Austin + Shelby {wedding} Ohatchee, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Austin: "I met Shelby on the morning of October 4, 2014. That was the day Auburn played LSU at home our freshman year, and Shelby was my date for the game. I had been set up with her earlier in the week by Cailyn Sandoval. It just so happens that the week before the LSU game, we had a swap with Chi Omega--which was Shelby and Cailyn’s sorority. Shelby and I did not meet each other then, but she enjoyed the swap so much that when she found out Cailyn was dating John, she told Cailyn that if any of his friends needed a date to anything to let her know. Coincidentally, that week I found myself in the extremely rare situation of not having a date. In my shock, I asked Cailyn if she could set me up with any of her friends, and luckily, she sent me Shelby’s phone number. That Saturday morning, a group of us drove to pick up our dates, and we pulled into Shelby’s apartment complex. Shelby walked out of her door, and I remember having to scrape my jaw off the asphalt of the parking lot to pull out my smooth line of 'Hellllooooo' and try my best not to be awkward as I gave her my best casual side hug. We had an awesome time tailgating and cheering Auburn on against LSU. It is always more fun when Auburn runs over the other team like we did to LSU that day. After the game, my friend Connor Koch and I were walking Shelby and his date home. I was actually hoping that when we got back to Shelby’s apartment we could keep hanging out because I just was not quite ready for our date to be over yet. She apparently had different plans though because as soon as we got to the door she thanked me for everything and walked inside and locked the door. Luckily, I have no shame and she mentioned during the day that we had the same chemistry professor and that she was doing well in the class. I was able to trick her into 'tutoring' me in chemistry that semester, and the rest is history."


Shelby: "Austin and I met in October of our freshman year at Auburn. My sorority, Chi Omega, had a swap at his fraternity and it was a blast! Though I did not meet Austin that day, one of my sorority sisters told us that she was dating a Theta Chi and that she would set us up on a gameday date. I gave her my number and a few days later Austin texted me asking me to the Auburn/LSU game. When Austin picked me up from my apartment and we met for the first time, my first thought what a gentleman he was! He opened all my doors and was so sweet, hilarious and polite the entire day. He was such a gentleman and gave me his coat during the game and bought me drinks from the concession stand without me asking. We laughed, talked and cheered on The Tigers the entire night, and I realized how much we both LOVE Auburn football! Austin and I hung out the next few months and started dating officially in December, and the rest was history! Auburn had a big win that day, but it was nothing compared to what I gained meeting Austin!"

How and when did Austin propose?

Austin: “I proposed on Star Wars day, May the Fourth, 2018. I had been sneaking around Shelby since November looking at rings and talking to her family. It was particularly difficult since we lived in the same apartment complex. There were times where I would tell her I was taking a nap and would be sneaking around in the parking lot when she would walk out of her apartment, so I would have to find something to hide behind until she left. As smart as Shelby is though, she was completely oblivious to everything. One time, I even accidentally pulled up a picture of a diamond ring on my phone when she was looking at it with me, and she didn’t even notice. I bought the ring right after Spring Break, which just so happens to be the week that I told her I wouldn’t be able to propose for at least another year. I felt bad for lying, but I knew she would appreciate it later. The week leading up to May 4 was finals week for me, and that weekend was graduation for most of our friends. I told her since I would not be able to hang out that week that we should go to dinner Friday night while our friends were with their families for graduation dinners. She thought that was a great idea, so on Friday we got ready to go eat and started driving to the spot I had picked out on Lake Martin. When she asked where we were going, I told her that everywhere in Auburn was booked up because of graduation and that I thought it would be nice to do a picnic on the lake. She bought it hook, line and sinker. We drove for the longest 45 minutes of my life to a park at Lake Martin. My mom and Shelby and mine’s best friends had been at that park for a couple hours beforehand setting up everything just like I had asked them to. When we pulled into the park, it was lined with mason jar candles leading to a table that had pictures of us, a letter to Shelby, a Bible, and a framed piece of paper that said, ‘Yes,’ from when she agreed to be my girlfriend freshman year. As I put the car in park, Shelby and I looked at each other, and she exhaled a long breath as I suppose why we were there was starting to hit her. We walked to the table, and I told her all the things that I had been rehearsing in my shower for weeks. I got down on a knee and pulled the ring out just like I had practiced. Shelby said, ‘yes’ several times and her left hand shot out faster than any human should be capable of. Her sister, Lauren, and best friends, Cailyn and Rachel, came out from various hiding spots after taking pictures and congratulated us. After taking more pictures, we drove a few houses down from the park to my Aunt Laura and Uncle Greg’s lake house where our family and friends were waiting to celebrate with us. We had Taco Mama catered because Mexican is Shelby’s favorite meal. The best part is that Shelby is so loved that we actually could not even fit everyone into the lake house and had to have another party in Auburn later that night for even more of our friends. In all the excitement, Shelby never actually ate anything though, so after it was all done, she and I went to Sonic to get her some tater tots. It was such a great time, and Shelby and I will always look back and talk about how great that night was.”

Shelby: “Austin proposed on May 4, 2018 at Lake Martin. As our relationship progressed through college, I knew that I could see myself marrying Austin and knew that he would make an incredible husband one day. In the Spring of 2018, Austin and I had a conversation about marriage and, though he confirmed that it was the next step for us, he told me that we would have to wait a year because of his grad school. Little did I know, Austin was already looking at rings!! A few months later, Austin told me that we should plan a date the Friday of Auburn’s graduation weekend. This wasn’t unusual for him at all. With pharmacy school and being college students in general, when we have time to go on a nice date together, Austin typically plans it ahead of time and keeps it a surprise from me. We spent most of the day together hanging out in Auburn, and when Austin came to pick me up for our date, he told me we were going to the lake to have a picnic because all of the restaurants were booked for graduation! However, when we got to the lake, we didn’t pull into his family’s lake house like I expected, but a small park with mason jars lining a walkway to the spot that he proposed! I was in such shock that I barely remember what he said at the time, but he knew that would happen, so he wrote me a letter with everything that he had rehearsed to say in it! Asking me to marry him was the easiest question I have ever had to answer! After I said yes, and got the most beautiful ring in the WORLD, my sister and two best friends came out from taking pictures to congratulate us! After, he had all of our family and friends come to the lake to celebrate with my favorite meal and even more friends waiting on us at my apartment back at Auburn! It was a day of pure joy and I could not be more thankful or more excited to be his wife! “

Shelby—describe Austin in three words.

“Joyful– Austin is the happiest person I have ever met! He is always laughing and joking around and always has a positive perspective in any situation. Even when life gets hard, Austin is always the bright side to my day because he finds the good in every situation and every person. 

Constant– Austin is constant in so many different ways! He is so reliable, and I know that I can always count on him. Whether it is running over to my apartment to kill a bug (it happens, a lot) or knowing that he can always make me laugh, he is 100% himself all the time. Most importantly though, he is constant in showing me the love our Heavenly Father has for us and leads me in that truth daily. 

Servant-hearted– This by far describes Austin more than any other word. He amazes me the way that he not only loves serving others, but is ALWAYS looking for opportunities to serve me, his friends, his family or anyone! He does so joyfully and works so hard to help others.”

What are some things you two enjoy doing together?
Shelby: “We love to dance together. We love weddings and formals because it is just hours of dancing. We love cooking together. We both really like to travel. We love Auburn football. We love the beach and lake. We love watching movies and The Office. We love our friends and anytime that we get to spend with them!”

Austin—describe Shelby in three words.

“Godly– Above everything else, Shelby loves God. She is very involved in our church, and she loves people like Jesus does. She always points me back to God, and there is no better word to describe her.

Passionate– Anyone that knows Shelby knows that when she is in, she is all in. Whether it is her faith, becoming a pharmacist, or kettlebell class, Shelby will put everything she has into it.

Efficient– I have to include this one because this is always what Shelby says is the one word that describes her best. She always gives me a hard time because I move pretty slowly unless there’s a good reason to speed up. From the moment Shelby wakes up, she is productive and getting stuff done and done quickly. It is something I really do respect about her.”

What was each yall's favorite part of the day? 

Shelby: "My favorite part of the day was our first look. It was the moment that I had been most excited about from the beginning. I had so much fun that morning getting ready with all of my bridesmaids, but all I could think about all was how ready I was to see Austin and start spending our wedding day together. I remember waiting inside before walking to out to him, and I was so nervous that it was going to start pouring rain. Instead, the moment I walked outside the sun was shining brightly and it could not have been a more beautiful. Seeing him immediately made all the nervousness disappear as we laughed and smiled and took in such a special moment together!"

Austin: "Easily, my favorite part of the day was watching Shelby walk down the aisle. After years of dating and over a year of engagement, that was the moment where all the (im)patience had paid off. It was finally happening. We had spent a lot of time during our pre-marital counseling discussing how marriage is symbolic of God’s love for us. For that moment specifically, we talked about how me waiting at the altar for Shelby was representative of how Christ will be waiting for us as we walk into Heaven. All the anticipation, pride, and joy that I felt watching those doors open and seeing her in all her beauty was just a small glimpse of what will happen as we walk through the doors of Heaven. It gave me a whole new perspective that would be hard to grasp otherwise, and it’s a moment I will never forget."

What's next for you two?

Shelby: "Austin and I will be in Auburn for the next couple of years as I finish my pharmacy degree while he is working on a master’s in mechanical engineering. We love our community, church and everything about Auburn and could see ourselves here forever. However, we are excited to see the plans the Lord has for our future as husband and wife and plan to go wherever His sovereign hand leads us."

Vendors:

Ceremony: Rainbow Presbyterian Church 

Reception: Otter Creek Farmstead and Distillery 

Planning/coordinating: Melanie Grace Weddings 

Hair and makeup: Danielle Ivy Chiepalich

Dress: Ivory and White 

Bridesmaid dresses: Azazie 

Flowers: Attalla Florist 

Cakes: Cakes by Lee 

Invitations: LCM Design 

Catering: The Happy Catering Company 

Band: Big Night Dynamite/Music Garden

Videography: Aly Hughes 

Groom and groomsmen suits: Jos A. Banks

Blake + Susan {engagement} :: Huntsville, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Susan: “Blake and I met when I was 15 and he was 16. Blake was a year older than me, and he was one of my brother’s good friends from the golf team. He actually spent the night at my house one night because he and my brother had a golf tournament early in the morning. The next day, I remember seeing him and thinking he was so cute! I even texted my best friend about him. Later, I found out he didn’t even see me that night and thought my brother was an only child. My best friend and him had a short stent of dating (I even third wheeled with them to Chick-Fil-A, and we talked the whole time.) —and then they ended up becoming good friends. A few months later, she told him she thought that me and him would be great together, and he texted me and asked me to go on a date— golfing (lol)— and the rest is history!”

Blake: “The first time we met was when we went to Chick-Fil-A in high school and it was Susan, her best friend and me. I remember we just ended up talking the whole time and then a few months later we ended up going on our first date. Since I was a golfer, I figured no better first date than the golf course.”

How and when did Blake propose?

Susan: “Obviously, Blake and I have been dating for a long time, so I was SO ready to get engaged. The Friday before he proposed, my roommate listened to me cry in the shower about it and was so convincing that she knew nothing. Blake gave me a giftcard to the spa at Ross Bridge in Birmingham for Christmas, so my two roommates and I decided to have a girls weekend and go stay there. We had a spa day all Saturday and then went up to our room and got ready for dinner. .I actually fell asleep, and was asleep 10 minutes before he proposed. They talked me into walking down to the nice restaurant at the hotel, and when I got to the stairs I saw Blake waiting! He had decorated the wine cellar of the restaurant with flowers and candles, and he had gotten family heirlooms from my parents (silver, white linen/lace table cloths, etc). He asked me to marry him, and then we ate and met our families afterwards!”

What are some things you two enjoy doing together?

Susan: "Blake and I really just love to spend time together! We always love going to the movies, going on walks and looking at houses (pretending we have a million dollars and picking out which parts of each house we would add to ours), playing with our dog, cooking, hanging out with family, and going golfing (Blake golfs-- I ride in the golf cart!)"


Blake: "We’re big fans of movies, and we also like to take our dog on walks and let her run around and have fun. We also like to cook together-- which could be described more by Susan cooking and me helping here and there. Plus, I’m a really good stirrer."

Blake-- describe Susan in three words: 

Blake: "Susan is independent, loving and smart."

Susan-- describe Blake in three words:

Susan: "Home, patient and gentle.

Home-- Blake has been with me through so many seasons of life. He has been a constant and when I think of him I’m immediately comforted-- just like you feel when you’re home. He can instantly calm my fears and anxieties. He’s the first person I want to tell every part of my day to. When I’m sick or upset, he’s the person that makes me feel better every single time.

Patient-- I’m what some would call type A, OCD, always has a plan, etc. I love to know what’s going to happen next and life has thrown me a million curve balls--nothing in my plan. Blake is the exact opposite--he goes with the flow, has faith that all things will work out always, and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. He is patient with me every single day--even when I’m not being the best version of myself--and always handles my freak outs with grace, understanding and LOADS of patience.

Gentle-- Blake is the kind of person that has a soothing presence. He is kind to everyone, always willing to listen and to just be there for you. His presence is gentle. He’s the kind of person that stray animals immediately walk up to or that a baby automatically stops crying in the arms of. You just feel like you can immediately trust him. It’s one of my favorite things about him--he always makes me feel safe and taken care of."

James Robert + Jami {engagement} Pursell Farms :: Sylacauga, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Jami: "We first met at some point growing up due to our parents both being in the cattle industry, so not the typical love at first sight thing-- although I've always thought he was so handsome and still is! My mother tells a story about driving by the Parnell's home, and James Robert was in the front yard playing. All he had on was his cowboy boots and a diaper-- she said she will never forget that! Let's just say we met when HE was in diapers! I can't recall what I thought the first time we met, but we laugh about the first time he visited my home. I was scared to let him come in because I told him I didn't want Charli Bay's (my little girl) toys to scare him away. That night, we sat on my front porch in rocking chairs while it rained and talked for hours. Here we are over three years later and the toys are still everywhere— and so is he. James Robert came into my life during the hardest time I have ever experienced. He was an unplanned adventure that only God could have planned."

James Robert: "Our families have known each other our whole lives, so we both would have been very young when we first 'met.' We reconnected once I came back home from Auburn to run the farm and hit it off."

What are some things y'all like to do together? 
Jami: "Us time! We love to sit and talk. James Robert said talking to me is like listening to your favorite song on the radio and all other conversation are static-- and I couldn't agree more!"

James Robert: "We love cooking together. I like to grill and cook anything in a skillet, and Jami handles everything else. By the way, she’s a great cook! We also have the best conversations that can last for hours and it’s always enjoyable!"

How and when did James Robert propose?
Jami: "James Robert proposed to Charli Bay and I on Jan. 25, 2019. We planned to take Charli Bay skiing this winter and just never made it. So, on a spur of the moment decision we decided to go to Gatlinburg for the weekend and take her to Ober. I knew we would get engaged at some point in 2019, but I did not think on this trip. We joked that he had to propose this year and he said it would be on Dec. 31, 2019. The best thing about our proposal was the inclusion of Charli Bay-- because he is marrying her also! He let her pick out my ring which still makes me smile today, but the cherry on top was when he proposed to both of us. It was just the three of us in an intimate setting just how I wanted it to be. Charli Bay was so shocked she ran into the other room. When she came back to us, I asked her what was wrong. She stated: 'I went to see if I was crying too.'"

James Robert-- describe Jami in three words.

James Robert: " Jami is independent, loving and selfless."

Jami- describe James Robert in three words.

Jami: "James Robert is godly, strong, leader, calm and confident."

Stephen + Britton {engagement} :: Atlanta, Ga.

How did you two meet?
Britton: "Stephen and I met through the college ministry spring break mission trip our junior year at Auburn. I thought, 'Who is the cute quiet guy?' We didn’t talk much until we returned to campus, and I was trying to sell philanthropy tickets for a dodge ball tournament. He and his friends made a team to compete. Plus, he had a sweet black lab that reeled me in for quality dog time."

Stephen: "Britton and I met on Amplify 2013 (First Baptist Church of Opelika's college spring break mission trip) while we were both juniors in college at Auburn. We were both assigned to the same group to repaint a fire station in the Port St. Joe area during the week. We interacted some during the painting and the rides to and from the fire station. I remember her being very outgoing and bubbly...and asked a lot of questions. That definitely forced me out of my comfort zone, but I thought it was endearing. After the trip we reconnected back at school, and the rest is history."

What are some things y'all like to do together?
Britton: "We love to hike with each of our dogs-- Lexi and Raisin. We also enjoy traveling and already dreaming about future trips."

Stephen: "Hiking, playing with our dogs (Raisin and Lexi), spending time with friends, skiing, traveling, trying out new breweries, going to the lake and eating pizza-- just to name a few."

How and when did Stephen propose?
Britton: "Stephen’s proposal was beautifully romantic with (the a little touch of 'us.') About a year prior, we were emailing while Stephen was serving in the Navy. He mentioned taking a trip to Europe—I was in! When planning our trip to Italy, he asked me what was I most excited about. Stephen used my top choice by proposing on our gondola ride. I genuinely had no idea in the moment because I was in such awe of the sights. I wondered why he was fidgeting around, but was too distracted to question. After he asked, "Do you think you’d be able to live with my quirks forever?' And my joking reply was, 'Yah, I don’t know, maybe.' I’m sure glad he still had the courage to ask me to marry him!"

Stephen: "We had planned a trip to Europe in November-December of 2018 while I was between duty stations. On the trip, we were planning on going to Zurich, Switzerland and several places in Italy-- including Venice. I thought this would be the perfect place to propose. I carried the ring around hidden in my backpack while we explored the city on November 26th, but I decided to pop the question while we were on a gondola ride...which is not easy to try and get down on one knee on!"

Britton- describe Stephen in three words:
Britton: "Stephen is conscientious, honest and patience. He thinks about all possibilities before making decisions-- including myself. His honesty is authentic and unwavering. Most of all, he is a God-fearing and patient man. I am indescribably thankful for who he is, and who he will be as we grow together as husband and wife."

Stephen-- describe Britton on three words:

Stephen: "Britton is outgoing, loving and beautiful."

Matt + Mary Katherine {engagement} :: Auburn, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Mary Katherine: "Matt and I met through my older brother, Bo, in 2010 at Quixotes. Matt and Bo had recently started a band together, The Bama Gamblers, and I drove from Tuscaloosa to Auburn to watch them play for the first time. I remember immediately thinking he was so cute the first time I saw him. Matt and I became close friends quickly, and once I transferred to Auburn in 2012 we saw each other pretty much everyday. In 2013, we finally stopped trying to convince everyone, including ourselves, that we were just friends and became a couple! A few months later, he bought me our dog, Waylon, and I’ve been in love with him ever since. He’s truly my best friend and my favorite person!"

Matt: "The first time we met was at a bar in Auburn called Quixote’s now referred to
as 'Q’s' by the college kids. I was on stage playing with a band that happened
to have her brother as the bass player. We didn’t really talk that much to each
other that night, but as the band progressed, we started seeing each other
more and more often."

What are some things you two enjoy doing together?
Mary Katherine: "We really love to do anything and everything together! Our favorite thing to do is probably go see live music. We have been to SO many concerts over the past six years. We also love to do anything with Waylon, so we spend lots of time at the park. Matt won’t ever admit it, but he loves watching reality TV with me so we do that together too." 

Matt: "One of our favorite things to do together is take Waylon to the park. That’s
where the idea to propose at the park with Waylon there came from. Another
one of our favorite things to do is to watch American Idol while eating dinner
in the bed."

How and when did Matt propose?

Matt: "I proposed on September 30, 2018, at Kiesel Park in Auburn, Al (the same place that our incredible engagement pictures were taken). It was the day before our fifth anniversary and it was about 90 degrees but felt like a 110 to me. We walked our normal route with Waylon (our 5 year old puppy) and I was doing my best to keep my cool when we finally made it to a bench on the back trail of the park. After a couple of minutes of fumbling through my words, I hit one knee and vividly remember MK’s hand shaking furiously as I asked her to marry me. The details get a little fuzzy after that but I’m assuming she said yes since we’re getting married in December!"

Mary Katherine: "We got engaged on September 30, 2018-- also known as the hottest day of the entire year (in my opinion.) We love to take our dog, Waylon, out to Kiesel Park on Sundays to let him run off some energy. That Sunday was like any other Sunday, except I did NOT want to go. It was HOT and we had been to the Auburn game the day before. However, Matt was insisting that we go. We walked our normal route, and I thought Matt was acting totally normal-- other than the fact that he was drenched in sweat. We decided to take a break and sit down on a bench. Of course right when we sit down, Waylon darts into the woods, so I had to go after him. When I came back, Matt was awkwardly standing next to the bench and grabbed my hands. He said a bunch of words that I’m 100% sure he had not rehearsed and finally dropped to one knee and asked me to marry him! I was totally caught off guard. We celebrated that night with our favorites-- Chinese food and Kardashians. Hands down best day of my life and easiest decision I’ve ever made!"

Matt-- describe Mary Katherine in three words:

Matt: "Three words is difficult!

Hilarious-- especially when she’s not trying to be
Bright-- personality-wise and intelligence-wise
Loving-- in order to take care of Waylon and me there has to be a lot
of love there!”

Mary Katherine-- describe Matt in three words:

Mary Katherine: "Kind-- to know Matt truly is to love him. I constantly hear people talk about how kind and considerate Matt is-- and it’s so true. He has the kindest heart and the sweetest soul. Everyone loves him-- my friends love him more than they love me, and I love that! He can talk to anyone and would give you the shirt off his back before you even realized you needed it. He’s never judgmental and is so sweet. He gives the BEST hugs and lights up every room he walks into. I love my 'Mr. Kind Eyes.' 

Patient-- Matt is probably the most patient person I have ever met. Trust me when I say that because I test his patience on a daily basis. Whether he is teaching guitar lessons at work or simply being a friend, he is patient and understanding. He is the definition of a partner in all aspects-- a shoulder to cry on, a confidence booster and the ultimate listener all while never getting frustrated. He’s my favorite person to talk things through with because he can always help me see things from a different perspective-- and will let me ramble until I run out of energy! 

Talented-- Matt is one of the most talented guitar players I’ve ever seen! Every time he plays, there are literally groups of people standing in front of him staring in awe. There was even one time where the crowd started chanting his name (you know he loved that!) I see his face truly light up with joy when he’s playing guitar and seeing him so genuinely happy makes me so happy. The passion he has for playing guitar is contagious, and I love watching him be so incredibly dedicated to something. I am so thankful for Matt, ALL of his guitars, and that Bama Gamblers show in 2010 which led me to this man that is 1,000 times better than anything I could have ever imagined!"

Parker + Lexie {engagement} :: Montgomery, Ala.

How did you two meet?
Parker: "We met at Lexie’s sorority formal, but we weren’t each other’s dates. I went with a good friend of mine, and she got set up with one of my fraternity brothers, so we all ended up hanging out all night at the formal. I remember realizing how beautiful she was in her red dress, and I was upset when she went home after the formal instead of hanging out with the group longer. Earlier in the night we had added each other on social media, so we were able to keep communicating and haven’t stopped since."

Lexie: "I met Parker at my sorority’s formal! I was set up with one of his fraternity brothers, and he was the date for one of my sorority sisters. We all ended up riding to formal together, and we immediately hit it off. After formal was over, our group was going back to his fraternity house to hang out, and I decided to go home because I had a big test the following week. Somewhere along the way, we had added each other on Snapchat and just kept talking. I told my mom the next day that I bonded with an aerospace engineer-- little did I know I would be marrying him almost three years later!"

What are some things yall like to do together?
Parker: "We love going to Disney World, golf tournaments, eating good food and just being with each other!"

Lexie: "Parker has a knack for being entertaining even in the most boring of places so it really doesn’t matter what we are doing! He is always up for an adventure, so I am excited to get to experience life with him!"

How and when did Parker propose? 
Lexie: "Parker proposed on November 2, 2018! He started work in Orlando during the summer, so he was coming back a lot of weekends for football games. He told me that it would happen before the end of the year, so honestly every time he visited I thought it was going to be the weekend, haha! He really surprised me with how much thought and detail he put into the proposal. He and his mom came up to Auburn on Thursday, and I had no idea they were there. He was telling me lies all along to make me believe that he was still in Orlando, and he even called me to tell me he was going to have to fly up on Saturday before the game so that he could watch his sister cheer at her last football game. Some of my friends were supposed to be coming in to town that weekend too, and he had them tell me they couldn’t come anymore to throw me off. My sister was also in on the scheming, and they came up with a plan for Maddie and me to have Christmas card pictures taken in Auburn on Friday afternoon. I thought this was kind of weird at first, but went with it because my mom really wanted them done. When there was no evidence of a proposal happening at the first place we went for pictures, I really didn’t think it was going to happen. At the second stop, we walked around a corner, and I saw him standing in a gazebo on a pond at Town Creek Park. He had strung the gazebo in string lights and had candles lining the walk way. He asked and I said 'yes!' We went to dinner after the proposal, then when we got back to my apartment he had arranged for our friends and family to be there to celebrate us!"

Parker – describe Lexie in three words. 

Parker: "Lexie is sincere, caring and intentional." 

Lexie – describe Parker in three words.

Lexie: "Parker is adventurous, patient and kind."

Connor + Maggie {wedding} :: Auburn, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Maggie: "Connor and I met one summer in Auburn when we were at 1716 with mutual friends. Connor worked at home during the summers, but had made a trip down to visit for the weekend. We immediately hit it off as friends. I found Connor to be really fun and laid back. He was almost a little too goofy sometimes-- definitely too goofy to date so I thought-- but I knew there was just something different about him from the get go. It didn't take long to realize that Connor was different that anyone else I'd ever met, and we definitely connected on a different level. All that to say, sometimes you do marry the guy you meet in a bar!"

Connor: "We met at 1716-- a bar in Auburn. We were sitting across the bar from each other. A few friends I was with knew her, so when she looked over at us, I winked at her. She smiled and then I knew I had to go talk to her."

What are some things y'all like to do together? 

Maggie: "Living in North Carolina with no close friends or family here, Connor and I have A LOT of time to spend together. We both love being outside and have a shared passion for hunting. We have two yellow labs, and spend a lot of time with them between riding in our '97 Jeep and taking our duck boat out on the river."

Connor: "Literally everything. Well, atleast I like to do everything with Maggie-- I don’t know if she likes to do everything with me (lol). Specifically some of my favorites are: cooking, taking the boat out, going hunting, going to the beach, riding around in our jeep, teaching and learning from each other."

How and when did Connor propose? 

Maggie: "Connor proposed at my parents’ farm on September 8, 2018. It was such a special weekend because my dad had planned this huge opening day dove hunt, and we had many friends and family coming down for the 'hunt.' All day, Connor seemed nervous and spent most of the day avoiding me, hanging out with my dad and finding things to do on the farm. Living in North Carolina, we don't see family much so I did appreciate the opportunity to spend some much needed time with my momma. We were all sitting around my kitchen chatting when Con suddenly pops up, grabs my hand and says come on I need to talk to you. He dragged me around the corner of the house, and I knew what was about to happen (mind you - my dad, mom and brother had all spilled the beans at some point that day). Connor proposed with the kindest words under the most gorgeous large shade tree. It was the most heartfelt and 'us' proposal I could imagine. Within minutes, my best friends pulled up the driveway after traveling in from Atlanta and Connor's family drove down from Huntsville to celebrate. We ended the day with a successful dove hunt surrounded by our closest family and friends!"

Connor: "It was the morning of opening day of dove season at the Coosa Rise Farm annual dove shoot (aka The Barlow’s farm). Before guests started arriving, I asked Maggie to come outside real quick. We walked around to the side of the house under a big shade tree that overlooked the front of their farm, and that where I asked Maggie if she would marry me."

Connor--what's one of the things you admire most about Maggie?

Connor: "I admire her personality. She is very compassionate, loyal and encouraging."

Maggie-- what's one of the things you admire most about Connor?

Maggie: "Connor is the most hardworking person I have ever met, and he always follows through on his word. His passion and drive for everything he sets his mind to is unmatched, and this translates to both his work and hobbies. He loves his job, and never says 'no' to the challenges he faces working in the agriculture industry. He comes home even after the longest days and makes sure we have everything we need at home. He works hard to spoil me with all my 'wants' and (rarely) says 'no' to my wildest dreams. His hardworking nature drives me to be abetter version of myself."

What was each yall's favorite part of the day?
Connor: Our first look. I had talked to Maggie on the phone multiple times that morning. I could not wait to see her and be alone for a few minutes. It was such a relief to be able to sit together, relax and laugh about how nervous and excited we were for the rest of the day."

Maggie: "My favorite part of the day was our first look and the time we had together prior to the ceremony. I was so against it when we first started planning, but knew it would settle my nerves to see Con first, and he really advocated for this time together. His reaction was so 'Connor,' and was the best feeling seeing him sigh a breath of relief when we were finally able to hug. Prior to the ceremony, we were able to pull away to my parent’s room and just take a few minutes to ourselves to talk. We giggled about the morning, talked about our nerves of the day, and just took the time to let everything seep in. All this time together before the ceremony didn't take away from the emotions I felt walking down the aisle and that we both felt standing at the altar (and Connor still teared up)!"

What's next for you two? 
Maggie: "Our hope is to one day move back south to be closer to our families! We'd like to travel some, and eventually settle down with a family!!"

Vendors:
Venue + planning: Crooked Oaks Farm
Planning: Melanie Grace Weddings & Events
Video: 1717 Wedding Cinema
HMU: Kaylee Jones
Dress: Carriage House Weddings
BM dresses: Show Me Your Mumu
Tuxes: Jos. A. Bank
Rings: Alan & Co.
Flowers: Kim Nelson with Bloomwoods Flowers
Groom's cake and white bride's cake: Cakeapotamus 
Bride's cakes: Edgar's Bakery
Catering: Kelsey Clark with KBC
Linens (with crests): French Table
Invitations: Ink Sugar Co.
Band: 4 Barrel Funk with Music Garden
Ceremony music: Auburn Quartet

Hamiter-- family + adoption journey {2019}

Tell us how you and Trace met and a little more about your family:

Cassie: "Trace and I met at Auburn University in a weight lifting class! We became fast friends before we started dating the next year. We were married two weeks after graduation and will celebrate 15 years of marriage in May! He is my greatest earthly gift, and I am humbled and grateful to be chosen and pursued by him every single day.”

Cassie: “We are the proud parents of five stellar children the Lord has very graciously entrusted us with. Micah and Judah both came to us through the miracle of adoption while Taylor, Gray and Cayden through miracle of biological birth. We could not imagine our lives any different. God is the master Creator, and the way he has created our family humbles me to the core daily.  We are so undeserving of His good gifts, but graciously accept them in the light of the Cross.

Taylor is 12, and our little right hand mama! She loves her brothers so well! Her gentle spirit, fierce love for justice and for all people of all walks of life, and desire to know more of Him is an inspiration to us daily. 

Gray is 9, and is extremely thoughtful and selfless. He loves all things sports, but his favorites are very intricately following college football and basketball! His love for others and desire to befriend the least of these flows out of him authentically.  

Micah is 8, and you can't help but to have a good time when he's around! He is the toughest kid I know-- full of grit and an extremely hard worker-- just like his daddy. Micah asks the best questions, loves one on one time and is super hard to catch him without a smile. His true JOY for life is so contagious.   

Cayden is 7, and is fearless, brave, a risk taker and up for any adventure you throw his way. He is a social butterfly and the way he includes people is humbling. Cayden is deeply loyal and a noticer of details and people. 

Judah is 2, and is the beloved baby of the family. We just came home with him from India two short months ago. He is extremely resilient and catches on to things so fast. He is SO snuggly and is smothered in love by all his siblings. He loves to eat all the time, and gives hugs and kisses any chance he gets. 

We also have another daughter, Avery, who we lost in 2008-- and is now dancing at the feet of Jesus.”

Did you have expectations of how many kids you would have before you got married?  

Cassie: "Trace and I always joke about this. He always says, 'She wanted four— I wanted two—so we compromised with four!' Now, we have added one more to make five :) and Trace would have 10 if we could."

When did adoption become a part of yall's story?  

Cassie: "I always had a deep desire to adopt. When we started talking about it, adoption wasn't something Trace had given much thought, but shortly after we prayed about it, he was all in.  We started the adoption process for Micah in 2012. We came home from China with him in November of 2013."

Tell us a little about your newest adoption:  

Cassie: "In 2015, we started our second adoption in Haiti. We invested a lot of heart, finances and time into Haiti, but the Lord closed that door in December of 2017. While it was heartbreaking and confusing to navigate, we were sure and confident that we didn't have it 'wrong' to enter into Haiti, and to stay there as long as we did, but that the Lord was taking us in a different direction and it just wasn't right anymore. We believe our hearts will always be connected to Haiti, and it was a joy and honor to get to petition the Father for the orphan population in Haiti, as well as the people and country itself. We followed His lead to India in January of 2018 and were matched with the most precious big brown eyed 14-month-old, we would later name Judah Austin. We traveled to pick him up and brought him home in February of 2019.”

Do you have any words of wisdom for those wanting to adopt?  

Cassie: "I know the process looks daunting, long, financially and emotionally strenuous from the beginning-- BUT I will tell you, at the end-- it's like a drop in the bucket because you have this precious life who has been miraculously entrusted to you and you can't imagine life without them. PRAY and TRUST. There are many unknowns, long waits, setbacks and unexpected turns for the better or worse— but we serve a sovereign God who doesn't change, and His faithfulness and provision is constant. He will sustain you and give you the grace you need, for every day, one day at a time. The whole process is a gift really. The Lord reveals His faithfulness and love to you and for you in a completely different way. Your heart is stretched in a million different directions, and you are daily reminded that we are created to need Jesus daily and be filled by Him alone."

Any advice for new parents to the adoption adventure? 

Cassie: "Be flexible and throw those expectations out the window! Your sweet baby-- no matter where they were born and how old they are-- has experienced trauma in their little life that most likely you or I have ever known. Trust, trust, trust in the One who loves your baby more than you could ever even fathom and knows every day of their life. ASK Him for that trust in Him if you lack it or lack the faith. He is so faithful-- so so faithful-- to meet you right where you are at and carry you. God is not a duplicator, so if this is not your first child, don't expect things to go the same way. Be flexible and give a little or a lot where you need to. Choose joy, choose thankfulness and choose patience. Ask for help! You are not weaker if you ask for help from your agency professionals, team of doctors and most of all your family and community. We are created to be interdependent, so don't forget you and your spouse were never meant to do this on your own! People want to love you and serve you, sometimes they just don't know how. I feel like I could go on and on about what the Lord has shown me and how He's refined me through parenthood-- and specifically through adoption-- but my last bit of advice would be to just remember grace. There will be some days when you can't remember how to function as a human, much less to be grateful or gracious, but take a moment, at least one moment, every day to remember to dish out the grace for yourself. I'm a strong believer in the grace that has been lavished on us through Jesus, and He so badly wants you to see that for yourself. So, in the good and bad, high and low-- there is always grace from the Giver of all good gifts and the One who never grows weary."

Matthew + Kristin {married four years} :: Centreville, Ala.

Tell us how you two met and when you got married.

Kristin: "We met January 2010 in a history class at The University of Alabama. We dated throughout college, but broke up spring 2012 for two years. We reconnected in May of 2014 right before Matthew was moving to Japan! He flew me out in September, came back and proposed. We got married a week after on January 31, 2015 in a courthouse with just our parents! It was the sweetest, stripped down, most intimate ceremony and so special! He deployed to Afghanistan a few weeks later, and we had a big (second) wedding September 26, 2015 before I moved and joined him in Japan. We lived there for three years and have currently been back in the states living in Chattanooga, TN for a year."

Matthew: "Freshman year Western Civ. She used me for notes and homework help. The arrangement worked so well she decided to marry me."

Four years into marriage with two kids-- is life what you thought it would look like? How is it what you expected or different?

Matthew: "Life has never been what I thought it would be. So far, the good Lord has thwarted every plan I had made up in my mind, and I couldn't be happier with that. My plans have come and gone (lifelong bachelor/grizzled mercenary was my plan right before Kristin and I got married), and I am so glad that none of them came to fruition. I could have never anticipated the gifts I have been given in my wife and children, and I thank God every day for them."


Kristin: "Yes and no. I always knew I wanted to be a wife and mother. There were times when I thought Matthew would be my husband and a season where I thought that was impossible. Matthew has and will always be the best earthly gift I’ve received from God. Our children come VERY close after. He is the perfect picture of grace and Christ’s redeeming love. We also said we wanted to wait to have children for five years after marriage, but one day Matthew looked at me and said he wanted a baby-- so that changed! We lost our first baby, and it broke our heart, but it solidified our desire to have lots of babies. I never thought I’d be driving a minivan, staying home with two kids 13 months apart right now, but I really wouldn’t have it any other way. (OBSESSED WITH MY MINIVAN YALL!) We’ve been across the world and back again, gone through a combat deployment, many mini deployments and time apart, lost a child, birthed two, career changes, back to school— and we have felt God’s hand through it all. I’m just really grateful that I am not the author of my story because even though there is hurt, grief, and ugliness in our story— the beauty we have experienced is far better than anything I could have imagined up for myself."

Is there any lesson you feel you are learning in this season of life? 

Matthew: "All the lessons. The most trying one is definitely patience. I have zen like patience now compared to pre-children me, and I still have a long way to go in anticipation of having a teenage daughter."


Kristin: "The beauty and blessing of authentic, faith driven community. We received really good advice from a couple from our church in Japan who we really looked to as mentors. They raised six incredible boys, lived all over the world, and it was an honor to learn from them in marriage, parenthood and faith. They told us that where ever you are-- immediately join a Bible believing church in your community and pour into it. That is the first thing we did. Knowing we wanted to attend a PCA church, we went to the one in our neighborhood (St. Elmo Presbyterian Church) and never looked back. It has blessed us tremendously through Bible studies, small group, current youth leaders, and being discipled by our pastor. We have felt SO loved on by our church community. 

In that same regard, a community of moms is VITAL. Being a mom of little ones is hard, and can feel lonely and isolating if you let it. Get out of your house. Find your people that you can do life with in PJs, with spit up on your shirt and three-day old make up. Those people that will encourage you through the four-month sleep regression, toddler tantrums/discipline and love your babies like their own. The ones that point you to Jesus when you feel weak. They come to your house and hold your newborn so you can shower and bring Chick-fil-a. They give you hand-me-downs from their kids! They don’t judge your choices in motherhood because we all know we are just doing the best we can. When husbands are out of town, they become your support, and you help each other get to nap times and bedtimes together. It REALLY takes a village, so seek out your village and USE IT!"

What does your family enjoy doing together?

Matthew: "Eating and taking walks. Also listening to Praise Baby (TM) on repeat."

Kristin: "Anything outside! We love going to Matthew’s family land (where these pictures were taken), going on walks/hikes, taking the kids to the playground, playing in our backyard or front porch. Honestly, as cheesy as it sounds, we truly just love intentional time together no matter where it is!"

What's advice you give to someone engaged and planning their wedding?

Matthew: "For the guy (I'll stay in my lane), say 'yes' to everything. Pick a few things you want in the wedding (keep it simple), so that you seem engaged, and don't take it personally when they get denied. Just roll with everything while constantly nodding your head North and South."

Kristin: "As much time you feel like you have to prepare for the 'wedding,' make sure you are also preparing for the marriage. A wedding is a day-- a marriage is a lifetime. Make sure you are establishing a firm foundation. Marriage isn’t and shouldn’t be built on the foundation of a beautiful wedding-- it should be founded on Jesus. It’s not wrong to want a special day to celebrate your love for one another, but try to remember what it is about. Seek Christ first in every season."

What's advice you'd give to newly married couples in their first year of marriage?
Kristin: "Say 'yes.' Don’t be afraid to jump out of your comfort zone. Those are the things that will strengthen you as a couple. Best thing I ever did was say yes to moving to Japan. Was it scary? Yes, absolutely. But it really strengthened our marriage. It helped us not baby step into marriage-- we jumped in full on and it has blessed us. Also, find your community. Nothing has enriched us more than being involved in a Bible teaching church. Seek wisdom from older couples who are actively pursuing each other and Jesus. Trials will come, you need support from people that will push you to each other and Jesus! We are currently going through  discipleship/counseling with our pastor studying Sonship together, and it has been the right kind of 'hurts so good' in a season of craziness with these littles!"

Matthew: "The wedding advice still applies. Only this time, it applies to the new house, dinner plans, basically everything. Happy wife = happy life."

Andy + Madeleine {wedding} :: Birmingham, Ala.

How did you two meet?

Madeleine: "We met at UAB hospital sometime in 2015 when he was a resident and I was a nurse. I don't remember the first time we met, but I do remember the first time he asked me out. We had both been taking care of a very sick patient and he sat in the patient's room with me all day and chatted with me. He asked me out at the end of the day as I was leaving work."

What are some things you and Andy enjoy doing together?

Madeleine: "We enjoy the pursuit of trying every restaurant and brewery in Birmingham, beating our friends during game nights, trying to find a time to both sit down to watch the latest show we've been binge watching, and listening to records chosen by DJ Andy."

How and when did Andy propose?

Madeleine: "Andy proposed on April 28 on a trip to Ireland. I suspected something was up when he refused to let his suitcase out of his sight when we on a bus on the way to our hotel. The actual proposal happened when we were driving the Ring of Kerry. Our guidebook pointed us to a vista that was supposed to have the most beautiful views in all of Ireland. Andy was very eager to go, but when we got there there were at least 3 tour busses, so he quickly suggested we get back in the car and keep driving. Finally we stopped at a vista that we could have all to ourselves and that's where he proposed."

Andy-- what's one thing you admire most about Madeleine?
Andy: "I admire Madeleine's optimism. She always puts a positive spin on things and is able to see the best in situations even when I'm not."

Madeleine-- what's one thing you admire most about Andy?
Madeleine: "I admire Andy's integrity. He always does the right thing, even when it's hard to do or unpleasant. This makes him such a good citizen and husband!"

What was each of yall's favorite part of the day?
Madeleine: "We both loved having all of our family and friends in the same room! During our ceremony, our pastor had us look out into the congregation and it was wonderful to see everyone we loved looking back at us. It is so reassuring to know we have the support of so many people as we begin our marriage!"

What’s next for you two?

Madeleine: “I am starting the doctor of nursing program at UAB in May and continuing to work as a nurse practitioner in the MICU at UAB. Andy will continue working as a hospitalist at St. Vincent’s.”

Vendors:
Flowers- Vera Flora
Hair and Makeup- Glow
Food- Savoie
Reception venue: Thomas Jefferson Tower
Church: First Presbyterian Church Birmingham
Dress- Ivory and White
Bridesmaids dresses- Joanna August/ Bella Bridesmaids
Tuxes- Men's Warehouse
Planner- Amanda Robbins
Cake- Barb's Cakes
Band- Accent
Venue- First Presbyterian Church/ Thomas Jefferson Tower Ballroom
Getting ready- The Tutwiler

Mark + Mary Helen {wedding} Tunnel Springs, Ala.

How did you two meet?
Mary Helen: "It is hard to narrow down exactly when Mark and I first met. We grew up around the corner from each other and attended the same school. Our friendship began when he asked me to a school dance. We’ve been best friends ever since."

What was each yall's favorite part of the day?
Mary Helen: "My favorite part of the day was definitely seeing Mark for the first time. He was so nervous and excited to see me. It was truly a moment I’ll never forget. A close second was dancing with all of our friends and family in a very special to both of us. I rarely left the dance floor the whole night!"

Mark: "Ha as expected, my favorite part of the day was seeing Mary Helen for the first time. I was truly speechless when I turned around to see her."

Mark-- what's one of the things you admire most about Mary Helen?
Mark: "I admire her love of family. Family always comes first in everything she does. Coming from a big family, that means a lot to me. I feel as though we’ve been a part of each other’s family for quite some time now."

Mary Helen-- what's one of the things you admire most about Mark?
Mary Helen: "I admire the way Mark treats others. He is a quick friend and is always willing to help someone out. He is genuinely kind, and I couldn’t respect that more."

How and when did Mark propose?
Mary Helen: "Mark proposed on August 3, 2018. He planned a birthday dinner for me at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear. He invited all of our friends down for a 'surprise birthday party' for me-- which several responded, 'We love Mary Helen, but you want us to fly to Alabama for a birthday party??' They quickly figured out what he had up his sleeve."

I of course was running late to meet him before dinner, so by the time we arrived to the Grand it was right at sunset. He walked me down to the water and handed me a birthday present, which had a tiny box in the bottom. When I pulled the box out of the bag, I quickly handed it back to him knowing what was happening. He got down on one knee, and I said, 'yes,' immediately. He put so much thought into the proposal and the whole weekend. We had the best time celebrating with everyone!!"

What are some things y'all like to do together? 
Mary Helen: "We love to cook and try new foods. We joke that eating is our hobby. We also spend a lot of time on the water here in Mobile. We have six nieces and nephews together that we enjoy watching grow up."