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I have a little bit of a habit of calling dibs on introducing y’all to Texas weddings–from ranch celebrations to stylish downtown soirées, I love them all! Melissa and John’s wedding is certainly no exception, especially when I spotted Melissa’s gorgeous Amsale gown and read about the Tex Mex-inspired details she and John included in their day (a nod to the Cinco de Mayo party that kicked off their relationship). I love that, as a result, their wedding day was completely elegant, but undeniably fun–surely, a perfect fit for these Texan sweethearts!

Thanks so much to Elisabeth Carol for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

My something borrowed was a pair of Jude Francis earrings from one of my best friends. My something blue was my monogram stitched on a garter that also included the monogram of a best friend who was married in April 2014. We will continue this tradition until all our friends are married! My something old were pictures of my grandparents in framed charms. Both sets of my grandparents are no longer with me, and these charms were pinned to my bouquet. Lastly, my something new was my Jimmy Choo shoes. I can’t wait to wear them again on anniversaries and special occasions.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My sister-in-law sent me a picture of a dress she saw, and I instantly fell in love. My mom, sister, and I had plans to go dress shopping in Dallas the weekend before Thanksgiving, when we would all be together. The bridal department in Neiman Marcus agreed to ship the dress from their Chicago store, so we started there. It was the first dress I tried on, but I knew I wanted to try on lots more in various styles. After trying on twenty or so, I put the first dress back on and knew it was the one. We purchased the dress and cancelled the rest of my bridal appointments. Ironically, it was November 21, 2014 when I said “yes” to my dress. It was so fun knowing that in exactly one year, I would be wearing this dress down the aisle!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? This was one of the hardest decisions for me while wedding planning. I had always imagined the church doors opening and seeing my husband for the first time, but after a lot of thought, we decided to do a first look. The sun was going to set early on our November wedding date and I knew I wanted pictures together outside! Additionally, I wanted to remember our vows at the altar–I knew I would be too nervous if I waited until the ceremony to see John. The first look allowed us to spend a good amount of time together on our wedding day and share the true emotion with each other when seeing one another for the first time.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My childhood friend read Colossians 3:12-14. It was so special to include her in our ceremony, because we grew up together, attending the same church and church camp. She and her husband will be a special part of our marriage going forward, and a couple who will hold us accountable to the reading we selected for our ceremony.

We decided to get married in Houston because it was such a special part of our relationship over our four years of dating! It also simplified the wedding planning process to get married in the city we were living in. We got married at the church John grew up in because it was important to us to get married in the church we would eventually raise a family in. Because my family is not from Houston, I wanted all our venues to be close by, to make it easier on our guests. I loved the traditional setting and classic decor of the Houston Country Club.

Describe your wedding flowers. We had all shades of white and ivory with dark green and touches of lime. I chose loose and airy, garden-style arrangements with lots of texture. I also wanted flowers that went with the season. The flowers included hydrangeas, eskimo roses, polo roses, majolica spray roses, and tulips. For the touch of green, the florist added trick dianthus, viburnum, and magnolia leaves. She also included seasonal blooming branches and curly willow for some texture.

My wedding cake was a four-tiered classic white cake with fresh flowers in between each layer. John’s groom’s cake was a chocolate square base with a replica of Texas A&M’s football helmets. The SEC logo was even included on his cake!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Mexican fiesta flair we incorporated into our reception was a fun reminder of John’s first trip to Austin for my Cinco De Mayo party back in 2011. I got ready in a white Mi Golondrina dress, which was hand-stitched in Mexico. John and his wedding party wore colorful suspenders made in Mexico and South America. A mariachi band entertained guests during the cocktail hour of our reception. John’s signature drink was a Cuba Libra: rum and Coke with fresh lime. Colorful flower crowns and maracas were brought out to the dance floor when the dance party started–even the band’s female saxophonist grabbed one! Guests launched colorful confetti before John and I left in a golf cart decorated in bright Mexican paper flowers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I attended rival colleges. When we met, he had just graduated from Texas A&M and I had another year and a half at The University of Texas. John’s high school friend was dating my college best friend, and they invited us both to Galveston, Texas for a beach weekend! I can still remember the first time I saw John. We had such a great weekend with friends, but parted ways on Sunday. A year later, the same friends invited us both back to Galveston again, and this time, we really hit it off. Before parting ways on Sunday, John asked for my number and I don’t think we have gone a day without speaking since. John was living in his hometown of Houston, and I still had a semester left of college in Austin. We were unsure if anything would come of our relationship, due to the distance. My best friends devised a plan that I would host a Cinco de Mayo party at my house and we would invite John to Austin to visit. John accepted the invitation and came in for the weekend. We continued to visit each other, and eventually agreed to date long distance. I graduated in December 2011 and accepted a job in Houston. Both John and Houston became very special to me as I settled into adult life.
Tell us all about the proposal! John had planned to surprise me after work on one particular Friday night in October 2014. I almost ruined his entire proposal plan when I, unexpectedly, finished work early that day. John usually leaves the office an hour before me on Fridays, so I’m sure he was in full-on panic mode when I told him I was heading home. Once home, I decided to go for a run around my neighborhood. When I got back, John’s car was parked outside. I opened the front door, and there was John on one knee. I was so sweaty and so surprised! We spent some time soaking in the moment before calling our family and friends to share the good news. John had made reservations for us at a restaurant I was dying to try, and told me we would meet up with friends at our favorite bar afterwards to celebrate. After dinner, John insisted we go home and drop off the flowers that he surprised me with at dinner. I was anxious to meet up with my best friends, but agreed. We turned onto the street, and in the middle of it, our closest friends and family were standing there holding a huge sign that said, “Congrats John and Mel!” He had a planned an engagement party and thought to invite our closest friends and family. The next day, we headed to the beach with the couple that introduced us. It was so fun being back where it all started!
When did y’all get married? November 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? John and I instituted weekly date nights, which is something we want to have in our marriage too! Some weeks, it was just a quick, weeknight meal, while other weeks, it was a planned outing. We set a rule that we couldn’t talk about the wedding during this time. This was hard for me! Life will get busy and we hope weekly dates will help us slow down and enjoy time with just each other and no other distractions.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The sweetest detail from our wedding was incorporating a special moment during our ceremony to honor John’s late father. When John and his brother walked their mother down the aisle to seat her, they first went up to the altar and lit a candle in his memory, which burned throughout our ceremony. John’s family could look past John and his brother, who was his best man, and see the candle burning behind them. It was a sweet reminder that his father was with us on our wedding day. We gifted John’s mother with a lantern to hold the candle after the wedding as a keepsake.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many to choose from! John and I would have to agree that our last dance of the night was the most memorable moment of our wedding day (probably because we were on the biggest high from the night)! While the guests were lining up for our reception exit, John and I shared a private dance together. I don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life or felt so loved. We had just danced the night away surrounded by our family and friends, and then having one last moment for just the two of us for a dance to the band’s encore was unforgettable.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We loved that the holidays fell right after our wedding. It was so fun making new traditions and holiday memories together. We plan to squeeze in as many weekend getaways we can throughout the year, but our calendar is packed full with engagement celebrations and weddings. We are looking forward to celebrating these wonderful friends in 2016.

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol | Videographer: Philip Harbuck | Planner: Sarah Bett | Ceremony Venue: Chapelwood United Methodist Church | Reception Venue, Florist, and Caterer: Houston Country Club | Cake Baker: Susie’s Cakes | Linen Rentals: Aztec | Chair Rentals: A Finer Event | Lighting: Intelligent Lighting Design | Band: Password Band | Save the Dates: Clara Doyle Designs | Custom Stamps: Zazzle | Invitations: October Ink | Calligraphy: The Southern Inkwell | Reception Signage: Little Carbao Studio | Monogram Designs: Mallory Hope | Bride’s Gown: “Lenox” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: Neiman Marcus Dallas | Hair Stylist: Albert Dominguez of The Hairdressers | Makeup Artist: Jennifer Aronson | Bride’s Shoes: “Isabel” in Champagne Glitter by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elena” in Silver Bells by Joanna August | Menswear: Jos. A Bank | Photo Booth: Texas Party Booth | Custom Water Bottles: Papellerie | Confetti Launcher Sticks: Flutterfetti | Wedding Programs and Welcome Boxes: Well Wish Tree Paper Goods | Favors: DGZ Chocolates

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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Libby and Matt’s interview is so full of insight into how they planned for not only their wedding day, but also for their marriage, with intentionality and joy. There is no better a place to show this than during the ceremony! Knowing what a big deal it is to promise your life to someone, Libby and Matt chose to say traditional vows in front of their friends and family, and then personal vows privately during communion. From Matt protecting Libby from spiders, to Libby promising to dance with Matt “anytime, anywhere,” I love that these two wrote vows that reflected their commitment to each other and their relationship, as well as a peek into the fun that they want to carry into married life.

Thank you to Lynnsey Catron for sharing this sweet Kentucky day with us!

I thought I would try on a billion dresses and have a hard time finding “the one.” I ended up only trying on about ten! I was trying to decide between two lace gowns when my soon-to-be mother-in-law pointed to another dress and remarked about how different it was. I tried it on for fun and ended up loving it! It was so different than what I had imagined, but it far exceeded what I could have ever dreamed up!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided not to see each other before the ceremony. Matt in particular felt strongly about not seeing each other until I walked down the aisle. We are so happy that we went with tradition! We did exchange gifts without seeing each other earlier in the day. We got to hold hands and I’ll never forget the feeling. As hard as it was not being able to see each other until later in the day, the anticipation made the walk down the aisle so surreal! There was so much weight and meaning behind that first time seeing each other–it was the culmination of everything we had been through and hoped for!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My grandma read Ephesians 4:32: “Be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you,” and Ephesians 5:1: “Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.” This was so special because these verses are also my grandparents’ marriage verses. They have been married for over 50 years!

We recited traditional vows in front of our guests during the ceremony. Later, after a time of worship and communion, we read our personal vows to each other privately. This was our favorite and definitely the most emotional time of the ceremony! Promising your life to someone is BIG, but we both had such certainty and peace. My favorite part of Matt’s vows was when he promised to always protect me, especially from spiders. Matt’s favorite part of my vows was when I promised to scratch his neck in the car and to always dance with him, anytime, anywhere.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Two of our friends sang “In Christ Alone,” accompanied by a three-piece string section, while our wedding party processed. My dad walked me down the aisle to “The Butterfly Waltz” by Brian Crain. It sounds like the perfect garden party music–so pretty! One of my bridesmaids sang “Ever Be” by Bethel during our time of communion and personal vows. We love that song and it perfectly explains the relationship we get to have with our Heavenly Father! And finally, we celebrated to Beyonce’s “Love on Top” for the recessional because nothing says “WE’RE MARRIED!!” like Beyonce.

We included lots of Southern traditions in our wedding! We got ready in a beautiful Antebellum-style house with the original furnishings. Our wedding party was huge–the more friends and family included, the better! Our programs doubled as fans for the warm weather that accompanies a summer garden wedding in Kentucky. And most Southern of all: we had a HUGE BBQ dinner! We served brisket, barbecue chicken, mac and cheese, green beans, and sweet tea. Theres nothing more Southern than that!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Matt and I took a walk around the Whitehall gardens one evening after hearing how beautiful the venue is. I didn’t expect to get emotional over a garden, but we could both see our wedding day taking place there and it was so dreamy! There was such peace and joy in that decision; we didn’t even really look at other venues!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was definitely the last minute details. We (cough cough Libby) found ourselves trying to add “just one more” detail on top of one more detail. With the stress of wanting everything to be just right, it was a challenge not to get caught up in the tiniest decisions. The only way to overcome this challenge was to gain some perspective. In 50 years, Matt and I won’t remember if each table had the same excessive number of votive candles. Instead, we will remember what it felt like to spend an entire day celebrating our commitment to each other and making our guests feel welcomed and loved.

Don’t miss Libby and Matt’s highlights film by Bryan Starr Cinematography below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Matt and I met in 2008 when he became friends with my brother through school and baseball. We met again in the summer of 2013 when we were both asked to lead a Bible study for high school students. We got together one day to discuss what the year of Bible study might look like, and ended up talking for four hours. From that point on, we were inseparable and became best friends. I was apprehensive to date due to past experiences, but Matt continued to pursue me with consistency, gentleness, and patience. We began dating months later and the Lord used Matt to re-align my misconstrued idea of love with Godly love and pursuit. Somewhere along the way, I became certain that he was the one I would spend my life with–the best feeling in the world!
Tell us all about the proposal! Matt and I got engaged on November 1, 2014. Matt picked me up for dinner, which he had made himself, complete with roses, candles, and appetizers. After dinner, Matt suggested we go to our favorite spot, a gazebo in historic Middletown Park. We had spent time there dreaming about a future together at the beginning of our relationship and had re-visited the gazebo on special occasions. These visits usually involved slow dancing and being silly together. The night of the engagement, I almost didn’t get out of the car (It was FREEZING outside and I had a dress on!) but Matt wanted to dance (and propose, unbeknownst to me), so I agreed. We danced and Matt told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend our lives together. He got on one knee and asked me to marry him! I said YES and cried like a baby. Afterwards, Matt took me to my parents’ house to tell them the news, where I was surprised by a full house of family and friends! He had even gotten my sister from Florida and one of my best friends from Alabama there to celebrate. Cue even more crying like a baby. It was the best night!
When did y’all get married? August 2, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Matt and I did premarital counseling through our church and met with mentors as our wedding day approached. We also did some at-home counseling through a study called “Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts” by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott. It helped us keep our focus on the importance of the marriage that follows the excitement of the wedding day. We found that we learned a lot about each other and really enjoyed the time we put in to paving the way for a healthy and God-honoring marriage!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My bridesmaids were amazing. They would come over for movie nights and sit on the floor putting programs together or helping to assemble table numbers. I would have been far more stressed and spent far more money without them! The same goes for my mom! She is an expert planner and is so good at organizing the tiniest details, which helped save so much money. I would have been lost without her! I made our “Husband” and “Wife” chair signs and our “Just Married” sign for the getaway car. We were blessed with lots of family friends who volunteered to set our reception tables and they did an amazing job. Serving dinner buffet-style instead of plate service helped save money too.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just relax and have fun! Remember that what happens after the wedding in your marriage is the most important thing. Marriage is a gift and the time spent planning for it is special and unique! Also, definitely spend time finding a photographer/videographer that will capture the day perfectly for you. Looking back is so fun! And just remind yourself that you get to take a vacation with your best friend when it’s all over :)
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We would love to spend some time traveling in the next few years! Europe is on the top of our list but we would also love to take a trip down the coast of California on Highway 1. We dream about having a big family with lots of babies! And no matter where we are, we want to do ministry and love on people the way we have been loved!

Photographer: Lynnesy Catron | Videographer: Bryan Starr Cinematography | Planner: Aletia Thompson, Debbie Weiss, and Sally Parks | Venue: Whitehall Mansion and Gardens | Florist: Country Squire Florist | Cake Baker: Lady A Cakes | Caterer: Bootleg BBQ | Rentals and Lighting: Reliable Rental | DJ: HAY DJ | Calligraphy: Anna K. Ashley | Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: “River” by Blush by Hayley Paige | Bride’s Veil: “Stella” by Sara Gabriel | Hair Stylist: Hali Breitenstein of Hali B & Co. Salon | Makeup Artist: Bethany Tiesman of BEAUTY by Bethany | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style B2078 in New Shell Pink by B2 by Jasmine | String Musicians: Highland Chamber Players

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding: Libby & Matt » Lynnesy Catron Photography reply

    […] seen on Southern Weddings, Libby and Matt’s day was breathtaking.  I could go on and on about how beautiful the […]

  2. avatar Kristin reply

    Would you be able to please tell me where Libby and Matt got their framed seating chart? Thank you!

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In her interview below, Madeleine says, “Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.” I imagine that this core belief she and Caleb share is what informed so many decisions as they planned their Tennessee wedding! From their choice to do a first look, to the understated, but incredibly lovely, details that they selected to bring their vision to life, Madeleine and Caleb’s top priority throughout their engagement (and on their wedding day!) was focusing on what matters most to them: being in the presence of the people they love.

Thanks so much to Kristin Sweeting for sharing this sweet day with us!

I found my dress on the very first shopping trip! My mother, aunt, maid of honor, and I visited The Dress Theory, a beautiful boutique that was temporarily housed in a fantastic old train station, Houston Station, in my hometown of Nashville. I chose the second dress I tried on and it perfect for me!

Caleb and I had not really considered having a first look, but after attending several weddings throughout the spring and summer with and without first looks, we decided to do one, and I’m so happy we did! It gave us a priceless, sweet moment together before the ceremony, probably contributed to us being so relaxed, and helped us get to the reception and our guests more quickly.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did premarital counseling with our minister for several weeks, and during that time, we came up with the ceremony with him. He captured us perfectly and created a thoughtful, meaningful, funny, sweet ceremony. We are so grateful.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our minister weaved scripture into the ceremony, and Caleb and I lit a unity candle…which threatened to fall over, of course, but now it’s a funny memory!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I think everything was Southern! I was born and raised in Nashville and love all the traditions of our family. We also chose a very Southern chapel, and served food that included pimento cheese on sweet potato biscuits and a macaroni and cheese bar.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The farm tables and French sofas and chairs from 12th Table achieved the exact look I was going for at the reception, but the most important decision we made was choosing our photographer, Kristin Sweeting. The photos are exquisite and her sweet and professional presence added value to the entire day.

I not a cake person, so I was thrilled to find a cupcake that I cannot get enough of! The Painted Cupcake created a beautiful little almond cake for us to cut alongside mountains of the most delicious cupcakes and macarons.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met in high school at Donelson Christian Academy in Nashville–I had attended since kindergarten and Caleb started for his freshman year. We started dating as juniors and both went to Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He’s the extrovert to my introvert, and it’s so much fun!
Tell us all about the proposal! Caleb and I were working on a student film at Union University. He was supposed to be interviewing me for some behind the scenes footage when he dropped on one knee! We have great professional footage of it!
When did y’all get married? September 20, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 240
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string quartet for our ceremony music. I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” and we walked out to “Marry Me” by Bruno Mars! Our first dance was to “At Last I See the Light” from the Disney movie, Tangled. We chose this because seeing Tangled was one of our first dates, so the song has always had special meaning to us.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I wore my mother’s pearl earrings and her 25th anniversary diamond bracelet. We realized the day before the wedding that we didn’t have something blue, so our florist tucked a blue ribbon into my bouquet.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did several weeks of premarital counseling in the months leading up to the wedding, which I feel is important for all couples. We’d been dating for six years, but I still found it very valuable and special.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? There are so many options and choices, it takes careful planning and organization to choose the things that are important to you, not what someone else had or what you think you are supposed to have. I knew the feel and look I wanted for the wedding, and made decisions based on what would bring that about.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The cheers when we were announced husband and wife were amazing! Everyone was absolute roaring as we walked back up the aisle. I had never seen that at a wedding, and it was so much fun!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Being married is so much fun! We are working hard and pursuing our career dreams while loving on the people around us the best we possibly can. Everything is replaceable except people, so making time for our families and loved ones is a must for us.

Photographer: Kristin Sweeting | Videographer: Peyton Penuel | Planner: Cande Cook of MAC Presents | Ceremony Venue: Scarritt Bennett | Reception Venue: The Cordelle | Florist and Rentals: 12th Table | Dessert Baker: The Painted Cupcake | Caterer: Flavor Catering | DJ: Matt Morris | Paper Products: The Paper Place | Bride’s Gown: “Laelia Floral” by Temperley London | Bridal Salon and Veil: The Dress Theory | Hair Stylist: Michelle Clark of Clark & Co. | Makeup Artist: Annelise Nutt | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style F15933 in Wine by David’s Bridal | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Susan Deaton reply

    Thanks Lisa for such a sweet story on my niece Madeleine’s wedding to Caleb. It was a splendid day and you captured it so well.

  2. avatar Bethni Hemphill reply

    Thank you for a beautiful story on my beautiful daughter! It was a joyous day made even more special by all the great people working with us. Thank you!

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

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