When Sidney and Austin met through work in Atlanta, Georgia, it didn’t take long for them to recognize that what seemed like a chance opportunity was the beginning of something that would change both of their lives. Austin, a native of Atlanta and graduate of the University of Georgia, and Sidney, from Florence, Alabama, and graduate of Ole Miss, share a love story full of meaningful details. The beauty and grace of intentional moments were on full display as the two began their lives together at Alys Beach; the white stucco became the backdrop upon which friends and family bore witness to their commitment, the waves and Gulf breeze (mixed in with a little Motown and pop music) to forever be a soundtrack to their story. The beauty of the day—from the sun setting on the beach as they said their vows to the stroll through the streets of Alys as they moved through the streets of Alys as they moved throughout their wedding day—in the minds and hearts of Sidney and Austin, is forever a reminder of the life they’ve committed to each other.
Alys Gazette: Tell us a little bit about how you met. Sidney: Austin is from Atlanta, Georgia, and graduated from the University of Georgia. I’m from a little town called Florence, Alabama, and went to Ole Miss. A couple of years after graduating college, I moved to Atlanta to live with one of my best friends from college. I was working as a sales representative selling office supplies and Austin's company called wanting to buy office supplies from us. I happened to be the person chosen to set up an account for Austin’s company, and as soon as we met, we knew there was something very special between us! We went on our first date a week later and the rest is history.
Alys Gazette: Tell us about the proposal—we love a good love story! Sidney: Austin had a work meeting in Chicago and asked if I wanted to come up for the weekend and meet him when it was over. I had never visited Chicago, so I was more than excited to go! After I got there—I was completely oblivious to what was happening—Austin suggested we go “exploring." We walked over to a park overlooking Navy Pier, and Austin began telling me how he never knew it until a few weeks prior, but that his grandparents got engaged at Navy Pier many years before. All of the sudden, it hit me what was about to happen! Austin dropped to one knee—I was truly speechless. After finally getting out a “YES!”, we spent the rest of the weekend celebrating, just the two of us. Austin went above and beyond to plan everything perfectly and made it the sweetest and most memorable proposal.
Alys Gazette: What made you decide that Alys Beach would be the perfect place to have your wedding? Sidney: Austin's family has a house right next to Alys Beach, and it has become a very special place to us. When we started thinking of wedding venues, we wanted to choose something that would always be meaningful to us. Once we decided we wanted to get married on 30A, it didn't take long to realize that Alys Beach would be the perfect venue for our wedding.
Alys Gazette: Tell us about the big day! Sidney: It was truly the best day of our lives! I got ready at a house in Alys Beach, and it was such a great setup. I just had my two sisters and sister-in-law there with me for the most part, and it made that "getting ready" time really special. The ceremony was at Gulf Green and the reception was in Central Park. We loved having the ceremony at a different location than the reception so that our guests could walk from Gulf Green to Central Park through Alys and experience how beautiful it is.
Alys Gazette: Tell us about the ceremony. What made it really special? Sidney: Our ceremony was the most meaningful part of our day. We wanted it to reflect what we believe about marriage, and we had some really special things that we wanted to include as part of it. Austin's mom passed away a few years ago, and we wanted to honor her. Austin placed a sunflower in an empty seat to remember her by. We had our nieces as flower girls and loved having them walk down the aisle! My sister sang a song that means a lot to us, and it reflected our belief that God creates something new when He unites a man and woman in marriage. We chose to have only the two of us standing at the altar, which is something we are still so happy we did, because it helped us focus on what the ceremony was really about. Having our close friend, Andrew, officiate the ceremony was really special, too. His message reminded us that although the wedding is great, it's truly just the beginning. Marriage is a miracle, and it's a sign pointing to our life to come.
Alys Gazette: And the reception! It looks like you all had a great time! Sidney: We had a cocktail hour between the ceremony and the reception, and we're so happy we did. It gave Austin and I time together after the ceremony to take some pictures and to go back to the house I got ready in to soak in that we were married! My dad gave a speech at the beginning of the reception that was one of the most special moments of the day, and his words meant the world to us. I think the most fun thing about our reception was that we made sure to spend time on the dance floor instead of talking the whole night. We wanted to speak to everyone that we could, but we also wanted to enjoy the reception, too! We loved our band and had so much fun dancing with everyone. We wanted to serve a mix of southern food and seafood. We had grilled cheese and bacon wrapped dates passed around as appetizers—they were so delicious. We also had fish tacos, crab cakes, and a mac and cheese bar, which was a guest favorite. Spicy margaritas are one of our favorite cocktails so we had those served as our signature drink. We loved that our band was so fun and interactive. They played a lot of Motown hits and also played a good mix of today's hits, and our guests loved it. The band really helped get the night going and made it so much fun!
Alys Gazette: What’s your favorite memory of the day? Sidney: There are so many favorite memories it's hard to choose just one! Other than standing face to face with Austin and saying our vows to each other, I have to say my favorite mental snapshot is riding away in our getaway car at the end of the night. I felt like I was on cloud nine soaking in the last few moments of our wedding day, and we couldn't stop smiling ear to ear thinking about how happy we were to be married. It was the perfect ending to the best day, and I will always love that memory.