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.
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.
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.
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.
RELATED: Winter Wedding Trends to Swoon Over
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.
Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us, Sarah and Jake. Cheers to a lifetime of happiness ahead!
- Photography: A Little Long Distance
- Wedding planner: Magnolia Vine Events
- Wedding dress: Rue de Seine
- Groom’s attire: Suit Supply, Cole Haan
- Cake: Nonna Randazzo’s
- Flowers: Lillie Jane
- Venue: Aldridge Gardens
- Catering: Savoie Catering
- Band: Chuck and the Kings
- Hair/makeup: Hannah Holsomback
- Merchandise/stationery Design: Minted
- Videography: A Little Long Distance
- Lighting: Lighting the Way
- Linens and rentals: Decor to Adore
- DJ: Well Dunn Entertainment
For more dreamy weddings, click here!