I am going to be starting a new feature here at Coastal Bride called “Insider Interviews.” For these interviews I will be profiling experts in the wedding industry and picking their brains on the best advice for couples planning their weddings! For our first interview we have the lovely Rebecca Hassee, founder and owner of P.E.W.S. in Birmingham, Alabama. The first of it’s kind, P.E.W.S, short for Purely Elegant Wedding Statements, is a company whose sole focus is to provide vintage church pews for outdoor ceremonies. Rebecca left nursing school to start P.E.W.S. and after only a year in business she has seen huge success and is even laying down plans to open a second location near the Carolinas. (Psst…Come to Charleston!)
With 140 vintage pews in 5 different designs, Rebecca has styles to fit every type of ceremony and guest size. Rebecca and her team transport and unpack the pews at your ceremony site. And that is no easy feat as they weigh between 200-300 pounds each! These pews have been salvaged from churches throughout the South. They have seen baptisms, marriages and simple Sunday services. With history like that it only seems fitting that they be reused and brought alive again! Church pews are a great addition to outdoor ceremonies as they provide a sense of sturdiness to the decor and bring the traditional feeling of a church ceremony outside. And with the gorgeous locations we have here in the South, why wouldn’t you want to bring the ceremony out!
What is your background and how did you get involved in weddings?
Growing up with a passion for taking care of others, I always thought I was born to be a nurse. It only took two semesters of nursing school to realize I needed more creativity in my life. I followed some advice and a month after my last nursing school class I found myself running an original company – P.E.W.S.!
When did you start P.E.W.S. and where did the idea come from?
A trusted planner met with me to see where I could fit into the bustling, competitive wedding industry of Birmingham. She mentioned that she could never find church pews when she wanted them, so I decided to figure out how to make that an option for brides across the south. As for the name P.E.W.S. – it hit me late one night when my new husband and I were brainstorming. I thought, “Pews only has four letters in it – so does NASA!” Then we spent the next few days thinking of P- E- W and S.
Where did you acquire your first set of pews?
Our first set has the most character and rustic charm of them all: The White Washed pews. They came out of a sweet, back-country church in southern Georgia. We estimate that they were made by hand in the 1930s.
What is a creative and different way to set up pews outside?
I love mixing the pews. If brides have never seen a picture before it is hard to envision, but once they see that it is a modern spin on the traditional idea, most fall in love with the idea of pews all over again!
What would you tell a bride to convince her to have pews?
Besides the bride and groom, pews make the next biggest impact on the overall feel of the ceremony. The decor is important, but how the guests feel and what is seen the most by the photographer is the seating – just try it, the next ceremony picture you see will be dominated by chairs!
What would you suggest to a bride on a budget?
Having pews up front for the family still makes a great impact. Those pews will be in the most photos.
What was your favorite element of your wedding day? Anything you wish you had done differently?
The beautiful flowers, handsome groom, amazing wedding party, and perfectly practiced “you may kiss the bride” kiss were all wonderful, but my favorite element was having both of our families and friends united in celebration for the whole day. I will never forget giggling through the hymn we sang during the ceremony; my poor bridesmaids were singing “watermelon” because I forgot to print out the words to the song! So don’t forget to get your wedding party a program!
If you want to learn more about P.E.W.S or take a look at their inventory please visit their site Here. Rebecca throws an annual “Pew Decorating” event in Birmingham, AL and has added a second in Greenville, SC. This event brings together wedding pros to compete by decorating the best pew! Visit their site to learn more!