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Today’s bride Debby is a wedding photographer herself, so planning her wedding to Richard was a joy… and a challenge! She said, “Being a wedding photographer, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t. And while she had joked that she did wanted a courthouse wedding, her sweet husband-to-be knew she actually wanted a full celebration. So in front of 40 of their closest family and friends, these two said “I do” in their favorite oak tree-filled park in Richard (and mine, by the way!) hometown of Mobile! Y’all know I’m always partial to weddings in Mobile, but Debby and Richard’s does not even need my favoritism, its sweetness speaks for itself.

And while they opted out of that courthouse wedding, be sure to keep reading because Richard gave Debby a courthouse proposal instead!

Thanks to Elizabeth Gelineau for sharing!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? One was my rings. Richard purchased the center oval stone for my engagement ring then paired it with diamonds that my dad gave my mom and some of my grandmother’s, as well. I love having a unique and timeless piece of jewelry that includes generations of love stories. I also loved my bouquet. I’ve made florals for all my best friends’ weddings, but knew when it came down to my day I needed to trust someone else. My bouquet was also wrapped in my dad’s shirt — although he couldn’t be there to walk me down the aisle, he was holding my hand every step of the way.

Did you decide to do a first look? YES! I am a wedding photographer, so this was a no brainer for me. Not only did I want more portrait time with my groom, but I also wanted to enjoy the day with him versus apart. I also had a first look with my bridesmaids, because I kept my dress a secret from them for months. And it was totally worth it. I mean, my matron of honor was completely in the air! And my first look with my stepdad was special. He’s been with me since I was 12, so I am his little girl, too.

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? All morning I waited anxiously until it was time to see my groom. Our first look took place on the porch of our venue. In the moment before he turned around, I just couldn’t help but cry at the fulfillment of a promise. God knows our every need and when we need them. Richard before me was that fulfillment: my husband, the one I would spend forever with.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Richard and I exchanged our own vows during our first look. In my vows, I wrote, “You are the strongest yet gentlest man I know. Your kind eyes reassure my soul that I am home…. May the dessert and road trips to new places never cease. I look forward to raising all the pups and maybe a couple of adorable kids together, too. And I hope that fifty years from now this smile you’ve given me remains and laughter fills our home.” He wrote, “I can, in fact, say I have found my person. The person who loves me for the nerdy, perfectionist, goofy, brunch-loving, night owl that I am…. The person who’s smiles after a kiss makes me melt EVERY SINGLE TIME.” We also kept our ceremony small and intimate. Our parents, siblings, and bridal party were the only ones in attendance. My brother walked me down the aisle, and I was given away by my mom, stepdad, and brother.

What was Southern about your wedding? We buried bourbon at our ceremony site because we certainly didn’t need it to rain — and it didn’t! We had brunch food at our wedding (hello, biscuit bar!) because our first date was brunch in downtown Mobile, and our late-night pass was milk and Chick-fil-a cookies. Finally, my girls prayed over me before the ceremony. For so many years we’ve prayed over each other and the men that we’d marry, so to have that moment of promise fulfilled was overwhelming and so special.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Washington Square Park is my favorite park in Mobile, where Richard grew up and I came here for college and never left. The oak trees that scatter the park are so dreamy, and it’s nestled in the Oakleigh District, which is a beautiful area of the city.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? I often joke that the main reason I photograph weddings is for the cake! So when it came time for my own, I knew I wanted Cakes by Judi, who is the best! We chose three different flavors, because why not?! White almond with raspberry filling, chocolate, and strawberry, all with cream cheese icing.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to Kari Jobe’s “My Beloved.” We recessed from the ceremony to John Mayer’s “Wildfire” because Richard said it reminded him of our summertime romance from last year :) Our first dance was to Arctic Monkey’s “Baby, I’m Yours,” a fun, sweet song. Richard danced with his mom to “Bridge over Troubled Water,” one of his mom’s favorites.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Completely unexpected, yet our greatest adventure thus far.
Tell us all about the proposal! I always joked that I wanted to have a courthouse wedding, but Richard knew that deep down I would want a full celebration. So he gave me a courthouse proposal! We were on a walk around the square in Opelika, Alabama, when he said he had something to show me. He had prepared a small journal of blessings for me to read from my parents and brother and even my pup along with his handwritten proposal. At first I said, “Are you serious??? Is this really happening?!” Followed by, “Yes! Of course!” He had designed the most gorgeous ring with the help of Lou’s Jewelry in Mobile, Alabama. My photographer friend, Anna Robbins, was there to capture the whole scene. AND then our parents arrived to surprise me! Goodness, I cried.
When did y’all get married? April 28th, 2018
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 40 of our closest family and friends attended our ceremony, and then 150 joined us for our reception
Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. POCKETS for handkerchiefs! My husband is a paraplegic, so I knew that I would need to be able to sit down and move around easily in my dress, but also be able to dance in it, too!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite challenge was making it my own day, not something seen on Pinterest. Being a wedding photographer, I knew what I wanted and what I didn’t.
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 opted for a DJ versus a band, and allowed our bridal party to purchase their own dresses from different stores.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Keep a short engagement. Make it your own day, not what everyone else wants. If you want a small ceremony, have a small ceremony. If you want a big party, have a big party. Find someone you trust to take care of the details so that you and your mom especially can enjoy the day — after all, she’s waited for this day probably longer than you have! And set aside a day the week of the wedding for just the two of you, because when your friends start to arrive, you’ll get busy and not be able to focus on that relationship as much.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? My dad passed away eight years ago, and I wanted to be intentional about including him in my wedding day. I had my brother and stepdad wear two of my dad’s ties. I also used one of my dad’s shirts for the ring bearer pillows and to wrap my bouquet in. (We displayed family photos, including a picture of my dad in the shirt I used for my bouquet, in a hutch at our reception to help guests make that connection.) We also had a special dance at the reception where I invited all dads and their daughters to the dance floor to dance to the Temptations’ “My Girl.”

Photographer: Elizabeth Gelineau | Videographer: Lifehouse Films | Planner: Heather Pfefferkorn with Classic Events | Ceremony Venue: Washington Square Park | Reception Venue: The Pillars | Florist: Sarah Beth’s Florist | Wedding Cakes: Cakes by Judi | Caterer: Chef Rob | Rentals: SOHO | DJ: DJs by the Bay | Bride’s gown and accessories: Bella’s Bridal & Formal | Hair stylist: Mallory Gleason with Root 43 Salon | Makeup artist: Courtney Matthews | Bride’s shoes: Kate Spade Keds | Bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen attire: Purchased individually | Groom’s attire: Samuelsohn from Oak Hall | Rings: Lou’s Jewelry | Invitations: Minted | Koozies: SipHip Hooray | Watercolor of bride and father dancing: Melissa Munger

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Debby reply

    Ah! Thank you so much for sharing our love story. Our wedding day was the best day ever! Hope this inspires many more Southern brides as they plan their big day.

  2. avatar Tessa Berg reply

    I love an intimate, elegant ceremony. What a beautiful celebration!

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Getting married in the same church where your parents did is such a sweet way to honor your family, but that’s not the only reason I am smitten with Blythe and Ryan’s wedding! We are wedding date twins (BDK and I were also married on December 13!), and their ceremony was held at my very favorite church! I grew up attending the amazing Cathedral in downtown Mobile, and I not-so-secretly wish BDK and I had tied the knot there. The columns alone will make you weak in the knees! Add a classic lace Lela Rose gown, stunning all-white blooms, and a yummy menu at the Mobile Country Club, and you’ve just jumped onto the list of my favorite weddings we’ve featured!

Thanks to 509 Photo for sharing this lovely day with us!

P.S. Can we talk about Blythe’s getaway style? That dress + that fur–B, let’s be friends, okay?

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It was our sophomore year at Alabama and I was on my way home for the weekend when I got a call from my friend, begging me to turn around and come back to Tuscaloosa, so I did! That night, we went to dinner with a girl who had just transferred from Georgia and did not know many people. After dinner, we went to to DKE house to hang out and meet her boyfriend and his roommate, Ryan. Little did I know, Ryan and I would end up getting married five years later!

I flew to Birmingham one weekend to meet with our planners, and stopped by Ivory and White to look at dresses. I had seen a Lela Rose dress online that I liked, but I did not know how it would look in person. I tried it on and LOVED it, but then I tried on another Lela Rose dress and loved that one too!! One was more classic and the other was a little edgy, and in the end, I decided to go with the more classic dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not! Ryan is very superstitious, so the first time we saw each other was at the altar!

I grew up Catholic and always wanted to get married in the Cathedral downtown. It is such a beautiful church and my parents were married there years before on December 12, so our anniversaries are a day apart! We are members at the Country Club of Mobile, so it was a natural choice for our reception. We loved that the back room opened up to the outdoors!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The wedding party took a trolley ride from the church to the reception, and it was so much fun having everyone together!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All of the food served was inspired by the South! From the grilled oysters, to the boom boom shrimp, to the Chrissy’s, to the groom’s cake (complete with a Texas flag)!, we loved it all!

Tell us all about the proposal! I hate New Years Eve–I think it is so overrated, and I would much rather stay at home and have pizza and wine! Ryan made reservations for us at a restaurant called Steele near my apartment, and we planned to meet his parents and friends for drinks beforehand at the Katy Trail Icehouse. For some reason, Ryan wanted to walk there on the trail–he usually never wants to walk! When we got to the trail, I saw candles lit and roses all over the stairs leading up to the trail. I started walking right past it (thinking, “Oh great, someone’s getting engaged and it’s not me–again!). Then, Ryan grabbed me, got on his knee, and popped the question. Of course, I said yes! We then headed to the Icehouse, where all of our friends and family were there to celebrate! It was such a special night and I will never forget it!
When did y’all get married? December 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I live in Dallas and the wedding was in Mobile, so it was very hard to not be there and plan everything in person!

Photographer: 509 Photo / Planner: Mariée Ami / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Basilica Of The Immaculate Conception / Reception Venue and Caterer: Country Club Of Mobile / Florist: Elizabeth’s Garden / Cake Baker: Couture Cakes / Band: Musical Fantasy / Bride’s Gown: “Spring” by Lela Rose / Bridal Salon and Bride’s Accessories: Ivory and White / Hair Stylist: Jason Chambers / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

Ivory and White is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Michelle reply

    Beautiful pics !

  2. avatar Stephanie Scholl reply

    What a classic, romantic, and gorgeous wedding this is! I’m loving all of the details, including the black & white photos!!

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Choosing a wedding venue is no small task–the location and your surroundings set the tone for your entire wedding day, and as a result, this decision can be one of the hardest for brides to make (it certainly was for me!). For Caroline and Will, however, their venue was a no-brainer: the stunning home that Caroline’s great-grandparents built in the 1920’s. Her parents had been married there as well, and along with the gorgeous property and its landscape, the history that the house held served as Caroline and Will’s biggest source of inspiration. Caroline’s family poured their hearts into renovations prior to the wedding, and the sweetness of the memories that it held were palpable as Caroline and Will became husband and wife. I can only imagine how special this place will continue to be for generations to come!

Thank you so much to Ali Harper for sharing this incredible day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were married in the front yard of my grandfather’s house. I’ve always wanted to be married there because my parents were married there as well, and it’s the most special place in the world to me. My great-grandparents built the house in the 1920’s, and just before I got engaged, my parents decided to buy and move into the house. This was no easy undertaking! My grandfather had recently passed away and the house was in major disrepair. The entire year before the wedding, my parents were up to their elbows in renovations, on top of wedding planning. Will and I are both so grateful and humbled by the fact that my parents would put in so much work to make our wedding dreams come true, and without a doubt, everything was more incredible than we could have imagined. One of the most amazing parts of the day was getting to share this place with all of our loved ones. There is an incredible warmth about the house, and it proved to be the perfect wedding venue. We wanted our wedding to have a reverence to it, but we also wanted people to feel comfortable and at home. Nothing achieves that more than a backyard wedding at your own home!

It doesn’t get much more Southern than an outdoor wedding under 100+ year old oak trees, does it? But more than that, one of the things I love most about the South is how much we Southerners value our heritage, and to Will and I, that meant honoring our families in details throughout the wedding. Of course, we were married in my family home, but we also tried to bring in other sentimental touches throughout. Will’s aunt gave me some Victorian, wax roses, which she and Will’s mom had both worn on their wedding days, that had belonged to their great-grandmother. We tied them to toasting goblets to use while we cut our cake. My grandfather loved bow ties and was always sporting some kind of festive tie, no matter the occasion, so we asked our guests to wear bow ties, and of course, the wedding party all wore mix and match green ties, too! The details like that, that most guests probably never noticed, served as little reminders that while this day was all about us, there are so many wonderful people who have made us who we are, and who we needed to honor on such an important occasion.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? The decision to do a first look really came down to timing and pictures. We wanted to go straight to the reception from our ceremony, rather than taking photos during that time. Plus, we knew that getting to see each other before the ceremony would help calm our nerves, and it might be the only alone time we’d get all day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose the traditional Episcopal marriage rite, but our officiant was Will’s step-grandfather. He did such an amazing job of speaking to our relationship during the homily. It was such a gift to have someone we know so well marry us, and he made our ceremony so moving and magical.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We chose a variety of readings–scripture, a wedding prayer I found, and a poem by E.E. Cummings. It’s very overwhelming to choose readings that represent your relationship, but we decided to choose things that spoke to us, regardless of tradition.

I think what made our wedding day special was that we were in this gorgeous space that has so much history in my family and a personality all its own. It meant that every detail of our day was so personal, and our guests could really feel that love and warmth, not only between Will and me, but the love of all the family members who have spent time in this house, and all of the happy memories that have happened there. It was a dream come true for me, and since Will knew how important it was to me, it meant a lot to him too. The best part is that we’ll get to bring our children home to THEIR grandparents’ house one day, and we’ll get to share with them about all the great times that have been had there. It’ll be such an honor to pass along that tradition.

For both of us, our ceremony was simply magical. The sun was shining down through these gorgeous old oak trees, the breeze was blowing, the birds were chirping, and we had all of our loved ones right there with us. It was truly breathtaking to feel all of that love around us, and it made our whole day magical. I think every guest felt that–many of the male guests have admitted to me that they cried during our ceremony! And, of course, during the reception, there was great music playing, amazing food, loving friends and family, and endless bottles of champagne. What more can a bride and groom really ask for during their wedding reception?

Describe your wedding flowers. First and foremost, I wanted our wedding flowers to feel like they could have been gathered out of the yard. I wanted them to be unfussy, with lots of greenery, and I wanted to include flowers that smelled nice! My bouquet included garden roses, lily of the valley, sprigs of lavender, and seeded eucalyptus, and Will’s boutonniere had roses, lily of the valley, lavender, and rosemary.

I was a very decisive bride from day one, and I knew exactly what kind of cake I wanted and where I wanted it to be in the house! We have this great photo of my parents cutting their wedding cake in the dining room, exactly where our cake was, and that picture served as my inspiration for our cake. We chose a classic, three-tiered almond cake with buttercream icing and white flowers in between the layers. It was unfussy, but elegant. Will wanted a decadent chocolate and peanut butter groom’s cake, so that’s what he got!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a mutual friends’ wedding! Will walked me to my seat in the church, and the rest is history. Even though we lived in different states at the time, we visited each other as often as we could, and became inseparable immediately.
Tell us all about the proposal! After asking my dad, Will knew he had to pop the question fast before the news got–secrets don’t last long in my family! He took me to our favorite restaurant in Atlanta, called ahead to secure my favorite table, and as soon as we sat down, they brought us champagne. I have no idea how he asked because my head was spinning, but I said yes! It was so special to have a few hours to ourselves before calling all of our friends and family and sharing the good news!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had always dreamed of wearing my mother’s wedding dress, which is just the epitome of classic elegance–an a-line, off-the-shoulder satin gown. But when I tried it on soon after getting engaged, I didn’t get that magical feeling I always thought I would. I agonized over whether to look for my own gown or wear my mom’s for months, until finally, my mom convinced me to go dress shopping. If I didn’t find anything I liked better, the decision would be made for me. One weekend, my mom, mother-in-law, and I all planned to spend a Saturday trying on dresses in Atlanta, but the second I put on the first gown at our first appointment, I knew it was the one. It seemed like the entire store went quiet, and it just went perfectly with everything we’d already planned for the day. We cancelled all the other appointments we had made and never looked back!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Our biggest challenge was that we were planning a wedding in a construction zone, so it was easy to let nerves and worry creep in. A month before the wedding, the house still had a long way to go, but we just had to stay calm and decide that no matter what came together at the last minute and what had to be left off the list, we were going to run with it. Throwing a wedding in your own home is not for the faint of heart! It’s worth it, but terrifying!
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? If you’re getting married in a non-traditional wedding venue, especially a private residence, throw whatever budget you may have found online out the window! You’ll have a lot of expenses most brides don’t have to worry about (like renting chairs, glasses, dinnerware, a dance floor, and lighting), but you’ll also get to save money in places, too. For example, if you get to hire your own bartenders and don’t have to go through a venue’s bar, we found a lot of savings in places like that. First and foremost, we made a point to look at all of our vendor options before making a decision, and I think that’s where we were able to be the most conscious of our budget.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If you have the opportunity to choose a venue that you truly love and that speaks to you, it’ll pay off in spades. For one, you won’t need to do as much decorating in the space, and having a venue with personality will help guide all of the decisions you make. Our venue had gorgeous old oak trees and lush greenery everywhere, so we knew that all of the other details needed to have a similar feel. Also, if you’re getting married in your own home, you need to hire a day-of coordinator. This was an expense that my mom initially thought we didn’t need, but our coordinator, Jenna, was amazing and really enabled my parents to be parents of the bride on the wedding day, rather than owners of the wedding venue. I’m so grateful for that. Also, something WILL go wrong, and you don’t want to have to fix it yourself.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Our big project right now is turning our little 1920’s bungalow in Atlanta into our cozy sanctuary in the city. We both love creative projects, and we have big plans for our little cottage!

Photographer: Ali Harper Photography / Videographer: Mehran Moin / Day-of Coordinator: Wedding and Events by Jenna Laine / Venue: Private residence / Florist: Ron Barrett / Cake Baker: Couture Cakes / Caterer: Clifton Morrissette Catering / Rentals: Mobile Popcorn Company / Ceremony Musicians: Atkinson Duo / Band: Square One / Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra / Hair Stylist: Cameron Bush of Cara & Company / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kelly reply

    Such a sweet wedding! Loved the dress! one of my favorite Atlanta weddings featured. :)

  2. avatar Belinda reply

    This wedding has all the elements of an almost perfect wedding!! From the venue to the colors, flowers, cakes…everything was done so tastefully, sweetly, and comfortably…yet such a breath of sophistication…I’m sure no one in attendance will ever forget this young couple’s special day!!

  3. avatar Caroline’s proud Dad reply

    It was my honor, to be invited, to your wedding. You have always been special, but never more than the day that we gave you to Will.

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