Julie & Alexi – A Fairytale Shiloh Farm Wedding

Every parent wants the world for their kids.  And knowing how long my sweet friend, Susanne Miller, has been praying for her daughter to find happiness, I was overjoyed with the news of Julie and Alexi’s engagement.  What a beautiful real life fairytale romance they are living and to watch their love story unfold has been so very special.  Simply a magical wedding day from beginning to end.  I just won’t apologize for the millions of photos you are about to see.

Amazing Vendors Include:

Wedding Venue:  Shiloh Farm (65 acres of gorgeousness!)
Wedding Officiant:  Sara Michaels of Saramonies
Wedding Planner & Coordinator:  Dent Ward
Wedding Florals:  Cyndi Tarin of CTarin Designs and Dent Ward
Wedding Cake:  Sandy’s Sweets
Reception Catering:  Carrie Ann & Co.
Rehearsal Catering:  Bruette Davis
Rehearsal & Reception Bartender:  Mike Akers of Pour Man’s Bartenders
THE Dress:  Claire Pettibone from Kelly’s Closet
Bridal Makeup:  Image By Lisa
Hairstyling:  Ashley Lamon from Cabello’s Salon and Spa
Bride’s AMAZING Henna:  Kali Torres
Band:  Tom & The Cats
Rehearsal DJ:  Eppes Entertainment
Cinematography:  Unique Video Creations
Horse & Carriage:  Black’s Horse and Carriage

Julie and Alexi are both accomplished artists so it was very fitting that their first collaborative effort was to design and create their wedding invitations together.  Julie told me that Alexi had worked for several months to get their studio set up so that they could do silkscreen prints (Julie graduated from SCAD, and Alexi studied printmaking in Cuba), and work on the invitations together.  They would be in the studio most nights until 10 or 11 printing the ceremony invitations, the RSVP cards, envelope liners, etc. They took turns cutting and registering the paper, pulling the prints, being the paper loader, washing the screens, and on and on.  Julie addressed all of the envelopes and Alexi patiently hand stamped each inner envelope with a wax seal.  She told me that it was originally her idea to print their own invitations, and that he knew that it was really important to her.  Knowing this, he worked late to get some of his commissions finished ahead of time just so he could dedicate days to helping her with the invitations.  She, of course, LOVES how their invitations turned out but she told me that the memories of making them together mean even more.

 

Wedding rings on wedding invitation

 

Meanwhile, Julie’s Mom, Susanne, who owns Shiloh Farm, was busy in Tallahassee creating a fairytale for her daughter.  Shiloh Farm is ALWAYS gorgeous but when you have your own daughter getting married there you pull out ALL the stops.  Nothing was untouched, and every minor detail was thought of.  She, along with Janet, who made sure every detail was magical at the Barn, Chapel and Rose Cottage, Randy, the caretaker of the property, and all of the other staff members, worked tirelessly for weeks getting the grounds just PERFECT for the soon to be newlyweds.

 

 

 

 

 

The story behind this next photo. . . this handkerchief was carried down the aisle by Julie’s mom years ago.  It still had the makeup from where Susanne wiped away her own happy tears that day.  And now Julie carries it. . . so very heartwarming!  And the Queen Anne’s Lace necklace was a beautiful gift that Julie gave her mom.

 

bride is carrying mother's hankerchief that she carried at her wedding

 

This beautiful aquamarine was Julie’s great-grandmother’s.  Susanne told me the story of how when she was a little girl she was with her grandmother in Saint Thomas when she bought this ring.  Her grandmother had the most beautiful light blue eyes and loved aquamarine.  She went to heaven at age 95 so Susanne saw her wear it often.  Years later, after it was handed down to her, Susanne had it made into a beautiful necklace that she wore on Julie’s wedding day.  Wearing it made both Julie and Susanne feel like she was indeed there with them.  One of Susanne’s favorite memories was when Julie was first born and Grandma Dottie said to her, “Sue, this little princess is a rosebud angel.  Someday you will learn far more from her than you will ever be able to teach her.”

 

 

 

 

 

What a sweet memory for Julie being able to get ready in her childhood home.  And her bedroom is absolutely fit for a PRINCESS!  I remember joking around with Susanne one day about how her home looked and felt like a castle (which it does!).  She looked at me and said, “Well, Julie lives here doesn’t she!!”  Only the best for her daughter.  And that’s the way it should be.  It’s the little things that Julie really loves. . . like since she moved out for college, every time she comes home, her mom has fresh flowers on her bedside table.

 

 

 

 

 

Tom and the Cats band at Shiloh Farm

 

 

Julie’s grandmother Christine, now a young 91 years old, wore these shoes at her wedding back in 1947.  And look at her stunning wedding photo!  Just imagine all the emotions she felt as she watched her granddaughter marry the man of her dreams. . . I was honored to meet her.

 

grandmother's wedding shoes - so special

 

And let’s talk about Violet.  This girl.  Those of you who know me know that I have a big huge furry four-legged girl of my own at home that I love dearly.  But I could certainly be talked into stealing this little bundle of pure love.  She is the sweetest and she LOVES her mama.  I spent the entire day with Julie and Violet literally NEVER leaves her side.  She’s in a million photos ya’ll.  I couldn’t help myself.

 

 

The hair and makeup artists did an outstanding job.  I LOVE Lisa Davis of Image by Lisa because I seriously never have to do any skin retouching.  She’s a photographer’s dream! (and so fun to be around!)

 

 

 

bride getting her makeup done at Shiloh Farm

 

 

See, I told you she was fun lol!

 

 

Susanne, a woman of many talents, designed Julie’s floral headpiece. . .just lovely!

 

 

Alexi’s beautiful daughter Kali, is an amazing artist herself (no surprise there!).  I’m blown away by this gorgeous henna she did for Julie. . .

 

beautiful henna on bride's hands

 

 

At only 16 years old, and only being in the States for three years, Kali is well on her way to making her mark in this world.  Yes, she’s such a talented artist and social media genius (over 78k followers on Instagram – wow!) but what struck me was her kind spirit.  Getting it honestly from her parents and grandfather of course.  Lovely to meet her. . .

 

 

 

 

 

This mom, my beautiful friend Susanne, simply outdid herself.  She gave her daughter a wedding that only dreams are made of.  This woman means the world to me and to see her overjoyed for her daughter just makes me so very happy.  She loves her family fiercely and I love that about her.

 

 

 

The Sheriff of Shiloh Farm is what we call her.  Meet and love Sugarbear.  I keep saying that Susanne owns Shiloh because it sounds better.  But the truth is, this girl rules the Farm.  She’s got all the humans, other dogs and cats under her spell – even while she sleeps 22 hours out of the day!

 

 

 

Bridal portrait with bridesmaids from Elizabeth Birdwell Photography

 

 

 

This Claire Pettibone gown. . .to die for.  Julie told me excitedly, “I just can’t wait to get into my dress, it’s SO comfy!”  You can’t beat the combo of comfy and drop dead gorgeous.  Every bride should be so lucky!

 

 

 

 

 

This exquisite diamond bracelet was given to Julie by her Aunt Lola, her dad’s sister.  She was there the day Julie was born.  She has no children and always has treated Julie as her own.

 

 

 

 

 

beautiful bride getting ready for her wedding day

 

Meet and love Alexi.  I’ve only been around him a couple of times but from the moment you meet him you know he has a kind and caring soul.  Julie and Alexi met on Tinder.  When they connected online and decided to meet, I love how Julie describes how she felt at that first moment when they saw each other. . .  “I think I stopped breathing for a second!  He was exactly as I pictured him.  Of course, one of the first things that draws people together is a physical attraction, so of course I thought he was handsome, but what I really remember the most is that he opened the door and greeted me, he gave me a hug, and it felt like home right there.  He was every bit as kind as I thought he would be.”

When I was photographing their wedding, I kept noticing through the lens how tenderly he was looking at her.  Such love and tenderness in his eyes.  He really adores his bride.

 

 

Groom getting ready with his father as best man

 

 

 

It was WONDERFUL meeting Alexi’s family.  His Dad came over from Cuba for the wedding and I loved meeting him so much.  The very same kindness is in his eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course the mode of transportation was horse and carriage. . . . this is a fairytale after all!  Just beautiful!

 

Bridal party being escorted by horse and carriage

 

(forgive me for sneaking in a pic of my handsome hubby!)

 

 

Julie’s sweet sweet grandmother. . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Escorted down the aisle by her father and mother who both have ALWAYS loved and supported her throughout her entire life, it truly was a dreamy moment. . .

 

 

 

 

Seeing his beautiful bride for the first time. . .his look says it ALL.

 

 

Groom meets his bride escorted by her father and mother

 

 

Julie carried a bible that her mom brought back from a trip to Jerusalem when she was in high school.  Inlaid with Mother of Pearl, it is a beautiful treasure. . .

 

Bride carrying a bible her mother brought back from Jerusalem for her.

 

 

beautiful grandmother watching her granddaughter get married

 

 

I loved how they passed around the rings so that each guest could touch them and give their blessing. . .

 

 

I love this moment captured as Julie is laughing at Sara’s comments. . . let’s talk about Sara for a minute.  She is hands down the best officiant everrrrrr.  The way she personalizes every wedding and just holds the audience captive while she tells their story is just magnificent. I’ve often said that I would love to marry my hubby all over again just so we could have Sara.  She’s the bomb.

 

Bride laughing during ceremony

 

 

 

Beautiful bridal bouquet

 

Beautiful vows they wrote to each other. . .

 

Bride saying her vows

 

 

 

I just loved seeing the emotion on Kali’s face. . . she loves her stepmom so much already.  Hearing her talk about how happy she is for her father is priceless.  She said that Julie is “exactly what he’s always been looking for.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beautiful ceremony under the oaks at Shiloh Farm

 

 

 

 

Dent Ward coordinated a flawless wedding day for these two.  I cannot say enough about her.  Her energy level is unbelievable. . .she is passionate about what she does and her only goal for the day is to make it perfect and memorable for the couple and their families.  She always meets and exceeds that goal.  Shiloh is so blessed to have her.

 

 

Beautiful, phenomenal, amazing florals!!! Cyndi and Dent outdid themselves!!

 

 

bride and her bridesmaids

 

 

 

 

beautiful bride and her mother having a moment before she walks down the aisle

 

 

 

 

 

Bride and Groom on beautiful horse and carriage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These two are just perfect together.  The love they have for each other shines so brightly in their photos.

 

Bride and Groom walking with Shiloh's beautiful chapel in the background

 

This large painting that adorned the stage was done by Julie and Alexi and was used in their engagement announcement.  It had to be lady bugs. . . her childhood nickname is “Julie Bug”.

 

 

The Grand Ol’ Barn was shimmering from floor to ceiling. . . so fabulous!

 

 

 

 

 

In keeping with a Cuban wedding tradition. . .

 

Wedding Cuban tradition - roasting a pig

 

 

 

It’s time to party and what a partaaaaaay it was!  Tom and the Cats were in the house!! DOWN RIGHT AWESOME!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

beautiful grandmother out on the dancefloor

 

Sweet moment of Susanne’s sister Andra and mom showing off their dance moves. . .

 

 

 

And Susanne’s other sweet sister, Ginger,  dancing the night away with Bill and Dent!  Many thanks to both of Susanne’s sisters for their tireless help in pulling off this dream wedding.

 

 

 

 

Speaking of tireless help, I wanted to share this sweet pic (actually taken at the Rehearsal dinner) of these three best friends. . . these ladies have known Julie since she was one year old and she affectionately calls them her “other mothers”.  Suzanne Whitaker and Kathy Mayfield spent countless hours helping Susanne turn this wedding into a beautiful reality.

 

 

Now back to dancing the night away!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

bride and groom cut the cake at Shiloh Farm

 

 

 

 

 

I love this couple so much.  Susanne and her main squeeze Bill are two of the kindest hearts I know.  I’m so blessed to call them friends.  Love you guys!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a spectacular, magical, and amazing Wedding Day for Julie and Alexi!  These two are both such talented and accomplished artists (I mean Julie has her work prominently displayed in the lobby of Amelia Island’s Ritz Carlton and Alexi has been featured on Oprah and his work is all over the world ya’ll!) but I know for SURE that they would both say that their greatest accomplishment has been to find each other.  I am so honored to have been chosen to capture their Wedding Day.

Thank you Julie and Alexi. . . love you both so much and best wishes for a long and happy life together!

Xoxo,

Elizabeth

P.S. Did you really think I was done posting photos?  No way!  If you want to enjoy the Rehearsal Dinner take a look!  And also feel free to see Julie and Alexi’s amazing video from Unique Video Creations at this link:  https://www.facebook.com/uvc.tv/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

850.544.1554
elizabeth@elizabethbirdwell.com

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