When former Miss America Deidre Downs Gunn and her bride-to-be, Abbott Jones, saw their wedding venue at the Birmingham Museum of Art for the first time the morning of their big day, they were overwhelmed with emotions.
“When I first saw the space, I burst into tears,” Jones, 34, said in a statement to The Knot. “We’ve been planning and imagining this day for months, and to see all the details come together so beautifully was overwhelming.”
The theme of their wedding was a modern, romantic Southern vibe, and the decorations reflected that intent, with swaths of ivory fabric draped along the walls and softly lit candlelight tones coupled with a timeless palette of navy and blush pink. The feel was the perfect blend of intimate and ethereal for Downs Gunn, 37, Jones, and their 200 family and friends.
During the ceremony itself, the couple opted to add a few personal touches to the proceedings, with Downs Gunn quoting from the couple’s favorite book and reciting personal vows; Jones read from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 105.
“Saying our vows in front of our family and friends and making that commitment to the love of my life was the most meaningful part of the day for me,” Downs Gunn said.
Downs Gunn’s 8-year-old son escorted her down the aisle and then stood in as her best man; later, during the reception, he also shared a dance with his mom to Pharrell’s catchy hit “Happy.” (Jones and her father did their father-daughter dance to Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”). The couple’s first dance as Mrs. and Dr. was, fittingly, Shania Twain’s “From This Moment On.”
“Surrounded by family and friends, some of whom traveled great distances and braved bad weather to be at the wedding, we felt so blessed, loved, and supported,” Downs Gunn said.
The brides and their guests enjoyed two signature drinks during the cocktail hour (and into the night!): a peach Bellini made with fresh Chilton County peaches and a Kentucky Mule—a Southern twist on a Moscow Mule using bourbon instead of vodka.
Toward the end of the evening, the newlyweds offered their guests a late-night snack of miniature chicken biscuits and banana bread beignets (yum!) before riding off into the night in a stylish white vintage Bentley as their friends and family showered them with white Flutterfetti. Kelli & Daniel Taylor Photography captured the sweet affair.
“I feel overjoyed to to have found someone to share life’s adventures,” Downs Gunn said. “The wedding was beautiful and special, but it was really just the beginning of our life together. I’m so lucky to have a wife who fills even small, everyday moments with great joy.”
The couple first met back in February 2017 after connecting online, and proposed to one another over the holidays.