When Joel Nix invited his girlfriend of seven months, Courtney Carruth, to accompany him while he checked on the hunting cameras he had installed at her father’s farm, Courtney thought nothing of it. But the simple errand soon turned into an unforgettable night for the couple. After arriving at the farm, Joel used a hidden remote to turn on lights he had strung in a nearby tree, revealing their initials carved into the trunk. To complete the romantic scene, Joel dropped to one knee and proposed with a diamond ring he had designed himself. “Everything was so pretty and I was shocked!” Courtney remembers.

Since both Courtney and Joel grew up in the same Alabama town, it was only fitting to hold their ceremony at the local church. Courtney’s 10 attendants glided down the aisle dressed in strapless, flowing dresses in champagne – the first wedding elements she selected and the inspiration for the celebration’s color scheme. Ivory roses and peonies filled the bridesmaids’ bouquets, complementing the arrangements of apricot roses and soft green hydrangeas that bedecked the aisle. The bride donned a figure-flattering fit-and-flare gown, and her blonde locks were swept away from her face in an elegant half-updo.

Though Joel admits he let Courtney take charge of the wedding planning, he affirms that he took a strong interest in designing the service. “This was the most important part because it was very personal and spiritual, and that meant a lot to me,” Joel explains. Courtney’s musically gifted family also played a key role: Her relatives – including cousins, uncle, and grandfather – performed all the songs.

The newlyweds were astonished when they arrived at the nearby civic center for their reception. “When we walked in we were blown away by how the venue was transformed,” Joel gushes. “The lighting, the flowers, and how everything was [designed] was amazing.” Pink drapery covered the walls of the ballroom, adding softness to the space, and ornate gilt vases held lush bouquets of white and peach blooms. Gold chiavari chairs and romantic uplighting completed the gorgeous room.

After enjoying a buffet meal, guests took to the dance floor, which was illuminated with the couple’s monogram. At the end of the night, the newlyweds made their grand exit from the celebration in a vintage car that displayed the words “Happily Ever After” on the back. Both Courtney and Joel couldn’t believe how quickly the day passed. Indeed, the bride urges others in the midst of wedding preparations to remember that their own “happily ever after” awaits. “Don’t get too worked up or upset about planning,” she says, “because everything is going to turn out so much better than you could ever plan for.”