Story by Barry Wise Smith, and photos by 509Photo
Courtenay Bullock grew up in Homewood and loves the childhood memories she has there. When it came time to plan her wedding last fall, Courtenay knew she wanted an event that reflected her personality and also honored the people and the place she loves. “I wanted a relaxed, intimate gathering; nothing too fussy or over the top,” she says. “I wanted to focus on why we were getting married and be with the people we love.”
Courtenay met her husband, Zach Bullock, when they were both students at Auburn. Zach was a friend of Courtenay’s brother in law, two years older, and working on his master’s degree in accounting when they met through common friends. Almost immediately after they were introduced, the couple got serious and began spending all their time together. After Zach completed him master’s degree, he moved to Birmingham for a job with PricewaterhouseCoopers. After graduating in 2017 with a degree in apparel merchandising, design and production, Courtenay moved home to begin her life with Zach.
When they got engaged in March 2018, Courtenay “was ready and couldn’t get engaged fast enough,” she says. With the ring they picked out from Levy’s Fine Jewelry in Birmingham, Zach proposed “in my back yard at the house I grew up in, which was so special to me,” she says. Then they celebrated with a surprise party at Bottega with their family and friends. “It was such a funa nd special night,” Courtenay says. The couple set their wedding date for November 3, 2018, just weeks after Zach moved to New York City for a new job. With a clear picture of what she wanted, Courtenay and her mom began planning her dream outdoor wedding. “I wanted it to be outside, which I knew was risky,” Courtenay says of Alabama’s notoriously unpredictable weather. “But I couldn’t have picked a more beautiful day if I had wanted to.”
Both theceremony and the reception were held at Shoal Creek. “We grew up going there, so it was a place that meant something to my family,” she says. Courtenay chose a number of vendors from Homewood, including her wedding director Megan Wyatt who helped Courtenay and her mom coordinate all the wedding’s many details.“ This was one of the most amazing weddings I have been able to help with—mostly due to the wonderful couple and families,” Wyatt says. “Courtenay and Margaret Ann had everything in place almost immediately and had a clear vision, so it was easy to pull things together for them so they could sit back and enjoy the wedding.” Carolyn Harbert, of Homewood’s Wild Things, did all of the floral designs for the wedding.
With Courtenay’s background in fashion, “It was hard for me to pick a wedding dress. I was probably more particular than most brides might be,” she says. After a search, Courtenay chose a strapless Lela Rose gown with a subtle jacquard pattern in a shade of pale pink on ivory from Ivory & White. “I just fell in love with it,” she says. Courtenay’s shoes, from Laney’s Place in Homewood, were suede and faux fur stacked heel pumps with pearl accents. “My shoes were one of my favorite things,” Courtenay says. “They were French!” Zach had a suit custom-made by Courtenay’s father’s store,Harrison’s, in Mountain Brook. The groom went sockless because, “Zach didn’t want to wear socks with his velvet evening slippers,” Courtenay says with a laugh at her husband’s sartorial decision.
Courtenay’s 13 bridesmaids, including her older and younger sisters as matron and maid of honor, wore two-piece blush Monique Lhullier dresses from Bella Bridesmaids in Homewood. “I really wanted a two-piece top and skirt because I thought they’d be more versatile,” she says.The bride’s cake was a five-tier coconut confection from well-known Homewood bakery Pastry Arts. “I love Pastry Arts, especially their coconut cake—that’s my favorite,” Courtenay says. Zach celebrated his ice cream sweet tooth by replacing a traditional groom’s cake with ice cream sandwiches from Big Spoon Creamery.
And while Zach left the majority of the decision making to Courtenay, the music lover really wanted to pick the band. Accent from Montgomery entertained the wedding guests and kept them on the dance floor. Courtenay also incorporated unique elements into their special day. Courtenay wore an heirloom garter with a sixpence that had been passed down through all the girls in her mom’s family; the tablecloth on the cake table belonged to her grand-mother; their neighbors provided the “something blue” getaway car; and the family’s dogs wore floral garlands and had a pre-ceremony visit with Courtenay. “My choices were all very personal,” Courtenay says. “I put a lot of intention into the details.”
Of the many special moments on her wedding day, Courtenay remembers she and Zach’s first look, which was captured prior to the wedding by the couple’s photographer. “Our first look was very special,” she says. “We wanted to see each other and just breathe before the ceremony started.” Courtenay and Zach live in New York City, where Zach works for the Carlyle Group and Courtenay is an assistant designer at jewelry company Roxanne Assoulin. “We’re growing so much as individuals and as a couple,” Courtenay says. “This has been a great season of life for us.” In celebration of their one-year anniversary in November, the couple is planning a visit to the coast of Spain