SUGAR & STEMS
cake and floral studio
Luxury Event Design
A love story as vibrant as yours deserves a space grand enough to inspire it. Let us transform one of the most anticipated days of your life into a perfect moment in time. With intuitive service and a passion for personalized detail, we’ll deliver something truly exceptional—your love story brought to life.
FOREVER BEGINS HERE. Start planning at grandbohemianmountainbrook.com. 205.414.0505 | @GrandBohemianMountainBrook
RENTAL • READY-TO-WEAR • BESPOKE themodern-gent.com @moderngentstyle email@example.com
photos courtesy of tec petaja, rob and wynter, donna von bruening, mo davis photography and arden photography
wedding planning and design IG @christopherconfero firstname.lastname@example.org
From a young age, I spent my time on stage where creaky wooden floors became the sound of home. Or sitting at a piano bench, with my hands placed softly on the keys, listening to how chords flowed together to create a well-rounded story of song. There was a room at my grandmother’s church where the walls were lined entirely with sheet music. Naturally, we called it the music library. Dusty pages lined the shelves that I would file into a heavy three-inch binder to then carefully rehearse in preparation for Sunday service. Music and the arts gave me a place to tell my story, to have the freedom to dream, and to become anything I wanted in life. And here I am.
Alabama Weddings is about the aspirational. We create for the dreamers, taking you, dear reader, to places both real and fantastical. We may journey to the forests of Fairhope, or in a place only found in our imaginations. Sometimes a particular film comes along that encapsulates the mood of a time period so perfectly that it resonates far beyond simple entertainment. Streaming series The Gilded Age is exactly that. What makes it resonate with me is the pomp and circumstance of entertaining and the immaculate costume design. Beginning on page 106, “Through the Ages,” gives nod to a grandeur that has recently reemerged, though we show it with today’s bride in mind. Continuing in the spirit of fashion, on page 116, you will find the stories of our shopkeepers. A story about their incredible talent, tenacity and love of their work. Take the time to soak in the words of how they care for the families that come into their dress shops. I am moved by the dedication to serve their customers with kindness and grace.
I’ve long cherished the innocence of imagination. It is important for children to have role models they can look to when searching for inspiration and guidance. When I first met Frances Majerik, lovingly referred to as Spook, she boasted a larger-than-life personality, always had a story to tell and love to give – and fashion sense aplenty! Asking Spook to be our Mother Goose was an obvious choice. Her love of words and sharing life make this a feature to treasure. See her all gussied up alongside our smallest models showing children’s fashion on page 88.
With all of this in mind, I ask you to consider something. How will you write your story? What will your wedding convey about the life and love shared with your partner? Don’t take it for granted. Make intentional choices about the creatives that will work with you during such a special time of life. Integrate meaningful nods to family history and shared experiences throughout your wedding day. They will become the stories you tell and the memories you carry for years to come. Christopher Publisher& Editor-in-Chief
“You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book.” - Dr. Seuss
family style by the slice
mother goose & her flock best dressed guest style in the bag through the ages common threads
Judith Leiber Couture Stiletto
curated finds for your wedding day the magic makers share their stories
sculpting a great marriage
local couples tie the knot
creatives for the sophisticated couple
A MOMENT FOR FILM
“There is something magical about a film photograph – the way it exhibits color and light evokes a memory or feeling. It is truly something that can become a family heirloom for generations to come.”Julie Sumerel, Piper Vine
Another year passes and another beautiful edition of Alabama Weddings unfolds from concept to reality.
I dedicate my work in this issue to my mother and grandmother, who both encouraged my love for reading and handed me my first editions of Harry Potter. In this photo, you can see books from my great grandparents’ home in Orrville as well as my mother’s copy of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland she passed on to me. On page 90, I’m proud to share an outfit my grandmother made when I was a child. She celebrates her 80th birthday this year, so here’s to you Wowo!
Family is a central theme in this Storytellers edition of AW, and I am incredibly proud of every page and what they represent for all of Alabama and its wedding community.
Continue believing in Wonder and never stop dreaming.David Kirk Art Director & Sr. Editor
In life, we live a multitude of moments that make up our story –one full of memories, experiences, tragedies, love, laughter, and joy. Each of these moments makes us who we are and tells the history we have lived. I have always been intrigued by what makes people who they are, and I enjoy knowing individuals’ stories to understand better who they are and how I can better serve them.
I have crossed paths with all the members of the Alabama Weddings team at various moments in my life. In 2022, the timing finally aligned and allowed me to join the AW team full-time. I’ve quickly learned AW’s history and how the company works with all of our industry professionals to share their talents with couples across the state. As we move forward, I can’t wait to help all of our amazing partners tell their stories, all while living my own.Lyndsey Golden Editorial Manager
Freckle Fish Salt & Pepper Shakers
Neiman Marcus, $48
WEDDINGS ALABAMAPublisher & Editor-in-Chief Christopher Confero Art Director & Sr. Editor David Kirk Editorial
Photo Editor Lance Lenoir Account Manager Lisa MoralesLyndsey Golden
Morgan Jones Johnston
P.O. Box 530184 Mountain Brook, AL 35223
Alabama Weddings® 2023 Birmingham, Alabama ©2023 Alabama Weddings, LLC
Alabama Weddings is an annual publication with six bi-monthly covers. The contents remain the same from the Jan/Feb issue to the Nov/Dec issue. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or reprinted in any form without express permission of the publisher. All claims, materials, and photos furnished or used are, to the publisher’s knowledge, true and correct. Hence, liability cannot be assumed by the publisher for errors or omissions. Alabama Weddings, Alabama Weddings, LLC or its publishers assume no responsibility for unsolicited photographs and/or manuscripts or any print relating to those photographs and/or manuscripts including credit information. Advertisements and editorial information in this publication produced by Alabama Weddings, LLC are subject to the unrestricted right to edit by our editors/publisher. Be our guest!
Photo: Mo Davis Photography
Bridal Gown: Ivory & White Boutique
Floral Design: CeCe Designs Jewelry: Diamonds Direct Hair & Makeup: Joiya Pams, Mandi Trawick for Makeup Mel Venue: The 1616 House
Styling: Christian Jinnette See more on pages: 106-114
Photo: Abraham Rowe Photography
Bridal Bouquet: Flori Design Co.
Bridal Gown: Bella’s Bridal & Formal Menswear: Billy Reid See more from Abba & Nate’s real wedding on pages: 150-151
Photo: Piper Vine Bridal Gown: Bella Couture Jewelry: Bromberg’s Planner: Anna Wynn Event Designs Venue: Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa
See more on pages: 140-144
Photo: Jennifer Thorpe Photography
Cake: Sukar Bakes Floral Design: Jubilee Flowers Fairhope Linen: Stradley Davidson Location: Fairhope’s Storybook Castles See more on pages: 134-138
Photo: Twenty Oaks Photography Paper Suite: Paperhaus Jewelry: Diamonds Direct Venue: Otter Creek Farmstead
See more on pages: 128-132
Photo: Katie Gracen Photography
Bridal Gown: Bella’s Bridal & Formal
Floral Design: Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market Hair & Makeup: Erin Milkay - Makeup Mel Jewelry: Diamonds Direct Linen: I Do Linens
Props & Rentals: PropHouse Venue: B&A Warehouse
See more on pages: 122-126
Blow the dust off the old tome and inhale the pages of yesteryear.
Dance through daydreams of timeless style. Peer around the corner of a castle to discover something new.
Gather around the dinner table with family and friends and aim to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
Your fairy godmother watches over all as you prepare for the ball. May your love story unfold to a happily ever after.
We proudly present Alabama Weddings 2023
BAUBLESCurated by Morgan Jones Johnston of Rugged & Fancy
settings you create speak volumes of your style. Be inspired by these bold selections as you lay the table for your guests.
1. Rene Caovilla, 105mm Strauss Snake Ankle-Wrap Sandals, $1,590, Neiman Marcus 2. Bella Belle, Eve Lavender Butterfly Heels, $435, Ivory & White 3. Jimmy Choo, Averly 100 Ivory Satin Pumps, $995, jimmychoo.com 4. Grace’s Perfect Mary Jane Pump in Emerald Jacquard, $695, sarahflint.com 5. Bella Belle, Kate Ivory Silk Ribbon Wedding Shoes With Bow, $335, Ivory & White 6. Bella Belle, Octavia Lace Mary Jane Sandal, $329, Ivory & White
When the clock strikes midnight and your carriage awaits, these must-have heels are not something you will want to forget.
Make an appointment for a cosmetic consult to plan your customized skincare regimen. We like to start treatments at least 6 months ahead of your special day.
GREAT MARRIAGE SCULPTING a
Birmingham’s top-notch doctor duo keeps their marriage at the center of their practice.
Photographed by JP Howard Photography Hair & Makeup by Lindsay Hisey
“Stephen and I are really good at using our communication skills to sculpt each other’s personalities, life goals, and common goals so that we can be better every day to ourselves, to each other, to our family, and of course our patients. Refraining from using our words to cut one another like a knife, and using them instead to build one another up like iron sharpening iron, keeps our marriage hot and progressing.”
– Dr. Holly Gunn, Gunn Dermatology
- QA -
AW: When did you both meet? How did he propose?
HG: We met in medical school where Stephen scoped me out on day one and pursued me with jokes and a passion for medicine. We were instant friends and felt like “two peas in a pod” as soon as we met – which was on our wedding invitation in 2017.
Stephen proposed in the beginning of our third year med school rotations while I was on my surgery rotation. It began with a scavenger hunt that guided me to places that are important to us. Then, dressed in a tux and standing in an apartment full of flowers and balloons, he proposed. We also had dinner that evening with the entire surgery department physician staff of the University of South Alabama at a cool, antebellum house restaurant in Mobile. It was super romantic and fun.
AW: How did both of your respective practices get their start?
HG: I own my practice that we started two years ago in a pursuit of
happiness and in an effort to make an awesome work environment. Gunn Dermatology is definitely an amazing place to work. We absolutely love our Gunn Dermatology staff. They feel like family, and we work hard to make our patients feel cared for as close friends and family.
Stephen is a partner at Hedden and Gunn Plastic Surgery, Alabama’s best and most productive Plastic surgery center with its own OR suites.
AW: What is your ideal date night together when you have time away from work?
HG: We love going on weekend trips together. With four kids it’s hard to get much needed date time, so we love visiting farms, exploring new cities, and going on skiing or hiking adventures. On one of our last weekend dates, we took a hot-air balloon ride in Arizona. It was so fun and thrilling.
AW: What services do you recommend for anyone preparing for a wedding?
HG: Most brides and grooms should get a cosmetic consultation 6-12 months prior to the wedding to discuss needs. Most brides will need a HydraFacial, but some need Botox and lip filler. Other brides want it all and choose skin tightening treatments like Vivaces too.
Men sometimes request Botox and photorejuvenation treatments for sun damage. Everyone is different, so we create unique treatment and skincare routines.
AW: What advice do you have for couples after the wedding?
HG: Our advice for newlyweds is to continue to love each other, have empathy for one another, and be each other’s greatest form of support for all the trials you will go through both as a couple and individually. Grow mentally and spiritually together. Playing together is also a great way to keep love alive, whether it be working out, hiking, or any other activity you enjoy together.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART LIVES
Full of passion and purpose, realtor Mary Bell shares her story of finding home and opportunity in Birmingham.
Growing up in Iowa as the youngest of seven siblings in a poor family, Mary Bell’s life began much differently than it is now. At age twenty-one she had her first son and earned her real estate license, but she still didn’t feel that she knew who she was. She was still struggling to understand her life’s purpose. She worked in marketing and relocated to various places across the country, including Alaska, Florida, Tennessee, and Alabama. Throughout this process she became very familiar with the real estate market, so she learned to understand how it feels to have to put your trust in others to help find the right home for your family.
Today, Mary Bell has turned those experiences into a meaningful business model at Sold by the Bell, which prioritizes the client experience and ensures they find the right homes in neighborhoods where they will love to live.
For Bell, it is not only a career she is building, it is a legacy. “As my first son continues to become interested in real
estate, I want to build this company as something I can hand down to my kids in the future - which is something neither my husband nor I ever had,” says Bell. “I want to be that person I needed when I was searching for homes in places I had never been to for other moms and families in Birmingham. This is not just a job for me; it is a project of passion.”
Whether you are buying your first place as a couple, upsizing a house where you will raise kids, or finding a home where you can grow old together, working with the right real estate agent will help you at every stage in life.
“I don’t want to do things the way they have always been done. My ultimate goal is to change the game of real estate here, and make it as exciting here as other growing markets,” says Bell. “Every day is an opportunity to move the needle in Birmingham by treating my clients like a friend and enjoying the process of buying a home. Let’s go shopping!”
- Mary Bell, Sold by the Bell
I want you to shop for your home with meas a friend, not as me selling you
The Shaia family’s legacy of making men look their best.
The Shaia’s story is one of tenacity, style, and family. At the age of 16, ambitious, young S.G. Shaia, an orphan with no formal education, came to America from Lebanon with only $10 in his pocket. He eventually made his way to Nashville, where he married, and in 1905, moved to Birmingham and began peddling household goods door-to-door. In 1921 he bought four lots south of Birmingham in what would eventually become the city of Homewood.
He built a store next door to his home, and established a garden of figs and grapevines on the very lot where the present-day Shaia’s stands. His wife and two sons helped run the store, guiding it through the Great Depression and World War II as a department store. In 1955 Shaia’s moved two doors down to their present location, and a new generation joined the business. They realized that the age of specialization was fast approaching; they had always wanted a men’s store, and this was their opportunity. In July of 1963, they remodeled and reopened as a men’s specialty clothing store.
The rest is history, plus a lot of hard work. They brought the finest menswear to Alabama and added onsite alterations, cementing their reputation for fantastic service. In 1986, Ken Shaia, the fourth generation, joined the business, adding more brands and European designers. In the early 2000s, Esquire magazine deemed them one of the Best Men’s Stores in America, MR magazine named them as one of the 25 Most Exciting Men’s Stores in America, and the Alabama Retail Association gave them their Gold Award.
The business is now in Ken’s very capable hands. The vibe is still personal, down to every detail. In fact, the front door handle was modeled after the grapevines that his greatgrandfather grew in his garden in the very spot where the store still thrives 100 years later.
Whether you’re eloping to a mountainside and need an autumnal palette or throwing a Gatsbyesque black-tie bash, Shaia’s has you covered. They have decades of experience dressing men for their big day, so they know how to help you avoid the sartorial pitfalls concomitant with wedding day attire – and they make it fun.
Make an appointment, bring your bride and they’ll pop a bottle of bubbly at the “big round table” and figure out how to turn your dream look into a reality.
ON FILM A FOCUS
When the filmmaker and his bride become the feature of the story.
It’s always special when one of the wedding community’s own gets to tie the knot themselves. We checked in with videographer Hudson Hufham, owner of HUD Productions, on his own nuptials and what makes for great wedding films.
AW: How did you get your start in wedding filmmaking and opening Hud Productions?
HH: In 2017, I was a sophomore at Auburn University looking to make some extra money. I knew the wedding industry would be nice because it would allow me to work on weekends when I wasn’t in school. I asked my cousin if I could film her wedding for free, and she happily agreed.
AW: What is the cornerstone of a Hud Productions wedding film?
HH: Real moments, rich color, and an emotional, live-events driven story. We tend to do a lot of large events with grand design, so I try to create a balance between telling a very authentic, moving story that is centered on the bride and groom, while also showcasing the beautiful work of the vendors around me.
AW: How was your experience planning your own Alabama wedding?
HH: Truly one of the best days of my life. We trusted our vendors and really felt like we had a team around us that cared about us as a couple more than the little details that are so easy to get caught up in. I always tell my couples to play as well as they can, but once the day arrives, put it all out of their mind. The only thing that exists on your wedding day is you and your fiancé. Put all of your love and attention on them. Let your vendors take care of the rest. So, I did just that! It was the most rewarding day. I don’t think I’ve smiled,
laughed, and cried as much as we did that day in my entire life. We were married in an actual thunderstorm, with the hardest rain I’ve felt in my entire life. Nobody could hear our vows except the minister and us. Our guests were completely soaked, but it was our moment. The beauty of it transcended the norm of what people get so worried about. I think we had 30 people tell us and our parents that it was the most beautiful ceremony they’ve ever witnessed, even though it was gray, stormy, cold, and inaudible. I think that says something about what really matters.
AW: What is your favorite part of a wedding to capture on film?
HH: Hands down the moment when the couple walks down the aisle after being presented as husband and wife for the first time. Joy is the only word to describe that moment. All of the nerves of the day are gone, and everyone is cheering – it’s magical.
FIFTEEN YEARS CHEERS TO
Serve your guests something smart, neat, but with a twist.
To commemorate a milestone in serving the Southeast fine cocktails, B&B Beverage Management shares two of their favorite cocktail recipes sure to delight your guests.
Classic Gin Fizz
• 2oz gin
• 0.75oz lemon juice
• 0.5oz simple syrup or maple syrup
• 1 egg white
• 1 lemon twist
• 1.25oz soda water to top
1. Add the gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and egg white to a shaker and vigorously dry-shake (without ice) for about 15 seconds.
2. Add 3 or 4 ice cubes and shake vigorously until well-chilled.
3. Double-strain into a chilled Collins glass. Top with club soda and garnish with a twist of lemon.
Birthday Cake White Russian
• 0.5oz Kahlua
• 0.5oz Godiva White Chocolate
• 0.5oz Frangelico
• 1oz vanilla vodka
• 0.25 tsp vanilla extract
• 2oz heavy cream
1. In a cocktail shaker, combine all liquers, vodka, and vanilla extract.
2. Add ice to the cocktail shaker, then shake vigorously.
3. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Top with heavy cream. Enjoy!
ON THE GO
leaders share their recipes for success.
Composed almost entirely of local, small businesses, the wedding industry is special. As food and beverage business owners, Kendell Willett of Taps to Go-Go and Thomas Cox of Table & Thyme know what they bring to the table and how to do so with panache.
AW: How did you start your business?
KW: Sophia, our custom tap truck, was ordered in February of 2022. I have seen Piaggio Apes used for various purposes all through Europe and have been obsessed with them. When my husband and I bought a bar a few years ago, I immediately saw a path that could take me toward Taps To Go-Go.
AW: What do you love most about getting to work with couples who are planning their wedding?
KW: I am a planner by nature, so I love getting to work with couples on the beverage menu and logistical details, but the best part is getting to experience the unique celebrations that each couple plans.
TC: Food and gatherings are a very intimate thing, especially your wedding day. We want to elevate your expectations and create a relationship with you from the beginning. We love meeting people in the community and helping them create their vision and wow their guests.
AW: What advice do you have for other small business owners in the community?
TC: Stay consistent in your efforts. Know beforehand that there are a lot of times in business that are not ‘fun.’ Hire experts to do the things that are not in your wheelhouse, but make an effort to have a baseline knowledge of those efforts as well as the overall business doings.
Willett, Taps to Go-Go
AW: Is there someone in your life that has been a champion for you as a small business owner?
KW: Yes, for sure I have the most spectacular group of friends who have supported me from the start. But nobody has been more in my corner through this endeavor as much as my mother. She has been the ultimate cheerleader- helping me get through those tough days and celebrating with me on even the tiniest successes. She will hold my head up for me when I can’t do it for myself. There is nothing in this world like that feeling.
Table & Thyme
AW: How did you get started in the wedding industry and what advice do you have for couples planning their wedding?
TC: Table & Thyme was inspired by my current company of nine years, Mealfit, where we do meal prep and daily office and group catering events. We were getting asked to do larger scale events, like weddings and corporate gatherings, and the Mealfit brand didn’t fit that, so we created Table and Thyme in 2019 to service those clients. Allow the experts to help create your day and make it special, so you can spend time celebrating with the ones you love most.
Their passion for entertaining is the heartbeat of your party.
A great DJ or band is the ultimate asset to a fab party. To hear more about their entertaining expertise, we spoke with Robert Fowler of Superior Sound Entertainment and Patty Thompson, booking manager for Roman Street Band.
AW: How did your entertainment business get its start?
RF: I started DJing because it’s my way of giving people a brief break from the problems in their life and encouraging them to enjoy the moment. I started Superior Sound Entertainment because people enjoyed the way I entertained them. There was such a high demand for this quality of entertainment. I decided to train a team to entertain wedding guests a certain way, and our clients are so happy I did. We constantly get feedback that our clients’ guests say that their wedding was the best the guests had ever attended.
PT: Roman Street started with Brothers Noah and Joshua Thompson more than 15 years ago and attribute their style of playing to their European guitar mentors, Tonic Strings. Roman Street is a nationally touring band with national and international radio play, performing at national jazz festivals and performing arts centers, in addition to weddings and events.
AW: What advice do you have for couples as they consider their entertainment selection?
RF: Entertainment is extremely important. A couple will spend quite a bit on their wedding expenses, so I am sure they would want their family and friends to really enjoy the complete experience. Entertaining different groups every week is a very difficult task, so you definitely want to go with a company that has a good track record of providing excellent service on one of the biggest days of your life.
RF: We try to offer everything a client may need for entertainment at their weddings. We offer uplighting, monograms, projector services for rehearsal dinners, karaoke services, digital photo booths, roaming photo booths, emcee services, 360-degree photo booths, cold sparks, pinspot lighting, and DJ services. The ultimate experience would be the client communicating to me exactly what they want. I make it a point to tailor the event specifically to the client.
PT: Roman Street offers all musical services for weddings, from the rehearsal dinner to ceremony and cocktail hour to reception. We offer a bundled fee for multiple services, services like a guitar duo, a guitar trio, or even a full band for brides who want more cover tunes and dance music.
Light and bright frame the day in this family-built venue.
Just an hour outside of Birmingham, the family-owned Oak Meadow Event Center is a modern, airy farmhouse venue offering easy country charm for couples. Joy Acker, who owns the venue with her husband Mark, shares what makes it so special.
AW: How did Oak Meadow first begin?
JA: Oak Meadow began when my husband Mark purchased a piece of land on Highway 144 in Ohatchee. His intent was to develop the land and resell it; the next thing I knew, I was researching wedding venues. It became clear to me that an all-white farmhouse-style venue would be unique in our area. I began sketching out the plans on a piece of graph paper. A few months later, construction began.
AW: What elements of Oak Meadow do you feel best speak to classic, Southern weddings?
JA: A classic Southern bride chooses timeless elements and incorporates some traditions into her wedding day. Our farmhouse venue, intentional hospitality and peaceful atmosphere definitely resonate with Southern brides.
AW: What advice would you give Southern couples as they begin their venue selection?
JA: Prior to booking a site tour, know the style of venue you want and your budget. We also encourage couples to begin thinking about how to showcase who they are on their wedding day; that’s what truly makes each wedding unique.
BUILT WITH THE BRIDE IN MIND
AFFAIR A FINE
Create your own masterpiece among well-curated collections.
Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is the oldest fine arts museum in Alabama, and its lakefront setting and idyllic grounds make it a perfect wedding venue for arts-loving couples. Aaron Ganey, special events coordinator, tells us why.
AW: How would you best describe couples who have had their weddings at MMFA?
AG: Couples who select the museum for their wedding often share a deep passion for the arts and find resonance amongst our impressive permanent collection. Many couples celebrate their weddings here because it holds a special place in their memories, having visited with their families in their childhood.
AW: How can couples utilize the museum for their full wedding?
AG: The museum offers incredible spaces! Have a lakeside ceremony on the Parker Terrace then move to the picturesque Caddell Sculpture Garden for cocktails. Enjoy dinner in the Lowder Gallery, surrounded by world-class contemporary art, then dancing under the soaring Rotunda –it’s my favorite spot in the museum.
AW: Have you ever had events inspired by a particular piece of art?
AG: Recently, a couple wed in front of a favorite work, John Signer Sargent’s Mrs. Louis E. Raphael (Henriette Goldschmidt). The bride built her color palette around the lifesize oil painting, incorporating the soft blues and greens into the floral arrangements. The bride also wore a pearl necklace similar to the one worn by Mrs. Raphael. What a personal and special experience!
Bridal Gown: McClendon Bridals
Floral Design: Dana’s Floral Design
Hair & Makeup: Makeup Mel Jewelry: Bromberg’s
Photography: Nick Frontiero Photography
If you are searching for a wedding venue in Montgomery, let us show you how we can make your dreams a reality. The Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is the perfect setting for rehearsal dinners, wedding ceremonies, and receptions—offering unique indoor and outdoor spaces. Scan the QR code or visit mmfa.org to learn more.
Where industrial architecture sets the stage for an electric affair.
Some couples want a wedding that’s soft and romantic. Others want a party to end all parties. If you fall in the latter category, look to Iron City. Yes, one of Birmingham’s hottest concert venues is also available for weddings! Kendall Howell, private events assistant manager, tells us more.
AW: What kinds of couples choose to wed at Iron City?
KH: Creative and fun. A typical Iron City bride is looking to have a lively evening with delicious food, flowing drinks, a fully staffed bar, danceable music, and most importantly, a great time! Our state-of-the-art sound system creates the perfect atmosphere for a celebration of marriage. The space is able to be transformed to fit any bride’s dream, and we provide an unforgettable night!
AW: Can Iron City also cater a full sitdown reception?
KH: Yes! Iron City has an extensive catering and bar menu. We have full dinner packages for couples looking for a seated meal, and we have a wide spread of hors d’oeuvres to choose from if a bride is looking for more of a grab-and-go buffet style! Our bar is totally customizable; we have packages to choose from and can add on any specialty cocktail by request!
AW: What advice do you have for couples looking at venues?
KH: Find your aesthetic and run with it! Tools such as Instagram and Pinterest will impact the way you look at venues; then, you’ll know if the venue matches your vision as soon as you walk through the door for your first tour. Iron City is a space where you can let loose and have fun! Your wedding day should be a celebration, not a chore.
Built in 1929, the meticulously restored venue blends industrial charm with polished finesse, making it ideal for any bridal vision. Multi-level staging accentuates exposed brick and dark-stained wooden floors, creating the perfect picture of industrial chic. Beneath the high beams, our fantastic chefs pair a vibrant, innovative menu with fresh, local produce and unparalleled service for an unforgettable evening.
Set the table and pass the casserole. It's time for dinner!
the family meal. Preparing culinary staples in a shareable style, these elevated menus are bound to please every palate.Mary Fehr Photography Food Styling by Rishon Hanners top chefs reimagine Hastings Catering Heirloom Tomato Salad with Field Peas, Sweet Corn, Fried Okra, Smoked Bacon, Hot and Hot Aioli, and Balsamic Vinaigrette Serving Platter: Bromberg's
Tableware: Table MattersPorchetta Wrapped & Stuffed with Fennel, Garlic, and Herbs Asparagus Platter with Capers, Salted Shaved Almonds, and Fresh Dill Mustard Vinaigrette Gulf Coast Shrimp Salad Roasted Fingerling Potatoes Beet Pickled Deviled Eggs
BºN APPÉTIT !
BY THE SLICE
Beautiful on the inside and out.Photography by Piper Vine
Cake: Cakes by Kim
This page: Table Matters
Opposite Page: Bromberg's
Cake: Olexa's Cakes
Plates & Glassware: Table Matters
Cake Stand & Serving Set: Bromberg's
when shewanted to wander...
MADE WITH LOVE
BEST DRESSED GUEST
Formal attire is always in fashion, and a handsome plus one is the perfect accessory.Victor Cole Photography at The Fennec
For the perfect portrait session, a location like The Social with ample natural light and a combination of textural and clean backgrounds is sure to achieve an editorial effect.
STYLE in the BAG
A proper bridesmaid or groomsman is always prepared. A well-planned bag is a wedding day essential.Photography by Mason David Erwin on location at The Barn at Shady Lane Hair and Makeup by Makeup Mel, Erin Milkay, and Lisa Nguyen Styling by David Kirk and Christopher Confero
COMING IN CLUTCHby Ami à Vie
Bailey, Thankyousomuchforstandingnexttome onmybigday.Iwantedtosayalittle"thank you"withthiscustomstationerysetfilled withallofyourfavoritethings!
THROUGH the AGES
In gilded ballrooms and stately settings, we present timeless fashions for the modern lady.
Creative Direction by Christopher Confero & David Kirk
Mo Davis Photography at The 1616 House Hair & Makeup by Joiya Pams and Mandi Trawick for Makeup Mel Fashion Styling by Christian Jinnette Floral Design by CeCe Designs
Imperial Formal Wear Chic Nostalgia, Penelope, $1,799 Jewelry: Diamonds Direct
This Page: Ivory & White Bridal Boutique
Monique Lhuillier, Hydrangea, $7,900
Jewelry: Diamonds Direct
Page: Bella Couture
Justin Alexander Signature, Heather, $2,185
This Page: The White Room
Anne Barge, Romero, $5,270
Custom Feather Headpiece: Carolyn Kelley
Jewelry: Diamonds Direct
Opposite Page: Bella's Bridal & Formal
Left: Adrianna Papell Platinum, Style 40267, $1,299
Right: Jimmie Huang, Brisa, $1,499
Jewelry: Diamonds Direct
This Page: Ivory & White Bridal Boutique
Monique Lhuillier Bliss, BL20222, $4,200
Jewelry: Diamonds Direct
Opposite Page: McClendon
L'amour by Calla Blanche, Toni, $1,750
COM MON THRE ADSStory by David Kirk Photographed by Lance Lenoir Hair & Makeup by Lisa Nguyen, Erin Milkay, Caitlyn Moreno, and Joiya Pams for Makeup Mel
Whether you are looking for a dress with a loved one, altering your grandmother’s gown, or surrounded by a bridal party waiting to see each dress come out of the fitting room, selecting a bridal gown is one of the most memorable and intimate experiences of the wedding planning process.
Today, we peer behind the curtain of the bridal shops that are dedicated to selecting beautiful gowns from dressmakers of every kind, and bringing them home for Alabama brides to wear on their wedding day. From attending bridal fashion weeks in New York to building relationships with the top designers around the world, our shop owners always have their customers in their hearts and
minds. Late-night alterations, lastminute urgent requests, and decades of experience are all part of the job when you run a bridal boutique. We invited the women of some of Alabama’s best bridal shops to share their stories with us. Carol Riney of Bella’s Bridal & Formal, Carolyn and Cathy Kelley of The White Room, Ginger Nix of McClendon Bridals, and Colleen Hopwood of Bella Couture have all been there for countless brides and their families.
"What we love most is the reaction from our brides and their mothers when we reveal that our bridal shop is owned by a mother-daughter duo," says Carolyn Kelley. "Shopping for your wedding gown is a very special moment between a mother and
daughter, and this just strikes a cord with our customers."
Every bridal shop has something different to offer, but they all share a bond of family and women empowering other women. The shops give strength to each bride to look and feel their best on their big day, and in turn, the brides support a local business that represents a life's work and generations of entrepreneurs.
"My parents have always encouraged me to do anything that I set my mind to," says Colleen Hopwood. "They both helped in the process of opening the store in 2006. My dad hand-crafted our counter and hung most of the satin fabric on the ceiling. My mom, sister, and I built the platforms and made
"We make every appointment personal. Each bride has their own bridal suite and an experienced stylist to help them find the perfect dress. We listen to each bride’s vision and help them as we walk through our showroom of over 800 wedding dresses. They can touch and feel each dress and find the ones that catch their eye. It’s almost like love at first sight!
I strive to build a team that feels like family and has the knowledge and passion to assist our brides. I love seeing our brides when they say, “Yes!” to the dress. To me, that is the best part!"Carol Riney, Bella's Bridal & Formal
the satin panels. My brother designed my logo with part of our family crest. I had a wonderful group of friends that came in on their off days and after work to help paint, finish the floors, and address every detail to make my vision of Bella Couture come to life. I even had two marriages occur in my friend group as a result of helping get the store launched."
"McClendon Bridals exists in the space that was once my grandfather’s jewelry store," says Ginger Nix. "The ins-and-outs of running a family business, from organizing displays to making connections with customers, is in my blood. After my grandfather passed, my mom and I wanted to keep his legacy alive by providing a great product while attracting people to our community. My grandfather sold the ring; now we’ve come full circle to sell the gown."
At the end of every big day, love, family, and friends are the common threads that make each of us feel our most beautiful.
AW: What advice would you give every future bride as they start to plan for their bridal gown?
Bella's Bridal & Formal: "I would tell every bride to enjoy this precious time and choose a dress that expresses who they are. Keep an open mind. Find a dress that makes you feel like the most beautiful bride in the world! We can help you do that!" Carol Riney
The White Room: "Our best nugget of advice for brides starting the process of shopping for their wedding dress, is to have an open mind. Try on styles that you might not have thought about. Gowns look one way on a hanger, but totally different on a body. And gowns may look one way on one bride and totally different on another. Just come into it with an open mind and trust us." Carolyn Kelley
McClendon Bridals: "Style, trends, comfort, season, and venue are all great things to consider when thinking about your gown. But ultimately, it’s about the confidence and joy you feel on your day. Close your eyes and picture yourself walking toward your groom. What do you see? How do you feel? This is the true guide to discovering your gown." Ginger Nix
Bella Couture: "Carefully consider who you bring with you to shop for your gown. For your first time shopping, bring those people that are honest but will tell you what looks fabulous on you not necessarily what they would like for themselves; the people who are your biggest advocate. If you feel like there are people that would get their feelings hurt if they are not included from the beginning, bring them back and we will act like it is your
first appointment. Do some research on what type of gown you think you want but keep an open mind. As women, we are often the most critical of ourselves. You may think that you need a certain style gown to hide what you consider a figure flaw. That isn't always the case. Often a bride will choose a gown that was not what they thought they wanted or not what they thought they needed to feel beautiful. Don't make a pressure decision. Your gown affects your pictures which next to your Love, your gown is the only thing you have from your wedding. Lastly, have at least a rough budget set. Factor in the cost of alterations ahead of time if you have a strict budget. Most of all, enjoy yourself!"Colleen Hopwood
"As we are sitting here answering these questions, we look up and on our mantel in our living room is a little painting of two angels, which was given to us by a dear sweet bride that contacted us with a very sad situation. This bride found herself needing a new gown seven days away from her wedding. We received the phone call early one Saturday morning. Being booked for the day, I asked her to come at 6:00 pm that evening and we would find her a gown. We had plans to leave town on Sunday morning and would not return until Thursday. Carolyn stayed up all night that Saturday, taking a size 12 gown up to a size 2. The bride and her mother came to our house the next morning at 9:00 am for Carolyn to pin the hem. When we returned from our trip on Thursday, Carolyn immediately got back to work on the gown. The bride came back to our house on Thursday night and with just a few tweaks needing to be made, came back Friday night to pick up her gown. We assured the bride that we could work this out for her and we did.
That is basically who we are. If we say we can do something, we will work it out and make it happen. That little piece of artwork in our living room truly speaks to who we are. In this particular situation, we were both the bride’s and her mother’s angels."
"My grandmother worked alongside my grandfather most days in their jewelry store - that is now McClendon Bridals. Her favorite song was 'Moonlight Serenade' by Glenn Miller. There have been countless times this song has played at random on our speakers at the exact time a bride says, 'Yes.' It is often when she is sharing a special moment with her own mother or grandmother. We get chills every time and believe it is the ultimate sign that our bride has found her gown. It’s also a great reminder that my grandparents are with us and their legacy is, in fact, still alive."
"We have had the honor of being a part of three weddings from a special family, with one more bride to go. We have laughed with them, prayed through sickness and even cried at times. It means a lot when you get a connection not just with the bride but also with the family that brings others back to you. There are wonderful stores in Birmingham now, so to have a family choose to come back with each daughter and send others to you lets me know that we are doing what the bride deserves."Colleen Hopwood, Bella Couture
LETTERS in the LIBRARYB&A Warehouse
Lost in daydreams and fairytales, memories of the past inspire stories to come.Katie Gracen Photography at
For the Gracious Giver
"Looking for the perfect wedding gift, but want something that isn't on the registry? Look no further than this quintessential hosting starter kit. This charming basket filled with floral linens, chic servingware, elevated vases, and so much more, is the perfect way for a new bride to begin her hosting journey in her new home."Maggie Smith, Ami à Vie
For Weddings & Lovers
Katie Gracen offers intimate insight with her style of portraiture. Share a softer side of yourselves with a session planned ahead of the wedding day.
Love de Provence
Go on, unfold your menu. A farmstead feast awaits.Twenty Oaks Photography at Otter Creek Farmstead
SNOW WHITE, ROSE RED
Inspired by Brother's Grimm, we imagine a dark romance nestled in the forests of Fairhope.
Jennifer Thorpe Photography at Fairhope's Storybook Castles
The Whimsy of Words
Add another layer to your place setting with handlettered menus with a tassle to boot. Sometimes knowing what is to come doesn't spoil the ending.
Be daring on your wedding day! Incorporate gem stones and jewel tones for a rich color story. Available at Bromberg's.
“We had the best time with Meghan, our planner, and AG Lighting & Events, the design team. I have worked with them previously when I was an event coordinator. My mother and I share a passion for interior design, so we enjoyed taking the empty room and making it our own. We all got together over drinks and had the best time coming up with creative ideas and layouts that made our day feel extra special and unique. The design team and our planner shared our same passion and made all of our ideas come to life, including making our 9ft custom bar! We couldn’t have done any of it without their amazing team.”– Greer - The Couple’s Story -
Greer Burkett & James Borland
February 19, 2022 – Vestavia Hills
Bridal Gown: Carriage House Weddings. Bridesmaids Gowns: Bella Bridesmaids. Cake: Barb’s Cakes. Ceremony Venue: Trinity United Methodist Church. Catering, Reception Venue: Vestavia Country Club. Floral & Event Design, Lighting & Draping: AG Lighting & Events. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Mr. Burch Formal Wear. Hair & Makeup: Emily Summerville. Music & Entertainment: Ascension. Photographer: Heather Durham Photography. Reception Stationery: Annabelle’s. Transportation: Rare Transportation. Wedding Planner: M. Elizabeth Events. Videographer: Holloway Productions. Wedding Night Accommodations: The Valley Hotel.
Cake: Daughter’s Baking. Catering, Ceremony & Reception Venue: OvenBird. Floral Design: Marigold Designs. Grooms’ Attire: Suit Supply, The Black Tux. Lounge Furniture, Rentals: PropHouse. Lighting & Drapery: AG Lighting & Events. Linen: BBJ LaTavola Linen. Music & Entertainment: Marianne Griffin, The Party Jammers – RAM Entertainment. Photography: Sarah Lawless. Rings: Levy’s Fine Jewelry. Stationery Design: Jeremy D. Clark. Transportation: Rare Transportation. Wedding Planner: Anna Wynn Event Designs.
- Advice from the Couple -
“We encourage all who plan a wedding to commit to a vision you love and to not be afraid to do something different. We wanted to create a vibrant space, filled entirely with greenery rather than flowers –which our planner executed perfectly. We brought pieces from our home to the venue as well, such as picture frames and coffee table books, to help make the space ours.”
– Chad & Andrew
James Andrew Watson, Jr. & Charles David Bowman
September 24, 2022 – Birmingham
Abigail Grace Reid & Nathaniel Mack Reed
Abba Reid is the daughter of Alabama native designer, Billy Reid. Abba and Nate’s reception was held at Pickett on Court, next door to the Billy Reid flagship location.
- Favorite Memory -
“One of my favorite moments of our wedding day happened shortly after our ceremony. Nate and I got married on my parents’ anniversary, which is so special to me now. While we were engaged, Nate’s company, High Cotton Homes, purchased The Mapleton, the wedding venue where my parents were married. We decided to take photos there after our ceremony. Giddy from just being married, it felt so surreal to be standing in the same place where my parents’ marriage and beautiful love story began. Those photos ended up being some of our favorites!”– Abba
Bridal Gown: Bella’s Bridal & Formal.
Bridesmaid Gowns: David’s Bridal. Cake: Jonica’s Bakery. Catering: Bubba’s Silver Spoon. Ceremony, Reception, and Rehearsal Dinner Venue; Lighting & Drapery; Rentals; Wedding Coordinator; Wedding Night Accommodations: Burns Bluff at High Falls. Floral Design: Lake Guntersville Flowers. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Kay’s Kreations. Hair & Makeup: Amanda Kent Beauty. Music: Cahaba Creek String Quartet, Malena Williams, Party Time Productions. Photography: Be Light Photography. Stationery Design: Bella Vance.
- The Proposal -
“Mentone, Alabama has always been a place near to my heart. I love the mountains and have gone there for several years with my family. Caleb was able to experience it for the first time a year prior. My best friend came to Mississippi and invited us to a cabin in Mentone for the weekend. We packed our bags and headed to the mountains the following weekend. After spending the day in Chattanooga with friends, we arrived back at the cabin. I knew immediately what was happening! There was a line of candles from the driveway to the bluff and a beautiful arrangement on a table with a photo of us. He whispered in my ear, “Take off all your rings,” as he dropped to one knee and asked me to spend forever with him. I looked up to the cabin and saw our families waiting to celebrate with us.” – Bella
Isabella Louise Maske & Joseph Caleb Vance
03, 2022 – Albertville
Ashley Nicole Roy & Jaylan Jamaal Fields
June 11, 2022 – Birmingham
Bridal Gown: La Raine’s Bridal. Bridesmaid Gowns: Azazie. Cake: Cakes by Kim. Catering: The Happy Catering Company. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Events at Haven. Drapery: Anthony Terry. Floral Design: Wells Design Co. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Crown of Wealth Collection, Men’s Wearhouse. Hair Stylists: Toi Bradford, Jaylen Janae. Lighting, Music & Entertainment: DJ PaPaRooster. Linen: I Do Linens. Makeup Artists: Meeka Lewis, Aaliyah Chrell. Photographer: James Willis Photography. Rentals: The Grand Event Design & Decor, Decor to Adore. Rings: Diamonds Direct. Stationery: Sandi Spells. Transportation: Accent Limousine. Wedding Planner: Gabbrielle Steele, Steele Unique Weddings & Events. Videographer: Suzanne Delawar Studios. Wedding Night Accommodations: The Valley Hotel.
-The Proposal -
“We met at The University of Alabama. We both attended a crawfish boil in the summer of 2015 at a local bar called Rounders. Jaylan originally planned to propose in April of 2020, but had to put those plans on hold. In June, Jaylan wanted to re-do my birthday plans. He executed the proposal by safely gathering our families and close friends on an outdoor rooftop. I walked in and saw roses and our family and friends leading to him.”
Bridal Gown: Ellie’s Bridal Boutique. Bridesmaid Gowns: Revelry. Cake, Catering: Sustain. Ceremony Venue: St. Mary of the Visitation Catholic Church. Floral Design: Everything Esther. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Army Service Uniform. Hair Stylist: Miranda Goodman. Lighting & Drapery, Rentals: Shindigs & Such. Makeup Artist: Olivia Sparks. Music & Entertainment: DJ Dustin Coan. Photography: Carla Lawrence Photography. Reception Venue: The Roundhouse. Stationery: JMK Artwork. Transportation: Classy Limousine Service. Videographer: Nathan Gregg.
– The Couple’s Story –
“We loved exiting the church through the saber arch. Jeff, along with his six groomsmen, were all graduates of West Point Military Academy, so it was really special to have them all wear their uniforms for the wedding. Ironically, the first time Jeff wore his military uniform was at his graduation from West Point – the first time he met me. Ten years later, he got to wear it again when we got married!”
Julia Nicole Minopoli & Jeffrey Michael Klug September 10, 2022 – Huntsville
Bridal Gown: Bella Couture. Cake, Catering, Ceremony & Reception Venue, Wedding Night Accommodations: Pursell Farms. Floral Design: Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse. Hair Stylist: Kristen Cole. Makeup Artist: Sara Elizabeth. Photography: Lauren Elliot Photo. Rings. Diamonds Direct.
– Advice from the Couple –
“The most important thing for both of us was that it was stress-free and intimate. We didn’t worry about having everything perfect or going on without a hitch. That would be my advice for couples – don’t worry over small details or blunders. The most important thing is that you enjoy each other. The day goes by fast, so enjoy it!”
Sylacauga Whitney Nichole Smith & John Lucas
Bridal Gown: Carriage House Weddings. Cakes: Barb’s Cakes. Catering, Reception Venue, Wedding Night Accommodations: The Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook. Floral Design: Vera Flora Design. Hair & Makeup: Makeup Mel. Lighting & Drapery: Elegant Event Rentals. Linen: BBJ LaTavola, Nuage Designs. Music & Entertainment: Universal Crush – East Coast Entertainment. Photography: Eric & Jamie Photography. Rentals: Decor to Adore. Stationery: Empress Stationery. Transportation: Cline Transportation, Coats Classic Cars, Rare Transportation. Wedding Planner: Becky’s Brides. Videographer: Eric & Jamie Films.
- Favorite Memory -
“The first dance was a moment in our wedding that I will never forget. We chose the song ‘Heaven,’ by Jason Aldean, which is a cover of an 80s song. It was the perfect way for us to combine our love for that era of music with our love for country music. We had a few fun surprises for our guests throughout the dance, including a move where Matt lifted me up and spun me around. Cold sparks also went off during the dance, which was a lot of fun for us and our guests. It was a great way to start the party vibe for the second part of the evening!”
Hometown Girl Handley M. Smith is owner of Handley Breaux Designs, a Birmingham-based wedding planning company.
Handley Breaux McCrory & Michael Andrew Smith
November 11, 2022 – La Romana Dominican Republic
Bridal Gown: Ivory & White Bridal Boutique. Cake, Catering: Casa de Campo Catering. Ceremony Venue: Private Villa at Casa de Campo Resort. Floral Design, Lighting & Drapery: Caribbean Celebrations. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Mr Burch Formal Wear. Hair & Makeup: Abby Moorer. Linen: BBJ LaTavola, Custom Dinner Napkins Embroidered by B.Marlie. Music & Entertainment: GCStar Punta Cana. Officiant: The Very Reverend Andrew Pearson. Photography: Davy Whitener Photography. Registry: Bromberg’s, Williams Sonoma, Hammett, Weezie Towels. Rings: Custom Designed by Diamonds Direct. Stationery: Annabelle’s, Porter River’s Art, Jan Pruitt Calligraphy, Enfield Post Stamps. Videography: The Film Collective. Wedding Planner: Handley Breaux Designs.
– The Couple’s Story –
“Our friends are our family, so we wanted to make sure that we created an experience that everyone would cherish. We really made sure that the guest experience was a priority – and I am so glad we did! We wanted them to know how much we appreciated them being there and how big of a part of our lives they are. That is another reason we kept it so small: when you have a smaller headcount, you can focus on those details and make them matter.”– Handley
Bridal Gown: Grace Loves Lace.
Bridesmaid Gowns: Show Me Your Mumu. Cake: The Crumm Shop. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Rockhurst Farm. Desserts: Joan Lovvom, The Heavenly Donut Co. Drapery, Ribbons: Tray Lovvorn. Floral Design: Heather C Metcalf. Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply. Hair Stylist: Styled by Paige. Makeup Artist: Kerilyn Dubberley. Lighting: Tim Hurry. Music & Entertainment: DJ Will Jones. Photography: Rylo Creative. Stationery Design: Keller Hufham. Tablescape Design: Gild and Garnish. Wedding Planner: Julia Symonds. Videography: Roan Weddings.
– Advice from the Couple –
We had a picture of what we wanted our wedding day to be like: sunshine, perfect skin tones from backlit photography, but the largest thunderstorm of the summer had other plans. Truly, we have never stood in as hard of rain as our ceremony was held in. Every single guest looked as if they had just jumped in a swimming pool.
Beauty was redefined on this day. We have never experienced as much joy as was felt by everyone in attendance. By the reception, everyone was soaked to the core, embracing and enjoying the rain as we danced the night away. We had over 30 people tell us afterwards it was the most fun they’ve ever had at a wedding.
Keller Grace Lovvorn & Mark Hudson Hufham
July 30, 2022 – Wilsonville
Carlie Elizabeth Bagwell & William David Spencer, Jr.
May 21, 2022 – Huntsville
Bridal Gown: Kathleen’s Bridal. Bridesmaid Gowns: Bella Bridesmaids. Cake: Debbie Hardaway. Catering: Chef on Call. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Huntsville Botanical Garden. Floral Design: Beth Woody Florals. Hair & Makeup: Emma Jones - Beauty by Studio E. Lighting & Drapery, Linen, Rentals: Shindigs and Such. Photographer: Valerie Callan Photography. Rings: Tiffany & Co., B&B Jewelers. Stationery: Salt & Paperie. Transportation: Coats Classic Cars. Wedding Planner: Cathay Mayer. Videography: Magnolia Tree Media.
- Advice from the Couple -
“If I could give one piece of advice to any brides-to-be, it would be to enjoy the season that you are in. I know it is easier said than done. I attribute that to one thing – the people. It is all about the friends and family that surround you, the incredible vendors that you choose to entrust to carry out your vision, and most importantly, the person with whom you are spending the rest of your life. Take a breath, hug your loved ones a little tighter, and know that at the end of the day, you’re marrying the love of your life. Everything else will fall into place.”– Carlie
Julia Marr & Vincent Salvatore Riccio
March 26, 2022 – Eclectic
Bridal Gown: Maggie Louise Bridal. Cakes: Barb’s Cakes. Catering: Jennie Weller Catering. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Marsgate. Lead Floral Design and Wedding Planner: Donnie Sasser. Floral Team: No. 5 Floral Design, Lisa Bailey Designs, Evan G. Cooper. Hair and Makeup: Jorja Oliver, Hannah McFadden. Ice Cream Cart: Big Spoon Creamery. Lighting: Special Event Lighting. Live Painter: Melissa Munger Art. Marquee Lights: Alpha Lit Auburn. Music & Entertainment: Barbara Harrington, The Empire Band. Photographer: Sarah Blaze Photography. Valet Parking: Magic City Parking. Videographer: MacLaren Films. Wedding Coordinator: Ami Lander.
- How They Met -
“My advice to all brides would be to experience every moment and emotion to the fullest. There will be so many laughs and tears! Don’t hold them back! Sincerely Thank everyone for coming to your special day, and hug as many people as possible! And of course, take as many pictures as you can! You will cherish those memories forever!”– Julia
Bridal Gown: Second City Bride.
Bridesmaid Gowns: Azazie. Cake, Catering, Ceremony & Reception Venue, Linen, Rentals, Floral Design: Mathews Manor. Catering: Annapurna Catering Service. Dance Floor Effects: Superior Sound Entertainment. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse.
Hair Stylist: Sonia’s Salon. Music & Entertainment: DJ Karim. Photography: AL Weddings. Rentals: Vandana Decor. Traditional Attire: Custom made in India.
- The Couple’s Story -
“Indian weddings don’t typically have a rehearsal dinner; however, we do have many other ceremonies and events before the wedding. We hosted a fun Mehndi night filled with good food and drinks and a mehndi artist to apply mehndi to guests. Our advice to other couples is to schedule a private moment for yourselves on your wedding day. Take 30 minutes after the ceremony and before the reception where you can eat together and take in the moment.”– Anjali
Anjali Gandhakwala & Rishi Rai
Bridal Gown: Carriage House Weddings. Cake: Barb’s Cakes. Catering, Reception Venue:The Club. Floral Design: Amy Osaba Design. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: The Black Tux. Hair & Makeup: Holly Craft. Lighting & Drapery: AG Lighting. Linen: Bobbins Design. Music & Entertainment: Derek Sellers. Photography: Heather Durham Photography. Registry: Bromberg’s, Table Matters. Rentals: Mayker Events. Stationery: Julie King Studio. Wedding Planner: M. Elizabeth Events. Videography: Resolute Wedding Films. Wedding Night Accommodations: The Grand Bohemian.
– The Couple’s Story –
“We had two wedding events. One was in March and was tiny with the reception at our home. The second one was a large reception party in September. While both were amazing and fulfilling, the small, intimate wedding weekend was extraordinary. Keeping it simple and focusing on the joy of marriage and family was paramount.”
Sarah Lawrence Reed & Daniel Elliot Weld
March 20, 2021 – Mountain Brook
Mia Prieur & Jon Burgess
Bridal Gown: Ivory & White. Bridesmaid Gowns: KAAREM, Amsale. Cake: Pastry Art Bake Shoppe. Catering: Vintage Hospitality Group. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Event Design & Planning: CONFERO. Floral Design: Dana’s Floral Design. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Bespoke by Master Tailors of Georgetown. Hair & Makeup: Irrelephant x Mae Bridal. Music & Entertainment: Music Excursions, DJ DXD. Photography: Mo Davis Photography. Stationery: Paperhaus. Transportation: Cline Tours.
- How They Met -
“Our parents met before we were born, when Jon’s father was the Director of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. Our parents had stayed in touch over the years, but we ourselves had never met. On Thanksgiving 2015, Jon’s family came to the farm for a visit. My family had been plotting to set me up with someone else that day, but Jon inadvertently spoiled the plan.” – Mia
Bridal Gown: Saks Fifth Avenue. Bridesmaid Gowns: Anthropology. Cake: Barb’s Cakes. Catering: Savoie Catering. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Oak Meadow Event Center. Floral Design: Southern Posies. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Dillard’s. Linen, Rentals: PropHouse. Music & Entertainment: Emerald Empire Band. Hair Stylist: Leah Galbreath Allen. Makeup Artist: Juliana Jeffcoat Dick. Photography: Eric & Jamie Photography. Planner: Valia Rose Events. Stationery: Minted.
- The Couple’s Story -
“We met thirty-one years ago and married July 18, 1997. My sister introduced us. I was a single mom of three when we met. Randy was single with no children and spent most of his time building his family business, Watkins Trucking Co. When Randy met my children, I knew he was my knight in shining armor! They loved him, and that made me love Randy even more. Thirty-one years later, while we have had our hard seasons, we’ve had too many good ones to count. Twenty-five years of marriage, seven grandbabies, successful businesses, loving family and friends, and a God that sent us exactly who we needed is really something to celebrate - so we did! We didn’t have a big celebration in 1997, and there was no official proposal. We were two adults who decided to get married; so, we went to Gatlinburg, TN, and did just that. On Easter, 2022, my husband got down on one knee in front of our family and asked me to be his for another twenty-five years. It was perfect, and our 25th vow renewal celebration was everything I could have dreamed it to be.” – Donna
Donna Sargent Watkins & Randy Phillip Watkins
Laurie Alison Lancaster & Adam Christopher Hodges
- The Proposal -
“Adam and I met as kids when we lived in the same neighborhood. We lost touch when he moved away, but reconnected years later when a mutual friend set us up.
God’s timing is perfect! Adam proposed on the beach at sunset with my family there to celebrate with us!”
Bridal Gown: Heidi Elnora Atelier.
Bridesmaid Gowns: Bella Bridesmaids.
Cake: Sugar & Stems. Catering; Ceremony & Reception Venue: Pursell Farms. Event Design & Planning: CONFERO. Floral Design: CeCe Designs. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Mobley & Sons. Hair & Makeup: Brittany Benton Massey. Lighting & Drapery: AG Lighting. Linen: I Do Linens. Lounge Furniture and Rentals: PropHouse. Music & Entertainment: Jordan Kahn Orchestra. Photography: Rob & Wynter. Rentals, Tent: EventWorks. Rings: Levy’s Fine Jewelry. Stationery: Paperhaus. Videography: Wages Films.
Advice from the Couple
“Find a great wedding planner and try your best to not stress about anything. The right planner will make your dream day come true without getting you all worked up!”-
Anna Catherine Guarisco & Bailey Seaton Hall May 11, 2022 – Sylacauga
June 04, 2022 – Homewood
Bridal Gown: Bel Fiore Bridal. Bridesmaid Gowns: Nordstrom. Cake: Olexa’s Cakes. Catering: Kathy G. & Co. Floral Design: Stems & Styles. Groom’s & Groomsmen’s Attire: Yancey Parker’s. Hair Stylist: Styled by Paige. Linen: Decor to Adore. Makeup Artist: Carson Jane Beauty. Photography: AL Weddings. Reception Venue: The Farrell. Rentals: EventWorks, PropHouse. Stationery: Shine Wedding Invitations, Right Turn Promotions. Transportation: Rare Transportation, Birmingham Pedal Tours. Wedding Planner: Engaged Wedding Library.
- How They Met -
“Growing up with Type 1 Diabetes, it was always exciting to meet someone who was like you: someone also living with Type 1 Diabetes. While attending Samford University, our friends had mentioned Everett and my names to one another because we both had T1D. One evening, we finally had the pleasure of meeting, and we immediately hit it off. I had always dreamed of marrying someone with T1D, just like me; and, my dreams finally came true after four years of dating. With a view overlooking Birmingham, Everett proposed in his mom’s backyard which he had filled with candles and photos.”– Katherine
Bridal Gown: Mira Zwillinger. Bridesmaid Gowns: Bella Bridesmaids. Cake: Couture Cakes. Calligrapher: Southern Calligraphy. Catering: Morrissette Catering. Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private Residence. Floral Design: Wildflowers Fairhope. Hair & Makeup: Makeup and Hair by Becca, Chason Lipscomb, Salon GLS. Lighting & Drapery: Willow Bridge, Party Tables. Live Event Artist: Melissa Munger Art. Music & Entertainment: Atkinson Duo, The Celebrity Allstars Band – Music Garden. Photography: Alisha Crossley Photography. Rentals: SOHO Event Rentals. Stationery: Rice Designs. Transportation: Coats Classic Cars. Wedding Planner: Jenna Laine Weddings. Videography: Easton Film Co.
- The Proposal -
“We met in college at Auburn University. Seven years after college, I was living in Dallas and Barrett had started coaching football at Auburn. He drove to Dallas to take me on our first date, and it was over from there. Barrett proposed at one of our favorite spots overlooking the bay in Fairhope. Afterwards, he took me to Bucky’s at the Grand Hotel where he surprised me with all of our friends and family.”
Elizabeth White-Spunner & Barrett Richardson Trotter March 06, 2021 – Fairhope
THE 1616 HOUSE
The 1616 House is Montgomery’s only event venue that honors the historical signficance of the property while enveloping it in contemporary luxury. Our venue provides a unique setting to celebrate your wedding while guests are pamered with our full-service offerings.
the1616house.com / 334.324.8606 / @the1616house
B&A Warehouse is a full-service catering and event venue located in the heart of downtown Birmingham. Large or small, lavish or simple, B&A Warehouse is here to provide you with excellent service.
bawarehouse.com / 205.326.4220 / @bawarehousebham
THE BARN AT SHADY LANE
Shady Lane is a little piece of heaven nestled at the entrance of the Robert Trent Oxmoor Valley Golf Course and just one mile from Ross Bridge. Sprawling wooded acres, fully air-conditioned with indoor and outdoor ceremony spaces.
shadylaneevents.com / 205.410.7238 / @thebarnatshadylane
BURNS BLUFF AT HIGH FALLS
Burns Bluff at High Falls is a premier wedding destination location on a stunning mountaintop in North Alabama. Our beautifully reclaimed church barn offers the couple a dreamy space for their special day. We would love to host you!
burnsbluffweddings.com / 256.658.3244 / @burnsbluffweddings
Located in the heart of Homewood, The Farrell features an elegant main hall with exposed truss ceilings and steel windows draped in linen and velvet draperies. The venue is perfect for weddings, receptions, rehearsal dinners, fundraisers and corporate events. thefarrell.com / 205.907.4222 / @2719thefarrell
The Fennec is Birmingham’s newest dining and entertainment destination like no other. The Fennec offers many private event spaces, perfect for any size event. Whether you’re hosting a large wedding reception or a small business meeting - we can host it all.
thefennecbham.com / 659.208.2480 / @thefennecbham
GRAND BOHEMIAN HOTEL
A story as unique as yours deserves dramatic flair served up with a few unexpected details. Let our wedding venue in Mountain Brook take your story beyond the ordinary, transforming one of the most anticipated days of your life into a timeless memory.
grandbohemainmountainbrook.com 205.414.0505 / @grandbohemianmountainbrook
HUNTSVILLE BOTANICAL GARDEN
Whether you dream of colorful blooms in the spring or rustling leaves in the fall, the Huntsville Botanical Garden offers an exquisite backdrop for your special day. With both indoor and outdoor venues, it’s the perfect location for quaint ceremonies, extravagant receptions, and everything in between.
hsvbg.org/weddings / 256.830.4447 / @hsvgarden
Built in 1929, the meticulously restored venue blends industrial charm with polished finesse making it ideal for any bridal vision. Multi-level staging accentuates exposed brick and dark-stained wooden floors creating the perfect picture of industrial chic.
ironcitybham.com / 205.761.5104 / @ironcityprivateevents
Marsgate is an elegant mansion wedding venue. Near Auburn and Birmingham, Marsgate is run by the Marr family, who is dedicated to making a couple’s wedding vision a memorable reality. Marsgate is located on 70 acres with 20,000 square feet of space for weddings.
marsgateevents.com / 870.208.7057 / @marsgate_events
MONTGOMERY MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
Located within the Blount Cultural Park, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts is nestled in one of the most picturesque spots in Montgomery. The Museum provides a unique and sophisticated setting to showcase dreams and make celebrations genuinely memorable.
mmfa.org / 334.625.4350 / @montgomerymfa
Oak Meadow is a light and airy, modern farmhouse venue serving couples across the Southeast, with floor-to-vaulted-ceiling white walls, a stunning fireplace, and a spacious bridal suite laced with shiplap.
oakmeadowevents.com 256.310.1574 / @oakmeadoweventcenter
Nestled in Mountain Brook Village, Olexa’s serves salads, soups, paninis, quiche, and crépes. This venue is perfect for bridesmaids luncheons, private parties, and rehearsal dinners. The cafe also offers catering services, wedding cakes, and birthdaty cakes.
olexas.com / 205.871.2020 / @olexascafe
OTTER CREEK FARMSTEAD
Serving couples throughout the Southeast, Otter Creek Farmstead is a premier wedding venue conveniently located in northeast Alabama. We offer an elegant private setting, estate wines, fine cuisine, and exceptional service to provide you and your guests with an unforgettable experience.
ottercreekfarmstead.com 256.892.2177 / @ottercreekfarmstead_distillery
Ovenbird, by Chris and Idie Hastings, is a unique venue with an indoor-outdoor vibe, located in the popular Pepper Place entertainement distric of downtown Birmgham. It is perfect for wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, and showers for 10-200.
ovenbirdrestaurant.com / 205.957.6686 / @ovenbirdbham
Destination resort with 22-acre wedding venue for ceremonies and receptions, with lakeside ceremonial lawn, lighted terrace for large tents, and the 4,300-square-foot Hamilton Place Grand Ballroom. Under an hour from Birmingham.
pursellfarms.com/weddings / 256.208.4454 / pursellfarms
RENASSAINCE ROSS BRIDGE
With a newly renovated ballroom, a full-service salon and spa, and the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa is the destination venue of Birmingham. Let our in-house food and beverage team delight palates for all occasions.
rossbridgeresort.com / 251.928.9201 / @renrossbridge
WHITE FEATHER ACRES
A new event venue with 7,000-sq-ft built to entertain, with 50+ acres of exotic farm life. Owners have strong background in entertaining, visuals, and captivating florals. We welcome outside vendors or you may choose from our approved list.
whitefeatheracres.com / 205.565.1262 / @whitefeather_acres
Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook - 15 205.414.0505 grandbohemianmountainbrook.com @grandbohemianmountainbrook
Otter Creek Farmstead - 133 256.892.2177 ottercreekfarmstead.com @ottercreekfarmstead_distillery
Pursell Farms - 11 256.249.7437 pursellfarms.com @pursellfarms
Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort & Spa - 6,7 205.949.3005 rossbridgeresort.com @renrossbridge
B&B Beverage Management - 55 334.734.2468 beveragemgmt.com @beveragemgmt
Taps To Go-Go - 57 tapstogogo.com @tapstogogo
Cakes & Sweets
Cakes by Kim - 193 205.565.8667 cakesbykim.net @cakesbykimllc
Olexa’s Cakes - 18 205.871.2060 olexas.com @olexascafe
Sugar & Stems - 10 sugar-and-stems.com @sugar_and_stems
Sukar Bakes - 139 sukarbakes.com @sukarbakes
Hastings Catering - 73 205.855.9277 hastingscatering.com @hastingscatering
Olexa’s Catering - 18 205.871.2060 olexas.com @olexascafe
Savoie Catering - 72 205.902.3726 savoiecatering.com @savoiecatering Table & Thyme - 69 931.267.0928 tableandthyme.co @tableandthyme.co Entertainment East Coast Entertainment - 59 855.323.4386 bookece.com @eastcoastentertainment
Music Excursions 205.585.2342 musicexcursions.com
Roman Street Band - 59 251.209.0751 romanstreet.com @romanstreetband
Superior Sound Entertainment - 59 205.427.5538 superiorsoundevents.com @superiorsoundmedia
The White Room - 4,5 205.970.6767 thewhiteroombirmingham.com @thewhiteroombirmingham
Fashion - Homme Billy Reid - 41 Birmingham - 205.588.4533 Florence - 256.767.4692 billyreid.com @billy_reid Imperial Formal Wear - 193 205.767.5453 imperialformalwear.com @imperialformalwear
The Modern Gent - 24 themodern-gent.com @moderngentstyle
Shaia’s - 51 205.871.1312 shaias.com @shaias_1922
HotHouse Design Studio - 12 hothousedesignstudio.com @hothousedesignstudio
Jubilee Flowers Fairhope - 139 jubileeflowersfairhope.com @jubilee_flowers
Sugar & Stems - 10 sugar-and-stems.com @sugar_and_stems
Hair, Makeup & Beauty
Brittney Shelton Artistry - 140 205.441.1119 @brittneyashtonartistry
Brushed & Blushed - 190 251.210.7113 brushedandblushed.com @brushedandblushedmua
Simply Abbey Esthetician 295.522.9332 simplyabbeyesthetician.com @simplyabbeyesthetician
GLOW - 191 205.671.4569 theglowapp.com/weddings @theglowapp
Gunn Dermatology - 44, 45 205.415.7536 gunndermatology.com @gunndermatology
Makeup Mel - 8 205.370.9177 makeupmel.com @make_up_mel
Lighting & Draping
AG Lighting & Events - 14 205.527.0652 aglightingandevents.com @aglighting
Carla Lawrence Photography - 71 cmmphoto.com @clawrencephoto
Je Vois Photography - 195 jevoisphotography.com @jevois_photography
Jennifer Thorpe Photography - 139 jenniferthorpephotography.com @jenniferthorpephotography
Katie Gracen Photography - 197 katiegracen.com @katiegracenphotography
Mason David Erwin - 195 @masondaviderwin
Mo Davis Photography - 115 modavisphotography.com @modavisphotography
Oh Honey Photo Co. - 195 maryfehr.com @marycfehr
Piper Vine - 29 pipervine.com @pipervine
Twenty Oaks Photography - 72 256.497.9651 twentyoaksphotography.com @twentyoaksphotography
Victor Cole Photography - 195 vcolephoto.com @victorcolephotography
Registry, Jewelry & Gifts
Bromberg’s - 1 205.871.3276 - Mtn. Brook 205.969.1776 - The Summit brombergsbride.com @brombergs
Club Duquette - 102 clubduquette.co @clubduqette
Cocoon Silk Ribbon - 143 @cocoonsilkribbon
Meta Fitness Studio 205.783.1218 metafitstudio.com @meta_fitness_studio
Parking Professionals - 59 205.515.4640 parkingprofessionals.com @parkingprofessionals
Sold by the Bell - 49 205.440.0860 soldbythebell.com @soldbythebell
Jan Pruitt Calligraphy @jpruittcalligraphy
My Lady Dye - 139 615.541.9174 myladydye.com @myladydye
Paperhaus - 68 205.701.0983 paperhausstudio.com @paperhausstudio
Penned by Chrissy - 68 pennedbychrissy.com @pennedbychrissy
The 1616 House - 9 334.216.7585 the1616house.com @the1616house
B&A Warehouse - Back Cover 205.326.4220 bawarehouse.com @bawarehousebham
The Barn at Shady Lane - 13 205.790.7238 shadylaneevents.com @thebarnatshadylane
Burns Bluff at High Falls - 19 256.658.3244 burnsbluffweddings.com @burnsbluffweddings
The Farrell - 20 205.907.4222 thefarrell.com @2719thefarrell
The Fennec - 23 659.208.2480 thefennecbham.com @thefennecbham
Grand Bohemian Hotel Mountain Brook - 15 205.414.0505 grandbohemianmountainbrook.com @grandbohemianmountainbrook
At the end of this issue, I find myself reflecting on my own story. I am grateful for past chapters that taught me so much about life and love. Triumph and failure both bring newness and possibilities. It is up to you to decide how they bloom in your life.
I am ever hopeful of what will grow in the year ahead of us all. We are told the grass is always greener on the other side, but I’ve learned the grass is greener where you water it. Love one another. Nurture the seeds of kindness within you.
Alabama Weddings 2024, Flora and Fauna, will be a place where love grows.
“How does one become a butterfly?”
“You must want to fly so much that you are willing to give up being a caterpillar.”
- A. A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh