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Although I don’t know Laura and Michael personally, aside from a few emails exchanged, reading their interview made me feel like they were old friends! I loved reading about everything from the dress Laura dreamed of as a little girl (and how her real-life Anne Barge beauty compared!), the meaningful ways they honored Laura’s father’s memory throughout their celebration, their goal of hosting a Southern dinner party-inspired reception in Laura’s childhood backyard, and so much more. As it’s easy to see in these photos by our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor Amy Arrington Photography, everything came together so beautifully for their day, and along with being sweet, prayerful, and intentional, it also looks like it was so much fun!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! I wore my mom’s pearl earrings and earring jackets that my dad gave her (old). My shoes (new) were a gift from my mom and sisters. But the most special surprise was my dad’s signature, which my mom had stitched in blue onto one of his old shirts and then sewn into my wedding gown (blue, old, and new). I did not put a sixpence into my shoe–it’s hard enough walking in heels without a coin rolling around in there. Something even older than my dad’s signature or my mom’s earrings was the ring bearer’s pillow and the cameo on my bouquet. The pillow was made from my paternal grandmother’s lace wedding gown. All of the cousins who have gotten married in our family so far have had their rings carried on Grammy’s lace pillow. The cameo was hand carved by my maternal great-grandfather. Both my sister and I had the cameo attached to our bouquets on our wedding day.

I was definitely one of those little girls who drew pictures of my future wedding dress with my little sisters. At one point, we even signed a contract (when we were around eight years old) to not steal each other’s ideas! We loved to draw and imagine our “one day as a princess!” My dream dress was a full gown with lace, a giant bow, and a train as long as the church! (Like I said: little girl, big dreams!) My mom and I went to The White Room the week before Christmas. I was in a sea of gorgeous, flowing dresses, some with bows, others with trains. My mom found this layered Anne Barge trunk show dress (with no lace, no bow, and a short train), and I was surprisingly drawn to it! When I tried it on, the dress was absolutely gorgeous! We started playing around with the skirt, and when we pulled the top two layers back, it created a beautiful, ribbon-like peplum (of sorts) at the back of the dress. It was architectural and romantic. I was in love! Carolyn made a delicate, scallop-edged lace top, which was sewn over the bodice of my dress, and she hemmed, stitched, and pinned the back to recreate the ribbon effect. It was perfect in every way!

Describe your wedding flowers. My dad used to grow garden roses for my mom. If I could keep a plant alive, I would grow roses for Dad. Our wedding flowers were the garden I wish I could grow and cultivate and love on every day! When I first met with Carole to pick out our flowers, she let me read through several books she had. I learned about (what seemed like) hundreds of flowers! It was so hard to narrow it down for our wedding. Ultimately, it was the succulents, the garden roses, and the peonies that won my heart. Carole did such an incredible job making every little idea we had come to life. I especially loved how she wrapped the columns of the tent with grapevines to complement the trees surrounding the tent in our yard.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes! With such a late ceremony, we wanted to make sure we had the opportunity to capture the day and to preserve the reception for spending time rejoicing with our family and friends!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We both love music, so it was probably one of the hardest things to nail down. We could always think of another song we wanted to add or knew there was one trapped in the back of our minds that we had to remember to play. Ultimately, it took a little pushing from our wedding planner, Emma. For the ceremony, we decided to have a string quartet, as Michael grew up going to the symphony with his family. The soft sound of the strings complimented the pieces in our ceremony beautifully!

Our vows were the most memorable moment of my life. In that moment, I truly did feel everything else melt away around me. It was like everything went quiet, and I could only hear Michael and me making our covenant with God. It is the clearest moment I have ever had. If my memory ever goes, I think even the deep, unknown feeling of this day would make Michael known to me.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I have always wanted to have my wedding reception at home (again, part of the sister wedding pact). It was truly a dream to have it all come together in a place that holds so many beautiful memories, especially of the time Michael and my dad got to know each other in the last few years before he passed away.

One of our favorite things to do together is to share a meal. I love to cook, and Michael loves to eat, so it’s a pretty good combination. Sometimes, it is so hard to slow down life and really take the time to talk to and know the people around you. When I think of the South, I think of taking that time to slow down and to share something that you have (tea, cookies, a meal, etc.) with your guests, while taking a moment to really know them. That’s what we wanted for our reception. We wanted our guests to share a meal together. We set the table like you would when all of your family comes over for Thanksgiving, Easter, or Christmas–you run out of china and silverware, so you mix and match, pull everyone up to your longest farm tables, and lay out a delicious meal (and some yummy Southern cocktails).

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would say remember to have fun. Your marriage is the beginning of a lifetime with your best friend. The wedding is a celebration of that defining moment where it all begins–a short time to have all of your family and friends together. Do you know how rare that moment will be? Can you think of another time in your life when you will be able to have all of those people you love so dearly together at one time? It is so beautiful. It is a time to be treasured. Don’t cloud the preparation with anxiety. You’ll miss out on a rare moment in your life. Something will always go against the perfect plan you had. Let it go. It’s nothing compared to the joy around you!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Michael and I met in college. It took him a few days to ask me out because he was looking for a girl with the wrong name. Once he got that cleared up, he asked me out. Then, life got real: I studied abroad, he graduated from graduate school, my dad passed away, he moved to Houston for work, I moved to Austin for my Masters…lots of craziness, but love is hard, yet easy. I cannot imagine walking through life with anyone who could love me better or challenge me more.
Tell us all about the proposal! We were in Memphis, Tennessee celebrating Thanksgiving with Michael’s family. All week, we had woken up early to go on jogs before the day got under way. He came in to wake me up on Friday morning and was all excited to run (in the freezing cold weather). We were getting dressed and he tried to pull off shorts and a t-shirt, because he knew we wouldn’t be out there long, but I–the ever weather-wary runner–would not let him leave without some layers. One hooded sweatshirt and some knee high socks later, Michael was ready to go. I sported an old hoodie, which I tied securely around my face with a bow. Michael tried to help me by untying it but I was insistent (for warmth, of course!). So, off we went to jog the green belt. It was ABSOLUTELY gorgeous. Everything a fall day can offer. The leaves literally rustled in the wind and dispersed at our feet as we happily trotted along. About a quarter of a mile into our jog, Michael paused, knelt, and pulled a deep burgundy pocket square out of his shorts (I didn’t even know there were pockets in his shorts!). The whole thing was a blur of joy! Next thing I knew, I am trying to figure out which hand I was supposed to hand over. Michael knew what he was doing, though, and slipped his mother’s engagement ring onto my left hand. When we got home, I discovered his entire family had worked all morning to throw an engagement party for us. To my surprise, when we opened the door, my family was there, too! He had planned ahead with my mother and they drove up from Birmingham early that morning to celebrate with us!
When did y’all get married? June 27, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Michael’s favorite bible verse is Romans 8:38-39: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” I struggle to write anything more, because how could I possibly elaborate on something so beautiful and so fierce?
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Cake! Noms! Cake tasting was a day I was so excited for, and it lived up to my expectations!! I just wanted a simple cake with some flowers on top. On the other hand, the groom’s cake was designed to reflect Michael. The oak tree stump was for his childhood dog, Oakley, who was Michael’s “brother” growing up. The bike was a tribute to Michael’s devotion to and completion of Ironman Florida just a few months before our wedding, and the spotted cutie was our pup, Eli.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Aside from the flowers, the rain. Gosh, I just love a summer rain. It cools you off and also kind of makes you just sit and take it in, you know?
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Father Bob was our team coach. We had a huddle. He gave the plan. We walked down the aisle.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Who knows. We are a crazy bunch, Michael, Eli (the pup), and me. We’ll find ourselves on an adventure soon. For now, we are enjoying pulling together our home.
Is there anything you’d like to add that our readers might be interested in? My third cousin, Abbot Richard, performed our nuptial blessing. He is a Norbertine Abbot, O. Praem at Daylesford Abbey in Paoli, Pennsylvania. It was so special having a little bit of the past tying together the present and the future. We are excited to live our marriage as witness to the loving marriages that formed the generations before us and gave us the beautiful and loving families that we grew up with.

Photographer: Amy Arrington | Videographer: Alan Harned | Planner: Mariee Ami | Ceremony Venue: The Cathedral of Saint Paul | Reception Venue: Private residence | Florist: Lagniappe Designs, Inc. | Cake Baker: Barb’s Cakes, LLC | Caterer: Hot and Hot Fish Club | Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited | Lighting: Design Productions | Band: The Pat Patrick Band | Bride’s Gown: Anne Barge | Bridal Salon and Bride’s Veil: The White Room | Hair and Makeup: Celine Russell | Bride’s Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “In Perpetuity Camisole” and “Anika Tulle Skirt” by BHLDN | Menswear: Mr. Burch Formal Wear | Calligrapher: Jan Pruitt | Ceremony Musicians: Angela Franklin, Bruce Ludwick, Deborah Flax

Amy Arrington is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Matt Selby reply

    What a stunning set of photographs! Love the mono shots, the couple must be thrilled with these :)

  2. avatar Brooke Paris reply

    “Our vows were the most memorable moment of my life. In that moment, I truly did feel everything else melt away around me. It was like everything went quiet, and I could only hear Michael and me making our covenant with God. It is the clearest moment I have ever had. If my memory ever goes, I think even the deep, unknown feeling of this day would make Michael known to me.”

    …Holy WOW. I’m in tears, this is one of the most beautiful descriptions of the wedding ceremony I’ve ever heard.

  3. avatar Mountain Brook, AL Wedding : Laura + Mike reply

    […] you SOUTHERN WEDDINGS for featuring their […]

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Friends, as you know we have been working our way through sharing our V7 print weddings with y’all on the blog. We had a bumper crop in our last issue (17!), so it’s taken us quite awhile. But here we are, at the last one! I would never play favorites, and so I won’t say we saved the best for last… but Abby and Alex’s celebration certainly holds a special place in our hearts. We had the pleasure of featuring their adorable Birmingham bungalow in our Southern Newlywed column just a few months after they tied the knot, and across all the ways we’ve gotten to know this sweet couple, we’ve been so tickled by the ways they embody our brand. They love each other deeply, find joy in doing life together, and know that a good marriage is one that’s never perfected, but always growing. Their family-centered, love-filled wedding was truly a beautiful, and meaningful beginning to married life.

As always, A Bryan Photo captured so beautifully the little moments that make up a wedding day for those of us who were not there…

In true small town fashion, Alex and I heard about each other after his grandmother cut my aunt’s hair (beauty shop talk–straight-up Steel Magnolias, y’all). They decided we would be perfect for each other and should meet… unfortunately, I headed on the World Race (an 11-month mission trip) soon after, and Alex flew to Northern California to serve at JH Ranch. During our time on different continents, a mutual friend told me that Alex was keeping up with my World Race blog. My interest was piqued, and I kept this mystery man in the back of my mind for the rest of the journey. When I came home, the Lord opened doors for me to move to Birmingham (where Alex lived), and I was finally able to meet the blue-eyed hunk I had heard so much about. He got my number (from his grandmother, who got it from my aunt), and asked me to lunch. It took all of about half an hour of nervously eating a salad to know I wanted to marry the guy.

Describe the proposal: Just the best day ever. Alex took me on a day trip last August to Mentone, Alabama. I wasn’t anywhere close to wanting to go home when Alex announced a “stomachache” and a need to hit the road. On the way back to Birmingham, he suggested stopping at his parents’ farm for medicine. Odd things started happening as we approached. I noticed cars in their barn, all of the lights turned out at their house, and twinkle lights on a distant tree in the field. When Alex opened my car door, no longer seeming sickly, but grinning from ear to ear, I knew exactly what was happening. Speechless, I let him lead me down a path through the field to a straight-from-a-fairy-tale scene of flickering lights beneath a big oak tree. All we can remember from his proposal speech is “I want to have babies and adopt babies with you,” to which I tearfully exclaimed, “PLEASE!” He placed the most beautiful bling I’ve ever seen on my finger before we trekked back to the house and were met by our family and closest friends. Magic.

I carried a large, hand-tied bouquet featuring a variety of peonies, garden roses, Japanese ranunculus, frilly-edged tulips, parrot tulips, dahlia, veronica, dusty miller, and maidenhair fern. One day, in the middle of wedding planning, my mom brought her veil out of our attic for me to try on. It was stunning! My mom offered to let me cut some of lace to use as my “something old.” I immediately knew that I wanted to wrap it around the stems of my bouquet to carry with me throughout the day. Used as the base for three coordinating colors of silk ribbon, lace from her veil was the perfect heirloom touch.

What was the weather like on your big day? I feel like this question defines my wedding planning process. While I was never too worried about the weather, my precious mom was so nervous that rain or cold would impede the joy of our day. She committed to pray over our day, the weather, and the hearts of our guests long before spring. Soon, the topic was in our daily conversation. “Well,” she would say, “I just talked to our florist and now she’s praying over April 12 too.” When the 10-day forecast finally came? It predicted no rain, clear skies, and moderate temperatures. When our wedding day arrived, we received just that–the most beautiful, warm day with only a slight breeze. Even the birds sang through our ceremony. My mom and I love to recount the nerves that turned to devoted prayer, that turned to a day so full of beauty and love. Only the Father could have orchestrated it.

How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? Confession: we broke the rules! The morning of our wedding, Alex and I met in the lobby of the hotel where our guests were staying to grab a cup of coffee and spend a bit of time together. We ended up taking a walk, hand-in-hand, around Auburn’s campus as we basked in the reality that our day had finally come! I am thankful that Alex didn’t see me in my dress before the ceremony. That moment was still sacred and incredibly emotional. I’m also thankful that I got to have a special moment with him at the beginning of the day to calm both of our nerves–the perfect compromise!

The arbor that we stood upon during the ceremony was my absolute favorite detail. I had a “vision” (one of many, as my family likes to joke), and it was truly a team effort to execute. My precious dad and I collaborated on sketching the structure, which he then built and stained. He has always had a servant’s heart, and it was especially overflowing during wedding season! The fabric that draped the arbor was the hardest thing to find. I knew I wanted something full, organic, textured, and natural. Nothing was fitting into the vision until my mom found extra-long canvas drop cloths–score! She expertly draped the fabric, and my insanely talented florist added the eucalyptus garland and floral clusters. Truly, it was the perfect backdrop for the most emotionally charged moments of my life. I’m forever thankful for the love that went into building the arbor, the place where Alex and I stood as we began building our marriage.

The amazingly talented Abby taught herself calligraphy and handlettered these programs, their invitation, and many other details. Can you believe it??

Our wedding party included my six nieces and nephews as flower girls and ring bearers. Alex’s five younger cousins served as junior bridesmaids and junior groomsmen. I loved having so many family members (including our collective five siblings as well) standing with us as we said our vows. I wish I could have witnessed my nieces walking down the aisle–the four of them held hands in their angelic heirloom dresses and floral wreaths. My youngest niece, Hadley, was only one at the time. Everyone recounted how she had such a look of determination, stomping down the aisle in an attempt to keep up with her big sisters and cousin. It was the very definition of precious.

What was the most memorable or touching moment about your wedding day? I will never forget Alex’s face as I walked down the aisle. He had been nervous about turning into a blubbering mess during our ceremony, and it was obvious that he was fighting tears as I approached him. When I finally reached him and the ceremony began, he kept looking away as to not lose control of his emotions. As touching as it was to see him so emotional, I also kept thinking, “Hey, this is our wedding. You have to LOOK at me!” It only took a few hand squeezes and a quick wink to get him to lock eyes with me–and that’s where we stayed for the rest of the ceremony, completely absorbed in the monumental change that was happening as we were joined as husband and wife.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? In keeping with the themes of family and entering a Christ-centered marriage, our parents and grandparents came to the arbor to circle us in a prayer of blessing over our marriage. Alex and I both come from a long line of healthy and lifelong marriages; what a blessing it was to have those generational blessings symbolically passed on to us during our ceremony.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? While color palette and texture played key roles in the design, our focus was for all of our guests to feel like family. Our reception was created to feel like one huge Italian family dinner. Long tables with organic greenery joined guests together for an intimate dinner experience. A seating chart greeted our friends and family to the reception with their names and table numbers hand-lettered on gold foil signage. The goal for our wedding was for each guest to feel valued, and I think that our design and attention to detail achieved just that.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? I think the hardest part of wedding planning was just the reality of it all. You dream about the day your whole life. All of a sudden, it’s really happening, and you only get one shot. I found myself worrying about the logistics of the day and wondering if guests would enjoy themselves. Thankfully, I was surrounded by ever-encouraging family and friends who helped to keep me more focused on my love for Alex and our upcoming marriage, and less focused on the logistics of the day.

What kind of food did you serve? Italian food is my favorite, and it fit perfectly with the family-style seating arrangement! Guests enjoyed bruschetta and stuffed artichoke heart hors d’oeuvres. Dinner was comprised of caprese salad, Italian sausage farfalle pasta with light cream and mozzarella, grilled chicken penne pasta, broccolini, and a roasted garlic pomodoro. It was delicious. Our Italian theme continued with various wines to accompany the pasta!

One of our favorite design elements was our dessert table. Instead of opting for two tables for the bride’s cake and groom’s cake, we chose a large farm table to display them both. My bride’s cake was a four-tiered white cake with buttercream icing and lemon curd between the layers. To die for. Since the thought of an unbalanced table would KILL me, we opted for two groom’s cakes to bookend the taller bride’s cake. This definitely worked in Alex’s favor, as he couldn’t decide between chocolate, coconut, and red velvet cake. With two groom’s cakes, he was able to include ALL of his favorite flavors in the multiple tiers. I planned to learn how to make macarons before the big day (ummm…when would that have happened? No idea). Instead, my ever-kind and gracious aunt took the task upon herself. She studied YouTube videos, took sugar temperatures, and perfected the French recipe!

Date of your wedding: April 12, 2014
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We wanted an outdoor wedding, and we wanted it as soon as possible! Since we got engaged in August, April was the first month that met all of our requirements: 1) The probability of nice weather, 2) bright blooms in season, and 3) enough time to plan the details! Auburn was the perfect place to wed because it is just outside of my hometown, and all of our friends were excited to spend a weekend celebrating in the town of our alma mater. After visiting just a few venues, Moore’s Mill Club became the obvious choice because of its beautiful, natural ceremony site and rustic pavilion. I was expecting to find a place I would need to completely transform, but Moore’s Mill is beautiful no matter which direction you look.
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? I knew early on that I wanted to go with coordinating, but different, colored dresses. In order to complement the natural beauty of Moore’s Mill, I decided that the color palette would consist of an array of greens and neutrals. Thankfully, one of my two maids of honor (and BFF since first grade), Sam, is a graphic designer with a great eye for color. We met on our lunch break one day at our local Bella Bridesmaid and were given total reign in their showroom. It was designer heaven. When we decided on our palette, I assigned a color to each of my bridesmaids (taking skin tone into account) and let each one choose her style. I LOVE the way each of my girls could be unique while coordinating so beautifully.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? So many guests commented after the ceremony about how reverent and sweet it was. We decided early on that giving glory to God would be our goal in choosing what would be shared during our ceremony. My brother, Adam, has a Master of Divinity degree and has always been a spiritual mentor to me. He led a charge to our guests to remember Christ’s sacrifice and our own call to sacrifice in marriage. Sharing Ruth’s story from the Old Testament served as an example of servitude in marriage, as well as a devotion to the new families we would each be gaining. Adam’s charge was by far one of the most powerful parts of the ceremony. Alex’s sister, Caroline, read from Revelation 19 before our pastor gave a message regarding the church as Christ’s bride.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? From Alex: The music was one of the few aspects of our wedding that I was in charge of, and I strived to make our music as worshipful and natural as possible. We decided to have only one instrumentalist, a friend of mine who is an incredible guitarist. Abby and I gave him a list of the songs we wanted to be played. They were pretty traditional ones: “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” while the parents and grandparents were seated, “Canon in D” during the processional, “Bridal Chorus” when Abby walked down the aisle, and “Ode to Joy” as we were leaving. The acoustic guitar was perfect–calm and mellow, traditional in the song choice, but updated by the instrument. The one song that was sung was a hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” and we invited all of our guests to join in.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? Intentionality was a key factor in our wedding. We wanted each guest to feel valued and involved. Along with the hand-lettered envelopes that carried our invitations and the prepared seats for each guest, Alex and I love that everyone was invited to join in a hymn during our ceremony and to later dance the night away. Our hope was that no one would leave our wedding feeling like just one of the crowd, but that our love for each person would be displayed in our intentionality and bear hugs.
What are you most looking forward to about marriage? Even in the past four months, Alex and I have grown in our depth of knowledge and understanding of each other. With years of marriage comes years of experience–learning personality traits, finding ways to serve the other, and knowing how to make each other laugh. I look forward to our connection growing deeper as our marriage marches on.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? I would love to encourage people (especially lovely brides) to extend grace to all parties involved in the wedding planning process. Family members, friends, and vendors alike can potentially showcase strong opinions or–worse yet–not care about every single little detail like you do (gasp!). Remember that relationships come before dresses, cakes, or invitations. Continue to hang with your girls, love on your family members, and be a caring person in general while you have this whole wedding-planning side gig going on.

Photographer and Videographer: A Bryan Photo / Venue and Caterer: Moore’s Mill Club / Florist and Decor: Nimblee / Wedding Cake: 1220 Cafe / Bride’s Gown: “Loren Corset” and “Sabrina Skirt” by Watters / Bridal Salon: The White Room / Bride’s Shoes: “Madalyn Pump” by Badgley Mischka / Bride’s Earrings: BHLDN / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale, Donna Morgan, Dessy Group, and Ceremony by Joanna August / Menswear: The Black Tux / Paper Goods and Designer: Abby Bowlin Designs / Letterpress: Four Hats Press / Rentals, Linens, and Lighting: The Event Group

The Event Group is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
3 Comments
  1. avatar Bryan Johnson reply

    Love these guys. So blessed to be part of their wedding!

  2. avatar Richard Photo Lab reply

    […] CREDITS (in order of appearance): Adam Barnes – Pink Virginia Wedding A Bryan Photo – Spring Auburn Wedding Katie Stoops – Inn at Perry Cabin Wedding (design by Karson Butler Events) A Bryan Photo […]

  3. avatar Michelle reply

    Hi Emily! I love this blog post – everything about the wedding looked gorgeous! I would LOVE if you could possibly share the brand of the flower girl dresses…they are so adorable!

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Our own Lisa is getting married this weekend (!), and we’re obviously really excited for her! One thing I truly admire is how she and her adorable fiancé Dave have prepared for their marriage. Like Lisa and Dave, Amy and Todd know how important the covenant of marriage is, so during their engagement, they chose to cultivate their relationship first and foremost. Amy told us “it was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!” We completely agree! I know their wedding must have been a beautiful reflection of that sweet preparation. And, y’all, I cannot let Todd’s expression when he saw Amy for the first time pass without a note. So much love right there!

Big SW hugs to Mandy Busby for capturing this pretty day!

Our wedding flowers were absolutely stunning. Laura McCarty of Marked pulled together beautiful neutrals with hints of pink–plus one brilliant yellow peony–that totally suited my neutral, subdued taste. She included lots of garden roses, peonies, and greenery, which are my favorites! Laura also added kumquats to one of the arrangements, which I loved! One of my favorite parts of our wedding was the beautiful arbor that Laura flowered up. I couldn’t have asked for anything more beautiful!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We had lots of help from friends and family, who were all willing to give us advice and guidance. We also went through premartial counseling, which was really helpful for us. It was important to us to prepare not only for our wedding, but for the marriage to follow–the most important part!

We decided not to do a first look. I wanted to save that moment for when I was walking down the aisle, and for us, I think it was perfect. Walking down the aisle was so incredibly special and memorable. Since we didn’t do a first look, it was very emotional and sweet, and the breeze wafted cherry blossom petals as I walked down the aisle. I will never forget it!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Finding my wedding dress was so much fun! I bought my dress from The White Room in Birmingham, Alabama. I had my mom, my three sisters, and my grandmother all come with me, and they were all so kind and supportive. It was such an honor to have them all there! I only tried on three dresses, and I knew almost immediately after I tried on the third dress that I’d found my wedding dress! I loved that it was simple and romantic and reflected who I was as a person and a bride.

We loved having our wedding and reception at the Donnelly House in Birmingham, Alabama. I’d grown up on the same street as the owners, Carl and Karen, and it was so special to have them involved on my wedding day! The venue was also in a significant area of the city for us, as we spent a lot of our dating relationship downtown and on Highland Avenue.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t get caught up in the details! Details are really fun and special, but what’s really important is to enjoy the process and savor your engagement. It is such a sweet time to prepare for such a reverent day, so don’t worry too much or agonize over little details! It will all come together.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Todd and I met through mutual friends after I graduated from Auburn University and moved to Birmingham. He moved to Louisville shortly after I returned to Birmingham, but we kept running into each other at weddings and parties when he’d visit. Somehow, we started emailing, very “You’ve Got Mail.” He came in town one weekend to celebrate his sister’s birthday and he took me on a date! We decided just to go for it and date long-distance, and we are so glad we did.
Tell us all about the proposal! Todd surprised me by coming into town one Friday afternoon. That night, we had a friend’s wedding to attend, and after the ceremony, we hopped in the car and Todd told me we weren’t going to the reception–instead, he had made reservations at Highlands Bar & Grill for “a late birthday celebration” for me. We had an incredible meal, then headed back to my parents’ home, where Todd had recruited my mom and sisters to decorate with lights and lanterns. Todd proposed to me under an arbor of lights in the front yard, while, unbeknownst to me, all of my friends and family were watching and waiting inside with cake and champagne to celebrate! It was truly magical.
When did y’all get married? April 19, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 300
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did have one reading, Colossians 1:9-14. We had one of our dear friends read it, and it was really special. It was important to us for our ceremony to be reverent and focused on the Gospel, so the scripture reading was very important to us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Todd was totally in charge of the music, and he did an amazing job! He sings and plays guitar, so that was the only part of the wedding he insisted on planning. I walked down the aisle to “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros, one of our favorite bands. The song is incredibly beautiful and moving and perfect. We walked back up (or rather, danced back up) the aisle to Beyonce’s “Crazy In Love” which was so appropriate for us as a couple! We love to dance. Our first dance was “Save You” by Matthew Perryman Jones, who is a really significant artist for us. We’ve been to several of his concerts together, and his lyrics are so sweet and romantic, perfect for a first dance.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. My friend and cake lady extraordinaire, Malinda Nichols, made our wedding cake! It was really fun to have her as a vendor on our big day. She made a traditional vanilla wedding cake with buttercream frosting that was to die for, and Laura adorned the cake with flowers. It was beautiful. We also had Coke cake cupcakes with buttercream frosting and sweet little cupcake flags instead of a traditional groom’s cake!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Trying to be budget friendly was definitely a challenge, but honestly, planning our wedding was a joy!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We chose to limit the alcohol served to wine and beer. That helped cut down on our costs! We also chose to have both our wedding and reception in the same place, which helped our budget as well.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We’ve really enjoyed the first months of our marriage. It has been so joyful and fun! We’ve loved being able to live in the same city. It is such an honor to walk alongside your best friend every day. We’re excited to see where God leads us next!

Photographer: Mandy Busby / Venue: The Donnelly House / Florist: Laura McCarty / Cake Baker: Malinda Nichols / Caterer: Happy Catering Company / Bride’s Gown: Robert Bullock / Bridal Salon: The White Room / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN / Hair Stylist: Joanna Ballentine / Makeup Artist: Molly Stilley / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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