In the handwritten vows they exchanged on their wedding day, Annalisa Drummond and Christopher Beavers promised to love each other on that day and every day after, even when they have no idea what exactly those days will hold. Eight months later, as Chris nears the end of his training to serve as a Green Beret in the United States Army, that vow now holds even more weight than it did on their wedding day. And one thing’s for sure — these two are the picture of selfless love and are truly meant to be.

Annalisa and Chris both made their way to Auburn University from the Sunshine State — she hailing from Tampa, and he from Fort Walton Beach. Since they both majored in industrial engineering, soon after arriving on campus they found themselves in nearly all of the same classes. Eventually they struck up a friendship-turned-more, a relationship that became official when they started dating in April 2014. They both graduated the following year, and Annalisa took a job in Birmingham while Chris worked in New Orleans before joining her in the Magic City. Then, their life together took a distinct turn when Chris prayerfully decided to follow a calling to pursue training and become a Green Beret in the National Guard Army Special Forces.

wedding invitations

This classic invitation suite shines with touches of emerald and gray.

bride and mom

The mother of the bride helps Annalisa put on the finishing touches before heading downstairs at The Tutwiler Hotel to meet her groom.

birmingham wedding

This bridal bouquet is unbelievable! The lush array of garden roses, ranunculus, gardenias, and lisianthus are so elegant in shades of white and cream, all framed by sprawling ferns, seeded eucalyptus, and olive branches.

RELATED: The Most Beautiful Bouquet You’ve Ever Seen: An Outdoor North Carolina Wedding to Swoon Over

first look

“I loved the idea of us privately having time before the ceremony to see each other,” says Annalisa of their extra-emotional first look. “The groom was definitely not 100 percent on board at first. But we compromised, and after the first look he said he wouldn’t have had it any other way.”

They had known for a long time that they wanted to spend forever together, but with this big decision made and Chris’ training looming, they wanted to make it official. Chris picked Annalisa up from work in September 2017 and they made the drive together from Birmingham to her family’s hunting property, The Pond Plantation, located an hour outside of Auburn in Lumpkin, Georgia. With its proximity to Auburn, The Pond had become a special place to Annalisa and Chris during weekend visits in college as they were falling in love. They arrived at The Pond just as the sun was setting; Chris asked Annalisa to go on a walk on the spillway. “In the middle of the conversation, I said, ‘We’re going to an Auburn football game tomorrow, have a dove hunt the next day, and we get to spend time with family. This is going to be a great weekend,’” says Annalisa. “Chris responded, ‘Well I hope it is even better than that … ’ and proceeded to get down on one knee.”

She, of course, said yes, as she says Chris knew without a doubt that she would, despite her unsuspecting, unmanicured nails on the day of. They then made their way back to the main house where Chris surprised her with a special dress to wear on her first night as the future Mrs. Beavers. After being congratulated by both of their families, who were waiting on the porch of the house, they celebrated over a romantic four-course dinner for two beside the lake.

wedding pups

Wedding day pups are the best pups! Violet and Luna are entirely too cute in their wedding day finest.

couple

Chris and Annalisa share many of the same passions and activities. “We are very active and enjoy CrossFit,” says Annalisa. “We love hunting and the outdoors. We enjoy spending time on the ocean, whether it’s laying on the beach, fishing, lobstering, or just enjoying a boat ride.”

bridal party

Annalisa’s bridal party is stunning on the stairs of The Tutwiler Hotel.

florals

Greenery spills down the stairs at Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft, making quite a statement as guests entered the space.

birmingham wedding

The anticipation and emotion in the moments spent walking down the aisle are unparalleled.

bride and groom

It was very important to Annalisa and Chris that they write their own vows. We love the level of intimacy this choice lends to a wedding ceremony.

Annalisa pictured an elegant wedding day with twinkling cafe lights and lots of greenery. She wanted the day to be seamless and easy, for she and Chris to be surrounded by all of their loved ones, and for their guests to eat, drink, and have a wonderful time. In order to accomplish that vision for a seamless wedding day, she knew that she wanted both the ceremony and reception to be in the same venue, and that she needed help to make it all come together. Fortunately, the team at Becky’s Brides was more than capable of pulling off the day of Annalisa and Chris’ dreams, and Bridgestreet Gallery & Loft suited her vision to a “T.” White painted brick, exposed beams, and cafe lights strung from the ceiling perfectly captured the rustic, modern atmosphere she had in mind, and the generous space could accommodate both components of the day. Copious greenery and white blooms, metallic touches and glittering candlelight all added Annalisa’s elegant touch to the space, creating a day that felt equal parts welcoming and refined.

RELATED: 8 Wedding Trends to Watch For

On November 17, 2018, 200 guests gathered in the ethereal loft space at Bridgestreet, lit by glowing cafe lights and twinkling candles as Annalisa floated down the aisle on her father’s arm toward her groom. She and Chris had long known they wanted to write their own vows to exchange as personal promises to make and to keep. So there, before their loved ones, Annalisa promised to be supportive, honest, and loyal, and Chris promised to lead, protect, and love. Their words were laced with joy at their beginnings, and solemn vows for the life they would build together. With a kiss, the new Mr. and Mrs. Beavers grinned their way back up the aisle before heading outside to steal a few photos at sunset.

wedding

“About seven to eight weeks before the wedding, they changed Chris’s training schedule and told him we had to cancel our wedding,” says Annalisa. “For about a week we were trying to figure out how to cancel everything. Since Chris is also in the National Guard, he went to the liaison office for potential help getting his training pushed back. A SF Master Sergeant took up Chris’s case. We are forever grateful to this man for making our wedding possible.’”

happy couple

“On the day of the wedding, I said as long as the groom was there the wedding day would be perfect,” says Annalisa. And it was.

reception venue

This ceiling installation was one of the bride’s favorite elements from the day — and we can see why! It stretched the entire length of the aisle during the ceremony, and it served as the centerpiece above the head table at the reception.

first dance

The bride and groom dance to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran.

cake

This four-tier semi-naked cake featured strawberry, caramel, and coconut layers encased in buttercream icing. Two deer figurines in a veil and bowtie stood on top with a heart inscribed with “the hunt is over” beside them. T

alabama wedding

The bride and groom exited their reception as guests waved sparklers in the cool night air. “Take as many moments as you can throughout the day to stop and take it in,” says Annalisa to future brides-to-be. “It goes by so fast.”

After being introduced for the very first time as Mr. and Mrs., the bride and groom took the dance floor to “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran. “The sound of the song itself is beautiful, but as corny as it may sound, the lyrics really speak to us and describe our relationship,” says Annalisa. “We were just kids when we fell in love and at heart we still are. ‘Dancing barefoot in the grass,’ really stands out from our proposal at The Pond. We see our future in each other, and we share our dreams, home, and family.” Guests sipped on “Mint to Be” mojitos and “The War Eagle” Old Fashioneds garnished with orange and blueberry, and they enjoyed a delicious buffet-style meal by Savoie Catering, which included a build-your-own skillet mac-and-cheese station. Then the real celebration began as guests joined the bride and groom in dancing the night away.

Cheers to you both, Annalisa and Chris! Thank you for sharing your beautiful day with us. We are grateful for your decision to serve our country and wish you all the very best — and more!

Resources:

Wedding planner: Becky’s Brides
Photography: Alisha Crossley Photography
Videography: Holloway Productions
Venue: Bridgestreet Gallery & Loft
Floral design: HotHouse Design Studio
Hair and makeup: Rawwbeauty
Draping + lighting: OnSite Productions
Stationery: GracefullyMade Art
Catering: Savoie Catering
Bar: B&B Bartending
Cakes: Magic Muffins
Rentals: Prophouse Birmingham and Event Rentals Unlimited
Linens: BBJ Linens
Photobooth: J Douglass Photography
Entertainment: EastCoast Entertainment
Ceremony musicians: The Auburn Quartet
Getting ready location: The Tutwiler Hotel
Bride’s dress: Diane’s Formal Affair
Alterations: Hollow to Hem
Bridesmaids’ dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom’s attire: SF Tailors
Groomsmen’s attire: The Black Tux

**********

See more gorgeous weddings in Alabama and across the south by clicking here!