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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 […]

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Each time I start working on a Real Wedding feature I am completly smitten + surprised! It’s like unwrapping an awesome Christmas present — minus the mess of paper! Kim + Mark’s celebration at the King Plow Art Center definitely fall under the smitten catagory!

I’m a traditional girl at heart, but I think I could change my ways for Kim + Mark’s modern twists on classic style! I love how they took an iconic Southern detail like mason jars, and added a fun twist by having them displayed in a hanging installation. Totally unexpected, but completly gorgeous! And don’t even get me started on those glorious dangling glass globes of light and Kim’s short frock! Lots of love to Ms. Ali Harper for doing such a fabulous job capturing this romantic soirée!

How fun is the typography in this invitation? I could see Miss Nicole sending something like this out to her future guests.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I was not looking forward to going wedding dress shopping. Atypical of most ladies, I don’t like to be fussed over. My best friend Robin is my go-to for an honest opinion. She is also, in my eyes, an expert, having worked at Vera Wang in New York. Kelly’s Closet was our first stop. It was great! The sales consultant asked me to go through the racks and pick what I liked. I had always dreamed of an all lace dress, but I also liked the idea of a tea-length dress. I tried on a total of eight dresses and quickly narrowed it down to an all-lace strapless dress or the tea-length dupioni silk dress, both by the same designer. They were so different and both flattering. At the end of the day, it was the tea-length dress that felt just right. I felt very free, very pretty and I loved it. The feeling of my wedding was easy and light-hearted and I felt that the tea-length dress reflected that. We left Kelly’s Closet and canceled the rest of my wedding dress appointments for that day and went out to toast success with a glass of prosecco.

My wedding flowers may have been my absolute favorite thing, including the incorporation of the balsa wood flowers and the festival lights would be my favorite detail of our wedding. There is something about festival lights that make a space feel magical. I wanted them to be creative and organic. I wanted ranunculus and peonies. I wanted spray roses and tea roses, but no standard roses. I wanted them to be wild, but polished.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I love the idea of a beautiful outdoor ceremony and reception on a warm summer evening, but sometimes that is a little risky with the threat of rain. We opted for an outdoor ceremony and indoor reception. With all of the flowers and the lights, I hoped to transform the rustic art gallery into a warm and festive Southern night. Details like the mason jars used in the hanging installations are so iconic of the South. The delicate fans and paper parasols evoked that playfulness and whimsy that I associate with the South. My sister-in-law, who is a resident Charlestonian, said that the night reminded her of an outdoor Charleston wedding, which was my goal.

I’m dying over this gorgeous installation! Such an innovative twist on the ever-amazing string twinkle lights!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert: I love the look of beautiful sweets on display and wanted something different than a towering white cake. I fell in love with simplicity and uniqueness of a trio of freesia cakes in the Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes book. I adjusted the colors to my palette and opted for piped ribbon roses in place of fresh freesia. I subbed one of the cakes for the Robin’s Egg cake (also in Martha Stewart Wedding Cakes). The large one was almond cake with vanilla bean buttercream. One of the smaller ones was peanut butter and chocolate and the other was chocolate and mint. We added small baskets of French macarons in caramel and almond vanilla bean on the cake table, because they are some of my favorite sweet treats!

Kim is a girl after my own heart, she believes in love at first sight, even if she won’t admit it! Mark and I met at work. I liked him from the moment I saw him, and I don’t really believe in that sort of thing. He was moving on to another job and I was disappointed. I was quickly promoted to his position, though, and we were paired together for his last two weeks in order for him to train me. By the end of those two weeks we were dating and have been together ever since.

Describe the proposal. I returned to school last June for pre-dental hygiene and Mark was determined to take a vacation before I went back. He had mentioned in the past that he thought that proposing on vacation was the way to do it, so I was suspicious. I was on the lookout, but no signs were apparent. Little did I know that my mother and Mark had made multiple trips to the jeweler to have my ring made. On our second night in Mexico, Mark and I took a walk on the beach. Mark asked me to look at the sky because he bought me a star. He pointed out a star and said, “but it isn’t as sparkly as this star,” and in his hand was a diamond ring. He asked me to marry him and I was so excited, I don’t even remember saying yes. It was a perfect proposal and unexpected.
In what month did you get married? May
How many guests attended your wedding? 115
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted the sign of me in my dress to be a complete surprise to. It was the one thing that I wanted to be completely traditional.
Did you write your own vows? We did not write our own vows. I was convinced that I would get very nervous and my mind would go blank. Also, I can be shy and prefer to share my most intimate feelings in private.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Sirach 26:1-4, 13-16
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. The processional was the instrumental version of “In My Life” by the Beatles. When I walked down the aisle, they played “Forever” by Ben Harper and the recessional was “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder. Our first dance was “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” by Frankie Valli.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? My biggest challenge was trying to accomplish my decor vision within my budget.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? I am so happy that I splurged on my custom cake topper.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Dancing at my reception and looking around at all of my family and friends belting out Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin.'” I felt very loved and supported. It was great to see everyone having so much fun!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would suggest that when planning a wedding, the bride should take a lot of care in choosing her vendors. She should make sure that they share and appreciate her vision. Also, create a day that reflects you and your style. Try to relax and have fun.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? I am still working on getting into Dental Hygiene school, which may include moving. Mark and I would like to buy a house, but that most likely won’t happen anytime too soon. We rescued a wonderful dog this past week.

Ali Harper is a fabulous member of our Blue Ribbon Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
11 Comments
  1. avatar married: mark & kim » ali harper photography reply

    […] more images and all the details, visit Southern Weddings Blog… they did a wonderful feature story on Kim and Mark’s Day today. Posted in Film, […]

  2. avatar Melissa Vause reply

    Best cake topper every with your two pets!! Where did you find this??

    • avatar Sarah Neuburger reply

      Melissa Vause: I am so excited to have made their custom cake topper for them! My shop name is The Small Object and you can find more details on ordering your own piece here: http://www.thesmallobject.com/products/weddingTopper.html

      Kim and Mark: It’s absolutely amazing!! I’m so excited for you both! xo

  3. avatar Gail from OliverINK Publishing reply

    What a pretty wedding! They have some very nice details from the flower girl carrying a bird’s nest to the cloche over the centerpieces.

  4. avatar Kim Chaney reply

    The cake topper is from the small object, an etsy shop! She does lovely work.

  5. avatar The Love List {29 July 2012} reply

    […] OF THE WEEK This wedding in a gallery is so clever. It manages to combine soft, countryside styling with a chic urban loft […]

  6. avatar a-typical chandeliers | landlocked bride® | midwest + mountain west wedding inspiration reply

    […] Ali Harper Photography via Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Peach and Gold Wedding Inspiration – Bridal Musings Wedding Blog reply

    […] Last Detail | Birds Of A Feather Photography via Style Me Pretty | Ali Harper Photography via Southern Weddings | Jessica Lorren Organic Photography via Every Last […]

  8. avatar DIY: Terrarium Centerpiece – Everthine Bridal Boutique – a bridal shop serving Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Boston, and Beyond reply

    […] by Tara McMullen via Precious Invitations   4. Milk Glass Terrarium by Ali Harper Photography via Southern Weddings   5. Bird Cage Terrarium by Erik Clausen via brides.com   6. Lantern Terrarium by The […]

  9. avatar Heidi Buller reply

    Where did you get your shoes? Those are so gorgeous! Looking for a pair like that!

  10. avatar Reception Design: Hanging installations | reply

    […] I’m loving these creative and hanging installations for reception decor, most especially the ones that function as lighting and decor at the same time. I wish I had the chance to do this for my wedding. Are you looking to add something extra for your reception? Scroll down, maybe you’ll see something you like.hanging installation […]

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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