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