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Though the Southern Weddings gals created the My Kentucky Rose editorial for V5 before my time at SW, it has a special place in my heart for two reasons: 1. That cake by Lael Cakes is the most gorgeous cake I’ve ever seen, and 2. It’s one of VERY few editorials we’ve shot outside of the South, and in this case, the venue was just down the road from my husband’s hometown in upstate New York! While it was probably the last shoot from above the Mason-Dixon line to appear in our pages, it was certainly worth it to collaborate with the tremendously talented Jen Huang and Poppies and Posies. We hope it’s a sweet reminder that even if you’re one of our readers outside of the South, you can always add a little Dixie charm to your wedding celebration!

See more from this shoot in our editorial gallery–there are also links to behind the scenes photos and video!

Photographer: Jen Huang | Behind the Scenes Videographer: McKenzie Miller Films | Florals: Poppies & Posies | Hair Stylist: Stacy Pitt | Makeup Artist: Kerry Crawford | Cake and Desserts: Lael Cakes | Stationery and Calligraphy: Paperfinger | Letterpress Printing: Cordes Printing | Custom Coaster Printing: For Your Party | Bride’s Gown: “Bianca” by Ulla-Maija Couture | Bridal Salon: Gabriella New York | Bridesmaid Dresses: Bridal Reflections | Gold Hair Pins: Hushed Commotion | Earrings: Nina and Kate Ketzal | Groom’s Bow Tie: Southern Beaus | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linens | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals | Gold Flatware: Muhs Home | Pink Coupe Glasses: BHLDN | Props: The Trouve

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Nicole reply

    Love the horse and her one-shoulder dress!

  2. avatar Adrienna reply

    That cake! So stunning!

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Lisa and I email-gush over lots of our beautiful Real Weddings–we can’t help it! But for Courtney and Nick’s wedding? I even Snapchatted Lisa a few elephant emojis, complete with lots of exclamation points! A tried and true Alabama girl myself, I was excited for this wedding as soon as I saw the title! You see, Courtney was a Crimsonette in the Million Dollar Band and Nick was a drum major and member of the Auburn Tiger Band, so they’re a house divided. When it came to celebrating their sweet wedding day though, they didn’t take sides…that is, until Courtney and her fellow Crimsonettes performed the Alabama fight song at the reception. While the girls were twirling, Nick and his groomsmen plotted their rebuttal and snuck to the balcony with their instruments to play the Auburn fight song. I’m sure glad this hilarious event was captured on film–you won’t want to miss it! P.S. Roll Tide Roll!

Thanks so much to Lea Nicole for sharing this fun day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. When Nick graduated from Auburn, he was hired by Hillcrest High School in Tuscaloosa. One of the first people he met was my mom, who was in charge of the majorettes, dance line, and color guard in the marching band. I had just graduated from Hillcrest and was a new Crimsonette for the Million Dollar Band, and I was hired to teach choreography to the Hillcrest majorettes. I was in school at the University of Alabama, but was always close to Hillcrest High during the fall season because of marching band. Nick and I developed a friendship, but Nick stayed away from me because I was young and in college, and he was somewhat fearful of my mom and what she would think if he started pursuing me! During Nick’s third year at Hillcrest, we began hanging out more, and he got to know my whole family. We eventually began dating.

When I went wedding dress shopping the first time, I tried on many different styles and types of dresses. I put one ball gown on and was quite surprised that I liked it as much as I did. I chose that dress that day and went straight to an Alabama football game. I felt uneasy about my decision from the time I left the bridal shop, so during the third quarter of the game, I called the shop and told them not to order the dress. I went back to square one and tried on several more dresses. When I put my dress on, our first dance song was playing inside the bridal shop. I knew it was the one for me!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! We had a very large bridal party, and we did not want to keep guests waiting after the ceremony for us to take pictures. We decided it would work better for us to have a first look and do all the pictures before the ceremony. We did it at my aunt and uncle’s home in Birmingham that overlooks the mountain. It was gorgeous!

Our ceremony venue was Asbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham. Nick has worked there as the worship orchestra director for three years, so it only made sense to wed at that location. The reception venue was not as easy of a choice. We were looking for an indoor/outdoor type of place that could hold 250-300 people, and ended up choosing a beautiful location, The Rucker Place in Birmingham. It features a Southern-style wraparound patio that overlooks a beautiful grassy area.

As a band director and connoisseur of great music, excellent music was important to Nick. We danced to “From this Moment” by Shania Twain for our first dance. This tune was something that we would jokingly sing in the car occasionally (when the mood struck), and it has a great and meaningful message. I danced with my dad to “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood. The lyrics easily apply to any parent, and being that my mom is deceased, it easily was dedicated to my dad. Nick danced to “A Mother’s Love” by Mark Masri. The words were absolutely stunning, and it was very touching.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The bride’s cake was three tiers of red velvet and strawberry cake. Each layer had a different design on the outside, and it had our initials on it. The groom’s cake was the Auburn football stadium, complete with fans inside (made of sprinkles) and an interlocking AU made by band members. The Auburn fight song was also written around the outside of the cake. Since Nick was a drum major with the Auburn band, he wanted to make sure they were represented in some way.

I was a Crimsonette in the Million Dollar Band for five years, and Nick was a drum major and member of the Auburn Tiger Band for six years. It is a tradition for the Crimsonettes to bring their batons to all Crimsonette weddings and perform the fight song at the reception. The groom knew of this tradition and planned his rivalry surprise. The groomsmen were in the band at Auburn with the groom, so while the girls were twirling, they snuck to the balcony and got their instruments. They played the Auburn fight song and “Glory to Ole Auburn” on the second floor balcony. I was so surprised, and the video went viral on the internet. It has over a million views, and was picked up by BuzzFeed, CBS Sports, and several news stations!

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Nick is headed to graduate school at the University of Michigan’s School of Music, Theatre, and Dance to obtain his Masters in Conducting. We are looking forward to beginning our lives in a totally different place than where we grew up and were raised. The climate is quite different, too!

Don’t miss the viral video of their rival college traditions below!

Tell us all about the proposal! Nick proposed on the stage at Theatre Tuscaloosa’s production of Hairspray, in which I was a part of the cast. Before the show, Theatre Tuscaloosa’s Executive Producer told the cast to stay on stage after the show for a presentation given by the president of Shelton State. Instead of the president coming onstage, it was Nick! He told the story of how we met and then got down on one knee. I was completely surprised and so happy! Nick had also invited both sides of our family to witness the special moment.
When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My mother-in-law let me borrow her pearl bracelet. My mother passed away in January 2012, so for my something blue, my sister took one of my mom’s blue shirts, cut it into the shape of a heart, and had my mom’s handwriting etched onto the fabric. It said “Love you Bunches, Mom” and was taken from a letter my mom had written me in high school. It was stitched inside my dress over my heart. My garter was made out of fabric from my mom’s wedding dress, which was also my grandmother’s wedding dress. My something new was my dress!

Photographer: LeaNicole Photography / Ceremony Venue: Asbury United Methodist Church / Reception Venue: The Historic Rucker Place / Florist: LSL Event Design / Cake Baker: Dreamcakes Bakery / Caterer: Richard Bishop of Savoie Catering / DJ: Patrick Johnson / Bride’s Gown: “D1448” by Essense of Australia / Bridal Salon: Diane’s Formal Affair / Bride’s Accessories: Justin Alexander / Hair and Makeup: Jessica Lavender Tinsley / Bride’s Shoes: Naughty Monkey / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “778” by Bill Levkoff / Junior Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “53702” by Bill Levkoff / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank / Bow Ties and Socks: The Tie Bar

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

    This is possibly the cutest and most unique weddings I have EVER seen! Not only are the colors and details breathtakingly beautiful, but the personality that shines through this wedding is perfect!

  2. avatar Erin Phillips reply

    Oh my gosh that hair! Swoon…

  3. avatar Brittany Danos reply

    What color are your bridesmaid dresses? I love them!!

  4. avatar Courtney & Nick » Lea Nicole Photography, LLC reply

    […] – Nick Featured on the Southern Weddings blog […]

  5. avatar Anna M reply

    Love this wedding! Are the Bill Levkoff bridesmaids dresses in the “Coral” color?

  6. avatar Jen reply

    I love your bridesmaids dresses! Where are they from and what color is that called!?!

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Leah may have needed a little persuasion to agree to her first date with Brian, but she sure didn’t need any to say “yes” to his sweet surprise proposal, or when it came to picking out the place where they would tie the knot! As the fourth generation in her family be raised in Atlanta, Leah knew the Atlanta History Center would be the perfect venue, and I can only imagine how stunning her dramatic entrance down the steps of the Swan House was for their guests. From the sound of it, they had quite a fun group–according to Leah, the band had to tell guests to sit down to eat dinner because they were dancing too much!

Big thanks to Scobey Photography for sharing this beautiful day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Brian and I met through mutual friends. We were both coming out of relationships, and Brian asked his friend, Charlie, who is married to my best friend, Michelle, if they had any single girlfriends. Michelle said no, because she knew I was just coming out of a relationship and didn’t think I would be ready to date again so quickly. It’s a good thing that Charlie responded, “What about Leah?” Michelle and Charlie spent the better part of a month trying to sell me on all the reasons I should consider going out on a date with Brian. Those reasons included: he is Jewish (so am I), he is an attorney (I don’t typically like the attorney type), and we had grown up living less than ten minutes apart (and yet somehow, we had never met), but the reason that actually got me interested was that he had just built a pool at his new house. It was summer time in Atlanta, and who doesn’t need a good pool to stay cool by during those hot Southern summers?! We went out on our first date with Charlie and Michelle a few weeks later, and the rest is history!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did do a first look, and I am so glad that we did. Brian and I had such a huge wedding that it was important to us to see each other first, and take all of our photos before the ceremony. That way, we could join the cocktail hour and try to speak to as many of our guest as we could. We had friends and family in attendance that flew in from all over the country, and we wanted them to know how important they are to us! We also wanted to really be in the moment and enjoy our reception to the fullest. Seeing each other for the first time on our wedding day was just the most amazing feeling, and it was something we wanted to share in private.

There was no question in my mind about where I wanted to have our ceremony and reception. I was born and raised in Atlanta, and I am the fourth generation in my family to be raised in Atlanta, so the Atlanta History Center was the perfect venue. When you grow up in the South, you are surrounded by beautiful backdrops and weather, so I knew that the Swan House would be the perfect setting for our big Southern summer wedding.

My most memorable moment of the wedding was when the doors of the Swan House opened, and my father and I started walking down all the stairs to the ceremony. It felt like time stood still, and the only thing that I was focused on was walking down the stairs to my husband. He was looking up at me with the biggest smile on his face, and it was the most amazing moment of the entire day. Our guests later told me that it was one of the most dramatic and beautiful entrances they had ever seen.

Describe your wedding flowers. I love anything classic, so I knew that I wanted to include some wedding staples, like roses, hydrangea, ranunculus, lilies, and peonies. Unfortunately, peonies were out of season in mid-August. My florist used a flower I had never heard of before that was so beautiful: blushing bride protea! I mean, who wouldn’t want a flower at their wedding with “bride” in the name! For colors, we went with light pinks, whites, and sage green. It was a beautiful combination that didn’t distract from my dress, but was colorful enough to stand out.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We decided to do a tradional Southern menu! We served fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and biscuits as our main course. For dessert, we served traditional Southern dishes like banana pudding, mini pecan pies, blackberry and peach cobblers, and sweet potato moon pies.

Brian and I danced our first song to Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.” I heard the song on the radio one day, and the lyrics were so perfect, so I asked Brian what he thought of it. He agreed that it would be the perfect song to do our first dance to–we loved the old time-y melody!

Having Yacht Rock perform at our wedding was the best decision that we made. So many of our guests told us that it was the most fun wedding that they have ever been to. You know it’s going to be a great night when the band has to tell your guests to sit down to eat dinner! Our guests filled up the dance floor for the entire night, and the energy and excitement was palpable!

Tell us all about the proposal! Brian and I got engaged in August 2013. We were going on vacation to Mexico for Labor Day weekend. We had gone to Mexico that weekend the year before, shortly after we started dating, and Brian had told me that he loved me for the first time while we were having dinner in our private casita beachside. When Brian suggested we go back to Mexico in 2013, I though that maybe something was coming–I even told my sister that I thought he might propose. So, in typical Brian fashion, he decided to throw me for a major loop! We were getting ready to head to the airport for Mexico, and I was running around the house like a mad woman trying to get all of my last minute packing done. I threw everything in a suitcase, and Brian rushed me out of the house. It was a sweltering August day in Atlanta, and Brian went to open my car door. Well, it was so hot, I kept asking Brian if he could just start the car first, and he kept telling me “Just get in the car, Leah, and then I will start it.” I didn’t understand why he didn’t just get in and start the car to cool it off, but as it turns out, he was helping me into the car so that he could then get down on one knee IN OUR DRIVEWAY to propose before we even left for Mexico! He knew I was on to him, and he wanted our engagement to be a real surprise. It was actually perfect, because we got to make a few phone calls to our family and closest friends before we got on the plane. Then, we got to spend the next five days in paradise celebrating our engagement!
When did y’all get married? August 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I looked everywhere for my wedding dress! I went shopping in New York with my sister-in-law, but ended up choosing my gown at Joan Pillow Bridal in Atlanta. I knew I wanted a dress that would be perfect for an outdoor summer ceremony, but also glamorous enough for a big ballroom reception. I ended up choosing an all-lace gown, and added a belt by Monique Lhuillier to give the dress a little extra bling.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t take the wedding planning too seriously. This is supposed to be a wonderful time for you and your fiancé, so try to enjoy it as much as possible. Once your wedding day is there, all the planning becomes completely worth it, and the most important thing of all is that your wedding is a day that is just about you and your partner, and the love that you have for each other.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? More than $100,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Brian and I just bought a new home, so we are settling into married life and planning a renovation of our home, as it was built in 1928. The renovation will include a total gut of the kitchen and family room, so wish us luck, as the project is about to begin!

Photographer: Scobey Photography / Videographer: Cinema Weddings / Planner: Laura Maddox with Magnolia Events / Ceremony Venue: The Swan House / Reception Venue: The Atlanta History Center Grand Overlook Ballroom / Florist: Flowers by Yona / Catering and Cake: A Legendary Event / Rentals: We Rent / Band: Yacht Rock Revue / Paper Products: Eberle Invitations / Bride’s Gown: Anna Maier Couture / Bride’s Belt: Monique Lhuillier / Bridal Salon: Joan Pillow Bridal Salon / Hair Stylist: Nadia Javan / Makeup Artist: Wendy Role for Trish McEvoy / Bride’s Shoes: “Lacie: by Badgely Mishka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Sid Mashburn

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Jenny reply

    I agree too much wedding planning can be very stressful.

  2. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

    Gorgeous photography!

  3. avatar Classic Wedding Invitations reply

    Gorgeous details! The planning definitely paid off!

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