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Though my husband and I are college sweethearts ourselves, I have always been a bit envious of high school sweethearts. Knowing you have found your one at a young age, like Taylor and Darrell, has always held some extra special magic to me. After meeting in high school, these two instantly became each other’s best friend and forever soulmates. One super sweet proposal, and a surprise engagement party later – Taylor and Darrell planned a joyful wedding at the Gaylord-Pickens Museum. Bright pops of red florals from Poppy Lane Designs added a colorful addition to their classic wedding venue and globe string lights added a whimsical atmosphere, and also Taylor’s favorite detail!

Thanks to Magnolia Adams for sharing Taylor and Darrel’s wedding with us!

After a full day of trying on gorgeous wedding gowns, the dress I chose ended up being the very first one I had tried on. The feeling of “saying yes to the dress” will be something I’ll cherish forever.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No first look for us. We wanted to save the special moment for the ceremony, and it was perfect.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our venue because we wanted to have the ceremony and reception at the same place. We had many out-of-town guests, so not needing them to drive from the ceremony to reception was perfect!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did premarital counseling with my pastor, which was great, and we recommend it to all couples. It opens up discussion and topics that are critical for a healthy marriage.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Using Minted for save the dates, choosing simple but elegant table linens, and using Easy.com for the ceremony program. Plus, our venue was tax-deductible!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The globe string lighting we used above the dance floor and behind the cake table. I’m in love with hanging lights–they create such a whimsical and happy atmosphere!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Darrell and I met in high school many, many years ago. We instantly became each other’s best friend, encourager, supporter, person to laugh with, shoulder to cry on, and forever soulmates.
Tell us all about the proposal! We had planned a weekend getaway to Washington D.C. to meet up with friends, and decided to drive up early from Richmond to beat traffic. On the morning of May 1, I woke up early to finish packing, and that’s when the proposal happened! Darrell had secretly placed a ring box and a letter on my nightstand in the middle of the night. By the time I finished reading the letter, Darrell was on his knee asking me to be his wife! After the proposal, Darrell informed me that we weren’t going to Washington D.C. for the weekend–that was just a scheme so I’d be packed! We were actually flying to Oklahoma to surprise my parents at a dinner that my sisters planned. My first thought was, “You didn’t ask my dad to marry me?” But he quickly told me he asked many months ago–they just didn’t know when it would happen. I was quickly relieved, as well as beyond joyful because my family is my world and I couldn’t wait to get home! My sisters were at the airport to pick us up, and we headed straight to my parents’ house to surprise them. When we pulled up to the house, we saw 60 of our closest friends and family in the lawn with a sign that said “She Said Yes!” My parents had known the whole time, and I wasn’t there to surprise them–they were surprising ME with the best engagement party! To this day, I still get goosebumps about all of the planning that went into this proposal, and I am beyond thankful.
When did y’all get married? June 25, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? All the men in the wedding wore polka dot bow ties. We also served Buffalo Trace bourbon and had mini chicken and waffles for late night snacks!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning while living 1,200 miles away from our venue. I am thankful for FaceTime and the most wonderful mother–there is no way I could have done it without her!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start planning and booking early! Also once you decide on something, don’t dwell on it or continue looking for the same thing–it will drive you crazy.

Photographer: Magnolia Adams Photography | Planner: Leslie Herring Events | Venue: Gaylord Pickens Museum | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Mishelle Handy Cakes | Caterer: Abbey Road Catering | Rentals: Marianne’s Rentals | Lighting: Innovative Event Solutions | Paper Products: No Regrets | Bride’s Gown: “Janine” by Leanne Marshall | Bride’s Hair Accessory: “Crystal Head Wrap” by Jennifer Behr | Hair Stylist: Natasha Shipley Artistry | Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Morgan” in Dove Grey by Donna Morgan | Menswear: Allton’s

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Taylor Guttery reply

    This is just so perfect! Thank you for such a beautiful and heart humbling post! Also, thank you to Southern Weddings for so many inspirations and ideas (within our budget!)to help plan our dream wedding!

  2. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great images, particularly love the b/w shots.

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I’ve written about high school and college sweethearts, but I think we’ve only had a handful of childhood sweethearts–and, y’all, I can’t help but imagine how absolutely adorable these two were when they were little! Alexandria and Caleb have known each other since they were just five years old, and made their relationship “official” at the ripe age of 12. They even remember how hard it was to wait until after they graduated college to get married! With their wedding day such a long time coming, these two had dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony and a big, beautiful barn reception for quite some time, and when it actually came to tying the knot, they chose the lovely McGranahan Barn. Inspired by Miranda Lambert’s “Oklahoma Sky,” they and their planner brought a bold color palette to life with bursting blooms from Poppy Lane Designs and DIY details made by friends and family. I can tell by their smiling faces, it was worth the wait!

Big hugs to Holli B. Photography for sharing this lovely day with us!

I had the privilege of going to Kleinfeld Bridal, and it was such a cool experience. My wedding dress was a Lazaro ball gown. It was very Southern and fit my personality perfectly. I knew for sure that it was my dress when I was looking around on my computer at home and realized I had actually saved a picture of that exact dress in 2009!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. My entire wedding theme was “Meet Me Underneath the Oklahoma Sky.” I walked down the aisle to the song with the same name by Miranda Lambert–I knew it would be the song I would walk down the aisle to the first time I heard it, almost two years before we actually got married!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I had always dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony, and the reception was in a big, beautiful barn. I knew as soon as I saw the McGranahan Barn that it was the perfect venue for Caleb and me.

Describe your wedding flowers. My flowers were bright, big, and beautiful! The arrangements were in shades of red and pink, with added pops of color. They really set the mood for the entire wedding.

The main cake was a naked vanilla cake with icing in between the layers and flowers wrapped around it. The second cake was a strawberry cake, and the third cake was a chocolate cake that was decorated to look like tree bark. We had our initials “carved” into the cake with a heart around them. Not only did the cakes look absolutely stunning, they are also tasted fabulous. We also had a s’mores food truck parked outside, where guest could pick up homemade s’mores on their way out!

Don’t miss Alexandria and Caleb’s wedding film by Leslee Leaming below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Caleb and I met when we were just five years old. We basically grew up together, and our families became close friends when we were very young. At 12 years old, we “officially” started dating. We dated through most of middle school and into high school. We both remember thinking about how waiting until we graduated college to get married felt like torture! We got engaged our junior year of college on December 27, and finally tied the knot on May 30, 2015.
Tell us all about the proposal! Caleb and I knew we were going to get married out of college, and we had talked about when a good time to get engaged would be. I thought we had both decided on spring 2014, but Caleb had a different plan! December 27 was our anniversary, and for the past four years, we had gone to the same restaurant every year. That night, Caleb was late coming to pick me up and I was a little frustrated. When he finally arrived, he told me he forgot his wallet, and we had to go back by his house. Now, I was really frustrated! I begged him to let me pay for dinner so we could just go eat, but he was very persistent. As we were pulling into his long driveway, I noticed he started to slow down and asked what he was doing, but he never answered me. He stopped the truck, turned off the lights, and got out of the car. I still had no idea what was going on! He opened my door, and when I got out of the truck, huge Christmas lights came on that spelled out WILL YOU MARRY ME? As soon as I read it, I looked at Caleb, and he was down on one knee. The entire night felt like a dream and I was in complete shock!
When did y’all get married? May 30, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail of the wedding was probably all of the vintage furniture we used outside of the barn. My wedding planner/family friend also built me a fireplace that we used inside the barn to display my bridal portraits on.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think basically everything about our wedding was very Southern! Caleb and I are very Southern, and we wanted every detail to be a reflection of who we are.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I have some very crafty family members! My sister-in-law wrote all of the signs and chalkboards, and we made the four doors that I walked through.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? My advice would be to not stress out over the things you cannot control, because at the end of the day, you will be married to the love of your life, which is truly all that matters. I was super stressed out about the weather, and now realize there was no use in worrying about it. There was nothing I could do to fix the weather!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Caleb and I waited so long to be married, and I think we will just enjoy getting to do life together. We love spending time together and going on new adventures. We can’t wait to one day have our own little family.

Photographer: Holli B Photography / Videographer: Leslee Leaming / Planner: Kacey Burnett / Venue: The McGranahan Barn / Florist: Poppy Lane / Cake Baker: Amy Cakes / Caterer: Abbey Road Catering / Rentals: Ruby’s Vintage Rentals / DJ and Lighting: Chasen Shaw / Paper Products: Touies Design / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Hair Stylist: Bailey Unisucker / Makeup Artist: Chelsee Ann Artistry / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 496” by Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Poppy Lane is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Kirsti Cook reply

    YAY for Oklahoma Weddings!! I love seeing so many great vendors I have worked with on Southern Weddings for such a charming wedding!

  2. avatar Maura Coleman reply

    oh my goodness, I LOVED that film! Just to see the expression on that sweet groom change as he watched her appear at the back of the ceremony site and come down the isle to him was so very special. There is just something about seeing a wedding come alive like that in the video that is so amazing!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    What is the song playing at th beginning of this video?

  4. avatar Kelsey reply

    WOW. I wouldn’t have thought I would like that bold of wedding colors, but they pulled it off beautifully. Absolutely gorgeous. I also really love the vintage dresser they used for the cake. So unique.

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Much like Jay Gatsby, Southerners know how to throw a great party, and for Allison and Christopher, those two worlds collided at their Alabama wedding! Inspired by the recently restored Florentine Building in Birmingham, they decided that a chic celebration inspired by the 1920s was the perfect fit for both their venue and their personalities. Allison and her mother did all of the planning and design themselves, and with the addition of some stunning jewel-toned blooms courtesy of Jackie Johns Florals, it all came together in a completely memorable way that was everything Allison and Christopher had dreamed of!

Thanks so much to Alisha Crossley for sharing this fun wedding with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. When I was a sophomore at the University of Alabama, I took a biology class with four of my pledge sisters. For the lab portion of the class, we were told to get into groups of six, and we needed one more lucky person to come join us. Fortunately, one of the girls knew a guy in our lab through mutual friends, so Chris and I became lab partners. He will tell you that he strongly disliked me and my friends at first (we are a handful at times), but as the semester went on, we traded numbers for homework assignments and study sessions. That Christmas, we never stopped texting and calling each other while we were on break. When we got back to school in January, we began spending most days together, and by summer when I left to study abroad in Italy for six weeks, we both knew that you don’t miss someone that much that you don’t love! Now, after four years together, living miles apart in the middle of it all, we still miss each other when we are apart for too long!

I knew I wanted a Jenny Packham dress the day we decided to have a Gatsby-themed wedding. Her designs are like no other, and I have always loved how detailed and different her dresses are. As a designer myself, I had half a mind to make my own dress, but I knew that what I wanted couldn’t be achieved within the timeframe alone, and Jenny Packham would be the only one to top anything I could attempt to make myself! I tried on a few in Atlanta, and then went to Carriage House Weddings in Birmingham. I knew that the Esme dress was me, Gatsby, and over-the-top, all rolled into one!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? People always say to treasure every moment on your wedding day because it will fly by, and boy, were they right! But one moment that I will always remember is when Chris and I first saw each other that day. It was such a rush of emotions! I was beyond excited, so giddy, so blessed, and so happy!! I will forever be grateful that we had those moments together to really treasure each other and take in the fact that we were getting married!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. One song that I especially loved was my processional song, “Musetta’s Waltz” by Puccini. When deciding on what we wanted our harpist and violinist to play, I knew I didn’t want something totally traditional. I loved how dramatic this song was, and it definitely made me so excited to be walking down the aisle. I knew it was the one when my mother immediately started crying when she heard it, and said, “It’s you!”

The Florentine Building is a hidden gem in downtown Birmingham that was recently renovated to its original state of a 1920’s ballroom. When my mother and I first saw The Florentine, it was still in its rough state, so before we walked in, we were told to have “vision” to see what it could be, and what it once was. As soon as we managed our way up the stairs, that were still covered in rubble, our jaws hit the floor. We definitely have more vision than most, and immediately knew what a diamond in the rough this place was! It couldn’t have been a more perfect place for us to get married, and party the night away with all of our favorite people!

Describe your wedding flowers. For our florals, I wanted to capture the elegance and drama of the 20s with deep jewel tones. I wanted everything to be very lush and full, with rich ruby and emeralds being the main colors of the florals, but mixing in the right balance of lighter tones as well. I also wanted candles everywhere, so we had tall gold candelabras overflowing with the beautiful flowers and greenery. Jackie Johns couldn’t have done a better job!

We decided to do a single cake and a dessert bar for our wedding, and I knew our cake had to be red velvet to match our colors! We ended up doing a split cake with vanilla and red velvet within each layer. The shape of the cake is what really made it unique. The dance floor of the Florentine is its original hardwood, and is in the shape of an octagon that gets smaller toward the middle of the floor. I knew that mimicking that shape with the cake would be a great touch, and it gave the cake an elegant, art deco feel.

Don’t miss Allison and Chris’s highlights film by The Film Poets!

Tell us all about the proposal! I was in Birmingham and he was in Raleigh when my mom’s yearly business trip was set arranged in Kauai, Hawaii in March 2014. Chris and I were determined to go! Everyone and their brother predicted that he would propose to me while we were there, but I was convinced that he wouldn’t! I knew he was trying to get a new job in Atlanta and a new car, so the math just didn’t add up! After a few missed attempts at finding the “perfect” spot, Chris decided that he would coax me up a cliff overlooking the beach at our resort. I, of course, had to make things difficult. We were headed out to a welcome dinner for my mom’s conference when Chris asked me if I wanted to go on a walk to the cliff to see if we could see the famous “green flash” of the Hawaiian sunset. I said I wasn’t climbing anything in a dress and heels! They eventually did get me down to the beach to take a few photos before the dinner started, and after more stubbornness (and blissful unaware-ness) from me, I finally get a stern “Go on a walk with me!” from Chris, and I started to suspect something was going on! I immediately started tearing up.. go figure. I left my heels with my mother and we climbed our way up the mountain to get to the cliff overlooking the ocean and the beach. (and let me tell you, I wasn’t wrong about being in a dress and climbing…). Once we made it close enough to the edge, Chris got down on one knee, and said “As stubborn as you are, I still want to spend the rest of my life with you.” I cried and said yes!
When did y’all get married? January 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I have to thank my mother for my crafting gene, because the little things definitely add up! I have a Silhouette Cameo machine and was able to use that for so much! I made wine bottle labels, goody bag labels, monograms, Birmingham books, door hangers, and much more with that thing!! I always tell my friends who want to get into the crafting world that patience is key, and YouTube is always helpful for things you’ve never done before!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff! I promise that the most important thing about your wedding is your marriage.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are definitely focused on each other! We are just taking life day by day and enjoying every moment. We don’t want to take anything for granted, so we are just living life, being happy!

Photographer: Alisha Crossley / Videographer: The Film Poets / Venue: The Florentine Building / Florist: Jackie Johns Florals / Wedding Cake: Sweet Magnolia / Dessert Bar: Corretti Catering and Magic City Macarons / Caterer: Corretti Catering / Music: The Brandy Brothers / Paper Products: Amberly Shelton Paperie / Bride’s Gown: Jenny Packham / Bridal Salon: Carriage House Weddings / Hair Stylist: James Thomas of Tonya Jones Salon / Makeup Artist: Tasha Thomas / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids Birmingham / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Transportation: Coats Classic Cars

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

    SUCH a perfect gown choice for this wedding! And I love those groomsmen gifts!

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    We are in love with this bride’s gorgeous Gatsby gown! The beading is to die for.

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Wow! They really pulled it off! Awesome theme!

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