CEREMONY: CATHEDRAL CHURCH OF THE ADVENT, BIRMINGHAM
RECEPTION: IRON CITY, BIRMINGHAM
Photos: ARDEN PHOTOGRAPHY
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ”“ Ray Bradbury
Abby Waller and Joseph Braswell have known each other a very long time. They were high school classmates”¦friends of friends, as it is said. They were not good friends then nor during their college years, either, although they did hang out together within their circle of friends. But for a boating mishap at the beach, Abby may not have discovered her deeper affection for Joseph. Sixteen stitches, three years and a sweet proposal later, Abby and Joseph married at their church in Birmingham with family and their circle of friends around them.
Here’s their wedding story:
THE BACK STORY
There is often one little event in your life that completely changes your destiny. For Abby Waller, a boating accident at the beach over the Fourth of July holiday in 2010 changed everything. Abby had known Joseph Braswell since high school. They were always around each other but never dated and were not close friends. They both ended up at the same college, too, where they occasionally hung out but nothing more. Back in Birmingham after college, Abby and Joseph and their friends were spending a lot of time together. Out of the blue, Joseph asked Abby out on a date. It might have ended right there”¦ but fate was patient.
Joseph has a BBQ team and often participates in competitions. Their group of friends would go along to cheer them on. Abby saw Joseph as the life of the party; he was always so much fun, she liked being around him yet never really considered him as a romantic possibility after that first date in 2009. Fast forward to July 3rd, 2010”¦ a boating accident sent Abby to the hospital in an ambulance and Joseph was the person who jumped into the ambulance with her. After that, they decided they really liked one another and started dating. Soon, they were inseparable. The couple dated for almost three years and while marriage was certainly something they were looking toward, they had never looked at rings or discussed when it might happen.
The Memorial Day weekend will always be special for Abby and Joseph because that is when he proposed. The couple made plans to go to a family hunting retreat for the weekend for some R&R and some fishing. It was a special weekend because just the two of them were going; no entourage, no family and no circle of friends. Once they arrived, Joseph told Abby he had a surprise for her. Since they had been talking about fishing and Abby knew Joseph had been to Bass Pro Shops for some equipment, she thought he had purchased a new fishing rod or maybe a shirt for her. Instead, Joseph turned around with a ring box in his hand and said “will you marry me?” Since they were isolated in a very rural area, they did not have the typical post-engagement celebration with family and friends. They spent the weekend celebrating together, discussing their marriage, the wedding, and what they both wanted. When they got back to Birmingham, they knew exactly what kind of wedding they wanted and immediately got started on the plans.
Since Abby works for a magazine that frequently features weddings, she had a pretty good idea of what she wanted and where to start. She called on her good friend, local wedding and floral designer Sybil Sylvester of Wildflower Designs to help her plan.
Abby and Joseph are members of Cathedral Church of the Advent in downtown Birmingham so selecting the church for the wedding ceremony was easy. It was all the more special for them since Joseph’s parents were also married there. Another easy choice was the reception venue. Birmingham’s newest live music venue, Iron City, was a practical choice but at the time, there had never been a wedding reception there. The layout, the lighting and sound systems, plus the fact that it was new and close to the church made it the perfect choice for their celebration. Abby says she’s thrilled with how it all turned out.
A trip to Nashville to shop for her wedding gown was planned. Abby, her mother and her future mother-in-law took a weekend trip to Nashville to visit Abby’s talented aunt and to look for gowns by the Spanish wedding designer Pronovias which are not available in Birmingham. They found exactly what they were looking for. Abby selected a Pronovias “Duquesa” gown which she later brought back to Birmingham to have fitted by Charlsie Hand. Her accessories featured “something borrowed” traditions including earrings from her mother-in-law, a diamond tennis bracelet from Joseph’s grandmother, and Abby’s great grandmother’s pearl bracelet.
While in Nashville, the group went to listen to her aunt perform; she’s a talented studio musician and bass player who has played on recordings with Blake Shelton and other well-known Nashville stars. She even plays in a Beatles cover band. In fact, Abby has a whole family of talented musicians. Her father and brother also play in bands; Abby’s aunt and her father played in a band together back in their high school days
As managing editor at Flower magazine, flowers are a big part of Abby’s life so the flowers were a high priority. With a February wedding, Abby wanted a floral design that embraced the season”¦somewhat wintery but with a hint of spring to come. Sybil took Abby’s thoughts and transformed them into a gorgeous display of branches and exposed flower bulbs which looked stunning and were just the right fit for the season and the venue.
Since Olexa’s Cakes and Catering has always made her favorite cake, it was easy for Abby to select them to produce the wedding cake of alternating tiers of vanilla and chocolate. It was one of Abby’s favorite details of the wedding.
One of the reasons the venue, staging and sound system were so important to Abby and Joseph was because Abby’s aunt, father and brother (also very talented musicians) planned to play with the band during the reception. The whole crowed loved it when the three of them joined the band for the pop classics Mustang Sally and Stevie Wonder’s Superstitious. It was a very special moment for the couple and for guests, too. Even the band was a bit shocked at the impressive family talent on stage. Joseph even had his turn on stage. Joseph is a good dancer and loves Michael Jackson. He even does a pretty good job of dancing like Michael. Abby had Joseph called up on stage where the lighting suddenly highlighted him just like Michael Jackson and a Michael Jackson impersonator complete with the sparkling gloved hand got guests out on the dance floor to some of Michael’s best known hits.
Another of Abby’s favorite details their getaway car. The couple had seen the vintage Mayberry Police car at their engagement party- it belongs to a friend of the family- and thought it would be an appropriate way depart after such a fun party. They left in a flurry of rose petals tied forever together by their vows”¦ and a set of handcuffs!
After their honeymoon trip to Italy, Joseph and Abby are now home in Birmingham, enjoying all of the many beautiful gifts they received from Bromberg’s.
Congratulations Abby and Joseph! Our Bromberg’s family and staff wishes you a lifetime of love and happiness together.