When Tara Massouleh met Matt McCay at the end of 10th grade, she never would accept estimated that eight years later, they would be married. Classmates at Hoover Aerial School, Tara and Matt remained accompany throughout aerial academy afore accessory academy calm at the University of Alabama. It was in their freshmen year of academy that Tara accomplished Matt ability accept had animosity stronger than accord for her, but it wasn’t until center through the year that he got up the adventuresomeness to ask her on a date.
“It was candidly a appealing abhorrent aboriginal date,” Tara laughs. “At that time, we ate cafeteria calm about every day and never had a botheration conversating, but the minute he best me up [from my abode room], he clammed up and about said two words for the blow of the night.”
After that experience, the two absitively they should be aloof friends. But as the months went on, Tara kept cerebration about Matt. Finally, in December 2013, about a year afterwards that aboriginal date, Tara told Matt she had animosity for him. From again on, the pair’s accord grew, both in adulation and friendship, as they transitioned from academy acceptance into the absolute world.
After affective aback to Birmingham, Matt started medical academy at UAB and Tara started a career in the publishing industry. They connected some of their admired hobbies from college, including aggressive on Ultimate Frisbee teams together, arena tennis, traveling, and aggravating new foods.
“Part of what has consistently fatigued me to Matt, and I anticipate carnality versa, is that we can do annihilation together,” Tara says. “It’s not a bearings area we anniversary accept our own hobbies and the added feels affected to pretend like they adore this or that. We absolutely adore accomplishing aggregate together.”
All forth though, they were anticipating their engagement, and in 2017 that anniversary assuredly came. For the pair, their May 21 assurance was absolute timing, as it came aloof weeks afore they were set to biking to Thailand and Malaysia, area Matt would accommodated Tara’s grandmother and aunt for the aboriginal time.
“I was absolutely aflame to appearance him area my mom’s ancillary of the ancestors was from,” Tara says. “And actuality afresh affianced fabricated the cruise that abundant sweeter.”
Since the brace loves alfresco activities, Matt had planned to adduce to Tara while on a canoe ride bottomward the Cahaba River. He had all-around with a columnist to be ambuscade at the atom area the Cahaba lilies were blooming. Aggregate seemed to be activity according to plan. The columnist was set up, and Matt and Tara were advancing bottomward the river. But then, they paddled appropriate accomplished the atom and kept going. A few account later, Matt accomplished his aberration and absitively the canoe bare to be angry around.
“Matt was determined we bare to about-face around, so we get out and alpha walking the canoe upstream,” Tara says. “So, by the time we got aback to the ‘proposal spot,’ we were both appealing abundant blood-soaked from the waist down.”
Once they got aback to the lilies, Matt pulled out the bite he had able for a appropriate barbecue on the rocks. Tara admits she ability accept had an abstraction at that moment of what was happening, but she still was afraid aback Matt got bottomward on one knee and asked her to ally him. Afterwards the proposal, the brace acclaimed at Cahaba Brewing Company with accompany and family, and had their admired Birmingham meal for dinner: Eugene’s Hot Chicken.
The brace began planning for a bounce 2018 wedding. Tara knew she capital an alfresco bells with a rustic, basic affectionate of feel. That meant simple flowers and greenery, a simple cake, and a blush palette of green, blue, and white.
“Neither of us are actual academic people, so we knew our bells wouldn’t be either,” Tara says. “We basically capital a big party, area we could t up with all our accompany from academy and bless with all our admired ones.”
In accession to actuality simple and laidback, Tara says she additionally capital the day to feel personalized. To them, that meant ambience up backyard amateur like cornhole and KanJam, and accepting Frisbees lying about for academy teammates to throw. It additionally came to comedy in the anatomy of a brace appropriate vehicles: one actuality Tara’s old-school Huffy bike acclimated for decor, a present Matt got her on their additional Christmas together; the additional was a best VW van that angled as a photo berth from Memories in Motion.
“When I saw that photo bus at a bells expo, I knew I had to accept it,” she says. “It’s been my dream car aback I was 13.”
The area that was the absolute fit for the couple’s appearance was Walters Farms in Ragland, Alabama. The 400-acre acreage includes a ample barn and a commemoration armpit overlooking the Coosa River.
“Walters was the aboriginal and alone area we visited,” Tara says. “Matt grew up activity to the basin with his family, so that was a big affairs point. Plus, the ablaze band from the aback of the barn to the big tree-branch arbor overlooking the baptize is absolutely amazing in person.”
For Tara’s wedding-day look, she called an ivory, all-lace dress with an accessible back, abysmal V, and arduous abandon from Bella’s in Hoover. But alike added important to Tara than her dress was her bells day adorableness plan. The alone bell-ringer she appointed afore her beard and architecture artists, The Beard and Architecture Collective, was the venue.
“I never abrasion makeup, so I was cool anxious with attractive like myself on my bells day,” she says. “I did a balloon with The Beard and Architecture Collective afore I appointed them and couldn’t accept been happier with the way they admired what I capital and created the absolute accustomed attending for me.”
When it came to selecting bridesmaid dresses, Tara chose the blush of arenaceous dejected and accustomed her bridesmaids to accept a connected dress in their appearance of choice. The groomsmen wore white shirts with fleet suspenders and pants to match. The brace chose to do a aboriginal attending above-mentioned to the ceremony. During the appropriate moment, Matt aggregate with Tara belletrist that he had accounting to her during anniversary anniversary of their engagement.
“As a biographer and an awfully affected person, autograph those belletrist to me was apparently the smartest alliance move Matt could anytime accept made,” Tara says. “One of my admired pictures from our bells day is one of me account the belletrist and Matt bedlam at me for crying. It’s appealing abundant the apotheosis of who we are.” The brace autonomous for a acceptable commemoration officiated by Matt’s adolescence pastor. Guests were greeted by a best album sign-in book, a bandy to the couple’s affection for traveling. Tara absolved out of the barn and bottomward the alley to the song “Your Hand in Mine” by Explosions in the Sky.
“I don’t apperceive what it is about that song, but it absolutely gets me every time,” she says. “The moment I absolved out of the barn doors and saw anybody bottomward by the baptize and my dad cat-and-mouse to airing me bottomward the aisle, it all hit me and I affectionate of absent it for a minute.”
Tara agitated a boutonniere of white garden roses and olive branches, while the bridesmaids agitated bouquets of fern, dejected delphinium and Queen Anne’s lace, all done by Kathryn Anne Weddings. Simple single-stem arrange in altered bottles, as able-bodied as beyond arrange and wreaths featuring predominately greenery completed the bells floral look.
“I absolutely didn’t accept a actual specific eyes for flowers, except that I don’t like bound buds or ablaze colors, so Kathy formed some above abracadabra to accomplish such admirable arrange out of my ambiguous suggestions,” Tara says.
After the candied and simple ceremony, the brace and their guests headed up to the barn for drinks, dinner, and dancing. Aliment was provided by Candied T Catering, and included an arrangement of Southern favorites like brisket, broiled okra (Matt’s favorite), and a mac and cheese bar.
“The aliment was absolutely a appealing big allotment of the day for us because one, we adulation to eat, and two, in my mom’s culture, aliment at weddings is a appealing big deal,” Tara says. “Throughout bells planning, she absolutely didn’t accept a lot of opinions except that there had to be affluence of aliment for guests, aback in Asian culture, there’s about a feast. Aback we met Tammy [from Candied T], we knew they’d be absolute to baby our big day because they were cool accommodating, their aliment was delicious….and they absolutely able a Thanksgiving dinner-sized meal for our tasting.”
The brace had their aboriginal ball to “A Little Bit of Everything” by Dawes. Afterwards acid the cake, a simple three-tiered white block adorned with olive branches in flavors of coconut, almond, and strawberry, the affair connected into the night with about every bedfellow on the ball floor. The brace larboard through a afterglow stick adieu to a minimoon in Mexico, with affairs to booty a abounding amusement in Europe this fall. Guests took home action tickets in custom pouches that apprehend “So advantageous to accept you here,” a affair Tara says has played a big allotment in her life.
“I was built-in on St. Patrick’s Day, so my mom has consistently joked that I’m lucky,” she says. “I’ve never absolutely put abundant banal in that, but with as abounding ups and downs as Matt and I had as we approved to cross from accompany to a couple, I’d say we’re appealing advantageous to be area we are today. And afterwards such a picture-perfect bells day, from the weather, to the allusive ceremony, to dancing with all our friends, it’s never rang truer.”
ResourcesVenue: Walters Farms Weddings & Events // Florist: Kathryn Anne Weddings // Caterer: Candied T Catering // DJ: Platinum Entertainment // Beard and Architecture Artist: The Beard and Architecture Collective // Videographer: Reel Magnolia Media // Photo Berth Bus: Memories in Motion // Invitation Suite: Kelsey Justice
–Photos by Kelsey Justice
This adventure appears in Birmingham magazine’s Summer/Falll Weddings issue. Subscribe today!
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