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Oh y’all are in for a real treat today! I’m such a fan of surprise weddings, and Abby + Sam hit the nail on the head with their engagement party turned big day! With the help of some fabulous vendors, like Abby’s good friend Meghan from M. Elizabeth Events, these two decided to switch their plans from a destination wedding in the Bahamas to a hometown wedding. The crazy part? They managed to change everything over in just three weeks! Holy cow! I also love how they chose to keep the coral motif as an ode to their original plans for a Bahamian big day!

Special thanks to Alisha Crossley for capturing such a fun surprise!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Luckily for me, my friend Meghan Cease (M. Elizabeth and Events) is a wedding planner. She set up appointments for me at Ivory and White in Mountain Brook, AL. I fell in love with the delicate details of my dress. It was perfect!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did. After talking with Alisha, I felt like it was the best for us. I knew we would both be calmer after seeing each other. Portraits were really important to me, as well as being fully present at my reception. Seeing each other before made both of those possible.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Oh gosh! I don’t think we would have been able to do anything besides repeat the ones given to us! Even with the first look, we were nervous going through our “I do’s.” I love exactly how we did it.

Describe your wedding flowers. Lush. Vibrant. Romantic. We originally planned to get married at my family’s home in the Bahamas. Since the engagement party turned into a surprise wedding, we wanted to carry over the tropical details as much as possible.

We had personalized cocktails for Sam and I. He chose the “Old Fashioned”–a true Southern gent’s drink! I went with Alabama Sunshine–something fun and Southern at the same time! We had a local food truck serving dishes. I think that trend is really picking up in the South, and I love it! Our venue was a historical location in the heart of Alabama: the historical Shoal Creek Golf Community.

As y’all know, I’m a big fan of Southern oyster houses, so I bet this food truck was such a blast!!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I wanted something simple and sweet. We went with a plain white cake adorned by large fuchsia peonies. It was delicious!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sam and I met through a mutual friend. I was dating someone casually at the time, but Sam stole my heart! We hung out together as friends at first, but things progressed quickly!
Tell us all about the proposal! I scheduled a couple’s session with our friend and photographer, Alisha Crossley. Sam and I wanted canvases in our home, but I wasn’t patient enough to wait until we were engaged. I knew we were getting closer to Sam popping the question, but I thought things were still a few months out. Unbeknownst to me, Sam had contacted Alisha on his own after I scheduled the session. I was completely ignorant to his plans since I actually set everything up! Toward the end of the session, Sam told me he wanted to spend his life with me. I laughed and said, “Well, you have to ask me first.” He slid down to one knee and pulled out my ring–the same diamond that has been in his family for years! I squealed as Alisha captured it all! We then walked to a nearby cafe, where he presented me with flowers and a chilled bottle of Dom Perignon. We called friends and family while lounging on the patio, drinking our champagne. We spent the evening celebrating with friends at one of our favorite restaurants, Satterfields.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 100
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I really loved my dress … I felt amazing in it!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Borrowed were my earrings, blue was a diamond bracelet with sapphires, old was a broach, new was a diamond bracelet Sam gave me as a wedding gift.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I was blessed in having some of my best friends surround me with their talents on my wedding day. Meghan as well as my friend Madi (hairstylist) worked to make everything perfect for me.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Well, since we decided to turn a destination wedding planned for October into a local wedding in May THREE weeks before the day, we had several challenges! Thankfully, we had a large engagement party planned with all of my favorite vendors, most of whom were scheduled to travel with us to the Bahamas. I had Meghan there to help coordinate everything, and the wedding was actually at her family’s home in the historical Shoal Creek community. She handled reorganizing everyone and getting people scheduled as needed. We kept the new plans a surprise so that our guests STILL thought they were attending an engagement party!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I was so excited to surprise everyone with the ceremony! I loved walking down the aisle freshly changed into my wedding gown and seeing everyone’s faces!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I think it’s important not to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and to make the details personal. Having friends in the wedding industry, I knew what was “popular” and what everyone else was doing, but I wanted our day to truly be ours. I think we really made that happen!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Sam and I recently found out the we are expecting! We are excited about starting our own family and instilling the same Southern traditions that have given us both so much happiness growing up!

Photographer: Alisha Crossley Photography | Videographer: Holloway Productions |  Planner: M. Elizabeth Weddings and Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Private Home in Shoal Creek | Florist: KG Designs | Wedding Cake Baker: Cakes by Barb | Caterer: Shindigs | Rentals: Events Rentals Unlimited | Lighting: Designs Production LLC | Acoustic Artist: Adam Justin Gannon Events | Bride’s Gown: “Emma” by Monique Lhuillier at Ivory & White | Paper Products: Amberly Shelton Paperie | Bride’s Jewelry: Levy’s Fine Jewelry | Hair Stylist: Madilyn Hays | Makeup Artist: Raww Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Assortment of styles in shades of coral | Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein | Groomsmen Attire: Assortment of white shirts and khakis

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Charissa reply

    So pretty, and this was planned in three weeks, wow.

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Since y’all liked Michael + Charlie’s wedding so much (here + here), I have a hunch you’re going to be equally huge fans of Whitney + Jeff’s. It’s also set in Florida, and Whitney is also rocking a fabulous ruffled dress by Vera Wang. But Whitney + Jeff’s wedding has a style all its own: a lovely pink and grey color scheme, peonies for days, a poolside ceremony, and an overall vibe that manages to be both modern and romantic. Check back soon for part two with more fabulous photos by 1313 Photography!

P.S. Don’t you love those Plum Pretty Sugar robes Whitney and her girls are sporting? I think they’d make a perfect bridesmaid gift, especially paired with a monogrammed tote!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jeff and I met in 2002 when we were both in college in Washington, DC. Jeff was a sophomore at George Washington University and I was a freshman at American University. We were both working at Abercrombie and Fitch and had our first conversation while we were walking in Georgetown after work. It was going great until my bus came and I hopped on without giving Jeff my number! We didn’t reconnect until several months later when we both had to come in for a staff photo. I drove Jeff back to his dorm and, after noticing I was listening to country music, he asked me to go to a Pat Green concert with him later that month.
Describe the proposal. Jeff wanted to surprise me, so he planned a secret trip to New York City. I thought we were just visiting his parents for the weekend, but he woke me up at 6 that Saturday morning and said he had something special in store for me. We drove to the city, where we checked into the gorgeous Jumeirah Essex House Hotel right on Central Park South. I was immediately whisked away for a spa treatment. When I returned to the room, a bottle of wine from the year we met and some chocolates were waiting for me. At that point, I started to get suspicious, but Jeff threw me off by taking me to a nondescript diner for lunch. Afterwards, a cab drove us up the West Side Highway to the Cloisters, a gorgeous French monastery that was transplanted in Manhattan, overlooking the Hudson River. When we approached the fountain in the middle of the courtyard, Jeff got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. As I cried “yes!” I heard the clicking of a camera. I turned around to find one of my best friends, who had been lurking in the shadows and captured the entire moment on film. We spent the afternoon celebrating with friends and capped off the day with a delicious dinner at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, overlooking the city.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Chic, romantic and fun!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our ceremony. After being together for more than eight years, we wanted to have a really personal ceremony to reflect the different elements of our personalities, religions and relationship. Other than our personalized vows, my favorite moment was listening to our friend sing the song “Lucky” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat. Her voice was so beautiful, it gave me chills!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew I wanted something somewhat unexpected that had a “wow” factor without being too over the top. I went shopping with my mother all over South Florida, and tried on about 50 dresses! I fell in love with the origami folds of my Vera Wang gown. I felt like I was walking on a cloud the moment I tried it on. The dress made a statement, but was still romantic at the same time. I put my spin on it by modifying it to a sweetheart neckline and swapping out the grosgrain sash for a crystal Jennifer Behr belt to add a little glam factor.

Photographer: 13:13 Photography // Day-Of Coordinator: Karla Blanco // Venue: The National Hotel // Florist: Petunia Florist // Wedding Cake Baker: We Take the Cake // Caterer: The National Hotel // Paper Products: Blush Paperie // Bride’s Dress: Vera Wang // Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil: Bella Bleu Bridal // Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka // Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Bridget reply

    Oooooooo!! The florals are killing me. In a really good way :). I love the pink and green bouquet especially. And YES!! The robes—LOVE.

  2. avatar Modern Florida Wedding by 1313 Photography, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] a little bit gaga over Whitney + Jeff’s modern yet romantic Florida wedding. If their poolside ceremony didn’t rock your socks off, their sleek reception will. The frosty grey color scheme and […]

  3. avatar Modern Florida Wedding by 1313 Photography, Part II | Gift Registry News reply

    […] a little bit gaga over Whitney + Jeff’s modern yet romantic Florida wedding. If their poolside ceremony didn’t rock your socks off, their sleek reception will. The frosty grey color scheme and […]

  4. avatar The Friday Fresh Squeeze | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] loving couple! Check out the rest of their sweet engagement here.Did you catch the beautiful modern wedding at the National Hotel that was featured on Southern Weddings this week? The (amazing!) dress, the cute bridal party […]

  5. avatar Jessica reply

    I’ve searched high and low… can you pleeease tell me where that gorgeous ring is from? Thank you!

  6. avatar Engagement Ring Shopping: How Much is Too Much? | Heart Love Weddings reply

    […] Photo by Studio 13:13 via Southern Weddings […]

  7. avatar Pink and Turquoise Wedding from Erin McLean Events, Part II « Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Loving this wedding? Check these out! Whitney + Jeff’s modern and sparkling pink wedding here and here. Megan + Steven’s pink and blue Southern soiree here and here. Caitlin + […]

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    […] (clockwise from top left): 13:13 Photography via Southern Weddings Magazine; Michelle Warren via Snippet and Ink; Kristin Moore Photo via The Bride’s Cafe; Tinywater […]

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!

Reply to: