Christmas Wedding in Birmingham, Alabama // Jessica & Matt

Jessica & Matt’s In-Home & Cemetery Engagement Session

Jessica & Matt held their Christmas wedding in Birmingham, Alabama, where Jessica’s family is originally from. The two combined their desire for a laidback elopement-style reception with the elaborate and beautiful church ceremony at the family church. We started out nearby at Railroad Park, one of my favorite unique and most surprising spots I’ve found!

As private people, the two shared their first dance upstairs with only me and my camera for an audience, a beautiful and intimate moment, and their reception was filled with Christmas and New Year’s-inspired traditions with their own spin on them. Their favors were tree ornaments, they had a champagne tower for the toasts, and Jess even brought a little mistletoe.

Most memorable moment from your wedding day?

Since our wedding was pretty intimate (less than 60 guests), we actually were able to enjoy ourselves and remember a lot! I’d say the most memorable times were when I wasn’t having to worry about keeping a schedule: First look and wedding party pictures (we had a big chunk of time to do all of these, and Raven took over, so I just went with the flow), our first dance (we did this in private, so we could just focus on each other and not the fact that everyone was focusing on us), and our friends enjoying themselves on the dance floor near the end of the night.

Funniest moment on your wedding day?

Immediately after the ceremony, the wedding party lined up to do a lavender toss for Matt and me when we walked out of the church. Somehow none of the lavender ended up on Matt or me, and ALL of it ended up on one of the groomsmen.

What were you most anxious or nervous about regarding your wedding day and how did it turn out?

Since I didn’t have a planner, I spent sooo many hours developing a detailed schedule for the wedding day. I was determined to get to enjoy as much of our reception as possible, so I really wanted to get the pictures, dances, toasts, etc. scheduled and out of the way as soon as possible. Everything went almost exactly according to my schedule! We knocked all the main events out right at the beginning of the reception, so we were able to just relax and enjoy the rest of the night.

What advice would you give to other couples planning their wedding?

1) Do what you want, and don’t let other people influence what kind of wedding you have. Everyone wants you to throw a big, typical wedding. But nobody is going to quit loving you if do something smaller, or nothing at all. If you want to elope, do it, and save yourself the stress. Everyone will get over it, and you can spend all that money you saved on a down payment for a house. 2) If you don’t elope, get a wedding planner! Even with a planner, you will have tons of work to do yourself. But not having one is just insane. 3) Go to Bora Bora for your honeymoon! AMAZING.

If you could do it all over, would you change anything?

I would have hired a day-of planner to handle all the reception venue activities and timeline development. I didn’t hire one to save money. If I could do it all over again, I would fork out that money in a heartbeat.

Any tips for future couples on how to prepare for their wedding photos?

Make a list of every type of picture you want taken, and provide it to your photographer way ahead of time so that you can build your schedule around pictures, as needed. While you are coming up with your list, make sure you ask your parents and wedding party what pictures they would like taken, too. If you don’t talk to other people ahead of time, you will get picture requests at the last minute that might mess with the schedule, or you might forget something that you would have wanted captured. Also, if you are having engagement photos done, those are good practice for the wedding day photos.

Thank you SO much for having me at your Christmas wedding in Birmingham, Jess & Matt.

Raven is an Atlanta Wedding Photographer who captures real people on their totally unique and completely awesome wedding day. She travels throughout Georgia, including Athens and Dahlonega and beyond, documenting love.

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