The Birmingham Bride » Birmingham Weddings

Sarah & Allen’s Swann Lake Stables Wedding

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.

My husband and I met almost 7 years ago through close friends within a youth group in good ole Birmingham. At first, we were primarily just distant friends: Allen was traveling the world to spread the Good News about Jesus and I was a college student at the University of Alabama. Quickly, an orphanage arose out of Kampala, Uganda called Sozo Children that the Lord allowed Allen to have a huge part in. I was still trying to survive nursing school but found the time to create paintings for Sozo Children to raise support for the growing number of children they were pouring into. We quickly bonded over our mutual love for Ben Howard, take out Chinese food, and Jesus Christ, and now, two years after our first date, we are married, have two plants, and spend most of our time splitting fajitas at Chuy’s and hiking the various trails around town.

How did he propose?

Allen proposed on a mountain in Birmingham where we had our first kiss. I was tricked into going by a close friend and when I arrived, I was welcomed by hanging lights in the trees and a table with communion on it. He proposed and we took communion together and then prayed under a giant white cross. We then made our way to his parents house where all our friends and family were ready to celebrate.

What was the feel that you wanted to accomplish for your wedding and how did you executed that?

We wanted our wedding to be filled with Jesus. That was our number one from the start. We wanted our wedding to be outside and we wanted it to feel incredibly natural (if we could’ve worn chacos we would have). We both love the outdoors and we both love the picture of marriage as Christ and the church so because of those two things, we wanted people to hear the story of Jesus and witness what it means to lay your life down for another person – the falling autumn leaves and crisp weather were just an added bonus.

What was your venue (church and/or reception) and why did you select it?

Our venue was Swann Lake stables and if you’ve ever been there, you will know why we chose it. It is grand and spacious, but at the same time, with 300+ guests, we felt it would be the intimate outdoor feel we were searching for. Our ceremony was in the grass next to the stables and our reception continued into the stables and patio. With the fire burning and the sun going down, we knew no other venue would ever compare.

What about your wedding was unique to Birmingham?

We are Birmingham coffee shop people. And especially O’Henrys people. On one of our first dates, we wrote letters to each other and slid them into a wooden box at O’Henry’s in Homewood, pledging we would not look at each other’s. A year later, after we had gotten engaged, we went back to read the letters only to find they were no longer in the box. I immediately teared up over a cup of hot chocolate while Allen asked every employee there where the letters could be. After months of asking, we had no promising leads and had given up. Until one day, I felt like I needed to try one more time. So I went to the O’Henry’s office location and sifted through hundreds of old letters until I finally found our wrinkled handwritten letters. Each letter was almost identical and explained we knew we would get married. I kept them a secret until our wedding day, and I had my sister give it to him before I walked down the aisle.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day?

The most memorable moment for us was the ceremony. We are faithful believers in prayer and so once we were pronounced husband and wife, we had all of our guests lay hands on each other and pray together. It was powerful, and my brother and sister sang our favorite hymn “Come Thou Fount” during it. Jesus’ presence was there and we will never forget it.

Any advice for current Birmingham brides?

My advice would be this: don’t stress. Culture puts pressure on couples to have this unbelievable great gatsby-esque party that gets the most Instagram likes and that people talk about forever, but the honest truth about a wedding is that it fades into dried flowers, tacky bridesmaids dresses, and framed photographs. What’s important is that you realize that even though this is an important day, the best days are always yet to come if you are rooted in Christ. This is not the end but just the beginning, so when the dress stains and the cake falls, realize this: this day is about showing the world what the cornerstone of our faith is- Jesus has never and will never give up on us… So we will never give up on each other.

Anything else that you would like to share about your day?

(These are just random cool details)

One of the really cool details we had was letters from all of the Ugandan Sozo children. Each one wrote us a note filled with Bible verses and advice. We displayed some of them on a palate board at the reception. Our favorite piece of advice was from Benjamin: “Love her with all your life. Not all your life but half for her and half for God.”

Another really awesome detail of our wedding was our invitations. When Allen was in Uganda on a routine visit, he connected with a group of beautiful Uganda women (“Paper Craft Africa”) who handmade each of our wedding invitations. I painted the design and they printed them on handmade recycled banana fiber paper and Allen brought them back with him.


Planner: Invision Events | Photographer : Cameron Freshwater Photography | Venue: Swann Lake Stables | Florals: HotHouse Design Studio | Caterer: Savoie Catering | Cakes: Magic Muffins | Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited | Band: Nobody’s Bizness | Bride’s Dress: Bella’s Bridal | Groom’s Suit: Men’s Warehouse | Hair: Danielle Ivy | Videographer: DJ Dittenhoeffer | Paper Suite + Handlettering + Wooden Signs : DIY by bride

Courtney - Thanks for sharing about this beautiful couple. Love their story!

Bride by Design with Heidi Elnora on TLC

Brides get the Ultimate Customized Experience on Bride by Design.

Series Premieres with Back-to-Back Episodes Friday, March 27 at 9/8c –

(Los Angeles, Ca.) – Providing personalized attention and pure Southern charm, Alabama-based bridal designer and Project Runway alum Heidi Elnora takes viewers behind the scenes of her bridal boutique in new TLC series Bride by Design. Viewers get an inside look at Heidi and her dedicated team as they design and create one-of-a-kind gowns for one-of-a-kind brides. Taking bridal dreams from imagination to reality, the series follows Heidi as she sketches, sews and fits each customized gown to match the personalities of each bride-to-be. Coming out of the successful pilot that aired last summer, the full first season of Bride by Design will include 10 half-hour episodes premiering Friday, March 27 at 9/8c.  

 The half-hour premiere features bride Tia who is ready to bring her dress dreams to life with the help of Heidi and her team. But Tia has a lot of dresses to compete with as eight of her fiancé’s Atlanta Braves teammates also got engaged this year. To stand out among her fellow baseball wives, Tia requests not one, but two entirely different looks for her ceremony and reception. Heidi has her work cut out for her, but is determined to hit a homerun with Tia’s dress. Then, bride Kayla experiments with Heidi’s unique “Build-a-Bride” collection—where brides can choose a classic dress and then add custom touches such as lace, sleeves or sparkle—to create a gown that fits her special day and matches her late mother’s veil. With Heidi’s help, Kayla has the confidence she needs to build just the right dress that would make her mother proud.

 In the second half-hour episode, Heidi may be pushed to her limit as one bride wants to look like a Russian princess in her custom wedding dress with an intense need for sparkle. And Heidi helps a second bride design her own “Build-a-Bride” gown who is torn between lace and something with a little more wow.

Bride by Design  invites viewers to dream big along with the featured brides, and with Heidi and her team on the job, viewers are bound to feel each bridal moment.

From humble beginnings to bridal stores across the world, Heidi Elnora has created her eponymous heidi elnora brand with passion and persistence. Based in Birmingham, Alabama, the heidi elnora brand is focused on being a personal and honest company, staying true to its Southern roots through progressive yet simplistic designs.

Located in more than 30+ stores across the country with an international presence, Heidi’s gowns are recognized by their quality in construction, fine attention to detail and feminine relevance. Heidi’s distinct and innovative approach to designing wedding dresses includes offering brides a variety of dresses from her heidi elnora and hello darling lines, as well as the option to design their own dress through her Build-A-Bride trademark. Build-A-Bride allows brides-to-be the ownership in designing their dress, choosing a style from 15 basic white dresses and more than 25 unique add-on pieces for a couture experience without couture pricing.

BRIDE BY DESIGN is produced by Trium Entertainment for TLC.

Kate & Nick’s intimate at Home Wedding

Where did you find your dress? I bought an off-the-rack Aidan Mattox dress from Saks Fifth Avenue for a tiny fraction of the cost of a traditional wedding dress. I didn’t go into Saks with the intention of purchasing a dress. I really just went to find out my size and what styles looked best of my body shape. I had gone to a few bridal boutiques, but just felt overwhelmed and limited.  Well, I’m glad I went to Saks because I found the perfect dress for me – a gold, sequined, comfortable and affordable dress. It really set the theme for the rest of the wedding and allowed me to spend more on other details.

What was your venue (church and/or reception) and why did you select it? Our ceremony and reception took place at my husbands parents home. They have a few acres of land and their home sits on top of a hill. It allowed for a beautiful golden sunset during our ceremony. We chose his parents home because it was where my husband and I first met. Long story short – Nick was living in Asia and I was starting college. We had briefly met once before when we were younger, but other than that we were strangers. A mutual friend mentioned that his friend Nick was moving back to Alabama and my heart fluttered. There was just something intriguing about Nick. So, I stepped outside of my comfort zone and wrote Nick a message online asking if he’d like to grab coffee sometime, or something like that. He accepted my offer and called me as soon as his plane landed. I met him at his parents home to chat over a glass of wine. We’ve together since.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day? My favorite moment was during our ceremony. First, I practically ran down the aisle. I immediately gave my flowers to my Maid of Honor so I could hug Nicholas. Then when the minister asked for the rings, Nick gave me my own ring and kept his. I had to lean over while laughing and tell him that he puts my ring on my finger. So we had to switch. Overall, it was my favorite moment because it was fun. It didn’t feel stiff or planned. It was exciting and full of genuine love.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Morgan Trinker was highlight of my wedding. I am still astonished at how kind she was to me. I first contacted her inquire about availability and other details. Her reply e-mail was quick and had so much personality. I knew right away that we had a connection. She expressed that she wanted to work with me and would be flexible to accommodate my needs. I was just blown away. The day of with Morgan there was great. She has the perfect balance of spunk and professionalism. (Not to mention she’s cute as a button!) The way she captured our wedding is something that I’ll cherish until I’m a little old lady. Not only are the photographs beautiful, but I have such a positive experience associated with them.

 Any advice for current Birmingham brides? Respect for your partner. Before the wedding, at the wedding, after the wedding. All else follows.

CREDITS :: Photographer: Morgan Trinker | Flowers: Grooms Mother | Event Design: Bride | Venue: Private Residence | Wedding Dress: Aiden Mattox via Saks Fifth Avenue | Wedding Shoes: Anthropologie | Hair: Lorena Rowe | Bridesmaids Dresses: ModCloth | Groom’s  Suit: Black by Vera Wang | Catering: Nektar Cafe & Wine Bar | Desserts: Bride & Family | Invitations: Bride

Rosegolden & Bourgeon Flower Workshop

On Valentine’s weekend, Holly Carlisle of Rosegolden hosted a Pop-Up Shop and Flower Workshop at The Nest along with Amy Febinger of Bourgeon in Brooklyn, New York. We are so excited she has shared some of the day with us here on The Birmingham Bride.

Credits: Flowers, Rosegolden and Bourgeon | Photography, Jett Walker | Venue, The Nest 

Marcia - Beautiful. Bayne!