Casual Twist on a Southern Wedding in Opelika, Alabama

The Southern wedding we’re about to share today is filled with love, joy and fun! Any wedding that starts with a teary-eyed bride reading a letter from her husband-to-be, and ends with the groomsmen tying their neckties together to start a limbo on the dance floor is a good wedding in our book. Read on for the story on this sweet couple.



How did you meet?
Joe and I spend a large amount of time in local coffee, bagel, and sandwich shops because of our jobs. After seeing each other around town for a few months, Joe caught me alone with my laptop one Tuesday afternoon waiting for my next meeting. After a wave from the other side of the restaurant, he confidently strode over to my table and introduced himself. That turned into short conversations in between meetings for a few months, which lead to an invitation to dinner, which lead to another one, which lead to an engagement shoot in the same bagel shop he first introduced himself and a year after our first date!





What was the story of the proposal?
Like all good proposals, ours included a few well-placed white lies. Joe insisted that he had to work on a sermon all Sunday afternoon. Joe is an intern for a local college ministry, so he had called me earlier that day to tell me his boss was sick and he had to preach the next night. This effectively explained why he seemed stressed whenever we talked throughout the day, all the while he was actually ten feet high in a tree stringing Christmas lights in his backyard trying to figure out how to get me to his house just in time for sunset. He succeeded by telling me to come over so he could practice his sermon before we went to dinner. When I arrived at his house, I was ushered by his roommates to the backyard to find him, beard freshly trimmed, shirt tucked in, standing beside a small fire surrounded by trees covered with hundreds of twinkle lights. It was a simple setting which was perfect and completely Joe and the excessive amounts of Christmas lights were completely me. His proposal was full of his intentions and views of a marriage covenant. He then got on one knee, I said “yes,” we called our parents, went back to my apartment to a surprise celebration, and ended the night with a pizza dinner alone talking and planning our future together.





What are some of your favorite memories from your wedding day?
The whole day was wonderful from beginning to end! My favorite moment of the whole day, though, was immediately after the ceremony. Joe and I sat in the balcony of the church while everyone left for the reception. It is my clearest memory, but there are no pictures, and no video; it was just the two of us, laughing, speechless, and married at last! Besides that, the whole day is a series of favorite moments, I loved spending the whole morning and early afternoon getting ready with ten of my closest friends. Then Joe and I had our first look and after that, I knew everything else could go terribly wrong, but I got to marry an incredible man that day! I do not love standing in front of crowds, so I was nervous throughout most of the ceremony until we high-fived before the recession and then I don’t think I stopped laughing the rest of the night. We had dinner alone so we could actually eat something before the mad rush of dancing and hugs. And to top off the evening, once all of the traditions were over, we danced the night away with friends and family from every phase of life. Having our families, our neighbors, our friends, and everyone who just helped get us to that day, all in one place is an experience I am still unable to put to words. I thought my heart would explode with excitement and joy that night!




Could you tell us about your style and why you chose to do your wedding they way you did?
We wanted a wedding that included both my style and Joe’s style since it was a celebration of us becoming one. I brought the desire for a casual twist on a traditional Southern wedding, and Joe wanted simplicity and obviously a band at the reception. “Elegantly-simple celebration” was the idea we constantly went back to throughout the wedding planning process. As for colors, I wanted everything to be a neutral shade except for our flowers and really focused on different textures instead of different colors. I loved the idea of an outdoor wedding, but was not brave enough to risk the rain, so a giant outdoor pavilion for our reception was the perfect compromise. Another key aspect we focused on was the guest experience. We wanted a quick yet meaningful ceremony, followed by a party that allowed us to show our gratitude by buying dinner and a glass of wine for everyone who had played an important role in our lives leading up to this point. Then of course, we wanted to top off the night with a few hours of dancing under a huge string of lights, a theme carried over from the proposal.






What piece of advice would you tell a couple planning their wedding?
My advice to a couple planning the wedding is to first remember that the wedding is only one day and to take the time to prepare for a marriage that you hope will last a lot longer than one day. That will make sure your wedding day is about way more than the party, you will not freak out when little things go wrong, and it will be the celebration it is meant to be! Other than that, have fun getting to know each other while you plan your wedding. Figure out your style as a couple, how you like to celebrate together, and how to work as a team. I was surprised at how much planning a wedding helped us work though issues early and really allowed us to learn more about each other! My last bit of practical advice is to trust the professionals! They know what they are doing and they will take a lot of stress off of you if you let them.




Photography: Chanterelle Photography // Event Planner: Invision Events // Church Venue: First Baptist Church Opellika // Reception Venue: Moore’s Mill Club // Floral Design: Opelika Floral Company // Hair Stylist: Hair & Makeup by Lynsey // Videography: Jordan Mahy Films // Dress Store: Ivory & White // Dress Designer: Liancarlo // Equipment Rentals: American Rental & Tent, Tiger Tents // Band: Tapestry // Cake Designer: Sweet Malisa’s // Bridesmaid Dresses: J. Crew