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It takes a very special couple to commit to a relationship across the pond shortly after meeting for the first time, but after Hunter’s stepsister played matchmaker, Hunter and Heather knew they wanted to give it a shot! Many long distance phone calls and international flights later, followed by a year together in Chicago, Hunter proposed in their soon-to-be home. Even though Heather is from above the Mason-Dixon Line, I daresay her focus on creating a meaningful wedding day, her sweet perspective on what matters most, and her love for monograms make her a Southern belle at heart!

Thank you so much to Nate Henderson for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ah, the dress! I found it on the first day I went dress shopping. My mom lives about four hours away from Chicago, and it was just the two of us. During the third and final appointment of the day, I saw the dress hanging in the back of the store. It looked different than anything I had seen and I thought it could go either way–be really great or really wrong. I put it on and said, “Va va voom!” My mom cried, and then I cried, and we knew it was the one! One funny little mishap is that the alterations team mistakenly hung the dress by the straps when they packed it for my travel. The straps stretched from it hanging incorrectly, so when I put it on on the big day, the top was huge, and it was a wrinkled mess. My sister steamed the wrinkles and my maid of honor pinned it with safety pins! No one could tell and in those moments, girls, you just have to take a deep breath and say, “C’est la vie!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The church we were married in was the church Hunter attended growing up in Savannah. We wanted to bring our friends and family down South, as there really is nothing else like it! The oak trees covered with Spanish moss remind me of The Notebook, and created such romance and mystique.

It was really important to both of us that we did not see each other beforehand–we are traditional in that regard. I will never forget walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing the expression on Hunter’s face. Having that time, while the beautiful music played in the church, to soak in the emotion in front of our family and friends who traveled to be a part of our special day, is a priceless moment we will never forget.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My bridesmaid generously let me borrow the gorgeous earrings she wore at her wedding. My dress was new. My mother wore a royal blue lace dress and looked beautiful, so she was my blue! For old, I pinned a necklace to my bouquet which had belonged to my Grandmother, who passed away six months earlier. In that way, she was with us!

I am a firm believer that a wedding should be welcoming to your guests and should represent the two of you! My favorite details were H&H carnival lights that we ordered from Etsy, which our wedding coordinator attached to the front of the bar. We also had a beautiful monogram designed that we used on the napkins, cups, and pillows for the couches in our seating area. These pillows are now on our sofa, and we will use the monogram for the rest of our lives!

Describe your wedding flowers. The setting of the reception was already beautiful, so I wanted the flowers to enhance the natural beauty. I chose a lush white, ivory, and green palette, which I think is so elegant. We repurposed two large arrangements (hydrangeas, roses, snap dragons, bells of ireland, french tulips that loosely cascaded), hydrangea wreaths, and boxwood garland from the church to the reception. We did halos for the flower girls with willow eucalyptus and white spray roses, which could not have been any sweeter. I also added a sprig of heather to Hunter’s boutonniere!

Our first dance was to “You are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne. It is less traditional than our ceremony choices, but the lyrics suited us. We took dance lessons beforehand, but in the end, we just winged it–except for one awesome, Dirty Dancing-esque dip at the beginning!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I absolutely love wedding cake and always make a point to have at least a bite at weddings I attend for good luck! I had an entire Pinterest board of stunning cakes, and in the end, I couldn’t decide between two designs, so I let our cake designer surprise me. She loved the idea and said it was a designer’s dream! It was beautiful, and it tasted as good as it looked, with vanilla bean cake filled with raspberry and white chocolate mousse.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was living in London and my friend, Mary Allen, told me I had to meet her stepbrother, Hunter. “The two of you would be perfect together!” she told me. Hunter was living in Chicago, and when I was home visiting friends, she arranged our first date. Hunter was not feeling well and tried to hide it during the evening. I thought he was handsome, but very quiet, and I was surprised when he asked to see me again. We got to know each other more, met each other’s friends, and had a great time! He drove me to the airport at the end of my visit, and we continued to see each other every six weeks. After many trips across the pond, phone calls, and bbm messages exchanged, I moved to Chicago just over a year later. I’m not exactly sure what it was that Mary Allen saw in both of us, but she was right, and we will forever be grateful to her!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Hunter: Heather and I were planning to move in together in mid-May 2013. I decided that I’d pull the trigger on Friday, April 26, specifically because I knew Heather likes the number 26, and the anniversary of when we first met was April 27, two years prior! I talked our soon-to-be landlord into giving me access to our empty future apartment, and then had our close friend, who was also our real estate agent, call Heather “on behalf of the landlord” to go over to the apartment and meet the “repair man.” I was “in a work meeting” during that exact window of time when Heather tried calling me to see if I could meet her there. I arrived to the apartment an hour early and began arranging it the best I could with rose petals and lit candles. Upon Heather’s entry, she called for the “repair man” to see if he was there yet, then turned toward the opposite side of the apartment, for what seemed to me like ten minutes! Finally, she came down the hallway toward me, saw the rose petals, and stopped in disbelief. I then took a knee and read a note that I had prepared, which I specifically wanted to write so that she could always look back and remember what I told her that day. She said “YES!” I capped off the proposal by revealing one red rose behind my back and asking Heather if she would “accept my final rose?”–a humorous nod to our favorite TV show. We were happily married exactly one year later!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we said traditional vows, and our minister, Edwin Chase, delivered a beautiful message. In our meetings before the wedding, he also taught us about the Five Love Languages, which I highly recommend for all couples!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Both the bridal party and I walked down the aisle to Canon in D. We had violins playing it, and when I came down the aisle, the organ played softly to intensify the song a little more. I have always loved Canon in D and wanted it to play as long as possible. The recessional was the traditional Wedding March, which felt like a celebration!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Negotiate where you can and take time to price compare between vendors. Some vendors will charge you extra fees that you can eliminate, or you can negotiate an extra service to be included in your quote. The best advice I received at the onset of planning was to make sure your vendor is committed and excited to work with you. If you don’t feel that way, chose another vendor who is appreciative of your business.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We had an amazing honeymoon in the Maldives and then settled into our new married life, but we haven’t slowed down. Hunter opened his own business and we are expecting a baby boy in May!

Photographer: Nate Henderson Photo / Ceremony Venue: Wesley Monumental UMC / Reception Venue: Oldfield Club / Florist: Harvey Designs / Cake Baker: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: JLK Events / Band: Sol Fusion / Paper Products: Elizabeth Grace / Save the Dates: Studio R / Bride’s Gown: Elizabeth Fillmore / Bridal Salon and Veil: Belle Vie Bridal Couture / Hair Stylist: JW Salon & Spa / Makeup Artist: SKINZIN / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: JLM Couture / Groom’s Attire: Trunk Club / Wedding Coordinator: Posh, Petals & Pearls / Favors: Maison de Macarons / Monogram: Alison R. Banks Designs / Linens: La Tavola Linen and Marianne’s Rentals

Posh Petals & Pearls is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I know what you mean about your dress, Heather, but it is unmistakably gorgeous on! Love it!

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The team at Mariée Ami is amazing at crafting timeless Southern weddings, so it’s no surprise that when one of their own talented planners said “I do,” the celebration was one to be remembered! At their summer Alabama wedding, Louise and Billy combined their classic style with details that reflected their personalities, like Louise’s lace gown with a fabulous orchid hairpiece, a welcome bag featuring a special gift for guests’ dogs, and even their intricate monogram with bright stadium cups. The end result was an undeniably elegant wedding that was still full of personality!

We’re so grateful to A Bryan Photo for capturing Louise and Billy’s wedding day and sharing it with us in V6!

I love wedding dresses and think you can really tell a lot about a girl and the wedding she wants by the dress she picks out. I see girls every weekend in dresses that I think are beautiful, but it was hard for me to imagine myself in any of my brides’ dresses. I have worn several wedding dresses in the past during debutante balls, so I wanted something more bridal: lace and straight lined. The Lela Rose “Spring” dress was exactly what I wanted. It was the first dress I tried on during my trip to Ivory and White and nothing after that measured up! It was the hardest thing to keep from my nosey groom.

Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I wanted something a little different. It was going to be a black-tie wedding, so they needed to be long. I played with the idea of doing a pattern, but never really found anything I liked enough. Amsale has beautiful long dresses, so I decided to go with their line. To make it different, I decided to split up the bridesmaids into to three different colors (five in dove, five in graphite, five in French blue).
What did the groomsmen wear? Tuxes with white dinner jackets–white dinner jackets are a Southern thing!

Who participated in your ceremony? I had a huge wedding party, so all of our closest friends were a part of the ceremony. My two cousins, who have always been like sisters to me, read scripture. Since my boss/wedding planner is one of my dearest friends, she carried my dress until I walked down the aisle.
What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? Seeing Billy’s smile at the end of the aisle when he saw me for the first time!

There was no question as to where we were getting married. I love my hometown, Mobile, Alabama, and my parents would not have had it any other way. We chose to get married in August for a few reasons: we did not want a long engagement, a wedding during football season was out of the question, and it was the only open weekend I had as a wedding planner. I was worried about the heat in Mobile in August, so we chose an indoor venue, rather than the outdoor bay wedding I had always dreamed of. Ft. Whiting was the largest indoor venue we could find, and I knew we could accomplish exactly what we wanted in the big, open space.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? We love the water and always dreamed of being married in a large tent overlooking the water. While the outdoors was out of the question, a tent was still something I wanted. I knew I wanted navy as the basis of the wedding. I love a mix of garden-inspired design and modern pieces, the crispness of true white, and the preppy touches of boxwoods and ribbon.

When it came to the details, my mind was going 100 miles a minute. My favorites were all the little gifts and favors we had. The hypercolor cups for cocktails once the party got started and the linen cocktail napkins used at the bars were two of my favorite reception details. The hotel gifts also really came together well– we wanted to incorporate my dog into the details, so we had a local artist do a sketch. We used this sketch on canvas bags for the hotel guests, and included frisbees that could be taken home by fellow dog lovers, koozies, and a guest favorite, monogrammed playing cards.

My wedding cake design inspiration actually came very early on in the planning. I wanted a more modern design that still had a classic look. We opted for the design to be in sage green with calla lilies used sparingly on each layer. The groom’s cake was a chocolate fly fishing basket that celebrated Billy’s love for fishing. My favorite part about the cakes was the area in which they were displayed. We had a beautiful lattice designed covered in greenery as a backdrop. Green boxwood walls enclosing the cake area made it feel like an English garden.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Billy has always been a great dancer, so our first dance was fun! We chose “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Green and loved seeing the guests smile and clap as we spun around the dance floor.

Were there any family traditions you included in the reception? Both of our cakes were served on large silver trays that have been in my family for years. The tablecloths for the cake table were also family heirlooms that mean a lot to my family. I was given a toasting cup from my grandmother that both she and my mother used at their wedding receptions.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Our best friends, who are now married as well, set us up. They love reminding us how much we should thank them!
Describe the proposal: I have always loved the water and Mobile Bay. Billy proposed on Mobile Bay on a rainy day in March with our dog, Mae.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Well-planned, gorgeous, and perfect!!!
How many guests attended your wedding? 500
Briefly describe your wedding flowers: The flowers were green and white with a dusty gray. Very free-flowing, like a French garden. I love that flowers today have taken a more natural and unique look. White peonies and garden roses made up most of my bouquet. Since I was going for a touch of whimsy, beautiful ivory, taupe and white satin ribbons hung from my bouquet. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were peonies, garden roses, ranunculus, and dahlias. For boutonnieres, something simple and small was my only wish. Anything too large seems to stick out on a white dinner jacket.
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? The entire party was like a huge cocktail party. Two signature drinks were served: sweet tea and vodka slushies as guests walked in and the famous Mobile Crisy vodka milkshake at the end.
What kind of food did you serve? My guests love good food, but they also love to talk and drink. We had three huge square tables in the middle of the reception that allowed for guests to pick and eat directly from the tables. There were oyster, shrimp, tuna, hot sausage with melted cheese, a variety of salads, and antipasti presentations. We couldn’t end the night without the groom’s favorite thing: mini fried chicken pieces on Sister Schubert rolls and beignets covered in powdered sugar!
What were some of the highlights of the reception? The band was incredible. We love hiring the Atlanta Showstopper for other brides and think they are truly the best. Every guest was on dance floor, having the times of their life. Even our three-year-old, music-loving nephew had to be dragged off the dance floor.
Did you toss the garter or bouquet? I did toss the bouquet. I had the florist make six small bouquets that I could hold as one. When I went to throw the bouquet, it split into six so that more than one girl could soon have their dream wedding.
Tell us about your grand exit. Billy and I decided to change out of our wedding attire. We went with a classic look. I wore a fitted, short white dress with just enough flare. Billy wore a blue tweed blazer and slacks. We ran past our guests, who were holding sparkers, and jumped into a black town car that whisked us away. Firework rockets shot off every couple of feet as the car drove away. It was a perfect ending to a perfect night.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where? We took a week-long vacation to Jade Mountain in St. Lucia! It was amazing and the perfect time to relax and talk about everything that had transpired in the previous two weeks: I got my cast off, Billy took the bar, and we had the most incredible weekend with family and friends that we could have asked for.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are excited about getting settled into our home together with our dog, Mae, and getting into a routine of a working couple.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Hire a wedding planner and do things differently than you see all the time. Even though I’m a wedding planner by day, I did not do one thing from Wednesday on. While I had my team doing what they do every weekend, it was so nice to be the bride and let someone else handle the details!

Photographer: Bryan Johnson of A Bryan Photo / Videographer: A Bryan Photo / Planning, design, linens and paper goods: Mariée Ami / Ceremony venue: Christ Church Episcopal Cathedral / Reception venue: Fort Whiting / Ceremony florist: Zimlich Bros / Reception and personal florist: Buffy Hargett / Catering: Clifton Morrissette / Cake: Barb’s Cakes / Bride’s gown: “Spring” by Lela Rose / Bridal salon and veil: Ivory and White / Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaid dresses: Amsale in French Blue, Graphite, and Dove / Hair stylist: Greg Andrews / Makeup: Ashley Mitchell / Calligraphy: Jan Pruitt / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Bar paintings: Liz Legg Designs / Lighting: AG Lighting / Band: Atlanta Showstoppers / Monogram: Allison R. Banks Designs / Dog Illustration: Kara Henley

lisa Written with love by Lisa
15 Comments
  1. avatar Liza B reply

    Do you know who did their custom wedding monogram?

  2. avatar lena reply

    Absolutely gorgeous!

  3. avatar Leon Bailey reply

    Classic is definitely the word for this wedding. Love the design of their cake. :) Beautiful photography!

  4. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] for Louise’s wedding gown (above)–and so did we! See hers and Billy’s wedding here. Ashley and Jeremy were pronounced “still married” at their sparkly barn wedding. […]

  5. avatar Taylor W reply

    Beautiful wedding! Would love to know who did the monogram and where they got their koozies from.

    Thanks!

  6. avatar Jillian reply

    Can we get details on where the koozies were bought/who did the dog and monograms?

  7. avatar Lisa reply

    The monogram is by Allison Banks Calligraphy, the calligraphy on the koozies is by Jan Pruitt, and the dog illustration is by Kara Henley at [email protected] :)

  8. avatar Andrea reply

    This wedding is beautiful. I would love to know where the flower girl dresses are from, they are divine.

  9. avatar kate reply

    Hey! Please help me find where the groom got his tux! I am having so much trouble finding a nice-looking white dinner jacket. I would REALLY appreciate it! :)

  10. avatar Rachel reply

    Does anyone know where they got the hypercolor cups from?

  11. avatar whitney reply

    Hi, Can you tell where the flower girl dresses are from?

  12. avatar All You Need To Know About Grooms Cakes reply

    […] Cake by Barb’s Cakes, Photo by A Bryan Photo via Southern Weddings […]

  13. avatar Doris Gidley reply

    Where did the Koozies and hypercolor cups come from?

  14. avatar Meredith reply

    are the jackets white or off white? can’t find a nice off white dinner jacket!!

  15. avatar 15 Ways To Include Your Pet In Your Big Day! reply

    […] Photography: A Bryan Photo // Event Design: Mariee Ami // Via: Southern Weddings […]

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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