It’s the kind of stuff that happens in movies: Girl goes to prom on the arm of a “friend,” leaving the dream of heart-soaring true love at home. But she’s perfectly coiffed and filled with girlish excitement to experience her senior prom. There’s dancing and laughter. Then as the couples split into friend groups, mingling and talking, they seem to fade into shadows as the lights dim—all but two remain. The chords of a love song vibrate in the air … the disco ball casts a dizzying starry night onto the gymnasium-turned-dreamscape, and from across the room, his eyes meet hers. They walk toward one another transfixed, each illuminated by the hazy glow of their own spotlight until the limelights intermingle and fade into a dewy pink. Saturated in the color of love, he says, “Would you like to dance?” And a whirlwind romance ensues …
Well, that’s not exactly what happened when this bride went to her senior prom, but it’s close enough. Suffice it to say, Allison Love and Hunter Reid met at prom, started dating shortly after graduation, and stayed in a long-distance relationship throughout college—he, at Faulkner University, and she, at Auburn. The high-school sweethearts were destined to become husband and wife. So, in 2019, Hunter began to prepare for a Christmastime engagement, pulling out all the stops: custom-designing a ring for his bride and secretly orchestrating a proposal on his family’s mountaintop parcel of land in Steele, Alabama, with a gorgeous overlook and cozy cabin, perfect for hiding their families. So, atop a lush mountaintop one crisp December day, Hunter pulled the ring box out of his pocket and knelt to his beloved. She, of course, said yes, the families celebrated, and the wedding planning began.
She had her heart set on Fiddler’s Green, which perfectly emulated the vintage, boho-chic Southern wedding she envisioned, so she booked it for a May wedding. The dreamy venue was second only to her desire for the perfect floral accents. “I’m obsessed with flowers. I love flowers. That was one of my biggest wishes for the decor,” says Allison. “I wanted an absurd amount of flowers and absurd amount of color pops everywhere, and Carolyn and her team was just absolutely amazing.” While some florists Allison interviewed seemed to want to adapt her ideas; she found that Carolyn was focused on understanding Allison’s ideal florals. “She goes above and beyond for her customers, and that was so nice to have.”
Then COVID-19 swept the globe, bringing the wedding planning to a screeching halt. Amid the uncertainty, the lovebirds decided to return to the site of their proposal and tie the knot anyway. “We had an elopement on our original day with just us, our pastor, and our photographer,” says Allison, who carried a bouquet from Wild Things. “It really meant a lot to me that she helped me in May to have a bouquet, and a lot of people don’t think that that’s really important, but doing that during such a difficult time meant a lot to me. I have actually taken those flowers from that bouquet, and I’ve pressed them, and I’m putting them in a frame in our house.”
After the intimate wedding, the newlyweds headed home for a cozy quarantine night in. And once the initial pandemic lockdown eased up, the larger wedding—with 125 friends and family members playing witness—was rescheduled for September.
When the gorgeous fall day finally arrived, it was a joyful and heartwarming affair. “I have a really sentimental family,” says Allison. “My grandmother actually passed away three years ago, and she was the pillar of our family. We called her Mimi. She sent a card for every event. You could sprain your ankle, and she’d send you a card. And she would always write “All my love, Mimi” on all her cards. So my cousin, who was my maid of honor, got a little heart with that engraved on it, and secretly had it attached to my bouquet.” Carolyn of Wild Things presented the stunning bridal bouquet, which was not only wrapped in her mother’s wedding veil, the “something old,” along with the “something new” surprise on it. Says Allison, “I had no idea about it.”
Before Mimi passed away, she gifted Allison her wedding band, which had fallen into disrepair. Allison had plans to have it restored, but Hunter had a wedding-day surprise in store for her. He had a custom ring made with diamonds from her wedding band interspersed between sapphires, his birthstone—”something blue and something new.” The presentation of this gift was actually one of Allison’s most treasured memories from the wedding, not only because her husband gave her such a moving and beautiful gift, but because it was their first look, her chance to reveal her real wedding dress: “Hunter’s not a crier, and when Hunter teared up a little … and us just getting a moment together alone, because you don’t really get that on your wedding weekend.” A close second to this husband-and-wife rite of passage for Allison was “just having all our friends and family beside us, supporting us and rooting for us.”
Because of her love of flowers, Allison wanted the reveal of the ceremony space to be a surprise as she walked down the aisle. And as she walked into the space to see the breathtaking archway of flowers at the altar, it only augmented the deep joy and gratitude of such a significant moment. “I did not expect to have as many beautiful flowers for that archway. She surprised me with it too—it was above and beyond. It was so big and beautiful. Everybody thought that flower arch was one of the best parts of the decor of the wedding. She just created a magical environment,” says Allison. “She doesn’t know me from Adam, and she put her heart and soul into my wedding and made all of it absolutely beautiful, and I’m so thankful.”
After the bride and groom each said “I do,” guests enjoyed signature cocktails—a margarita representing the bride and a Jack & Coke representing the groom—as well as a good ol’ Southern barbecue dinner with all the crowd-pleasing sides, followed by a coffee bar and a donut wall. For the first dance, the happy couple danced to Chris Stapleton’s “More of You,” and then Mr. & Mrs. Reid danced the night away until it was time to hop in their vintage getaway car and ride off into their happily ever after.
Photographer: Susan Weathington
Flowers: Wild Things
Wedding Dress: Diane’s Formal Affair
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse
Cake: Barb’s Cake
Venue: Fiddler’s Green
Hair & Makeup: GLOW
Getaway Car: Coats Classic Cars
Bartending: B&B Bartending
Videography: On-Site Productions