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Author: Marissa

Bride Mariana shares her bright, fun, and fabulous San Antonio wedding!

I’m delighted to introduce you to today’s bride, Mariana! While her pretty pink and red wedding is the perfect Valentine’s Day inspiration, she and Mac’s big day was actually inspired by another celebration: “Fiesta!” According to Mariana, Fiesta is an annual event in San Antonio where the whole city comes together for a week of parades and parties. She said, “The bright colors, the parties, and the feelings of overall happiness and fun: we really wanted to channel that for our wedding.” How fun!

To see more of this gorgeous day, pick up a copy of our Tenth-Anniversary Issue!

Thanks to Jen Dillender for capturing this fabulous day!

We were married at 7 o’clock in the evening at the San Fernando Cathedral in downtown San Antonio with our reception at the Southwest School of Art. Only I am Catholic, but it was important to both of us to be married in the church. We wanted our wedding to have a classic San Antonio feel so we really focused on a downtown wedding at historic venues. We picked the cathedral because it was so beautiful and historic and just felt like the right church for us. The Southwest School of Art was a great fit because it was another historic location and we fell in love with the gorgeous patio that backed up to the River Walk (an iconic attraction!).

We described the fiesta theme we were aiming for with our wedding, and our florist brought us some ideas. When she showed us bougainvillea, my mom and I were sold. My mom is from Peru and we always see bougainvillea there. It felt like a way to incorporate my heritage into the wedding and it’s so gorgeous! Mac also felt like it perfectly fit the fiesta theme.

What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had the Ave Maria sung as the families were seated. I love hearing the Ave Maria at Catholic weddings and so I really wanted it incorporated into ours. I walked down the aisle to an instrumental version of “The Servant Song” which I’ve sung in church for years and always found to be so beautiful.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. The most special part of the ceremony was the second reading, which was done by our friend Emily. It’s hard to describe, but she read the passage so beautifully that everyone was very moved. The priest even commented at the end of our ceremony how she had really brought the passage to life!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Our inspiration was centered around a “Fiesta” theme. Fiesta is an annual event in San Antonio where the whole city comes together for a week of parades and parties. Growing up in San Antonio, I love fiesta! The bright colors, the parties, and the feelings of overall happiness and fun: we really wanted to channel that for our wedding. Our wedding planner, Melanie, did an amazing job of making our inspiration come to life with her designs and creative vision.

What was your favorite detail of the wedding? (Mariana:) The mariachi band during the cocktail hour. Our out-of-town guests were especially delighted by the band, and it was definitely a San Antonio touch! (Mac:) The sombreros and coronas that were handed out on the dance floor. There’s nothing like a lively dance floor full of Fiesta colors.

Tell us your love story. We were surreptitiously set up by a mutual friend. She invited us both to a party where she introduced us. A few weeks later, Mac worked up the courage to ask me out, and we’ve been together ever since.
Describe the proposal! (From Mac) It was a surprise trip to Cancun, Mexico. Mariana is the trip planner in the family, so it was my first time to handle the entire process on my own – all while keeping it a secret. Somehow, despite my best efforts to ruin the surprise (There was a text with the full details intended for her sister that went to Mariana. Luckily, the text was deleted before she could read it.), I was able to book the entire trip and make it a Christmas surprise. The rest of the trip was sun, fun and near-constant anxiety as I had planned the big moment for our last day there. (Pro tip, fellas: If you propose on a trip, do it the first day. Trust me). On that fateful day, unbeknownst to Mariana, a photographer was waiting on the beach ready to capture the moment. It only took a bit of cajoling to talk her into take a stroll on the chosen spot. And, in a what is still a blur today, I got down on one knee and asked the most important question of our lives.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? This might make us seem a bit odd, but we did a lot of our “wedding prep” during the four years before we were engaged. Early on we discussed the less romantic details of lifelong courtship: finances, kids, etc. We did make sure to talk about our hopes and dreams, but we were almost painfully pragmatic. It was worth it though. Having those conversations early on helped us develop the communication skills needed to survive wedding planning. Otherwise, I think we would still be deciding on tablecloths.
How many guests attended your wedding? 120.
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I actually ended up finding my dress at Nordstrom. I had popped in with my mom and sister, and we just happened to see it on a mannequin in the bridal suite. An appointment had been cancelled, so they let me try it on then and there. It was a happy accident! My favorite thing about it was the lace. We even ordered extra lace to add to my veil so it would match.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Film processing: Photovision Prints | Planner and designer: Mayhar Design | Ceremony venue: San Fernando Cathedral | Reception venue: The Southwest School of Art | Florals: Clementine Botanical Art | Caterer: Page Barteau Catering | Wedding cake: Bakery Lorraine | Monogram cookies: Campbell Cookies | Bride’s Gown: “Vanderbilt” from the Blue Willow Collection by Anne Barge | Bridal salon and veil: Nordstrom | Bride’s shoes: Sam Edelman | Bride’s jewelry: Banana Republic | Bridesmaid dresses: “Aria” in Crimson by Jenny Yoo | Hair stylist: Vanessa Rios | Makeup artist: Mistique | Paper goods and calligraphy: Whitney Farnsworth | Band: The Royal Dukes | Linens: Marquee Event Group and La Tavola Linen | Mariachis: Mariachi Espuelas de Plata

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Megan reply

    I’m totally not a pink person, but I LOVE all of these colors! Beautiful!

  2. avatar Mac & Mariana, A Fiesta-Themed Affair in San Antonio » Jen Dillender Photography, Austin TX Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer reply

    […] Also, I wanted to extend a huge thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring M&M’s wedding in the 10th Anniversary edition of Southern Weddings Magazine as well as their blog today! You can grab a copy of the magazine at Target and other major news stands and see more on their blog HERE! […]

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Bride Lillie shares her cozy, eclectic barn wedding at Lake Oconee.

Please meet today’s bride, Lillie! With its eclectic style and joyful atmosphere, her wedding to Blake easily became an office favorite in our tenth-anniversary issue. From the beautiful location of Lake Oconee (where they shared their first kiss!), to romantic blooms that could make even a non-flower lover swoon, there’s so much beauty to take in. But, of course, the best thing about your wedding day might not be the details! Lillie said, “The most special part of the ceremony for me was walking hand and hand with my mother down the aisle all the while looking at Blake and realizing how lucky and blessed I was to be marrying my best friend.” Y’all, yes! And, get your tissues ready and be sure to read how Lillie sweetly honored her late father.

Thanks to Julie Cate for her sharing this lovely day with us!

P.S. We’re having a sale in our shop, so head over to see this wedding in all its print glory for a steal of a price!

Blake and I got married at 2:00pm on February 25, 2017, a day after my parent’s anniversary. The ceremony was held at Christ Our King and Savior Catholic Church in Greensboro, GA. All the guests parked at the Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee and then hopped on school buses to Sandy Creek Barn (a property of Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee). We chose to get married in the Lake Oconee area because it was very special to us. We spent many summers at my parent’s lake house. It’s where we had our first kiss.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Before trying on dresses, I knew I wanted something simple, and comfortable, that I could wear all night long. After doing a little research, I found a boutique that sold vintage and modern dresses and I made an appointment. The shop is called The Sentimentalist and it’s awesome! Gabi took one look at me and knew exactly what types of dresses would complement my shape. The fourth dress I tried on was the one! A sleek modern Houghton dress. I mean, it had pockets. I had to have it.

What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Honestly, finding bridesmaids outfits. I wanted everyone to wear something different. Who knew that concept would be so hard to achieve? After spending way too much time searching ASOS.com for bridesmaids’ dresses (about 3 months, I know, crazy), I went to BHDLN in Atlanta. They let me take over a corner of the store to hang dresses beside one another so I could get a full visual of what my bridesmaids dresses would look like together. On my second trip, my sister and I tried on dresses and set up an account so all my bridesmaids had to do was call and order their dress from the store. And just like that, my problem was solved!

How did you spend the morning or afternoon before your ceremony? With family. A few months before my wedding, I lost my father to cancer. I knew getting married within the same year was going to difficult. Needless to say, the entire wedding weekend was an emotional event for my family and I. But throughout the planning, I made sure to incorporate elements that would remind me of my dad. I made an offering to St. Joseph during the ceremony for a remembrance of my father.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. It was a short and simple Catholic wedding. The Deacon who met us with throughout our pre-Cana marriage prep, married us. He was so fun! I would have to say the most special part of the ceremony for me was walking hand and hand with my mother down the aisle all the while looking at Blake and realizing how lucky and blessed I was to be marrying my best friend.

What was the design inspiration for your reception? Cozy eclectic barn wedding and reception. I was inspired more by a feeling: the feeling you get when it’s cold outside and all you want to do is sit by a wood burning fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. I wanted to achieve that feeling. We tried to make the reception as “homey” as possible, with yard games by the lake, multiple fire pits surrounded by cozy seating areas with an assortment of throws for extra warmth. Inside the barn, there were lots of intimate seating areas including one by the large fireplace right beside the dance floor (that one was my favorite).

What was your reception like? Ummmm, the most amazing thing was everything! Music and backyard games with self-serve bar down by the lake. Up at the barn there were fire pits with cozy seating areas and throws for extra warmth. We had a seated dinner as the sun set under a clear tent. The food was a mix of fancy comfort food. When dinner was over (everyone was ready to get into the barn because the temperature was dropping), we danced into the barn for first dances and cake. After our exit (on a canoe, I might add), the first round of buses left the barn, but the “after party” also started up with the Jay Envy on the 1s and 2s. Also, a food truck opened up outside the barn for the remainder of the night, serving ethnic cuisines in little cones. We love to travel, so this was a fun way to incorporate that into our day.

Tell us about your wedding cake. It was salted caramel and amaretto white chocolate cake made by Kat at Lush Cakery. It was incredibly delicious, and I can’t wait to eat the top of the cake for our anniversary!

I know this sounds cheesy, but you could feel the love in the air. At the wedding, everyone was laughing and crying and laughing some more. At the reception, everyone seemed so happy and cozy. There might have been 160 people there but it felt like one big backyard family reunion to me.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Blake and I met our 8th grade year of middle school. We immediately became best friends. That friendship eventually blossomed into a relationship our senior year of high school. With our lives going in different directions after high school, and being hundreds of miles apart, we unfortunately couldn’t make things work and went our separate ways. Fast forward six years later, and we reunited with one another at a local establishment in our hometown of Statesboro, Georgia, and the rest is history.
Describe the proposal! Well, interesting story, the proposal was actually around the time of Blake’s birthday. So, I had the grand idea of surprising him with a mountain getaway in North Georgia, having no idea the whole time Blake was planning a proposal at my lake house for the same weekend. Luckily, I made the mistake of putting his email into Airbnb when I booked the cabin and he was notified of the sudden change of plans. He took it like a champ and went with the flow. On Saturday we went on an adventure and tried to find a hiking trail to no avail. We got lost and it was getting dark. But I remember being surprised at how determined he was to find this hiking trail. Luckily, we did find it, and there was still some daylight left, and it worked to our advantage because there was hardly anyone on the trail. As we were hopping from rock to rock while crossing a creek, he stopped me and got down on one knee in the middle of the creek. Looking back, I’m not sure how he did that (balancing on one knee on a small rock in the middle of a creek) It was perfect! It’s hard to explain the feeling of ultimate bliss after something like that happens, but I remember feeling it while walking the whole way back to my car.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Well, knowing each other basically our whole lives has definitely helped prepare us, but we also partook in Pre-Cana marriage preparation at the Archdiocese of Atlanta. It was an amazing experience!
How many guests attended your wedding? 160.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? My mom and dad (before he passed) secretly had a wedding jug made (by a North Georgia Potter) with our names and wedding date as a surprise wedding present. Mom also recorded my dad talking about how he ordered the wedding jug for us and wishing us a happy marriage. Talk about emotional, but amazing nonetheless.
Who participated in your ceremony? Family and close friends. My mom walked me down the aisle, my sisters and Blake’s sisters were bridesmaids. Blake’s father and childhood friends were groomsmen. A couple of my close friends and Blake’s uncle, did the readings. Blake’s uncle (who is a Baptist preacher) also did the nuptial blessing, even though he was unaware of it until the ceremony. Deacon Mike surprised him by calling him up to the front to read the blessing. I thought it was a very cool, and symbolic of the mixing of our faiths (Blake being Baptist and me being Catholic).
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? When Deacon Mike pronounced us husband and wife he said, “I present to you Lillie and Blake Coston,” which is my last name, not Blake’s. Everyone was laughing, and in that moment, I knew my Dad was there whispering that into Deacon Mike’s ear just to make everyone laugh.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? My father-daughter dance was a little nontraditional. As you know, my dad passed away shortly before my wedding, so I asked his childhood friends to dance with me for the dance. I picked a song my dad loved, and I started to dance with one of his best friends then the other cut in to finish out the song. It was very sweet, and I couldn’t have been more thankful that they did that for me.
What was Southern about your wedding? Hopefully the hospitality! It was very important for us to provide a comfortable and memorable experience for our guests. We tried to make logistics easy (We hired shuttles to transport guests to and from the reception site in order to help alleviate parking concerns) and added lots of personal touches to make sure their experience unforgettable.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If it’s in your budget, hire a wedding planner. Melanie brought us almost all our vendors (who were amazing), made our vision a reality with her creative design, and just made our day easy and stress free. We could never have done it without her.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration. The best was during our reception when Mac pulled me aside to look at everyone on the dance floor. He said “hey, this is our wedding.” And it was a great moment to just take everything in and remember to enjoy the moment.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? This is difficult because I would recommend all of our vendors. I would have to pick Melanie (our wedding planner) because without her, we wouldn’t have found some of our other vendors and she really brought everything together. But after her I would say our photographer, Jen Dillender. We’re not a couple who takes a lot of photos, so we were worried it might be kind of awkward but from the moment we met her, she put us right at ease. She made us feel so comfortable on the day and the photos were beautiful!

Photographer: Julie Cate Photography | Videographer: Kenneth Munoz | Planner and designer: Molly McKinley Designs | Ceremony venue: Christ Our King and Savior Catholic Church | Reception venue and caterer: The Ritz Carlton Reynolds, Lake Oconee’s Sandy Creek Barn | Florals: Lindsay Coletta Floral Artistry and Design | Wedding cake: Lush Cakery | Bride’s gown: “Grady” by Houghton NYC | Bridal salon and veil: The Sentimentalist | Bride’s shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s jewelry: Catbird | Bridesmaids’ fashion: “Inesse” in Cinnamon Rose, “Cleo” Top in Ivory and “Louise” Skirt in Rose Quartz, “Tully” Top and “Louise” Skirt in Harbor Mist, and “Eclipse” in Taupe by BHLDN | Hair stylist: Hair by Navarro NYC | Makeup artist: Lauren Smelley | Groom’s fashion: Benchmade Clothiers, Groomsmen fashion: Jos. A. Bank | Paper goods: Jamie Jimenez | Rentals and lighting: Goodwin Rentals | Linens: Nuage Designs | Reception lounges, favors, and escort display: Blue Eyed Yonder | Signage: Kate Turner Studio | Transportation: Samson Trailways | Slow motion booth: Shutterbooth | Late night food: Good Food Truck | Bands: Lilac Wine and Big Bling and the Funk Machine via East Coast Entertainment

Molly McKinley Designs and East Coast Entertainment are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Anjeev Chaturvedi reply

    That is the very nice story.We always dream that kind of marriage. Good images and beautifully explain……..

  2. avatar NST Pictures – Artistic Wedding Videos reply

    We love how this wedding looks! It was truly a special moment for the couple. We liked the fact that they added lots of personal touches to make sure their experience is unforgettable. Thanks for sharing!

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Today we’re thrilled to share our tenth anniversary cover editorial, Azalea Romance!

Let me tell you a secret… when it comes to our editorials, we all have favorites! And if you know me at all, you know that this one was destined to always and forever be mine. From the memories we made at the shoot to how stunning it turned out to the way the story intersects with my own, I can’t help it: I’m smitten.

Growing up in Mobile, Alabama I always dreamed I’d be an Azalea Trail Maid — I even dressed up as one for Halloween one year! When Emily shared in one of our early editorial meetings that we were staging an editorial in my hometown AND that it would be inspired by this historic institution, I was thrilled. Throughout the months of planning, we worked to create a modern representation of the colorful dresses and antebellum style the Maids are known for, and I have to say that our bride’s look — the skirt of an Amsale gown combined with a Heidi Elnora lace crop top — was just one of the places where all the pieces came together perfectly.

Shot at the historic Fort Conde Inn, we had so much fun working with fellow Alabama gals Invision Events to bring this sweet story to life!

Thank you so much to our dear friend Anna Shackleford for capturing these joyful photos! See the whole feature in Southern Weddings 10, on newsstands now and in the Southern Weddings Shop!

Happy launch day, y’all!!

My talented friend Brittany Massey made all my Southern girl hair and makeup dreams come true with our model’s fresh and feminine makeup, and our bride’s voluminous waves!

Y’all, when I say these bridesmaids’ dresses were a labor of love, I am not kidding. Emily and I worked for months to find just the perfect combination of color and style to represent the Trail Maids. We even had the darling Mary Kendall from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile bring two of these gowns just a few short hours before we started shooting!

We even had my own mama create a dress patch to honor the sisterhood of the Azalea Trail Maids. It might be one of my personal favorite details!

Y’all, it is legitimately not possible for our real-life husband and wife models to be any cuter! They were so much fun to work with and their love for each other is such a great addition to this feature.

I think bright and poppy florals that Laura from Marked created are such a happy addition to the neutral linens and gold detailing!

Y’all! These two. That dress. I can’t.

Want to see more of this beauty in print? You’re in luck! Our Tenth Anniversary issue is officially on newsstands today! We’ve packed this issue with real weddings from every corner of the South, beautiful love stories, Southern editorials, your favorite wedding vendors, practical wedding planning tips, and insightful marriage advice, and we hope you love her as much as we do! Head to your local bookstore or Target to find her on newsstands, or purchase your copy from the shop so you don’t have to hunt her down! We hope you love her as much as we do!

Planner and Stylist: Invision Events | Photographer: Anna Shackleford | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Venue: The Fort Conde Inn | Portrait Location: Bellingrath Gardens | Florals: Marked | Hair and Makeup: Hair and Makeup by BBM | Desserts: Elisabeth and Butter | Cake: Lush Cakery | Vintage Rentals: Southern Vintage | Chair Rentals: Crush Event Design | Table Linen: Party Tables Linen and Drapery | Custom Napkins and Wine Bag: The French Table | Paper Goods: Holly Hollon for Dixie Design | Croquet Set: Blue Eyed Yonder | Bride’s Gown: “Saylor” by Amsale | Bride’s Topper: “Chloe Crop Top Extended” by Heidi Elnora | Bridesmaid Dresses: “Maggie” in Scarlet Begonias and Summertime by Joanna August and “The Off the Shoulder Gown” in Fuchsia and Azalea by Natalie Deayala from Bella Bridesmaids Mobile | Gloves: David’s Bridal | Parasols: Luna Bazaar | Custom Parasol Painting: Momental Designs | Pearl Bracelets and Necklace: Kiel James Patrick | Pearl Earrings: BHLDN | Hat: ASOS | Ring Box: The Mrs. Box | Groom’s Attire: The Black Tux | Pocket Square: Kaye Hannabuss Textiles

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Shelby S. reply

    I love it! Can’t wait to pick up my copy of V10 this evening after work!!

  2. avatar Courtney reply

    It’s beyond magical! <3

  3. avatar Amy reply

    Are you able to share the name of the pink lipstick on the bride? Obsessed!

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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