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Any man who takes cooking lessons before a first date to impress a girl with his culinary skills sounds like a keeper to me! Claire clearly thought the same thing about Matthew, and two years after their delicious first date, they began planning an intimate beach wedding. Rosemary Beach, Florida is a favorite destination for quite a few of the SW gals (Marissa even chose it for our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series), and I love the elegant spin Claire and Matthew put on their beach destination!

Thank you kindly to Pure 7 Studios for sharing Claire and Matthew’s lovely wedding day with us!

My mother, sister, grandmother, mother-in-law, and I spent a day going from one bridal shop to the next in Birmingham. We found a dress that we liked at every place, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. The last place on our list was the White Room in Cahaba Heights, AL. We found two dresses I liked, but I chose the more simple dress for our beach wedding. When I picked it, my grandmother burst into tears, saying it was the one she had wanted me to pick. We were all so happy!!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted to see Matt’s face for the first time when I walked down the aisle. However, since it was a beach wedding, we did spend the entire morning together, which was a nice way to stay calm before the wedding. It’s hard to be stressed or nervous when you are lounging on the beach!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a full moon and a beautiful beach breeze blowing that night. We looked around at the reception and it sunk in that we had our family there helping us to celebrate our love for each other. We loved taking pictures on the beach after the ceremony–the setting sun on the beach was beautiful. Some of the people renting a bungalow near us sent me pictures they took of us that evening. One little girl even told her mom I looked like a princess. It was a magical night!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s so hard to choose! The menu provided by Townsend Catering for the reception was divine. Brian at Myrtie Blue created a perfect ambiance with flowers, candles and lighting, as well as an intimate seating arrangement. Music performed by acoustic guitarist, Kyle Lamonica, was wonderful. It really set the mood for the reception. Many beach tourists stood outside the garden reception on the cobble streets and sipped wine while listening to Kyle. Meanwhile, Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing took care of all the details, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing!

The bride and bridesmaid bouquets were made of white cymbidium orchids and peonies, tied with white silk dupioni, created by Brian at Myrtie Blue. Flowers for the wedding and reception included centerpieces featuring white hydrangea, peonies and orchids with white knob glass and mercury glass, A backdrop for the Town Hall was made of fig twigs with lights and white hydrangea. It was so unique and dramatic.

Our first dance was to “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, played and sang by Kyle LaMonica, an acoustic guitarist who played at our reception. I danced with my dad to “Stand By Me” by Ben King, which is our favorite song. Matt and his mom danced to “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-tiered wedding cake covered in roses made of icing. It featured French vanilla fondant with alternating layers of strawberry cream and white chocolate. It was a work of art! It was so beautiful and tasted wonderful.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham to get our undergraduate degrees. I was studying mechanical engineering and Matt was a pre-med student. We had a mutual friend who was majoring in mechanical engineering and also going to med school. I used to go to our friend’s dorm before class to study, and Matt would be there hanging out with him and his roommates. For our first date, Matt made a special dinner for me: chicken in a wine sauce. He got his uncle to give him cooking lessons beforehand, just so he could impress me, and it definitely worked! We dated for two years before becoming engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt knew I wanted a more intimate proposal, rather than a public one. When I woke up one morning and walked upstairs for breakfast, I found Matt on his knee at the top of the staircase with the engagement ring. I’m sure he said something sweet, but in all honesty, I was crying so much from excitement, I have no idea what it was!
When did y’all get married? June 2, 2012
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 24
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We took bits and piece from different vows we had found on the internet, picking our favorite lines from each. My favorite line was simply, “Matt, I love you. You are my best friend.” Very simple, but the complete truth.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have any readings at the wedding. We were supposed to have one, but between the heat and my fitted dress, I was feeling lightheaded, so I asked the minister to speed the ceremony up.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a destination wedding is particularly difficult, because you are unfamiliar with local vendors. We hired wedding planners-Jennifer Warwick-Lewis and Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing. They did an excellent job helping us select a venue for the wedding and giving us suggestions of local vendors that worked well for our wedding and budget. Making sure we handled the details for all of our guests was a challenge too. We had to find enough places for everyone to stay. Luckily, the Inn could accommodate everyone.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Pure 7 Studios did an excellent job capturing all of our special memories. Ultimately, many things are forgotten by the time the wedding is over, but Eric and Lindsey did a wonderful job! They took pictures for the wedding and fit in perfectly with our family.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to Matt completing medical school and beginning our family together!!

Photographer: Pure 7 Studios / Planner: It’s a Shore Thing / Venue: Town Hall, Rosemary Beach / Florals and Lighting: Brian at Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Rentals and Catering: Townsend Caterer / Band: Kyle LaMonica / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Paper Products: Gwins Stationery / Hair Stylist: Vivo Hair Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate / Men’s Attire: Jos A. Bank / Groom’s Bow Tie: Vineyard Vines

Myrtie Blue is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
24 Comments
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I love that they have fond memories of interacting with casual beachgoers — sharing the joy of your wedding day with random strangers (and lots of little girls!) is one of the most fun things about a wedding day, I think!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    love his suit and her gown. perfect together!

  3. avatar erica reply

    The feature looks absolutely beautiful. We loved photographing this lovely couple and family. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. avatar Kyle LaMonica reply

    Enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane! It was a pleasure performing for Claire and Matt’s family back in June of 2012!

  5. avatar Mike reply

    We were at Rosemary Beach that weekend- it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen

  6. avatar Lori Finlen reply

    Claire & Matt had a beautiful wedding thanks to wonderful vendors and a magical night!

  7. avatar Emily reply

    It was absolutely perfect!!! And I am so glad we have all of these amazing photos. A wedding is such a beautiful thing to be a part of, esp my little sister’s, but you get caught up and can’t remember the details that made it so perfect, so these are a wonderful reminder of that day.

  8. avatar Best of 2013: Menswear – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] suit, bow tie, and orchid boutonniere | Claire + Matthew | Pure 7 […]

  9. avatar Betty reply

    The most beautiful weekend I have ever been apart of! Congratulations Matt and Claire!

  10. avatar Trey reply

    I love my beautiful sister and my new brother in law!! We were totally rockin the seer sucker suit!!!

  11. avatar Sarah reply

    What a beautiful wedding!!!

  12. avatar Jessica Albers reply

    Gorgeous! Love the centerpieces and the brides orchid bouquet!

  13. avatar caitlin vitale reply

    You guys look great!!!!!!

  14. avatar Susanna Carter reply

    These pictures are beautiful! Congrats to the happy couple!

  15. avatar Rachael reply

    I love the colors and orchids! Congrats!

  16. avatar Lauren V. reply

    Best Wishes to you both!!!

  17. avatar Brittney Ankersen reply

    So pretty! You made a gorgeous bride!! And love the seer sucker : )

  18. avatar Nida reply

    Your sister told me all about it! It sounded perfect!!

  19. avatar Claire reply

    Thank you all so much for all of the wonderful comments. Matt and I had an amazing day and we are so flattered to have been highlighted.

  20. avatar Carolyn T. reply

    I remember when you were a little girl sitting in my classroom and now your are married. Congratulations to you and Matt!

  21. avatar Steve and Susan reply

    It was stunning! We are so glad we could share that day with the bride and groom.

  22. avatar Lauren reply

    your wedding looks beautiful Claire, i especially loved the colors you chose!

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  24. avatar FEATURED FRIDAY| Pure7 Studios in 2013 reply

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Holy Moly purple and pink love! Can we all agree that Brittany + Keith’s wedding is bright, bold gorgeousness? Brittany looks radiant dressed in Sottero and Midgely and flanked by her bridesmaids in Alfred Angelo. Not to be too outdone, Keith and his groomsmen rocked sleek grey suits and indigo ties and Air Jordans. That’s right, y’all — those are some stylish gents! The bride’s favorite detail of the night was their wedding cake. I must admit, the tiers of draping, banding and monogramming (yes!) are very impressive. Big thanks to Ivy Weddings for sharing this beauty!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I searched everywhere for the perfect dress. One day, I was in my hometown for a visit and my mom drove by a new wedding shop that had the most beautiful dress in the store window. I went inside and the owner told me it had just arrived. I tried it on and fell in love. I called all my family to the store and we all agreed it was the one.
Describe your wedding flowers: Our flowers were simply bold and beautiful. We incorporated eggplant and fuchsia roses, orchids, and calla lilies into the most stunning table arrangements. The deep eggplant and fuchsia colors offset the light Mediterranean look of the venue and it created a beautiful atmosphere for our guest to enjoy.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of the night when it was time for our exit to the car, I remember feeling so fulfilled and happy. Like, “Yes, we finally did it!” The lights flashing, petals in the air, love of my life by my side – the scene felt like it was right out of a movie. It was the end of the wedding but the beginning of so much more and the feeling was priceless.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start early and do NOT procrastinate. But most of all, enjoy every minute because it goes by fast and you’re only going to do it once!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through Keith’s mother. Our families share the same small town background and she was attending my uncle’s wedding, which I was a bridesmaid in. Later that week, Keith and his mom were looking through a magazine and Keith said he commented on how pretty this girl was in one of the ads. His mom said she had seen a girl last week that was prettier and asked if he wanted her to introduce him. He said yes and his mother made the phone call to my mother. It’s funny when I think back on it because my mom and I thought she was crazy! A woman calls and says she saw me in my uncle’s wedding and would like for me to meet her son! We laughed and I really didn’t think much else about it. That is, until I saw him for myself. We had our first face-to-face meeting in the small town of Kennard, Texas, at a relative’s house. From there, we exchanged information and arranged our first date. The rest is history. Thanks Mrs. Charlene!
Describe the proposal. (From the groom) I was supposed to propose after one of our games. It was a big game and I had arranged plans with the team to help me afterwards. The plan was to win the game and propose to Brittany in the stands afterwards. There were going to be pictures showing on the big screen and music playing in the gym, the whole nine. We ended up losing and, needless to say, the plan and the mood were completely busted. I just remember feeling that winning or losing a game does not dictate the fact that I want to marry Brittany. So I kept our restaurant reservations and told my friends that I made a small revision but the plan was still on. At the restaurant, we were finished with dinner and just talking with our friends when I excused myself from the table. I went to the bathroom, nervous and after standing there for a minute, did a little dance in the mirror, and then walked back out to our lounge area overlooking the city and got on one knee.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Beautiful, emotional, fun.
In what month did you get married? August
How many guests attended your wedding? 215
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
Describe your wedding cake or dessert: Our wedding cake was my favorite detail of the night! The cake was a custom designed 5-tier stunner with alternating layers of vanilla and red velvet topped with fondant and buttercream icing. The cake was adorned with elegant scrolls and banded with strips of bling. Judy from Simon Lee Bakery did an excellent job at bringing my cake vision to life.
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Our photographers Matt and Ivy! They helped create the best pictures ever!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? If it’s up to Keith, babies!! Because of Keith’s work schedule, we weren’t able to go on a honeymoon so we can’t wait for our much needed vacation!

Photographer: Ivy Weddings // Videographer: A&A productions // Planner: Nyoka Coleman // Venue: Villa Antonia // Florist: Prive Floral // Wedding Cake Baker: Simon Lee Bakery // Caterer: Creative Creations // Rentals: Marquee Events // Linens: Marquee Events // Lighting: Ilios Lighting // Bride’s Dress: Sottero and Midgely // Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo

P.S. If you love this wedding, check out these past beauties:
Jennifer + Armand’s bold + glam Tennessee wedding (here + here)
Crystal + Heath’s sweet + glam North Carolina wedding (here + here)
Courtney + Chris’ rustic Georgia wedding with bold purple dresses (here + here)

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
10 Comments
  1. avatar desiree reply

    i love when couple’s aren’t afraid of color!!! Im diggin’ his purple kicks too

  2. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    Love those bold colors! And OMG the cake!

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  10. avatar AmyWilliams reply

    We are looking at doing similar colors and are really wondering what so shoes those are

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I’m not usually a fan of poofy, princess-y gowns, but I totally had to eat my words when I saw today’s stunning bride in a to-die-for Oscar de la Renta gown from Sharon Batten. (Her perfectly pink Kate Spades earned her extra points from me, as well.) Abby Jiu photographed Taylor + Stephen’s Florida nuptials at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, and Jennifer Corrente of Chef’s Garden coordinated the affair. To complement the dapper groom + his attendants, Taylor’s ‘maids donned chic black sheaths, courtesy of Bella Bridesmaid, and carried bright bouquets from Ann Evans of Bloom Cypress.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date set up by mutual friends who thought we would be a great match. When Stephen picked me up for our first date, my roommate’s crazy dog sprinted out the front door though his legs and into the neighborhood. We spent the first twenty minutes of the date getting to know each other while chasing the dog through streets and yards. But I guess that was a good omen, we’ve been together ever since.
Describe the proposal. One year to the day of our first meeting, Stephen’s surprised me at work. He had my suitcase packed and whisked me off to New York City, a favorite city of ours for vacations and the place where we realized we were in love. That night he pulled out the very dress I had worn on the dog-chasing first date and after a wonderful dinner he took me to Rockefeller Plaza where he dropped on one knee and asked me to be his wife. With tears running down my face I gleefully accepted and while I was trying to take in the moment, I was shocked again when my best friends ran up behind me. Stephen had secretly asked them to be there. I had had no idea that they were yards away, hidden behind a column video taping the entire proposal. It was perfect.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Personal, joyful, and playful.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: All of the music! I am a middle school drama teacher and musical theater actress, so I love music and knew it would be an important part of the experience. We had an a capella group sing during the wedding, a gospel choir pop up as we walked down the aisle and a marching band from Stephen’s university alma mater play us to the get-away car. My guests were dancing and clapping as Stephen and I walked between them and enjoyed our last moments of the wedding reception and waved goodbye for the first time as husband and wife. I also love the fact that we scheduled little sessions of alone time throughout the night for us to enjoy each other’s company on our happiest day.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was outside at the Cummer Art Museum in Jacksonville, Florida. The property is a former private residence on the St. John’s River. The back gardens where we had the wedding and reception are packed with classic, elegant, southern charm. The air was warm in early October and our guests loved walking through the manicured hedges while enjoying the a capella group. Both of our families are from the South, so our rehearsal dinner was a traditional southern fried chicken and sweet tea feast. At the wedding reception, we kept that theme going with an entire food station dedicated to southern style cooking, complete with short ribs and potatoes. Also, our first dance was to “Then” by Brad Paisley.

Written with love by Katharine
8 Comments
  1. avatar Tweets that mention Real Florida Wedding: Taylor + Stephen, Part I « Southern Weddings Magazine — Topsy.com reply

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  2. avatar Maggie Eisenstat {I Do Love It} reply

    I LOVE the bride’s dress!

  3. avatar Suzie Parr reply

    Not only is Taylor one of the most gorgeous women I know, she is also the most genuine person you will ever meet. Her wedding was exquisite and every detail was perfect. You will never meet a more beautiful couple that truly embodies southern charm. Congrats to the both of them!!

  4. avatar Taylor Horne reply

    Thank you, Katherine, for the beautiful article and to everyone for their kind words. The entire event was a dream come true. Oh, and the dress is by Oscar de la Renta… just in case he’s reading this :)

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