Located right in the Heart of Dixie, there is no better place for a true Southern belle to say “I do.” The backdrop for much of the Civil Rights Movement, Birmingham’s historical significance is honored today as a means to remember where we’ve been and embrace where we’re going.
It’s easy to while away the hours outdoors in Birmingham, especially since abundant local parks give it more green space per capita than any other American city. Considering its nickname as both the Godfather of Great Golf and the Bass Capital of the World, golfers and fishermen in particular will delight in Birmingham’s recreational offerings.
Enjoy the urban flair of the city or travel a few miles out to the peaceful countryside. From country club views of the city skyline to authentic farms with barnyard animals and stargazing, Birmingham’s got it all.
It’s a decision that some young women dream about for years, wondering just what fate has in store for her. Looks, personality, degrees of compatibility...all these elements cycle through her imagination. Will she have to compromise? Is the right fit out there somewhere? Oh, the search for The One. Wait—did you think we were talking about soul mates? Sorry, friend. No. We’re talking about The Dress. Find your sartorial match made in heaven at one of Birmingham’s fabulous bridal shops, where your fairy godmothers of fashion are waiting to outfit you in the gown you were born to wear. (While you’re there, dress up your whole wedding party to match; you’ll see your entire wedding vision really come to life.) Then gild the whole ensemble with help from your local ring and jewelry specialists, where those eye-catching details, from wedding bands to a “something new” necklace, will secure the look you’ve been searching for. Then sit back and breathe a sigh of relief...whew. The hunt is over.
Unless you are a model or a celebrity (and if so, well then congrats to you), the twenty-four hours surrounding your walk down the aisle might be the most photographed day of your life. With all those cameras flashing, you’ll want to be sure you’re looking mighty fine, so book an appointment or two with local hair and makeup professionals well in advance to work through the finer details of your wedding appearance. They’ll help you achieve that polished, but not too “done” affect so that you look like you...just a really, really stunning version of you. What could be better? Reward yourself for all that hard work of being gorgeous with a trip to one of Birmingham’s pampering salons, preferably with your best buds in tow, to get that relaxed, glowy vibe that comes from a killer facial and massage. Oh, and remember when we said this was the most photographed you’ll ever be? Same message applies for your hands, so get those digits in front of a nail technician while you’re there. (Trust us, “ragged cuticles” is not a hot look.)
We’re not kidding when we say that the ceremony is the bread and butter of your wedding day (and if you’re like us, then carbs hold a special place in your heart). That means you should take the time to dream up a ceremony that’s unapologetically you. If your MO is elegantly classic, go all out with a ceremony full of rich Southern tradition. Or channel your unique energy with vows that reflect the harmony of nature—Birmingham has spectacular outdoor settings in spades. Whatever your style, local wedding officiants are there to help customize your “I do’s.” And to help frame the moment in perfect euphony? Birmingham ceremony musicians are at your service. Now all you’re left to focus on is the other person at the end of the aisle.
With the echos of “I do” ringing in the air, your reception awaits, promising brilliant decor, decadent drinks, and let-your-hair-down dancing. But how will you set the stage? Birmingham soirées range from flawlessly rustic barn weddings with shabby-chic details to pastel-hued garden parties to merrymaking rife with bury-the-bourbon-style Southern traditions. With a Birmingham wedding planner by your side that has the ins and outs of the industry on lock, the details are sure to be sweet as pie. Add that peace of mind to the incredible wealth of talent that this city offers in the way of florists, caterers, and DJs, and you’ve got a recipe for a showstopping reception on your hands. Dig in!
Down South is where comfort food reigns; take advantage of its magical powers to soothe your soul (and pre-wedding nerves) with a deliciously decadent rehearsal dinner spread. Café Dupont in Birmingham’s historic North End dishes out the best of what the South is known for, with a commitment to “slow food” and an upstairs loft that’s perfect for private dining. For more refined plates, Bottega comes well-equipped with fine Italian fare for a crowd, and its Old World ambience (think white marble, soaring ceilings, and a grand staircase) is sure to dazzle. Alternatively, take advantage of the wealth of A-list Birmingham wedding caterers and dine wherever your heart desires, from a lavish spread in a local park to a cozy plated dinner in your own backyard. Whatever’s on the menu, consider this the perfect time to soak up your last moments of the single life in the company of friends, family, and fine refreshments.
But wait, the party’s not over! Wake up the right way, and by that we mean with bloody Marys, homemade biscuits and gravy, and all of your closest friends and family for a final goodbye brunch. Get the Two Egg Breakfast at OverEasy (or Three Egg, if you’re feeling hungry), wax European with the Parisian Benedict at The Egg and I, or head to FIVE Birmingham for their infamous Sunday brunch. The list doesn’t end there; Birmingham is filled with brunch places galore—all perfect for grabbing some early-morning grub and reliving the highlights of last night. For even more ideas, check out our recommendations below for local spots with scrumptious spreads that can help you plan brunch for a crowd.
That envelope, standing out like a diamond amidst the bills and junk mail, is the first piece of information your guests will receive regarding your wedding. The invitation is an insight into your affair’s personality, offering clues about such fundamentals as formality, mood, size, and setting. It’s a gift, really, and can be as pretty as any present—if done well. Don’t waste the opportunity to make a first impression with your invites; enlist the design expertise of a local invitation and paper goods boutique to help craft an original, considered, and cohesive paper suite that truly plants the style seeds for your complete wedding vision. Of course, if your budget allows, going the extra mile to have your stationery hand-calligraphed will pack a majorly sophisticated, not to mention personalized, punch. Birmingham’s talented calligraphers can do just about anything with a pen and ink, so whether your vibe is clean and modern or elegantly casual, consider adding an extra touch of artistry to your wedding stationery. That envelope will shine all the brighter for it.
Southern hospitality demands a warm welcome for your out-of-town wedding guests. Enter: a basket of local goodies that says “Birmingham” like nothing else. Of course, the necessities take precedence—a map of the area, your detailed wedding itinerary, and a handwritten thank you note (bonus points if it’s on stationery from Night Owl Paper Goods—but local sweets like a bag of fresh roasted from the Peanut Depot or some early-morning beans from O’Henry’s are welcome additions that’ll take your welcome bag from drab to fab. For even more ideas to score you some serious hosting points, check out our guide for creating the ultimate Birmingham wedding welcome bag from scratch.
It’s time to add that magic touch to your Magic City reception. Locally inspired wedding favors can help get it done, acting as one of the minor details that add up to major wedding success. Consider handing out local soaps from Freedom Soap Company (take advantage of their $2 soap sale!), give a nod to Birmingham’s Southern culinary roots with bottles of SlapHappy BBQ sauce, or combat sweltering Alabama summers with Steel City Pops. Alternatively, you can support volunteer efforts throughout the city with a donation to Hands On Birmingham in lieu of tangible favors (talk about the gift that keeps on giving). Check out our brilliant Birmingham wedding favor ideas that capture the spirit of a Birmingham wedding: satisfyingly Southern, casually cool, and luxuriously local.
The list of Birmingham attractions is long—what’d you expect in a city this rich with art, history, nature, and entertainment galore? Catch a Baron’s game at Regions Field, spend a day shopping at The Summit, take a Saturday morning visit to the local farmer’s market, or experience the magic of dramatic performance at Opera Birmingham. Compelling experiences here just won’t quit, so take a looksy at Buzzfeed’s list of the most essential things to do in Birmingham, suggest a few favorites to your guests, and watch them fall in love with the city as they set off to explore during your wedding weekend.
Although the city’s regional stake in Southern cuisine translates into mounds of flaky homemade biscuits, tender, smoky pulled barbecue, crispy fried chicken, and buttery collard greens, the Birmingham restaurant scene is much more than the sum of its Southern parts. Get ready for hot spots like Chez Fonfon, a French-inspired bistro that serves up the best burgers in the city, or take a bite out of the elevated street food served at Carrigan’s Public House (most notably in the form of their unbelievably decadent corn dog). And that’s just for starters: GianMarco’s dishes out the most sophisticated Italian fare this side of the Atlantic; lunch becomes the most important meal of the day if it includes a slice of bacon pizza from Trattoria Centrale; and seafood spreads are freshest from Ocean (naturally). Don’t let your guests come to Birmingham without indulging in the wealth of gourmet tastes that flavor the city. For even more ideas, check out this list of the top ten restaurants in Birmingham or take our word for it and head to any of our tried-and-true favorites listed below.
After the whiskey’s been emptied and the cake’s been cut, your guests will need a place to lay their heads. That’s where Birmingham accommodations come in. Take in the grandeur of the Renaissance Birmingham Ross Bridge Golf Resort and Spa with its sweeping greens and majestic, cathedral-like lobby. For more affordable options, grab a room at the colorful Springhill Suites or settle into the Victorian charm of Cobb Lane Bed and Breakfast. There’s no fear of going homeless for the weekend with the luxurious options that abound in and around this city; it’s your job to suggest a few to your guests while keeping location and a variety of price points in mind. To help you get started, have a look through our suggestions for a sweet spot to stay in Birmingham below.
The options are endless: sweeping green space, a magical city skyline with a distinct personality, and artistic and rugged landmarks alike (hello Vulcan statue and Sloss Furnaces, respectively). As you choose among the best Birmingham backdrops to stage your local engagement session, think about which facets of the city reflect your personal style. The antebellum charm of Arlington House is the perfect fit for a couple who elevates rich tradition and timeless elegance, while the Birmingham Museum of Art’s sculpture gardens provide an al fresco locale for the vibrant, artistic couple who loves to throw caution to the wind. Check out our list of Birmingham’s most picturesque scenes to find your match, and get ready to pose pretty.
Why should you trust us when we say that Birmingham is best for your bachelorette bash? (Hint: it’s not just for the sake of alliteration). Perhaps it’s because this is a place where the outdoor activities of the countryside meet big city entertainment (and it’s a no-brainer that a variety of choices = the perfect weekend for any kind of bride). Or maybe it’s because group cooking lessons at Birmingham Bake and Cook Company just sound so appetizing, or that karaoke at The Rare Martini seems like the most quintessential activity for a GNO that ever was. Whatever the reason, the truth is inevitable; so get ready for one hell of a Birmingham bachelorette weekend and savor the single life with one last hurrah.
Grooms, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for...we’re talking bach party and everything that goes along with it: rugged adventure, pure unadulterated male bonding, and plenty of whiskey. Without question, Birmingham is the place to do it. Start off with eighteen holes at Highland Park, grab a microbrew or four at Good People Brewing, head just past the city limits for some kayaking with Five Mile Creek, or catch a game at Region’s Field. To help narrow your focus so you can plan a realistic weekend (there just isn’t enough time in the day to fit in all of the awesomeness that Birmingham has to offer), check out our ideas for throwing down with the dudes, Magic City-style.
Where would we be without the immensely talented pool of Birmingham wedding vendors? Their passion for planning, commitment to their couples, and incredible ingenuity is what makes the local wedding scene as remarkable as it is, and it's the unique team behind every wedding working together that makes each event an affair to remember. Their combined experience and expertise is second to none, and we want you to benefit from it while assembling your dream team of vendors. Check out our Spotlight Series for in-depth Q&As with the best of the best in the industry, and make sure to read the articles they've contributed to Borrowed & Blue for the most reliable wedding tips and tricks, straight from the source.
With all it has to offer, Birmingham is a spectacular place—you know it, (which is why you’re getting hitched here, duh), but unfortunately so does everyone else. That’s why the city’s annual calendar is jam-packed with countless festivals, citywide celebrations, and events that run the gamut. To help keep your wedding running smoothly, be sure to cross-check your date with any other happenings that might fill up hotels, slow down traffic, or cause any other logistical chaos. Here are some of the bigger events to keep in mind when picking a wedding weekend.
When planning something as complex and significant as your wedding day, sometimes you just want friendly experts to step in and share some pearls of wisdom. Lucky for you, we know people (we’re sitting right here—wink wink). And we’ve got your back: insider tips, exhaustive research, and inspiring takes on all aspects of the planning process, compiled here specifically with your wedding location in mind. You’re just a few clicks away from wedding planning peace of mind...You’re welcome! (No thank-you note required.)
Check out some other useful local online resources to get you acquainted with all-things Birmingham, from travel guides to the local restaurant scene to great local wedding blogs run by our friends in the industry:
Borrowed & Blue makes finding your ideal Birmingham, AL venue a snap. With over 204 venues within 80 miles of Birmingham, AL, we have your options covered. From intimate spaces to grand ballrooms to outdoor spots with a view, our search tool allows you to view photos and real weddings held at each location, read reviews from verified couples, and contact venues directly for pricing and availability