Mary Wesley & Bradley’s Birmingham, AL Wedding at Cathedral Church of the Advent + The Club

I loved getting to know Mary Wesley and Bradley and their family from their engagement to their classic wedding day. And, since we are all University of Alabama alums, we bonded over fun college memories and football.

Mary Wesley and Bradley’s classic southern wedding was a dream and they looked at each other so sweetly all day long, fully invested in every moment together. This translated into me being able to create incredibly authentic images of their wedding day, beginning at The Tutwiler Hotel, to Mary Wesley’s parents’ ranch to Cathedral of the Advent and finally The Club. Their day was flawless. And, Mary Wesley looked absolutely regal in her 2-piece gown by Martina Liana from Ivory & White. She was able to have two different looks by just removing the lace bodice worn for the ceremony to reveal a simpler sweetheart neckline with banded waist.

M.Elizabeth Events and AG Event Design wow’d guests, transforming the ballroom for the reception at The Club. It boasted florals in shades of white with greenery, and so many orchids! Greige linen seating areas encouraged guests to sit, relax and stay a while. Mirrored tables reflected light from the flickering candles and offered a resting spot for drinks.

I’m so excited to share this October wedding with you. It was a sweet, southern stunner! And…sometimes in this industry we feel pressured to show only the pretty, perfectly styled images. I do love those (alot), but there’s SO much more to the story… family, friendships, laughter, hugs, tears, joy…that’s what wedding days are all about. Relationships and moments are what you want to remember and treasure for years to come. That’s what I want to share…the complete story. YOUR story.

(Sorry, not sorry for the lengthy blog post. I couldn’t help it. Let’s just say that when it comes to images, I’m better at novels than Cliff’s notes. ;))

M. Elizabeth Team in action with all hands on deck for help with the dress.
I loved the color edit AND the black and white edit of this shot! Couldn’t decide so I posted both! 😉

Mary Wesley & Bradley’s Wedding at Advent and The Club by Heather Durham Photography

Photographer: Heather Durham | Assistant Photographers: 1st Assistant Emily Kicklighter and 2nd Assistant Rizza Phillips | Planner: M.Elizabeth Events | Floral and Event Design + Rentals: AG Event Design | Wedding Gown: Martina Liana from Ivory & White Bridal Boutique | Bride Shoes: Badgley Mischka |Tuxes: Joseph A. Bank | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale from Bella Bridesmaids |Wedding Invitations: Annabelles Too| Hair & Make Up Stylist: Madeline Hulsey | Ceremony: Cathedral Church of the Advent| Reception Venue: The Club | Cake Artist: Pastry Art | Entertainment: City Heat

Best of 2016 Real Weddings

It’s that time again…time to reflect on a year of Weddings. And what a fabulous year it was! I’m so grateful for my sweet and wonderful brides who have chosen and trusted me to capture their blissful moments, and for the vendors who have helped to make their dream day come true! I’m not focusing on the styled portraits in this post, because well I have way too many favorites and that just really needs to be a separate post for another time. This post is more about the moments and the details. A glimpse into the wedding day itself and what made each one so special. I loved pulling this post together and reliving every single one of your weddings! So here it goes…(drum roll, please) my BEST OF 2016 LIST! Cheers and bring on 2017!

Best Invitation Suite: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Invitation Design: Empress Stationary
Perfect…The muted tones, the custom initials and the calligraphy. Empress Stationary earned a feather in her cap for this one!

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Best Getting Ready Robe or Gown: Angel & Jared
She ordered it from London and it was stunning on her! So sophisticated.
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Best Getting Ready Venue: Amanda & Jacob
Venue: The Oaks, Centreville AL
The light was perfect, soft and dreamy, streaming in all of the windows. And bonus! The decor perfectly fit the style of this beautiful, classic wedding! I always choose my favorite getting ready venues by their quality of flattering natural light.
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Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
A bride’s prayer before walking down the aisle. I think I heard angel’s singing.
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Angel & Jared
I love a good shot of the bride putting on her shoes. Especially when you have this many windows and dreamy light.
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Best Wedding Gown: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Gown: Augusta Jones
Bridal Shop: Carriage House Weddings
Floral Design: Lillie’s
It fit her to a T. And that lace! Swoon! Pure elegance.
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I adored that it was Eric’s request for her to have a cathedral length veil. He wanted it long and mysterious. He got his wish, and it was handmade.
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Best Bouquets: Cat & Chris
Planner: M. Elizabeth Events
Floral Design: Laurel Green
I loved the gorgeous merlot color in the gathered mix of florals for this December wedding. And, the florals just seemed to perfectly complement her ginger locks!
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Best Ceremony Venue: Angel & Jared
Venue: Private Estate, Mountain Brook AL
Tent Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited
An amazing pool and magnificent pool house, with expansive views of Birmingham and Vulcan for your nuptials? Yes, please!

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Best Reception Venue: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Venue: Swann Lake Stables, Birmingham AL
This venue feels as if you are at a destination wedding, not in the heart of Birmingham, Alabama. It’s dreamy, with so much room to roam!  My favorite time of night has always been twilight. That cobalt blue sky gets me grabbing my tripod every time.

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Best Reception Design: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Venue: Vestavia Country Club, Birmingham AL
Floral Design: Lagniappe Designs
Cake: The Cakerie Birmingham
A hanging cake?! I mean that just takes the cake!

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Best Hair & Makeup: Amanda & Jacob
MUAH: Emily Summerville
Loved the updo, relaxed curls and natural makeup Emily created for Amanda and her bridesmaids. So soft and feminine.
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Best Use of Something Old: Cat & Chris
Planner: M. Elizabeth Events
Cat’s family jewels and Mother’s Veil
I loved the estate jewels Cat chose for her day. Just enough sparkle, with a touch of color against her creamy fair skin.
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Best Father of the Bride Moment: Niki & David
Planner: Two Hearts Weddings
Venue: Renaissance Ross Bridge Resort
From his first look with her, to their first dance with twirls and spins, then tears of joy. It was touching. Everyone knew they have a special relationship.
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Best Mother of the Bride Moment: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Caroline’s Mom seeing her in her gown and beaming with joy and pride for her only daughter. There was so much love in that room.

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Best Mother of the Groom Moment: Niki & David
Planner: Two Hearts Weddings
Such a tender moment between mother and son.
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Best Bridesmaids Dresses: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Carefully curated dresses in shades of merlot  were absolutely stunning for this December wedding. Not one was the same and each style suited its  bridesmaid’s personality and personal style so well. Hands down my favorite look! These bridesmaids dresses will definitely be worn again for a night on the town.
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Best Moment with Bridesmaids: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Caroline’s bridesmaids seeing her in dress for the first time was the sweetest, most endearing moment between a bride and her bridesmaids that I’ve ever seen. Pure excitement and adoration for their BFF.
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Best Moment with Groomsmen or the Guys: Katie & Matt
Planner:
Handley Breaux Designs
He’s got his girl and it’s time to celebrate!
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Best Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Caroline & Daniel
Planner:
Invision Events
Tuxes: Mr. Burch Formal Wear
I’ve always loved a white dinner jacket. Maybe it’s because my Dad wore one for my parents’ wedding. It’s a timeless look and a little bit Frank Sinatra. Winning.
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hdp-mcdurmont-w-577Best First Look: Sarah & Bubba
Planner:
Invision Events
 Just add water. First look along the bank of the Cahaba River, standing on a huge boulder. Romantic? Incredibly so!
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Best Ceremony Exit: Amanda and Jacob
Pure joy! The only way to describe it.hdp-beardenblake-833hdp-beardenblake-838-2

Best Funny Moment: These are a tie! Couldn’t decide! Too hard!

Angel & Jared
The jewish tradition of breaking the glass happened a little too soon! Oops! It was such a cute moment and a perfect part of the wedding day story for this fun couple.
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Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
A random turkey decoy was lying around on property at Swann Lake Stables. The groom, an avid turkey hunter, decided to have a little fun with it.
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Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Rebellious little southern girls in their heirloom dresses. This made me giggle…and hurry over there with my camera.
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Best Reception Entrance: Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
If that’s not a proud groom, I don’t know what is…beaming with his girl on his arm walking to take their first dance as husband and wife.
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Best Bride’s Cake: Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Venue: Moore’s Mill Club, Auburn AL
I love simple cakes with simple florals. This one was so pretty and tasted so good.
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Best Groom’s Cake: Sarah & Bubba
Planner: Invision Events
Completely edible…every single feather.
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Best Reception Dancing: Katie & Matt
Planner:
Handley Breaux Designs
When the bride is a former University of Alabama Crimsonette, you have to step up your reception dancing game! Okay, hang on. I know this is a lot of images, but you really have to see this! (And Roll Tide!)
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Best Reception Entertainment: Jared & Angel
Michael Jackson & Prince Impersonators
I mean, it was fun, y’all! Super entertaining. A real thriller!

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Best Sendoff: Katie & Matt
Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
Let it snow, Let it snow, Let it snow! December wedding and honeymoon in Banff. Oh! And the snow was biodegradable. Way to be environmentally friendly Handley Breaux Designs!

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Best Transportation Moment: This one is a total tie. I love all of these so so much that there’s no way I could just decide on just one!

Leah & Eric
Private classic car collection
Timeless. Romantic.
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Melissa & Paulk
Planner: Invision Events
Private classic car collection
I love a convertible, with the veil blowing in the breeze and all of the town smiling and waving to the bride and groom as they drive by.
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Planner: Handley Breaux Designs
This crowd was ready to have a good time at the reception! And they did!
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Caroline & Daniel
Planner: AK Brides
Rare Transportation Trolley & Coats Classic Cars
The dip and the getaway wave goodbye.

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And that’s a wrap of 2016 Weddings! See you next year 2017 Brides, with camera in hand and a big smile on my face! I love my job!