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There are so many ways to layer family, history, tradition, and heirlooms into a wedding, and we love all of them! In the sartorial arena, we’ve featured hundreds of brides who wore a family veil (including me!), donned family jewelry (yep, I did that, too), or carried a passed-down handkerchief, but relatively few who actually wore a family wedding gown. When we heard the story of Alla’s gown, then, which was touched by not just two but four generations, we knew we had to share it with y’all!

From Alla, the bride: I have always wanted to wear my mother’s wedding dress, because it holds so much family history and beauty. The dress was handmade by my great-grandmother, Alla Youngblood, for whom I am named. She made every piece of lace, and every thread was hand sewn by her. My grandmother, her daughter, was the first one to wear the dress in 1957. She passed away nine years ago, and I knew that wearing the dress on my wedding day would bring back so many memories of her.

When I first tried the dress on, it fit like a glove — there were only a few alterations that needed to be made, but the dress was not changed. My mother also wore the dress for her wedding, and she also did not make any alterations — amazing! Due to the dress’s age, some of the lace was ripped. My mother, who loves to sew, used original lace from other parts of the dress to fix the holes.

My sister and matron of honor suggested adding a sash to the dress that she wore on her wedding day in 2012. My veil had previously been worn by my sister and mother — it was handmade by my grandmother in 1984.

We wanted the dress to play a huge role in our wedding day. To do this, we included the story of the dress in our program to share with guests at our wedding ceremony.

When I was walking down the aisle to be married to Jake, I felt so many different emotions. My grandmother was there with me, my mother was reminded of her wedding day, and my sister was represented, as well. I felt like I was making history, and it was such a humbling experience. Sharing the dress made my wedding day more special than I could have ever imagined.

Beautiful! Here’s to many more generations passing down this special dress! Ladies, I’d love to hear: did you wear any family heirlooms, or even a family gown, on your wedding day?

All photos by Candace Nelson, who is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
7 Comments
  1. avatar mary reply

    That dress is so lovely. I wore my mom’s wedding dress. I pretty much always knew I wanted to wear it and I was really lucky that it didn’t need any alterations! I just had a specially cleaned by a trusted tailor. I got my veil on a school trip to France (on a whim while I was engaged) so I’m saving it for any family members who want to wear it in the future.

  2. avatar Katie Corzo reply

    What a beautiful story! My necklace and earrings belonged to my great grandmother. My bouquet was wrapped i with a handkerchief and brooch that belonged to my great aunt. Also, I carried my paternal grandmother’s bible that she used in her wedding and my aunt carried in hers, along with a pink peony from a bush that belonged to my maternal grandmother. I wrapped my christening handkerchief around the bible and flower. And we toasted with the same silver goblets that my parents used at their reception almost 44 years ago.

  3. avatar Kelsey reply

    Beautiful! I love her dress as well as her Bridesmaids dresses. Very classy look.

  4. avatar Victoria reply

    That is a very beautiful sentiment. I love how the bride included the story of the dress in her wedding program.

  5. avatar FocusVogue South Africa reply

    Stunning pictures! Her wedding dress is so beautiful.

  6. avatar Kate reply

    What a beautiful dress! I also wore a dress that had previously been worn by my grandmother (1956) and my mother (1984). Though I likely would have chosen a different style if I had bought a new wedding dress, the family dress was so much more meaningful to me. I loved having that history of strong marriages – my grandparents were married for over 50 years and my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary just two days after my wedding – with me as I walked down the aisle!

  7. avatar Kate reply

    What a beautiful dress! I also wore a dress that had previously been worn by my grandmother (1956) and my mother (1984). Though I likely would have chosen a different style had I bought a new dress, the family dress was so much more meaningful to me. I loved having that history of strong marriages – my grandparents were married for over 50 years and my parents celebrated their 30th anniversary just two days after my wedding – with me as I walked down the aisle!

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When a couple has designer’s eyes, like Brittany and Kirk, it’s always fun to see how their talents translate into their wedding day. So when I read that restaurant designer (Brittany) and men’s clothing shop owner (Kirk) set their sights on finding a “diamond in the rough” location, where they could create a unique wedding venue unlike anything else, I was excited to see what they came up with! Brittany and Kirk cleaned, painted, and landscaped an old Alabama cotton receiving warehouse on a daily basis to transform The Railyard into an event space that I know wowed their family and friends. Don’t those twinkle lights make their dinner look so very chic, but still home-y? I love that the meaning behind their family-style meal stemmed from their fondest memories growing up, of being gathered around dining tables with the people they love! Too sweet!

Thanks to Rebecca Read for sending this lovely day to us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I thought long and hard about including my bridesmaids on my dress shopping trip, as they are my dearest friends, but I decided not to. My maid of honor had done this, and it was such a memorable moment for all of us to see her in her dress for the first time on the day she would be walking down aisle. My dress was beautiful vintage lace with hand-sewn pearls–something I always wanted for my wedding, but not exactly what I had pictured for myself, as it had short sleeves. As soon as I tried it on though, I just knew. It instantly became my dream timeless, elegant dress that I only hope I can pass down someday.

As we both have designers eyes, we wanted the venue to be unlike anything else we had seen before–a diamond in the rough! We found that at The Railyard, an old cotton receiving warehouse and courtyard in Opelika, Alabama. It is nestled in a charming little town that I had gotten to know very well during my college years. We cleaned, painted, landscaped, and prayed for no rain on a daily basis!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows. We wanted to go with traditional vows, and it ended up being the most traditional thing about our wedding

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing each other for the first time as I walked down the aisle and our eyes met! It was so magical! The other would be walking in before guests were allowed in to see the space and realizing that it was a wonderland. With the help of an army of people, it was transformed into the “diamond” that we knew it had the potential to be!

We like to think that our family-style dinner was the greatest tradition we followed–everything was served on platters in the center of the table and passed around as if we were gathered in our home with family. Our fondest memories growing up were gathered around our dining tables with people we loved, and we wanted our wedding to have this same feeling.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. It was as much for our friends and family as it was for us–it was fun, funny, and really set the tone for the night. We broke it down hard!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in July 2013, just after I had finished brunch with two friends from college. Walking down the street, one of them said, “There is this men’s shop around the corner, and I met the guy last night who owns it–I told him I’d stop by.” This worked nicely, as I needed to find a tie for a friend to wear at a wedding that night. The store was in a cool brick building with large windows, built as a horse stable in 1917. After a few quick hellos, we walked back outside to their car. I told them, “I think I really like that guy…” Ten minutes later, back inside the store, Kirk’s phone buzzed with a message that read “Here is Brittany’s number. You NEED to call her.” Taking his friend’s advice, Kirk called. He learned during that first conversation (which was fantastic, by the way), that I was a restaurant designer and I was working on a speakeasy bar for a well-known Atlanta chef. For a little inspiration he knew I would enjoy, Kirk took me to his favorite hidden back-room pub, just north of the city. From that night on, we were crazy about each other.
Tell us all about the proposal! In month three of our relationship, Kirk was at an antique market with his mother, looking for furniture, when he walked past a small, unassuming jewelry booth. I am in love with the 1920’s, and a beautiful art deco ring caught his eye and made him stop immediately. Without hesitation, he and his mom said, “This is Brittany.” He hadn’t planned on buying a ring that day, or even that month, but he couldn’t leave it. A month later, I began planning a trip to Europe with friends. I would be in Paris for a week, then in Amsterdam to visit some friends. When I arrived in Amsterdam, the friends I was staying with showed me to each room and said, “You should really see the city from the roof before the sun sets.” I climbed the spiral staircase, and at the top, I opened the hatch and climbed onto the roof. As my eyes focused, I saw Kirk standing in front of me, holding tulips, smiling ear to ear, and getting a little misty-eyed (he swears it was his allergies). I froze in the hatch and just stood there, confused, for what seemed like a REALLY long time! After a minute, I squeaked out “What are you doing here?” and Kirk said, “I came to see you.” At that, I jumped out onto the roof and LITERALLY into his arms. He had an entire speech prepared, wanting to give it properly on one knee, but that never happened. As he held me, he simply said “I love you, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you.” Even more special, the couple whose roof we were on was the same couple whose wedding I had attended the day Kirk and I met.
When did y’all get married? September 13, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Landscaping ourselves and putting in some hard work! We also designed and printed our own menus and programs. Our design aesthetic called for raw, natural materials, so kraft paper was both a beautiful and affordable choice for our printed items!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? First, breathe :) Remember that no matter the decisions you make, the stress of invites or family or seating arrangements, rain, or anything, at the end of the day, you’re marrying the person you love, and that is all that matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? It’s an incredible thing to marry your best friend and we are enjoying marriage and all of the wonderful things it brings! We are looking forward to starting a family in the future, but for now, we are enjoying one another and are truly grateful for the season we are currently in!

Photographer: Rebecca Read Photography / Planning and Design: Alchemy Event Studio / Venue: The Railyard / Cocktail Hour Venue: John Emerald Distilling Company / Florist: Edelweiss Buckhead Floral Design / Caterer and Cake Baker: The Hotel at Auburn University / Rentals and Lighting: The Event Group / Band: The Soul Purpose Band / Paper Products: The Find Sac Handmade / Bride’s Gown: Vintage / Bride’s Jewelry: J. Crew / Hair and Makeup: Claudia Mejerle / Bride’s Shoes: “Bronze Peep Toe Evening Pumps” in Bowover by Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN / Menswear: Custom by the groom / Linens and Drapery: Party Tables / Plants: Plant Peddler

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

    Oh goodness, that cake! Wonderful images.

  2. avatar Ashlyn reply

    It was the best. That dance floor was no lie, either — they’re not kidding!

  3. avatar Richard Stafford reply

    Marissa and Rebecca,
    You captured the wedding perfectly. Thanks for sharing the wonderful moment in our lives with your readers. It was truly beautiful.

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After envisioning her wedding gown ever since she and Josh started talking about marriage, Christy chose to make her own. Together with her mama, they started with her mother’s wedding skirt as a base and added everything to it for a finished product that was as meaningful as it was gorgeous! Christy’s dress wasn’t the only thing that was a labor of love. Everything from their eclectic mix of chairs collected from their families, to the plethora of specialty deserts made by close family and friends were carefully planned to help Christy and Josh’s wedding feel like a big ol’ family get-together!

Big SW hugs to Jennefer Wilson for sharing this sweet day with us!

I was not interested in our flowers in the least until I consulted with Briley from Oh Deery Florals. Her passion for what she does and the organic, earthy, effortless look of her work drew me instantly. She created spectacular bouquets of peach garden roses, coral charm peonies, light pink dahlia, white astilbe, succulents, seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, and white ranunculus, in addition to a special toss bouquet of lavender. The boutonnieres were made up of a succulent, white ranunculus, and seeded eucalyptus. She also created centerpiece collections that we combined on tables with the succulents we gave as favors.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From Christy: For me, it was our first look and the time we got alone together. After setting up and getting ready all day, Josh was the only person in the world I wanted to be around. My joy in that moment cannot be put into words; we were so overwhelmed with joy! From Josh: My favorite moment of the wedding was the first look. Not seeing her that whole day and the anticipation building made for an amazing moment where I looked upon my wife-to-be, and for the first time, it actually hit me that I was about to marry the prettiest girl I had ever seen.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: My favorite detail was the group of mismatched chairs we used for the ceremony and reception. That was one aspect of the wedding I wouldn’t budge on, and I’m so glad I didn’t. So many guests said it was their favorite detail of the wedding too, and it gave the decor such a relaxed and cozy feel.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, we wrote our own vows. Writing to each other has been a large part of our relationship, so we wanted our vows to be in our own verbatim. We didn’t use mics to say them–we only wanted our bridal party and our families sitting in the first few rows to hear them because we know they will be the most active in keeping us accountable to our vows.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? To me, one of the biggest aspects of the South is hospitality. We wanted our wedding to feel like a large and comfortable family get-together in a relative’s backyard. Our venue, Penn Farm, was thick with Southern charm and contributed greatly to our backyard feel, thanks to its farmhouse, barn, windmill, and overhanging trees. An eclectic mix of chairs that we collected from family and rented contributed to our homey, backyard feel. We had close family and friends bring a plethora of specialty desserts to create a Southern dessert potluck for our dessert bar. At the reception, we had a number of backyard games for guests to enjoy.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were in the same small group during our welcome week of college, but God knew we both still had a lot of growing to do. We reconnected a few years later when Josh worked in the fine arts office of our university, and since I was a music major, I went into the office often. I soon noticed he was a lot friendlier to me than the other students who would go into the office, but since I had a boyfriend at the time, I avoided him for the rest of my college career. Then, I found myself seated two seats away from him at graduation. I wasn’t dating anyone by then, and I found myself really enjoying my conversation with this guy I had avoided for years. Lo and behold, we found out through Facebook that we would be at the same conference in Atlanta a few weeks later, and we were able to meet up there. It wasn’t until I heard him open up at the conference about his passion for church planting that I thought we could have a future together. We went on a date the day after we got back to Dallas, and a few short months after that, I knew Josh was the man I wanted to love for the rest of my life.
Tell us all about the proposal! From Josh: Christy always used to tell me about a field that she had always wanted to run through. She had driven past it for years, but never stopped. I had planned to take her to the field on a Saturday to propose, but she figured it out. So instead, the day before that Saturday, we went to the field and I proposed. She was so surprised!
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Getting married outside in a field under a large, shady tree was my dream. Finding a venue became a family effort–both of our families searched everywhere for the perfect “wedding field with a tree” for us. After one long day of field searching, my family and I went to Cedar Hill State Park, which I thought was an unlikely candidate, but I was growing desperate. As we rounded a bend for Penn Farm, I started crying when I saw the field in front of me. (The same way most girls cry when they see their wedding gown. I know, weird.) We later found out that Penn Farm also has the most picturesque white clapboard farmhouse and wooden barn that we used to house the reception.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Josh’s dad officiated our ceremony, and he read from 1 Corinthians 13 and Ruth 1:16-17.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Josh’s grandmother baked our wedding cake: her famous chocolate chip pound cake. Neither of us even got a piece because we forgot to cut the cake, but we ate plenty when we went to visit her later that summer.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We really wanted a DJ, but after finalizing other details that were more important to us, we realized it wouldn’t be in our budget. We decided to use a few Spotify playlists for different styles of reception and dance floor music, and we couldn’t have been more pleased! It was free, and played any songs we wanted.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? I am most excited about combining my life with my best friend. Getting to live every day with Josh is the greatest gift. Josh: The thing I look forward to most about married life is being able to build a new life with Christy. We have a clean slate, we can go anywhere, and we can do anything. The adventure that that brings is so exciting, and I can only imagine what the future will hold.

Photographer: Jennefer Hutto / Ceremony and Reception Venue: Penn Farm, Cedar Hill State Park / Florist: Oh Deery Floral / Catering: Mudleaf Coffee / Rentals: Rent My Dust, Rental Stop / Favors: San Pedro Cactus / Paper Products: Remember November Shop / Makeup Artist: Beloved / Bride’s Shoes: Steve Madden / Groom’s Attire: ASOS / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse

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

    Such a sweet wedding! I love all of the fashion, but especially the menswear!

  2. avatar Loverly reply

    Such a wonderful story behind the gown. Every element of this wedding is perfectly suited to the couple, absolutely inspiring.

  3. avatar Britni Ramsey reply

    AHHH!!! You guys look so awesome!! So happy for the two of you! Great job Jennefer, as always :)

  4. avatar Renee reply

    Your wedding was absolutely GORGEOUS! I love how you did the chairs for the ceremony! I would love to do something similar. How did you pull it off?

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