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Bride Rachel shares her North Carolina wedding complete with a monogram-filled floral chandelier!

I am delighted to introduce you to today’s bride, Rachel! Her North Carolina wedding to her beau, Sam, was held at her childhood home and filled with some of the most exquisite floral details I’ve seen! Y’all, a floral chandelier with a monogram. Yes!! Inspired by her parent’s upbringing in Louisiana, Rachel and Sam (and Rachel’s sweet mama!), worked with the team at McLean Events to create a wedding day that honored family heritage while incorporating their own style. Rachel said, “it was very special to be able to get dressed in my childhood bedroom and get married to the love of my life in my own front yard.” What a memorable way to start married life!

Big SW hugs to Perry Vaile for sharing this magical day with us!

When did y’all get married? June 17, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. We really just happened upon my wedding dress. I was home in North Carolina with my mom and my sister, and I realized that I probably wouldn’t get to go dress shopping with them since I was headed back to Texas in a few days and wouldn’t see them for a few months. I really wanted the experience of getting to go dress shopping with them so I called Alexia’s Bridal last minute and set up an appointment for the next day. I hated all of the first dresses and probably tried on 7 before my sister pointed to another one in the room and asked if I could try that one on as it looked a lot more like what I had been describing. I tried that dress on and all of us immediately knew that was the dress so we bought it that day.

We knew from the beginning that we wanted to do a first look. I think that it was primarily because we wanted to be able to spend as much time together on our wedding day and spending the morning and afternoon apart was already too much! We also really wanted to be able to experience some of the cocktail hour that we spent so much time planning and wanted our wedding party to get to go straight to celebrating, rather than have to take pictures after the ceremony.

Both the ceremony and reception were at my childhood home. We always had a rather large front yard growing up, and I couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else! At first we considered doing the ceremony elsewhere until my dad asked me why we weren’t doing the ceremony at the house too, and I suddenly didn’t have an answer for him. From there, it all fell so perfectly into place, and it was very special to be able to get dressed in my childhood bedroom and get married to the love of my life in my own front yard.

We had a fairly traditional ceremony and chose not to write our own vows. In truth, I was a little concerned I would forget any vows I wrote, and my husband is way more eloquent than I am! It was important to us to involve some key family members so we asked Sam’s Aunt Lori, my Uncle Philip, and my cousin Bobby to read Bible verses for us. We chose to have them read Ecclesiastes 4: 9-12, 1 John 4: 7-11,18-19 and John 15: 9-12. Because it ended up being rather hot outside, we didn’t want the ceremony to take too long for fear of baking all of our guests!

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? The most stunning and memorable detail from the wedding was the floral arrangements coming from the ceiling of the tent. They looked like these mythical floral halos. We even had our monogram made out of flowers in the middle of the center one. But I also absolutely loved that we served my dad’s wine (that he makes himself) as the red wine for the wedding. It was so special to have his wine being served that I risked the white dress so I could have some and may have been drinking it while leaning as far away from the dress as possible!

What was Southern about your wedding? The entire wedding was inspired by New Orleans. Both of my parents grew up in Louisiana, so the vibrancy of New Orleans is important to me and to my family, and we wanted it to be a part of the wedding. We had servers carry around trays with oysters for guests during cocktail hour and did a second line to help move guests from cocktail hour to the reception. We also incorporated a Southern tradition in order to keep the rain away from our outdoor wedding, and boy did it work! 30 days before our wedding my father buried a bottle of Old Grand-Dad Bourbon upside down near our ceremony site. The day of the wedding, the sky was ominous, and we were all talking rain plans as all 20 weather apps that my mom downloaded said 100% chance of rain during our ceremony. But, the bottle of bourbon was supposed to keep the rain away. Sam and his groomsmen went to dig up the bottle of bourbon around 1:30, but as Sam finally pulled the bottle up from the ground (out of the unexpectedly deep hole that my dad has dug), the sky fell out and the guys had to run inside. The miracle of it was that as the guys killed the last of the bourbon, the weather cleared, and we were able to have the outdoor wedding we had dreamed of.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Sam and I spent a lot of time listening to different songs for our ceremony. We both agreed that we wanted a string quartet, so we were easily able to pick which songs we wanted for the seating of the families (“Canon in D Major”) and for the wedding party processional (“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”). But, it was my mother who really promoted having a trumpet for the bridal processional so it would stand out more outdoors and would give the ceremony more grandeur. We chose to do “Trumpet Voluntary” for the bridal processional, and while I may not have been on board with the trumpet at the beginning, it was perfect! For our first dance, Sam and I chose a slightly untraditional song, “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. As a couple, we are more goofy than serious so doing a song that was slightly more upbeat suited us great, and as we listened to the lyrics the song fit us so perfectly. We have traveled to 32 countries on six continents together and are always looking for our next great adventure so the lyrics “We have traveled land and sea, but as long as you are with me there’s no place I’d rather be,” could not have been more spot on for our relationship.

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? Sam and I have been to a number of weddings and have learned that neither of us are huge wedding cake fans. At the same time, it was important to us to have the tradition of being able to cut the wedding cake so we compromised and had a small wedding cake amidst a more extensive dessert tent complete with petit fours, fruit tarts, Italian ices, chocolate and Bailey’s shooters, and many other desserts since we couldn’t choose just one. We also had strawberries as an ode to a Vanderbilt (where we both went to college) tradition. During Vanderbilt graduation they hold a large champagne and strawberries party to celebrate, so we wanted to include strawberries and champagne in our dessert tent.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. What started as two people sitting next to each other at a football game quickly turned into two best friends exploring the world together and falling in love in the process.
Tell us all about the proposal! Sam had been talking for weeks about this huge case he had at work on March 15th and how it was going to take him all day so we wouldn’t have any time to be together. But, the day before, he started mentioning that the case might get settled and if so, he wanted to do something fun to celebrate. I had a sneaking suspicion it was coming, since he had asked my dad for permission in November, and this was the longest period of time we had to spend together since we lived in different cities (me in Austin and him in Dallas). But he did a great job of throwing me off. He called me at around 1 PM that day and said that the case was done and that he was picking me up and we were going to go to our favorite picnic spot where he took me on my first trip to Dallas. We stopped off at our favorite wine and cheese shop on the way and then headed to the park. He may have given it away when he pulled out a fully packed picnic basket when we traditionally barely remember a bottle opener, but he was so cute and nervous that I didn’t want to say anything. We sat down, had some wine and cheese, and talked for a little (though he had trouble focusing because he clearly had other things on his mind). We have a tradition that when we celebrate anything big we save the cork and write down what we were celebrating. At one point while we were sitting there he grabbed the cork, wrote on it and passed it to me. On it he had written “The Day You Said Yes” and the date. As I was reading it he got down on one knee and proposed. While neither of us can quite remember what he said, I said yes, and the rest is history!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was getting to talk to my mom all of the time. It was fun to be creative and come up with ideas for the wedding that I had never seen before, but getting to brainstorm with my mom was the best part.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? The hardest part about planning our wedding was being able to articulate our vision. I had honestly not put too much thought into what I wanted my wedding my look like prior to actually starting the planning process and found that I never knew how to articulate my style or why I liked something or why I didn’t like something else. There is no way I could have put together such a well thought out and cohesive wedding without an amazing wedding planner and the help of my mom and Sam.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Using my dad’s homemade red wine for the wedding helped save money on the bar.
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? I don’t think I will be forgetting any part of the wedding anytime soon. But, if I had to pick the most memorable moment from the wedding, it would be walking over the bridge my dad had built for the wedding with him by my side, looking to the left at so many of our friends and family there to celebrate with us, and looking ahead to my best friends and immediate family waiting on the island. My dad jokingly whispers (or he thought he whispered) to me, “it’s not too late to turn back” which it seems everyone on the island (including Sam) heard. I was so happy and couldn’t stop laughing at the same time as I could see Sam standing in front of me.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Set a conservative budget, and identify ways to stick to it, but also give yourself a little leeway for those things you realize would make you so happy to be able to incorporate into your wedding. Also, don’t sweat the small stuff. At least one thing will go wrong on your wedding day, but you can’t get upset about it, you just have to enjoy the day and laugh things off – my dogs got out and ran across the yard during the processional and my dad and brother had to chase them down!

Photographer: Perry Vaile | Videographer: Reel Weddings | Planner: McLean Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Bride’s Home | Florist: The Watered Garden | Wedding Cake and Dessert Baker: Miel Bon Bons | Caterer: Rocky Top Catering | Rentals and Lighting: Party Reflections | Band: I Love This Band | Bride’s Gown: “Esther” by Vera Wang | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Makeup For Your Day | Bride’s Shoes: “Romance Satin Wedge” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Hayley Paige Occasions | Groom’s Attire: “Ivory Shawl Dinner Jacket” by Hickey Freeman | Groomsmen Attire: Bernard’s Formalwear | String Quartet: Elegant Ensembles | Additional Rentals: Party Tables | Italian Ice: Sweet Water Ices

McLean Events and Makeup for Your Day are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar CJOHN reply

    Enjoyed reading this 😊 I have Louisiana roots too!

  2. avatar Paulo Dasilva reply

    I love the black and white shot of the couple walking down the aisle

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Bride Abigail shares all the details behind her gorgeous Charleston wedding!

We’ve sure featured a stunning collection of real weddings through the years, and this one is no exception. Abigail and William’s day is just full of gorgeous flowers, beautiful dresses, and breathtaking scenery. But I love that Abigail shared the moment during their ceremony when a plane flew overhead and almost knocked their flower arrangements over, coupled with this advice: “Something is going to go wrong. I guarantee it! Just embrace it, and know that it will be a great story later (we actually wish we had pictures of the best man catching the flower arrangement during the ceremony)!”

The best thing about our bride interviews is that no matter how perfect these wedding photos are, the real relationships behind them are better! Abigail’s focus on what mattered during her wedding day — the time spent celebrating with loved ones — led to an evening centered around good food, great stories, and heartfelt toasts. I can’t think of better advice for brides-to-be than to follow suit! (But also, can you even believe her escort card display?)

Thank you to Aaron and Jillian for these picture perfect images!

When did y’all get married? May 7, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 65.

What was Southern about your wedding? To us, nothing could be more Southern than Charleston. The culture, food, and architecture are second to none in our minds, making it one of the quintessential Southern cities. Following suit, our wedding included many Southern foods, such as chicken and waffles, shrimp and grits, hush puppies, and fried green tomatoes to name a few. For our specialty cocktails, the groom’s pick was a John Daly (Arnold Palmer with Vodka) and the bride’s was a lemon and ginger-based cocktail from her favorite bar in Chapel Hill, NC. And of course, Lowndes Grove, with the plantation house and the Ashley River, are classically Southern too!

I am a professional artist, and I was lucky enough to work with the team at The Silver Starfish, who supported my desire to do all of the artwork for the wedding! For me, that was an incredibly personal and essential aspect of the wedding. The visuals that I had dreamed up for the suite were the basis for all of the creative and design decisions I made for the entire day. Another personal element of the wedding was creating the welcome bags that greeted guests in their hotel rooms. In the boxes, we included a personal card, a wedding map with our recommended locations to visit around Charleston, as well as other goodies that were relevant to us as a couple and our life together. They were a hit!

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. The first dress that I tried on while wedding dress shopping was what I always thought I would wear; Monique Lhullier, lots of lace, very fitted and in the trumpet/mermaid category. What I didn’t take into account when dreaming was my body type! I took one look in the mirror and started laughing because I just looked like a rectangle in a dress! We immediately moved to the modified ball gown style, and I found my dress the very first day we started looking. I have always been a huge fan of classic style, and the lace veil and princess levels of tulle made me feel like Grace Kelly. The dress reflects my personal style and aesthetic so well, I am relieved the other dresses looked horrible!

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? The ceremony as a whole was incredibly meaningful because we were married by my uncle, who had quite a few tidbits about me tucked away that I hadn’t even remembered. He also made us a very special wooden box to keep letters from our friends and family to be opened on our one-year anniversary! We wrote personal vows to each other that we opened while we were getting ready, along with our wedding presents to each other (I painted him an oil painting of our dog, Lilly, and he gave me a sapphire and diamond necklace for my something new & blue!). Reciting the traditional vows that so many other couples have also repeated was incredibly meaningful to us, and we didn’t want to miss either experience. There is also the now infamous story of the flower pillars almost falling during the ceremony while a plane flew a little too close for comfort! It was just a tad bit windy right by the river, and even though the flowers and pillars were weighted down, it was a close call! Luckily, our best man, Will’s twin, caught it!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We decided on the traditional wedding march music to go with the rest of the ceremony. It was what always played in my mind when wedding planning! Our first dance was to “God Only Knows” by The Beach Boys. We both love oldies and for some reason, that song has followed us since we first started dating. Even though neither of us can sing to save our lives, we always sing the main verses to each other! Neither of us are sure how it started, but it is a song that has been part of our relationship for years now. Another very meaningful song was “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” by Sufjan Stevens. My father surprised us by passing out the lyrics to everyone in the ceremony to sing while we had our last dance of the evening. I have to admit, I definitely teared up! It was so moving to have our friends and family singing these special words to us to close out the evening. For me, it was one of the most memorable parts of the wedding!

The inspiration for our day was family. As I mentioned, my uncle married us, it was a small gathering of our closest friends and family, and the focus of the evening was, again, stories. Food is very important to my family as my parents started and owned a French restaurant for years, and I grew up eating phenomenal meals every day during long conversations at the dinner table. Because of this, having a seated dinner with intimate table settings so everyone could easily be heard was non-negotiable. Everything else centered around the simple fact that one of our favorite things to do is just sit with loved ones and eat great food!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We knew without a doubt that we wanted to get married in the Carolinas. We think that they are so beautiful, we love the Southern hospitality there, and Will’s family is mostly in South Carolina. We settled on Charleston because that’s where we took our first trip together, and we just fell in love with the city. Also, our friends and family are spread throughout the country and Canada, so we wanted an easily-accessible airport. As far as the venue, my mom and I went on a trip to find locations (even before we were engaged), and I absolutely loved Lowndes Grove. The beautiful, white plantation house, green lawns, and the incredible view of the Ashley River made it an obvious choice. We also were just head over heels for the decorations inside the house, which is part of the reason why we decided to have a sit-down dinner inside. All of the antiques and Persian rugs are exactly what I wanted for the “feel” of the wedding!

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? I am a very adventurous eater while Will is more of a meat and potatoes kind of guy, so we needed something for both of us! I opted for a ginger cake with vanilla frosting while he got hazelnut and chocolate. We also served blush and gold macarons to pull in our how we met story! Cupcakes are also my favorite dessert, so they were included as well.

When one friend stood up to use the restroom, we all joked that he was standing up to give a speech. To our surprise, he accepted the challenge and gave a truly heartfelt and spontaneous speech to the entire table. From there, we went around the table, with random people giving speeches about us individually and as a couple and how we had played a part in our their lives. We could not be more grateful for those hours spent on the upstairs balcony of Lowndes Grove that left everybody laughing, crying, and clapping.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met in French class, began dating a few months later, and have been inseparable ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! In order to tell you about the proposal, I first have to rewind a bit and start with engagement ring shopping. One time, while eating with my college best friend at my favorite restaurant, Rise-n-Dine in Atlanta, I looked over and saw the most beautiful engagement ring I had ever seen on a fellow diner. I immediately but not so subtly nudged my friend to point it out. Luckily for me, she has a great eye for these things and told me the exact style of the ring. And so, my heart was set. When Will and I first started to seriously shop for engagement rings, nothing looked right. We went to the big, fancy, name-dropping brands and the diamonds just weren’t right! Absolutely defeated because poor Will thought we were going home with a ring that day, he called up a family friend at Lugano Diamonds. Next thing I knew, we had perfectly set diamonds arriving at our doorstep ready for me to pick from! Now, Will being Will, I knew he would want to propose immediately (I regularly receive gifts months in advance of when I should be receiving them because he can’t wait to see my face). I have to admit that when he casually suggested I get a little bit dressed up, I knew what was going to happen, and I would not have had it any other way. He took me to my favorite restaurant in Chapel Hill (food is obviously a big part of my life), Bin 54, and then started driving towards Raleigh. Now I was a bit confused. What was in Raleigh? It turned out he had planned to take me to the historic governor’s mansion and propose at the front gate. I wish I could say I remember every single wonderful thing he said, but I think what sums it up the best was a passing driver honking and yelling “Wahoo!” as Will got off his knee!
Did you decide to do a first look? We did not do a first look. That was actually one of Will’s very few requests while wedding planning! We wanted that moment that you always visualize when thinking about your wedding, the moment when you lock eyes while the bride walks down the aisle. There is something so special about that and sharing it with everyone else. We didn’t want to change it!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My favorite thing about wedding planning was designing a cohesive vision that allowed me to be creative and express who we are! I love tiny details, like the mint julep and boxwood table numbers that pulled together the overall boxwood theme, and getting to insert our personality into such a big event was so much fun!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? As an artist and detail-oriented person, I had a hard time when vendors didn’t immediately produce something that was exactly what I wanted right off the bat. I just wanted everyone to read my mind!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept our guest list to just our closest friends and family, which is fortunately what we wanted anyway, but that helped to keep our costs down.

Photographer: Aaron & Jillian | Planner: Mac & B | Ceremony and Reception Venue, Caterer and Dessert Backer: Lowndes Grove | Florist, Rentals, and Lighting: Ooh! Events | Additional Rentals and Lighting: Snyder Events | DJ: David Fox | Special Details and Paper Products: Abigail J. Studio | Additional Paper Products: The Silver Starfish | Bride’s Gown and Veil: Pronovias | Bride’s Jewelry: Tiffany & Co and Lugano Diamonds | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Paper Dolls | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Rory” in Bellini by Amsale | Menswear: Brooks Brothers

Written with love by Catherine

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Bride Lauren shares her classic wedding–the first to be held in OU’s Great Reading Room!

I will never turn down an opportunity to explore a college campus, and if there’s anything I love more than a leafy quad, it’s a gothic library reading room. So as you might imagine, this on-campus marriage between two college sweethearts had me weak at the knees from the first peek. But then Lauren explained that the Great Reading Room was one of her favorite places to study in college and that, “if our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help but think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married.” Be still my heart.

Lauren and Austin’s connection to their wedding venue doesn’t even stop there, as Austin is currently a law student on campus! As a law school grad married to a lawyer myself, I could certainly identify with Lauren’s strategically-timed wedding DIY projects. That kind of consideration on her part, coupled with his willingness to put the books down whenever possible, sounds like a great foundation for a lawyer marriage! (And their focus on their families doesn’t hurt, either!) But I’ll scoot aside and let our bride take it from here.

Many thanks to Emily Ann Hughes for sending this beauty our way!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Austin and I both graduated from the University of Oklahoma, so choosing to get married on campus was especially significant, as it was the place our love story began. We are so lucky—and honored—to be the first couple to ever be married in the Great Reading Room. When searching for a venue, we wanted something that was unique, historic, and the opposite of “cookie cutter”. OU offered us all of that (and more!) and we will be forever grateful for the rare opportunity. As a college student, the Great Reading Room was one of my favorite places to study, but I never imagined that I would marry the love of my life in that same room. If our future children choose to go to OU someday, I can’t help to think how cool it will be for them to study in the same spot their parents were married. Additionally, the historic ballroom on campus has held celebrations since the 1920s and was the perfect spot for our reception.
Did you decide to do a first look? We went the traditional route and chose not to do a first look. In our experience, forgoing a first look really added to the excitement and anticipation of the day. Not just for Austin and me (no matter what, we would have been excited!), but for our family and wedding party. The whole day felt like Christmas!

What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? My parents were so eager (in the best way possible!) and happy to be involved in the planning process—it made everything so easy and fun! Since we lived in different states, I talked to them on the phone for over an hour almost every single night. We would go over RSVPs, discuss vendor meetings and options, and talk through all of my crazy ideas. It was such a wonderful bonding experience and I’m so thankful for all the special moments we shared together throughout the wedding planning process. From dance lessons to dress fittings, they were there for it all. I will carry those memories with me for the rest of my life.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? Austin was in his first year of law school while we were planning our wedding, so I was mindful of his school schedule (papers, mid-terms, finals, etc.) when talking about our wedding. I used finals week to start most of my DIY projects and weekends to talk about guest lists, budgets and timelines. And despite his hectic schedule, he made every effort to attend all vendor meetings and walk-throughs.

When did y’all get married? June 24, 2017.
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We are college sweethearts who have known each other since we were eleven-years-old.
Tell us all about the proposal! Austin proposed on an unsuspecting walk with our dog, Honey. I was in leggings and a t-shirt, so it’s safe to say I was taken completely by surprise, which is exactly what Austin always hoped for. We celebrated that evening with our families (our parents are actually neighbors!) in our hometown of Flower Mound, Texas. The next day we drove up to Norman, Oklahoma to tour the University of Oklahoma College of Law (where Austin is currently a 2L). After our tour, we stopped in for a drink at the dive-bar where we had our first kiss almost eight years ago!

I went wedding dress shopping for the first time with just my mom and dad. I have a close relationship with my dad, and I wanted him to be there to experience that special moment with me. All along I thought I knew exactly the type of dress I wanted, but after a few fails, the stylist at Bridal Boutique in Lewisville suggested I try something simple. She pulled a stunning Enzoani gown (which totally had Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy vibes!), and I absolutely fell in love. I had never pictured myself in something like it, but it totally fit my timeless and classic style. We paired it with a Lee-Ann Belter lace jacket and I was sold. The following weekend I returned to the boutique with my mom, sisters, and future mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (5 of us in total and 2 were there via Face-Time) and officially said yes to the dress. I truly had the best experience and was lucky to be able include all of the people I love!

If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One of my dear friends designed our invitations, programs, place cards, and welcome box details. It was fun to be so involved in the process! We exchanged about 100 emails, so I’m very thankful for her patience and kind heart. I also printed everything locally, which was really cost effective. We took on a lot of DIY projects, too. My dad and I built, stained, and painted all the wood signage for the wedding, and he constructed and hung the garden lights on the patio. I also re-purposed a lot of items from discount stores and antique shops.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? From the black and gold tiled floor to the dramatic windows, the swinging leather doors, the old books on display, and all the ornate architectural elements, I’ll forever be in awe of all the beautiful details of the Great Reading Room. We added minimal decor, as the space didn’t need a lot. But the arrangements at the altar, the candles, the greenery on the tables, and the string quartet really made the room feel wedding-like. It was beyond my wildest dreams.
What was Southern about your wedding? Both our ceremony and reception were located on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, in buildings that were both built in the 1920s. I think historic buildings and details add a simple and elegant Southern flair. Additionally, we sipped on Southern Comfort (Austin’s favorite!) and Shiner Light Blonde all night long and line-danced to “Copperhead Road.” We also incorporated our “crest” on our wedding cake, invitations, programs, custom-made cups, and signs—and my dad even drew it in chalk along the pathway to the ceremony. We plan to incorporate it in our home someday, too!

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Saying our vows to each other in front of our closest friends and family will always be the moment that shines the brightest in my memory. We put a lot of thought into our ceremony, and every detail was a perfect representation of everything Austin and I love, value, and cherish.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Save everything! I’m such a pack rat for sentimental items I even saved all my to-do lists (there were hundreds), because I know one day I will love to look back and remember all the hard work we put in. Our guest room closet is now dedicated to anything that was remotely wedding-related. Additionally, hire a planner and a really good photographer. (For us, that was Blair Sims Events and Emily Ann Hughes Photography!) Trust me, it makes a difference. After that, just enjoy the experience. And always remember to be grateful during the happy times and graceful during the stressful times.

Although Austin and I are not really the mushy-gushy type, we always knew we wanted to write our own vows. We heard from so many guests that they were some of the most emotional vows they’d ever heard! My hope is that it helped our friends and family understand our hearts just a little bit more. We had our hometown church pastor marry us, who also led our pre-marital counseling sessions, too. We both felt so comfortable in his presence and it made our ceremony that much more intimate and personal. We spent our honeymoon in Italy and decided to re-read our vows to each other while we were in Rome. (We were both so nervous standing up in front of everyone that it was hard to remember every single word the other said!) Hearing them again felt as special as it did the first time. That ended up being one of the most special parts of our trip. Here’s a line from Austin’s: “No matter what we plan, or what life throws at us, I will do whatever it takes—no matter how hard—to make you feel loved. A person as amazing as you deserves nothing less than that, and I am the luckiest man in the world to be able to give that to you.” And here’s a line from mine: “Today, as I stand here in front of you, I am still captivated by your selfless, humble, caring and respectful nature as I was the day I fell in love with you. Your heart is the biggest I know. It loves unconditionally and without hesitation. It is forgiving and kind. It always seeks to find the beauty in my madness, and most of all, it loves me for me.”

One of the sweetest moments of the day was when our nieces and nephews screamed, “We’re officially cousins now!” Austin and I are both crazy lucky that our families have grown so close over the years, and on our wedding day it really felt like we were all one big happy family. Both of our parents were beaming with happiness and it made our wedding day that much more special seeing their smiling (and sometimes crying!) faces.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had both a string quartet for our ceremony and a live band for our reception. We kept it pretty traditional for the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and we recessed to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” There is just something about those recognizable songs that just tug at your heart strings. We entered the reception to “You Make My Dreams Come True” by Hall & Oates (one of my all-time favorites!). Our first dance was “Tupelo Honey” by Van Morrison. We both felt like that was a song we could see ourselves dancing to in the kitchen when we are both old and grey. It is such a classic song that I’ll never get tired of hearing. For our last dance, we chose “If I Should Fall Behind” by Bruce Springsteen.
What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? For our five-tier wedding cake, Austin and I chose traditional white wedding cake, lemon cake, strawberry cake, and coconut cake with decadent buttercream frosting. For Austin’s groom’s cake he chose chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! I often make sugar cookies for holidays and parties, so I thought it would mean a lot to our guests to make some for the wedding. I made 150 iced sugar cookies in the shape of the state of Oklahoma as a take-home gift (and included a print out of my recipe, too!). As stressful as it may sound, it helped take my mind off of things the week of the wedding—even if it was just for a moment.

Photographer: Emily Ann Hughes Photography | Videographer: Glorious Day Films | Planner: Blair Sims Events | Ceremony Venue: The Great Reading Room in Bizzell Memorial Library | Reception Venue: Molly Shi Boren Ballroom at the University of Oklahoma | Florist: Poppy Lane Design | Wedding Cake: Amy Cakes | Caterer: The University of Oklahoma | Rentals and Lighting: Mood Party Rentals | Band: Drive | String Quartet: Norman String Quartet | Bride’s Gown: “Janessa” by Enzoani from Bridal Boutique | Jacket: “Luna” by Lee-Ann Belter | Bride’s Veil: Alisa Brides | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Chelsey Ann Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: “Barby” by Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Mayan Blue by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar Morgan reply

    How did you get in contact with someone to get married in the great reading room ? That’s my friends dream and I would love to help her fulfill it! Your wedding was gorgeous!

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