Photography by Melissa Dooley
Our wedding was held on April 23, a gorgeous day and evening with a full moon, at the Preserve Town Hall in Hoover, Alabama. Our ceremony was at 6 p.m., followed by cocktails on the patio, the reception, and a “Moonlight Farewell.” This last part of the evening was our opportunity to include our many dancer friends and Alabama Ballet family for the final toast, dancing, desserts, and send-off! We always wanted a smaller wedding, so this allowed for time with the out-of-town family and our friends here in town.
While my parents live in the Preserve, and we loved being close to family, we mainly chose the venue because there is beautiful green space, patios, and a lovely traditional interior. We wanted to have our ceremony and reception at the same location, with our ideal being an outdoor ceremony and a reception that could be both inside and outside. We were able to open the doors on both sides of the building and have a wonderful open-air feeling the whole evening. We had to build everything else from scratch, which was a lot of work while we were busy with our season at the ballet, but in the end, we could not be happier with how everything turned out! We wanted simple and classy, mostly whites and ivories, wood tones, and lots of greenery. Our florist, Ray Jordan from Flowerbuds, added a lot of garland and special touches, such as real flowers for my hair and our Sweet Magnolias cake. Many of the people we had helping us for the wedding were close friends, so we felt surrounded by those we love on all ends!
My dress was purchased in Tuscaloosa at Lady in Lace when both my mom and mother-in-law could be there. I chose a very simple dress from an Australian designer that has a deep sweetheart, a heavy satin, and pockets. I loved the simplicity and ability to add little touches like a veil with embroidered lace and a small belt with diamonds and pearls. I actually took out a layer of the tulle underneath to make it more A-line instead of a ball gown. This dress felt like me.
My favorite part of the day was my first look with my dad and Michael, the religious ceremony led by Gates Shaw and traditional vows, and having all of our loved ones there in one place celebrating our marriage. There were sentimental moments and tears and lot of laughter! We had the fabulous Shades Creek Chamber Players (string trio) for the ceremony and a playlist of old-school music played by DJ Colin Neel for the rest of the evening. Michael and I added a lot of little things, such as framed photos of both our parents at their weddings and a photo album of us with our bridal party and family over the years for people to look at during the cocktails, and we were introduced to a song that we have danced to together on stage.