Jacquese and Marcus’s 1920’s Speakeasy Wedding

The Bride: Jacquese, elementary teacher
The Groom: Marcus, electrical engineer
Date of Wedding: September 24


“At last, my love has come along.
My lonely days are over, and life is like a song…”

At the sound of those words, Marcus looked up and saw his bride Jacquese, dressed to the nines in her champagne trumpet gown from Bella’s Bridal, descending the steps of the Sterling Castle. The mini calla bouquet she carried set off the rose tulle flanges on her skirt beautifully.

Their family looked on as they stood beneath the gilded white curtains and read the vows they had written for one another.  In accordance with Sterling Castle tradition, they affixed a lock to the gate in front of the castle and threw the keys into the lake, symbolizing a bond that will never break.  Finally, they poured sand, teal and gold, into a shadowbox as a keepsake of their union.

After  the ceremony, Jacquese changed into her gold and black cocktail dress and joined the reception, which was decorated like a Speakeasy from the 1920’s, complete with whiskey decanters, pearls, and white ostrich feathers.
he took Marcus’s hand, and to the tune of John Legend’s “All of Me”, they had their first dance as husband and wife.  That was only the beginning: Marcus regaled his new bride with a song! Together they danced the night away, and feasted on sliders, chicken and waffles, and beef shoulder loin from Chef Bob.  As the evening came to a close. their guests sent the happy couple off with a line of sparklers.

“Try to stay calm and not sweat the small stuff.” Jacquese advises. “Some moments of planning may get frustrating if you have a very opinionated spouse. You just have to remember to be selfless and understanding, I know this is the moment we’ve been planning all our lives, but it’s a lifetime moment that you are going to share with your spouse.”

Paige and Matt’s Fairytale Wedding

The Bride Paige, Licensed Veterinary Technician
The Groom Matt, Information Systems Manager/Programmer
Date of Wedding: August 20


Matt and Paige were married at The Sterling Castle  in front of 100 of their closest friends and family. The couple exchanged vows under a lakeside pergola decorated with Vendela and Pearlina roses and hand-painted gold magnolia leaves. In place of programs, the couple gave out mint colored fans with Bible verse Matthew 19:6,
“So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.”
On the back was a touching letter from the Bride’s parents, David and Cindy.

The bride wore a gorgeous lace ball gown that she purchased on eBay and had altered at By George in Helena AL. The bridesmaids wore knee length chiffon from Amazon, and the groomsmen, ring bearer, and grooms tuxes all came from Jos. A Banks.

The bride was preceded down the aisle by four bridesmaids, each carrying a bouquet of white hydrangea, Pearlina, and Vendela roses, which coordinated with the bride’s own pearl adorned bouquet of the same flowers. The sunlight danced off of the sparkling crystal chandelier as they became husband and wife.


“My favorite moment was the exhilarating moment after kissing my husband for the first time, when we turned back to start the recessional and we looked at each other. 🙂 🙂 it was such a wonderful feeling. And then we ran like heck to beat the rain lol”

After the ceremony, the guests made their way to the reception hall. In addition to a guestbook, there was a thumbprint tree that was hand painted by the bride. The couple’s parents’ thumbprints were at the roots of the tree, and their extended families and friends made up the leaves. Guests sat in gold chivari chairs and admired the centerpieces of gold mercury vases with vendela roses, placed atop mirrors which were scattered with keys to represent the bride and groom’s commitment to one another.


Paige and Matt delighted their friends and family with a choreographed first dance to “Mirrors” by Tyler Carter. “Matt is a huge Tyler Carter fan and his rendition of Justin Timberlakes Mirrors was even better than the original and really spoke to both of us and the way we feel about each other, which is why we chose it.” says Paige. “It was also written by Justin Timberlake about his grandparents and their long life together and how they loved each other, which I found out while researching the songs meaning. It was such a sweet and beautiful story that it moved me to tears.”

The couple enjoyed a heartfelt toast from the best man, Danial, and a poem, “Love is the Number Two”, written by a Matt’s groomsman Carlin. “We have only been friends for about 3-4 years but ever since we first met he has really always felt like family. In addition to writing us that special poem for us he also gave us $100 in $2 bills…He had to go to 6 different banks in the area to get them. It’s was the most thoughtful gift we received.”

Loved ones were treated to a delicious meal of cheese tortellini with Pomodoro cream sauce, chicken parmesan, and a salad with homemade sun dried tomato vinaigrette dressing.

The wedding cake (From Indulge Sweet Shoppe) was decorated with mint fondant with a white lace overlay, and topped with a gold silhouette of the couple and their dogs. There was also a cheesecake bar where guests had their choice of apple, caramel, chocolate, and strawberry toppings. As guests dined, pictures of the couple were projected above the dance floor.

Once the feasting concluded, party-goers were entertained by poi spinners. Some of the guests participated as well, including the best man, the groom, and the groom’s mother!

As the festivities reached an end, each guest was gifted a delicately carved rose soap and Ferrero Rocher chocolates. The couple descended the stairs in front of the castle while their loved ones surrounded them with sparklers, and a fireworks display marked an explosive end to a magical evening.


“My advice to other brides is that your wedding day will be imperfectly perfect. Just take it all in stride by keeping the foremost thought that at the end of the day you will have your happily ever after with the one you have always dreamed of.”

Bridal Gown: eBay
Bridesmaids Dresses: Amazon
Tuxes: Jos. A Bank
Hairstylist: Brian Avery Salon
Makeup: Casey Troulias
Officiant: Ben Styles
Tables: Alabama Wedding Rentals
Linens: Decor to Adore
Flowers: Silvermoon Floral
Caterer: Nino’s Italian
Cake: Indulge Sweet Shoppe
Photographer: Bryan Campbell
Videographer: Tyler Tuten, the bride’s brother
DJ: DJShell

Wedding Planning 101 : 8 Ways to get Your Man more Involved

Wedding Planning 101 : 8 Ways to get Your Man more Involved

Many Brides feel alone in the wedding planning process. With all of the options of colors, hair, photography, food, theme, dresses, and everything else that comes with planning a wedding; it can be truly overwhelming at times. When she gets overwhelmed, more often than not she will look to her Groom for support; however, many Grooms don’t meet the expectations their Bride has of them when it comes to wedding planning. Because it’s “his wedding too” most Brides feel like he should naturally be interested in one of the most important days of both of their lives; however, sometimes this just isn’t the case. So how do you get your guy interested in wedding stuff without overwhelming him or getting turned down completely? Below are 8 Ways to get Your Man more Involved.

1. Let Him Manage the Wedding Budget

            Since setting a budget that will work for you and the Groom (or your parents) is one of the first steps of the wedding planning process, it’s a pretty important issue to have covered. If your man has a knack for math or is good with managing finances this is a great way to include him in the wedding planning process. He can be your ground when you’ve had an electric day of browsing Pinterest and are ready to hit the craft stores. It gives you a point of communication regarding wedding stuff and a way to ask his opinion without overwhelming him. Guys are usually reason-based thinkers so while your mind is on which napkin color will look best with your display- he will be concerned about the end goal: will it fit into your planned budget. So instead of bombarding him about his artistic opinion, narrow it down to a matter of cost and he will help you decide which option is better or if it’s worth the splurge. This might also prove useful for getting his interest with all the various vendors involved with the wedding if he’s interested in trying to get the best product for the best price.

2. Writing Vows

            Weddings are beautiful events and there are several moments in the day that are emotional for both the Bride and Groom. Guys usually aren’t overly emotional beings and some guys even stress about whether or not he will cry when his Bride walks down the aisle. A great way to get your guy emotionally involved in your wedding day is for you both to write your own vows. Maybe it’s difficult to express words but just encourage him to keep it simple and true. If he’s completely not the romantic type then maybe this isn’t the best path and traditional vows are for you; but if he ever wrote you a love letter then this is just an extension of that.

3. Music

            The wedding reception is one of the most fun parts of the wedding day- it’s the celebration part of the marriage. Most wedding receptions boast of great food, delicious cake and fun wedding music. If your guy is into audio; having him in charge of the wedding playlist is a great way that he can be personally involved. Let him pick out the song he walks down the aisle to; let him choose what will be the most fun song to enter the reception to; and let him choose some fun wedding dance music for all of the dancing that will occur later in the night. Most couples choose to pick out the first dance song together; however, if he has any ideas or you already have a special song- be sure to listen to his input on these things.

4. Picking out his own tux

            Most girls dream about their wedding day and have a dream dress idea in mind sometimes before they are even engaged. Guys are usually not so enthused about their apparel but some are! If you man enjoys picking and choosing his clothing or just has a taste for men’s fashion then let him take charge of his and the groomsmen’s wedding attire. You can still give him a color scheme so that he stays with the wedding theme; however, beyond that, let him choose an outfit he is going to feel amazing in on his wedding day. Even if he is not a fashionista, most guys are going to care about the fit of the tux and some men may even like the look of a formal suit and tie instead of a tuxedo.

5. Food

We’ve often heard the saying, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” If you want to get to your man’s heart on the wedding day, why not with some delicious wedding food of his choosing. Let him help with picking out the food. Involve him in the tasting and wedding planning in these areas and listen to his interests and likes even if it doesn’t fit into your perfect model. If his ideas are way out of range then at least try to include them in some way such as the cocktail hour, hors de’ vours, appetizers or side dishes. Another great way to get him involved with the wedding food is to let him have charge of his groom’s cake. Take him to the cake tasting so he can sample your cake as well; this would be a fun thing that even if he doesn’t offer any input he might really enjoy this part of the planning. If he isn’t having a grooms cake consider including one of his favorite flavors to your cake. The wedding day is often centered on the bride and in many cases it is ultimately her decisions and likes that take center stage and have the final say; but it is also his most important day and his likes an interests should be included.

6. Cater to his interests

If your man likes arts or crafts, let him help with some DIY wedding decor- let him design the guest book or create the place settings. If he is into order or “technical” stuff, let him help with assigning the seats or creating directions to the more difficult to find venues. If he is a liquor connoisseur then let him be involved in the special drinks the bartenders will be having or put him in charge of stocking the bar with the best liquors. In other words don’t try to plug him in areas that he has no interest for, but rather find what he likes or the areas where he is most creative and involve him in those places.

7. Support and Encourage his ideas

            The quickest way to make him shut down in the wedding process is for him to believe that his ideas are unimportant to you. Make it a point to listen to his ideas, to consider them, and to utilize them where you can. Make him feel like he is the most important man, the most important heart, and the most important voice that you hear. Yes, wedding planning is stressful and there are some things (like color coordinating flowers) that women are typically better at; however, if he offers input be sure to include it when you can. There is a lot of pressure on the Bride to make decisions and with most everyone saying that it’s what she wants that matters it can be overwhelming at times. With all this pressure, some Brides try to take on all of the responsibility and become somewhat “control freaks”. If you want your man to be involved in the wedding day, controlling him is not the way to go. Let go of the reins and weigh the importance of your decisions. If the decision is something that is very important to you then stay true with that; however, if it is something that you can do without- compromise. Work alongside your groom to get him involved, not against or ahead of him.

8. Don’t expect him to dote over the “girly” decisions

            Most Brides really do want the Groom to be involved with the wedding planning process. We want to know his thoughts and decisions and we want this to be his day as much as it is our day. Include your man in every area you can and be considerate of his tastes; however, don’t expect him to go out of character and to be something he is not. Not all men are interested in decorations, or style, colors, or design. He may offer up an opinion, but more often than not he is just going to defer to what you think. If your guy doesn’t often color coordinate, help with decorating the house or scroll through Pinterest then expecting that of him on a day that he feels like every detail is supposed to be perfect, is going to cause a lot of stress. He may not offer input in those areas because he feels he doesn’t have the knowledge to offer input or he’s worried about how you want things. Be considerate of his feelings and don’t expect him to be someone he’s not.

Kainoa and Ryan Valentines Day Contest Winner Wedding

In 2014 we created a contest for one lucky couple to win the wedding of their dreams, for free! Kainoa and Ryan were our lucky winners and we are so happy for them! Their wedding was lots of fun! Special thanks to some of the best Alabama wedding vendors for their help with providing this free wedding!

Alabama Wedding Rentals, Fotowerks Custom Photography,  Nino’s Italian,  Pix N Props Photobooth, Indulge Sweet Shoppe, and more did lots of work making a true fairytale wedding come to life!

These classy and unique bouquets add the perfect finishing touch to these modest bridesmaids dresses that they will want to wear again and again.

Bridal Party Bouquets

Having trouble finding your wedding style?

A lot of couples come to me and don’t know where to get to started.  I sit down with them and ask a few questions and then listen…  Really listen…  You may not know what centerpiece you want , or what type of linen you want for napkins , (that’s where I come in).  But you probably know more about what you want than you think.  Here are some ideas to get you started.

Write down three to five adjectives that describe your perfect day. This will help you determine what is most important to you and what you want your guests to experience.  For instance I had one bride who wanted her wedding to feel like a warm Sunday dinner when all of her family would gather around the table and eat “the best food you wedding veil monicaever had” and share a glass of  good wine.  They weren’t about the dancing but Monica dad dancewanted their day to be about family,  people that had been through good and bad times with them.   Their day was set up with long farm tables placed so they could share good conversation and laughter.  I had the Chef use traditional family recipes and they prepared food she was proud of.  The bride chose a lace mantilla style veil like her mother wore. To further make the day special we chose her parents 30 anniversary as our couple’s ceremony day and surprised our brides parents by playing their first dance song after the bride and grooms first dance song.  Later the DJ handed the mike over to guests as they made the most heartfelt toasts.   It was a simply beautiful day full of special moments .

Another bride wanted her guests to dance and have fun and remember her day as the best time they had ever had,  sBrianna and blair first danceo we concentrated on creating a fun atmosphere in the reception area with great lighting and an amazing DJ. Brianna and Blair dance The Couple even had a special dance as the bridal party entered the room which got everyone on their feet.

If you are looking for a way to save money, you may want to skip the favors.  Often guests don’t see them or notice them and they get left behind.  Spend your money on the things that create the day you want , and don’t waste money on things things that don’t add to the experience of the day.








7 Ways to Warm Up Your Winter Wedding


A cozy fireplace is a great spot for your guests to shake off a winter chill!


Don’t you just love the feeling of winter?  Think snow frosted branches and candles and crystals for decor, wool wrapped flower bouquets or perhaps fur muffs to warm the hands instead of carrying traditional bouquets.  There are so many possibilities from rustic to wonderland and all the variations in between.   A flower-girl scattering sparkly snow or maybe guests even tossing faux snow as you walk back up the aisle.   But how  do you  make your guests feel welcomed and warm ?   Here’s some suggestions that your guests will love.





Since it’s a winter wedding you may not want your guests standing around sipping cold drinks.
Welcome them instead with something warm, hot spiced apple cider or perhaps some hot cocoa with a whipped cream or marshmallow, or mulled wine for the adults.

Flower Girls Sprinkling Snow for the wedding aisle


Offer your guests a warm shoulder by placing  baskets of small blankets or scarves at the beginning of the ceremony area.   It will ward off  any chills while standing and waiting for the photos or fireworks.  If it’s in the budget it would make for a great favor.


Who wants to eat a salad in January?  Choosing comfort foods like soups and crusty bread sticks or rolls , rib sticking  casseroles or a hot carving station and potato bar may be a better choice than traditional fruit stations and or appetizers.  Adding dessert options like white chocolate bread pudding or or an apple crumble will be sure to please .



Scent a room with the smell of warm cedar, or cinnamon and nutmeg or vanilla and you can immediately create a mood.   They say people remember how things smell long after many other sense memories are gone.   Photo of cedar or cinnamon sticks.winter_centerpiece

Get your glow on.  There is nothing so romantic as the glow of candles .  Everyone looks better by candle light and it softens any room.  Double your glow by adding mirrors to reflect the sparkle.


Fire!  Providing a fireplace, especially one with with real wood warmth and crackle will provide visual warmth as well as real heat.  I guarantee it will become the most popular spot in the room.


Finally, don’t forget the mistletoe.  Suspend some mistletoe over a photo spot will add to the fun and romance of a winter wedding.