It was almost one year after the day my dreams became a reality and my beloved Chad asked me to be his wife. I could hardly believe this was really happening. I was really getting married today to the man God set apart for me. My morning activities prior to getting ready were so sweet and relaxed. My best friend and maid of honor, Chelsea, spent the night with me the night before, and I so enjoyed having one last girls’ night as a single lady. We intended on sleeping in a bit to get totally rested, but of course, I was way too excited to sleep. So, we woke up around 7:30, laid in bed a while, and got up to eat a yummy breakfast. It was a little cloudy that morning, so I was hoping and praying that it would clear up to be a pretty day.
After breakfast, we relaxed and watched a movie on TV, and I decided that I needed to finish up my cards for Chad, my parents, and his parents. (I had already given my bridesmaids theirs the night before.) Right before I started writing their cards, Chelsea said she had a surprise for me. I closed my eyes, and she pulled out one of the sweetest and most thoughtful gifts I have ever received. She had hand-created a personalized book full of letters from all of my bridesmaids, my parents, Chad’s parents, and Chad. (She said that she wanted me to open this and read all the letters BEFORE I had my makeup done because she knew I would be a mess reading them… and she was SO right! Hehe.)
I cannot describe the special place in my heart these letters hold. I am truly blessed and surrounded with the sweetest and most thoughtful friends and family. I cried the whole time reading them because their words were absolutely precious. I can’t thank my precious friend Chelsea enough for creating it and getting with everyone to get these wonderful letters.
After I composed myself, I finished writing my letters, and then, it was about time to get ready to head to the church. Chelsea and I put on our cute robes (I got myself a white one with “Bride” monogrammed on it), and we had my mom take a few pictures of us before we left. My mom was wrapping up a few things at home, and she and my dad were going to head out right behind us.
When we arrived at Kushla-Bethany Baptist Church around noon, our florist, Belle Bouquet, arrived at the exact same time, and I was SO excited to see all the gorgeous flowers! They definitely surpassed my expectations. After my mom arrived, Chelsea and I had a blast taking fun pre-getting ready pictures and admiring all of the gorgeous decorations. Now it was time to get ready for real!
I had the best time getting ready for the wedding! I was surprisingly SO relaxed and calm and truly got to enjoy every minute of getting ready to meet my groom. So many people told me that it would all be a blur and to really try to slow down and enjoy it, and I did just that. I am so happy that I was able to take and breathe in every moment of this time spent with my closest girlfriends and family. All of my bridesmaids started arriving around 1pm. I first got my makeup done by my friend and Mary Kay consultant, Ashley Scarbrough. After makeup, I got my hair done my Bridget Byrd from Studio 4. Both of these sweet ladies did such an awesome job, and I am so thankful I had the privilege of meeting a working with them. 🙂
While getting ready, I was able to talk and laugh with my precious bridesmaids. We had snacks to snack on, and my bridesmaids and best friends, Jamie and Jessica, brought me my favorite Starbucks drink (white chocolate moka over ice, mmm mmm good!) complete with “Bride” written on the cup. 🙂 My mom and Miss Robin got ready with us too, so I literally had eight of my favorite ladies on the planet with me while getting ready… you can’t get much better than that! After we all had our hair and makeup done, we took so many adorable pictures in our robes and continued laughing and relaxing.
After all of the “getting ready” pictures were completed, now it was time to put my wedding dress on and go see my groom, woohoo!!
Chad knew he wanted to do something special and unique for his groomsmen, but was unsure what that something was. God has given him some amazing family and friends so he wanted a gift equally as amazing. With only weeks to go before the wedding he got his idea for what he wanted to do. Chad created questions about himself, his hobbies, our relationship together, and other like questions to ask to his guys. He would have gifts such as tackle boxes, Columbia hats, an Eno, and golf gift cards which they could choose from if they were the first to answer the question correctly. He was so excited. So after the guys all arrived at the church to begin getting ready, Chad had everything setup and ready for them to play this game first. They had an absolute blast and I am so glad our photographer, Photography By Jaclyn Robinson, was able to capture these pictures so I could see the fun the guys had.
Right before I met Chad, I had a sweet time where my Dad and Paw Paw saw me for the first time in my dress. I first met Dad in the sanctuary; his reaction was SO sweet. He started tearing up, and I, of course, did as well. He told me how beautiful I looked and how proud he was of me, and I told him how much I loved him and treasured him. I then saw my Paw Paw, and his reaction was so precious as well! I love these two men with all of my heart!
Next, it was finally time for me to see my beloved groom! And FINALLY time for him to see me in my dress… a moment I had been waiting for an entire year! Our sweet photographer found a beautiful spot under a big oak tree outside the church that would be a perfect “First Glance” spot. Chad waited under the tree with his back turned towards me as I began walking towards him… eek!! When I reached him, I tapped him on the shoulder, and he turned around with the biggest smile on his face. He looked so incredibly handsome (like always), and I remember thinking how blessed I was to be marrying this amazing man of God in under a couple of hours. Chad told me how beautiful he thought I was and how he LOVED my dress! I was so happy because I felt like this dress was the PERFECT gown for me to marry his sweet self in. We hugged and laughed and exchanged sweet words with one another for a few minutes, and it was then time to take all of our pictures. Our photographer (Photography By Jaclyn Robinson) and videographer (Harrison’s Lens) took so many amazing shots under the tree, and I was so happy the weather turned out to be absolutely gorgeous!
After Chad and I finished all of our shots, our bridal party came out, and we took some amazing shots of the whole group. It was so much fun! We also took all of our family shots beforehand, too, which I was SO thankful to do.
Some wedding guests started arriving, so it was now time to go hide until time for the ceremony to start! Only a few minutes to go… EEEK!!! 🙂
I would describe the moments leading up to the start of the wedding ceremony as Holy Spirit-filled. Once we got back to the bridal suite, I presented my mom and dad and Miss Robin with their gifts from me. For my mom and dad, I wrote each of them a poem and had it engraved on these beautiful glass picture frames with the wedding date scripted on the bottom, and I put in each of their favorite bridal portraits in them. They absolutely loved them and told me that they would have to wait until later to read the poems in their entirety because they were too emotional, hehe! I will forever remember the precious looks on their faces when they opened their gifts. I mean how can a girl honestly come up with a gift good enough to give to the two people who gave her the very life she breathes and made everything leading up to this ordained day possible? It was a monumental task, but I truly felt the Spirit lead me to these gifts, and He showed up for sure. I then gave both my parents and Miss Robin handkerchiefs with a note monogrammed on them from me thanking them for being the Godly influences they are each and every day in my life.
Next, Chad and I were able to go in a private room and pray together before the start of the ceremony. Chad’s prayer was beautiful, and I am so happy that Harrison’s Lens was able to record this prayer and include it in our wedding film so that I will forever remember it.
After this, Chad had to head back to the groomsmen’s suite, and it was just me, my bridesmaids, my mom, and Miss Robin left in the bridal suite. We girls then had the sweetest time of prayer. We all circled up, and each precious lady prayed over me and for the ceremony ahead. Let me just tell you, I LOST IT. I had definitely teared up numerous times throughout the day, but during this prayer with my moms and bridesmaids, I was a wreck, hehe. I think it truly hit me that I was about to walk down the aisle, and their words were so Spirit-filled and wonderful that I couldn’t help but cry happy tears. I finished by praying last, and I just thanked the Lord for allowing me to be surrounded by these Godly women and for their encouragement, love, and kindness that they always pour into my life. I thanked Him for sacrificing his precious Son on the cross for us so that we can live freely through Him. (Our wedding was the day before Easter, and I truly couldn’t think of a better was to celebrate His resurrection than demonstrating and reflecting His relationship with His Bride, the Church.)
After this sweet prayer time, I got myself together (hehe) and awaited my time to be called out to head down the aisle. Time to go marry my amazing groom!!
So many things stood out to me about our wedding ceremony. I could go on forever about all the details, but I think I will focus on one in particular. After our vows, our pastor (Pastor John – South Coast Church), Chad, and I put together a unity cross, and then Pastor John prayed over us. After this, we then continued in worship as my sweet friend Allison Clark sang “Holy Spirit, You are Welcome Here.” Allison is a dear friend of mine, and we have known each other since we were babies; having her as a part of our ceremony was such an honor and blessing. As Allison sang, Chad and I were able to stand and praise our Savior through song. Worshipping with my almost husband on the most important day of our lives could not have been sweeter. That is the way we wanted to begin our marriage and is something we want to be a part of our everyday lives as we journey through this life as husband and wife.
I think the first moment it really sunk in that we were married was on our drive from the church to the reception. Chad and I loved having that 20-minute drive alone to really reflect on the beautiful ceremony we had just experienced and truly realize that, oh.my.goodness, we were now husband and wife!! It was seriously the coolest, most surreal feeling. On the drive, we actually got to talking so much and so “in” our conversation that we missed the exit to get to Heron Lakes Country Club where our reception was taking place, HA! I was like, “Chad, where are you going?” Haha! What was even funnier was that I texted Jaclyn (our amazing photographer) to tell her we would be a few minutes behind, and she responded that they had followed and was right behind us! LOL So, we all took an alternate route and made it there in plenty of time to take a few last-minute bridal party pictures on the golf course before all the guests arrived. 🙂
The thing that stood out the most to me about our reception was visiting and talking with all of our precious guests. After we cut the cake, did our first dance, and ate, we were able to truly appreciate and honor all of the wonderful friends and family who stood by us on our special day. We were able to hug and talk with each guest who attended, which was so important to me and Chad. We are blessed with the sweetest friends, coworkers, and family any two people could ask for. We loved chatting and fellowshiping with them and thanking them for helping make our day so special.
Another thing that stood out to me about the reception was the prayer Chad and I got to experience with our parents. Right before we left, Chad and I gathered with our parents, and my dad was able to pray over us, over our marriage, and over our lives. By the time it was all said and done, all of us were wiping away tears and hugging one another tightly. Our parents are some of the most important people in our lives, and we were so happy that we were able to spend our last few minutes with them before we exited off to our honeymoon. What a great way to end a great reception! Then our guests sent us off to lots of bubbles and well wishes, and we were honeymoon bound!
I feel that all of the tiny details are what truly made our wedding day so spectacular! If I had to choose what stood out the most, it would have to be all of the decorations, especially the flowers and cake tables. Ms. Judi Freeman with Cakes By Judi and Belle Bouquet Florist did an AMAZING job working together and truly created my dream ceremony and reception space! My cake was to die for (and so Pinterest-worthy), and Chad’s cake was absolutely adorable; not to mention that they tasted SOO yummy. Our wedding coordinator, Mrs. Cindy Squires (who ROCKS), sent me a few pictures of the reception area while we were getting ready at the church, and I vividly remember squealing and saying, “OH MY GOODNESS, MOM! LOOK HOW GORGEOUS!” Those specific details definitely surpassed even my wildest dreams.
Here is link to our wedding video by Harrison’s Lens, if you want to check it out. https://vimeo.com/124374207
Looking back, I really only would have done one thing differently. Before we got married, one major piece of advice many people gave us was to make sure we set aside some time to actually eat at our reception. We had planned this out pretty well, and Mrs. Cindy had two really yummy plates made for us. But, when it was time for us to sit down and eat, I guess my nerves and excitement were really high; we tried to sit down and eat, but all I wanted to do was get up and talk to everyone (hehe). When Chad and I got up to begin mingling and fellowshiping with everyone, a line ended up forming in front of us, so we stood in the same spot pretty much the whole reception. I unfortunately didn’t even get to make it to the second level ballroom at Heron Lakes to see all the food and decor. So, this would probably be the one element I would do a little differently. I would make sure I got to take in the whole look of the reception first, and then go table to table talking to everyone and thanking them for coming. 🙂
At the end of this perfect day, I received a long-awaited gift. I was married to a man after God’s heart that loved me with the LOVE of CHRIST. We are excited to see all God has in store for our lives together as husband and wife. Chad and I truly thank each of you who have played a part in helping us to become the man and woman we are. We are overwhelmed at how many of you poured out your love upon us on this special day in our lives. We count is pure Joy to call you our family and friends. Let the journey begin. 🙂
Mr. and Mrs. Chad Elliott
Photography Provided By: Photography by Jaclyn Robinson
Videographer: Harrison’s Lens
Ceremony Venue: Kushla-Bethany Baptist Church
Reception Venue: Heron Lakes Country Club
Wedding Coordinator: Cindy Squires with Squires Farm Weddings
Baker: Cakes by Judi
Florist: Belle Bouquet Florist and Gifts
Catering: Heron Lakes Country Club
Hair: Bridget Daughdrill Byrd
Makeup: Ashley Duncan Scarbrough
Wedding Attire and Bridesmaid Dresses: Bliss Bridal, Fairhope AL
Groom and Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Warehouse