The Birmingham Bride » Birmingham Weddings

Olivia & Mitchell’s Briarwood Wedding

How did he propose? Mitchell’s proposal was actually based on how we met. Mitchell and I met in marching band at Briarwood Christian High School. It was my freshman year and my first band camp so when I noticed Mitchell (the rather attractive drum captain) looking at me, I honestly thought I had imagined it. Later on in the week, we were all hanging out on a deck that sat between the boys and girl’s cabins. At that point, I don’t think I had heard Mitchell speak, but he made a joke and I laughed So Hard! It was the first time I thought “He this guys is great!” So fast forward Seven, yes SEVEN, years… Mitchell tells me some story to get me back to that very same camp, he walks me back to that very same deck, and he asks me to be his Proverbs 5:18 wife, the wife of his youth!

What was the feel that you wanted to accomplish for your wedding and how did you executed that. I really wanted our wedding to reflect the history we had together. I knew I wanted to incorporate orchids into the wedding because it was the first flower Mitchell ever gave me. I also wanted to incorporate our years in band together somehow. Holly, helped a lot with this actually. The wedding logo she designed has our initials encircled by an antique horn, and orchids flowing from the base. Our envelope liners were sheet music in an orchid hue, also designed by Holly. We used the same design to make cones to hold petals for tossing. It could not have come together any more perfectly!

What was your venue (church and/or reception) and why did you select it? We had our wedding and reception at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. We chose Briarwood for it’s sentimental value. Mitchell and I grew up at Briarwood and we wanted to be married on the same stage on which we were baptisted, sang in school plays, and played in band concerts. We continue to attend Briarwood, and it is so special to worship in the same place that we were married.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? This is hard for me to answer because there were so many wonderful vendors, but honestly my favorite vendors were family members. Holly Hollon is my sister-in-law, and she could not have been more helpful during the process of planning the wedding. She gave us great advice and made the most beautiful logo, website, stationary, and banners, etc.. for our wedding! Her detailed work is what made our wedding really come together! Another “vendor” that I loved including in the wedding is my sister, Erin Hollon Cooper. She painted a watercolor of Mitchell and I on the field during a half-time show. We hung it over the grooms cake and it now hangs over our fireplace at home. Finally, my mom acted as our ice cream vendor for our reception. She made gallons upon gallons of her AMAZING homemade ice cream (something Mitchell really had his heart set on) for our reception. It was truly a labor of love, and our reception would not have been the same without it! So if you have any talented family members, Use Them! It’s not only free help but it also makes the details that much more special when your family did it.

Where did you find your dress? I found my gorgeous Tara Keely at Bustle! It was actually just the second store I went to, and I had high hopes because I love a good bargain! (Mitchell and I call it my “Hollon” side). I tried on several dresses before I got up the courage to ask for something with a more defined waist. She thought of one and when she came back with it I’m pretty sure I physically gasped! The bodice had all this beautiful (and sparkley) swirly beadwork, and the skirt of the gown glittered! I had never seen such a sparkly and fairy like dress before! I felt like a princess ( yes it’s a cliche, but it was true)! And the best part was I didn’t pay full price for an Amazing designer gown!

CREDITS :: Photography, Laura Walker of Jett Walker Photography | Flowers, Dean Hodge and Cindy Vetrano | Paper & Calligraphy, Holly Hollon | Dress, Bustle | Bridesmaids Dresses, Bridesmaids Inc. | Tuxedo Rental, Mr. Burch | Catering, Royal Finishes Events & Catering | Cakes, Magnificent Cakes

Meghan Murphy

What’s the greatest thing you’ve learned through owning your own business? Choosing to lay every project and overwhelming to-do list before my Heavenly Father. I forget to do this so often, but when I do I never regret the surrender. When we admit to our inability and give Him every desire of our hearts, grace does amazing things. “I can’t, without You…”, is my lifeline.

What led you to wedding photography? I did my first paid shoot as a 15 year old (my sister had to drop me off.)… and I bless that family’s heart all the time for giving me a go. Yikes! It was several years after this before I got into the Wedding industry but through that period I discovered the power of storytelling.
I wanted to be able to show people that I care about their stories. To show them that their everydays are beautiful… including (or maybe especially) the messy bits, and the ordinaries. So I’m a wedding photographer because it brings me incredible joy to build a friendship with a couple and pour my heart into helping them document their beginnings, their firsts, their laughter, their adventures, and their tears. I wouldn’t trade my job for the world.

What are some other creative projects that you’re working on? One of my dreams for the past year or so, has been to record an album (I know, crazy…). Songwriting and singing are my creative outlets that have nothing to do with weddings, and I absolutely adore it. I have a long way to go, but so far it’s been such a fun learning process!! Oh and I’m just getting into the world of film photography. So scared and thrilled for where this could lead!

What would you say is involved in the perfect image? Life, truthfulness, real emotions…I’m okay with posing if I have to, but my favorite moments are the ones of the couple interacting, maybe dancing to their favorite song, or strolling through their favorite park, or sharing that milkshake at the local burger shop, or that tight squeeze they give each other after they’ve just exited the wedding ceremony. The hand holding, the belly laughs, the tickling… those are the moments with meaning. Those are the pictures they look back on years later and can still close their eyes and remember that moment of pure joy… because it wasn’t just re-created by the photographer.

What would you tell a bride to look for in a wedding photographer? A kindred spirit. Hands down. It’s so important that the photographer takes the time to get to know you. They MUST know what you as a couple are like and what you’re looking forward to most on you’re wedding day. The photographer needs to be aware of the things that bring you joy, they need to be someone the you can trust, someone you can open up with. Believe me, you’re pretty much stuck with them for the entirety of your wedding day! Chose somebody that will really care about you, and that can be your rock on your wedding day.

If you could change one thing about the wedding industry what would it be?  I would love to see bride’s feel free to step out of the Pinterest box and take time to really discover things that truly inspire them. Weddings don’t have to be outrageously expensive to incorporate honest details. It brings me so much joy to watch a girl take the time to discover her style, develop a vision and then incorporate that throughout her wedding, with consistency.

The Secrets Out Conference

About the Speakers:

Kelly Cummings is a North Carolina native who has called Birmingham, Alabama her home since 2008. Moving to her husband’s hometown meant having a guide to all of the best restaurants (and exactly what to and not to order at each one), and eating really good food is one of her favorite hobbies. Kelly’s main creative pursuit is photographing couples in love as the primary photographer for Spindle Photography. Kelly’s work has been featured online and in print in various publications including Southern Living Weddings, Southern Weddings Magazine, Birmingham Weddings, The Knot, Style Me Pretty, Snippet and Ink, Southern Weddings, Ruffled, Grey Likes Weddings, Elizabeth Anne Designs, and The Birmingham Bride. In 2013 Kelly took on a year long hand-lettering project after taking a calligraphy class and falling in love with the art as a creative outlet. A few years ago Kelly was inspired to help create Curtsy, a “secret” group for like-minded creative women, and has had the opportunity to help foster this small but diverse community of women that encourages supporting one another and working together to grow strong creative businesses. Kelly is passionate about seeking a life that brings her joy and loves encouraging others to do the same.

A Kelly Secret- It was my childhood goal to become an archaeologist and I was actually pursuing that dream in college, when I met my husband on a dig in Natchez, Mississippi!

Holly Hollon : A native of Birmingham, Alabama, Holly Cook Hollon happily returned to her hometown after receiving a BFA in Graphic Design at Auburn University. After working in the field of advertising, she began her own business to pursue her creative interests. Holly’s entrepreneurial spirit lead her to work with small businesses, where her expertise is in creating logos, branding systems and wedding stationery suites.The unique design aesthetic of Holly’s work has been influenced by her skills in illustration and calligraphy. Using hand drawn techniques and drawings gives her designs a personal and rare touch.

Holly’s works have been published in Communication Arts, Print Regional, Southern Living, Birmingham Magazine and Southern Weddings, Southern Lady and Town & Country Weddings. Holly has been published online on Design*Sponge, Oh So Beautiful Paper and Snippet & Ink. Also, Holly has been the recipient of numerous Addy awards, including Designer of the Year and Illustrator of the Year in 2008. When not designing, Holly enjoys entertaining and cooking, chick-flicks, playing with her poodles (Daisy and Dottie), going to estate sales, and most of all hanging out with her husband, Charlton.

A Holly Secret- I have played the violin since I was six.

Rylee Hitchner is a destination wedding photographer living in the south and traveling the world with her camera. In the fleeting moments of a wedding day, and in life in general, I make my focus on the gentle and the sincere. Whether in an environment of a thousand people or just your five closest friends, I long to create photographs that tell an intimate, genuine story- the way you feel and see it played out. On a given day you will find me daydreaming about that which is true… noble… right… pure… lovely… and admirable…

A Rylee Secret – I’m not much for breakfast, but cook myself steak or shrimp scampi in the morning without thinking twice! Dinner for breakfast every day.

Stacy Richardson grew up on the coast of the Atlantic in Greenwich, Connecticut, Stacy Richardson began honing her craft under the guidance of her photographer father. She graduated from Roger Williams University with a degree in Psychology, yet it was her free spirit and freelance photography skills that lead her to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where she would share a music stage with her soon to be husband, Seth. In 2006, she moved back east to Annapolis, Maryland where her career in the wedding industry grew as well as her family. She has two little girls, Grace and Abigail and a dog named Molly. Her work has been featured on prime time television and she has been fortunate enough to work with numerous celebrities and sports figures. Northerner by birth, Southerner by choice, the Magic City is her home. She enjoys her back porch and coffee and when she’s not taking photos, she is laughing with her kids and spending time with friends.

A Stacy Secret– I like hip hop music.

Carrie Rollwagen is the author of The Localist and co-owner of Church Street Coffee & Books, both of which she built with social media- and blogging-based marketing strategies. Carrie was named one of 50 People Changing the South in 2015 by Southern Living, and she’s been a featured speaker with The Cultural Alliance, REV Birmingham, WordCamp Birmingham, See Jane Write and Y’all Connect; she also served on the Kickstarter School panel for Design Week Birmingham.

A Carrie Secret – I don’t own a car — I ride a navy blue Vespa everywhere (even in the rain!).

Kalee Baker was born and raised in Delany Park, Florida and attended the University of Florida where she fell in love with the event industry. She received her degree in Hospitality and Tourism while specializing in Event Management. While in Florida, she had the opportunity to work for a wedding planner before taking a position at Capitol Services Incorporated in Washington, District of Columbia. Kalee worked at venues such as the Mellon Auditorium, U.S. Library of Congress, Natural History Museum, National Air and Space Museum and several of the Embassies. Her time at Capitol Services Inc. was invaluable to her growth and development as an event planner and business woman. Kalee Baker Events was established in 2013 with the dream to assist organizations, companies and families as they celebrate life through events.

Apart from KBE, Kalee enjoys supporting her husband as he serves as the Junior High Director at Briarwood Presbyterian Church. She has a knack for details, thrives off all things creative and has a passion for people that is obviously from the Lord. She currently offers planning packages for corporate, social and wedding events.

A Kalee Secret – I have lived and worked in both Australia and New Zealand.

Molly and Joanna are based out of Birmingham, Alabama. They are the duo behind the lifestyle blog, Irrelephant. They are both licensed cosmetologists that specialize in wedding, editorial and everyday beautiful hair.

An Irrelephant Secret – We worked for Taylor Swift once. Was she there… that is relative. Met her dad though.

Ginny Au is a destination wedding designer, stylist and planner.  Her objective is to approach the role of coordinator with an artistic aesthetic, providing her clients with dedicated, personal service. Originally from the United Kingdom, Ginny is drawn to  a simplistic European style; using the beauty of her surroundings to inspire a creative process that compliments both the environment and the vision of her clients.

“I believe every design should be a refection of the client, allowing the vision of the couple to dictate the mood, atmosphere and details.I am inspired by the story of my clients, often drawing inspiration from the chosen environment, season, texture and pigments. I hand-make details and custom dye ribbons for my clients. These personal touched are then beautifully preserved with detail styling with the photographer.”

A Ginny Secret – David and I have two children, a Beagle and a Great Dane. Saturday nights we have a family movie night and the kids sleep in our huge bed with our dogs. We don’t get much sleep but I love waking up with my family all together!

Elle Danielle is an attorney-turned-wedding photographer who combines her visual artistry and legal expertise to help creative industry professionals grow their businesses. Equipped with her camera, Elle has taken her Southern charm across the country and internationally to capture epic love stories. She’s inspired by natural light, beautiful details, and life’s candid moments. Elle is an example to entrepreneurs that when you love your work and approach it strategically, your business can thrive.

An Elle Secret – I think every food tastes better when it comes from a food truck!

Laura McCarty is a born and raised Georgia girl now happily residing in Birmingham, with her husband, Mark and white lab Lilly. Upon receiving her degree in Graphic Design from Auburn University, she worked for several magazine publications in marketing and design. A few years later, she began her own business to pursue several of her creative interests. Marked specializes in paper, florals and design with a love of everything in between. Consider it your one-stop shop for all things beautiful. Marked was created for the purpose of adorning your home and hearts with hand-mades, paper goods and florals while spreading the hope-filled news of the gospel. Laura’s work has been published in Weddings Unveiled Magazine, Magnolia Rouge Magazine, Birmingham Weddings & Celebrations, Alabama Bridal, Celebrate Magazine and Alabama Weddings Magazine. Laura’s work has been featured online on The Huffington Post, Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings, Belle Lumiere, Green Wedding Shoes, Wedding Sparrow and many more.

A Laura Secret – I used to design t-shirts for a living. I’ve got 4,433 designs under my belt.

From Meghan: There’s somethings that cannot be described in words. The Secret’s Out Conference is one of those. So many thank yous, and heartfelt hugs for all of the people who made this day possible. Birmingham you out did yourself. I hope you enjoy all of the lovely photos captured by the ever fabulous Mandy Busby. It all still feels like a dream to us.

A special thank you to all the Sponsers: Bushel and Peck Florals, Baking Bandits, Lara Casey Shop, Magic City Macaron, Trendy Bride Handley Breaux Designs, Royal Cup Coffee, Ivory and White Bridal Boutique, Recipes for Press, The Big Fake Wedding, Susan Dennis Gordon Pottery, Morgan Ashley Salon, Piper and Leaf Tea, Great Bear Wax Co, Augusta Cole Stylist, Big Spoon Creamery, Frou Frou Chic, Silk and Willow Ribbon, Reflect Visual Arts, Stately Made Stationery, AK Jewelry August Cole

At Home with Holly Hollon on Highland

We love how Mandy Busby captured a day in the life of Holly and her husband Charlton and their schnauzer friend, Simon Hendry. Holly and Charlton’s first home after they were married was a charming 1910’s condo on Highland Avenue. A typical Saturday in the fall started with banana pancakes and fresh squeezed orange juice followed by a walk admiring all the lovely homes of Highland and the changing leaves.