CLARA SMITH & STEPHEN SCHOEN

[slideshow]

March 10, 2012
CEREMONY: Dauphin Way United Methodist Church, Mobile, Alabama
RECEPTION: Country Club of Mobile

Images: Arden Ward Arden Photography

When your roommate, the friend who knows your heart and what you want in a man  tells you that she’s been on a mission trip with her church, met a great guy and she wants to meet him, you could probably go ahead and buy the wedding dress right then and there. Seriously! She knows the guy from church. She’s traveled with him. She’s seen his character. She’s watched him work. She knows exactly what kind of guy he is… and she knows exactly what kind of guy would be right for you so there is a good chance that the guy is pretty close to perfect. In fact, the match was so perfect that once Clara Smith finally met Stephen Schoen at a bible study, the proposal came eleven months and three weeks later.  Five months later, they are married!

Here’s their wedding story:

The Back Story

Clara Smith decided to make the move to Birmingham, Alabama from her hometown of Mobile for a job; she didn’t realize that a short time later, she would meet the guy she would marry. After her roommate went on a mission trip to Peru, she kept telling Clara about Stephen Schoen, whom she’d gotten to know on the trip. Clara is from a large, close-knit family where their faith is their foundation. Stephen is also from a big family and has very similar values to Clara’s. Clara always compared the men in her life to her father and brothers and had never met anyone who rivaled them in terms of character and Godliness, and that was what she was seeking in a relationship. Upon meeting at the bible study, Stephen got Clara’s number. After a very traditional first date of dinner and a movie, the couple began to date and both knew very early in the relationship that they had found something very special. The couple dated for exactly eleven months and three weeks before making it official.

The Proposal

Stephen put a great deal of thought and heartfelt details into his proposal to Clara. Since they always shared everything, he wrote letters every step of the way so Clara could be able to read for herself and know everything he did as he planned the proposal. While Clara did not know for sure, she suspected the proposal might happen around the time of the couple’s first anniversary. Well, Stephen did not want to wait that long. On September 30, 2011, exactly one week before their anniversary, Stephen arranged for Clara to go out with some friends. After dinner, the girls came back to her house. Clara grabbed several bags and her purse as she made her way inside. Clara noticed the door was not locked… then she saw candles and photos everywhere. She was so shocked; she stepped back outside the door and froze. She heard Stephen calling her so she dropped everything she had in her arms as he said “I’m not going to waste any more time… will you marry me?”

There were lots of surprises. In addition to the candles and photos everywhere, Stephen had a wooden box for her, filled with his letters which he had sealed with wax so he was able to share the entire journey of planning the proposal with Clara. The letters detailed asking her parents’ permission, shopping for the ring, organizing the night of the proposal with her friends, and many other special details including the surprise party afterwards at his home with family and friends.

Wedding Plans

Since the couple wanted to get married in March, they had to immediately get started with the wedding plans. Clara had always wanted to get married in her hometown church so once that date was confirmed for the ceremony and her father and grandfather confirmed the date with their country club, the plans were well underway.

Clara knew that she wanted a timeless, classic wedding. Clara’s sister had married a few years earlier so she and Clara’s mom were very experienced and helped with the florist, cake designer, and other essential details back home in Mobile. Up in Birmingham, Clara found Arden Ward of Arden Photography for their photographs. It did not take long for to find the perfect Anne Barge gown at The White Room. Next, powder blue strapless Jenny Yoo gowns were selected from Bella Bridesmaid in Homewood which coordinated perfectly with the blue hydrangea that were used in the floral arrangements and bridesmaid bouquets, a sentimental favorite flower of Clara’s since her mom and dad have blue hydrangea in their yard.

One of the couple’s favorite details was the five-tier wedding cake and chocolate groom’s cake by Cakes by Judi. The wedding cake featured different flavored fillings for each tier: caramel, cream cheese, strawberry and raspberry and had their monogram in the center and a satin ribbon around each majestic tier. The groom’s cake was chocolate with cherry filling, cherry garnish and a large initial “S” on top.

With a large family and extended family on the Schoen and Smith sides, there were nine children in the wedding party and lots of children included in the guest list. Clara and Stephen wanted all of their siblings and other parents to be able to really enjoy the day so they not only provided a wonderful craft table for the kids at the reception, they also provided qualified babysitters so parents with children attending could really enjoy the celebration.

Another favorite detail was a table filled with flowers and their parents, grandparents, and siblings framed wedding photographs.

After their wedding night at Mobile’s Battle House and a romantic honeymoon in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Clara and Stephen are at home and happy in Birmingham enjoying items from their Bromberg’s gift registry.

Clara & Stephen’s Bromberg’s Wedding Registry includes:

Formal China: Lenox Federal Platinum

Casual China: Casafina Meridian White

Formal Crystal: Waterford Lismore

Sterling Flatware: Towle Old Master

Stainless Flatware: Lenox Vintage Jewel

Accessories: Beatriz Ball bowls and platters

Congratulations Clara and Stephen! Our very best wishes to you for a lifetime of love and happiness together.

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