Classic Black Tie Wedding in Montgomery, Ala.

Classic Black Tie Wedding in Montgomery, Ala.

Anne Caroline and Holmes married in the Montgomery, Ala., church the bride grew up in and held a black tie reception across the street at the bride’s family home. A family friend and florist created the bouquets, swags and centerpieces that featured creamy white roses mixed with verdant greenery. The bride wore her mother’s wedding gown and designed all of the wedding stationery as she is a calligrapher and designer. / Images by Loren Gifford.

Says Anne Caroline, “We decided to get married at the church I grew up in, with the reception across the street in my parents’ backyard.  The previous owners purchased land from each of their neighbors to make a regulation size croquet court in the backyard.  While my family didn’t keep up their tradition of playing croquet matches in whites on Sunday, we did find many excuses to use it for beautiful parties, including my sister’s wedding and my wedding!  Holmes and I wanted a traditional, black tie wedding. Simple, yet elegant and classic, and getting married at home made it feel even more special.

Even on a tight timeline, we were able to make a magical wedding with the help of so many. I am a calligrapher and design wedding invitations, so most of my time was consumed getting paper goods designed and in the mail as quickly as possible. My parents are what I would call ‘professional hosts.’  I grew up with them constantly entertaining, whether it was a small dinner party or a large engagement party or a day of the wedding brunch for several hundred people. They wasted no time organizing the florists, caterers, band and tent rentals. Everyone knew I wanted something simple and elegant, with plenty of greenery.

Favorite special touches? I am the youngest of five kids and all of my siblings now have children – 15 all together! I wanted them to be a part of the wedding, but we weren’t sure how to get them to cooperate. My florist, a long time friend of my mom, made the most beautiful garlands for the children to hold onto and walk down the aisle. They made quite a scene in the best way. One of my favorite things, though, was being able to do our wedding invitations. I may be biased since I am a calligrapher and design wedding invitations for my job but I truly think the paper goods set the stage for your entire day.  Guests have a sense of what to expect when they receive an invitation, and I loved the way ours turned out!

Tell us about the moment you knew you had found your dress. The hardest decision was my wedding dress. There’s no way to know how many dresses I tried on. I even bought one dress and then returned it the next day (to a very unhappy bridal shop owner … ).  I had several dress appointments scheduled in New York for the weekend my parents were helping me move but I canceled them on the way and decided to wear my mom’s dress. It was the only one that felt special to me, knowing I shared it with her, and I loved the timeless look of it.  We did have one hiccup during the wedding, though. The top of my mom’s dress was lace that had yellowed over the years. We took it to be professionally cleaned and it, thankfully, looked brand new. However, the cleaner that they had to use must have dry-rotted the lace because the sleeve ripped during our first dance! I was just happy it didn’t happen before.

Love Story | My husband, Holmes, and I were friends for 7 years before we started dating.  We met while he was in college in Alabama, and I was dancing for a ballet company in the same city.  We had mutual friends, and became very good friends ourselves.  After college, he moved to New York to start his career, and I stayed in Birmingham.  We kept in touch often, but he was never more than a friend.  After a few years, I came to visit him and some other friends in NY, and Holmes told me he saw me as more than a friend (and would like to date me!).  Six months later we were engaged and 15 weeks after that we were married and living our newlywed life in New York.  I wish it could have been even quicker than that!

Favorite memories? One of my favorite parts of the day was walking down the aisle. We decided for the congregation to sing ‘O God Beyond All Praising’ during the wedding party processional, and my dad and I walked down during the final verse. It was a moment I’ll never forget. But I’ve never felt a rush of excitement like walking back out of the church with my groom! You can see in the pictures how we were overwhelmed with excitement and joy. It was everything we hoped it would be in that moment!

Advice? While details are important and make a day even more special, don’t forget what it is all about! Getting married is a huge gift and joy that shouldn’t be missed. Enjoy the little things throughout the planning process but keep in mind that the wedding is the beginning of a beautiful journey together, not the end goal!

Photographer: Loren Gifford |Ceremony Venue: Trinity Presbyterian Church in Montgomery, Ala. | Reception Venue: Bride’s family home | Florist: Local florist & friend – Elizabeth Thetford | Bridal attire: Bride’s mother’s wedding gown and veil | Groom’s Attire: Black Tux | Bride’s Jewelry: Family heirlooms | Bridesmaids’ attire: Jenny Yoo | Wedding Stationery: Blanc et Vert Calligraphy and Design | Cake and Catering: Joe O’Hare | Hair and make-up: Amplify Salon & Spa