Flanked by her human parents, with a wreath of leaves and petals around her neck, Lilly, the labrador retriever, almost seemed to smile for the Pursell Farms wedding photo. But how could she not smile? She’d been waiting for this day almost as long as they had.
Kerry Franks and Trey Early were set up on a blind date by mutual friends after graduating from college — she from Alabama and he from Auburn — and moving to Birmingham to start their careers. Actually, Trey canceled on Kerry for their first date because his work travels got delayed. “I was a little miffed about it,” says Kerry. “He was very apologetic and rescheduled for the following week. After that, we were inseparable.”
They dated for two years, and Kerry knew a proposal was in the works but had no idea when or how it would happen. Then, on a seemingly innocent trip to Fairhope to celebrate another couple’s engagement, Trey had a big surprise in store. Kerry says that nothing seemed out of the ordinary when he suggested they take their beloved lab, Lilly, for a walk down by the piers. They were throwing her bumper toy out into the water for her to fetch, and on one final trip up from the water Trey turned around and got down on one knee. “I was so completely shocked — I never even said ‘yes!’” says Kerry. Trey’s sister was hiding nearby and captured the moment with photos they will treasure forever.
This sweet bride had a timeless look in mind for her Pursell Farms wedding day. “I don’t want to look back at our pictures and have it seem too dated,” says Kerry. “I wanted it to be relaxed, not really stressful, and I wanted our guests to have a good time and reflect what’s important to us.” With the aid of her own strong aesthetic and decisiveness, and the expert planning of the Becky’s Brides team, Kerry’s dream day became a reality.
Hamilton Place at Pursell Farms was the focal point and the perfect backdrop for a bright, cheerful day with a classically neutral color palette. Kerry was immediately drawn to the beautiful space that required minimal decoration and allowed guests to gather together for a little weekend away on the property. Plus, an outdoor ceremony was perfect if the weather permitted. Luckily for Kerry and Trey, the forecast cleared just in time for their dream ceremony under blue skies.
With her neutral color palette in mind, Kerry dressed her gaggle of bridesmaids in floor-length dresses in an icy shade of powder blue, picking up on the pale blue of the hydrangeas in the ceremony’s arbor. Trey and his groomsmen wore black tuxedos with white boutonnieres, accented by feathers from a turkey the groom had hunted himself. And, of course, Kerry was truly stunning in her Antonio Gual gown from Ivory & White. It was the final dress she tried on, and it appeared to materialize out of thin air when she told her consultant, Sloane, that she wished she could combine the silhouette of one dress with the fabric of another. Sloane disappeared into the stock room and returned with a sample that was exactly that. With her mother and two best friends there cheering her on, Kerry knew it was the absolute perfect dress for her.
On a beautiful morning in late March 2019, Kerry woke up at Pursell Farms, surrounded by all of the most important women in her life. “The morning of the wedding, all of my bridesmaids and my mom were all getting ready together in the Hamilton House. I just kind of stepped back and realized that this is the only time it will ever happen — that all the people you care the most about are all in one place laughing and reminiscing together,” says Kerry. “It is really special and emotional.”
After spending the morning with her girls, Kerry headed down to meet her groom on the lawn at Hamilton Place. The first look was definitely among the bride and groom’s favorite moments from the day, as it allowed them to shake off some wedding day nerves and enjoy a few quiet moments together before the festivities began.
At half-past five that evening, 200 beloved guests filled chairs on the lawn at Hamilton Place, and a string quartet played the bride and her father down the aisle. The bride’s uncle officiated the ceremony, and it was centered on family, featuring readings by the bride and groom’s siblings and rooted in the couple’s faith in God. With a kiss to seal the deal, the new Mr. and Mrs. Early recessed up the aisle to a joyous, instrumental version of “This Will Be” by Natalie Cole.
Following the ceremony, guests sipped on the bride and groom’s signature drinks — Yellowhammers and Old Fashioneds, respectively. They enjoyed a bevy of their favorite foods, including a mac and cheese bar, fried green tomatoes, crab cakes and beef tenderloin sliders. For a touch of the bride’s hometown of Winfield, Alabama, they served guests a beautiful wedding cake and groom’s cake made by Winfield native Sherry Cunningham. And of course, a tiny rendering of Lilly the lab was featured proudly atop Trey’s German chocolate groom’s cake, with a prized duck in her mouth.
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At the end of what was an utterly perfect day, guests sent the bride and groom off on a “Just Married” golf cart with sparklers twinkling in the night air.
Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Early! It was such a joy to learn about your perfectly planned Pursell Farms wedding day — thank you so much for sharing it with us!
Photography: BeLight Photography
Planning: Taylor Justice, Becky’s Brides
Wedding Dress: Antonio Gual, Ivory & White
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groom: Mr Burch
Groomsmen attire: Mr Burch
Cake: Sherry Cunningham
Flowers & event design: Kathy Miller
Venue: Hamilton Place at Pursell Farms
Catering: Pursell Farms
Rentals: PRE Events
Band: Accent, Music Garden
Violin: Riverside Quartet
Hair/Makeup: Emily Summerville
Merchandise/Stationery Design: Alex Fly Designs, Weezie B
Videography: Holloway Productions
Guest Accommodations: Pursell Farms
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