The Birmingham Bride » Birmingham Weddings

Maritime Styled Shoot

This maritime themed photo shoot we refer to as “Sail Away with Me” is a collection of images that we hope ignites everyone’s ability to believe in the fairy tale. On a day to day basis, I see so many wedding images and hear so many ideas. The idea for this shoot came to me one day when one of my girlfriends asked me simply, “if you were to have your dream wedding, what would it be?” Thoughts of a huge antique sailboat and a flowing dress immediately flooded my mind…and this is how our beautiful photo shoot came to be. The day of the photo shoot came and the forecast called for overcast and a high of forty degrees (burr!). In the end, the overcast sky played the perfect backdrop to the gown and the white sails. The photo shoot is as dreamy as it is glamorous. From the custom ballerina pink ball gown to the cascading bouquet and the decadent Mikimoto pearl and diamond bracelet…this bride stepped out of a fairy tale. Once back at the dock, a table was set for two amongst the candlelight as dusk fell. The ivory table linen toped in gold sheer was meant to mimic the frothy sea foam at the edge of a shoreline. For our reception look, the bride changed into a floor length gold sequined gown accompanied by stunning jewels. Her reception bouquet is a modern take on a bouquet. The gold love knot served as the anchor for the pomegranate and cascading greenery. The love knot was a large theme throughout the day as the love knot is a knot than can not be broken when pulled in opposite directions. It is a reminder that no matter where the wind takes us, and direction the sails turn, love can hold us together through it all.

Photography Eric + Jamie Photography | Styling + Design Handley Breaux Designs | Florals Bushel + Peck | Wedding Dress Catherine Ryals | Gold Dress Bella Bridesmaids Birmingham | Hair, Makeup + Model Kerri Burn | Stationary Marked | Jewelry + ChinaBromberg’s | Cake Gia’s Cakes | Videography Crooked Tree Productions | Rentals Event Rentals Unlimited | Props West Elm

Betsy & Bernard’s Cathedral of the Advent Wedding

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Last May, I wrote an article on singleness for The Gospel Coalition. It was called Should I Be Content With My Singleness? In the article, I wrestled with the fact that although I desired to be married, it might not be God’s will for me. I shared that even if I never married, I had learned to see my longing for a husband as a parable for the way the church should be longing for the return of Christ.

The day after the article was published, I received an email from a pastor in Manhattan. I quickly Googled him and found out he was originally from London and quite handsome! I wrote back, and before long we were writing every day. After a week, we skyped, and at the end of the skype conversation, he asked if he could fly down to Birmingham and take me on a date! Six months later, on a screened in porch at my great-grandparents’ farm in South Alabama, he asked me to marry him. We were married exactly one year after he first wrote to me.

What about your wedding was unique to Birmingham? My husband is a Jewish Christian, so we incorporated Jewish customs into our Southern American wedding service. We were married under a chuppah, which symbolizes the start of a new household and reminds us that Abraham and Sarah lived in tents. After the minister pronounced us husband and wife, we smashed a glass. This tradition reminds Jews that the temple in Jerusalem has been destroyed, and even at the moment of great joy, there is still a need for restoration. As a Christian, it reminds me of the restoration to come when our heavenly bridegroom comes and makes all things new.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? It was very special to have Cameron and June Carr of O’Carr’s cater the reception. I grew up eating at O’Carr’s, and the Carrs have become good friends of my family. They have the rare ability to make food beautiful and delicious.

Where did you find your dress? I found my dress at The White Room. It was the very first one I tried on, and I loved the illusion neckline with cap sleeves The dress I tried on was lace from top to bottom, but it was a little too much lace for me, so we ordered the same dress with a silk taffeta skirt. Throughout the process, Carolyn Kelley and Jessica Galloway were tremendously helpful and made me feel like they were enjoying the process as much as I was.

Anything else that you would like to share about your day? In the article that I wrote that prompted my husband to write to me, I said, “If God ever gives me a husband, I will live out this picture of rejoicing in the long-awaited bridegroom. We’ll have a wedding feast, which will foreshadow the marriage supper of the Lamb (Rev. 19). The purpose in my season of singleness will be obvious to everyone who shares in my rejoicing; it was to make the consummation all the sweeter.” It was such a blessing to have the dream of being married fulfilled and to celebrate with people who love us.

I woke up one morning with no marital prospects, and I went to bed wondering about a handsome British preacher. My life changed in the blink of an eye, which is exactly how it will be for those who are waiting for the appearing of our Messiah, Jesus Christ, only that joy will be even sweeter!


CREDITS: Photography, Mary Margaret Smith | Flowers, Kathy Miller | Invitations, Please Reply | Cake, Barb’s Cakes | Catering, O’Carrs | Reception Music, Ray Reach |  Wedding Dress, Anne Barge at The White Room | Bridesmaids dresses, Bridesmaids Inc.

Empress Stationery

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

What do you offer? We are a custom design and paper studio, specializing in wedding paper. Our clients come to us for a design that is special to them, that expresses the mood and beauty of their wedding day. We offer flat printing, letterpress printing, and foil printing. Many of our designs feature custom monograms, watercolor, and beautiful typography. We also offer correspondence, shower invitations, and for a few years down the road, birth announcements and shower invitations.

How did you get started in stationery? I worked for about 6 years at a magazine publisher here in Birmingham as an art director. I loved magazine design, but I also had a true love for invitation design. Friends were asking me to design shower and birthday invitations about a year after I graduated, and about a year after that, a coworker asked me to design her wedding invitation. Soon after, I was connected with Pineapple Productions in DC and working for them consistently. My designs were published nationally, and my list of clients really began to grow. In February of 2013, I made the best decision for myself and began Empress as a full time stationery and invitation business with my sister, Sarah. Her personality is the exact opposite of mine, and we fit together like two puzzle pieces. My youngest sister Kathryn now helps us out in the art department. She paints watercolors for clients that request it, and her little hands are a blessing to this business.

Why do you love your job? I love what I do because I’m living out my dream of making pretty things! Hearing an idea from my client and making it beautiful is everything for me. Seeing and touching a finished product is more exciting than anything else, except the client’s reaction to her invitation. I say her, but I’ve also gotten emails and even a few phone calls from grooms-to-be and new fathers (those birth announcements really get to them!). You know when you hear from the guys, you’ve done something right.

What has helped grow your business? We have really made a point to grow our local market in the past few years. From about 2007 to 2013, the majority of our clients were out of state. I wanted to be able to meet my clients! We have had the pleasure of working with several Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, Auburn, and Huntsville wedding planners and that has been huge for us. Through clients and styled shoots, we’ve loved building a relationship with these hard working ladies.

Social media has also been wonderful for us. Mostly instagram. I am a true believer in the power of this amazing little app. I’d be comfortable saying that around 75% of our business comes from it! I also recently moved my work to a studio in downtown Birmingham, and it has made a world of difference in my productivity level and creative flow. I’ve been able to connect with so many other creatives, which I think is key in growing any local business.

What are you working on now? We are lining up our Fall and early winter custom brides. We are also working on a full correspondence line, including notecards, stamps, calling cards, notepads, etc. Everything you need in your stationery arsenal! And a few other things…The second half of 2015 is going to be huge.

What music is playing in your studio right now? Most of my designs are created with a little help from the greats. Right now, I’ve got Bell Bottom Blues iTunes radio going. A little Clapton, Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, and way way too many more to name. It’s pretty excellent, check it out.

Brittany Massey’s Favorite Beauty Picks

1. Mally Poreless Perfection Foundation with Brush. This is my everyday go to powder because it’s light and is great with my sensitive skin!

2. Cocoa Butter Palmers Stick. The best remedy for chapped lips, or to put over a light liner for a slightly glossy look without the stick and fuss of gloss!

3. L’oreal Voluminous Mascara. It WORKS and it about 1/3 cost of high price make up stores. I use it on myself daily!

4. Elf Coral Matte Pencil. One of my favorite neutral easy to-go shades.

5. Sonya Kashik Perfecting Translucent Illuminator. This illuminator has great smoothness to it that allows you to place it on top of other makeup without rubbing it off. It isn’t extremely noticeable, which is what you want to look for in an illuminator to remain natural!

6. Smashbox Blush Rush in Chiffon. My new favorite peachy pink blush!

7. Aquaphor Healing Ointment. I sleep with this on every night! I put a little under my eyes and on my lip, and even on my heels if they’re getting a little rough! Perfect for keeping skin nice and hydrated.

8. Beautycounter Tint Skin Complexion Coverage. When my skins dry and I need just a little coverage with a full foundation, this is my jam. It’s all natural and just goes on soooo incredible smooth!