Suzi and Art live here in Birmingham, you may remember their adorable Highland Avenue engagement session from earlier this year. Anyway, they returned to Suzi’s hometown of Memphis for the wedding and took a few Birmingham vendors with them! We just fell in love with Suzi’s beautiful garden wedding and had to share.
How did he propose? Since Art and I had met in Washington, D.C. in 2009, it was always considered our special place. As a third-year law student at University of Alabama, Art was enjoying his final spring break in March of 2014 by hanging out with me in Birmingham. We made plans at the end of the week to go to see my parents in Memphis, so I had taken that Friday of his break off of work. When I arrived home Thursday night from work, Art had a suitcase, a note, and a boarding pass waiting for me at the door. He brushed it off as simply wanting to surprise me since it was his last spring break, and we had been through a long 3 years of law school together.
I had my suspicions, since we were going to “our” city, that there might be something more to this trip. However, he kept throwing me off from the start of the trip. On the plane, he gave me a book of photos and wrote out the story of our relationship. Once we got to D.C., he took me to our favorite restaurant, our first date spot, and on a walk through our favorite neighborhoods. I was beginning to think that this was just a normal trip since he hadn’t proposed after all of those wonderful moments!
That night, we were heading to dinner and Art asked the cab driver to take us to the Jefferson Memorial first, down by the water. It was just before the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, so we walked along the Tidal Basin, and – within a minute of being there – he got on one knee and proposed. I said yes, started crying, and then began crying more when I saw his best friend Brian come out with a camera! Brian had taken photos of the entire proposal, which are images we cherish so much now. It was all so well-planned and so special. The rest of the weekend we spent time with all of our D.C. friends and toasted to our amazing past, present, and future together.
What was the feel that you wanted to accomplish for your wedding and how did you execute that? Our wedding took place at one of my favorite places in Memphis, the Dixon Gallery & Gardens. With the lush gardens as our backdrop, I envisioned a laid-back, fun garden party. My personal style can be described as “Southern Kate Spade” and I wanted to have that feel throughout the wedding day: bright colors, classic styles, amazing florals, romantic decor, and plenty of dancing, good food, and bubbly. Also, I work at the Birmingham Museum of Art, we were getting married at an art museum, and my groom is named Art … Obviously there was an inherent “art” theme going on!
Luckily, I had the guidance of the wonderful Katherine Benson at Bella Baxter, who coordinated the entire design and planning process. She has a great eye and was able to pull together all of our favorite things into one perfect day.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Do I have to pick one?! As I mentioned before, Katherine at Bella Baxter basically saved my life and sanity while planning the wedding. She went above and beyond to manage the entire day (budget, design, style, vendors), and I highly recommend a wedding planner as hands-on and detail oriented as she is. Along with Katherine, another wonderful Memphis vendor is Paula DeClerk with DeClerk Wray Designs. Her florals, especially the ceremony site, boxwood bars, and rose wall backdrop as guests entered, were better than I could have imagined.
Since I live in Birmingham, I worked with several vendors locally before getting married in Memphis. I couldn’t have asked for a more fun, energetic, and infectiously upbeat photographer than Morgan Trinker. Some moments of the wedding day were a little hectic, but she took those moments and made them into some of my favorite photos from the entire day. She is magical.
Without a doubt, the wedding vendor I am asked most about and given the most compliments on is Holly Hollon. She took my ramblings about my taste and preferences, and she somehow transformed them into a gorgeous work of art. She even found a way to incorporate our little dog, Otis, into our theme! Everything she designed had such a personal touch and really set the tone for our entire day. From invitations to koozies, programs to cups, Holly’s amazing talent really tied everything together beautifully.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? There were so many little things that added up to make it such a joyous day. I think Art and I can agree that the moment just after the ceremony where we had some one-on-one time meant so much to us. It really allowed us to take a step back and soak up the love of friends and family surrounding us, and truly reflect on the huge step we just took together.
Other than our quiet moments with each other, we definitely had some unforgettable musical moments at our reception. Art’s groomsman Gary took the stage to perform “Shout!”; my Rhodes College girlfriends and I sang our traditional “Proud Mary,” complete with hair flips; and I surprised my dad with our first dance song, Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young,” which was sung by our officiant, who was also the former lead singer of my dad’s band back in the ’80s. Both sides of our families love music, so these moments made the day even more memorable.
And, speaking for Art, I think one of his highlights of the day was his bourbon tasting bar. He decided to do this instead of a groom’s cake, and our guests really loved it (it was all gone within an hour!).
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Don’t sweat the small stuff (easier said than done, I know). Looking back, there were so many little details I was thinking about, but it is really all about celebrating your love, your families who have made everything in your life possible, and your friends who have always been by your side. Put more time and energy into celebrating those who lift you up and make your love stronger and better; being a gracious couple always makes people feel like a greater part of the celebration.
Also, include your future spouse in the plans. Art had some great ideas and was always eager to help me when I needed him. It’s a great sign when you can work together, balance responsibilities, and be a team – I think it’s been a great foundation for our first few months of marriage.
If you need more practical advice: get a videographer. The day is a whirlwind, and I could not be happier with our videographer, Tim Akin, and his work. Morgan Trinker’s photographs were perfect; but something about video really transports you back to the day in a unique way. I’m so glad that my parents encouraged us to have video, and it is something we will cherish forever.
CREDITS :: Planning and Event Design, Bella Baxter Special Events | Photography, Morgan Trinker | Invitations, Holly Hollon Design & Calligraphy | Flowers, DeClerk Wray Designs | Cake, The Flour Garden | Venue, Dixon Gallery & Gardens | Videography, Tim Akin | Dress, Monique Lhuillier at Ivory & White | Bridesmaids Dresses, Lula Kate at Bella Bridesmaids | Catering, CFY Catering | Favors, Magic City Macarons