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If you follow our friend Emily Ley, you may might have seen work from today’s bride, Whitney. She’s a senior designer for Emily, and I have been eyeing her wedding plans and Instagram sneak peeks since she got engaged. Whitney has incredible taste, and I knew her wedding day would be fabulous! With Blue Ribbon Vendor the Mims House as the beautiful backdrop, Whitney and David celebrated their wedding day with a classic, Southern-meets-modern aesthetic. They intentionally chose a few well-placed statement pieces that added a peek into their personalities–I especially love the way they had their vows calligraphed and framed to be used as part of the reception decor! With a graphic designer bride, there surely wasn’t a bit of slack in the pretty details department. It’s so fun seeing all the little graphic touches around every corner!

Big hugs to Sara Logan for sharing Whitney and David’s wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I sure did! My something blue was my Toms shoes (comfy enough to wear all night!). My something old was the buttons on my dress; they were the buttons from my mom’s wedding gown that we had sewn onto my gown. I loved having that little detail with me all day! My something new was my dress and jewelry.

The Mims House was the only venue we toured, and I fell in love from the moment we stepped under the magnolia trees outside. It perfectly combined my love for Southern history and the charm of a backyard wedding.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My mom, sister, and I went to the BHLDN shop in DC. I asked to try on almost every dress they carried (when in lace-filled Rome, right?) and started with the ball gowns. Surprisingly, I didn’t have much of a reaction to any of the gowns with a full skirt, so my stylist asked if I wanted to try something entirely opposite: a solid matte silk mermaid gown. I will never forget the moment I turned around and saw myself in the mirror. All my life, I had tried to hide and downplay my curves, and this dress did completely the opposite of that. It made me feel beautiful, and when I walked out, my mom and sister had tears in their eyes. My gown was not the Southern ball gown that I had imagined, but it made me feel more confident and beautiful than I have ever felt before!

Our first look was one of my favorite moments of the wedding day! It was so wonderful to have time for just the two of us to calm some of those pre-wedding nerves. Bonus: we were able to check a lot of the photos off our list early, so we could enjoy our signature drinks at cocktail hour!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our wedding party walked down the aisle to “A Thousand Years” by The Piano Guys and I walked down the aisle with my dad to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” by Grace Churchill. I still get tears thinking about that moment before the doors opened up when I was holding onto my dad’s arm. For some reason, all of the emotions hit me in one huge wave, and he looked at me with that knowing and loving smile only a dad can give you and said, “Don’t worry, Whit, I know he’s the one.” Feeling how much my dad loved David combined with my love for all the people waiting outside made my heart pretty much burst with happy tears. At the end of the ceremony, David and I walked back up the aisle to “Halo” by Beyoncé. Partially because it’s beautiful, partially because it perfectly captures the joy we felt, and partially because wearing a fitted mermaid gown calls for a little Beyoncé. For our first dance, we chose “Angel” by Jack Johnson. Our first summer dating, David gave me the Jack Johnson live in concert CD, and we listened to it together on the way to the beach. When that song first played, I had to hold back tears as I thought, “This is the song I want us to dance to.” Five years later, in my fancy white dress surrounded by our favorite people, I had tears in my eyes again listening to that song.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows! We also had our vows beautifully hand-lettered by Lauren Heim Studio (and framed by Framebridge!) to bring our ceremony into the reception. My favorite line is “I vow to never stop pursuing my passions, and always support you in following yours.”

On our wedding day, a massive tropical storm decided to come through. It was torrentially pouring on and off all day and I was so grateful that we had rented a tent for our outdoor ceremony and reception. After my dad walked me down the aisle, there was a MASSIVE tent-shaking clap of thunder right as I looked up to see David smiling at me. The rain and rumbling thunder continued through our ceremony and it felt as though we had God right there with us!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I absolutely loved all of our wedding food! Brooke and the team at Belle’s Catering created the most wonderful, Southern, locally sourced menu for the evening. For dinner, we even had a gourmet pizza bar because our first date was going out for pizza!

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to make sure that all of our decor was intentional and that we weren’t adding things just for the sake of adding them. We cut costs by incorporating well-placed statement pieces and renting vintage items. We also used a ticket system for our bar, where every guest was given three drinks and after that, they could purchase more (or use a friend’s ticket)! This was great because it allowed us to serve our guests while also having a budget and no surprises.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? One of the funniest parts of the day was the adventure that unburying the bourbon became. We thought we had a map to exactly where the bottle was… turns out that either we were awful map readers or the map was off. Oh, and it was monsooning while we were digging, so the guys got completely soaked and covered in mud! David and I followed in my family’s tradition and cut our wedding cake with my family’s heirloom Civil War sword. It is this gigantic, heavy, probably not food-safe sword, and we could not stop cracking up while trying to slice this darling, delicate, little cake. Boxwoods are my very favorite Southern greenery, so our ceremony backdrop and bar were entirely boxwood, and I had some sprigs of it in my bouquet.

We had a simple one-tier coconut cake for David and me, and a variety of cupcakes for our guests. Growing up, David’s mom made her famous coconut cake for him and his siblings’ birthdays, and we wanted that family favorite at our wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. David and I met in 2005 at summer swim team practice. Through the years, I became close friends with his sisters, but he and I sort of just passed each other. I was the loud and spirited girl that quiet people like him tend to avoid. In 2010, we both got summer jobs coaching and lifeguarding at the same pool, and while we were forced to spend time together, we totally hit it off!
Tell us all about the proposal! One evening in early May 2015, David and I decided to go test my new camera at our favorite park. We walked down to an old bridge that cuts across the lake so I could practice different settings and we could admire the sunset. I was awkwardly crouched down, trying to get an “artsy” shot of the chain link fence in the sunset (in retrospect: why…), and when I turned around, there he was on one knee, with a humongous grin and a gorgeous ring. I was so surprised that to my embarrassment, my first response was, “Is this real?!?!” (immediately followed by a YES and a kiss and lots of selfies with the ring).
When did y’all get married? May 29, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? Just over 100
Describe your wedding flowers. Alana, my florist, brought all of my floral dreams to life in one gorgeous, soft, and Southern bouquet! It combined peonies, garden roses, boxwood leaves, local blueberries, and tons of greenery.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? David and I attended premarital counseling with our ceremony officiant while we were engaged–something I highly recommend! It was really fun and helpful to prepare for things like combining finances.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Without a doubt, our biggest challenge was that about four months into wedding planning, I moved from North Carolina (where the wedding would be) to Florida. So everything that used to be just down the road became 12 hours away. It was quite a logistical challenge to balance DIY-ing things from another state!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stop worrying so darn much and let your vendors do what they do best! Handing over the reins to my vendors was the single most freeing (and stress-relieving) part of planning.

Photographer: Sara Logan Photography | Videographer: Carly Rae Film | Day-Of Coordinator: Orangerie Events | Venue: Leslie Alford Mims House | Florist: Serendipity Designs | Wedding Cake: Sugar Euphoria | Caterer: Belle’s Catering | Rentals: Greenhouse Picker Sisters | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: BHLDN | Bride’s Veil: BHLDN | Bride and Bridesmaids’ Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Hair and Makeup: LULA Hair + Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: TOMS | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN and David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse | Engraved Hangers and Wood Cutouts: Delovely Details | Vows Print: Lauren Heim Studio | Custom Framing: Framebridge | Pizza Bar Sign Holders: Esselle | Wedding Maps: Fresh Cut Prints | Welcome Bags: Olive Paper Co. | North Carolina BBQ Map: EDIA Maps

The Mims House, Orangerie Events, Serendipity Designs, Sugar Euphoria, and LULA Hair and Makeup are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar All Of Our Wedding Photos! | Whitney Blake reply

    […] photos! Our photos (and a fun interview with me about planning and details!) are featured over on Southern Weddings today and I wanted to share my favorites here with […]

  2. avatar Allison reply

    I adore the fact that they walked back up the aisle to “Halo”! What a sweet but unexpected song. I’ve been listening to it on repeat since I read that!

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Wedding planning is filled with so many decisions, some more stressful than others. But, of course, the biggest choice you’re making is to spend your life with one another! Diane’s favorite part of the ceremony she and Mark crafted themselves was “You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other.” Another wedding decision that fell in the easy-to-make category was their venue–Diane and Mark never looked at any other places, but knew The Bleckley Inn was they one for them. They personalized the beautiful space with DIY pieces created by Diane and her maid of honor, including that amazing ceremony backdrop–they handmade it to be over seven feet tall!

Thanks to Ryan & Alyssa for sharing Diane and Mark’s wedding with us!

I had tried on over 50 dresses and couldn’t find a dress that reflected my personality. I finally decided to try on dresses that were over my budget and came across a designer named Leanne Marshall. I tried on my dress and instantly fell in love. As I tried on more and more dresses, I found myself comparing every one to this dress. It was the perfect mix of romantic and fun, but best of all, IT HAD POCKETS!! It was unlike any dress I have ever seen. When people saw it, they all said the same thing: “That is such a Diane dress.” I felt like it was made for me.

Describe your wedding flowers. I love greenery and bouquets that look like you just walked through a garden and picked up flowers to bring home to your mother. My florist took my vision and ran with it. We used white spray roses, pale pink stock, seeded eucalyptus, silver dollar eucalyptus, dusty miller, hypericum berries, baby’s breath, wax flower, and spirea.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to write the majority of our ceremony script, and while we were doing research, we came across some sweet lines to incorporate into the script. A personal favorite was, “You fell in love by chance, but you’re here today because you’re making a choice. You both are choosing each other. You’ve chosen to be with someone who enhances you, who makes you think, makes you smile, and makes every day brighter”.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Five years ago, I was a bridesmaid in my best friend’s wedding, which took place at The Bleckley, and I fell in love with it! When we got engaged, we did not look at any other venue. This was our first and only choice.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a bracelet from a bridesmaid. Another bridesmaid brought a blue garter that she had been worn at her wedding (which I was a part of and caught the bouquet at). My something old was a pair of antique earrings given to me by Mark’s mother, which had been worn by his grandmother. The new item I wore was a wedding gift from Mark. He surprised me with a Clemson class ring, which I have always wanted.

My matron of honor is the most amazing baker and cake artist. She came up with a remarkable design based off of my love of Aztec and geometrical design. There were three separate cakes, and each tier differed in size, texture, and technique. My favorite feature was the way she hand-painted a beautiful watercolor design on wafer paper, which she then transferred to the bottom tier of one cake. The cake we cut in to was a vanilla cake with fresh strawberries and strawberry Swiss meringue buttercream, topped with a white chocolate drip. The other cakes were a mix of vanilla cake with chocolate Swiss meringue buttercream and chocolate cake with dark chocolate fudge buttercream.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. It all started in the summer of 2007. Mark and I were both students at Clemson University and applied for a bartending position at a bar/restaurant that was opening up in downtown. We worked side by side for two years and casually hung out with the same crowd. One day, a coworker jokingly sent a flirtatious text to me from Mark’s phone, which sparked an exchange of messages and funny conversations. Over the course of a few weeks, we started seeing each other in a different light. We began dating in early 2009 and became inseparable. We maintained a long distance relationship while I finished my last semester in Clemson. After graduation, I had a big decision to make: move back home to Charleston, or head up North to Virginia with no job and no friends and take a chance on this relationship. It was the best decision I ever made. After six years of dating, two years of living together and raising a stubborn but adorable little French bulldog, Mark popped the question!
Tell us about the proposal! On a random Sunday afternoon, I had been out photographing a maternity shoot. When I arrived home, I gathered my equipment and walked towards the door leading into the kitchen. As soon as I grabbed the handle, something caught my eye–there was a note stuck to the door. It read: “10 Reasons I Love You. Please take your time and read each one before proceeding. I love you! -Mark.” I opened the kitchen door to find a bunch of rose petals creating a path for me to follow. As I made my way into the kitchen, I found the next note: “You are naturally beautiful. You look gorgeous with or without makeup. I love you!” As I continued to follow the path, the notes just kept getting better, and I started to realize that this was not just a sweet gesture–it was much more. The last note was at the opening to the living room. I turned the corner and the world around me melted away. There was Mark down on one knee. He started speaking, and I started crying. I dropped my camera equipment, and the words he had gone over and over in his head didn’t even sound like English to me. All I heard was “Will you marry me?” I fell to the floor and into Mark’s arms. I was so surprised and in shock. What went from an ordinary day of photography turned in to the most memorable day of my life. We popped a bottle of champagne and celebrated at an amazing dinner on the water.
When did y’all get married? April 23, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we did not do a first look. We wanted to wait until that perfect moment when our eyes met for the first time as I walked down the aisle. It was magical. He did not take his eyes off of me.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The triangle backdrop. My matron of honor and I came up with a design that would be the focal point of our ceremony backdrop. We measured, cut, nailed, painted, and screwed each triangle so that the whole thing would stand over seven feet tall. It was the largest puzzle I have ever done!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our food. We had shrimp and grits, pulled pork, BBQ pulled chicken, cornbread, and smoked gouda macaroni and cheese.
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 saved money in many different ways. I am a graphic designer and DIY junkie, so between my creative MOH and me, we designed, created, and implemented every detail, from the invitations, to the koozies, to the table runners, to the triangle paper garland. We may have saved money, but we didn’t save time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t procrastinate. Stay organized.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Starting a family.

Photographer: Ryan & Alyssa Photography | Planner: Kellie Conner of Jubliee Wedding and Events | Venue: The Bleckley Inn | Florist: Kimberly Cabe | Cake Baker: Jennifer Grove | Caterer: Sullivans Metropolitan Grill | Rentals: Event Rentals Anderson | Band: Six Stylez | Bride’s Gown: Leanne Marshall | Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan and Adrianna Papell | Menswear: Jos A. Bank | Cake Topper: Touch Of Clay by Dawn Stubitsch

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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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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