Though neither of them are originally from the South, Shelby and Alex reside in one of Mississippi’s most charming towns. Oxford, Mississippi is home to lots of grand southern traditions: some of THE best food this side of the Mississippi River; a downtown square to die for, full of local shops and live music; deep historical heritage ranging from William Faulkner’s home to the historic Lafayette County Courthouse; and none other than the heart of the state itself, the University of Mississippi, or as we southerners affectionately call it, Ole Miss.
Shelby and Alex met on the campus of Ole Miss, where Alex currently works as a librarian, due to their shared interest in literature. When Josh and I drove down to Tishomingo State Park for their engagement session in the fall, Shelby – who is also a teacher – and I bonded over the joys (and headaches) of teaching and I immediately knew that their wedding was going to be full of personality, love, and some of the best southern traditions I can think of (i.e. delicious food and friendly hospitality)! Shelby and Alex described their vision for the wedding as “Semi-Formal Geek”, and I think they hit the nail on the head with their combination of elegance and character.
On June 16, Josh and I arrived at The Nests BnB in Oxford at 7 AM, ready for the Mississippi heat and humidity, and that’s just what we got! The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, and we were all thankful that the predicted rain held off for Shelby & Alex’s nuptials. We began with the details, which included shots of the beautiful farm-like venue, the bridal accessories, something blue (a delicate handkerchief Shelby tied around her bouquet), beautifully-preserved dried flowers, and of course, the rings! We then moved on to individual portraits of the bride, bridesmaids, groom, and groomsmen, and the excitement was building as we got ready for the First Look.
One of my very favorite parts of the wedding day to photograph, the First Look has special meaning to me because Josh and I did a First Look on our wedding day, and each time I photograph one, I am reminded of all of the emotions that the bride is feeling as she prepares to greet her groom for the first time in all of her wedding day glory. This moment truly never disappoints, and Shelby and Alex shared the sweetest moments underneath the shade of a tree just down from their ceremony site. Alex, in awe of his beautiful bride, couldn’t stop smiling, and Shelby was glowing next to her groom. We had some fun taking their portraits before everyone in the bridal party got ready to “hide” as the guests were arriving for the 10:30 AM ceremony.
Despite the heat, blinding sun, and a few mosquitoes (which are all staples of summer days living in the South!), Shelby and Alex’s guests arrived with hats, umbrellas, and fans in tow, ready to watch the two of them take their vows in front of a small gathering of family and friends. Their choice of music and verbiage during the ceremony had Josh and me “geeking” out the whole time, as we heard John Williams coming from the loudspeaker and Lord of the Rings references in the vows. Shelby and Alex’s ceremony was sweet and it only became more evident throughout the day that these two are absolutely meant to be together!
After the ceremony and family formals, the new Mr. and Mrs. shared their first dance as husband and wife to Neville’s Waltz from Harry Potter and the Gobelet of Fire, and my Hogwarts-loving heart almost exploded! Guests partook in a delicious smorgasbord of barbecue and all the fixin’s from Taylor Grocery (if you’re ever in Oxford, you’ve got to visit them for dinner!), an Italian soda bar, and mouth-watering desserts from Sweet T’s Bakery. Y’all, this was seriously one of the best reception meals I have ever eaten. (French fries and macaroni and cheese should be served more often at weddings, am I right?!)
For decor, Shelby and Alex selected a variety of colorful dried and paper flowers for centerpieces, along with old books and antique silver dishes. The best part? Inside the silver dishes were Legos, with a little note that said, “Build Your Own Favor” so guests could play with Legos after they ate. This was so cool and matched their cake topper perfectly. They also incorporated a board game table, and for their send-off had good old-fashioned bubbles.
When it was time to say goodbye and send the newlyweds on their way, Shelby and Alex were surprised by a GORGEOUS vintage Rolls-Royce for their getaway gar, and, once again, I was geeking out, too! As bubbles flew through the air and guests cheered and waved, Mr. and Mrs. Alex Watson climbed into the cab and disappeared from sight, after sharing a kiss and a few laughs, of course!
Shelby and Alex, I am honored and so thankful to have had the pleasure of getting to know you and capturing your special day. Josh and are I so happy for you guys and wish you all of the best that marriage has to offer! Have fun in New Orleans and enjoy every second of newlywed life! Here are some of my favorite images from their wedding day.
Venue: The Nests BnB
Planner: Ellen Thomas Event Design
Catering: Taylor Grocery
Cake: Sweet T’s Bakery
Rentals: Magnolia Rental & Sales
Photographer: Honeysuckle & Wine