Crystal + Alan | Sep 28, 2019
Southern, DIY wedding with an earthy color palette and fresh white florals at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery in Charlotte, North Carolina
Alan had just started as the new Food & Beverage Supervisor at The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte, when his boss walked him into Crystal’s Pastry Kitchen and introduced them. She barely stopped working, while he on the other hand decided in that moment that he wanted her in his life. They continued working together and for months, he invited her to get drinks, to which she declined.
“Finally, one day we decided to go out to get drinks as friends and we bonded over everything!” said Crystal. “From family, to friends, to our love for losing football teams, we became best friends and grew our relationship from the ground up.”
They were doing the long-distance thing and about a week before Crystal’s birthday, Alan asked her to visit him in Virginia. He took her out to dinner and after they finished dessert, the Pastry Chef came out to meet her and deliver a special chocolate sculpture. He told her to open the sculpture, and inside was the most stunning ring.
“I immediately teared up and he proceeded to get down on one knee,” said Crystal. “And in true Crystal fashion, I could not even put together words, so I just shook my head and about 30 seconds later someone on the other side of the restaurant asked if I said yes - of course I did!”
Crystal and Alan exchanged vows at the very brewery where they shared their first kiss. They accentuated the industrial space by incorporating a very neutral color palette of tans, earthy whites and lush greenery. The frothy white florals created a striking contrast against the building’s architectural elements.
“Honestly, the biggest influence for our big day was making it true to us as a couple and to our family and friends,” said Crystal.
The day started at a gorgeous, picturesque hotel suite in Uptown Charlotte where the bride and the rest of the ladies were getting ready. Her bridesmaids put on their lacey, champagne satin dresses and Crystal grabbed her gown, hanging exquisitely against the exposed brick wall.
“It was the first one I put on and I am quite sure everyone there knew it then that that was the dress!” said Crystal.
Crystal looked unbelievable in an off-white, A-line gown with a plunging neckline and lace overlay. She wore a lariat necklace and delicate pearl bracelet, with a pair of crystal embellished pointed-toe flats. Her Maid of Honor curled her hair and braided a few pieces, and added a pearl-beaded, silver ivy hairpiece to tie into all the greenery in their décor.
“Alan has always told me he absolutely loves when I French braided my hair for work,” said Crystal, “and seeing as how our wedding would be at a brewery, I did not want anything too over the top for my hair.”
Every detail of their wedding had some sort of deeper meaning, from the way her hair was done, to the way Alan was dressed. He wore beige linen pants and a matching vest, with an open-collared white button down - sleeves rolled.
“I remember Alan used to work in suits when I first met him,” said Crystal, “and when he was leaving for the day, he would remove his tie, roll up his sleeves, and just look so relaxed and happy. I wanted him to look as handsome on our wedding day as I have always thought he was.”
His boutonniere was made from a white magnolia and a natural cotton stem, which perfectly complemented the bridal bouquet overflowing with greenery and massive magnolia blooms. They chose to have magnolias because in both of their childhoods, they had been around them for years.
“The night Alan had proposed to me, I saved the wine cork and was able to tuck it into my bouquet as my something old for the day,” said Crystal.
Inside the ceremony space, magnolia garlands lined the aisle, and framed the tulle drapery at the altar. The room was lit up with warmth from string lights cascading down the drapery, and chic wagon wheel chandeliers that hung over the space.
“The building really made everything come together with the beautiful lights outside and the greenery all over the place,” said Crystal. “It all just came together.”
The ceremony was truly romantic, and each detail had a special meaning and the utmost importance. Their sweet son was proud to walk down the aisle with the rings nestled on the back of a dinosaur succulent, symbolizing a white elephant gift from a Christmas party years ago, and Alan’s oldest friend officiated the wedding for them.
“When I first walked down the aisle, I do not think I saw anyone in that room except for my husband - it was such a surreal and perfect moment,” said Crystal. “We each wrote our own vows and decided to frame them above our bed a la Grey’s Anatomy.”
It was an intimate gathering and while the happy newlyweds were exiting the ceremony, they waved at a cellphone which was FaceTiming some of Crystal's out-of-state family who could not be there, and she teared up seeing them.
“It was the sweetest encounter,” said the photographer.
Right after the ceremony, they snuck away to a quiet room to take a moment to just enjoy being husband and wife for the first time. The bartender had their favorite drinks waiting for them, but little did they know that their entire wedding party followed right behind in true best friend fashion!
“It was fantastic,” said Crystal, “and lucky the bartenders were good sports and brought everyone their favorite drinks as well!”
Before heading in for the reception, the couple posed for individual portraits and group shots with their families and the wedding party. They even got to relive the intimate moment when they shared their first kiss in the parking lot of the same brewery, years ago. It was surreal for them to recreate that experience during the most beautiful golden hour.
All of the décor was made by the couple themselves, giving the day a really meaningful, personal touch. They placed succulents around on the cocktail tables, and the magnolias that lined the ceremony aisle were used as runners to line the tables with an abundance of candles. On each plate, guests received an iced magnolia cookie for a sweet takeaway.
Instead of a DJ, the couple spent an entire weekend picking their favorite songs and organizing their whole playlist for the reception - something they’ll have for the rest of their lives to remember the night of their lives. Their guest book also held really sentimental meaning.
“When I met his mother for the first time, we found out that the two of us love putting together puzzles and to this day we still do,” said Crystal, “so for our guest book we had a puzzle personalized and everyone was able to sign a piece.”
On a wooden table adorned with tulle and magnolia blossoms, there were four wedding cakes - multi-tiered and single-tiered varying in color, size and texture. The display was the focal point of the reception, and was true to the bride’s talents and passion for pastry design!
“Meet Crystal, a published cake designer and pastry artist, a loving soul, and a beautiful bride,” said the photographer. “I knew this wedding would be spectacular when she told me she was going to design four cakes for their reception.”
Topping off the perfect wedding day, the brewery was still in operation on that busy Saturday, so Crystal and Alan seized the moment. On the other side of the venue, a live band was playing in the biergarten and they danced their hearts out. When it was time to exit, the entire crowd cheered across the brewery for the happy newlyweds.
Congratulations, Crystal and Alan!
Looking for a florist to add whimsy to your dream day? Check out our list of vetted vendors HERE!
Madison Corbin Photography
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
Paper Goods + Calligraphy