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Heartwarming Alabama Wedding Film with Tribute Flyover

Before you watch what might be the sweetest three minute film we’ve ever come across, scroll right below and read the backstory behind the love. It’s a beautiful narrative of life after loss, complete with a T-6 Warbird flyover commemorating the bride’s late parents. Eric Staples captured Chris and Ashley’s day with such craft and care, reminding us of what a wedding is really all about.

Chris & Ashley’s Story

From the filmmaker, Eric Staples… I’ve never witnessed a couple more in love than Chris and Ashley. Truly. There had been an overflow of emotions from the past couple years of hurt and healing, but joy is what found them on that warm, tranquil day south of Birmingham, Alabama. They were beaming every minute. We all were witnesses. But they may as well have been there alone, lost in each other, devoting their lives to one another. I’m blessed to now call them friends and am constantly inspired by their real, wonderfully messy and passionate love.

Ashley’s entire family are pilots, they live near a runway in Alabama and grew up flying. They each have a heart for adventure; it’s evident in Ashley’s eyes. In March 2010, her parents were flying a T-6 Warbird together off the coast of Florida when something went wrong and crashed into the waters. They were killed instantly. Ashley’s two brothers steadily walked her down the aisle to Chris. At the reception, Ashley had her Dad’s best friend and wingman, Billy Strickland, perform a flyover in a T6 Warbird to commemorate her parents, which you can see in the film.

I am so grateful for opportunities to capture stories like this. Stories of hope and perspective.

From the Bride, Ashley… I think one of the main reasons I have experienced so much joy in knowing and loving Christopher is because I have experienced the depth of pain in losing the two people I love the most on this earth. As Kahlil Gibran wrote, “The deeper sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” We wanted to acknowledge both joy and sorrow on this day because the two are inseparable.

Cinematography: Eric Staples | Venue: Alexander City

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Sage & Aqua Inspiration Shoot in Alabama

I love to see a color palette come to life on screen, and when I get to see it through the talented lens of the ladies at Simply Bloom Photography, I know I am in for a treat. They teamed up with Southern PosiesSimply BridalSlice At A Time and The Trasformation Artistry to create sage and aqua perfection, and you’ll want to pin every picture here.


Rustic Venue

From Simply Bloom PhotographyThe inspiration behind this shoot was an unusual color palette we do not often see in real weddings. We chose our favorite vendors to collaborate with us and gave them free reigns to create within our inspiration board for this shoot. We believe artists give their very best when they are given full control, so that is precisely what we achieved: A unique vision and excellent craftsmanship from everyone involved. Fairytale-esque imagery with shades of sage, copper, and aqua.

This shoot is meant to inspire brides to think outside the “ever so trendy pink palette” and explore other tones for their wedding decor.

Photography: Simply Bloom Photography | Flowers: Southern Posies | Wedding Dress: Simply Bridal | Cake: Slice At A Time | Venue: Farm | Beauty: The Trasformation Artistry

Sperry Tents

Give me a tented wedding any day of the week and my heart is happy.  But give me a wedding celebrated under the sailcloth canopies of Sperry Tents and that’s an entirely new level of pure, unadulterated joy. Think breathtaking silhouettes, solid wood support poles and seriously sweet pennant flags waving in the breeze.  It’s romance meets elegance and it’s exactly how your wedding should be.

There are weddings, and then there are weddings held under the handcrafted goodness of Sperry Tents. Those are the type of weddings where sophistication takes center stage with sweeping panels of genuine sailcloth intricately crafted by sailmakers in coastal New England.  Imagine an array of tent sizes, creative lighting and luxurious floor options seriously perfect for your Big Day, no matter the size of your party.  So whether you plan on dining with an intimate group of 50 or dancing the night away with 500 of your favorites, Sperry Tents’ nationwide network of licensed providers has a tent just waiting for your creative touch… and flare for the amazing.

Contact the Sperry Tents Southeast location nearest you to begin your journey towards your dream wedding.  Offices are now open in Naples and Miami, Florida, as well as Charlottesville, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina.  Happy planning, lovelies!

Photography: IRIS Photography + Al Gawlik Photography + Concept PhotographyNeil Landino


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Historical Downtown Birmingham New Year’s Eve Wedding

While I’ve always been a summer girl, there’s something so romantic about an ultra-festive holiday affair — and what holiday could possibly be more festive than New Year’s Eve? This Groom proposed to his beautiful Bride in a big way (an NFL stadium!), so it’s no surprise that their NYE nuptials ended up rivaling the festivities in Times Square. Leslee Mitchell captured all the wintry magic here so take a peek!


From the beautiful Bride… Wade and I met through our mutual interest in outdoor recreation as students at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. We began by going on group trips to the local rock climbing gym, and eventually the group got smaller and smaller, until it was just the two of us.

Fast-forward three years, and I find myself walking down a white candle-lined carpet to meet my finace-to-be at the 50-yard line of LP Field where the Tennessee Titans play. I said “yes” as a good friend in the music business played my favorite Garth Brooks song over the sound system. As if an NLF football stadium proposal wasn’t enough, I was shocked and humbled to see 40 of our closest family members and friends waving from the press box, where we quickly joined for hugs and champagne toasts. It was certainly a night to remember, so we knew our wedding would be a blast!

When Wade and I decided our wedding would be on New Year’s Eve, the style and feel unfolded very naturally over the planning process. My hometown of Birmingham, AL, is undergoing such an amazing period of restoration, and we wanted our celebrations to reflect this process by honoring the past and the present on a holiday when time is particularly salient. I was instantly attracted to a downtown venue undergoing major restorations, the Florentine Building. The Florentine was originally built in the 1920s, and its architecture really showcases the decadence of the time. When I found out that my grandmother used to go dancing there as a young girl, I knew it would be the perfect place for our New Year’s Eve reception.

Next, we chose First Church Birmingham, founded in 1872 and just a few blocks away from the Florentine. To our surprise, the church was also undergoing a restoration to uncover the building’s original crown molding in the ceiling. The brown stone and red doors were a perfect backdrop for some of our favorite wedding day photographs. Finally, we chose to host our out-of-town guests in the elegant Tutwiler Hotel, which has served visitors to the city since 1914.

Everything about our wedding day was the perfect balance of timeless elegance and New Year’s Eve glam. Hair and makeup began over mimosas in my mom’s sunroom with my nine lovely bridesmaids, and I love that our Christmas tree was still displayed in the background. One of my favorite details of my look was the double panel cathedral-length Vera Wang veil. The movement of the tulle and lace made me feel so regal. Also, my mother made an elegant lace handkerchief that I carried around my bouquet down the aisle.

We kept the church décor simple, as the architecture and stained glass made a beautiful statement on their own. Flowers and décor at the Florentine consisted largely of greenery and white, with splashes of festive gold, and hints of wine and raspberry for some added drama.

Aside from the climactic midnight countdown complete with champagne toasts, kisses, and flying gold streamers, one of my favorite moments was our exit in my dad’s 1959 Lincoln convertible. It was the perfect cap to our celebratory tribute to the past, present, and future. Our photographer captured many special moments in back and white film, which contributed to the timeless feel.

Wade and I are so thankful to our parents for this special day and are looking forward to 100 more New Year’s Eve celebrations as husband and wife.

Photography: Leslee Mitchell | Event Planning: I Do I Do Wedding Planning | Floral Design: Cloth Of Gold Floral Artistry | Wedding Dress: Rivini | Cake: Barb's Cakes | Invitations: Huck And Pippa | Ceremony: First Church Birmingham | Ceremony Venue: First Church Birmingham | Reception Venue: The Florentine Building | Bridesmaids' Dresses: WToo | Catering: Corretti Catering | Makeup : Makeup By Melissa | Band: Music Garden Bands | Bridal Salon: B Hughes | Caligraphy: Huck And Pippa | Veil: Vera Wang

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SMP Welcomes Our Advertisers!

The first weekend of May is here, and it can mean only one thing: spring wedding season has arrived! And for all you brides-to-be on the lookout for the a perfectly unique locale to marry your one and only, let me introduce you to St. Augustine | Ponte Vedra, Florida. This gorgeous spot on Florida’s historic coast is adorned with charming inns dripping with Old World detail.

Whether you’re choosing St. Augustine | Ponte Vedra as the perfect destination locale or as a getaway after you’ve tied the knot, you’ll find a unique twist on romance in these Florida gems. With incredible venues boasting romantic balconies, gorgeous greenery and offering customizable packages perfect for every couple, you’ll want to learn more about saying “I Do” on Florida’s historic coast. Head over here for details or call 888.898.1710.