There’s something inherently elegant about winter weddings, don’t you think? Kathleen and Josh tied the knot in January, and from the bride’s gauzy long-sleeved gown to the lush floral decorations, it will have you seriously considering a cold-weather wedding.
“My something old was my mother’s veil,” says the bride. “And as a present to my mom, I got us matching gold chain bracelets with pearls on them to wear on the wedding day from a local jewelry designer, Elizabeth Adams of Ex Voto.”
With marbled envelope liners and a custom drawing of the wedding venue (plus address calligraphy by the bride), Kathleen and Josh’s wedding invitations set the tone for an elegant winter wedding at The Clubhouse in Birmingham.
“We loved the dramatic staircase of The Clubhouse and since we weren’t getting married in a church I wanted that to be the focal point. We only had seating for immediate family and all the rest of our guests hovered around. I was very nervous about it at first but it turned into such an intimate and personal experience with our guests being so close and I wouldn’t have had it any other way! Our florist, Holly Carlisle of Rosegolden, nailed it with the dramatic staircase, and our wonderful wedding planner, Mariée Ami, perfectly coordinated our wedding party coming down the staircase with those long dresses and flowers!”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, old world, romantic.
Who officiated your ceremony? A Methodist minister and a family friend, which made it so special. My mom is also a Methodist minister and officiates countless weddings, but my sisters and I have always said we want our mother to actually be “the mother of the bride” on our wedding day so it was nice to have her do that.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? Our ceremony was fairly traditional. We both grew up in traditional churches and liked keeping the ceremony that way, especially since it was not held in a church.
What was your ceremony music? My Father is from Nashville but our family grew up in Pennsylvania so my dad always made it a point to implement some “Southern traditions” in us. He loves the Tennessee Waltz, and although it’s actually a sad song (most country songs are!) I knew we had to have it played since we used a mandolin and guitar player for the ceremony music. I didn’t tell my dad they would be playing it for the prelude, and while we were standing together waiting to go down the stairs, they began playing it and he got very emotional – a very special moment. We played Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring for our mothers and the bridesmaids, Pachelbel’s Canon in D for the bridal processional, and Mendelssohn’s Wedding March for the recessional.
What were your ceremony readings? Since we had minimal seating we didn’t want to extend the ceremony too long, so we decided not to include any readings.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? How intimate it felt – it was like no one else but Josh and I were up there but you still felt the warmth and support of all our friends and family around us since it was smaller and we were so close together! And I love the photos walking down that staircase!
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We wanted a warm atmosphere that wouldn’t need a whole lot of decorating. I grew up in a 1907 Victorian house and I guess I’ve just always had a soft spot for old historic homes. There was something so timeless and beautiful about The Clubhouse with its dramatic staircase, fireplaces, wood panelling, patterned tiles and deep front porch.
“The house was really the beginning of our inspiration. Since it was an old house we kept with a smaller band, a pianist and guitar player – but you would have thought it was a ten person brass band the way everyone danced! The piano music fit with the atmosphere and they played all the classics. I wanted the look of the reception to feel like the house did in its heyday. The bridesmaids wore long tulle dresses and the decor accents in the built ins around the fireplace were mostly antique pieces from our family – and I added in some custom pillows around the bay window. We served a champagne cocktail and blood orange Old Fashioned cocktails to fit!”
How would you describe your reception? So much dancing, fancy, delicious food and cocktails, furs, beautiful flowers and more dancing!
First Dance: “Can’t Take My Eyes Off Of You”
Father / Daughter Dance: “You Are So Beautiful”
Mother / Son Dance: “Wonderful World”
Mini Truffled Grilled Cheese: Porcini Duxelles, Crispy Ham, Tarragon and Persimmon Butter / Seasonal Flatbread with Fig Mostarda, Cambozola, Sausage, Arugula, Pecan and Preserved Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette / Beef Sliders Two Ways: “Philly” with Peppers, Onions and Provolone, “Southern” with Conecuh Pimento Cheese and Bacon / Smoked Chicken with White BBQ Sauce, Sherry and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts and Muscadine Brown Butter / Short Ribs and Grits with Wilted Spinach and Wild Mushroom / Truffled Sweet Potato fries with Rosemary Ketchup
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We have so many great local sweets in Birmingham that we couldn’t decide on just one thing! I wanted everything to be very seasonal for winter, so we had a small cake from one of my favorite bakeries, Dreamcakes: white velvet cake with peppermint cream cheese frosting; macarons from Magic City Macarons: cranberry mascarpone, maple bourbon and vanilla; salted chocolate chip cookies from our favorite local coffee shop; and for the grooms cake, “Baby Bites” from Pastry Arts: turtle, chocolate peanut butter and Italian cream pie flavors.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We used my great-grandmother’s mirror to write the menu on (of course we made sure it would come off afterwards!) and we also had wedding photo from both our parents and grandparents in the built-in shelves around the fireplace. // I’m lucky to not only marry a wonderful guy but also into his great family. Josh’s mom knew I wanted all the bridesmaids to have fur stoles to wear and she found one for each girl! My uncle, who is an artist, drew the sketch of the venue that we used on the invitation and frosted cups, which was so special to me.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Just dancing with Josh and all our family and friends. It was also fun to see all of our family and friends from all over come together and have fun. Josh is from a small town in south Alabama and to watch them mesh with my mom’s family from Philadelphia was very fun. I think the northerners were pleasantly surprised to see how nice Birmingham was! Josh’s side always knows how to have a good time too and they can bring a good time anywhere. I’m also a Tennessee graduate and my Dad’s family from Nashville are all big UT fans, so when the band played “Rocky Top” I thought the dance floor would cave in from the excitement!
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