“A woman knows the face of the man she loves as a sailor knows the open sea.” -Honore de Balzac
Kate Selman knew when she met Drew French that fall day in Tuscaloosa she had met the man she would marry one day. Age, time, place, nor distance could alter their destiny. Three years, several jobs, a college degree, thousands of miles, and a beautifully planned proposal later, Kate and Drew married in her hometown of Birmingham with family and friends around them.
BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA I AUGUST 16, 2014
CEREMONY: CANTERBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH
RECEPTION: BIRMINGHAM MUSEUM OF ART
The couple's beautiful and sentimental wedding video was shot and produced by my good friend Lance Holloway of Holloway Productions. Scroll down to read their wedding story.
WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY BY PHILLIP DUPREE, BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA
HERE’S THEIR WEDDING STORY:
Football weekends on the campus of the University of Alabama are pure chaos, to say the least. There are literally a million people in town and a million things to do leading up to kick-off. One Wednesday before a Thursday game day, Kate Selman met Drew French and the chemistry between them was instant. After spending some time together on game day, Drew flew home to Austin, Texas but returned to Tuscaloosa earlier than expected to take Kate on their first date. Kate says she felt something very special from the beginning and when Drew changed his plans to fly home early, she knew he felt it too.
The couple dated for a while and then Drew moved to Miami for work. They continued to date long distance, telling one another they would take things one day at a time so there was no pressure. They saw each other frequently and it helped to shorten the commute when Drew moved to Cleveland, Tennessee and Kate moved home to Birmingham. The couple saw each other as much as possible, spending weekends and holidays together. Drew took Kate to Austin to meet his family and made a big deal of showing Kate the city’s iconic landmarks as a way to help her feel at home there. Even though Drew lived in Birmingham for a brief time, he had not been to many of the city’s landmark locations so Kate promised to return the favor and take him to visit Vulcan and other iconic locations on his visits to Birmingham… it just never happened.
As they spent more and more time together, the couple eventually talked about getting married. Drew told Kate he really wanted to wait to get engaged until they both lived in the same city so Kate knew a proposal was not in their near future… or so she thought. Little did Kate know that Drew had a ring in the works and a big, surprise proposal planned that involved Vulcan, some pumpkins, and her sweet grandfather’s help.
Kate and Drew would often take walks together so it wasn’t unusual that Drew asked her to go for a walk that October afternoon he was in Birmingham. She wasn’t even remotely suspicious when Drew called her back and suggested they change the location to Vulcan Park. But Drew had been very busy that day. Drew says planning the proposal was one of his favorite parts of the wedding. Kate had given Drew a few “rules of engagement” when they had discussed how he might propose: 1. That Drew would involve her Poppa in the ring plans. 2. That a photographer would be there to capture the event. 3. Drew would secure not only her father but her brother’s approval when asking for her hand in marriage. 4. The proposal would be something sentimental and have meaning to the both of them.
Drew managed to do everything Kate had wanted plus keep it all a secret from her, too. As they walked around Vulcan Park, the couple came upon a beautiful table and pumpkins with the words ‘Kate Marry Me’ painted on them. Drew knelt down and asked Kate to be his wife. Drew was holding a beautiful diamond engagement ring from Bromberg’s. Kate’s “Poppa” – her grandfather, retired Bromberg’s executive Huland Moore, introduced Drew to Bromberg’s master jewelry designer Phillip Flenniken who helped Drew create Kate’s one-of-a-kind ring. A longtime family friend, photographer Allison Charles was there waiting on the couple to capture Drew’s surprise for Kate. After his proposal, Drew had an engagement party planned and had even flown his mother in from Austin for the occasion.
Drew had an entire speech planned for Kate, but Kate was so nervous that she started talking before he finished it and the words didn’t fully register until their pre-marital counseling when Drew repeated them for her.
Kate and Drew knew they would get married in Birmingham but they also knew they wanted to do something unique and special. Kate and her mother hired Birmingham wedding planner Meghan Cease to help with planning and Kate says she couldn’t have done it without her. The ceremony site was an easy choice; Kate is a member of Canterbury. Kate’s family had attended many events at the Birmingham Museum of Art and suggested it for the reception.
Kate’s traditional “something old, something new” wedding accessories included:
Something Old: Kate was named for a family member and carried her namesake's heirloom watch in her bridal bouquet.
Something New: Her bridal gown. Kate had envisioned wearing an all-lace wedding gown with a long, flowing veil trimmed in lace and that is exactly what she wore, selecting an Anne Barge gown from The White Room in Mountain Brook.
Something Borrowed: Kate's "something borrowed" was a pair of pearl earrings that her Poppa made for her grandmother along with her grandmother's beautiful pearl bracelet.
Something Blue: Kate’s sentimental “something blue” was a vintage white handkerchief from her paternal grandmother which was crocheted in blue edging by her great-grandmother.
The Selman-French Wedding vendor list included:
Wedding Planner - Meghan Cease, M Elizabeth Events
Bridal Gown-The White Room
Bridesmaid gowns-Bella Bridesmaids
Caterer-A Social Affair
Event Rentals- Magic City Photo booths/Event Rentals Unlimited
Groom & Groomsmen Attire-Mr. Burch Formal Wear in Mountain Brook
Music/Entertainment-Music Garden/Az Izz
Rehearsal Dinner Venue-Vulcan Park and Museum
Transportation-Rare Transportation, Apex Valet, Coats Classic Cars
Videographer- Holloway Productions
Wedding Night Accommodations for the Bride and Groom-The Tutwiler
Wedding Party Attire (mothers, children)-The Clothes Tree
Honeymoon- Denise Alvarez, Vacations by Denise
Some of Kate’s favorite wedding moments included the moment she and Drew first saw each other before the wedding and reading Drew’s letter to her before they said their vows and trying hard not to cry as she read it. Kate also cherishes the sentimental toast her brother made at the rehearsal dinner welcoming Drew to the family claiming he would proudly give her hand to Drew alongside their parents when the minister asked the timeless question: “who gives this woman to be married to this man?”
Drew’s favorite moments included designing the ring and the preparation for the proposal. He liked that he was able to surprise Kate and even flew his Mother into town and planned an engagement party after the proposal. His favorites from the wedding were the food, the band and the dancing, trolley ride to the reception, and reading Kate’s letter, and opening her wedding gift.
The couple danced their first dance to the U2 song, All I Want is You. Their wedding night was spent at the Historic Tutwiler Hotel in downtown Birmingham before the couple departed for their honeymoon in the Dominican Republic at the Excellence Resort in Punta Cana.
Thank you, Kate and Drew, for sharing your wedding with us. My very best wishes for a lifetime of happiness together.
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