The Birmingham Bride » Birmingham Weddings

Lonesome Valley Styled Shoot

Photographer: Eric Kelley | Event Production, Concept & Design: Julie Bunkley, Invision Events | Floral Design: Laura McCarty, Marked | Styling + Collaborative Design: Artistry by Augusta Cole | Venue: Lonesome Valley | Paper Suite & Calligraphy: Laura McCarty, Marked | Hair: Molly Stilley of Irrelephant Blog | Make-up: Joanna Ballentine ofIrrelephant Blog | Bride’s Dress: Monique L’Huillier from Ivory & White | Grooms Suit: The Modern Gent | Wedding Film: Caleb Jordan Lee for East West Productions | Jewels: Trumpet and Horn | Dinnerware & Glassware:Anthropologie

Heather Durham

How do you describe your wedding photography style? Photojournalistic and modern portrait styling, focused on capturing emotion with beautiful and dreamy light.

What is the perfect image from a wedding day? Emotion and in-between moments…All the bridesmaids’ reaction when the bride pulls on her dress for the first time, or mom in the background wiping her eyes after watching the father-bride first look, or the ring bearer in his black tux at the ceremony, getting in the aisle of the all white marble church and doing the worm (this actually happened) while the bride and grooms backs are to their guests. It’s all the emotion-filled moments that make a wedding day. After emotion, I believe beautiful lighting that captures and enhances the mood of the moment is what makes a perfect image.

What would you do if you weren’t a photographer? I would be an interior designer. It was my major in college before I changed it. I’m such a wanna be! I love homes and home design! I get my fix shooting the Dwellings section for Birmingham Magazine.

What did you do before your were a photographer? I was a fashion buyer & marketing director, then later an art director for a magazine publisher. Working with photographers for catalogs and editorial layouts always made me curious about photography, so I decided to learn it. Just before I had my 1st child went freelance and started my own graphic design business, which I did alongside photography, until photography became full time. Proverbs 3:5,6 has always been my favorite Bible verse. The Lord has always been so faithful to direct my paths. All of my work experiences led me to this. It’s my passion.

Carly and Bo’s Nashville Wedding

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Because our wedding was out of town, it was important to me to bring a little bit of Birmingham along for the excitement. That’s why we chose a local photographer and videographer. The photographs by Mandy Busby and videos by Main Street Productions are truly more wonderful than I expected. From the day we met them both, we knew we had to snag them. Mandy’s work is outstanding, and she not only has a gift for photography, but a passion for people. Main Street captured every moment perfectly and precisely, and we couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Eight months later, we still admire the photos and watch the video that they each intricately and beautifully designed specifically for us.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day? My favorite part was our first look. We contemplated whether or not to see each other before the ceremony to take pictures, and I’m so glad that we did! It was such a special moment between the two of us, and we love that it was all captured by Mandy Busby and Main Street Productions. The moment I saw him, my nerves settled. I felt like time just slowed down after the hustle and bustle of things, and I could finally relax.

Where did you find your dress? Before I actually set out to find a dress, I had a preconceived notion about the process. I thought it would be weeks before I found the one, but I quickly proved myself wrong. I started at Bustle. They were so helpful and made me feel so comfortable! Dresses were pulled according to my budget and vision. I probably picked out my wedding dress within 25 minutes. Bustle’s crew of experts made my experience a dream come true.

Any advice for current Birmingham Brides? I would just say to enjoy the process, and try not to stress. It comes and goes so quickly, and then before you know it, it’s all over. I learned to let the little things go. I kept my focus on what was truly important, and that was getting to marry my best friend. Keep things in perspective, have fun, and enjoy each moment!

Did you do anything special for out of town guests to make them feel welcome to Nashville? Well, we got married in Nashville, so to make our guests feel welcome and comfortable, we made them gift bags for their hotel rooms. Each gift bag contained local goodies, snacks, drinks, a list of local hot spots, an itinerary, and a card with all important addresses and additional information. Not only were they fun to design and put together, but I think they were a hit with our guests. People really appreciated the list of local hot spots.

Photography: Mandy Busby | Videography: Main Street Productions | Dress: Bustle

Thi’s Vietnamese and American Bridal Session

We fell in love with this gorgeous bridal session from Kelli & Daniel Taylor Photography. Thank you so much to Thi for sharing about her dress shopping experience and Vietnamese wedding traditions with us.

My American wedding dress is a design by Reem Acra. I purchased it at Kelly’s Closet, a bridal boutique located in Atlanta, GA. I picked my Reem Acra dress because I felt really beautiful in it and it matched my personality. I loved the tulle skirt and delicate beading on the bodice and thought it looked very whimsical and etherial. The dress has a peachy/golden slip underneath that gives the dress an overall pinky tone that looked beautiful against my tan skin and a sweetheart neckline is always flattering. Kang, my husband, ended up loving it and thought it was beautiful as well. My headpiece is by Halo & Co which I ordered from Nordstrom’s. My tulle veil came from Etsy.

My Vietnamese gown (ao dai) was custom made in Vietnam. The ao dai (translated is long shirt) is the traditional Vietnamese formal attire. It consists of flowy flare legged pants underneath and a “long shirt” with with sleeves and a high Mandarin collar that fits over the pants with one panel of fabric in the front and one in the back. Traditional wedding ao dais are generally red and gold. Red is the color of marriage in most Asian cultures. Modern variations can show more skin, have short or long sleeves or have a one shoulder neckline. Mine is a more formal modern version with intricate lace and a tulle train for more drama. The hat is also part of the traditional dress but brides can opt to not wear the hat. It is made of rolls of the matching fabric and is VERY heavy!

There are ao dai stores in Vietnam and in the US (mostly in California and Atlanta). The stores are filled with rolls of elaborate fabrics that are specifically cut for ao dais. My cousin had visited Vietnam a few months before my wedding and along the way visited some stores with my measurements to try to have an ao dai made for me. On her last full day there she found a store in Saigon with lots of beautiful fabric and called me via Tango (a phone app) at 4 a.m. US time to have me pick out fabrics. To be honest, the visual on Tango was very fuzzy, so I wasn’t really clear on what the fabrics looked like but from what I could make out, I liked the one we ended up picking. She gave them my measurements and they made my whole ao dai and hat within a day! She picked it up the next day before she flew to the US. I’m amazed how fast they got it done and I loved the result!

Vietnamese weddings consist of a tea ceremony and is strongly centered on family. The bride is considered a gift to the groom’s family. The grooms whole direct and immediate family will come to the bride’s family home the morning of the wedding baring gifts. The bride and groom then stand in front of an altar and light incense and pray for good fortune in the marriage and request for the blessings of their ancestors. Family members then come up one by one and bless the the couple, toast with tea or wine, and give them monetary gifts. Parents of the bride and groom generally gift the bride with jewelry. The bride’s whole family travels back to the groom’s home to light incense in front of his ancestors followed by a formal dinner reception where guests are invited to eat, drink, and be merry.

Credits: Photography by Kelli & Daniel Taylor | Bouquet by Mandy Busby

Sarah Elizabeth of Repertoire Assistant Services

What made you want to start repertoire? I noticed a need in the Birmingham wedding world that was not being filled. I saw that a lot of wedding vendors and creatives needed an assistant some of the time, but not all of the time. This past summer, I decided to startrepertoire in order to fill that void.

How did you choose your business’ name? I wanted the name to not limit me to one area of the creative world, as well as, encapsulate the wide variety of tasks that I could take on to assist others. So, when trying to make a decision I scoured through my dictionary looking for just the right word and finally landed on “repertoire.” I felt that it has left me open to take my business in any direction I want and I love that freedom!

What’s an important thing you’ve learned since starting repertoire? Trust. I took a leap of faith when I became a freelancer and it has been so eye opening and awe-inspiring to put my trust in the Lord and see all of his wonderful provisions for my small business and me.

What are some of the services you provide? Whether it’s styling products for a photo shoot, organizing your office to make your life easier, or stuffing envelopes because you’re on a time crunch, I’m up for the challenge! I have done a little bit of everything since starting repertoire and I love to assist people with whatever task they come up with.

What are your hopes for the future of repertoire? I have really fallen in love with event, interior, and prop styling. My hope is to be able to do more of that as repertoire grows. I had such as wonderful time planning and styling the Friendsgiving shoot and would love to one-day be able to do styling that full-time.

Photography by Mary Margaret Smith