Bride By Design featuring Heidi Elnora Premieres on TLC!

In 2006, our publisher and editor-in-chief, Michelle Van Every, met with a bridal gown designer setting up her shop in the Birmingham area. Heidi Elnora had just completed filming for Project Runway and was ready to take the bridal industry by storm. The spark of energy and charisma that makes Heidi so “Heidi” instantly caught Michelle’s interest and began a partnership that continues to make us so happy and proud with every issue of AWM. Since then, Heidi and her team have been part of the magic that makes Alabama Weddings Magazine so special. She represents the true heart of a small business owner – she not only has the dream, but also has the determination and hard work to back it up. She has consistently pushed herself and her brand to be better every single day, taken challenges and turned them into blessings and made her mark in the industry on a national scale – right from her home in Birmingham, Alabama.

Now the world has turned its eye on Heidi Elnora to see that “it factor” that we’ve known she has for a long time. On Friday, March 27, Bride By Design makes it official debut on TLC at 9/8 pm central. Bride By Design follows Heidi Elnora as she helps brides design their dream wedding dress through all stages of creation—from inspiration to sketching to sewing to fitting to styling until their final dream dress is ready for their big day. Heidi helps each bride and her family design a dress that truly reflects their personality, whether choosing one from her existing collections—heidi elnora and hello darling—or through her Build-A-Bride trademark which is arguably the most customizable opportunity in the industry for a bride’s dress shopping experience. This alternative allows brides-to-be ownership in designing their dress, choosing a style from over 15 basic white dresses with more than 25 unique add-on pieces.

To see what makes Heidi’s Build-A Bride experience so incredible, check out this video by Holloway Productions:

To celebrate our time with Heidi leading to this moment, we took a look back at some of our shoots featuring Heidi’s creations to share just a handful of some of our favorite images from our 2007 issue to our 2015 issue currently on newsstands featuring a Heidi Elnora gown on the cover!

Frank Carnaggio Photography
Rhonda Garrett Gilliam Photography / Mark Broadway Photography
Frank Carnaggio Photography / Lance Lenoir Photography
Arden Photography
Rob & Wynter Photography

See the Sneak Peek of Bride By Design here and be sure to set your DVR to record the entire series every Friday this spring at 9/8 pm central!


Real Wedding: Mary Christin and John

Today’s Real Wedding submission comes to us from Heather Durham Photography. Mary Christin and John had a perfectly intimate wedding for just family members in November at Mountain Chapel. We love small weddings like this that focus on the meaning of the day.  The best part is that the couple had time together for beautiful golden light photos to be made at Aldridge Gardens after the ceremony. The fall colors create a beautiful natural backdrop for stunning images that instantly caught our eye. We love this simply chic Nicole Miller dress paired with an elegant headband for a refined bohemian look. Of course, even for an intimate wedding like this you must have at least a two-tier cake – one for sharing with guests and one for the one-year anniversary. Some wedding traditions can be broken, but we encourage sticking to any rules that mean more cake – especially when it’s from Olexa’s! Congrats Mary Christin and John!

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If you have a wedding you would like featured on the Alabama Weddings Blog, see all the details on our Open Submissions page!

Photography: Heather Durham Photography + Cake: Olexa’s + Ceremony: Mountain Chapel + Coordinator: Amanda Foster + Bridal Gown Designer:Nicole Miller+ Makeup Artist: Laura Eason + Hair Salon: Angie Baker of Fringe +  Floral Design: Bride’s family


Real Wedding: Kelli + Tom

We are just thrilled to share today’s Real Wedding from Dragonfly Photography. On one of our daily (more like hourly really) scrolls through Instagram, we came across Kelli and Tom’s wedding cake via Cakes By Kim. We had a pretty good feeling this would be a gorgeous feature to share on the AWM blog and we were absolutely right! This NYE celebration at B&A Warehouse has just the right amount of sparkle and glamour to start the New Year right and the couple absolutely radiates with joy. Miranda of Dragonfly Photography had this to say about working with this couple:

“Kelli and Tom are two of the sweetest people that I have ever met. Kelli was actually a bridesmaid at another client’s wedding in Orange Beach, and Tom proposed to her soon thereafter. I was so thrilled when they asked me to photograph their big NYE celebration!! Everything was decorated with gold, black and cream with extra sparkle!”

And who doesn’t love extra sparkle?! Congratulations Kelli and Tom!

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If you have a wedding you would like featured on the AWM Blog, see more information on our Open Submissions page.

Photography: Dragonfly Photography by Miranda Venue, Catering: B&A Warehouse + Floral Design: Jenn Wilks, Main Street Florist + Wedding Gown: The Something Blue Shoppe + Bridesmaid Gowns: Adrianna Papell – Bella Bridesmaid + Cake: Cakes by Kim + Hair & Makeup: Emily Summervile


Real Wedding: Abbi + Brent

Today’s gorgeous Real Wedding submission comes to us from Wes Roberts Photography. Abbi and Brent Kohn tied the knot last year on April 12, 2014, at the fabulous Wynfield Estate in Montgomery. We’ve had the pleasure of shooting one of our Signature Style Series shoots for the 2012 issue of AWM at this venue and it is truly breathtaking. Although the fashion, the design and the couple are all just beautiful, the most perfect part of this wedding is the thoughtfulness of incorporating sentimental details throughout the entire day. Abbi gives us an inside look at how tradition and nostalgia made their wedding so special to them:

“On April 12, 2014, a fairy tale was brought to life! We had so much fun all day long; we couldn’t stop smiling. The Wynfield Estate couldn’t have been a more perfect venue to watch our dream wedding unfold before us. The weather was beautiful, the flowers were stunning, and the food was delicious. We had a fun-filled time dancing the night away with all of our friends and family to Tim Tyler and his dueling pianos. We were honored to share this special day with so many family and friends. We had several sentimental elements entwined throughout our ceremony. The ring bearer’s pillow was hand made from my grandmother’s sixty year old wedding gown. My bouquet was wrapped with lace from my mother’s wedding veil. We drank champagne from the same glasses that my parents used on their wedding day thirty-four years ago. I wore my mother in law’s garter, and sewn into her garter was blue yarn taken from my childhood blanket. The mother of the groom’s bouquet was adorned with a silver locket that held a picture of her late husband; they shared 29 years of marriage. The flower girl’s baskets were filled with dried flower petals that I had been given by the groom throughout our ten year courtship. We strived to make our perfect day a classic look, with touches of nostalgia that have enriched our memories, and brought us together to share a life. It was a magical day that will be forever etched in our hearts.”

No matter what look or feel you want for you wedding, tying in those special details makes your wedding uniquely you. It represents the heart of a relationship that begins long before your walk down the aisle and the future you will share together after your honeymoon. Congratulations to Abbi and Brent!

Photography: Wes Roberts Photography + Venue: Wynfield Estate + Catering: A Catered Affair + Floral Design: Southern Wedding Design + Music: Tim Tyler and the Dueling Pianos + Cake Artist: Cake Design + Rentals: Brendle Rentals


Brides Against Breast Cancer in Birmingham

Looking to find your perfect wedding dress? Make plans to attend the Brides Against Breast Cancer charity trunk sale at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel on Sunday, March 8! This wonderful event brings a collection of donated designer gowns for brides to peruse and the proceeds help fund cancer-related programs that are free for children, adults, families and caregivers. It’s a terrific opportunity to share just even more love with your journey to your wedding day. While being part of this charitable event, you will also have the chance to meet with some of Birmingham’s wedding industry professionals and enter for a chance to win prizes and giveaways.


Admission to the event is $5 per person. Gowns in sizes 4-18 will be available with price ranges of $99 to $3,900. Interest-free layaway plans are also available. Take your gown home that day, accompanied with the warm, fuzzy feeling of helping those in the fight against breast cancer. Of course, every bride will receive a free copy of Alabama Weddings Magazine too! Mark your calendars for this Sunday, March 8, to be part of the Brides Against Breast Cancer cause!