A proposal with a Lifesaver gummy, a tropical print wedding dress, and an intimate ‘last dance” for the happy couple — every sweet detail of Andrea Mabry and Chris Nau’s wedding provided an unexpected twist on the traditional and made their special day unmistakably them. Today, Andrea and Chris take us back to their October rooftop wedding and share all of the precious moments!
Andrea and Chris met in October 2015 through a mutual friend, and after nearly six years of dating, Chris proposed to Andrea atop the Smith Mountain fire tower overlooking Lake Martin. For fear of losing the real ring in the woods, Chris pulled out a Lifesaver gummy and asked for Andrea’s forever. The gummy was eventually replaced with a vintage ring that’s at least 100 years old. Andrea picked out the ring, and, as fate would have it, its design closely resembles the front end of Chris’ favorite vintage car.
When it came to planning the wedding, Andrea and Chris had a few specific requests. First, as a 12-year wedding photographer, Andrea wanted to secure that “just right” photographer to capture their essence. Additionally, the couple wanted a fall wedding because, although it only gave them a few months to plan, it is the perfect season for an outdoor wedding in the South. Other vital elements were ensuring guests’ eyes were not directly in the sun throughout the ceremony and, most importantly, curating a relaxed, organic atmosphere. Wedding planner Sharon Bell helped bring the vision to life in just three months!
Andrea and Chris knew they wanted to get married in Downtown Birmingham, surrounded by the splendor of sparkling skyscrapers. They also wanted a venue that could act as both the ceremony and reception space, show off the city, and offer a convenient location. “The Kress rooftop was perfect and checked all those boxes,” says Andrea, “and the view is incredible. Being on a rooftop surrounded by all the tall buildings is a very cool and different view of Birmingham [from what] you usually get.”
Chris and Andrea began their wedding day getting ready at home, surrounded by family and their cuddly pup, Bud. “Having those memories (and those pictures) in our home is a special thing, indeed,” says Andrea. She was stunning in a vibrantly colored dress (ideal for twirling!) that was outshone only by her big, bright smile — which was on her face from the start of the day until the very last moment. Chris had a custom suit made by TRES Fine Clothing in Ensley. His dapper green ensemble complimented Andrea’s dress perfectly. And, for an added layer of fun, Andrea says, “Chris hates bananas, so I thought it was extra funny that one of the prints [on the dress] is of bananas.”
Rather than basing their wedding decor on a particular aesthetic, Andrea and Chris focused on having a fun, welcoming, low-key party. The loose theme was “tropical art deco,” which highlighted the ambiance of The Kress Building and brought in Andrea’s love for bright colors and tropical plants. The cut flowers came from Snow’s Bend Farm in Coker, as Andrea has a special relationship with the company through work, photography, and over a decade of friendship with the team. “Margaret Ann, one of the farmers, arranged the bouquets herself,” Andrea tells us. “The way she combined all the colors, shapes, and textures was mesmerizing.”
The couple was intentional about focusing on sustainability and employing eco-friendly elements. With this in mind, they opted to rent live plants to place throughout the venue. “This was awesome because it created a cool ambiance without costing nearly as much or having as big an environmental impact as cut flower arrangements,” explains Andrea. “And we got to send them back at the end of the night! We kept a couple of the plants, and watching those grow for the past year has been really fun. It’s a good memory from the day, and it’s neat remembering when they were much smaller,” explains Andrea.
The couple arrived to a pre-ceremony cocktail hour that allowed Andrea and Chris to spend precious time with guests, greeting them and accepting well wishes while taking in the view, listening to the band, and finding time to relax together. “This made the evening feel more organic to us — like a big party,” says Andrea. “And it took some of the pressure off.”
At the beginning of the ceremony, Andrea and Chris held a ‘ring warming’ ceremony. They passed their rings around to their loved ones, and each “warmed” them with a wish, a prayer, and good thoughts for the couple. This made every guest feel like a special part of their big day. Andrea says, “everyone seemed to love this, and it definitely makes us feel that our rings hold the loving thoughts of our friends and family who attended, which is very special.”
Andrea and Chris then shared the vows they had written in front of 100 of their closest friends and family. Their dear friend, Will, officiated and at Chris’s suggestion, they finished the ceremony with a ribbon cutting to signal the start of a new phase in their lives together.
The reception kicked off with the couple’s first dance to “Passenger Seat’ by Death Cab for Cutie, performed by Andrea’s sister, Ally, and her partner, Joel. Andrea’s father chose Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely” for their treasured father-daughter dance, and the rest of the family (including Chris and his mom) joined in after the first few minutes.
Guests enjoyed quintessential Birmingham fare, thanks to a buffet featuring Saw’s Soul Kitchen’s famous pork n’ greens. For dessert, a vanilla-on-vanilla Olexa’s cake wowed — Andrea crowns it “the best classic cake in Birmingham as far as I’m concerned.” Guests also enjoyed baklava and Knafeh cupcakes from Halawat Bakery.
Before meeting their friends and family for a celebratory send-off, Andrea and Chris enjoyed one’ last dance’ — just the two of them. Lit only by twinkling lights and the reflection of a disco ball, the couple shared one of the most romantic moments we’ve ever seen. Then, they ran through a tunnel of adoring friends and family, ending the night with a walking parade to Neon Moon for drinks and dancing.