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As I read through Emily and Matthew’s interview, “relationships” was the word that kept coming to my mind. Along with making sure their wedding was a great opportunity for their loved ones to connect (“there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass”), Emily and Matthew also carved out time during the day for just the two of them. Their first look and private dinner, both right by the river, look like such special moments that I know they’ll cherish forever!

Thanks so much to Clark Brewer and Invision Events for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Laura McCarty did an AMAZING job on all of the florals. The inspiration for my bouquet was white-toned garden flowers, including white cloud, majolica roses, peonies, Juliet roses, and pops of blush peonies and dahlias. We also loved the greenery she used around the chandelier in the barn and on the wedding party table.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We wanted to do a first look for two reasons. One, it was more practical to see each other before the ceremony so we could get the majority of our pictures taken. We wanted to enjoy the reception and time with our family and friends without having to worry about formal photos right after the ceremony. Second, Matt and I wanted to have as many shared memories of the day as we could. Getting to do a first look allowed us to spend some sweet time together before the ceremony, and since we did it down by the river with just Clark and Chris (the photographers), we got to get away from the hustle and bustle of venue prep for a few quiet moments.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we went with the classic vows. Matt’s co-best man and one of our dear friends, Alex, performed our ceremony, and he did a fantastic job. For the message, Alex focused on the story of Hosea, which is one of our favorite images of the Lord’s love for us. We knew we wanted that to be the main focus of the ceremony.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Most of the readings came from the biblical book of Hosea, but we also included Isaiah 43:4–7, Romans 3:10-18, Romans 5:6-11, and a few others in the ceremony.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Clark Brewer did a fantastic job photographing the day. Two of our favorite parts of the day were our first look and the private dinner we enjoyed down by the river. Clark documented both of those occasions so well, and they truly captured how beautiful the entire day was!

Picking the venue wasn’t as hard as picking the city. Matt and I went through many destination options before settling on my hometown of Birmingham. Once we knew we wanted to have it in Alabama, I was immediately drawn to Swann Lake Stables. It had the look and feel of being somewhere in the East Tennessee mountains (one of the destinations we considered), and we knew that in late October, it would be beautiful. It was laid-back, comfortable and naturally gorgeous, which was what we were going for in terms of style.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The food was deliciously Southern. Shindigs did a fantastic job serving up delicious dishes including everything from miniature quail and waffles, to shrimp and grits, to cornmeal-crusted okra. Everything about our venue also made the wedding quintessentially Southern. We enjoyed that there were plenty of places for the guests to dance, eat, or catch up with friends and family, whether that was on the dance floor, in the barn, in rocking chairs by the outdoor fireplace, or while playing cornhole in the grass.

When we first started the wedding planning process, I knew I wanted to have a “naked” cake. I don’t care much for heavy icing, and I like the rustic look of naked cakes. Kim did an awesome job turning that inspiration into a reality, and since it was simple and clean, Laura was able to add some flowers to make it a focal point of the reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I met in Austin in 2011. I had just graduated from college and moved to Austin, barely knowing anyone. A few weeks after I moved there, I ran into a guy I had gone to college with, who invited me to his bible study–that’s where I first met Matt. We were casual friends for a year or two, but as we got to know each other better through Friendsgivings, birthday parties, church activities, weekend trips, and TV nights, we developed (major) secret crushes. It took a night of karaoke and dancing out with friends in early 2014 for us to finally realize the major crushing was mutual. Timing was not on our side (Matt was moving to Dallas for a job at the end of the summer), but we decided to take a chance on our friendship and start dating anyway. It worked out in our favor!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was the Saturday before Easter 2015. Matt was living in Dallas and I was living in Austin. He was coming down for the weekend, and our plan was to go to the Texas Capitol building on Saturday morning for a tour and then meet up with his parents afterward for lunch. This wasn’t an unusual weekend plan because I was planning on moving to Dallas sometime in the coming months, and visiting the Capitol was on our Austin bucket list. His parents being in town wasn’t unusual either because they had come to spend Easter with his grandparents, who lived close by. Matt was able to hook us up with a private tour with Rod, the Sergeant-at-Arms for the House, through a mutual friend. Rod showed us around the Capitol, and as we were wrapping up, he asked if we wanted to make the trek up to the dome, where other tourists didn’t have access. Matt and I weighed whether we should do it or not since we were running late for our lunch, but Rod convinced us to make the climb, since this was a one-time chance sort of thing. When we got to the tip top of the dome, we were able to exit outside onto a small wraparound patio. When Rod said he had to “take a call” and stepped back in, I knew something was up. A few seconds later, Matt grabbed my hand, said my name, and I knew this was it! He got down on one knee and proposed right there. Rod was in on the whole thing, so after his “call,” he came back out and took a few pictures for us. Afterward, we did in fact meet up with Matt’s parents for lunch, but both of our families were there to celebrate with us, as well!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. The week after we got engaged, I was visiting one of my bridesmaids in New York City, so we decided to do a brief shopping trip. It was unsuccessful, but I was able to get my feet wet and start to feel more like a bride. A few weeks later, I planned a dress shopping trip with three of my close girlfriends in Austin. I tried on probably 10-15 dresses and honestly loved most of them. We eventually narrowed it down to two favorites and took pictures to share with my mom and sister, since they lived too far to see them in person. My mom, my sister, and my dad all picked the same dress as their favorite, so I went with that one! It was exactly the dress I had had in mind: simple, classic, and not too glam for an outdoor wedding.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail was the wedding party table. It was forty feet of farm table that sat our closest friends. It was a joyful picture to see everyone from every phase of our lives in one place!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went through premarital counseling with a couple at our church. It was important to us to learn from people who had gone through this season and could guide us through conversation and conflict in preparation for marriage.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t have to hire an officiant or ceremony musicians since we had our friends play those parts!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Enjoying dinner by the river immediately after the ceremony was a sweet and memorable moment. Having a few minutes alone to relax, eat good food, and revel in our new marriage was a special time for us.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Knock all of the big stuff out first! We jumped into wedding planning the week after we got engaged, and that allowed us to book most of our vendors in the first month of our engagement. The last two to three months before the wedding, we were able to take our time preparing for our marriage, not just finishing up last minute wedding details.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Matt and I reside in Dallas, where he’s an attorney and I’m working for a healthcare startup. The big challenge we’re tackling as a couple right now is keeping our new fiddle leaf fig tree alive.

Photographer: Clark Brewer | Planner: Invision Events | Venue: Swann Lake Stables | Florist: Laura McCarty | Cake Baker: Kimberly Wiggins | Caterer: Shindigs | Rentals and Lighting: Event Rentals Unlimited | Band: The Neons | Special Details: Prophouse | Paper Products: Katie Roden | Bride’s Gown: “Cassidy” by Amy Kuschel | Bride’s Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine | Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley | Bride’s Shoes: Tory Burch | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nouvelle Amsale | Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn | Ice Cream Sandwich Cart: Big Spoon Creamery

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    Talented, professional, compassionate vendors are the backbone of every smoothly running wedding day. When you hire people who are great at what they do AND good people to boot, your only job on your wedding day will be to act as a gracious hostess, love your family and friends well, and say “I do.” What a blessing! That’s why we’re passionate about our Blue Ribbon Vendors – because we want y’all to be worrying about those three things, and nothing else. Here are a few we’d love to introduce you to!

    Name: Anna Kerns, Anna Kerns Photography
    Where you call home: Frederick, Maryland
    Favorite part of a wedding day? The quiet moment the bride and groom share together during portraits! As much as I love spending time with family and friends, I remember on my wedding day how refreshing and romantic it was to have some alone time as newlyweds. It’s a chance to take in all the excitement and joy of becoming husband and wife! Plus, your photographers will get some really sweet photographs for you to treasure for years to come.

    Name: Christopher and Nancy Nolan, Weddings by Christopher & Nancy
    Where you call home: Little Rock, Arkansas
    Things you’d write home to your Momma about: We have been featured in a number of national and local wedding blogs and magazines like Style Me Pretty, Ruffled, Southern Brides Magazine, and Arkansas Bride Magazine, and have even photographed weddings in Hawaii, Boston, and Florida, but we are most proud of the relationships we have made with our couples. A lot of them have turned into longtime friends, and that’s the best thing.

    Name: Mariah Diehl, Diehl Farms Events
    Where you call home: Wimauma, Florida
    How I got into weddings: Diehl Farms Events was created four years ago after Frank and Ora hosted their granddaughter’s wedding at the ranch. Ever since then we have opened our doors to public. All we ask is that you bring your imagination.

    Name: Erica Luttmann, Hey Lovely Makeup
    Where you call home: Deep in the heart of Houston (Texas, of course)
    Favorite part of a wedding day? The prettifying part. The camaraderie between bride, her best friends, and relatives is special. And when the bride puts on her gown… Disney princess moment for sure!

    Name: Julie Bunkley, Invision Events
    Where you call home: Auburn, Alabama
    How I got into weddings: After working with a sweet group of girls in college directing weddings on the side, I decided to turn it into a business for our area. It’s been non-stop ever since!

    Name: Max LeBlanc, Sun in My Belly
    Where you call home: Atlanta, Georgia
    Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? The best piece of advice we can provide to any couple is provide your guests with menu items that you love and want them to experience. Your guests all love you and they will love what you provide. The sky’s the limit.

    Name: Mary Louise Kennedy, The Event Group
    Where you call home: Auburn, Alabama
    How I got into weddings: ​Honestly, as a company founded by a couple of guys, we never expected to get into weddings. However, we have never accepted anything less than perfection in the execution of an event, which naturally pulled us into the wedding business! We’ve always loved bringing a unique feel to every event and that has only grown for each wedding we’ve been a part of. The individuality that our team has been able to bring to each wedding has certainly played a big part in the growth of our wedding business.

    Name: Ty McBrayer, Twirl Boutique
    Where you call home: Lexington, Kentucky
    Favorite part of a wedding day? The groom’s face when he sees his bride at the end of the aisle is an all time favorite moment of ours. It doesn’t matter if they’ve already shared a first look or not, his expression when he sees his soon to be wife in her gorgeous dress is one of pure delight and joy. That moment never ceases to send our hearts soaring!

    Name: Tori Austin, Victoria Austin Designs
    Where you call home: Fairhope, Alabama
    Best piece of advice you can give to brides and grooms? Don’t sweat the small stuff. Always remember this day is about you, your fiancé, and the Lord. Do your research when booking vendors, sleep on it, and don’t hire on a whim!

    Name: Angela Mazanti, Angela Mazanti Event Design
    Where you call home: Memphis, Tennessee
    Favorite part of a wedding day? That moment when what I have created specifically for the bride and groom is unveiled. I am a giver by nature. I give more than is expected and I give more than I promise. I just can’t help it – it’s the way that I’m wired.

    Check out all of our favorite vendors in the Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory! I also wanted to mention that we’re working particularly hard to expand some of our areas of slim pickings – namely, Kentucky, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and West Virginia. If you would like to recommend someone (or nominate yourself!) for any of these states, please email emily at southernweddings.com!

    emily Written with love by Emily
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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 […]

      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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