Kayla and Mitch were high school sweethearts, and their love story began when Mitch worked up the nerve to ask Kayla to their Homecoming dance their freshmen year. As Kayla says "the rest is history". Throughout college, they were in very different places, while Mitch played baseball at the University of Alabama, and Kayla was away at Auburn studying agriculture. The two toughed it out, despite his rigorous baseball schedule and her sorority obligations, and confirmed what they knew after only three months of dating in high school…they were each other’s perfect match. Mitch surprised his Auburn sweetheart with the perfect proposal on Auburn University's campus at Samford lawn on October 5th.
One year later, the lovely pair were wed on a gorgeous fall day in October. Their wedding was held at the beautiful Elms plantation home in Coosada, Alabama. The home is nearly 200 years old, and the grounds are covered in huge oaks, magnolias, and lots of gorgeous spanish moss. Kayla's dreams came true when her floral designer and wedding planner created an incredible fall palette that included sunflowers, mums, roses, gerber daisies, and baby's breath.
Kayla: How'd it feel seeing Mitch for the first time on your wedding day?
The first time we saw each other was at our first look. I was nervous it was going to be awkward because, well, I can just be awkward sometimes. But when he turned around he had the cutest, dopiest grin on his face with tears welling up in his eyes, my heart melted and I was ready to take on the day…with him! It was like a pat-on-the-back moment where he validated all the trying on dresses, aggressive exercise and dieting, hair, makeup, everything…it all became worth it to feel that beautiful in his eyes.
Mitch: How was it seeing Kayla at your first look?
It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had. Finally laying eyes on my beautiful girl and realizing I get to marry the love of my life was so awesome.
Are you glad you had a first look? Why or why not?
That was such a conflict for me. I’m very much a traditionalist, and I really wanted the moment the doors opened to the aisle to be the first moment Mitch saw me. BUT against my traditionalist judgement, I went with the first look. It was a great decision. It allowed me to relax the rest of the day and not be jittery and nervous at the anticipation of the ceremony. It allowed Mitch and I to have a quiet, special moment to ourselves where we could take a deep breathe and say, “Wow, this is happening. After seven years of dating, here I am in a white dress and we are actually getting married.” Not only that, it also allowed us to knock out all the pictures beforehand so we could truly relax and enjoy the wedding reception, which we did! I wouldn’t do it any other way.
Kayla: Tell me how you felt as you finally walked down the aisle.
I’ve known since ninth grade that Mitch and I were going to get married. I know that sounds ridiculous, but like they say, “When you know, you know.” Well, I knew. So for seven years I’ve dreamed about that moment. I’ve dreamed about that look he gave me. I dreamed about how I would feel. In that moment, it felt like I was walking through a dream…so much so, that I have a hard time remembering what I felt. That’s one part of the day that was truly like a blur.
What things did you include in your day that were special and unique to you and Mitch?
I'm a sentimental person, and during my lifetime, I’ve lost two very special people to me.
My Grandmother Till and I were very close when I was growing up. I was her only granddaughter, and we had a very special bond. When I was twelve, she lost her nine-year battle to ovarian cancer and as her only granddaughter, I was left her wedding band/engagement ring set. I wore that duo on my right hand on my wedding day as well as displayed her picture.
I’ve also lost my grandfather, my “Big D,” the one true cowboy in my life. To honor his very special impact on me, I displayed his cowboy hat and then wore it during mine and my daddy’s dance. I also wore my mother’s veil, the one my grandmother handmade her. It was truly special to have so many family heirlooms at our wedding. It was important to me that those family members who were there with us in spirit were honored.
What made you choose a fall wedding?
I grew up in the beauty of Alabama’s agriculture, and there’s never a more beautiful time in Alabama to me than when the cotton bolls bloom. The fall season is when farmers reap what they sow, calves are born and the world takes on an entirely new and beautiful color scheme. By having a fall wedding, I could capture all those gorgeous fall colors while displaying Alabama agriculture in every appropriate way- cotton, hay, honey, soy candles, etc. That dream came true for me, and my wedding planner was able to capture all those beautiful things about fall! During my wedding day walk-through, I was saying “wow that’s gorgeous,” and “I love that”. Mary Jane (Mare) made it all happen, I absolutely could not have done it without her!!
Where did you honeymoon to?
We honeymooned to Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort in Cancun, Mexico, and it was a dream! We were treated like royalty while enjoying each other in the lap of luxury! I celebrated the end of my long, rigorous wedding diet by eating everything in sight, and my new hubby who normally hates sun and sand even enjoyed hanging out by the pool! We even went on one of the vacation adventures where we spent the day ziplining above the Mexican canopy, diving/extreme jumping in a beautiful sinkhole and riding ATVs through the jungle. It was a blast!
What advice do you have for brides planning their own wedding?
Do yourself a favor and ignore all wedding-related posts online and on Pinterest! They over-sensationalize the wedding planning process. Looking back on my wedding day, I don't remember my thoughts on the color scheme, the flowers, songs played or the food served. I remember feeling beautiful, special and loved by everyone there, especially my groom.
While it was all beautiful and perfect in every way, that's not the stuff I look back on and smile about! I smile about the tears that Mitch tried to hide during our first look. I smile about how our first dance was completely messed up by having the totally wrong song played...instead of getting upset and bridezilla about it, I laughed, and my favorite picture of the day came from that moment. I smile about how I had special pieces of my family there with me in my grandad's cowboy hat, my grandmother's engagement ring and my mother's veil. I smile about that moment after we recessed and all of Mitch's baseball friends showed up just in time to greet us at the end of the aisle and give us a big home run celebration. I smile about the snake that fell out of the tree just as I was about to walk down the aisle with my daddy who was so nervous about leading me down the stairway. I smile about all those little moments that couldn't be planned because those are what makes a wedding unique and special. So the best advice I can offer is to do your best to plan the wedding of your dreams, but don't harp and lose your cool over the little things. They tend to work out in a perfectly imperfect way...