A bride’s eye view: Homewood’s array of wedding vendors

By ASHLEY BERKERY and ALISON GRIZZLE

Engaged Library

Katie Bryan flips though an album of invitations at Engaged in Edgewood. Bryan grew up in Homewood and is planning her wedding for May 2012. Photo by Madoline Markham.

Many brides complain about how visiting vendors all over town barely leaves time to breathe. She might be overwhelmed that her invitations are on 280, her dress is in Cahaba Heights, her florist is in Vestavia, her bridesmaid dresses are in Jasper, and her bakery is in Hoover. Homewood, however, solves her problem by creating a one-city stop for every bride.

No matter where a bride is in the planning process, Homewood offers every wedding resource she needs to efficiently plan her special day. Top-notch wedding professionals are right here in our quaint community, within only a few miles of each other.

A natural first stop is Engaged: A Wedding Library in Edgewood. This wedding resource boutique offers brides direction from the moment they get engaged and attracts them from all over the Southeast. “Just recently we had a bride drive in with her maid of honor eight hours all the way from Wake Forest, N.C.,” owner Stephanie Whitaker said. “She found us on Facebook and realized that our one-stop shopping was most efficient for her planning needs.”

As the bride leaves the door of Engaged Library, she has multiple choices at her fingertips. Along the same strip in Edgewood, she can choose her bridesmaid’s dresses at Bella Bridesmaid, design her perfect wedding cake at Dreamcakes Bakery, book a pre-wedding bridesmaid’s party at Blonde Salon and Spa, or find a multitude of wedding day “musts” at Second Elegance, a bridal consignment shop.

The shopping extravaganza does not have to end in Edgewood. Only a couple of miles down Oxmoor, downtown Homewood and SOHO offer more vendors. On the curve, Melissa Hill Weddings Etc. offers brides resources that extend from invitations to wedding lovelies such as handmade guest books, vintage hankies, and unique bridesmaid and bachelorette gifts. Pastry Art Bake Shoppe on 29th Avenue offers a stunning and delicious variety of wedding cakes. Directly across from SOHO on 28th Avenue South, Jerrod Brown houses his nationally recognized photography studio, Jerrod Brown Studios.

“I meet with brides from places all over the state, some even coming from Atlanta, Georgia,” Brown said.  Once they leave his photography studio, Brown says that most out-of-town girls stay around Homewood for further vendor meetings.

At the north end of Central Avenue lies Dorothy McDaniel’s Flower Market, known for creatively dreaming with brides on spectacular floral arrangements. At the opposite end of Central Avenue is Carriage House Weddings, a nationally recognized wedding vendor whose dresses have been featured in Martha Stewart Weddings magazines.

Homewood bride Ashley Meadows, who will celebrate her nuptials on June 11, chose her gown from Carriage House. “I always admired the gowns in the window display when I would pass by on Oxmoor Road,” she said. “When I got engaged. it was the first bridal store my mom and I visited  – and I fell in love with the first dress I tried on.” Meadows also said it was a stress relief that her dress shop was down the street from where she lives. “The location made it very convenient for my dress fittings,” she said.

Next on the list: rehearsal dinner or reception venues. SOHO’s Rosewood Hall offers a spacious venue perfect for hosting large receptions. Or, for the more intimate receptions and rehearsal dinners, The Star Light on Linden, a quaint bungalow-style venue offers indoor space as well as outdoor space including a romantically lit gazebo.

Voilà! Within a two-mile radius a bride can find her wedding dress, bridesmaid dresses, invitations, wedding cake, a salon and spa, photography, florals, rehearsal dinner and reception venue and finishing touches for the big day.

Whitaker said that when she was scouting out areas to open her wedding library she realized Homewood was a perfect fit. “Having our business within miles of fabulous wedding vendors makes it easy for our brides to plan their special day,” she said. “Eliminating the stress of driving all over town makes planning fun, and that is exactly what an engagement should be.”

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