These two Southerners met far beyond the Mason-Dixon — in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to be exact. New Orleans native Sarah Tiambeng and Jake Cain, who grew up in Tuscaloosa, met at a bar crawl while studying abroad in Argentina in the fall of 2010 and immediately bonded over college football, sweet tea and being desperately homesick for both. Sarah actually thought that the night she and Jake met would be her last in Argentina, as she was really struggling with missing home, but luckily for her and for her future groom, it wasn’t. “I’m so grateful I met him that night, because the semester abroad was an incredible learning experience that I would have given up on without his support,” Sarah says. Soon they were spending all of their days together, exploring Buenos Aires and falling in love.

They brought their romance back to the states, where they traveled back and forth between Tuscaloosa, where Jake was studying, and Columbia, Missouri, where Sarah was in school at the University of Missouri. They broke up after a year, and then three years later got back together and picked up right where they left off. Sarah ultimately moved to Birmingham, and then one random Wednesday night Jake showed up at her apartment at 10 p.m., and as he walked through the door, he asked her to be his wife. For months Jake had been planning a romantic night of stargazing that would end in a proposal, but Sarah unknowingly kept thwarting his plans. But for this casual couple, an unassuming but totally sweet proposal suited them perfectly, and there, in the living room of her apartment, Sarah said yes.

“I had a custom drawing of our dog Franny done and placed it on the envelope flap of our wedding invitations as a fun surprise,” Sarah says. “I loved finding a small way to include him because I’m definitely one of those dog people. It was fun getting texts from people about it when they received our invitation. Everyone recognized him instantly.”

A beautiful white dress just waiting to be worn

Sarah’s “something old” is one of our favorites ever and was the red robe she spent the morning of the wedding getting ready in. “This was particularly special to me because I immigrated to the US from the Philippines with my family,” Sarah says. “Because of this, I always knew that I wouldn’t have the heirloom items I’ve seen on other wedding blogs, and it definitely bummed me out a little bit. A few weeks before my wedding my mom found the robe that she also got ready in for her wedding day. I was ecstatic to have a piece of her wedding with me on my own day.”

A last-minute change allowed Sarah and her bridesmaids to get ready at her home the morning of the wedding, a memory that is particularly special to her.

Jake is all smiles and anticipation before seeing Sarah in her wedding gown for the first time.

Sarah and Jake wanted their wedding day to feel like a backyard party — cozy and relaxed and fun. They chose Aldridge Gardens as their setting, as its beauty in the fall is simply unparalleled, and they used the autumnal outdoor setting as the inspiration for their color palette. Deep reds and shades of blue added drama, warmth and dimension to the day. The setting inspired the florals as well, as Sarah wanted an organic, gathered feel for the bouquets and arrangements. In the perfect nod to fall, Sarah’s florist Lillie Jane incorporated Japanese maple leaves here and there, a unique suggestion that ended up being Sarah’s favorite finishing touch.

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Sarah spent the morning of her wedding day getting ready with her bridesmaids in the house that would be her and Jake’s first home as a married couple. “I felt so at ease getting ready in my own space with my best friends and family,” Sarah says. “It was really special because I got to get ready with my dog, who has been with me through it all!” With flowers pinned in her hair, Sarah’s bridesmaids helped her into her gorgeous Rue de Seine gown, and she was off to the gardens to see her groom.

They met by the lake under the trees at Aldridge Gardens in an intimate moment captured from afar. This special moment stands out in Sarah’s memory as one of her absolute favorites of the day, a few quiet minutes together on the most special day of their lives.

“It reminded me in this world of social media that you don’t need to capture every little thing for a moment to be memorable,” Sarah says of the intimacy and privacy of their first look.

How sweet are these two?

We love how both the guys and girls are dressed in attire of their choosing within the color palette. It lends to the relaxed feel Sarah and Jake were aiming for on their day and looks super stylish as well!

The prettiest bridal party!

Sarah’s bouquet is beyond breathtaking. She wanted it to look a bit wild, like it could have been gathered from the surrounding gardens.

The florals by Lillie Jane were unreal. Stock, thistle, seeded eucalyptus, deep red roses and lots and lots of greenery made for gorgeous arrangements everywhere you looked.

This floral arch was the perfect backdrop for the ceremony.

The bride makes her way down the aisle with her parents alongside her.

To honor her Filipino heritage, Sarah and Jake incorporated a veil pinning and cord ceremony into their wedding — the bride’s veil is pinned to the shoulder of the groom to symbolize faithfulness, and silk cord is wrapped around the bride and groom, symbolizing an eternal bond in the cord ceremony.

Rings and a blessing and a kiss, and they’re Mr. and Mrs.!

The gorgeous rugs that lined the aisle add such warmth to the ceremony space and are now a part of Sarah and Jake’s home. “It’s crazy to think the rug in our hallway is the same rug I walked down to greet my husband at the altar,” Sarah says.

“Do marriage counseling!” Sarah advises all brides-to-be. “It really helped us set a foundation for our values and goals as a couple that I know will guide us in the future.”

At half-past 4 p.m., 125 people gathered under the pavilion at Aldridge Gardens. With her parents flanking her, the bride walked down the aisle to “Living in Love” by The Avett Brothers, and at the end of the aisle, she hugged her mom and dad and joined hands with her groom. The ceremony was a perfect blend of traditional and personal elements. A veil pinning and cord ceremony honored Sarah’s Filipino heritage, and Sarah and Jake elected to write their own short vows in addition to the traditional vows. “I loved hearing Jake’s unique and beautiful words and sharing my own personal vows,” Sarah says. “It made me feel like we shared a little bit more of ourselves with our friends and family. We keep them on the fridge now!” They shared a kiss, and then with wide smiles on their faces made their way back up the aisle as husband and wife.

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After cocktail hour, the celebrations resumed with a delicious seated family-style meal of Alabama barbecue with traditional and Alabama white sauce, deviled eggs, chopped kale salad, collard greens, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes and “all of the bread,” according to Sarah. “Many of the out-of-state guests had never had Alabama white sauce and really enjoyed it,” Sarah says. “A few even went out and bought some before heading home.” The bride and groom dined at a sweetheart table to enjoy some moments together before hitting the dance floor.

At the end of a full and joyous night of dancing and celebration, a brass band started up, and a New Orleans-style second line escorted the bride and groom out of their reception. With handkerchiefs waving and parasol in hand, Sarah and Jake departed from their best day ever toward the rest of their best days ahead.

A gorgeous coffee table book featuring the city where they met, Buenos Aires, Argentina, was the perfect guest book.

Sarah and Jake were strategic in planning moments together throughout the day, from their first look to a sweetheart table and the dance floor. “We incorporated a lot of opportunities like this where we could steal moments for just the two of us.”

For another touch of New Orleans, Randazzo’s King Cake was served at the reception. “We had two flavors — traditional and cream cheese filled. My favorite part of this is that my good friend picked this cake up for us on the way to the wedding and drove it all the way from my favorite shop in New Orleans!”

Sarah’s mom wanted her to incorporate a cake cutting into the reception, so the mother of the bride designed and made a small white cake with cream cheese icing. “I didn’t realize until actually seeing it on wedding day how happy I was to see my mom’s work on the cake table,” Sarah says.

The bride and groom kept it classic and shared their first dance to an instrumental rendition of “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”

This reception space is the definition of cozy and intimate, exactly what Sarah and Jake had envisioned.

Dreamy table settings were marked with florals and flickering candles.

To get the party going, Sarah and Jake served a delicious family style meal of Southern comfort food. Sarah joked that the theme of the wedding was “carbs” because the meal was so important to her.

A forecasted temperature drop and rain caused a change in plans, and umbrellas, blankets, warm cocktails and a tent were all part of the backup plan that Ashley at Magnolia Vine Events came up with, which Sarah says was more beautiful than the original design.

“This is the only time everyone you both love will share a space. Don’t miss it,” says Sarah. “I spent a lot of time stressing over the details of my wedding, but I should have known all along the wedding is about the people.”

A second line was top priority for this New Orleans bride. She searched high and low for an Alabama-based brass band, and the parade served as the bride and groom’s festive exit from the reception, complete with handkerchiefs and parasols!

Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us, Sarah and Jake. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness ahead!

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