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Author: Marissa

Bride Melissa shares her dreamy Texas wedding at The White Sparrow.

I’m delighted to introduce y’all to today’s bride Melissa! She describes her blue and white wedding to Thomas as “a beautiful spring dream.” And, y’all, I could not agree more. Inspired by an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet hand-painted by her mama, their May wedding at The White Sparrow had me swooning as soon as we saw it. I love how each detail that was incorporated has significance to their story as a couple or their family heritage, but what I love most (besides that big ol’ bow on the back of her dress because oh.my.stars!!) is Melissa’s advise to those currently planning a wedding. She said three simple things: “Pray, prepare, and relax.” Yes, girl! Now I sure know a lot more advise might be needed, but that sounds like the perfect place to start.

Big thanks to Apryl Ann for capturing such a lovely day in May!

We’re thrilled to have featured this wedding in our latest print magazine, be sure to head to the Southern Weddings Shop to see snag your copy.

Our wedding was inspired by Texas wildflowers, and I really started to see my vision after we took our engagement pictures. Our pictures were taken a field of wildflowers, and I loved how the printed blue dress I wore looked against the warm colors of the flowers. When it came time to design our invitations, my mother painted an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet, and it turned out to be the main inspiration for our entire wedding design. My mother is a talented artist and graphic designer, so it was so special to have one of her works incorporated into our wedding design. The bluebonnet painting was the background for our invitations and was eventually tied into all of the prints in the wedding.

Our wedding was on May 6, 2017 at The White Sparrow in Quinlan, Texas. The ceremony began at 5:30PM and our reception followed. I first saw The White Sparrow in a magazine and it immediately caught my eye. I initially dismissed getting married in a barn setting, but as soon as I saw the beautiful white building I began to change my mind. My first trip to visit the venue was in early January and it was a wet, bitterly cold day. Even with the dreary weather, the barn looked magnificent, and I knew it would only look lovelier on a spring May day. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner who told us the story behind the barn. She was a Mississippi native and said most of the materials used to build the barn were from the Magnolia State. It was perfect! The barn perfectly fit our desire to create a “Tex-sippinian” wedding. The White Sparrow has the most welcoming, traditional-yet-modern feel and is the perfect canvas for our wedding vision.

We chose to get married in May for many reasons. First, it is my favorite month of year! I love how the spring flowers are in bloom and the weather begins to warm with the promise of summer. Secondly, there is no football in May! I know this may sound silly to some, but Thomas and I come from families who plan their schedules around college football games and I did not want our wedding to interfere with any big games. Lastly, as if May wasn’t already the perfect month, my new initials are MAY (Melissa Austin Yoste). It was a sure sign, y’all!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? The journey to find my dress was quite long. I must have tried on at least 30 gowns before I found the one. There was a time when I became very frustrated and thought my dream dress was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a picture of a gown on Pinterest and knew I had to try it on! As fate would have it, Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon in Dallas had the dress in town for a few days at a trunk show so I was able to try it on with my mother, family friend, and maid of honor. I knew it was the dress for me as soon as I put it on. It was such a magical feeling, and I absolutely loved everything about the gown! Fun fact about the dress, it is by Sachin and Babi and is a part of their very first bridal gown collection! It truly is a beautiful piece of art.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony took place under two large, beautiful trees in the lawn of the venue. Our ceremony was performed by Pastor Bo Thompson, our local pastor from Rhea’s Mill Baptist Church. Pastor Bo gave a beautiful message on marriage and led the guests in prayer. Thomas’s father performed a reading, and we were so glad that he played a role in our ceremony. Following the message, Thomas and I participated in a Unity Cross display which beautifully symbolized our relationship being rooted in The Lord.

We both agree that the reading of our vows was the most touching moment of our wedding day. It is easy to say, “I love you” to someone, but more difficult to explain WHY you love that person. Writing our vows gave us the opportunity to put our feelings into words and profess our love for each other in front of all our family and friends.

Did you have a cocktail hour? We had cocktail hour immediately following our ceremony on the porch and side lawn of the venue. As with the rest of wedding, we wanted the cocktail hour to be filled with small Southern comforts and hospitality. Our signature drinks, along with a selection of craft beer and cured wine list, were served at the cocktail hour. Our signature drinks included a Southern Mule and Margarita. To help create an inviting atmosphere, I curated a playlist of soulful, upbeat songs to be played during cocktail hour. Wendy had another piece custom-built to hang our escort cards from, which were watercolor flower petals with my mother’s bluebonnet design. Wendy also built a frame for guests to write us well wishes and insert into it – it was Anthropologie-inspired.

Our reception was a beautiful spring dream. From the moment you stepped into the main room at the venue, you were met with stunning florals and inviting guest tables. With the room filled with all of our closest family and friends, Thomas and I felt surrounded by love and warmth. We wanted our wedding to an event where people felt comfortable and at home. We spent the evening saying hello to old friends, dancing with our wedding party and soaking up every moment of our special day. The design for our reception stemmed again from the bluebonnet print and wildflower inspiration. The main room at The White Sparrow is absolutely stunning and the tall, white walls truly gave us the perfect blank slate for our vision. I really wanted to include lots of prints in our reception design. Since the space is all white, I loved how the mix of different blue printed tablecloths and paper goods added depth and dimension to the space. The pop of warmth from the flowers gave the room life and a touch of spring.

Having a Southern wedding was very important to us because it is who we are. We wanted our guests to feel the hospitality and warmth from the moment they were greeted with welcome bags at the hotel to the time they received Whataburger fries and Dr. Pepper as a wedding favor at the end of the night. We wanted our wedding to be event where people felt welcome, comfortable and like family. Every detail had meaning and significance to us.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Pray, prepare, and relax. My most important advice for future brides would be to pray for guidance, patience, and strength. Every morning I began my day with prayer and it allowed me to see more clearly and handle the stress of planning with ease. Also prepare for marriage with your fiancé by completing pre-marital counseling. Thomas and I met with our pastor for several weeks, and it was one of our favorite parts of the planning process. It allowed us to grow as a couple and remember to focus on what truly matters, our marriage! I would also tell future brides to relax! I know it is easier said than done (and this is coming from a very type-A, worrisome bride) but it will all work out in the end! Make sure you take some time for yourself and not think or talk about the wedding for a while. It will ease and refresh your mind.

One of the Southern traditions we did was burying the whiskey. Following with tradition, we buried a bottle of whiskey in ground on a picture-perfect May day in hopes that our wedding weather would be just as great. Since we were getting married in early May, which is storm season in Texas, I crossed my fingers that our whiskey bottle would bring us some luck! Sure enough, our wedding day had the most picture-perfect weather and we dug up the bottle of whiskey after cutting the cake. To this day, I believe the whiskey bottle was truly magical.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Early on in our relationship, Thomas and I made playlists for each other. It was a way of staying connected when we lived eleven hours apart. Ever since then, there have always been a few songs that made me think of him and our time together. Because of this, I was very selective in the songs we chose for our wedding. Our first dance song was difficult to choose because we had so many favorites! We ended up choosing “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, because it’s a song that has a lot of meaning to us. My father-daughter dance was to “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker, and it may sound like an odd choice, but it was the song my dad first taught me how to dance so it brought back childhood memories. I also shared a sweet moment with my dad dancing to “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers, which is actually the song I was named after. Beers were raised and boots were stomped when the DJ played “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks for our last group party song. After the guests exited the venue for the send off, Thomas and I danced to one of my all-time favorite songs “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date! We were set up by mutual friends and went bowling for our first double date. To be completely honest, I was very hesitant to go on the date (I thought blind dates were cliché) but my friend Lisa gave me the extra push, and I am so glad she did! After the first date with friends, Thomas made sure to reach out to me and set up a date just for us at a local sushi restaurant. We spent the evening getting to know each other and we were both surprised with how easy and comfortable our conversation flowed. By the end of the night, I knew Thomas was special. The sushi date led to many others in the course of two weeks, and before we knew it, it was time to return to our schools for fall semester. Hours before I left for Austin, we met at a park, decided to date long distance (me in Austin, TX and Thomas in Oxford, MS), and the rest is history! The years of long distance were difficult and filled with countless hours of driving (Austin and Oxford are 11 hours apart!), but the distance solidified our relationship and love for each other.
Describe the proposal. Thomas asked my parents permission for my hand in marriage in October 2015 and he decided to propose in December when all of our family would be together for the holidays. I am a University of Texas graduate and love Austin so he decided the city would be the perfect location for a proposal! Thomas concocted a plan which included inviting my brothers and cousins to spend a day in Austin doing some of my favorite activities. He played it off as my Christmas gift so that I would not become suspicious. After eating breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple restaurant, visiting Blanton Art Museum, walking around Rainey Street and grabbing donuts at Voodoo, we capped the day off with a trip to the Texas State Capitol Building. We explored the beautiful building and when we reached the center of the infamous rountunda, Thomas got down on one knee and proposed! It was a perfect moment and what made it even better was the fact that my best friends were on the third floor of the building capturing pictures of the proposal from above! Following the proposal, we got celebratory drinks at Moonshine Grill and then headed to what I thought was going to be a small dinner with our parents. To my surprise, we arrived at Abel’s on the Lake filled with ALL of our friends and family! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day and I was so glad Thomas included our loved ones in the special occasion.
What was the weather like on your big day? Absolutely stunning! My number one concern while planning our wedding was the weather. May weather can be a toss up in Texas, since it is normally the wettest month of the year. However, our whiskey bottle magic worked and we were blessed with the most beautiful day! Our day was filled with clear skies, lots of sun, perfect temperatures and just the right amount of breeze. God was looking down on us that day.
How many guests attended your wedding? 185.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Thomas and I both agree that the hardest part was deciding on the guest list. We both come from very large families and we wanted everyone to attend! However, it was not realistic to have a guest list of 300 people so we had to make some difficult decisions.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our wedding party included eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, two honorary groomsmen and four ushers. I had two maids of honors in my bridal party, because both girls mean so much to me and are such valuable people in my life. Thomas had two honorary groomsmen for close friends that have passed away. Including these men in our ceremony was very important to Thomas and we included their names in memory in our ceremony program.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We included soft, acoustic songs in our ceremony. I wanted to set a romantic, emotional tone for the ceremony. “In My Life” by Jake Shimbukuro played while our grandparents and parents were escorted down the aisle. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Canon de Pachelbel by Guitar Duo and I followed with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by The O’Neill Brothers Group. The recessional song was “Wildfire” by John Mayer. It is one of my favorite songs, and it has such a happy and upbeat vibe, which made for the perfect ceremony exit song.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? During our cocktail hour, we served chili lime grilled shrimp on tortilla chips, smoked gouda pimento cheese with ham on masa shortbread and fried green tomatoes with a red pepper aioli. During the ceremony, we had a selection of food stations that included a Southern Biscuit Bar, Taco Bar and Avocado Bar. We wanted to really tie in our “Tex-sippian” theme in our menu with a combination of both Southern comfort food and Tex-Mex staples. We also wanted to encourage our guests to get out of their seats and socialize while gathering their meal and is why we chose to have food stations.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? (Our wedding planner) Wendy!! Wendy was able to take my abstract and vague ideas for our wedding and turn them into stunning reality. She was with Thomas and me every step of the way during the planning process and was always available for questions or concerns. My mother and I talked so frequently with Wendy in the months leading up to the wedding that afterwards we really missed our weekly email chats.
What’s next for you as a couple? We look forward to enjoying married life while living in downtown Dallas. We are settling into our apartment and love being able to make a little home for ourselves. We are also dreaming of getting a dog someday, but will wait a few years much to Melissa’s dismay. We also look forward to traveling to new places, visiting friends and of course attending University of Texas and Ole Miss football games in the fall.

Photographer: Apryl Ann Photography | Videographer: Marc Roberts Videography | Planner and designer: Birds of a Feather Events | Venue: The White Sparrow Barn | Florals: The Southern Table | Caterer: Gil’s Elegant Catering | Wedding cake: Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery | Bride’s gown: “Olivia” by Sachin and Babi | Bridal salon: Neiman Marcus | Bride’s shoes: NearlyNude Sandal by Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s earrings: Ross-Simons | Bride’s veil: Jurgita Bridal | Bride’s hair clips: BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Beauty and the Blush Artistry | Bridesmaid dresses: “Inesse” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Men’s suits: Jos. A. Bank | Men’s ties: The Tie Bar | Groom’s cufflinks: College Elegance | Paper designs: Tammy Grimmett | Calligraphy: Cleggraphy Designs | Paper printing: Edwards Printing Service and Kathy Benson | Rentals: Top Tier Event Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Entertainment and lighting: LeForce Entertainment

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

    This might have been my favorite V10 wedding…those linens! The bouquets! THAT DRESS!! So, so lovely, and they seem like the sweetest couple!

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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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