Now that Laura and John’s wedding has been featured on one of my favorite blogs, Southern Weddings, I’m excited to finally share it her on the Spindle Photography blog! I’ve been dying to post this wedding since I shot it in April, and I’m sure if you know me at all you can see why! I planned an art deco styled shoot earlier this year to coincide with the new website and some branding refinements, because beyond navy and white stripes I have a serious love for the art nouveau and art deco styles of the 20’s and 30’s and I really wanted to encourage brides that want to add some vintage flair to their wedding that you can really do it without feeling like you are carrying out a silly theme. Laura was right on my wavelength, and she showed me a photo of her sparkly slim gown the first time we met, and chatted about 1920s decadence while I was secretly wishing and crossing my fingers. Laura was getting married at home, in her dad’s backyard in the Hollywood neighborhood of Homewood (too perfect for a glam wedding!), and since she and her fiance John lived in Portland Laura really wanted to introduce their friends and family from other parts of the country to the South, especially in the good ol’ Southern way of feeding them well.
From Laura’s gorgeous modern finger wave updo (I watched Mark from Salon U like a hawk in hopes I would magically learn to do a finger wave for myself), to the absolutely unbelievable flowers by Hothouse Design Studio (I LOVE anemones and all of the rich reds in Laura’s bouquet!), to the sweet backyard vows and the reception playlist made and DJed by the couple themselves (who both have DJed weddings in the past, and now John does lighting and productions for events, and he actually set up the lighting for the reception as well), it was a perfect, gorgeous, personality filled celebration! I loved that John brought Laura a dozen red roses as a surprise, I loved the playlist ( Laura came down the aisle to Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles and they recessed to Signed, Sealed Delivered!), I loved the dress, shoes, earrings, the bags with the date and “All You Need is Love” printed on them (and the quartz necklaces Laura made for her bridesmaids to wear!)… there were just so many things to love!
Thank you so much to Laura and John for letting me be your photographer, and to the lovely Michelle Campbell for assisting! Be sure to check out the vendors below and some Q&A with Laura about the wedding, and the Southern Weddings post for even more about their day (and leave them some love!)
-Ceremony Venue: Bride’s Parents’ backyard in Homewood
-Reception Venue: Avondale Villa
-Hair: Mark Hyde
-Planner/Coordinator: Bride’s lovely friends and family – particularly Sandi Simmons, Donna Himes, and Trina Cobb.
-Ceremony Music: Garret Kelly
-Reception Music: Playlist by Bride and Groom, with Loren Kelly DJing the reception
-Cakes: Strawberry and coconut from Edgar’s Bakery, chocolate from Olexa’s, strawberry and blueberry cheesecake from O’Henry’s Coffees.
-Catering: Yellow Bicycle
-Florist: HotHouse Design Studios
Gown Designer and Shop: Christos from The White Room
-Wedding party’s attire: JCrew
-Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka
-Groom’s attire: JCrew
-Calligrapher: Gayle Cothren
-Videographer: Casey O’Brien
Q&A with Laura, the bride!
-How did the two of you meet and when did you know this was it?!
John was the first guy I met when I moved to Portland. He was the only person (besides a fireman) who offered to help my friend and me move boxes up five flights of stairs to my new apartment. It turns out that he lived down the hall, but we barely spoke for a year.
Finally, fate and googly-eye stickers brought us together. One night when I returned home from dinner with my friend Grace, John approached me in the hall and asked if I might have some googly-eye stickers that he could use for a model he was building for some sort of science class. Oddly enough, I did. He invited Grace and I over to his place that night (where she quietly told me that she thought he might like me), and we’ve been side-by-side ever since.
I’m not sure when we knew this was it. It happened gradually, but it was definitely in the first year we were together. Everything we have been though in the four years since then has simply validated that we are going to be by each others’ side for the rest of our lives.
-Tell me about the day: The feel of it, the colors/theme, special details. (Why you chose certain details, what made them unique to you, etc.)
The wedding day was wonderful, emotional, beautiful, and sweet! It’s kind of hard to describe because I’ve never experienced anything like it. So many of our favorite people were there for us, helping us celebrate our union.
We decided to get married in my parents’ backyard in my hometown; this was a little difficult since we live in Portland, but it meant so much to me. Since my parents’ house and our reception venue were built around 1920s, we loosely followed the style of the 20s. I wanted everything to be light, carefree, and a little whimsical. After seeing all the pictures Kelly took, I think we might have pulled it off!
Another thing that was important to us was highlighting the beauty, charm, and flavor of the The South. All the spring flowers were in bloom at my parents’ home and the weather was ideal (of course, all of this was pretty much out of our hands, but Nature decided to be good to us). We served sweet tea and candied pecans at the ceremony, and mint juleps and shrimp and grits at the reception. I think all of our out-of-town guests now have a new appreciation for Birmingham and The South, and I’m so happy about that.
-What was most important to you when you were wedding planning (Biggest priority, first decision, biggest splurge for example, such as you had to have a certain venue or your dress had to have a certain neckline, etc.)
The dress was pretty high on my priority list. I really wanted to purchase my dress with my sisters, dad, step-mom and close friends in Birmingham. Fortunately, my parents flew me down for my birthday and we easily found my dress. We found it at The White Room (where two of my sister got their dresses) and it was the first dress I put on. It wasn’t the dress that was in my head (I did not want sleeveless!), but when I put it on I knew it was the perfect dress. My amazing grandparents bought it for me, which was a very sweet surprise.
I splurged the most on my food and photographer. I wanted my caterer to be awesome, and they really were. I haven’t stopped hearing about how good the food was! Of course, my photographer and her lovely assistant were amazing. I am a very nostalgic person and I knew that having great photos of this day would make me happy for the rest of my life. I’m already obsessed with looking at my pictures; they are sooooo good!
The first decision I made was picking my bridesmaids. It was a very easy process because I have an abundance of amazing ladies to turn to. I am so happy that I had so many supportive, beautiful, and insightful girls to help me along the way and on the big day. I don’t think I could have pulled everything off without them.
An important decision I made was to keep the ceremony small and intimate. We invited a lot of people to the reception to celebrate, but kept the ceremony between us, family, and wedding party. I’m so glad we did it this way even though it made planning a little more complicated. The ceremony was such an emotional, comfortable, and special experience.
-What do you remember most about the day/what are your favorite memories from the day? Did anything surprise you?
This is hard to answer because there are so many things that I could rattle off…
Getting ready with my sisters and bridesmaids was sweet and funny (especially my friend, Liz, putting my shoes on since I couldn’t bend over in my dress, even though she hates feet). The puppy running over while were posing for photos; my nieces inspecting my dress; my nephews climbing trees; my cousin, Aleta, showing up when I didn’t think she was going to be able to make it; my little brother telling me that I was so pretty it made him cry; seeing John see me for the first time… and that’s just some favorites before the ceremony.
John reading his vows was so powerful and emotional, and it is very much etched into my mind. Anna (one of my greatest friends and officiant) said so many beautiful things during the ceremony that are a part of my favorite memories. I especially appreciate her reading an excerpt from a letter my mom wrote me – that moment was so special. And, of course, my dad and I standing in our kitchen door waiting to walk down the isle; that will always be one of my favorite memories.
Another of my favorite memories is hiding out in the kitchen at the reception venue while my friend Jessie made our signature cocktails (and I helped by doing some taste testing). It was a nice break from all of the day’s activities. My first dance with John was really sweet. He kept telling me that we was going to spin me, and when I finally let him he was so happy. My dad humming along to “Georgia on My Mind” while dancing me around the room; my step-mom busting out the dance moves for a “Beat It” and others trying to join in; my girls struggling over the bouquet, and Justin (my cousin’s boyfriend) diving for the garter. Cutting the cake was funny because we forgot to bring our cake cutting knife and had to use a butcher knight. Then, John couldn’t seem to figure out how to feed cake to me and I had to help him (I’m still not sure what was going to through his mind in that moment).
One of my very favorite memories is getting into the vintage car to leave. John and I were so elated and relaxed; then, out of nowhere, we see bright flames near the front door of the venue. Somehow a fire started at the guest sign in table and everyone was running toward it. Kelly assured us that they were taking care of it and sent us on our merry way. Our friends and family did take care of it and managed to save my priceless guestbook (that goodness!). We still aren’t sure how the fire started or who started it, but I think it was the perfect way to end an unforgettable day.
-What advice would you give other brides now that you’re official?
Don’t try to live up to anybody’s expectations – make the day about you and your husband. Weddings are wrapped in so many traditions and etiquette; these days it is also about making sure every little detail is perfect (like, as good as something you see on the numerous beautiful wedding blogs and Pinterest pages out there). At the end of the day, you aren’t going to have a perfect wedding or meet everyone’s expectations of what it should be. Though, if you let go and make decisions that are right for you, you will have a happy day to look back on.
For some more practical advice: Get the guest list hammered out as soon as possible. Putting together that list with all the correct details was my biggest hurdle. I wished I had finished it sooner. Also, don’t fret over little details. As long as you have vendors you trust and respect, all the details will come together in a beautiful way.
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Tags: 1920s finger wave bridal hair, 1920s glam wedding, 4-13-13, All you need is love, art deco wedding, art deco wedding dress, Avondale Villa, Backyard ceremony, Birmingham, chambray suit for groom, Hollywood neighborhood in Homewood, Homewood AL, J. Crew groom's attire, Laura Simmons and John Klein, light sage green j crew bridesmaid dresses, Published, Southern food reception, Southern Weddings Blog, wedding at home