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I share an alma mater (the University of Texas–hook ’em!) with today’s bride and groom, Alison and Andrew, and I’m sure I speak for many Longhorns when I say that it is tremendously easy to fall in love with Austin. The city also set the stage for Alison and Andrew’s love story, so it was a natural fit when it came time to choose the location for their wedding! After Alison and her bridesmaids got ready for the day at the iconic Hotel St. Cecelia, she and Andrew were married at Laguna Gloria, which they chose for its view of Lake Austin–one of their favorite places to spend time together. I’m sure that any of their guests who traveled in for the celebration loved getting a taste of the incredible place where Alison and Andrew fell in love!

Thank you so much to Clark Brewer for sharing this beautiful day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We love spending time on Lake Austin, and Laguna Gloria has a beautiful view of the lake.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. We wanted to take all of our photos before the wedding so we could enjoy the cocktail hour with our guests!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our readings were a September 8, 1869 letter written by Mark Twain to Olivia Langdon (no relation to me) in anticipation of their own wedding and “A Blessing for a Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman.

Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers were composed of peonies, ranunculus, lily of the valley, dahlias, parrot tulips, garden roses, lisianthus, lilac, dusty miller, bay laurel, seeded eucalyptus, olive, and a trailing jasmine vine.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was toasted coconut with vanilla buttercream.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends while attending The University of Texas.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace that was made for my grandmother for her wedding. It was also worn by my mother, aunts, and cousins on their wedding days.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? There were tornado warnings and major flooding the day before our wedding.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My good friend Jane of Carolyn Jane Design designed our save the dates, wedding invitations, programs, and menu!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to traveling to Italy this fall for our honeymoon.

Photographer: Clark Brewer | Planner: 36th Street Events | Ceremony Venue: Laguna Gloria | Reception Venue and Caterer: Westwood Country Club Austin | Florist: Posey Floral and Event Design | Cake Baker: Michelle’s Patisserie | Rentals: Loot and Bee Lavish | Lighting: Illios | Band: The Motts | Paper Products: Carolyn Jane Designs | Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera | Hair Stylist: Salon Hush | Makeup Artist: Donna Bruns | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom’s Attire: Billy Reid

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    I love how effortlessly classic this wedding is, while brining the funk from Austin in, in the details!

  2. avatar Alison & Andrew | Clark Brewer Photography reply

    […] See more from Alison & Andrew’s wedding on Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar 36th Street Events reply

    Thank you for sharing our work!!

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Sara and Lee’s Georgia wedding is pure and simple Southern goodness that will have me swooning for quite a few days! While I love bright colors just as much as the next girl, there is something so refreshing and romantic about their muted palette and classically styled reception under the twinkle light-draped tent at The Taylor Grady House. Let’s not even get started on Sara’s dreamy Hayley Paige ballgown–that tulle skirt! All the heart eyes, y’all! Of course, the beauty of their wedding day cannot overshadow the sweet nods to their family they incorporated throughout their day, like the pecan brittle favors in honor of Lee’s late father.

Big SW hugs to our darling Blue Ribbon Vendor Anna K Photography for sharing Sara and Lee’s pretty day with us!

We met at work, when we happened to sit next to each other at a farewell happy hour for a coworker. We mostly talked about Georgia football. A week later, Lee sent a follow-up email reminding me of the deadline to apply for UGA season tickets, and it happened to be Valentine’s Day. I thought I was having a pretty bad Valentine’s Day so far, as I had gotten into a car accident earlier that morning. But then Lee told me that he had just returned home from a business trip and discovered that his house had been broken into and, unbeknownst to him, the thieves stole the spare key to his car and came back to steal it the night Lee returned home! After an epic email exchange that transpired over the following weeks, we went on our first date: test driving cars. Most of the salesmen during our test drives that day probably thought we had been together forever since we were “shopping” for cars together, so there was a really fun dynamic to the date. After the last dealership closed, Lee asked me to dinner and drinks at one of the most romantic restaurants in town, Canoe. Before the date was over, Lee proposed something crazy: a vacation. He told me that if I could clear three days the following week, he’d plan the rest. Next thing we knew, we were off to St. Lucia for a whirlwind of a five-day third date. It was a complete leap of faith and something neither of us had ever done before. The rest is history!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Oh, trying on dresses was so much fun! I tried on a variety of different styles, but kept daydreaming of the big, traditional, princess-style wedding gowns. The trick was to find one that would fit in with our tented outdoor reception in Athens, Georgia. I finally felt like a bride when I tried on a gorgeous Hayley Paige creation: a full-skirted gown with generous ruffles made of sculptural tulle with horsehair trim and a crossover sweetheart neckline with a natural-waisted silk radzimir bodice. My dad and I initially joked that the ruffles looked a little like tissues, so we affectionately dubbed the dress the “Napkin Dress!” I tried on a few more styles, but the night after I tried on the Napkin Dress, I stayed up until 4:00 a.m. staring at pictures of it. I knew it was the one!

A string quartet played at our ceremony. The soft sounds of the strings complimented our traditional choices, including Handel’s “Water Music-Air” for the seating of the mothers, Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” for the processional, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” for the bride’s processional, and Handel’s “Water Music-Hornpipe” for the recessional. Lee fell in love with “Canon in D” early in the engagement, so using that for my processional was very special. I’ll never forget hearing the quartet playing the first few notes as I waited outside of the Chapel doors with my dad before walking down the aisle!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? After the ceremony, Lee and I snuck to the side of the Chapel to enjoy a few moments alone and soak in the fact that we had just become Mr. and Mrs.! It was so nice to slow down and catch up after being apart for the whole day. I also got to show Lee the engraving inside his wedding band, which I secretly had done in the weeks leading up to the wedding. I engraved his ring with our wedding date and the phrase, “Forever Your Bunny,” which is our pet name for each other. Seeing his face after showing the engraving to him is a moment I will never forget!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Lee’s father passed away, so we wanted to honor him and make him a part of the day by hand-making his famous pecan brittle recipe with Georgia pecans for our wedding favors. Lee helped his dad make the pecan brittle when he was a little boy, and he continues to make it for family and friends at Christmas. We packaged the pecan brittle, labeled them “Dad’s Pecan Brittle,” and set them on a table with a photograph of Lee’s dad.

One of the biggest money-savers was the fact that the Taylor Grady House let us bring in our own alcohol! We were able to set up a full bar and had a separate bourbon bar comprised of bourbons from Lee’s prized collection. Not only did the freedom to bring our own alcohol bring down the cost, but it allowed us to incorporate Lee’s passion for bourbon and share some of his favorites with our friends and family!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our head table was a dream come true. At 32 feet long, it seated all of our bridal party and their dates. My favorite floral detail was the lush garland that ran down the entire length of the table and had tall, white candles tucked in throughout. The head table also had beautiful place cards with Sarah Ingram’s romantic and organic calligraphy and copper wax seals with a custom logo that Sarah created for us! Sarah’s calligraphy also appeared on the menus set out at each place setting. The head table was everything I had ever dreamed of and more!

Anyone in Athens knows Cecila Villaveces’ Cakes! Our three-tier wedding cake was a vanilla cake with strawberry filling, but the real treat was the Tres Leches cake (vanilla cake soaked with special milks and fresh strawberries) that had to be served from a sheet cake, since it’s too spongy to hold up in tiers!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Be intentional about the vendors you choose to surround yourself with on your wedding day. In most cases, they’ll be with you for more of the day than you’ll be with your future husband! The best vendors will immediately click with you, will know your aesthetic better than you do, and will get things done even when you didn’t think it was possible. And, no matter how stressed you get, know that it’ll all melt away by the time your rehearsal dinner starts. At that point, all of your friends and family will be there ready to celebrate you, and you’ll feel such love and support and joy the second those festivities start!

Tell us all about the proposal! We went to Washington, D.C. for the weekend to attend a party hosted by my brother and sister-in-law. The day after the party, we planned to tour some of the museums and monuments. We were moving slowly after the party, and I remember that Lee didn’t say anything when I took a little longer getting ready and curling my hair for the day. We set out to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and stared at all of the breathtaking gems in the The Janet Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology, Gems and Minerals, including the Hope Diamond. Lee joked that I shouldn’t get any ideas from walking through the exhibit! When the museums closed, we walked through the National Mall. After walking nearly nine miles all day (me in my 4-inch booties!), we reached the Jefferson Memorial, Lee’s favorite. We walked around the Memorial, and then Lee brought me down to the tidal basin. He held both of my hands, dropped to his knee, and proposed! Mid-proposal, a middle school sports team swarmed the Jefferson Memorial and began cheering for us and taking pictures. After we soaked it all in for a few moments, Lee pulled me back to the spot where he proposed, told me to look behind me at the Jefferson Memorial, to look ahead at the Washington Monument, and to look right at the White House. He told me to remember the exact spot, because in twenty years, when we return with our family, we’ll be able to visit the exact spot where he proposed and would be able to do so for the rest of our lives.
When did y’all get married? September 12, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 135
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Lee and I are both Double Dawgs, having attended the University of Georgia for both undergrad and law school. We wanted to share Athens, Georgia with our family and friends, so when we found out the Chapel on North Campus was available, we jumped at the opportunity. We are season ticket holders and return to Athens every fall for football games. We love that we’ll be able to walk by the place where we got married year after year when we return to the Classic City. We chose the Taylor Grady House for our reception.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We said traditional vows. There is something so sacred, beautiful, and romantic about speaking the same words as generations of couples who have made this commitment before us.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We included the Prayer of St. Francis to honor my dad’s Catholic faith.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our officiant, Reverend Jonathan Spencer, throughout our engagement for marriage prep sessions. We loved making time to be intentional about our relationship and our marriage. We always walked away from our meetings feeling more connected and grounded to the things that truly mattered!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The hardest thing for me to do was to know when to stop searching for inspiration. There are so many beautiful magazines, blogs, Instagram accounts, and Pinterest boards that are wonderful during the initial planning stages and can be a real help when interviewing potential vendors to communicate your vision and aesthetic. At some point, though, I began feeling overwhelmed with all of the options and let my magazines stack up…which just made me feel more stressed about not being able to check off reading the magazines from my to do list! I relied so heavily on the support of my planner, Marilisa Schachinger of Chancey Charm. She helped move me along throughout the whole planning process when I’d get bogged down by certain details. Marilisa was SUCH a blessing and helped me trust my gut and make decisions!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I had an incredible team of vendors that truly became my friends throughout the engagement. I was very intentional about selecting folks who not only had the aesthetic I was looking for, but–more importantly–were good people who were enthusiastic about what they do and were excited to be a part of our wedding day. The very first decision I made was to hire my photographer, Anna Shackleford of Anna K. Photography. I found her through Southern Weddings and, as soon as I read on her Blue Ribbon Vendor profile that she “specialized in happy brides,” I knew I had to meet her. She invited me to her beautiful home for our first meeting, and even surprised me with a Christmas gift of the most recent Southern Weddings magazine and a Starbucks gift card to get a tasty treat while I perused the magazine for inspiration! Anna truly set the bar for everyone else I worked with–she was so patient, kind, supportive, and genuinely excited for us. Anna constantly surprised us with little (and some not-so-little) gifts throughout our engagement and beyond. Having Anna with me throughout our wedding day felt like having an old friend there, who happened to create beautiful images, keep things on schedule, and could corral an entire, crazy family!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re settling into our new home in Atlanta, Georgia! We are looking forward to having friends and family over for dinner parties, special celebrations and holidays. We’re also thrilled to spend time together without the stress of wedding planning. I can’t tell you how many nights we’ve been sitting on the couch and just look over at the other and say that we can’t believe how lucky we are to have found each other and that we’re actually married!

Photographer: Anna K Photography | Videographer: Rusticus Films | Planner: Chancey Charm | Ceremony Venue: University of Georgia Chapel | Reception Venue: Taylor Grady House | Florist: Martha McIntosh Creative Consulting | Wedding Cake Baker: Cecilia Villaveces Cakes | Caterer: home.made | Rentals and Lighting: Goodwin Events | Band: The Answer Band | Custom Map: Natalie Kilgore | Paper Products: Sarah Ingram | Bride’s Gown: “Londyn” by Hayley Paige | Bridal Salon: The White Magnolia | Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel | Hair Stylist: Tame | Makeup Artist: Becca Whitwinghill | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Lilac by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss Red Label | Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Ribbon: Silk and Willow | Ceremony Music: Cobalt Strings

Anna K is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
5 Comments
  1. avatar Marilisa Schachinger reply

    Aw thanks for sharing SW! It was such a pleasure to work with Sara on her wedding and we so appreciate you featuring it here! Now if we could all get our hands on some pralines to snack on while reading the feature ;)

  2. avatar Emily reply

    What a gorgeous gown!!

  3. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    Thank you so very much for featuring this stunning wedding. Marilisa did such a great job working with these clients, and we are just thrilled to have been included. Anna killed it with these iamges!

  4. avatar Sara Clayton reply

    YAY!!!! Thank you so much for the feature!!! It’s so fun to relive our special day when reading this. We wouldn’t have these stunning images if it weren’t for Southern Weddings, which is how I found Anna Shackleford. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!!

  5. avatar Audrey Eshman reply

    It was such a gorgeous wedding, and Sara was stunning! So glad that her special day is being shared!

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One of the most fun aspects of working at Southern Weddings is seeing firsthand just how many ways there are to have a “Southern wedding.” From classic ballroom celebrations to rustic ranch soirées and everything in between, Southerners embrace so many distinct styles! One look that we don’t see too often is colorful, Southwestern-inspired weddings, which is why I immediately fell head over heels for the way Alicia and Ian celebrated their marriage. They dreamed up an outdoor wedding full of their favorite Tex Mex details (y’all, they even had a queso bar!) and only the traditions that meant the most to them as a couple. They also did an amazing job of showing their guests the utmost in Southern hospitality–be sure to take a peek at their advice about this below!

Thank you so much to Archetype Studio for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look despite my reservations about it. I loved the idea of Ian seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle, but in reality, I didn’t want to spend any time after the ceremony posing for pictures. Once the ceremony started, I wanted the evening to be about the wedding, the celebration, and being around the people we love rather than the photos.

Ian and I knew that we wanted to get married outside in San Antonio in the fall. I wanted to get married in Ian’s parent’s backyard, but Ian wanted to get married at the McNay Art Museum. We compromised, deciding to have the rehearsal dinner in his parent’s backyard and the wedding at the museum. They’re both beautiful outdoor locations, but the museum’s architecture more closely matched our Tex Mex-inspired vision.

We wrote our own vows and it was probably my favorite part of the entire wedding. I think about them and carry them with me in my heart. I have two favorite lines from our vows. From Ian’s: “I promise to always nurture your dreams and help you exceed your goals. I promise to always listen and always comfort you, in the best of times or the blurst of times.” Not only is his promise to help me exceed my goals and comfort me critical to our daily life, but “the blurst of times” is a reference to a Simpson’s joke, and it always makes me smile when I think about it. It’s such a classic Ian joke, and I love it. From mine: “I promise to remember that the quality of our inner life together is more important than anything I can create or accomplish in the outer world.” I think about this line from my vows nearly every day. It really resonates with me because I’m a determined attorney in Manhattan practicing criminal law, and I have to remind myself that the greatest accomplishment, the greatest privilege, and the greatest responsibility in my life is the happiness of my marriage to Ian. Living my vows is the best homage to pay our beautiful wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start with the macro, the bigger goals. For Ian and I, we started with the ultimate goal of wanting our wedding to be easy on our guests. We didn’t want our guests to feel that a lot was expected of them monetarily or in terms of their time, and we wanted the people we love to really feel that love. With that main goal in mind, all the other questions were easy to answer–yes to ceremony and reception at same venue, no to a seated dinner with pre-planned meal, yes to a great variety of food and seating options, yes to transportation being provided, and no to a wedding party and the expectations that go along with it. It’s easy to get caught up in the frame of mind that, “This is MY day,” or, “This is what I want,” which sometimes leads to cutting things guests enjoy. But, if you get to live with the love of your life forever, you’re getting your way every day. Make the celebration about the people who taught you how to love, and the day will be even more special for everyone.

Describe your wedding flowers. We had a fresh and bright, watercolor-ombre, Southwestern palette with a fusion of cacti, succulents, and soft-petalled blooms in every shade of pink (except peach) peonies, garden roses, dahlias, and ranunculus. Our wedding flowers were out of this world.

Most of our wedding details were south Texan with Mexican flavor. Our save the dates were a hand-drawn watercolor of a man’s bullfighting/mariachi jacket and a woman’s embroidered dress, fabulously painted by a college friend of mine. The decor on the tables at the reception included Mexican textile runners and geometric brass terrariums. Our south Texan-inspired food included fried quail with jalapeno gravy, hand-pressed gorditas, avocado halves stuffed with shrimp, ceviche, or vegetables, and a table dedicated to queso, a melted Mexican cheese dip.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was vanilla with caramel filling and a vanilla buttercream frosting. The design was classic and simple in white with the wedding flowers on and around it. We also had a groom’s cake, which was a collection of about 15 chocolate cakes decorated as cacti.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ian and I went to high school together in San Antonio, Texas in the early 2000s. We became friends over instant messenger my sophomore year of high school (Ian’s junior year), and were on the cusp of becoming romantic when I went abroad to Spain during my junior year. That year, we religiously kept in touch over phone and email, and Ian planned to visit me for his senior year spring break. He booked tickets and reserved a hotel room, and then, the day before his flight, terrorists attacked Madrid. Ian cancelled his trip and we lost our momentum. Over the five years that followed, we both dated other people, we both went to undergrad in Southern California, and both periodically kept in touch. After graduating from undergrad, we also both happened to move to Austin. I had just sworn off of eternally pining for Ian, but within a week of both living in Austin, we were dating. We moved to New Orleans together so I could attend law school, then moved to New York. We dated for six years before getting engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! One frigid day (March 7, 2015, to be exact), I dragged Ian to a brunch with me and about a dozen of my girlfriends in SoHo. I had been misinformed and didn’t know that none of their boyfriends were coming to brunch, but we had a ball. Afterwards, we walked across Washington Square Park to get a cab home, and Ian just took the ring out of his front jean pocket, held it up, and said, “Wanna get married?” like it was no big deal. Of course, I said yes! We called the girlfriends we had just been at brunch with, met at a bar in West Village, and celebrated all day into the night. Neither Ian nor I like formality or over-the-top gestures, so it was true to us and, in my opinion, that made it perfect.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ian and I were only having a six-month engagement, so I couldn’t spend a lot of time searching for a wedding dress (which I wasn’t sad about). I’m really not into shopping, so I knew I could only go to one or two stores before starting to hate the experience. Based on some internet research, I knew I wanted my dress to be from an Israeli designer because I loved several Israeli brands online, especially the lace they used. I brought one of my best girlfriends to a boutique on the upper east side of Manhattan, where they carried several Israeli designers. I tried on about seven dresses and narrowed it down to two. I went home to sleep on it and realized the next morning that one of them was much more “me,” and the other was more who I wished I was. I went back to the store the next day to put down my deposit.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In writing our own vows, we really had to reflect on who we were, our weaknesses, and what was important to promise to each other for all time. Confronting those things with love in front of your guests is very powerful and freeing. Saying every line sincerely and not for show or because everyone has that specific thing at their ceremony makes you really think about what’s important and relevant to your unique relationship.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? After dating for about six years and knowing each other for 12 years, Ian and I knew exactly what we wanted: a short engagement, a small(ish) wedding in San Antonio, and lots of delicious Tex Mex at the reception. However, our biggest challenge was picking the venue and the date. We had a six-week window in which we wanted to have the wedding, and we wanted to accommodate our family and friend’s schedules. It worked out that Halloween was the best date for most people, and the venue was available. I wasn’t thrilled to get married on Halloween, but it ultimately became a very special part of our wedding. Our niece and nephews dressed up, making everyone laugh.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We decided not to have a videographer. We frequently see wedding videos on social media of people we only distantly know, and we wanted our wedding experience to be somewhat private–only for us and the guests we invited. We wanted to remember the events the way they happened, and not through the eye of a camera.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After such a fun wedding and honeymoon in South Africa and Mozambique, we’re looking forward to traveling more together, including traveling to attend our friends’ weddings.

Photographer: Archetype Studio | Planner: Sweet August Events | Venue and Lighting: The McNay Art Museum | Florist: Clementine | Cake Baker: Cakes by Cathy Young | Caterer: Don Strange Ranch | Rentals: Aztec USA and Luxe Event Decor | Band: The Royal Dukes | Special Details: Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop | Paper Products: Girl General | Bride’s Gown: “Veronica” by Flora | Bride’s Veil: L’Fay Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: Bloomingdale’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Madame Make-Up and Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Groom’s Attire: Club Monaco and Cole Haan

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Adrienna reply

    Oh wow, those succulent cupcakes are SO CUTE!

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