Haley’s mother, Vontice, and I met at a Bible study many years ago, and became friends through studying the Word together. So when I was asked to photograph Haley and Blass’ wedding, I was so excited!
Haley and Blass, thank you for allowing me to be a part of such a special day. I wish you both many years of happiness to come!
“As a little girl, my idea of a ‘dream wedding’ changed so much. Trends changed a lot over the years, and my likes and interests changed with them. Having a more fluid concept of what a wedding ‘needed’ was certainly helpful when Covid-19 happened. What is ‘needed’ for a wedding becomes very clear when you have nothing left but family and friends, your love, and God.” – Haley
“Back in college, we were set up on a blind date. A sorority sister of mine approached me and asked if I would take this buddy of hers to the upcoming Roaring 20’s date party. After a bit of texting and planning, we met up and immediately hit it off. After only a few dates, it was apparent we had something special. The funny thing was, I was about 3rd or 4th down on the list to take Blass to this dance. Other friends kept bailing on my ‘sister’ and him.” – Haley
“The proposal was unforgettable, but not in the usual way. After the Christmas Eve mass ended last year, Blass drove me downtown, where a giant Christmas tree stood in the town square. Blass ‘spotted’ that the historic steam engine nearby also had a giant Christmas bow as well. We hopped out of the car to take pictures. At that moment, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a handmade ring box containing a beautiful antique ring. We shed a few tears and stood in an embrace for several long minutes. Just then, police sirens started to sound behind us. We turned to witness a high-speed police chase on the road beside us, chasing after two men speeding away on a four-wheeler after a botched burglary. Stunned, we watched the police tear through downtown, stopping only when the men on the four-wheeler crossed the train tracks and sped off into the woods. Dumbfounded, we left for the Watson family Christmas party to tell everyone we could find. An all-around unforgettable night.” – Haley
“The incorporation of my mothers’ wedding dresses was important to me. My mother had the train to her dress displayed on the gift table as something borrowed. The mother-in-law had pieces of her dress around my bouquet and on my covid mask. These were my something old.” – Haley
“One surprising thing about this wedding was how NOT stressed I was. A small part was due to over-planning and attention to detail with vendors. Most of the credit was due to three specific bridesmaids. My maid of honor was on top of everything! I barely had to say two words or make a gesture, and it was taken care of. We just had this understanding. Two other bridesmaids stepped up the same way when my maid of honor was taking care of things elsewhere. It was like watching a well-oiled machine. All brides need amazing friends like these to support them. The power of beautiful friendships takes many forms.” – Haley
“Since it was a Covid wedding, there were many stressful and disappointing moments we went through while planning. The most disappointing of all was how many friends and family members couldn’t be at the wedding in person. The guest list had to be cut and reworked twice. However, the church was able to live-stream the ceremony. It was incredible how many could participate virtually, especially those who couldn’t come to the wedding for reasons other than Covid. In a way, even more people were able to share in that day than were on the original guest list.” – Haley
“The best advice that I received as a bride was to pick my battles wisely. There will be a lot of opinions given to you in the planning process. Some you will like and some you will not. Some fights are just not worth it. Occasionally, it’s more important to maintain relationships than to throw out something important to someone else. If something is important and meaningful to you, stand your ground. In the same way, if your family or significant others finds something important to them, let them win a few small battles. Unless it directly contradicts with what you need, then give their idea some thought. You can even use this to your advantage. Some details you may not care about at all. Give those to your groom, mother, etc. They will like being included and heard.” – Haley
“There were two very memorable moments, one at the ceremony and one at the reception. At the ceremony, hidden words in each of our vows perfectly expressed the unspoken connection that some couples share. We elected to write our own vows based on a beautiful outline we found that discussed what makes a marriage last. Without the other knowing, each of us decided to hide a quote within our promises. His hidden quote was pulled from one of his favorite books, Lord of the Rings. My hidden quote was pulled from a poignant childhood movie, Mulan. Only a few bridesmaids and grooms clued in and worked hard to suppress laughter while on the church’s stage. The second great moment of the wedding was a surprise the I cooked up for the reception with my DJ. Midway through the reception, the DJ called our brothers to the middle of the dance floor for a dance-off. Both brothers are known for being the life of the party, and they delivered! Having no preparation, they battled with flair and great personal style. We loved every minute.” – Haley
“White flowers have been a trend that was on my mind for a couple of years now. It felt both simple and elegant. Winter landscapes inspired this wedding, not Christmas. I was adamant that I didn’t want red anywhere. The focus was on evergreen foliage, which was cut from my grandmother’s residence. And the touch of gold seemed to be the perfect seasonal complement to white and green without being explicitly Christmas.” – Haley
“All of my vendors did an excellent job. One thing that surprised me was how flexible things could be. 2020 was difficult for vendors, too, not just brides. I chose vendors with high customer service levels, which was pivotal in having an amazing team line up. Learning what we are capable of and exploring creative ways to get things accomplished has been a big lesson for all of us. I do have to say that my DJ did a great job with the surprise dance-off we had for my and Blass’s brothers.” – Haley
“I have 3 pieces of advice for upcoming brides:
1) It’s okay not to get everything you want. Think about what few things are the most important to you. (Church, family, date, etc.) What is the minimum needed for you to be happy? Start planning those things first. Later, when you don’t get a vendor or detail you wanted, it doesn’t feel like such a big ordeal. You know the wedding will still be great even if this one thing doesn’t pan out as you wanted.
2) The internet is full of resources for you to use. I consulted websites and blogs like crazy. There are so many good ideas out there for you to use! Everything from etiquette to excel templates. There were things on the internet that I didn’t know I needed until I stumbled upon them. You may get decision overload, though, so be careful and take internet breaks.
3) Budgets are misleading. The true cost of something for a wedding is often higher than you think—taxes, services fees, customizations, tips, delivery fees, etc. For example, if you have a $1500 dress budget, you can’t go shopping for a $1500 dress. You actually need a $1000 dress. The other $500 needs to go to taxes, alterations, accessories, preservation, etc.” – Haley
Lead Photographer: Ann-Marie Wyatt | Second Shooter: Taylor Smith | Dress: Ballew Bridal and Formal | Bridesmaids Dresses: Renz Bridal | Tux: Men’s Wearhouse | Cakes: Janel Arntson | Deserts: Bremma’s Sweet Treats | Ceremony Venue: North Oxford Baptist Church | Reception Venue: Castle Hill | Flowers: Bette’s Flowers | Rentals: Magnolia Rentals & Details Rentals | Ceremony Music: Allen Harris | DJ: Rockin’ Robin DJs | Rehearsal Venue: The Powerhouse | Caterer: Castle Hill | Hair + Makeup: Southern Chic Salon | Preparation Accommodations: Castle Hill