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Oh, friends, nothing gets my heart skipping a beat quite like a fabulous wedding gown! Mary Catherine is a designer herself, so it was pretty much a guarantee that she was going to choose something amazing for her big day. With the help of Joan Pillow (who actually helped me find my wedding dress, too!) and a bunch of her favorite ladies, Mary Catherine fell head over heels for the Le Spose di Giò beauty that ended up being a perfect fit for her and Chaz’s elegant Swan House wedding. It certainly set the tone for what was to come: an intimate ceremony followed by an elegant, but super fun, reception!

We’re so glad Paperlily Photography was on hand to capture this special day!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My girlfriends and I have a “Sisterhood of the Traveling Garter” that we pass around to each bride. After the wedding, each girl stitches a bow to the garter in the color of her bridesmaids’ dresses. It is so unique and special, and served as my something borrowed. My something blue was totally last minute when I realized I needed something blue, so I just painted one pinky toe blue! My wedding ring is a family heirloom (something old), and my earrings were new.

I have been a dress designer for years but I really didn’t want to make my own wedding dress–too much pressure. I had a big date planned in January with my mother, two best friends, future sister-in-law, and future mother in-law to all come to Atlanta to go shopping for my dress and the bridesmaid dresses. Then, during my mother’s visit for Christmas, we ended up next door to one bridal salon, Joan Pillow, and decided to go in just for kicks. I tried on the first dress I saw (allover lace) and my mom and I just knew it was the one. Or so we thought! Fast forward to January with the whole crew, and we headed to Joan Pillow first. I tried on the same dress that I had a month before, and everyone said it was pretty. Feeling a little guilty I had already chosen my dress without everyone, I decided to try on some more. The fourth dress was something I thought I would never choose in a million years, since it was silk and not lace. When I came out in it, everyone gasped, and I knew, for real this time, that this was the one! I later discovered that I had previously pinned that dress on Pinterest. Fate!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We fell in love with the Swan House–it is so stunningly beautiful. We had never been to a wedding there before and wanted ours to be unique. Chaz is a big skier and loves Colorado, so we toyed with the idea of having our wedding there, but ultimately decided on our current town!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I was really surprised about how calm I was despite the horrible weather conditions. The ceremony was planned to be outside in front of the magnificent Swan House stairs. The back-up option was a smaller, less desirable room indoors. Chaz and I touched base in the morning and decided we would tell our wedding planner at 2 P.M. if we wanted to have the wedding indoors or outdoors. Around 2, Chaz called me and said, “Well, it’s about that time.” I looked outside and saw the rain pouring, but somehow, felt a sense of calm come over me. I no longer cared about the weather. I was marrying the most incredible man and felt like the luckiest girl alive. Everyone I love was in town to celebrate our marriage. We were about to have a fantastic night ahead of us. Life was good. In the end, the indoor room turned out to be intimate and beautiful. The dimly lit chandeliers and gorgeous floral arrangements made the ambiance just perfect.

Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding bouquet was a blend of white garden roses, white hydrangea, and lush foliage. We had a mix of low and tall floral arrangements at the reception that displayed white hydrangea, green hydrangea, white garden roses, white spray roses, white ranunculus, white phalaenopsis orchids, ferns, and boxwood.

I wanted a very classic wedding cake with small details. Our cake was five round tiers, and each layer had a different filling (french vanilla with cream cheese filling, carrot cake with cream cheese filling, chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, ganache and sweet buttercream icing). For the groom’s cake, we chose a golf theme honoring the fact that Chaz is a very talented golfer!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was obsessed with the band, The American Flyers! They came highly recommended through an agency and they absolutely did not disappoint. They are truly talented musicians. Everyone was dancing and singing like crazy all night!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I met Chaz’s best friend while I was out in Atlanta one night and he later introduced us. Chaz was commuting between London and NYC every week for work, so we got to know each other mainly through the phone and g-chat! After a couple of weeks, we went on our first date and the rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had a trip to Grand Cayman planned for Chaz’s 30th birthday. The night before we left, I came home from work to find candles and rose petals going up the stairs in the dark. It was so beautiful and romantic. I walked to the top to find Chaz on one knee!
When did y’all get married? September 26, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No. Chaz wanted seeing me for the first time during the ceremony to be special, and I wanted to honor his wishes.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the ceremony, we had a string quartet. “Moon River” and “The Prayer” were two of the prelude songs, which I chose because I’ve always adored them. The wedding party walked down the aisle to the always beautiful “Canon in D” and I walked to the classic “Trumpet Voluntary.” We had our band learn “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran for our first dance–it is such a touching song with a lovely message. They did a fabulous job!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food had some Southern flair! A few highlights included the bacon-wrapped green beans, tiny tenderloin biscuits, creamed potatoes, cornmeal sage roasted chicken, sugared pecan apple salad, peach baked brie, and butternut squash risotto.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Everyone told me to sit back and take in the day, because it flies by. So true! I took this advice to heart and made sure to soak in as much as possible.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying life in Atlanta with our golden doodle, Chloe! We recently bought a house and are looking forward to decorating and renovating our master bath. We have a lot of excitement going on in our careers, but also enjoy spending as much time as possible with our family and friends.

Photographer: Paperlily Photography / Planner: Courtney Surber Paz / Venue: The Swan House / Florist: Andy Beach / Wedding Cake: Frosted Pumpkin / Caterer: Affairs to Remember / Rentals: Peachtree Tents and Events / Band: The American Flyers / Paper Products: Brighten my Day / Bride’s Gown: “Classica CL-10” by Le Spose di Gio / Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow / Hair Stylist: Josie Labara / Bride’s Shoes: Alexander Wang / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Wtoo / Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    When it comes to Southern cities, Birmingham is one of my very favorites–after calling it home for almost two years, I can attest to the magic of its skyline. It’s the perfect mix of old South and city glamour–just like Megan and Josh’s wedding day, as a matter of fact! Together with their planner, Invision Events, M + J created a wedding day that started with a traditional Southern ceremony, and transitioned into a city chic reception complete with ghost chairs, ikat table runners, and stunning flower chandeliers! Of course, they remembered to add in a little Southern flair with their signature cocktail, aptly named “Alabama Sunshine!”

    Big hugs to Morgan Trinker for sending us this sweet day!

    I thought I knew THE dress I wanted–Molly Sims’ gorg Marchesa gown. Funny thing though, the dresses I saw on a 6-foot model didn’t exactly look the same on me! My mom and I went dress shopping casually one Saturday, and I tried on a handful of dresses. My mom really had that “moment” with one of the dresses, but I was more hesitant, only because we had not been to all the dress places yet. We left empty-handed, but then we kept going back to that one. I loved the fit and the dramatic lace back. Mom definitely knew best, and we went for it!

    Describe your wedding flowers. When we met for our first meeting, my mom and Chris and I became instant best friends. We felt like we had known him for years. I showed him my inspiration images, and he took it from there. We never even really went over exact details of the colors and flowers. I was really shocked that I was okay not knowing what the exact final product would look like, but I really trusted him and knew that whatever he came up with would be nothing short of fabulous. I was blown away when I walked into our venue. The floral chandeliers? My bouquet of massive pink peonies? Perfection!

    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose classic songs, and they were played so beautifully, it brought me to tears. I walked down the aisle to “Prince of Denmark’s March,” and we walked out as husband and wife to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy.” We had such amazing musicians–from the strings, to the trumpets, to the pianist, to the vocals, our ceremony music was just magical.

    Our ceremony was at our beautiful church–I always knew I would be married there. It is such a special place for me and it has recently become special to John as well. We grew so much in our faith journey together throughout our engagement! Our reception was on the rooftop of a building in downtown Birmingham. I knew I wanted a reception venue that was different, and my now sister-in-law suggested the rooftop of the Kress Building. We fell in love with the rooftop concept and the view of the city!

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The vibe of our reception was very city chic, but I think everything about our ceremony was simply Southern! We wanted all the traditional Southern aspects in our ceremony. We also made sure our signature cocktail had some Southern flair and was aptly named Alabama Sunshine!

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I loved our cake! It was not something I put a lot of focus on, but I literally squealed with excitement when I saw it at our reception! It was exactly what I had envisioned, and my floral designer provided the moss-covered cake stand and the amazing pink peonies.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through our good friends, Lauren and Chris. I lived with Lauren when she began dating Chris, who happened to be one of John’s good friends. They first introduced us at a party. I thought John wasn’t interested in me, and he thought the same thing about me! From that night on, we ended up in the same scene and same group outings, and eventually, he asked me out to dinner. We’ve been inseparable ever since. Lauren and Chris are now married as well, so we have pretty perfect double date nights!
    Tell us all about the proposal! I went over to John’s house on a Sunday morning. When I glanced into the bedroom, I saw a box on the bed and candles in the room, so I knew something was up! John told me the gift was for me…just because! I opened it and found a little Louis Vuitton clutch. I was like, “What? Why in the world did you go spend money on this!?” As I was unzipping and examining the clutch, John turned on our special little song “Thank You for Stepping into My Life,” and got down on one knee! It was so special and sweet. He had planned a nice brunch to celebrate with both of our families afterward, and it was perfect.
    When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we have a special relationship with our Reverend who officiated our ceremony. She made it so special, personal, and intimate!
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my now mother-in-law’s blue topaz bracelet, which was so special, so that was my borrowed and blue! My something old was my late Nana’s handkerchief that I wrapped around my bouquet. My something new was my dress!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? When considering little items and details, we really asked ourselves, “Is this necessary? If we don’t have this little detail or that little feature, will it change our whole vision of the day?” The majority of the time, the answer was no!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Take in every moment and enjoy it. We all get so wrapped up and stressed out about the dress, the reception, the cake, the caterer, etc. Everything falls into place, so don’t sweat the small stuff!

    Photographer: Morgan Trinker / Planner: Invision Events / Ceremony Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: The Historic Kress Building / Florist: Christopher Joseph Designs / Cake Baker: Magic Muffins Bakery / Catering: Shindigs Catering / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Lighting: AG Lighting / Band: The Fountain City Players / Paper Products: Alan’s Invitations / Bride’s Gown: Enzoani / Hair Stylist: Salon M Squared / Makeup Artist: Louise Robertson / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bari Jay / Groom’s Attire: Mr. Burch Formal Affair

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    1. avatar Lauren + Max: Birmingham Engagement Session reply

      […] about her upcoming rooftop wedding at the Historic Kress Building, reminiscing about one of our past weddings at that spot. We all knew this was a match made in […]

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    When it comes to mixing decor genres, I believe Southern and nautical make the perfect pair! Throwing some British inspiration into the mix could have made it more than interesting, but for Heather and Eric, with the help of their planner and florist, Crystal at Southern Posies, incorporating all the different strands of their heritage came together in an absolutely lovely day! I’m officially obsessed with the oyster shell table runner and the story behind Heather’s single magnolia bloom bouquet (be sure to read below)!

    We’re sending bug hugs all the way to Austin to Mrs. Caroline Joy for capturing this pretty day!

    My something borrowed was my late grandfather’s tie pin that my grandmother lent me; my grandfather was the beloved patriarch of our entire family, and we lost him just a few years ago, so I just had to have him there with us somehow. My something blue was an evil eye charm that a stranger pinned on me when I was a baby–he told my parents that “I would need it,” as they are supposed to protect the wearer from evil thoughts. My something old was my antique sapphire ring that my parents found when we lived in England. My something new turned out to be a solitaire teardrop sapphire necklace that Eric gave me on our wedding day. I also had a sixpence in my shoe that my brother’s best friend brought me over from England when he came for the wedding to surprise my brother!

    The décor was an odd mix of Southern, nautical, and a little British (my family and I lived in England when I was in high school). My planner and florist, Crystal, and I picked out soft blooms in cream and blush to complement everything, and anemones, succulents, and dusty miller really brought out the nautical elements. After Crystal and I had designed a beautiful bridal bouquet, Eric and I were having a hard day with a difficult, very personal family issue. Driving into my neighborhood, I saw that the magnolia trees were in bloom, and seeing them cheered me up, so I asked Eric to stop so I could pick one. I’ve always loved magnolias, so I apologized to Crystal and asked her to change my bouquet–I carried a single magnolia bloom, and Eric’s boutonniere was a magnolia seed.

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, going with tradition. We did write promise notes to each other though, and our favorite promises were to never stop working on our marriage and to always speak kindly to each other, no matter what. That’s a promise we live by now.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I made an appointment at Ivory and White in Birmingham and showed my consultant, Molly, several pictures of dresses. She laughed and told me that all my pictures were of the same dress, and she had it in the store! I tried it on and just loved it. My momma, however, really didn’t like it. Even though it made me sad that my mom wasn’t in love with it like I was, I just didn’t see another dress I liked. We found out the designer was having a trunk show at the store in a few months, so we waited until then to purchase the dress. The day my mom, my mother-in-law, and I went to buy the dress, I tried on lots of trunk show dresses, just for fun. My mom really liked one of them, and when I put it on, I realized it had everything the first dress had, and more. The only thing this dress didn’t have was a train, but Molly told me the designer could add a train to the dress. It was perfect!

    Short of the British pub table outside the church, I am not sure what wasn’t Southern about our wedding. All of the food was Southern–sweet potato fries, oysters, green beans, fried chicken, prime rib, mashed potatoes, cornbread, collards, and chicken tenders and mac and cheese for the kids. The pound cake and red velvet cake are both Southern favorites. A lot of the details included seersucker and grosgrain. We included our love for Auburn–guests signed a framed and matted print from Auburn that says “from family grows tradition,” and I had a garter from Tiger Rags. We are the fourth generation in my family to be married in June. My favorite Southern details were the hand-sewn heirloom dresses we gave to the bell ringers, because they turned out to be the prettiest ones I have ever seen. And of course, our favorite Southern tradition was our receiving line.

    I really love classical music, and being a ballet dancer, visualizing things to classical music comes easily to me. When I listened to the wedding pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, I could just see all of those walks up and down the aisle. The music is so, so beautiful and romantic and just lent itself perfectly to our wedding.

    When we told Ms. Rose Pollman, the wedding cake designer at the Staple bakery in Mobile, that we wanted a traditionally decorated cake, she was over the moon. Too funny! She made the most delicious cream cheese pound cake that we served with strawberries.Eric’s groom cake was red velvet, and the cake topper on it held special significance to us. On a road trip, we passed two horses on opposite sides of a fence that were nuzzling necks as close as they could get. We just knew they loved each other! The nuzzling birds now always remind us of those horses and to love each other, no matter what fence is in the way.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The summer after my junior year at Auburn University, a friend invited me to go downtown one night. There, I met all of his friends, including Eric. We were instantly attracted to each other, and were pleasantly surprised to find out that we were both majoring in engineering. We started to hang out more and more, and not long after we met, Eric brought up talk of a relationship, which I didn’t quite respond to the way he had hoped, and apparently, I didn’t talk to him for two weeks. As fate would have it, magic was in the air that fall, and we grew closer with each date and exciting football game. A few months later, a friend of a friend blatantly asked us, in front of a lot of people, if we were “like, together?” to which Eric furiously shook his head and said that was not the case. I thought his response was a little too quick–I guess it was his revenge for the alleged “two weeks of silence,” because when I asked him if that wasn’t a possibility, he said it was possible. The next morning, on his birthday, I remember waking up so happy because I was thinking of him. I told him later that I had a birthday present for him–that if he wanted to talk about a relationship, I wouldn’t freak out. It took us six months from when we first met to put aside our stubbornness, but we’ve pretty much been inseparable ever since.
    Tell us all about the proposal! From Eric: It was December, and I picked the ring up on Saturday morning with a reservation at Hamilton’s Restaurant that night to “celebrate her performances in The Nutcracker Ballet.” After dinner, I convinced Heather to go on campus with me instead of going to see her family, who were in town for her ballet performances, at a nearby restaurant. After some nerve-wracking conversation, we finally walked over to the swing where we had gone to talk after our first date. After reminiscing about that date, I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. After a noticeable and, once again, nerve-wracking pause, she started to cry, so I tried to lighten the mood and said “Please?” She said yes!
    When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We cut having a videographer pretty early on, which is actually something I really regret–I wish we had taken a longer look to cut out other things that weren’t lasting. We used a lot of our own décor, which cut down on flower costs and rentals. Also, my planner and the awesome lady who designed our paper suite are both just starting out in the industry, so their costs were not as high as most other vendors. They were both fantastic and attentive and so personable to work with, and their work turned out more beautifully than I could have imagined!
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I’m a crier, and I surprised myself the entire day by not crying. I was just so happy all day! But then, we started saying our vows, and tears just started streaming down my face. The most memorable moment for me was when Eric wiped my tears away.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are just happy to be living together and having quiet days to ourselves. We are definitely looking forward to building our home, traditions, and family together!

    Photographer: Caroline Joy Photography / Planner and Florist: Crystal Strickland from Southern Posies / Ceremony Venue: Fairhope United Methodist Church / Reception Venue and Catering: Steelwood / Wedding Cake: Pollman’s Bakery / Band: The Voltage Brothers through EastCoast Entertainment / Paper Products: Kara Anne Paper / Bride’s Gown: “Katarina” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Second Gown: “Sweet Dreams” by Ivy and Aster / Bride’s Veil: “Leda” by Vera Wang / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade /Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine and Molly Stilley from Morgan Ashley Salon / Makeup Artist: Celine Russell / Bride’s Shoes: “Chantilly Booties” from BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Niceties Dress” in French Grey from BHLDN / Men’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse / Bow Ties: J. Hilburn / Cufflinks: Bullet Cufflinks / Girls’ Getting Ready Robes: BHLDN

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    4 Comments
    1. avatar Emily reply

      Heather’s magnolia bouquet is perfect, and I love their all-calligraphy invitation!

    2. avatar Hallie Deyton reply

      I loved this article! I absolutely loved her dress and hearing about all of her personal details she put into the wedding. I think that’s what a wedding should be about – the little personal details. My favorite part was her bouquet – that is something she will definitely remember for the rest of her life!

    3. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

      Even the church doors match your nautical inspiration! The dress looks beautiful and I love that long dark wood table with the string of lights in the background. Rustic, comfortable, and intimate.

    4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

      […] Brittany and Robert loved celebrating their marriage with 650 dear friends and family members! Heather and Eric incorporated all different pieces of their heritage into their classic wedding. Jeni and Adam loved […]

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