How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Austin and I met only once at the University of Alabama, about 8 or so years ago. We had mutual friends in college but never crossed paths again after our initial introduction. Shortly after college, Austin moved to NYC and I moved to Europe. After almost two years of living abroad, I decided to move back to Alabama in the fall of 2011. I found myself living in NYC about a year later. A couple of my closest friends, Andrew and Heather, had briefly mentioned that Austin Shirey was living in NY as well. He had just quit his job of 2 years at Hearst Magazine to attend barber school. Having heard this, I didn’t have much of a desire to reach out to my fellow Alabamian, for whatever reason. Maybe I was too shy. The thought of Austin left me yet again until my sister’s boyfriend, Ryne, came to the city for work. Austin’s name popped up because Ryne was going to meet up with him at Central Park and asked if I would like to tag along. I passed and parted ways with Ryne. Side note: Ryne and Austin were roommates in college and remained very good friends. Ryne relayed to Austin that I had been living in New York as well and he had “just missed me.” Austin was moving home the next day so the notice was far too late. Thanks to social media, Austin found a picture of me that sparked a little crush. The wheels were in slow motion the summer of 2013.
I decided to move to San Francisco after visiting my sister in the wonderful city. I fell in love with it immediately. I was living there for a few months when I received a message from Austin. He was in NY for Fashion Week and wanted to get together. He didn’t know I had moved so unfortunately, we were not able to meet. He missed me, yet again! However, he informed me that he was planning a trip out west later in the year and I told him “maybe I’ll see you around.” Little did I know, I was a big reason for his trip to California. He visited with a few friends from college, one friend in particular being, Ryne. Austin had been in town for a few days and really wanted to get a group together for dinner. So, he got Ryne to invite my sister and I out to eat, along with a couple of other people. When the day arrived, I started getting nervous as the evening drew closer. I couldn’t figure out why. I knew I was about to see Austin for the first time in 8 years and I had an excited feeling. Butterflies are what some people call it. My heart was about to beat out of my chest when I saw Austin sitting in the restaurant. There was an empty chair across from him at the table and I took it upon myself to sit there. I was giddy and doing my best not to show it. We started with small talk and as the dinner wore on, we were deep in conversation. It was as if we were the only two at the table. We all parted ways that night and I wasn’t sure if I would see Austin again.
Luckily, he contacted me the next day wanting to meet up. I took him to one of my favorite parks in San Francisco, Bernal Hill. You get an incredible view of the city and I thought that would be a great sight for Austin before he left for Alabama the following day. We talked for hours on end that day. I finally had to say goodbye to him and told him “Good luck with everything.” I had a small feeling I would be hearing from him again but I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Sure enough, just a few days later, Austin got in touch with me. I was slightly hesitant because we lived on opposite ends of the country. But, decided to take a chance any way. You can really get to know someone when communication is all you have. He and I talked almost everyday and it was obvious we were on the verge of starting something special. After a few months of being long distance, I wasn’t sure if San Francisco was the place for me anymore. I was ready to be back in Alabama and my gut was telling me Austin was “It.” I was right because Austin proposed to me a couple of months later, in New York City. We will always have a soft spot for The Big Apple.
What was your venue (church and/or reception) and why did you select it? Our venue was Hester Chapel in Tuscumbia. It had the atmosphere we were going for: timeless and classic. The wedding was very small so the size of the chapel was perfect for accommodating everyone.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Austin and I were thrilled to have Wesley and Emma, of W&E Photographie, photograph our wedding. They have been dear friends for years. Our styles are very similar so it was amazing getting to collaborate on the vision we had for the wedding. They both have an impeccable eye when it comes to shooting so we knew we were in good hands for the special day.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Saying “I do” to the best that ever happened to me. It’s a surreal moment when you make a marriage covenant and it’s even sweeter when your family and closest friends get to witness it.
Where did you find your dress? I pieced an outfit together, a custom lace top with a skirt from J.Crew. My Mom found lace from Belgium that she had bought 30 years ago and gave me the idea that I should use it as my top. So, I gave the lace to my dear friend, Natalie, and she designed a top for me. I wanted a simple silhouette and something I would be comfortable in. Natalie was also kind enough to sew all of my beading by hand and I was blown away by the final result. The Belgian lace made my outfit extra special.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? It’s your day so do exactly what you want.
photography: W&E Photographie // planning + design: Bride & Groom // venue: Private Property in Florence, Alabama // bride’s attire: Top from Natalie Busby, skirt from J.Crew, shoes from Steve Madden // groom’s attire: Billy Reid, Suit Supply