Emerald green and magnolia take center stage in this sweet and thoughtful Southern wedding. Carolyn and Neal worked with Jenna Laine Weddings to create a wedding that was traditional yet still reflected unique details of their love story. A red velvet armadillo grooms cake was a fun nod to the grooms favorite movie “Steel Magnolias,” while magnolia flowers in the brides bouquet and the invitation suite also tied in this theme. Reception tables featured photos of couples from both sides of the bride and grooms family in a sweet traditional touch. Elizabeth Gelineau Photography captured all of the details of this Point Clear, Alabama wedding to perfection and we are excited to share it with you below!How did you meet? Neal and I met in Nashville, TN through a coworker, Laura. I was actually living in Kansas City, MO at the time, working for a healthcare IT company. I frequently travel to visit client sites and, somehow, I got lucky enough to be sent to Nashville. I was visiting most every week for work when Laura invited me out to dinner with her and a few friends one night. Knowing that I’d be coming to Nashville almost weekly for the foreseeable future, I figured it’d be great to get to know some locals! Never did I dream that I’d end up marrying one of them! That dinner turned into more frequent dinners, and some sight seeing around town, which eventually led to our first official date in Memphis, TN to see Carrie Underwood. I was in Memphis working with St. Jude when Neal surprised me with the tickets! He likes to remind me that was back when I thought Memphis and Nashville were just a few miles down the road from each other, so I didn’t realize the effort he went though to get there until much later!What is your proposal story? As with most couples, this is probably one of my favorite stories to tell, especially since it inspired so much of our wedding details! I was scheduled to be in Florence, SC the week before Labor Day for work. Knowing that I would be flying in and out of Charleston, SC, I suggested Neal fly out to meet me and we take advantage of the long weekend to enjoy Charleston. Being the planner I am, I figured out what we would be doing each day, and the agenda for Friday included a trip to Magnolia Plantation and Gardens. It was a beautiful day to walk around the expansive gardens and take in all the breathtaking views. While we were rounding a corner, we came upon a pond surrounded by azaleas and trees covered in Spanish moss with the sweetest little white bridge crossing the pond off in the distance. I don’t know if it was just the way the light was shining through the trees, or my constant desire to document all the pretty things I see, but something told me to stop and take a picture. A few minutes later we were following the path, and what do you know, we end up on that very same bridge I had just photographed. As I was taking in all the sights (including some really scary banana spiders hanging from the trees) I finally turned around to tell Neal we could continue on, when I saw he was down on one knee. Now, we’d been together six years at this point, so I had an idea marriage would eventually happen for us, but I had no idea it would happen then! Because of that, I spent the next 30 seconds asking Neal if he was serious. When he finally convinced me it wasn’t a joke, he asked me to be his wife, and I happily said “yes!”. Luckily, I had already planned a nice dinner at Magnolias restaurant that evening, so we had the perfect opportunity to celebrate our engagement at one of Charleston’s classic restaurants.What was the most important to the two of you while planning? The most important thing to both of us while planning the wedding was making sure it felt like “us” and that it was fun for everyone. We knew our wedding was traditional, but we wanted to make sure there were little details that truly spoke to our personalities so that, even though we had a wonderful wedding planner to help us, people would know that we really were involved with every aspect. Plus, all of our family and friends had to travel to join in the celebrations, so we wanted it to be a weekend of fun and relaxation for all of them! Therefore, I’d say we definitely splurged on food and drink and it was 100% worth it. There were also some fabulous sparkly mint table cloths our wedding planner found for us that were a bit of a splurge, but I think they perfectly accented our cocktail hour and reception, and I’m so glad we went with them! As for what we skipped, we chose a traditional DJ instead of a band and our wedding planner did a great job overall of helping us find ways to get the look I wanted while staying within a reasonable budget (regular stamps instead of personalized, mixtures of large and small floral arrangements, using a bridesmaid bouquet for the bouquet toss instead of purchasing a separate one, etc.). Speaking of our wedding planner, I would not count that as a splurge. For all the guidance and reassurance they gave us, I feel like we got such a deal!What were your favorite parts of the day? There were so many things to love about our wedding day! To start at the beginning, my mom stayed with me the night before the wedding, and I will forever cherish getting to spend every moment of that day with her. The first look with my dad was also very special. I don’t think there’s much that can make a girl feel more beautiful than that first look from the guy who has loved her through it all. Speaking of first looks, Neal and I actually chose not to have one, so that moment when the doors to the church opened and I saw him at the altar will forever be ingrained in my memory. There were some tears shed, yes, but I mostly remember that smile he gave me and the pure joy I felt. I honestly don’t remember seeing anyone else but him as I walked down the aisle, and I was always so anxious that I’d be a nervous wreck at that moment! Our first kiss also falls into the ranks of favorite memories from the day! Not just because it was the moment we were officially husband and wife, but because Neal jumped the gun and went in for the kiss before the priest gave the approval! Me, being the rule follower, immediately pulled back, and that look on Neal’s face was priceless. I’m pretty sure he thought I was backing out! I told him we had to wait, we started laughing, including the priest, and then he told us to just go ahead and kiss. We did, and I love that we’ll have that memory of starting our married life with laughter, because it’s pretty fitting for us! Finally, my dads speech will round out my favorites. My dad is a great public speaker, so I knew it’d be good, but I truly enjoyed hearing some of his favorite memories of me, mixed in with some great advice on how to have a long and happy marriage. I’m pretty sure everyone learned a thing or two from his speech!Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now? I think my biggest piece of advice is probably what most brides will say; don’t stress the small stuff! And hire a great wedding planner! It really is important to remember that, at the end of the day, it’s just about you and your husband. The rest of the stuff is supposed to be fun! But, that’s where having a wedding planner, as long as it fits in your budget, is key! They can help do some of the not-so-fun stuff for you, like coordinating with vendors, or remembering to bring scissors to cut off those pesky hanger straps, and creating the day-of timeline so things can run smoothly. Then, you get to step in for the fun things, like picking colors or planning menus! My brother actually gave me some great advice when I started wedding planning, as he had just recently gotten married himself, and I constantly reminded myself of it; it’s your wedding, so don’t let anyone else influence your decisions. I know we chose things that other people wouldn’t (we didn’t have any flower girls or ring bearers, for instance), but Neal and I did what was best for us, and I think that is one of the main reasons our wedding was so perfect. And I don’t think we could have asked for more than that!
Photography: Elizabeth Gelineau Photography | Ceremony Venue: Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Fairhope | Reception Venue: The Grand Hotel Resort – Point Clear | Event Planning: Jenna Laine Weddings | Floral: Belle Bouquet | Stationery: Jenna Laine Weddings | Favors: Baking Me Happy | Wedding Cake: Couture Cakes | Rentals and Linens: Jenna Laine Weddings | Hair and Makeup: Allure Hair and Makeup Studio | Entertainment: Southern Sounds | Calligraphy: Southern Calligraphy | Handmade Items: Mobile Bay Map | Wedding Dress: Emily Hart Bridal | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse | Bride’s Shoes: Keds for Kate Spade | Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo | Veil: Emily Hart Bridal | Submitted via: Matchology