Emily and I couldn’t help but giggle at the story of how Elise and Paul met. Her first memory of him was when he walked up to her and her best friend…to invite her best friend to homecoming! Needless to say, Paul did ultimately come around, and he and Elise dated through the rest of high school and college, tying the knot a few weeks after Elise graduated. Since planning a wedding during such a busy season proved to be a bit overwhelming, the incredibly talented Ginny Au helped bring their vision of a romantic, classic, loft celebration to life. I’m sure y’all will agree, the result was completely lovely, and Elise and Paul’s joy is contagious!
Thank you so much to Mandy Busby for sharing this beautiful day with us!
I think our vendors are what made the entire wedding planning process so easy and fun. Our wedding planner, Ginny Au, introduced us to almost all of our vendors, who worked so well together. From the moment I met Ginny, I felt confident and comfortable with all of her ideas. Our calligrapher, Holly Hollon, was so personable and easy to work with. The way she designed our save the dates and invitations fit our style so perfectly, we looked for different ways to incorporate her work into our wedding day as well.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I decided from the beginning that I wanted my wedding dress to be a secret from my friends, so just my mom and I went to find it. We had gone to one or two other places before we went to Diane’s Formal Affair. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but I knew right away that my dress was the one when I put it on!
Katie did a beautiful job with our flowers! She used olive branches, Claire de Lune peonies, Sarah Bernhardt peonies, white lisianthus, white tuberose, oak leaf hydrangea, viburnum, dusty miller, and a variety of garden roses. She tied them up in beautiful Frou Frou Chic ribbon. My bouquet was so heavy, my arm was sore the next day! It was definitely worth it because it was the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen–not to mention, it smelled fantastic.
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Paul and I chose not to see each other before the ceremony. Although we always thought we would have a first look, we changed our minds during the planning process. Ginny and Mandy both encouraged us to save the first look for when I walked down the aisle. It wasn’t as private as a first look would have been, but looking back, we’re so thankful we followed through with this tradition. It’s a memory filled with so much emotion, and we’ll never forget it.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Instead of a first look, Paul and I met around a door to talk and exchange wedding day gifts before the ceremony. I remember feeling so nervous and giddy. I think this stands out as the most memorable moment because it was the last moment we shared before becoming husband and wife.
If we had to choose one detail from our wedding that was our favorite, it would be our wedding video. Watching it for the first time was like reliving the whole day–I cried all over again! The Film Poets did such a wonderful job capturing the entire day. Parts of that day were a blur because we were so overwhelmed with happiness, and Matt and Pacey created such a special keepsake to help us relieve those emotions and memories every day!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to have our ceremony at Advent, which is where my family attends church. For the reception, Paul and I were looking for something with a loft feel, rather than a country club. I loved Bridgestreet because it had so much character. It was also close to our ceremony venue, so it worked out perfectly!
Dreamcakes did our cakes and they were delicious. Mine was their vanilla flavor cake with vanilla icing. It had four tiers and was tinted to match the blue color we used throughout the wedding. It was decorated with fondant flowers and our monogram. Paul did a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for the groom’s cake, which was decorated with chocolate shavings.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Paul and I met in high school. My first memory of him is from the lunchroom, when he walked up to my best friend and I to ask her to the homecoming dance. He doesn’t remember me being there, but I definitely was! We started talking in algebra class during our sophomore year, and made it official on May 23, 2008. He proposed to me in the spring of our junior year of college. We were married the next May, three weeks after my college graduation!
Tell us all about the proposal! I’m not easy to surprise, so Paul knew his proposal would have to be well thought out. It took a couple of white lies, but he got me to his parents’ house and surprised me with a dinner on their back porch. It was set up exactly like our first (and my favorite) Valentine’s Day date, which had been in that same spot. After a delicious dinner, Paul went inside to get dessert. When he came back outside, the next thing I knew, he was on one knee, proposing! I was so surprised; Paul had a hard time understanding me through all my tears. Our families were anxiously awaiting the phone call at my parents’ house, where they had gathered to celebrate with us. It was a perfect night!
When did y’all get married? May 24, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We read traditional vows that followed the Book of Common Prayer in the Episcopal Church.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Besides marriage counseling with our pastor, Paul and I spent our engagement reading “This Momentary Marriage” by Tim Keller. We would read it on our own and then spend time together each week to talk about what we read. Even though we thought we knew all there was to know about each other, Paul and I learned a lot about what the other expected in our marriage. It was a great time to talk and pray for our future as husband and wife.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for me was probably all the change that was happening. May brought a lot of new adventures, including college graduation, getting married, and moving into our first home as husband and wife. It could be a little overwhelming!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every day! My mom and I had such a great time planning mine and Paul’s wedding, and I was truly sad when it was over. I look back on it and only have good memories of the whole process! My advice would just be to stay focused on the bigger picture. It is such a beautiful time in your life and you will never have it back!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Paul and I have been living in Tuscaloosa, but are planning to move back to Birmingham this summer. I will continue to teach elementary school and Paul will finish up his undergrad at UA, where he is working to become a mechanical engineer. We are looking forward to year two of marriage and all that it brings our way!
Photographer: Mandy Busby / Videographer: The Film Poets / Planner: Ginny Au / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Church of the Advent / Reception Venue: Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft / Florist: Cloth of Gold / Paper Goods: Holly Hollon / Cake Baker: Dream Cakes / Caterer: The Happy Catering Company / Band: The Fountain City Players / Bridal Salon: Diane’s Formal Affair / Hair and Makeup: Holly Caffee / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank