Though Mary Hester and Andrew are on the younger side of our Southern Newlywed couples (26 and 25!), their style has an elegance and ease that you’d expect from a long-married duo. After browsing around Mary Hester’s blog, however, it’s easy to see she’s an old soul with a love for everything classic, and in that way, their home seems like a perfect fit – filled with passed-down heirlooms collected over time and Southern classics like monogrammed pillows, vintage silver, and silver-framed family photos. We hope y’all love getting to know this stylish and sweet Atlanta couple!
Big hugs to our friend Anna K for these lovely photos!
The couple: Mary Hester (26) and Andrew (25)
Years married: One this April!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Andrew and I are from different towns in Georgia. He went to the University of Georgia, I went to Auburn University, and we met at his cousin’s wedding. We share a mutual love of places: Athens; New York; Lake Burton; Highlands, NC; and our quaint little home in Atlanta. Andrew owns a pizza restaurant in Snellville, GA called Your Pie and I have a blog called Love, Mary Hester, where I sell custom illustrations, fashion prints, and other artwork.
Tell us your love story in one sentence. My mom went to high school with Andrew’s parents, then I happened to live with Andrew’s cousin during freshman year of college, and we met at that same cousin’s wedding; I like to think we were meant to be!
What is your favorite part of being married? Sharing the ups and downs of life. It’s not always pretty and can sometimes be downright hard, but when you have someone by your side, fighting for you and helping you to get through it, there’s always something to be thankful for.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own a little bungalow house in a historic neighborhood in the heart of Buckhead. We can walk to all kinds of stores and restaurants, and our neighborhood is filled with quaint little homes that were built as early as the 1920’s. I love being surrounded by families and young couples like us. It’s so homey!
Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? I splurge on items that I would want to hand down to our future children–sturdy furniture, nice linens, silver, and artwork. Andrew splurges on quality craftsmanship, which happens to be his biggest concern when looking at property or when contracting work to be done on our house.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? While playing “The Saints Go Marching In,” the band led the guests to the front steps of my family’s home, to the same spot where we had just said our vows. My parents, Andrew, and I stood together on the balcony as I threw my bouquet to friends below. It was the prefect way to end an amazing night!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have wedding pictures everywhere! We had an AMAZING photographer, so I couldn’t help myself! Our pictures are so quintessentially us. They remind me of the incredible joy and love we felt from our friends and family that day–I never want to forget that.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have registered at fewer stores. We are from different towns, so we registered at boutiques from home, as well as big stores like Bloomingdales and William-Sonoma. We received gifts from every single registry–I could have buried myself in dinner plates! After the honeymoon, I had the task of taking inventory of every gift and making returns and exchanges. It was overwhelming and could have been avoided by registering at fewer stores.
What most makes your house feel like home? Our dog, Jack, and our cat, Kitcat! We love having two furballs to share our home with and to keep us company… even if they occasionally keep us up all night meowing.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. I’m not going to lie, this was a little tricky! In the beginning, we were both very opinionated and had different ideas about how to decorate our home. After a lot of discussion, we created different “roles” for each other. I decided on paint colors, linens, and all of the details, while Andrew worked on big-picture projects, like the landscaping and renovations. In the end, we learned how to work as a team and how to trust each other’s opinions, and now, we sit back and compliment each other’s hard work. My favorite parts of our home are the places that showcase BOTH of our styles, like our kitchen–it was Andrew’s idea to add reclaimed wood to the ceiling, and I wanted to paint the cabinets white. The combination is killer!
Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our linens and cookware. I’ve been doing my best to be a good wife, which means I’m cooking more than I ever did in my single days. It’s so much fun and Andrew really appreciates it, too.
Who cooks dinner? I do! Andrew works at a restaurant all day, so the last thing he wants to do after work is cook dinner. I’ve had so much fun learning how to cook and I love trying new recipes!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? For a quick and easy meal, I buy a nice cut of meat or fish, along with some seasonal vegetables, and I roast them in the oven. I use my broiler a lot–it’s fast and easy for fish and veggies. I just toss them with olive oil, pepper, and Italian herbs and cook them under the broiler for a few minutes. There’s nothing better after a long day than having a fresh, tasty meal in minutes with minimal clean up!
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My sister-in-law gave me my favorite cook book as a wedding gift: Southern My Way by Gena Knox. The recipes are easy, different, and delish! I’m not a gourmet cook, so this book has turned out to be my perfect companion in the kitchen. I also use YouTube all the time to learn how to “baste,” “braise,” “poach,” etc. When we were first married, I decided to use a recipe that called for a whole chicken to be cut into eight pieces. I could have bought all of the pieces separately, but what fun is that?! With the help of a French guy on YouTube, I learned how to dissect a raw chicken, and I made the best chicken noodle soup ever! I was so proud of it.
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? My favorite room of our house is our bedroom. It’s such a peaceful, sunny room where our designs really came together perfectly. The master suite was an addition to our 1920’s bungalow by a previous owner. The high ceiling originally made the room feel awkward and empty, and it didn’t flow with the rest of the home. Andrew had the amazing idea to add beams across the ceiling. This did wonders to the space by making the room feel more intimate without closing it in. The decorative beams bring your eye up, making the once-empty ceiling into a standout feature of the house, while the white color keeps the room feeling light and airy. I painted the walls a light mint green color and used neutrals and corals to compliment. I absolutely love the way it turned out!
What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We tend to not overthink balancing our lives, except during the holidays when we have to schedule family time and vacation days. Our lives are crazy and last-minute, so if we make plans, they hardly ever work out. As a result, I’m learning to go with the flow and Andrew is learning how to keep the occasional calendar date.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Trying a new restaurant! Living in Atlanta has been a total blast–there is always a new restaurant, bar, or attraction to try out. Our favorite thing to do when trying a new restaurant is to tell the waiter to “surprise us!” If the reviews are good and everything on the menu is tasty, why not?!
Do you have children? Not yet. Andrew is the youngest of four, and his siblings have enough kids to keep us busy in the meantime!
This year, our family is most excited about… new adventures! We are planning a trip to New Zealand, and we can’t wait to explore! We also are managing two very new businesses, Your Pie and Love, Mary Hester, so there is a lot to look forward to. 2014 was our best year to date, but maybe 2015 will be even better!
Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? When showing friends our home, I always like to tell them about the decorating loopholes I took. I am a bargain hunter, so a lot of my favorite furniture and decor is either a refurbished hand-me-down, a bargain buy, or something handmade. The Little River sign over our mantle is a hand-me-down from Andrew’s family, and the outdoor chandelier in our kitchen is from the home of a dear friend. Our headboard is from my grandmother’s childhood bed, and I reupholstered it myself. I sewed the pillows in our living room and recovered the seat of an old kitchen chair for my desk. The chalkboard sign in our kitchen was a wedding gift and was displayed at the welcome party the night before our wedding. We love surrounding ourselves with things that have a story behind them; they constantly reminded us of loved ones and special memories.
A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!
Anna K is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!