Real Bride: Elizabeth x Austin


Ellis Bridals love hearing back from our brides, there is nothing more gratifying than seeing the pure joy and happiness that our Ellis Bridals wedding dresses get to be a part of. Recent bride, Elizabeth, got in touch to tell us about her special day in her Ellis Bridals A-line dress. This contemporary A-line gown from Ellis Bridals looks as if it was designed on the body, with hand-placed lace appliqués carefully decorating the illusion top descending gracefully through into a diaphanous tulle skirt. Designed to complement the nude tone of the underlay, this style offers the modern bride that ‘something different’ she has been looking for.

Ellis Bridals Mikado Ballgown | Style 12281

When and where did you meet your husband?

 Austin and I met in a Psychology class in our Junior year of college in the Fall of 2016. I arrived especially early that day as it was the first day of class, and I sat in the front of the class because I couldn’t see the board from the back of the room. Right before the Professor was about to close the door and begin his lecture, here came this guy I had never seen before, managing to arrive at the last possible second. He immediately walked to the back of the room and took a seat. The next day, before class began, he showed up at my side and asked if the seat next to me was taken. Without giving it a second thought I replied, “Nope, you can take it”, assuming he would pick the chair up and move it next to a friend in the class. To my surprise, he pulled the chair out and sat down next to me and offered me a piece of gum. This was the first time I had the chance to look him in the face and I was immediately taken aback at how beautiful and blue his eyes were. The rest of him wasn’t bad either… From that day forward, he offered me a piece of gum every single day without fail, and the small talk quickly began to flow. He started arriving to class early just to get a few extra minutes to talk to me before the lecture began, which I found out later was totally out-of-character for this guy who was never early to anything! We began to have study sessions together that ran late into the night and into the early hours of the morning.

How did you know he was the one?

I knew Austin was the one slowly and then all at once. That may sound a bit confusing but let me try and clear it up! We were both in long-term relationships when we first met, which made conversation with him super easy and unpressured! From that very first day, talking to him felt effortless. Here was a man I had never met before, and yet I was talking to him like I had known him for years. That was sign #1 that this guy was different from anyone else. Sign #2 was the fact that I laughed every single time I talked to him. He had this gift of not only making me feel super-comfortable and 100% like myself, but he made me laugh like no one else. Laughing is one of my favorite things to do so the fact that he made me do it on a daily basis meant A LOT! Sign #3 was that I started to put more effort into the way I looked for class. Not that I didn’t put any effort beforehand, but now I found myself waking up earlier so that I had an extra ten minutes to make myself look special for class. Sign #4 was that I felt myself missing him whenever I wasn’t with him. He played American Football for the college so he had a busy schedule, which made our time together sometimes a bit short. Every time my phone lit up or buzzed, I rushed to it always secretly hoping it was Austin. I was at my absolute happiest when I was with him. That’s when I knew I had fallen HARD for this guy. Within one week of each other, we both ended our long-term relationships but weren’t aware of the other’s feelings. I knew I liked him (a whole lot…) but I wasn’t sure he felt the same way about me. My best friend knocked some sense into me one afternoon, convinced he liked me back, and told me I had to be honest and upfront with him about how I truly felt. That same day, around 2:00 in the morning actually, we were supposed to be studying but we were hanging out in my car instead. I had a silent countdown going in my head (5…4…3…2…1) “I have to tell you something,” I managed. My next line was, “I reallllllyy like hanging out with you, and I don’t know how I feel about it” … Obviously I knew EXACTLY how I felt about it, but I wasn’t courageous enough to admit that yet. Austin turned to me and had this mischievous smile on his face. He knew where I was trying to go with that vague statement, so he replied, “What do you mean exactly? Say it”.

I was literally shaking from nerves. After a few moments of silence on my part, he stepped in with “I like you, Elizabeth”. My heart was racing and I’m positive I was grinning like a complete idiot. I quickly let him know that I liked him too (DUH!!!) and the rest is history!

How did he propose?

Austin proposed to me on a Sunday afternoon. I had actually just gotten my eyebrows done that morning (thank goodness). Around 3 o’clock, I got a call from him in which he explained that he forgot about this student honours dinner that was happening that evening. Of course he needed a date and told me to be ready in about an hour (What girl doesn’t love getting a one-hour notice to get “ready”??). Anyway, I rushed to the bathroom, plugged in my curling iron, and got to work. I also called my mom and my best friend in a total panic because I had my suspicions that this dinner was totally made up and that he may in fact be popping the question instead! I managed to get myself looking half-decent for one-hour’s notice and “patiently” awaited his arrival. When I got into his car, he had the biggest grin on his face and was looking so handsome. He took my hand, and put the car in drive. He began driving to where the dinner was supposed to be held. He parked the car at the Chapel on campus, which was one of the first places we hung out as “friends”. We didn’t attend church, but rather we snuck in around midnight and explored the dark hallways of the ancient building. As we walked in he talked about the first time we came here and how much fun that night was. Our next stop was the parking lot on campus in which we sat in my car until the very early hours of the morning about a month prior – the same parking lot in which we confessed our feelings for each other. Our last stop was a bench on campus that held the most meaning to him (and to me). To this day, we refer to that night as “The Bench Night” because we sat there until 3 in the morning after leaving the library one night. I had just studied for a very difficult Chemistry test, and felt my long-term relationship coming to an end, and I needed someone to talk to. Austin sat with me that night and listened to my incessant rambling, being that perfect shoulder to lean on. I felt beyond safe and comfortable with him and trusted him more than anyone.

As we approached this spot again on the day of our engagement, I felt major butterflies. Walking towards the bench, he explained that this spot meant the most to him and was one of the defining moments in our friendship/relationship. He admitted to me that the night we sat here for the first time, as friends, was the night he realized he wanted to be with me – as more than just friends. Soon after he spoke those words, he got down on one knee and pulled out a Tiffany-blue box from his pocket. At that exact moment, one of my friends who happened to be a photographer popped out and began snapping pictures! Austin smiled big as he said “Elizabeth, will you marry me?” OF COURSE I WILL! I was beyond happy. I held my hand out, and waited for him to slip the ring on. He was so distracted and nervous that he never took the ring out of the box and I had to actually say the words “Put it on my finger!” That was on February 24th, 2018.

When and where did the big day take place?

 Our wedding took place on November 24th, 2018 in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The venue is called the Waterhouse Pavilion. It is right downtown.

When did you start planning?

I started planning the week of my engagement. If I’m being honest, I had started to browse dresses long before I was engaged, but what girl doesn’t have a secret Pinterest board dedicated to her wedding one day, am I right??

Where did you get your dress?

 I’m originally from Naples, Florida so I flew home for Spring Break in March of 2018 and found my dream dress at a perfect little boutique called Palm Bridal.

Is that the sort of dress you thought you would go for or was it a surprise?

 The dress I purchased was NOT at all what I had imagined. I remember hearing people say you will most likely end up with something totally different than what you think but I didn’t pay that much attention. I originally wanted a form-fitting mermaid style that hugged my curves. Instead, when I walked into the boutique, I noticed this beautiful and romantic A-line dress on the mannequin in the window. I asked the owner if I could try that one on along with the 15 other dresses I had pulled… I tried on about four dresses before trying on the dress I actually ended up with. When I slipped into the dress that would eventually become my wedding dress, I was overcome with this feeling I hadn’t felt before. I genuinely felt beautiful in it. I couldn’t help but smile. Everyone’s reaction matched mine, and they agreed with me that this dress was special. However, I didn’t say yes immediately. I tried on the rest of the dresses I had pulled to make sure no other dress gave me the same feeling. No dress did. So, I tried on that same dress for a second time. I quickly said ‘Yes to the Dress’ and was overcome with excitement. I had just found the dress of my dreams!!

Who came dress shopping with you?

 My mother and my grandmother came with me. I wanted my best friend/Maid-of-Honour to come along as well but she was in a different state at the time. I sent pictures to both her and my soon-to-be Mother-in-Law and they both approved wholeheartedly.

Where did you get your bridesmaid dresses?

I got my bridesmaids dresses from the website

What style of maids and groomsmen did you go for?

 The bridesmaids’ dresses were a black sheath-like style. I wanted them to be flattering, sleek, and mesh well with my dress. The groomsmen wore all-black suits with black velvet bowties and a white button-down dress shirt.

How did you arrive at the ceremony?

 The bridal suite on site of the venue was directly across from the building that the ceremony took place in, so the entire wedding party lined up and we walked in accordingly. I was last in line, trying my best to hide behind the little flower girls, and walked through double doors that were decorated by ivory curtains.

Did you have anything unusual during the ceremony?

      I’m not sure this counts as unusual, but it was a surprise to both Austin and I – we had our favorite college Professor officiate the ceremony and he secretly e-mailed the bridesmaids and groomsmen and asked them questions about Austin and I, as well as their favorite stories of us as a couple. He took their answers and incorporated them within his speech during the ceremony. It felt beyond special to hear how personal and loving the stories were.

How did you accessorize to make your wedding day look unique?

 Austin and I are both fairly minimalistic when it comes to decor. We both agreed to incorporate a lot of greenery and keep the accessories modern with a rustic touch. The venue itself was beautiful – a glass and brick building with permanent Christmas string lights lining the ceiling. We knew we wanted to incorporate lanterns and mirrored-glass votives as well as plenty of candles. We ended up with about 20 different lanterns, some larger than others and with different designs, and spray-painted them all an ivory colour so that they would have a uniform look to them without being exactly the same. Our florist was able to hang greenery garlands as a backdrop against an ivory curtain which is what the ceremony took place in front of, and I think that was one of my favourite design aspects of the wedding!

What was the inspiration or colour theme for your wedding?

When I first began the planning process, I thought I wanted shades of blue and cream since my dress was a champagne colour. However, about three months before the wedding, I changed my mind in a panic. I now wanted black, creams, and touches of gold. I wanted it to be romantic, classy, and pair well with the time of the year.

What kind of food did you have? Cake?

 Austin and I both absolutely LOVE food. All different kinds! Two summers ago, we travelled to Berlin and spent five weeks exploring the city. We found the most amazing Indian restaurant which we frequented at least twice a week. So, when we sat down to discuss food options we were both on board with having Indian food at our wedding. However, we understood that not everyone would be open to those flavours so we incorporated a few other ideas. We settled on having food stations instead of plated dinners and that allowed us to have three different types of food – 1. Indian food station 2. Italian/pasta station 3. Local station (hamburger sliders and sweet potato fries). Our wedding cake was exactly what we had envisioned for the wedding – sleek and simply designed with a gold brush stroke and a touch of greenery and flowers to match the rest of the decor. An element of surprise that I was in charge of was Austin’s grooms’ cake. Austin is the biggest Polo Ralph Lauren fan, so naturally I knew what the theme of his groom’s cake would have to be! Our cake baker managed to flawlessly create the exact idea I had – a Polo Ralph Lauren gift box cake. It was such a hit!! 

What tips do you have for new brides picking their wedding dress?

 Ironically enough, I now manage a Bridal Salon and have learned so much throughout my wedding-planning process and from my time working! First and foremost, it is never too early to start looking. Secondly, you have to be open to different styles. Nothing is worse than having your heart set on a specific style or dress and then disliking it on your body. So, be open! Try different styles and dare to try on a dress that doesn’t look like something you would wear. There is no better way to rule out styles of dresses than to try them on. It will offer you clarity on your search, I promise. Finally, never judge a dress on the hanger!!! I cannot stress this enough. Working in the industry, I’ve learned that a dress can look like nothing special on the hanger, but as soon as you put it on a body it can totally transform!

Where were your photos taken?

My photos were taken at the venue as well as across the street at a new park in Downtown Chattanooga! My photographer was my friend who captured our engagement. Her name is Leigh Hadaway and her business is Leigh Hadaway Photography.

What was your favourite moment from the day?

 Seeing Austin waiting for me at the end of the aisle. I couldn’t wait to get down to him! I was nervous but so excited, and as soon as I saw him, all the nerves subsided and I just couldn’t get to him soon enough.

We would love to hear from all of our Ellis Brides! If you would like to share your story please get in touch:

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