks before the day, we had several challenges! Thankfully, we had a large engagement party planned with all of my favorite vendors, most of whom were scheduled to travel with us to the Bahamas. I had Meghan there to help coordinate everything, and the wedding was actually at her family’s home in the historical Shoal Creek community. She handled reorganizing everyone and getting people scheduled as needed. We kept the new plans a surprise so that our guests STILL thought they were attending an engagement party!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I was so excited to surprise everyone with the ceremony! I loved walking down the aisle freshly changed into my wedding gown and seeing everyone’s faces!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think it’s important not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and to make the details personal. Having friends in the wedding industry, I knew what was “popular” and what everyone else was doing, but I wanted our day to truly be ours. I think we really made that happen!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Sam and I recently found out the we are expecting! We are excited about starting our own family and instilling the same Southern traditions that have given us both so much happiness growing up!
Photographer: Alisha Crossley Photography | Videographer: Holloway Productions | Planner: M. Elizabeth Weddings and Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Private Home in Shoal Creek | Florist: KG Designs | Wedding Cake Baker: Cakes by Barb | Caterer: Shindigs | Rentals: Events Rentals Unlimited | Lighting: Designs Production LLC | Acoustic Artist: Adam Justin Gannon Events | Bride’s Gown: “Emma” by Monique Lhuillier at Ivory & White | Paper Products: Amberly Shelton Paperie | Bride’s Jewelry: Levy’s Fine Jewelry | Hair Stylist: Madilyn Hays | Makeup Artist: Raww Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Assortment of styles in shades of coral | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein | Groomsmen Attire: Assortment of white shirts and khakis