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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
1 Comment
  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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Y’all are in for a real treat! While we Southern Weddings ladies pick the confetti out of our hair and revel in the amazingness that we were able to celebrate with so many of y’all last night at the launch party, you get to enjoy this super fun wedding! Before I gush over all the goodness, I have to say that Kristin Vining, the photographer of this gorgeous soirée, and I share a common bond. Both of our darling husbands actually played on the same baseball team in Charlotte, though sadly, at different times! I’m tickled to know her!

Now to gush over Rachel + Zack’s day. Lisa and I kept looking at the photos and saying how fun this wedding looked! Maybe it’s R + Z’s outlook on life: “We want to live like the world is our playground, even though the farm will always be home.” Or maybe its’s that Rachel’s outlook on flowers: “go big, or go home” (my personal theory on hair and eyelashes). Either way, we can’t help but smile when we scroll through this wedding!

Big hugs to Kristin for sharing it with us!

We were so honored to have LulaKate outfit us for the Launch Party–we didn’t want to take our fun frocks off! I imagine these gals felt the same way!

For flowers, we used the concept “go big, or go home.” My bouquet was a monster, but an insanely gorgeous monster. I wanted peonies, and a whole lot of them. Our florist spared no expense at making each table feel lush, with the most beautiful flowers. My mother and my grandmother have always loved flowers, and we managed to knock even their socks off. I will never regret our flower budget.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Absolutely. We wanted to have some time together prior to all the craziness, and this was the perfect opportunity to do so. Also, we wanted to have the majority of the pictures out of the way prior to the ceremony, so were free to party with our guests after we became husband and wife.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to do traditional vows, and we were very happy with that choice.

Gah, they look like they are having so much fun!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We walked down the aisle to “Marry Me.” I have loved this song since the day it came out and found it fitting to walk down the aisle too. We walked back up the aisle to “Signed, Sealed, and Delivered.” We wanted it to be fun and peppy (plus, we wanted to lighten the mood and start the party!).

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My groom is Southern to the core. He was raised in tobacco fields and hog farms. While our venue was modern and I fancy myself a lover of all things city, the food was a nod to the South, with good ole shrimp and grits, chicken tenders, ham biscuits, etc.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I would probably say the overall design. I know that encompasses a ton of details, but a good design was what made all the “itty bitty” details happen. I think having a design board to work from (courtesy of Katrina, our planner) and to provide to all the vendors was one thing that made our wedding unique. Every detail fell into our overall design. There was an “image” or “look” we were going for, and I think it was achieved in the end.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Why have one cake when you can have three? We had three wedding cakes, all with different flavors. The cakes were absolutely amazing and one of the focal points of the wedding.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met during our first year of college at North Carolina State University. One of my sorority sisters was having a party at her house and she was hoping to introduce me to one of her male friends from her hometown. Upon arriving to the party, I immediately knew that there was no connection between myself and the gentleman that she had “picked out” for me. Instead, a dark-haired, tall fellow wearing a pink polo shirt had caught my eye. We spent the night getting to know one another and exchanged numbers at the end of the evening. Zack called the next day to invite me to a movie, but I was too studious to ditch class, so I turned down his offer. Luckily, he didn’t get scared off too easily and invited me to lunch at a little Italian restaurant the next week. After a wonderful lunch and a kiss on the cheek goodbye, I called my mom and told her that he was the one. The rest is history.
Tell us all about the proposal! Zack proposed Christmas Day of 2010. After spending the day with family and friends, we were purportedly headed back to my uptown Charlotte apartment that I was living in at the time, but instead, we made a wrong turn. Before I knew what was happening, we were turning into the Ritz Carlton. Zack said we were stopping just to have a few drinks, which I didn’t think to be unusual, so I got out of the car and proceeded inside without any suspicions of what was coming. From there, I learned we were not only going to have a couple of drinks, but we were also spending the night. After checking into our room and coming back down to grab drinks, I noticed the staff to be more than attentive than usual and very chatty. I just assumed everyone was in the Christmas spirit! What I didn’t know at the time was that our suite upstairs was being turned into a candle-filled space that would become the scene of our engagement. At one point, I was so tired that I begged Zack to take me back to the room, but he kept stalling. I think he walked me around every inch of the hotel. Finally, when he allowed me to go back to the room, I opened the door to find more candles than I had ever seen in one place in my life, and out of my peripheral vision, I saw a little box on the corner of the bed. Before I had time to process what was happening, my love was down on one knee popping the question. Of course, I said a resounding YES. I should add to this story that throughout all of this, it was snowing. Yes, snowing in the South on Christmas. It was a breathtaking view looking over the candles in our room to the window of one of the top floors of the Ritz Carlton to see the snow falling outside.
When did y’all get married? April 13, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was easy, as I found it on the very first day we went dress shopping. I had seen a picture of the dress in a magazine and found a place in Charlotte, North Carolina that carried it. Upon trying it on, I knew it was the one, but allowed myself to try on a few others and go to one other bridal boutique. By the end of the same day, my mom and I were back at the first store buying my dress and the beautiful sash to go with it.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? During the wedding planning, I transitioned from law student to new lawyer. My time was so consumed with my career that I felt like the wedding was going to be put on the back burner. By hiring a wedding planner, I was able to let someone else make sure all the details were accounted for and all the i’s were dotted and t’s crossed.
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? There are actually three people that I could not have done without: my planner, my photographer, and my hair/make-up artist (who also did the fashion styling). They were the perfect trifecta. Together, they made my day absolute perfection (at least in my eyes).
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The one thing I will never forget is rounding the corner of the aisle and seeing Zack standing at the end with tears running down his face. It was at that moment that everyone and everything else slipped to the back of my mind and I was focused on getting to Zack and becoming his wife.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I believe going at it alone is a HUGE mistake. I think hiring a good team is essential to having your day go seamlessly and having peace of mind that all hands are on deck to take care of the details. It is worth the extra money to have less stress in the long run.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? As a married couple, we want to live like the world is our playground, even though the farm will always be home. We want to sneak in as many vacations as possible prior to starting a family. We also look forward to building our very first home in Eastern North Carolina.

marissa Written with love by Marissa
8 Comments
  1. avatar Kristin Vining reply

    Eeeeekkk!! This lights up my heart and tickles me pink!!! My sweet, Marissa…love you and that little family beyond words. Thank you for sharing this amazing wedding…start to finish it was designed beautifully by Come + Together Events (Katrina Hutchins) and little Rach and Zach have imprinted on my heart forever. THANK YOU to you…AND the entire SW Team for putting together the most perfect story of this day! HUGS!!! ~ K

  2. avatar Rachel Sholar reply

    Thank you for the absolutely beautiful feature. It will forever be one of the very best days of our lives. We couldn’t be more thankful to all those that made it happen. R + Z

  3. avatar Featured: Southern Weddings » come+together events reply

    […] so much to Southern Weddings for featuring Rachel+Zacks’ big day. I can’t do it with out the amazing vendors that I am […]

  4. avatar Katrina Hutchins (Come+Together Events) reply

    Thank you ladies so much for featuring this sweet wedding! You are the best! xo

  5. avatar Emily reply

    Love their rooftop ceremony, and of course love their mini food! :)

  6. avatar Corinna Hoffman reply

    Love how they paired gray with pink & orange.

  7. avatar Southern Weddings Feature | Lindsey Regan Thorne | wardrobe stylist + makeup artist + hair reply

    […] What an honor it is to have work featured on Southern Weddings! […]

  8. avatar Hexagon Geometric Wedding Details reply

    […] Josh Gull Wedding Photography/Mr. & Mrs. Weddings and Events via Ruffled; 6- Kristin Vining via Southern Weddings; 7- Morgan Trinker Photography/Koli Nichols Photography/Spindle Photography/The NotWedding via […]

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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