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You know that sweet Southern style we all adore so much? With the peony and garden rose bouquet, and the soft shades of pink and blue? Well, Kelsey + Evan had all that and more, but what I really love is that they staged their sweet wedding not in a backyard, but in the Matt Jones Gallery, a modern art space in Birmingham. Talented planner and stylist Ginny Au brought everything together seamlessly, and Caleb of 509 Photo provided the beautiful photos!

My family is Southern transplanted, and Evan is Southern born and raised, so it was important for us to honor the places that shaped who we are and where we fell in love. One of my favorite details was the glass bottle Cokes representing my Atlanta upbringing and Jack Daniels for Evan’s Tennessee roots. We tied those up with vintage bottle openers that we had collected for that reason. We also had bags of peanuts from the Peanut Depot on Morris Avenue in downtown Birmingham, which is a definite Birmingham must-visit spot!

There was an Amsale dress that I had been dreaming of since before we were engaged. I tried it on in Birmingham, but wanted my dad to see it first, so I made the trip home to Atlanta to try on gowns at Bridals by Lori with both my mother and father. I was sure it was going to be the one, but when I put it back on I didn’t feel the same way. After trying on many other gowns, I tried on the Rivini “Freya” gown. It had just come in the night before, and no one had tried it on yet. I knew it was the one when I was looking at myself in the gown, rather than just the dress itself.

Kelsey’s bouquet was one of my favorite things about this wedding (those ribbons!), so I’m not surprised to hear her guests were impressed! My flowers were absolute perfection. My wonderful planner introduced me to Holly and Katie who teamed up to create my garden party florals. Every arrangement they designed was different, from the bridesmaids’ bouquets to the altar arrangements. Because of the early spring this year, I got really lucky with flowers in that I was able to get my beloved peonies and lush dahlias mixed with varieties of garden roses. The girls tied my bridal bouquet with vintage ribbons and a handkerchief that my mother had collected for me. I am a sucker for a big ole full bouquet, and my arm was surely tired from toting it around. I still have people raving about our flowers, which is such a compliment!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? We decided not to do a first look before the ceremony. It was such an emotional moment when the doors opened, and we locked eyes all the way down the aisle.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to use traditional marriage vows; there is something so romantic about speaking the same words so many couples have said through the ages.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Evan’s sister and brother-in-law also live in Birmingham. It was so important to us to have them participate in our ceremony, so we had them read Colossians 3: 12-17 (NRSV) and a poem called “The Wedding Vow.”

A little PSA from Kelsey: Please please please hire a wedding planner that understands your aesthetic. Even if you know what vendors you want and possibly have already booked them, a planner will take your pieces and turn them into a cohesive vision and eliminate all the stresses of having everything done for the big day. It is a MUST!

My wedding cake was a vanilla butter-cream confection designed to mimic the textures in my dress as well as the flower from my sash. We also had a chocolate and peanut butter ganache groom’s cake and a milk and cookie bar.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Evan and I met our freshman year at Samford University. We had a class together that fall semester, but didn’t really get to know each other until the end of the school year. We had mutual friends within our Greek organizations and started hanging out in groups until we began dating exclusively the following October.
Describe the proposal. One of our favorite things to do throughout our college years was exploring Birmingham, but we never made it to the Vulcan. The Vulcan is a symbol of Birmingham and looks out over the entire city. I had always secretly hoped that maybe a trip there would mean a proposal. Evan picked me up that Monday night and asked me if I wanted to head over to the Vulcan. We enjoyed looking out over the city for a few moments, and then he let me know that it was time to go. I was kind of surprised that we were leaving and that nothing had happened, so when we were walking to the car he asked me if I was expecting anything up at the top of the statue. Evan loves to joke around with me, so it was appropriate that he stuck it to me right before he asked for my hand in marriage. After calling our families (who had no idea that we were getting engaged that night!) we enjoyed a beautiful dinner at one of our favorite spots in the Edgewood neighborhood of Birmingham at Gianmarco’s.
In what month did you get married? June
How many guests attended your wedding? 125
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My precious grandfather passed unexpectedly two weeks prior to our wedding. It was so important for us to honor him during our day, so I wore his wedding ring sewn into my dress along with the lace from my Nana’s wedding dress, while Evan wore one of his cuff links along with one of his late grandfather’s cuff links.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge that we had to overcome in planning our wedding would probably be keeping everything organized once everyone arrived in Birmingham. Almost every guest had to travel to celebrate with us, so making sure everyone felt included and appreciated was something we really needed to be mindful of (thank heavens for Southern hospitality, y’all!).
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? The photographer! Caleb Chancey of 509 Photo is one of the most incredibly talented and wonderful people I have ever met. My family and I could not be happier with that decision.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? After leaving our reception, Caleb drove with us to Samford to take pictures at the place where everything started for us as a couple. I felt so relaxed and happy with how the day had gone, and was finally able to take it all in with my new husband.

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar Leanne Polk reply

    Beautiful and creative — down to every last detail. Amazing ideas!

  2. avatar Madelynne Moulton reply

    I may be biased, but I absolutely love matt jones for a reception space! Their decor was polar opposite of ours – color, style, decor – and it looks STUNNING in the gallery. Beautiful wedding!

  3. avatar Desiree reply

    Beautiful! Can we please find out the instructions for making that incredible chandelier that hung over the cake!? I love that idea! :)

  4. avatar Cameron reply

    Love!! Really love the mint ties and grey suits! Could we find out where they purchased those from pretty please?!? Thanks!

  5. avatar Lauran Stephens reply

    Beautiful bride! Handsome groom! Lovely wedding……….every single detail! My hat is off to Lori and Kelsey! Ginny did such a wonderful job, such organization! Caleb!!!! beautiful memories captured on film. I may be a tiny bit partial……….the groom is my son :o)

  6. avatar Brittany reply

    Would love to know where the mint ties are from also! Great color!

  7. avatar Ginny Au reply

    The groomsmen ties are from Tux & Tulle, and Etsy shop. Also, it is a doily chandelier, and you can find great instructions on Martha Stewart’s Weddings website. Hope that helps. Ginny

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If porch-front ceremonies are becoming a “trend” in Southern weddings, then sign us up! (We’ve featured two fairly recently — check out Andrea + Tres’ here!) Lane wore a gorgeous Pronovias gown for her marriage to Dan, while her bridesmaids donned J. Crew dresses. Speaking of bridesmaids, I loved what Lane had to say about what was Southern about her wedding: read on to hear all about her incredible group of family + friends, and how they pulled off such a beautiful wedding! We’ll be back soon with more succulent goodness from Maile Lani!

How did you meet? Tell us your story. We met while both working as interns for the Santa Monica office of Gensler, a global architecture and design firm. Our summer desks were next to one another, and we quickly sparked up a friendship. Dan and I would go to a beach called El Matador every weekend that summer; it was unpopulated by anyone but locals — a romantic place by any measure!
Describe the proposal. After a long distance courtship, with Dan leaving to finish school in London, England and me returning to Baton Rouge for my final year of design school in Louisiana, we finally ended up back in Los Angeles where we would eventually start our lives together. Dan proposed at our beloved beach, El Matador, a year and half later.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Creating all of the details ourselves and bringing our families together in one place for the first time.
What was Southern about your wedding? Our guests stayed in New Orleans’ historic Hotel Monteleone, greeted with hospitality packages consisting of local goodies such as Tony’s Cajun seasoning, pecan pralines, Zapp’s potato chips and Louisiana hot sauce. As soon as I arrived back in Baton Rouge from Los Angeles, I had an amazing group of friends and family rally around me to help with the execution of all the flowers and décor for the wedding. The sense of community that existed in these days leading up to the wedding may not be strictly Southern, but that sensibility is still especially strong in the South and it was very present at this time. It reminded me of what things must have been like before people just paid to have it all done. We were married on the front lawn and porch of a plantation on the bank of the Mississippi River under oak trees draped in Spanish moss. The food offering ranged from regional staples such as fried catfish and crawfish étouffée to truly delectable Cajun treats like curried pumpkin, crawfish & corn bisque, duck with praline sauce and candies yams. The evening’s entertainment was provided by a seven-piece brass band from New Orleans. Needless to say, this led to more than one soulful second line.

Photographer: Maile Lani Photography // Venue: Houmas House Plantation // Florist: bride and friends // Wedding Cake Baker: Ambrosia // Paper Products: bride // Bride’s Dress: Pronovias // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Family heirlooms // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Marissa reply

    I’m a huge fan of porch-front ceremonies and this one is gorgeous! Love it, Emily!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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