Southern weddings. They do it to me every time  - work me into a tizzy of oohs and awws as an uncontrollable grin forms on my face.  It’s the sweet style that somehow looks effortless I simply can’t get enough of, particularly when seen through the lens of Ali Harper Photography. That’s when it takes it to another level of pretty. This wedding is definitely sitting pretty in that level. Maybe even another level up. Because it’s everything I love about a southern soiree topped off with the most adorable Bride and a Groom caught up in all the emotions of the day, and you can see every bit here.

From Ali Harper Photography… I had a Fall wedding this year that was utterly gorgeous. Not only did they plan an incredible day filled with thoughtful details, but upon arriving at the site of their reception – the historic Grady House in Athens, GA – it had beautifully transformed due to the arrival of Fall. The large tree was the most golden of yellows, and served as our main backdrop for photos. (As a photographer, I always find it interesting that sometimes the little things you don’t plan end up being the most special of surprises, becoming one of the loveliest details.) Audrey and Michael’s love for each other was contagious. Seriously was one of my favorite weddings to shoot for the year because they were effortlessly head over heels with each other. I don’t think any of us stopped smiling that day. 

Oh! And one of my favorite things they did, which gives you an little hint about them, is that they literally invited the President and First Lady to their affair… and actually got a lovely typed note back from them! Perfect considering they were married just around election time. Audrey brought it so I could shoot it for them. A few other details they incorporated were funny little table numbers with quotes like, “Howdy Handsome”, and a cake bar full of options from strawberry shortcake to spanish lemon (a nod to Michael’s background). There was also a giant pot of paella cooking all night for guests to feast on. I particularly loved they they walked down the isle to a string quartet playing U2′s “All I want is you”. It was hauntingly beautiful in the small, intimate Chapel.

From the Bride… Our wedding day was overwhelming in the best sense of the word. Our friends and family live all over the country, and simply having them in one spot for the weekend was more than we ever could have hoped for. The whole day I felt like I was either smiling like crazy, or crying (tears of joy) at inappropriate moments. It was the most incredible overwhelming rush of emotions that I have ever experienced. To marry my favorite person in the world, surrounded by everyone we love, was wonderfully overwhelming.

You can’t have a wedding in Athens, Georgia, without some major Southern influences. We are both history dorks so we were so excited to hold our cocktail hour and reception at the Taylor-Grady house, the former home of Henry Grady (he gave the “New South” speech after the Civil War.) Also we hosted a Welcome Party on Friday night at the rooftop bar of the Georgia Theatre because we wanted to soak up as much time with everyone we loved (more than one of our Northern relatives tried pimento cheese for the first time at the Welcome Party and loved it!) 

Wedding Photography: Ali Harper Photography / Ceremony Venue: Day Chapel at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia in Athens, Georgia / Reception Venue: Taylor-Grady House in Athens, Georgia / Wedding Planning + Design: Tracey Daniels Hickey of Consultants Unlimited / Floral Design: Gardenia Floral Design / Wedding Catering: Hallie Jane’s Catering / Wedding Cakes: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes / Wedding Invitations + Calligraphy: Ruby the Fox Papers + Events / Entertainment: Flavor Big Band / Bride’s Attire: Vera Wang, Alterations by Bridal Couture by Ruby V / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J.Crew Silk Chiffon in Grapphite (assorted styles) / Hair + Makeup: Jordan Byers / Groom’s Tuxedo: G. Manzoni / Groom’s Shirt + Alterations: Sid Mashburn

J.Crew is a member of our Look Book. For more information on how members are chosen, click here.