Having a bride submit her wedding is always a treat, especially when it’s as lovingly put together as this one. Lane and Thomas’ Alabama wedding was a true labor of love — the couple pooled their talents with those of friends and family to restore an old cotton warehouse into the incredibly beautiful site you’re about to see, complete with touches of greenery, attractive furniture rentals, and endless twinkle lights. Thank you Ashley Kickliter for photographing the day!
From the bride, Lane: From the beginning, I had been drawn to the mix of the romantic and the industrial: steel beams intertwining with greenery, reclaimed letters leaned against old brick, a flowing white dress in the middle of a warehouse district, and cascading flowers contrasted against concrete. One day, about a week after we got engaged, I stumbled upon an overgrown loading dock in the middle of our tiny town’s warehouse district. It had never been used as any kind of event space, and it was in complete disrepair, but it somehow felt like the perfect place for us to be married. Along with a group of friends, over the course of our six month engagement, we transformed a charming old cotton warehouse into an venue space worthy of hosting our ceremony and reception. We power washed, hung lights, and even tore down walls. It was an absurd amount of work, but Thomas and I still think of those work days with our friends as some of our fondest wedding memories.
Flower recipe: One of my closest friends, a brilliant floral designer, helped me to transform our industrial setting into the wildly romantic, overgrown setting I’d pictured. She designed all of our floral pieces, including hanging greenery, flower crowns, and a head table dripping with white flowers and garland. My cascading bouquet was a mix of peonies, ranunculus, garden roses, gypsophila orion, and lisanthius.
With the overgrown loading dock venue, we really wanted to capture the feeling of an outdoor music festival. We had concert poster-sized invitations that I designed and screenprinted. The wedding was catered by a food truck that had been the site of a remarkable number of me and Thomas’ dates over the years. The desserts, boasting everything from cakes to cobblers to pies, were handmade by a talented baker and dear friend in her college-apartment kitchen the night and day before the wedding. My mom, whose personal taste and style far exceeds my own, collected channel letters to hand from the rafters of the warehouse and two living rooms-worth of vintage furniture to create incredible lounge areas. And, for our big exit from the reception, we sped away on a flower-laden motorcycle — a nod to our first date, when Thomas surprised me by showing up on a motorcycle. We left the wedding and took the bike for a blissful spin down some dark country roads (before running out of gas and catching a ride from a kind stranger in a truck). It was a perfectly ridiculous end to the most incredible evening of our lives.
The entire wedding was handmade, but one of the biggest undertakings was the paper goods. I designed our wedding invitations. Thomas and I have an amazing collection of prints from all the shows we’d been to together, so we wanted our invitations to have the feeling of a print you’d pick up after really great concert. Although I love hand lettering, I knew there was no way I could produce as many as we needed in a realistic time frame. Luckily, I just started taking a screenprinting class through our school’s art department. I realized that screenprinting offered the perfect solution: each layer of ink is hand-pulled, giving every print a handmade feel, but the stenciled screen means you can print as many as you want very quickly. Three months of designing, planning, creating, re-creating, tearing paper, printing, and multiple trips to the post office resulted in a set of invitations that we were proud to share with our guests. The experience of creating something I love to send to the people that we love really was an incredible one!
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? Write a mission statement for your wedding. For the first two weeks of my wedding planning, I did nothing but cower in corners, alternating between staring at my to-do list and staring at my engagement ring. I was surrounded by people who all had very strong opinions about what a wedding ought to look like, and I was paralyzed with the fear of doing something wrong. That kind of pressure becomes too much to handle. So I stopped, sat down, and wrote out everything I thought about what the purpose and picture of a wedding should be. Then I wrote a mission statement. It brought everything into focus. It was the standard against which I measured every decision. Even the small ones. Will spending thousands of dollars on table linens accomplish our vision for the wedding? Probably not. Should we elope? Nope, tempting as it might be at times, because a huge part of this marriage means making our promises in front of people that know and love us enough to hold us to them. Should I spend dozens of hours hand-crafting invitations when it would be so much simpler to order them? Weirdly, yeah. Because making art is a celebration of the beauty and joy and creation that Thomas and I want our marriage to be filled with. Once I had a clear mission statement, I knew where I was headed with the wedding and I could finally calm down and enjoy the process.
Processional: Thomas, who is a talented musician, actually composed our processional. He wrote a beautiful piece on piano and cello that two of our friends performed. It meant so much to me to have him create the music that I would walk down the aisle to.
Recessional: “All In,” Bronze Radio Return
First Dance: “Offering,” The Avett Brothers
Wedding Location: Opelika, AL / Photographer: Ashley Kickliter / Wedding Coordinator: April Johnson / Event Planning: Invision Events / Florist: Rebekah Fowler / Venue: The Railyard / Wedding Dress: Misdress / Hair: Sierra Barnard / Makeup: Amy Camp / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Chosen by the bridesmaids / Groom’s Suit: J. Ferrar / Caterer: Tex’s Tacos / Wedding Cakes: Laura Walks / Vintage Rentals: Restorology / Wedding Invitations and Signage: The bride, Lane Harbin / Videographer: Matt Wolfe