Zach Bullock and Courtenay Pyburn can’t agree on when they first met. For him, it was at Camp War Eagle, where he was an orientation leader and she was an incoming freshman. For her, it was several years later at Skybar, when she was a junior and he was a graduate student. Regardless, these two have been, according to Courtenay, “glued at the hip” ever since that evening at Skybar, and Auburn University had a lot to do with their paths ever crossing in the first place.
Courtenay and Zach got into a fight the morning Zach was planning to propose, but luckily it didn’t dissuade him. She was so frustrated by not knowing what Zach’s plans were that she wanted to go to Auburn to visit friends for the weekend. “Little did I know all of my best friends were on the way to Birmingham for a surprise party later that night,” says Courtenay. When Courtenay got home from work that day she found Zach standing in her kitchen. He led her out into the backyard of the home she grew up in and, in a very intimate moment with no cameras or people around, he asked her to be his wife. They went to Bottega to celebrate, and when they returned home, she was surprised by all of her favorite people gathered together to celebrate with them.
When it came to planning the wedding, this bride wanted to keep things super simple. She wanted to focus on a fun and relaxed vibe, opting for minimal flowers and decor to help facilitate that vision. Courtenay grew up going to Shoal Creek with her family, and after her sister’s stunning wedding there four years prior, choosing a location was a no-brainer. “I know what a special place it is to my dad,” says Courtenay. “So that was a special memory I wanted to share with him. Not to mention, the place is just breathtaking!” To take advantage of the sweeping views of Shoal Creek, Courtenay and Zach planned an outdoor ceremony on the lawn at sunset, and many of the other details she entrusted to her mother. “During the planning process, I simply wanted to be aware of the details but not to the point where it was all I thought about,” says Courtenay. “I trusted my mom the most and let her do most of the decision making.”
For Courtenay, who studied Apparel Design and Production at Auburn, finding her dress was a challenging task. “I am a very particular person when it comes to clothing,” says Courtenay. “I am really into the details of construction, fabric, closures — you name it — so it was harder for me to find one because of my background and knowledge.” As most brides do, Courtenay thought she knew what style of dress she was looking for, but when she walked into Ivory & White and laid eyes on a gown by Lela Rose, all of her previous thoughts changed in an instant. “It is one of my most favorite things,” says Courtenay. “The fabric is this lightweight jacquard that has a faint floral pattern in blush and ivory. The second I saw the fabric I said ‘Oh what’s that one? I wanna try that one!’ with all the heart eyes.”
With the light, airy color palette established in the tones in Courtenay’s dress, she had a vision for a wedding party with a timeless look that she could reflect back on fondly 20 years from now. The bridesmaids wore gorgeous two-piece Monique Lhuillier gowns in a champagne shade, and the guys donned handsome black tuxedos and bow ties. Simple bouquets of white roses and dusty miller completed the classic and refined look.
Then, on a beautiful Saturday evening in early November, about 300 guests gathered on the lawn at Shoal Creek as the setting sun cast a golden glow over the trees below. A string quartet played Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” as the bride and her father headed down the aisle toward the groom. With their wedding party flanking them and their loved ones looking on, Courtenay and Zach promised to love each other forever and were introduced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Bullock.
The reception was every bit of the fun and relaxed celebration Courtenay envisioned. This laid-back bride even turned a mistake with the first dance into a memorable moment! “The band had not hooked up the iPod or something of that nature, and when we were announced the lead singer called me over and asked where the iPod was. I said ‘I don’t know! Just play a song about love!’ We still have no idea what we danced to,” says Courtenay. Unswayed, the bride and groom danced and laughed their way through their first dance before pausing to cut into their coconut bridal cake and trade bites of Big Spoon ice cream sandwiches in lieu of a groom’s cake.
After dancing until their feet were tired and snacking on the bride’s favorite Shoal Creek chicken fingers and homemade honey mustard, guests made their way outside to cheer the bride and groom with sparklers as they drove off into the night in a blue Bronco — Courtenay’s “something blue.”
Congratulations on four months of marriage, Courtenay and Zach, and thank you for giving us a peek into your special day! We wish you all the best!
Photography: 509 Photo
Wedding planner: Megan Wyatt, [email protected], (205) 251-1279 (ext. 116)
Wedding dress: Lela Rose from Ivory & White
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Monique Lhuillier from Bella Bridesmaids Homewood
Groom’s tuxedo: Harrison Limited
Groomsmen’s attire: Mr. Burch
Cake: Pastry Art
Groom’s cake: Big Spoon Creamery
Flowers: Wild Things
Venue: Shoal Creek
Catering: Shoal Creek
Hair/makeup: Emily Summerville
Merchandise/stationery design: The Scribbler
Guest accommodations: Aloft Hotel
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