Wedding Bells Are Ringing
For newlyweds Haley and Grayson Couch, and Hannah and Jason Charles, even a global pandemic couldn’t put a damper on their dream wedding days. The brides give firsthand accounts of the couples’ stories from first meetings to matrimony. From Burritt to Big Spring Park, the mountain to the Museum, join us as we share in the joy!
Haley & Grayson Couch
August 28, 2020
Jason & Hannah Charles
August 14, 2020
The Wedding of Haley & Grayson Couch
We first met when we were two years old and Grayson’s dad was building our house. We went to the same school but didn’t become friends until we were in the same friend group in ninth grade. We were friends for about two years before we started dating. There was a dance coming up where the girls ask the guys, so I had decided to ask Grayson and we just hit it off from there. He asked me on an official date after the dance, and we have been together since. We ended up going to different colleges in Alabama and were long distance for six years visiting each other when we could. We stayed close and grew up together during that time even though we were hours apart.
I had just finished up my first semester of graduate school and Grayson wanted to do a nice dinner but didn’t give any details for the night. I figured it was just a dinner to celebrate finishing up the semester and had no idea what was to come of the night. It was in December of 2017, so we went to dinner and walked around the tinsel trail in downtown. As we were coming up the steps, Grayson proposed, and I saw all my family and friends at the top of the steps afterwards. I was absolutely in shock and was thrilled.
Our original wedding date was April 25, 2020. We were six weeks our from our big day when COVID was on the news as being in other countries, but within days had taken over [here] and things were closing down everywhere. We had been engaged for about 2.5 years after waiting for the perfect time where I would be out of school. We wanted the day to be what we had planned, so we decided to postpone the wedding to the end of August. We have big families of more
than 10 with just parents and siblings, so we did not end up getting married in April as intended. It was a lot to process rescheduling a wedding within an hour with the help of my mom and our wedding coordinator. As the summer went on and we gained more knowledge of what was going on in the world of COVID, we ended up having to decrease our wedding size and make changes that would accommodate our guests, as well as ensure that everyone would be safe. Although it was stressful at the time, it’s part of our story, and we had the absolute best wedding day in August that made it all worth it!
The Wedding Day
We got married at Burritt on the Mountain on Friday, August 28, 2020. We had our family, wedding party, and close friends attend. We had a rehearsal dinner/party at the Monte Sano Lodge the night prior to begin the festivities. The ceremony was planned to be outside with the reception as an inside-outside event. The week of the wedding, Hurricane Sandy made an appearance with the residual rain expected in Huntsville on our wedding date. It’s difficult to tell with Alabama weather what will actually happen until the day of, so we held out hope, but it ended up raining. It was overcast during the day, which made the pictures turn out perfect. We were thinking that maybe the rain would hold off, but we decided to change the ceremony inside. A while back, we may have cared about that, but after everything, we were just happy to get married and didn’t care if it was inside or outside. It ended up pouring rain during the ceremony but made for a clear night during the reception. It was a beautiful day, and we had the best time finally getting married with the closest people supporting and celebrating with us.
Wedding coordinator/planner: Lee Coggins | Caterer: Bubba’s Silver Spoon Catering
Cake/Desserts: Edgar’s Bakery and Baby Bites | Venue: Burritt on the Mountain
Photographer: Brooke Glassford from Colorbox Photography | Dress: Something Blue Shoppe
Florals: In Bloom Floral Design Studio | Band: The Park Band
String Quartet: Felicity String Quartet | Makeup/hair: Megan Eller and team
Venue: the Huntsville Museum of Arts
The Wedding of Hannah & Jason Charles
We met through a mutual friend in high school – who was the best man in our wedding. I was at this friend’s house when I was 16, and Jason came around the corner. I will never forget how quickly he swept me off my feet. I looked around the room and saw a soccer ball and decided to use that as my icebreaker – a decision I would soon regret. With all the confidence in the world I said, “I bet I can beat you in soccer!” Little did I know he played varsity for his school’s soccer team. I remember my friends telling my mom that there was just a connection between us. They were right.
We tell people we have loved each other much longer than we have been officially together. At 17, Jason wanted to be a young boy and not commit, he was my first heartbreak. But he never dated another girl after me. I eventually went off to college in Birmingham. We kept in touch and stayed friends but still ended our late-night chats with I love you’s and I miss you’s. By my sophomore year of college, I got a job offer that would relocate me to Orlando. My first phone call was to Jason. He has always been my first phone call. I asked him “What are we going to do? Orlando is far.” He responded without hesitation, “I’m coming with you.” We have been inseparable ever since.
We knew we wanted to get married but the timing wasn’t right. When we moved back from Florida our plan was to buy a house together. I moved in with my parents and he moved in with his grandmother to save up. We still got to see each other every day but it was tough. We have never been able to keep anything from each other, so a secret engagement was out of the question. Three days before my birthday, Jason and I were on the phone both venting about how rough of a day we had. I said, “Can we just get engaged already?” He picked me up and we bought a ring. The ring is a Neil Lane gold square cushion, modeled after the Eiffel Tower. It is breathtaking.
About two months before the wedding (a week after the deadline to send invites) my planner sat me down and said we might need to think about rescheduling. We rented the art museum and they had restrictions on the amount of people allowed in the rooms. We had plans for a family, and we knew that rescheduling would interfere with what we wanted to do with our lives. I lowered our guest count, we supplied hand sanitizer and masks. All the staff working wore masks and we encouraged a 6-foot distance.
I spent countless hours on the invitations. I sent out 100 invitations with a wax seal stamped one by one – it took days. I only had one stamp and it had to be put on ice after every press. I gave them to Jason to mail. Unbeknownst to me, he left that box in his car in the middle of June. So, what happened to my wax seals? Yeah, they melted. I remember standing in our kitchen laughing but repeating, “This isn’t funny. This can’t be funny.” All 100 invites went out messy and destroyed. But I had to laugh so I didn’t cry.
Before our first look we were both so nervous. Jason was crying before I even made it out there to him. As soon as I saw him, I was filled with the same emotion as the first time I ever laid eyes on him: an instant calm and excitement for our future. He gave me something blue which was a sapphire stone surrounded by diamonds set on a gold band to match my engagement ring.
Our ceremony was private on one of the balconies. My mom officiated the wedding using the same bible verses she taught me as a girl when I was first learning to love. She spoke the most beautiful words that my dad undoubtedly helped her craft.
The bible used in our ceremony was my great-grandmother’s. She passed when I was younger, but she has lived on through recipes, magnets, and many humorous stories. Her bible is filled with pressed flowers, baby photos, and newspaper clippings with recipes written on the back. That morning I read from it my favorite verse. Corinthians 13:13 – “And now these three remain faith, hope, and love, but the greatest of these is love.”
After we were pronounced husband and wife, we enjoyed a private dinner with the whole family. As we took pictures, the guests enjoyed cocktails and art viewing. Once we were announced the party really started. We had craps and roulette tables and rented club-like lounging so people could sit and have a photo op. We planned the food to be what you crave after a late-night out: a hot sauce fountain with wings, onion rings, mini tacos, donuts, a popcorn bar, mini hamburgers and fried mac and cheese balls.
A special gift I received came from my mom. Growing up we had family dinners every night – with no phones, no TV, nothing but family and food. A special family dish we had was beef tips and “daddy noodles” (homemade by my dad.) This meal was served in a big red Dutch oven and there were never any leftovers. My mom gifted me my own red Dutch oven along with the tools to make noodles. I know it seems silly for cooking utensils to mean so much to me, but those family dinners were my everything while growing up. We never missed family dinner. Now I can cook the same meal with the same tools and love for my little family. I pray they enjoy the time spent around that Dutch oven as much as I did.
At press time, the couple is expecting their first child.
Wedding planner: Lynn Cagle – Helping Hand Parties & Weddings | Makeup: Nancy Finnegan
Photographer: Long-time friend Jaylee Dempsey, Gulf Shores, Alabama
Caterer: Ina Rosa – Chef on Call | Hair: Sandy Jaqubino and Samantha Brunsvold with Fringe
DJ and Lighting: Metropolitan DJ | Casino Tables: American Party Pros
Flowers: Anna Lee – Old Frond Floral Co. | Cake: Aisha Wilson | Popcorn: What’s Popp’n
Harpist: Kathryn Hoppe-Mcqueen | Draping: Frances Melicks with Shindigs & Such
Guest Cakes: Baby Bites | Dress: Modern Brides, Pat Morgan