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JULY 9, 2011
Cathedral Church of the Advent
Bromberg’s Downtown
Images: Arden Ward of Arden Photography


Love will find a way”¦ so the song goes. Well, for Blakely Bowron and Riley Taylor, love managed to find its way all the way from Auburn to Phoenix, Arizona and back to Birmingham. After some time apart, it only took seeing each other again at a mutual friend’s wedding for Blakely and Riley to realize that they wanted to be together. Over the months and miles of a long distance relationship, the couple knew that what had started as a college romance was the real thing”¦ love found a way!        

Here’s their wedding story:


Blakely and Riley met while both were in college at Auburn. They dated a bit off and on during college but when they graduated, the couple went their separate ways”¦Blakely back to her hometown of Birmingham and Riley off to a new job and new adventures in Phoenix. In the summer of 2008, they saw each other again at a mutual friend’s wedding. According to Blakely, “that was it- we just knew that we wanted to be together and we™ve essentially been together ever since.” The couple dated long distance for about nine months before Riley moved back to Birmingham and they both knew it was just a matter of time before they would get engaged.


Riley knew Blakely would not want a big, public display of affection so a low-key proposal was in order, but he still really wanted to surprise her. Early one non-descript morning, Riley called Blakely at 6am to tell her he had to meet someone for work and had some time to kill so he was going to get breakfast for them and come over. Before Blakely knew what was happening- right in the middle of breakfast- Riley got down on one knee and asked “will you marry me?” Her answer was yes and the wedding planning began almost immediately.


Blakely sought out the help and advice of wedding planner Neillie Kirk Butler of Mariee Ami Wedding Studio in Mountain Brook Village as she made her plans. She knew she wanted something really different than all of her friends who had recently married and she knew she wanted an all white decorating theme. Blakely and Riley wanted to get married at Birmingham icon Cathedral Church of the Advent but had yet to decide on a reception venue.

On a fluke, someone mentioned that the old Bromberg’s building in downtown Birmingham might be available as a unique reception venue. Exclusively used for company events, the building has a beautiful room on the second floor that once housed the famous Bromberg’s “china room”. Up until a few years ago, brides and their mothers would trek to the downtown landmark to wander through an entire floor dedicated to formal and casual china patterns. After some convincing, Bromberg’s decided it was fitting that a wedding reception would take place at the building and the reception venue was set. Once that was established, Blakely and Neillie went about the task of hiring vendors they felt could make her plans come to life and execute them without worry.

With only nine months to plan the wedding, Blakely knew that the gown was one of her first priorities. She found the perfect gown at Ivory & White in Crestline Village; a couture gown from designer Monique Lhullier’s Bliss collection. The lace sweetheart neckline gown was fitted to the trumpet skirt, which flared out into a sweep train. A long, sheer cathedral length veil finished the look. Blakely also wore a strand pearls that her father gave her for her wedding before he passed away. Her other family heirlooms included her ”˜something old™: Blakely’s great-grandmother’s pin which she wore in her hair.

One other essential detail was finding the perfect photographer. Blakely wanted an experienced photographer who could capture the moment without a lot of time and posing and loved Birmingham wedding photographer Arden Ward of Arden Photography.

Blakely trusted the overall wedding design and catering to another Birmingham icon, Kathy Mezrano of Kathy G & Company. Natalie Andrews was the coordinator for the cuisine and Andy Hopper was the head floral designer, creating the all-white, classically elegant look that Blakely wanted. From her all-white bouquet packed with blooms to the reception décor featuring classic white pedestals with tall cylinder vases of white calla lilies.

When guests arrived at Bromberg’s for the reception, the first floor resembled the proposal scene set at Tiffany & Company from the movie Sweet Home Alabama with actress Reese Witherspoon. The second floor “china room” at Bromberg’s was set up with elegant white tables with orchids, Manzanilla branches, and classic silver Chivari chairs and looked like an elegant private supper club. Blakely said it all lived up to every expectation- that she did not have to worry about one thing so that she and Riley could really enjoy the day.

Blakely, Riley and their guests danced into the night until the couple finally left in a shower of rose petals.

After a honeymoon trip to Hawaii, the couple is at home in Birmingham and just celebrated their first Christmas together as a married couple and was excited to use their new Annie Glass accessories and their formal silver for holiday entertaining.

Blakely & Riley’s Bromberg’s Wedding Registry includes:

Formal China: Herend Golden Laurel & Pickard Georgian Gold

Formal Crystal: Waterford Lismore

Casual Glassware: Riedel “O”

Sterling Flatware: Kirk Stieff Old Maryland

Stainless Flatware: Kate Spade Union Street

Casual China: Vietri Incanto

Serving & Accessories: Annie Glass


Congratulations, Blakely and Riley! Our very best wishes to you for a lifetime of love, and a long and happy life together.

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