Jane and Ryan's Cozy Winter Wedding in Alabama
The day was gray and overcast, but the celebration was bright with love. Jane and Ryan went with a "Ralph Lauren in winter" feeling for their Southern soiree, layered with personal touches and just the right amount of plaid.
Jane and Ryan first met in a parking lot. Jane approached Ryan to discuss a tree a general contractor and Ryan's co-worker had planted in front of her office's entrance. Ryan didn't say a word, but he knew there was something special about Jane. After a few months, he got up the nerve to ask her out. He asked her a bigger question three years later. She said "yes" and began planning their February 8, 2014, nuptials at The Country Club of Birmingham in Alabama.
Jane and Ryan wasted no time, setting up an appointment with Allison R. Banks, who did all of the calligraphy, stationery design, and paper goods for the big day. "Her enthusiasm got me really jazzed about the planning process," Jane says. Banks created invitations featuring navy ink engraved on white stock with gold edging. The response cards boasted a custom monogram with the couple's first initials. The envelope was lined with a custom plaid that matched the tablecloths to be used at the event.
For their winter celebration, Jane and Ryan chose The Country Club of Birmingham as it enabled them to keep guests under one roof for all of the day's events, which were meant to have an intimate family dinner party feeling. The location's English Tudor style, with its balance of masculinity and femininity, influenced the celebration's décor, including navy and sage green details, and the plaids and wools loved by the bride.
The girls got ready at Jane's parents' home, where they also took pre-ceremony portraits. The guys opted for the men's locker room at the club.
Jane didn't set out to have separates when she went shopping for her big-day look at The White Room Bridal Salon. But her search for something seasonally appropriate, comfortable, and figure-flattering led her to a rich blue blouse by Marisa Baratelli and a pocketed and bowed full skirt by Anne Barge. A Toni Federici brooch at the waist added a bit of sparkle.
"Most of the sleeved options used lace or some other unforgiving fabric that hindered my movement," Jane says. "I wanted to be able to hug someone's neck, not grasp them awkwardly around the waist. And I've always loved shirt dresses, so I tried this bridesmaid's wrap blouse and voilà. The deep navy has always been a favorite color and was in the palette for the wedding already. We all got really excited when the look came together and it made such an impact. I felt regal."
The Bridal Bouquet
Flowers played an important part of the day—after all, Jane works in a plant shop, her sister designs florals for events, and their mother has been doing flowers for events for years. Amy Merrick brought the bride's vision to life, using garden roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, flowering jasmine vines, Japanese poppies, and maidenhair fern in the bouquet.
The Bridal Party
The Parents of the Bride
Jane's father, Buck, and mother, Nancy, also kept with the color palette and seasonality of the soiree. Her mother wore a velvet Ralph Lauren blazer and the same Carmen Marc Valvo skirt as the bridesmaids. In addition to fitting in perfectly with the look of the wedding, Jane's mom also helped make the wedding as special as it was. "She was the best planner. Incredibly organized and efficient," Jane says. "What she pulled off in three months would take most people a year!"
The Seasonal Spirit
Instead of pine, garlands made of magnolia boughs were hung, nodding to the winter season without feeling too much like holiday décor.
The evening ceremony was witnessed by 160 guests. The couple stood in front of a fireplace flanked by large arrangements of magnolia and other cuttings from the bride's family's yard. "I wanted the ceremony to be the most important part of the night," Jane says. "Something Christian and traditional, but sweet and meaningful." They were married by a minister who has known Jane's family for three generations. Another minister, who is also a family friend, gave the homily. Perhaps one of the most tender moments that had the crowd in tears was a solo guitar performance of Peter, Paul, and Mary's "The Wedding Song." The tune was extra special in that it was in Jane's parents' wedding in 1977.
A Moment Together
Ryan and Jane shared their first moments together as husband and wife in the library before joining their guests to celebrate.
Pedestals held arrangements of roses, ranunculus, jasmine, sweet peas, flowering jasmine, maidenhair ferns, fritillaria, and chocolate cosmos. "Everything had a bit of a wild quality to it," says Jane of the florals.
Wool plaid fabric from Ralph Lauren was used to make the custom tablecloths, adding a textural feel to the décor and a subtle pattern to the mix of saturated colors used throughout the day.
After cocktail hour in the living room of the venue, dinner chimes rang to signal it was time to move to the dining room. Calligraphed menus tucked into each napkin outlined the Southern fare. Fried chicken, beef tenderloin, salmon Oscar, black-eyed peas, fried green tomatoes, stuffed new potatoes, and collard greens were among the delicious offerings at the buffet.
Birds of America: The Bien Chromolithographic Edition by John James Audubon was used as a guestbook. The oversize tome was personalized with calligraphy in the front and guests chose which print to sign.
Jane's aunt and cousin made the wedding cake, which was white velvet with a buttercream exterior. Antique English china figurines belonging to Jane's mother topped the confection. In true southern fashion, there was a groom's cake. It was his favorite, tiramisu.
The Cake Display
Jane's father made the cake stand, as well as the arbor over the table. He also cut a slice of wood, onto which Jane's mother burned a heart and the bride and groom's initials. It was a surprise for the newlyweds.
For the Birds
In keeping with the naturalist theme, and the guestbook, a bowl of bird seed was set out. Guests tossed it at the lovebirds as they departed the reception.
A Fond Farewell
It was all smiles as the couple exited surrounded by loved ones.
A Family Tradition
The newlyweds drove off in Jane's father's 1971 Toyota Landcruiser—his first car and the same vehicle that he and Jane's mother left in on their own wedding night.
Photography and Videography: A Bryan Photo
Location and Catering: The Country Club of Birmingham
Flowers: Amy Merrick
Stationery and Calligraphy: Allison R. Banks Designs
Cake: Dreamcakes Bakery
Music: [ceremony] The Samford String Quartet (205-726-2851); [vocals and guitar] Stephen Fryrear
Hair: Mallory Anderton at Oak Street Hair Group
Magnolia Wreaths and Garland: The Magnolia Company
Engagement Ring: Leigh Jay Nacht
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