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After admiring Amy and Den’s colorful-meets-industrial-cool wedding, I was not surprised at all to learn that they’re architects! Their early days of competing against each other in Mississippi State architecture classes didn’t stop them from falling in love, enduring a long-distance relationship, and heading up North to follow their career dreams. With the help of their families and friends, they planned their April Alabama wedding from a distance, pouring their hearts into preparing for marriage all the while!

Thanks so much to Natalie Elyse for sharing this fun day with us!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided that no matter where we were the first time we saw each other, it would be special. While we are very traditional, we did want the excitement and joy of the ceremony to flow right into the reception. Not having to stop and take pictures post-ceremony was a blessing, and we got to hang out together for much more of the day! Our first look was midday, and everything felt perfect. As I approached him from behind, Den waited a long time before turning around–he did not want the moment to end. When he did turn around, we hugged and then danced!

We did not write our own vows; however, they were written by the presiding minister, who also happens to be Den’s father! It was incredibly special to have him as an integral part of our wedding ceremony. Our wedding vows were the same vows that were used in his parents’ wedding.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Getting married in a church was very important to us, so we chose a Lutheran church in my hometown. The reception venue was a historic train depot roundhouse. Being architects, we were especially inspired by the historic and raw quality of the space. We saw it as a blank canvas with endless possibilities.

We are both makers and designers at heart, and we made the majority of the details and elements of the wedding. We handmade our save the dates, invitations, reception decorations, table centerpieces, menu cards, welcome bags, church programs, and even the photo booth backdrop and props! While it took a lot of time, it was something we were able to do together, and it brought us closer throughout the process. It also made the day feel very personable and intimate for both us and for our guests. My favorite was the marquee letters that we made together last summer. We used chip board, patio lights, foam core, gold spray paint and a ton of hot glue to make 4′ tall letters spell “A+D.” They really popped in the space and became a wonderful backdrop to the evening. Den’s favorite detail was the table numbers. We incorporated pictures of ourselves throughout our childhoods (ages 1-25) to coordinate to each table number. Guests especially enjoyed being able to connect to each picture at various stages in our lives.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The graphic motif for our wedding was the outline of the states of Mississippi and Alabama. I grew up in Alabama and Den grew up in Mississippi, and the two fit together, just like we do! It was used in our save the dates, menu cards, and on the dance floor. We had a giant MS and AL outlined in white tape, which formed the perfect setting for a bride’s side vs. groom’s side dance-off! We featured our favorite liquor at the bar: Tennessee whiskey. However, having all of our family and friends together from near and far is what truly made our wedding feel Southern.

Music is especially important to us. I see my life as a string of moments that all have a very specific soundtrack. We definitely wanted to curate the wedding so that our memories would be associated with music that is important to us. The entry song for our mothers and grandmothers was “How Beautiful,” which we felt was especially fitting for the day. I entered to “Ode To Joy.” “The Gambler” (FUN) has always been our song, and was our first dance. “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson was the first song everyone got on the dance floor to dance to. Den is from Jackson, so the shout out to Jackson, Mississippi in that song was especially fun. We insisted that “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend be the last song played at the wedding–that song represents a thankfulness for where we come from, and undeniably acknowledges the importance of stepping out on our own and forming our “we.”

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. After four years of friendship at Mississippi State University, we began dating. We never thought we would have a romantic relationship–we were competed against each other in our architecture class. We dated for four years and went from being in school together, to a long-distance relationship, and then finally transitioning into our first jobs in New Haven, Connecticut. The distance brought us closer together and we bonded over shared interests in architecture, music, travel, and biking.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Den: I was working on a restoration of the the New London Connecticut Harbor Lighthouse (c.1802). I thought it was such a timeless place, and fitting for a proposal. I led Amy to believe there was an open house before the renovations began. We walked up the 108 steps to the top of the lighthouse, and I got on one knee, and proposed. She said yes! The funny part was, as I was asking her to marry me, the light from the lighthouse shined in her face, momentarily blinding her. The yes ended up sounding like a yelp! We laughed and cried and hugged.
When did y’all get married? April 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! My something borrowed was my Mom’s silk robe that I used while getting ready. I had two something blues: one was my birthstone (aquamarine) in a ring that I have worn since my 21st birthday, and the other was a small blue flower that my sister crocheted for my garter. My something old was my garter, which my mom handmade out of lace from her wedding dress and my great grandmother’s wedding dress. My something new was my dress! (And shoes, and earrings…)
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Planning for our marriage was very important to us throughout our engagement. We began with counseling through Den’s home church (where his father is a minister) and continued with private counseling near where we live in Connecticut. While planning the wedding was an on-and-off task over our 18-month engagement, working toward being married was a constant and conscious effort. We learned more about each other than ever before, and we learned valuable tools for confronting all of the new circumstances that will surely come our way.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Read 1 Corinthians 13, and remember that your wedding is about love. It takes patience, it takes kindness, it takes all humbleness and understanding, and it definitely takes perseverance! Lean on loved ones and ask for help. So many people were integral to our day and helped us in ways they might not even know.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We will continue to live and work in New Haven, CT, and look forward to not only living together, but also working together someday. Wedding planning was a great project for us and we look forward to more design projects in the future. We are most looking forward to being a part of each other’s growing families. Fun family get-togethers with parents, siblings, and nieces and nephews will be abundant in the future!

Photographer: Natalie Elyse Photography / Videographer: Chris Daniels at VisionScribe Media Services / Ceremony Planner: Margie Cook / Ceremony Venue: St. Mark’s Lutheran Church / Reception Venue: The Huntsville Depot Roundhouse / Florist: In Bloom Florist / Cake Baker: Hamley Bake Shoppe / Caterer: The Chef Next Door / Rentals: Mullins Special Occasions / Lighting and DJ: Metropolitan DJ / Bride’s Gown: “Rubie Joe” by Heidi Elnora / Bride’s Accessories: Greco Fiore / Hair Stylist: Terrame Salon and Spa / Bride’s Shoes: Reed Krakoff / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Watters / Groom’s Attire: Black by Vera Wang from Men’s Wearhouse / Bar Service: Premium Shakers / Additional Vendors: Purity Dairy

The Chef Next Door is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Amy Daniels reply

    From the Bride: I’m so excited to see these beautiful pictures shared! Thank you Southern Weddings for promoting beauty in both weddings and in Marriage!

  2. avatar Caroline Lyon reply

    Beautiful wedding. Beautiful couple.

  3. avatar Natalie Elyse Photography | Amy & Den | A Colorful State-Inspired Wedding | Huntsville, Alabama reply

    […] To see more photos from this wedding featured by Southern Weddings, click here. […]

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In many parts of the country, a “Southern” wedding is synonymous with barns, lace, and mason jars. While all of those things are near and dear to our hearts, Lauren and Leigh’s wedding is beautiful proof that Southern doesn’t need to mean rustic. Their downtown Atlanta celebration was urban and undeniably elegant–a perfect combination for this chic bride and her football player groom! We fell in love with the unique color palette Lauren and Leigh chose for their big day (those buttery yellow blooms, y’all!), their darling ring bearers, and the sweet community that so clearly surrounds them, and we knew we had to include it in V7!

Thank you so much to Amy Arrington and EllyB Events for sharing this special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My gown and veil were both by Rivini. I loved the way it fit me like a glove! It was sooooo beautiful, and I wish I could wear it again and again! I loved everything about it.

I really wanted to be sure that the ladies would be comfortable and that the dresses would flatter everyone. I chose gray to accent the yellow bouquets that they carried and the navy tuxedos the groomsmen wore.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The ombré rose petal aisle.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: Being able to pull off the outdoor wedding my bride dreamed of.

We chose to get married in July so that all of Leigh’s friends could attend before training camp began. I have always envisioned myself getting married outdoors, so we looked at a variety of outdoor venues before ultimately choosing Park Tavern in Piedmont Park. Park Tavern has a magnificent view of the city and plenty of room to accommodate our 250+ guests. We chose the evening in hopes that it would be cooler, given we were getting married in July in Atlanta!

What was your reception like? It was a huge party in an air-conditioned tent, decorated with dramatic centerpieces, including an amazing twinkle dance floor!

Blue is our favorite color, so we knew right away that we wanted to use navy in our wedding. We thought that yellow, gold, and grey were great accent colors. We both enjoy modern design, so our wedding had a bit of a GQ feel.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? It sounds so simple, but it’s true–HAVE FUN!!!

When did y’all get married? July 5, 2014
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through some mutual friends on June 19, 2012 at the Hudson Grille in Midtown Atlanta. The two of us sparked a conversation that evening, started dating soon after, and we have been together ever since.
Describe the proposal: Leigh planned a winter date night to the Botanical Gardens’ Festival of Lights during the Christmas season. I had been begging him to go. As we were making our way around the different exhibits, Leigh stopped to take a seat on a bench to get a “rock” out of his shoe. We sat down, I turned my head, and to my surprise, when I looked back, Leigh proposed to me. It was a beautiful moment, and Leigh had even hired a photographer who was standing off just to the side, taking photos and video. We celebrated that night with family and friends at the Torrence’s Christmas party.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Marvelous, breathtaking, beautiful
What was the weather like on your big day? We were extremely blessed in the weather department. The entire weekend was so beautiful for July in Atlanta. There was a breeze and no humidity.
How many guests attended your wedding? Over 250
Briefly describe your wedding flowers: Our flowers were all different shades of yellow and white spray roses, garden roses, snap dragons, lilies, and orchids. We had a beautiful ombré rose petal aisle that was made with over 400 roses. The centerpieces for the reception were glass trumpet vases, with yellow orchid blooms hung in the center of each vase.
How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? The groomsmen relaxed in our suite at the W Midtown, watching Word Cup soccer. The bridesmaids and I had our hair and makeup done while having brunch and sipping mimosas!
Who participated in your ceremony? Our parents lit symbolic Williams and Torrence family candles.
Tell us about your grand exit. We had everyone line the stairwell holding sparklers as we exited the venue!
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: One evening, when we were still engaged, we were gathering with some friends and family members. A man who neither of us had met before was told that we were getting married. He then proceeded to point two fingers at us and said, “Till death do you part.” It was such an intense moment and we all laughed, but later, Leigh and I realized how real that statement was and how important it is for us to stay committed to our marriage vows.

Photographer: Amy Arrington Photography / Wedding planner and linens: Elly B. Events / Designer and florals: Andy Beach / Venue: Park Tavern / Cake baker: Sweet Caroline’s Cakes / Bride’s gown: Rivini / Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid dresses: Donna Morgan / Hair stylist: Kevin Styles / Makeup artist: Noor Farooq / Groom’s attire: Burberry / Groom’s shoes and tie: Louis Vuitton / Groomsmen attire: Black Tie by Lori / Paper products: Paper Parfait / Transportation: Georgia Trolley Services / Lighting: Indaglow Productions

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Allister Freeman reply

    These images a great, wedding looked really fun

  2. avatar Anastasia Kristina reply

    I LOVE THIS! I especially love the ombre yellow rose aisle. So unique and perfect. Everything and everyone was so gorgeous!

  3. avatar Park Tavern Wedding : Leigh + Lauren reply

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There are many things that can make a wedding Southern: the locale, the details, the traditions, you name it! I particularly love how Jennifer and Zachary chose to focus on sweet Southern hospitality! Vital to the heartbeat of the South, hospitality can turn any event into a meaningful celebration. With welcome boxes, wool shawls, hot hands, handkerchiefs, and more, I know that guests felt welcome and completely at home, just like Jennifer and Zachary had hoped. With friends and sorority sisters-turned-wedding vendors on hand, community is one more great aspect of the South that these two embraced on their beautiful wedding day.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor, Amanda Watson, for sharing this gilded day with us!

We met in graduate school in Oklahoma City in 2010. At first, I didn’t really talk to Zac. I was very focused on school and sat toward the front of the classroom. Zac sat behind me and later told me he thought I was cute, smart, and motivated, but he was sure I was in a relationship. Once I was confident my grades were in order, I began to notice him. As the semester progressed, we started talking more and spending time together. One day before class, he blurted out, “Let’s go to the Thunder game.” That was our first official date!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to see each other before the wedding and have some time to enjoy the moment alone. We loved walking hand and hand in the gardens, taking in the beautiful evening light and the willow trees, flowers, and trails near the water.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The most Southern part of our wedding was the effort we made to make our guests feel welcome and at home, no matter where they came from. From welcome boxes to wool shawls, hand warmers to handkerchiefs, we focused on Southern hospitality.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows. Both Zac and I found comfort in hearing and repeating the vows that have been lovingly spoken by couples for hundreds of years,
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My mother hired OCU’s string quartet for our ceremony. Zac and I did not want to walk down the aisle to anything traditional–we love to laugh and we wanted to make people smile. We decided to walk down the aisle to “Don’t Stop Believing.” After the ceremony, we walked back up the aisle to “We are the Champions.” It was great to watch everyone’s faces in the crowd as they recognized the songs.

I fell in love with Coles Garden the first day I went there. It had a gorgeous garden area for the ceremony and a wonderful indoor and outdoor reception area. I really wanted café lights and Coles provided the perfect place to dance under the stars.

Katie from Birdies, a fourth generation florist, designed my wedding flowers. I was on the dance team at OU with Katie, so she was the first person I thought of! We did a mix of ivory, white, and blush flowers with greenery for my bouquet, and I loved that it wasn’t too traditional. Our guests loved the details Katie used to create a casual, yet elegant, look at our reception. She hand-painted lanterns gold and designed wreaths to surround them, created a wall of flowers on the welcome table, and arranged vines and nosegays for the port bar and the sweetheart table.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cakes were made by my good friend and OU sorority little sister, Olivia. I really don’t like the taste of fondant, but I love how it looks on cakes. She came up with the idea to do displays with a cutting layer for my cakes, as well as sheet cakes with whatever icing I preferred. The main wedding cake was decorated with stunning metallic gold and ivory finishes and topped off with delicate paper flowers. The two groom’s cakes paid tribute to Zac’s loves of hunting and OU. Guests were served their choice of carrot cake with cream cheese icing, chocolate cake with buttercream and chocolate ganache, and vanilla bean cake with strawberry filling. For a late night snack, we had a s’mores bar designed by the caterer, complete with marshmallows on a stick, warmed chocolate, and crushed graham crackers. Guests were sent home with cake slices of their choice in gold boxes with whimsical wooden forks.

Tell us all about the proposal! Every year around Christmas, Zac and I go somewhere to look at the lights. The night we exchanged gifts, before we went to celebrate with our families, was an icy one. Zac’s first gift for me was had hand warmers–he said he had planned to take me on a helicopter ride over the city to look at the Christmas lights, but had just received a call that flights were grounded because of ice. He was upset, but I told him we could go out to dinner instead. We went to a restaurant by the lake, and after dinner, we walked out to the lighthouse, where he proposed. He said he was originally planning to propose while we were flying over the Christmas lights. I know he was upset it didn’t go as planned, but I still thought the night was magical! Even though we didn’t go on the helicopter ride, his proposal in front of the lighthouse in the rain was just as romantic.
When did y’all get married? November 1, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 130
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? I always loved that my 83-year-old grandparents still held hands. When I first read “The Art of Marriage,” by Wilfred Arlan Peterson, the words spoke to that kind of love: “In the art of marriage, the little things are the big things. It’s never being too old to hold hands.” Our officiant did a touching reading of the poem during the ceremony.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! For something borrowed, my mother gave me the lace trim from her wedding dress and we wrapped it around my bouquet. We then pinned on my grandfathers’ enamel police and military badges for my something blue. He is no longer with us, so that was my way of having him there with me in spirit. My parents gifted me with a new diamond necklace and a silver sparrow charm, designed to honor my close friend and bridesmaid who passed away unexpectedly before the wedding.
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? We got our friends involved. As a wedding gift, one of my bridesmaids made our guest book. My sorority sisters and good friends made the invitations and cake. It was a great way to showcase my friends’ talents and build their portfolios, and we were both so proud of how well everything turned out. It was better than we could have imagined!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax! Planning a wedding should be fun, but it can get stressful. Try not to lose sight of what is important. It is easy for friends and family to chime in and suggest what they think you need to do or add to the wedding. Just remember that at the end of the day, the important thing is how you and your husband picture your wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We have enjoyed being a newlywed couple, and we are ready to start a family!

Photographer: Amanda Watson / Planner: Camden Chitwood / Venue: Coles Garden / Florist: Birdie Blooms / Cake Baker: Olivia Abel / Caterer: Catering Connection / Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals / Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions / DJ: BTP Productions / Calligraphy: Sooner Calligraphy / Illustrations: Lana’s Shop / Paper Products: Melinda Russell Designs / Bride’s Gown: Allure / Bride’s Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Chelse Lasher / Makeup Artist: Blo Bar / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Bridesmaids’ Dresses and Groomsmen’s Ties and Vests: Custom by Lihn’s Bridal / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Photo Booth: The SNL Photo Booth / Ceremony Musicians: Oklahoma City String Quartet / Cigar Roller: The Leaf 405 / Coffee Catering: Cafe Evoke

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

    What a beautiful, heartfelt wedding to get to be apart of. Thank you so much for the feature!

  2. avatar Jenn & Zac: Southern Weddings reply

    […] See more from this gorgeous wedding over on Southern Weddings! […]

  3. avatar Porschae reply

    I’m just wondering if you know how much the cake cost… I’m trying to budget out mine and love how that cake looks

  4. avatar wedding cakes with gold accents spark and shine your day reply

    […] with fresh flowers – Ashley Kelemen photography via 100layercake | glitter cake – southernweddings | ivory and gold cake […]

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