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Instead of the usual hour between ceremony and reception, Elizabeth Bean and Will Ryan had a whole year. On October 31, 2020, the pair married at Canterbury United Methodist Church in Birmingham, AL, amidst immediate family only, and decided to postpone the reception to their one-year anniversary. What resulted was a lively, revelrous, and finally-safe marriage celebration with 275 family and friends on October 30, 2021, at the Country Club of Birmingham.

wedding flowers Birmingham country club

Come relive Elizabeth and Will’s special wedding celebration … and see the flowers Birmingham still can’t stop talking about!

Elizabeth Bean and Will Ryan met in passing in the Hamptons soon after Will moved to New York City in 2015. The universe seemed to nudge the two together when they ran into each other again a few weeks later at a mutual friend’s birthday party. They’ve basically been together ever since that second meeting.

In January 2020, Elizabeth and Will were in Los Angeles with some of Will’s family for the Rose Bowl (“Go Badgers!” Elizabeth adds) and decided to drive Highway 1 from LA to San Francisco. “We received poor advice about the time required, and after nearly nine hours in the car, on a stressful (but beautiful!) drive, Will pulled over in Big Sur and proposed,” she says. “We ended up making a pit stop in Carmel to celebrate.”

wedding flowers Birmingham country club

Having fallen in love with the work of Floressence Flowers months prior to her engagement, Elizabeth knew she wanted colorful florals and lots of them.

About a week after Elizabeth said “yes” to Will on the side of beautiful Highway 1, they settled on a late October wedding. “Ten months was a great length of time for an engagement,” Elizabeth says. “A year and 10 months from engagement to reception, however, was maybe a bit too long.”

RELATED: This Bride Was Upstaged By Her Own Flowers

They tapped Mariée Ami to plan the wedding soon after their engagement. “They were amazing,” Elizabeth says. “Especially after we made the hard decision to postpone our reception until October 30, 2021! They quickly worked to rebook all of our vendors and move our contracts. They were invaluable the month and week of the wedding.”

Table setup at Birmingham country club

Mariée Ami took over the planning reigns and helped the Ryans transition the vendors from 2020 to 2021.

Most of Will’s family and many of their friends from NYC had never been to Alabama (or even the Southeast!), so it was important to Elizabeth and Will to have the wedding in Birmingham. “I wanted to show off my hometown, and it was a natural choice to choose the Country Club of Birmingham, given I grew up spending a lot of time there.”

Bride family outside birmingham country club

Elizabeth and Will loved showing off the South to all the North-Easterners who made the trip to the Magic City.

groomsmen outside birmingham country club

Since the vows were already spoken a year prior, there was very little pressure on the bridal party — just a celebration to be had!

When it came to her aesthetic and florals, Elizabeth knew she wanted a lot of color. “I had fallen in love with all of Floressence Flowers‘ prior work. Beyond that, I didn’t have a specific vision. My mom has really great taste, so I trusted her, Neillie [of Mariée Ami], and Eatherley [of Floressence Flowers] completely. I was shocked when I saw the reception — it was so much more beautiful than I could have ever imagined. They totally nailed it!” Ceiling-dripping greenery, show-stopper centerpieces, and an entryway transformation like we have never seen still have guests talking!

bride and groom under wedding flowers Birmingham country club

“Totally nailed it” seems the understatement of the century when it comes to these wedding flowers. WOW!

RELATED: The “Bridgerton” Wedding Florals Made Us Swoon

A month after the proposal, Elizabeth flew to Birmingham to visit two bridal boutiques with her mom, aunt, and grandmother. “I had no idea what I was looking for, but I ended up selecting the second dress I tried on that day,” Elizabeth says, telling a tale much different than many of the less-decisive brides we’ve met.

bride and groom kiss back of dress

The low scalloped lace back is both dainty and statement-making.

bride and groom walk through flowers

Arm-in-arm, Elizabeth finally gets to experience the floral fiesta of her dreams … with the man of her dreams!

One of the coolest wardrobe touches we’ve seen? Elizabeth wore the rehearsal dinner dress her grandmother wore for her wedding but had local designer Katie Gibert of Katherine Vier update and modernize the ensemble. “It was initially designed to be worn for our original rehearsal dinner in 2020, but since we were already married, I opted not to wear white on Friday night this year and to save this dress for an outfit change during the Saturday night reception” Elizabeth says.

bride dances with bridesmaids

This outfit change signaled the true start to the party!

During cocktail hour, guests enjoyed an oyster bar, passed mini pimento cheese sandwiches, and mini quiches. Food stations spread throughout the room served up Southern delicacies like shrimp and grits and beef tenderloin. The bride’s cake was a signature buttercream flavor, and the groom’s cake was a chocolate creamy peanut butter with chocolate ganache drizzle (with a sugar replica of their dog, Clyde, on top!)

bride and groom cut the cake

The much-beloved Barb of Barb’s Cakes created a tastefully decorated cake to match the florals.

Groom and mother first dance

Mother and groom are both big dancers, the bride tells us. They chose “Best of My Love” by The Emotions. The bride and groom’s first dance was “Beyond” by Leon Bridges, and the father-daughter dance was “Isn’t She Lovely” by Stevie Wonder.

Because this was the wedding celebration, the Ryans wanted the whole weekend to feel festive and light. “We centered the weekend on spending time with our loved ones who had traveled from across the country to celebrate our marriage. Also, because it was Halloween weekend, we passed out a variety of costumes as dance floor props, including wigs, mustaches, full-blown outfits, and more. It was a huge hit!” Elizabeth says.

funny sneaker halloween costume

A Halloween weekend wedding meant costumes galore on the dance floor for guests to play with!

Passed late night chicken biscuits

Passed late-night chicken biscuits were a hit!

When the band played its final note, the party didn’t stop. “Because it was our celebration, we ended up leaving on the bus with the rest of our guests who were heading to our after-party at Carrigan’s Public House in Mountain Brook, where the party continued (with Domino’s pizza) until the wee hours of the morning,” Elizabeth recounts.

camp merrie woode grils

The bride bonds with wedding guests over memories of Western North Carolina’s Camp Merrie-Wood.

“We were scheduled to visit Lana’i in Hawaii, but due to COVID restrictions, our plans were canceled 48 hours before the wedding. We quickly pivoted and spent three nights in Santa Barbara, CA, and two nights in Napa, CA.” Elizabeth and Will have snuggled into married life in San Francisco, CA, where their beloved Clyde enjoys a life of limitless adventure.

Bride with bridesmaids on stage

There were a few center-stage appearances from this bride and her crew throughout the show!

bride and groom first dance

No doubt, this couple is still dancing through the memories of such a special Birmingham night.

To future brides, Elizabeth adds, “Everything will work out, and it’s not worth stressing over the small details. If you hire a wedding planner, trust them — they are professionals!”

Thank you so much, Elizabeth and Will, for recreating this special day for us. And thanks to Rachel & Noah Ray for the gorgeous photos.

RESOURCES

Ceremony: Canterbury United Methodist Church
Reception: Country Club of Birmingham
Planner: Mariée Ami
Day-of coordinator: Mariée Ami
Photographer: Rachel & Noah Ray
Flowers: Floressence Flowers
Stationery: through Mariée Ami
Hair and makeup: Celine Russell
Bride’s Gown: Augusta Jones (via Carriage House)
Outfit change: Katie Gibert
Bridesmaid’s dresses: Birdy Grey
Groom and groomsmen attire: any black tuxedo
Catering: Country Club of Birmingham
Cakes: Barb’s Cakes
Entertainment: Rhythm Nation (via East Coast Entertainment)
Rentals, Glassware, and Linens: Country Club of Birmingham
Transportation: Rare Transportation

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