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When The Sonnet House opened in 2007, detailed photography didn’t exist the way we think of it now. Of course the traditional photos have always been taken, but it’s been over the course of the past seven to eight years that wedding photography became the journey and experience it is today. We stress to all of our couples the importance of finding that photographer who will capture one of the most important days of your life so perfectly that in fifty plus years from now, your family can enjoy your memories as much as you have. 

Madison + Jayson tied the knot with us in June on a beautiful, sunny day and it was beautifully shot by Sarah Joy Photo as well as the husband – wife duo of Hampton Road Studios. They both did such a wonderful job and we love browsing back through their photos and video to re-live it. So why is photography (and video!) so important? Because your wedding day will fly by, it’s true! Everyone tells you this and it’s still the most common thing we hear from almost every single couple. It would be nearly impossible to remember every detail, every flower, and every smile but not when the cameras are rolling. 

We love the way these two incorporated traditional touches into their wedding day such as the hand made glass cake topper which also sat atop Madison’s parents wedding cake, how Madison + Jason’s mothers carried phalenopsis orchid bouquets which was a throwback to their weddings, not to mention the T W O vintage Rolls Royces on hand from the Coats Classic Cars fleet. We’re here to tell you, it was an amazing day. 

No one can tell it better than Madison, so we’ll let her tell the story, enjoy! 

Q & A with Bride, Madison:

Tell us how you and Jayson met. Jayson and I met at Auburn University. It is not a very glamorous story…we met at a local place called Skybar, well known to Auburn University students as one of the few social venues in town. We dated very casually in the beginning because he was a few years older than me and I was about to study abroad for an entire semester so I wasn’t quite sure it would turn into anything serious. That is, until he picked me up from the airport when I got back from Europe at the end of that semester. We got engaged three years later while on a trip to The Virgin Islands. Jayson had a painting done of the place we got engaged as a 1 year wedding anniversary present which was so thoughtful. It was a lookout point on St. Thomas where you could see the whole island, the painting now hangs in our new home. 

How did you know you wanted to hold your ceremony and reception at The Sonnet House? We knew The Sonnet House would be the place where we got married for very many reasons. We knew of other people who had gotten married there or had attended weddings and all had very positive experiences. Although both of our families are in Birmingham, we live in Atlanta and I knew that working with a venue who wore so many hats was going to make the process so much more enjoyable. For example, food, flowers, decor, planning, etc. is all done in house which was very helpful. And Ellen of course made a huge difference in the management of it all. I was so in love with the flower bouquets and arrangements. You all were really able to take my Pinterest inspiration photos and bring them to life. The Sonnet House is a historic home and has so much character and class, and it fit my style. I appreciated that it was an older Southern home and I wanted to tie in being from the South. It was important to embrace where we grew up. Having a venue that had an indoor and outdoor space was also very important. I’ve always wanted to get married outdoors but I wanted an alternate option if we needed it. We had a beautiful outdoor ceremony then a surprise rain shower during the reception. Being able to move everything inside was great and convenient. It really is the team that makes or breaks the preparation and execution of an event. I really felt like The Sonnet House team cared about our wedding and experience. Out of all the places we visited prior to choosing The Sonnet House, you all were the only ones who were on time with meeting wit his and really showed enthusiasm with this season of our lives. 

Style was very important to you from the beginning; personal, floral, fashion, all of it. What were some of your favorite aspects of the wedding day that you feel brought out your and Jayson’s personalities? My favorites were the flowers and fashion. When looking at pictures (along with our memories) that is what I think really captured my personal style. I am big on anything that is simple, yet striking. That was my drive when deciding on my dress, bridesmaids, tuxes, and flowers. Because of the detailed pattern on my dress, I didn’t want anything to take away from that so I like that it wasn’t low cut in the front, nor did it show too much of my back and I chose a simpler veil. I went with orchids and calla lilies as my flowers because they are so striking that they don’t need anything else to make them beautiful. They are perfect by themselves. My style was simple, yet compelling. When there are too many things going on sometimes people don’t fully appreciate the details. 

We feel you expertly intertwined tradition with modern elegance. Tell us a little about some of your more traditional moments and why you integrated them into your wedding day? I wanted to intertwine some traditional features in to our wedding day (the vintage cars for example) because The Sonnet House is an older home and I appreciate that about this venue and wanted to embrace it fully. I am also very close with my family and they have done a lot for me growing up and having their cake topper on top of our wedding cake was something my mom really wanted and was important to her. I also loved that the cake topper had swans on it. Like orchids and calla lilies, swans are simple yet beautiful creatures. There are no crazy colors or outlandish physical features about it, but that’s what makes it beautiful. I also wanted to bring in some more classic and vintage characteristics such as the vintage Rolls Royce. The modern features are more of my own personal style that I wanted to bring in areas like my dress, flowers, cake, invitation, etc. without taking away from The Sonnet House. 

You and Jayson chose not to see each other before the ceremony and take all of your photos after. While you were taking photos we held cocktail hour in the courtyard with passed appetizers and cocktails to entertain your guests before dinner. Couples often stress and worry about guests during photos, do you feel the cocktail hour went well and allowed you ample time for photos without worrying? I feel like Jayson and I had enough time for photos. I think cocktail hour is also a nice debrief from the ceremony to the reception. It allows guests and the wedding party to take a breather before the formal dances, dinner, and cake cutting then more dancing. For me, I had always imagined the first time seeing my groom would be walking down the aisle and Jayson felt the same way so we also made that decision together based on that. If a couple imagines seeing their partner during a first look then they should do that! People did ‘warn’ me about feeling rushed taking pictures and not having enough time but you have to coordinate with your photographer and I can confidently say that we had nothing to stress about. The wedding ceremony is what brought us together as husband and wife, therefore I really wanted our pictures to relay us as husband and wife in the bliss after exchanging vows in front of loved ones, friends, and being pronounced husband and wife. 

What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process? We got engaged in February 2017 and got married in June 2018 so we had a pretty long engagement and I think that is what I loved most about the planning process, we took our time. We enjoyed the season so we could enjoy the process and not feel rushed. Another part I loved was letting my personality and style show through the overall style of the wedding. You really learn a lot about your own style because you are truly picking out things that you admire, love, and are important to you so whatever someone’s style is they should embrace it 100% in their wedding.

Wedding Vendors Who Made it Happen:

Venue, Catering & Coordination: The Sonnet House

Florals: Corey Daniel Florals

Photographer:  Sarah Joy Photo

Videographer: Hampton Road Studios

Hair & Make Up Artist: Hair & Make Up by Danielle Ivy

Ceremony & Reception Music: On Site Productions (DJ) 

Bride’s & Groom’s Cakes: Sweet Magnolia Cakes

Bridal Gown: Hayley Paige

Bridal Salon: Village Bridal of Homewood

Groom & Groomsmen Attire: Mr. Burch Formal Wear

Transportation: Coats Classic Cars

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