The Hotel

We are very excited about the generous and wonderful hotel that we found to book block rooms through. Their discounted room rates for the wedding are amazing and we hope this will make your stay a little easier.

(Eddie used his charm and this expression to lock in these sweet deals!)

We have booked 4 types of rooms through the nearby Holiday Inn Express & Suites Huntsville Airport at 8956 Madison Boulevard, Madison, AL 35758.
This location is convenient for various activities with quick access to Interstate-565 which means that the hotel is only about 12 minutes from the ceremony site.

The hotel proudly provides ideal amenities like free high-speed wired & wireless Internet access and a 24-hour Business Center, complimentary fitness center, in-room Keurig machines, a free airport shuttle from 5am – 10pm upon request, heated indoor pool, hot tub and guest laundry facilities, easy access to such popular local attractions as US Space & Rocket Center, Bridge Street Town Centre, Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, Huntsville Botanical Gardens, and the Propst / Von Braun Center,  all while maintaining exceptional customer service. The hotel also offers a free hot breakfast with a variety of options.

From our tour of the facility, we found the rooms to be clean, modern, and welcoming.

Our block room reservation is available at the discount rate between April 28 and April 30. You may request a few days prior or after those dates as extra dates, although I can not guarantee the discount rate will carry to those additional dates. To book you may call the hotel at 256-258-3000 and ask to book for the Blanton/Chong Wedding in April 2017 or you can book online. Online booking is available via this link:  Blanton Chong Wedding Booking

Please note, you have to put in the dates of/between April 28 – April 30 along with our group code “BCW” and IATA# “99801505” to see the discounted rates. The above link has all of those requirements pre-filled for your ease.

The discounted rates are:
King Leisure NonSmoking ($89/night) – sleeps 2
Two Queen Beds NonSmoking ($89/night) – sleeps 5
King Suite NonSmoking ($109/night) – sleeps 4
2 Queen Beds Suite NonSmoking ($114/night) – sleeps 6

Explore images we took while touring the facility to get a feel for what your stay might look like.

To see what area attractions could be available to you for your free time, see our blog post on our favorite things that the area has to offer.

Ring Warming

A ring warming might be something you have never heard of; to be honest, we hadn’t heard of it until we started researching how we wanted to do our wedding and we just couldn’t pass it up once we knew what it was.

In short, a ring warming is an opportunity for family and friends to pray over / provide well wishes over our wedding rings as a symbolic way of praying for our new marriage. We will then use these rings in our ceremony just like most other weddings.

Most ring warmings are a part of the actual wedding ceremony where the rings are passed through the crowd and a meaningful passage is read during the same time. With so many wonderful friends and family being invited, we did not want to make the ceremony too long, but we wanted everyone to have an opportunity to “warm” the rings if they wished so instead of passing the rings during the ceremony, they will be available before the ceremony for those who wish to participate. Another benefit to this is that this way our non-religious friends do not feel uncomfortable at any point during the ceremony and celebration by being forced to participate in something they do not feel comfortable being a part of. If you’re non-religious or do not want to participate in the ring warming for any reason, that is perfectly fine.

For those who do wish to be a part of the ring warming, prior to the ceremony you will go up to the rings (they will have a sign and one of our friends as a ring attendant), and hold them in your hand for a moment. During this brief time you may say a short prayer or wish over our new marriage. Generally, guests are instructed to hold the rings, warm them with your love, and make a silent wish for the couple that will carry the bride and groom into a bright and lasting marriage.

We hope you choose to participate in the ring warming as a symbolic gesture of wishing our marriage the best and covering us in prayer.

The Best Things To Do In Huntsville

We feel that Huntsville and it’s surrounding areas not only make up a beautiful city full of scenery but also a city full of unique experiences available.

Our friends at the Huntsville/Madison County Convention & Visitors Bureau are incredibly kind and always willing to help point you to fun things to do. Their website has a wealth of information and events if you would like to see more offerings. You can find them online at

We have selected some of our favorites in various categories below to start you off in planning your adventure.

Arts + Culture
This city of engineers and PhDs is, maybe surprisingly, simply brimming with arts and other cultural opportunities.

  • Huntsville Art Museum – Located in the heart of downtown and surrounded by the beautiful Big Spring Park, Huntsville Art Museum has beautiful exhibits available. You can read more about their planned exhibit on their website:
  • Lowe Mill – Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment, located just southwest of the heart of Huntsville, and in its namesake, the Lowe Mill District, is the largest privately owned arts facility in the United States. With a focus on visual arts, this huge historic factory building has been redeveloped into working studios for over 200 artists and makers, 6 fine art galleries, a multi-use theatre, and performance venues. Lowe Mill
  • Local Artist Markets – Often local pop up artist shops will happen on the streets of downtown when the Fridays begin getting a bit warmer. Reach out to the Visitors Bureau for more information about location / time of any planned art strolls downtown this Spring.

Science + Learning
Science and educational experiences are top notch in a city known for consistently having one of the highest rates of of PhDs-per-capita in the United States.

  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center – In addition to the fabulous long-term exhibits and interactive activities the center hosts, there are also rotating art and interactive exhibits along with iMax films. With so many options this spot is sure to please everyone in the family!
  • Early Works Children’s Museum – Early Works Children’s Museums are comprised of three museums all located in downtown Huntsville and is the South’s largest hands-on history museum complex. Civil War soldiers, a Talking Tree, and whimmy diddles—see them all at the EarlyWorks Family of Museums:  Alabama Constitution Village, the Huntsville Depot and Museum, and EarlyWorks Children’s History Museum. Experience history as it comes to life in unique settings such as a 46-foot keel boat, an 1860’s era depot or the cabinet shop where delegates met to discuss and draft the constitution for statehood in 1819.
At the US Space and Rocket Museum

For those who feel more in-line with nature experiences the below list are our favorite selection of nature-based experiences.

  • Harmony Park Safari – Harmony Park is a federally licensed nature preserve of free-ranging exotic and endangered animals.  Remain in your car on a two-mile route to see zebras, zebus, antelope, buffalo, a camel, ostriches, pythons and crocodiles. This drive-through safari park is well worth the drive from the hotel’s location. It features many animals, the option to feed the animals from your car, and an area where you can park and get out to see turtles, fish, and other smaller contained creatures. Fun Fact: This was the location of one of our first dates!  Harmony Safari Park
  • Huntsville Botanical Garden – The Garden will have a new facelift of amazing new architecture to match the flowers and other plants. Spring time is the best time to go as almost everything is in bloom! This is guaranteed to be an adventure worth taking your latest family photos! Huntsville Botanical Garden
  • Monte Sano State Park – This is another one of our favorites for spring weekend hiking. It is located conveniently close to most of Huntsville and is full of beautiful views. Monte Sano State Park
  • Land Trust of North Alabama – Land Trust of North Alabama, Alabama’s first land trust, provides 50+ miles of free public trails on their Nature Preserves for you to explore. Be sure to take sunscreen and water so you can get the most out of your adventures! Land Trust North AL

Thrill-Seeking Adventure
From escape rooms to in-door go-carts there are more adventures here than you will likely have time! Some of our favorites are below.

  • Huntsville Escape Rooms – With three full-time rooms to choose from and one mobile experience, this is a top favorite for us in this category! Not only is this a blast, but the staff are above and beyond exceptional as well! Huntsville Escape Rooms is only an hour long experience so it fits well into your schedule without getting you messy, but don’t let that fool you – there is plenty of fun packed into that hour! Huntsville Escape Rooms is located in downtown Huntsville so it is convenient to all your other fun experiences in the city. Get a group of friends together and see if you have what it takes to escape the room. Huntsville Escape Rooms
  • Veloce Indoor Speedway – Veloce (Italian for “fast) provides a premier racing experience. With speeds nearing 50 MPH and the capability of reaching top speed in 3 seconds, you’ll experience an adrenaline-packed rush. Pro Tip: Get there when they first open or you will be waiting in line for a while. We recommend that you check out their rates and then buckle up for some racing fun! Veloce
  • Benton H. Wilcoxon Municipal Ice Complex – If ice skating is your jam, the ice complex offers family fun experiences at an affordable cost. This year-round duo-rink complex offers public ice skating on two National Hockey League regulation rinks and daily times open to the public. We do recommend that if you plan to go here that you call ahead to double check the public open times as sometimes ice skating competitions and league hockey games are hosted here.  Huntsville Ice Plex
  • Insanity Complex – Located in Madison, AL, Insanity Complex offers a wide variety of activities – mini golf, roller skating, rock climbing, an arcade, skate park, and batting cages to name a few. There is also a fro-yo shop on the complex for a quick refreshment that varies from your normal arcade food. Insanity Complex


Food and Drink
When you’re traveling you don’t want to experience the same restaurants or food that you can experience at home! While it was hard to narrow it down, we have listed some of our favorites for you to try out. If you want more suggestions than these, we are happy to chat about our favorite eateries – just ask!

  • Alchemy Lounge – A chic coffee and tea shop located in Lowe Mill.  Alchemy Lounge
  • Apple Lane Farms – The local home of local Honey Glazed Spiral Sliced Ham and Overstuffed Sandwiches and Potatoes.  Applelane Farms
  • Below the Radar Brewing Co. – a local brew house that features unique and fun eats. Often they will have music in the evenings.  Below The Radar Brewing
  • Big Papa Gyros – Anytime we are in the mood for Greek food, this is our go-to spot. (Fun Fact: the restaurant used to be “Papa Gyros” until they expanded into the storefront next to them and became “Big Papa Gyros”.) Big Papa Gyros
  • Bigfoot’s Little Donuts – This food truck is well-worth the hunt! If you can find Bigfoot you are in for a treat! Bigfoot’s Little Donuts
  • Chapala Authenic Mexican – A Mexican food place with delicious food and the best salsa in town! (Once Amanda made a photo of the salsa her phone background – Eddie was not too thrilled when he saw his photo had been replaced by a photo of salsa!) Chapala Authentic Mexican
  • Chef Will The Palate – This is one of the best choices for our vegan and vegetarian friends! Chef Will has a menu entirely vegetarian so you do not have to fret – ordering is easy and the food is delicious! Chef Will
  • Chuck Wagon BBQ – Chuck Wagon BBQ is not only delicious, but it is almost right next door to the hotel the block rooms are in so it is very convenient! Chuck Wagon
  • Cotton Row Restaurant – Under the direction of the phenomenal Chef James Boyce, this will provide a meal you will never forget – this is the place to go! While best suited for a date-night or fancier outing, it is well worth treating yourself here. The menu is ever-changing and focuses on inventive dishes while being driven by seasonality and locality. Cotton Row Restaurant
  • Cork & Crust Pizzeria and Wine Bar – More than just pizza, Cork & Crust is a great place to gather with friends, catch up, enjoy savory foods and a bar which boasts hand crafted cocktails, a very diverse local craft beer selection and a world class wine list. Allow the only certified Sommelier in Madison assist you with finding the perfect drink to match your entrée. Cork & Crust
  • Happy Tummy Restaurant – For an easy lunch that is tasty (and has a clever menu), this is the place to go. Located in Lowe Mill, this is a natural stop if you are visiting the arts complex around lunch time. Happy Tummy
  • Lawler’s BBQ – A more quick-serve style barbeque joint, this barbeque house is a local favorite. Their meat stuffed potatoes are incredibly filling and well-priced. Lawlers
  • Mason Dixon Bakery and Bistro – The house of gluten free baked goods! For all our gluten-sensitive friends, this will be an oasis for your sweet tooth! Drop by the adorable bistro for lunch and a sweet dessert to treat yourself. Mason Dixon Bakery
  • Old Black Bear Brewing Co – Another local brewing company, their latest tap room is located in the heart of historic downtown Madison. Old Black Bear
  • Old Greenbrier Restaurant – If you’re wondering why there are no “Southern” restaurants beyond BBQ on this list yet, it is because this is the only place we will go for that traditional “southern” cuisine. While this is delicious, this might not be the best meal before you strap on those dancing shoes as this tends to make us both want to nap after we eat here (Hint: Get the Hushpuppies!). Old Green Brier
  • Pane E Vino Pizzeria – Located in the same building as the Huntsville Art Museum and attached to Big Spring Park, this is a convinent choice wether you are viewing art, enjoying the weather, or spending the afternoon feeding the ducks at the park, this is a delicious italian choice that is sure to please the whole family. Pane E Vino
  • Piper and Leaf – This is our favorite spot for handcrafted tea and coffee. If you’re a tea drinker, Amanda’s favorite is a blend of “Sweet Dixie” and “Orchard Peach” sweetened and served over ice, and their nitro coffee is sure to please the coffee enthusiast in you. They have locations in Madison and in Lowe Mill so no matter your free time adventures, refreshment isn’t far away. Piper and Leaf
  • Pizzelle’s Confections – Also located in Lowe Mill, Pizzelle’s Confections brings you artisan truffles and confections with unconventional flavors and pairings. Pizzelle’s is an eclectic mix of edible art, culinary exploration, and quirkiness. Every confection is handcrafted on the premises in small batches using fair-trade chocolate and quality ingredients. Pizzelle’s Confections
  • Rollin’ Lobstah – This food truck creates delicious lobster rolls and bites with fresh lobster. If you spot the truck out and about, your taste buds will not regret pulling over and grabbing some delicious lobster. Rollin Lobstah
  • Rosie’s Mexican Cantina – This Tex-Mex / Southwestern cantina has been a local favorite for generations. The Raspberry Chipotle Salmon dish and the BBQ Chicken Nachos are some of our family’s favorites from the menu. Rosie’s Mexican Cantina
  • Sugar Belle Cupcakes – With both a food truck and a brick and mortar store, this cupcake shop is a wonderful place to swing by, grab a cupcake, sit and sip some coffee or tea and just enjoy time with friends. Their menus change weekly to allow for innovative new flavors and the use of in-season items. Sugar Belle
  • Suzy’s Pops – Popsicles like no other! Suzy’s Pops holds a special place in our hearts and we love her innovative menu. From flavors like “Avacado” to “Baileys & Cream with Jameson Whiskey” there is a flavor to excite everyone in the family. Vegetarian, Vegan, and Gluten Free pops are available as well. You might be able to taste some amazing new flavors at their shop location where the magic happens. Their popsicle cart is also a frequent site downtown in the park. Suzy Pops
  • Taqueria El Cazador – Affectionately referred to as the “Taco Bus” by Huntsville-natives (the Governor’s Drive location is run out of a renovated bus), this is where you want to go in search of authentic Mexican cuisine. The Governor’s Drive location is the one we go to and Eddie LOVES when we go to Taco Bus. Eddie’s favorite dish is the Asada Burrito Plate (Beef Steak Burrito). Taco Bus