Southern Weddings

Tag: monogrammed pillows

Though Mary Hester and Andrew are on the younger side of our Southern Newlywed couples (26 and 25!), their style has an elegance and ease that you’d expect from a long-married duo. After browsing around Mary Hester’s blog, however, it’s easy to see she’s an old soul with a love for everything classic, and in that way, their home seems like a perfect fit – filled with passed-down heirlooms collected over time and Southern classics like monogrammed pillows, vintage silver, and silver-framed family photos. We hope y’all love getting to know this stylish and sweet Atlanta couple!

Big hugs to our friend Anna K for these lovely photos!

The couple: Mary Hester (26) and Andrew (25)
Years married: One this April!
Tell us a little bit about yourselves. Andrew and I are from different towns in Georgia. He went to the University of Georgia, I went to Auburn University, and we met at his cousin’s wedding. We share a mutual love of places: Athens; New York; Lake Burton; Highlands, NC; and our quaint little home in Atlanta. Andrew owns a pizza restaurant in Snellville, GA called Your Pie and I have a blog called Love, Mary Hester, where I sell custom illustrations, fashion prints, and other artwork.

Tell us your love story in one sentence. My mom went to high school with Andrew’s parents, then I happened to live with Andrew’s cousin during freshman year of college, and we met at that same cousin’s wedding; I like to think we were meant to be!
What is your favorite part of being married? Sharing the ups and downs of life. It’s not always pretty and can sometimes be downright hard, but when you have someone by your side, fighting for you and helping you to get through it, there’s always something to be thankful for.
Tell us a little bit about where you live. We own a little bungalow house in a historic neighborhood in the heart of Buckhead. We can walk to all kinds of stores and restaurants, and our neighborhood is filled with quaint little homes that were built as early as the 1920’s. I love being surrounded by families and young couples like us. It’s so homey!

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? I splurge on items that I would want to hand down to our future children–sturdy furniture, nice linens, silver, and artwork. Andrew splurges on quality craftsmanship, which happens to be his biggest concern when looking at property or when contracting work to be done on our house.
What is your favorite memory from your wedding? While playing “The Saints Go Marching In,” the band led the guests to the front steps of my family’s home, to the same spot where we had just said our vows. My parents, Andrew, and I stood together on the balcony as I threw my bouquet to friends below. It was the prefect way to end an amazing night!
How do you remember your wedding in your home? We have wedding pictures everywhere! We had an AMAZING photographer, so I couldn’t help myself! Our pictures are so quintessentially us. They remind me of the incredible joy and love we felt from our friends and family that day–I never want to forget that.

What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I would have registered at fewer stores. We are from different towns, so we registered at boutiques from home, as well as big stores like Bloomingdales and William-Sonoma. We received gifts from every single registry–I could have buried myself in dinner plates! After the honeymoon, I had the task of taking inventory of every gift and making returns and exchanges. It was overwhelming and could have been avoided by registering at fewer stores.
What most makes your house feel like home? Our dog, Jack, and our cat, Kitcat! We love having two furballs to share our home with and to keep us company… even if they occasionally keep us up all night meowing.

Tell us about the process of moving in together. I’m not going to lie, this was a little tricky! In the beginning, we were both very opinionated and had different ideas about how to decorate our home. After a lot of discussion, we created different “roles” for each other. I decided on paint colors, linens, and all of the details, while Andrew worked on big-picture projects, like the landscaping and renovations. In the end, we learned how to work as a team and how to trust each other’s opinions, and now, we sit back and compliment each other’s hard work. My favorite parts of our home are the places that showcase BOTH of our styles, like our kitchen–it was Andrew’s idea to add reclaimed wood to the ceiling, and I wanted to paint the cabinets white. The combination is killer!

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our linens and cookware. I’ve been doing my best to be a good wife, which means I’m cooking more than I ever did in my single days. It’s so much fun and Andrew really appreciates it, too.
Who cooks dinner? I do! Andrew works at a restaurant all day, so the last thing he wants to do after work is cook dinner. I’ve had so much fun learning how to cook and I love trying new recipes!
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? For a quick and easy meal, I buy a nice cut of meat or fish, along with some seasonal vegetables, and I roast them in the oven. I use my broiler a lot–it’s fast and easy for fish and veggies. I just toss them with olive oil, pepper, and Italian herbs and cook them under the broiler for a few minutes. There’s nothing better after a long day than having a fresh, tasty meal in minutes with minimal clean up!

What’s your favorite place to find recipes? My sister-in-law gave me my favorite cook book as a wedding gift: Southern My Way by Gena Knox. The recipes are easy, different, and delish! I’m not a gourmet cook, so this book has turned out to be my perfect companion in the kitchen. I also use YouTube all the time to learn how to “baste,” “braise,” “poach,” etc. When we were first married, I decided to use a recipe that called for a whole chicken to be cut into eight pieces. I could have bought all of the pieces separately, but what fun is that?! With the help of a French guy on YouTube, I learned how to dissect a raw chicken, and I made the best chicken noodle soup ever! I was so proud of it.

Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? My favorite room of our house is our bedroom. It’s such a peaceful, sunny room where our designs really came together perfectly. The master suite was an addition to our 1920’s bungalow by a previous owner. The high ceiling originally made the room feel awkward and empty, and it didn’t flow with the rest of the home. Andrew had the amazing idea to add beams across the ceiling. This did wonders to the space by making the room feel more intimate without closing it in. The decorative beams bring your eye up, making the once-empty ceiling into a standout feature of the house, while the white color keeps the room feeling light and airy. I painted the walls a light mint green color and used neutrals and corals to compliment. I absolutely love the way it turned out!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? We tend to not overthink balancing our lives, except during the holidays when we have to schedule family time and vacation days. Our lives are crazy and last-minute, so if we make plans, they hardly ever work out. As a result, I’m learning to go with the flow and Andrew is learning how to keep the occasional calendar date.
Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? Trying a new restaurant! Living in Atlanta has been a total blast–there is always a new restaurant, bar, or attraction to try out. Our favorite thing to do when trying a new restaurant is to tell the waiter to “surprise us!” If the reviews are good and everything on the menu is tasty, why not?!

Do you have children? Not yet. Andrew is the youngest of four, and his siblings have enough kids to keep us busy in the meantime!
This year, our family is most excited about… new adventures! We are planning a trip to New Zealand, and we can’t wait to explore! We also are managing two very new businesses, Your Pie and Love, Mary Hester, so there is a lot to look forward to. 2014 was our best year to date, but maybe 2015 will be even better!

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? When showing friends our home, I always like to tell them about the decorating loopholes I took. I am a bargain hunter, so a lot of my favorite furniture and decor is either a refurbished hand-me-down, a bargain buy, or something handmade. The Little River sign over our mantle is a hand-me-down from Andrew’s family, and the outdoor chandelier in our kitchen is from the home of a dear friend. Our headboard is from my grandmother’s childhood bed, and I reupholstered it myself. I sewed the pillows in our living room and recovered the seat of an old kitchen chair for my desk. The chalkboard sign in our kitchen was a wedding gift and was displayed at the welcome party the night before our wedding. We love surrounding ourselves with things that have a story behind them; they constantly reminded us of loved ones and special memories.

We’re so grateful to Mary Hester and Andrew for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Mary Hester on her blog, and check out Your Pie on Facebook!

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

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

emily Written with love by Emily
10 Comments
  1. avatar Carrie reply

    What a gorgeous home and sweet couple! Mary Hester, will you share the name of the paint color in your bedroom. It looks so peaceful!

  2. avatar Emily reply

    I must add “Newly Weds” photography to my packages. ;-)

  3. avatar Melissa Joynson reply

    I absolutely adore the pops of color in the family room, as well as the inclusion of family photos in the silver frames. My husband and I are currently in the process of gathering photos from our parents’ and grandparents’ weddings to display. I feel like having family photos, even those from previous generations, makes the house more homey. :)

  4. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    I am in love with their living room palette. The cream couch accented with the bright prints in the pillows and ottoman are lovely!

  5. avatar Greta Kate reply

    Where are your headboard and monogram pillows from? Love the combination!

    • avatar Mary Hester reply

      Hi Greta! Our headboard was my grandmothers- I recovered it myself with a painter’s canvas drop cloth (you can find cheap at home depot) and nail heads. The pillow shams are Pottery Barn and I had them monogrammed in a style I found online. Find a someone local who monograms with a nice machine and they can do just about anything!

    • avatar Caroline reply

      Do you happen to remember why don’t that is on your shams? I love it!!!

  6. avatar Haylee reply

    I saw your pillows on pinterest and i’m absolutely in love! Where did you get those made???

  7. avatar Alexandra Bee Blog reply

    I love that their home gives a nod to classic Southern design. It is elegant, yet approachable!

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Erin Carroll is a very special member of the Southern Weddings family. Her wedding to Todd was featured in our very first issue back in 2008, and since then, we’ve followed along with her growing family on her blog, Blue-Eyed Bride. She’s even been to Making Things Happen, and contributed to the marriage advice feature in our latest issue! Her South Carolina home is the kind of nest that many of us want – lovely, yes, but also filled with encouraging words, lots and lots of photo memories, and passed-down items with history.

Big hugs to Blue Ribbon Vendor Courtney Dox for these lovely photos. Friends, please enjoy meeting the Carroll family!

Who lives in this lovely home? Erin and Todd, married six years, Hudson (5), and Hayes (3)
Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met and fell in love at work, thanks to our common love for Gamecock football and Home Alone, got married, and are now raising two wild and precious boys.
What is your favorite part of being married? Being able to experience all of life’s big moments, small moments, ups, and downs with my best friend.

Do you rent or own? We own. We bought a house together right before we got married, and we lived there for five years. After two kids, we were bursting at the seams. We lived with Todd’s grandmother for a year while we built our current home.
Tell us about the process of moving in together. Todd is not very opinionated when it comes to style. He didn’t have many opinions when planning our wedding, and he has taken the same approach with decorating. When he does have an opinion, I sit back, listen, and try really hard to be considerate of his wishes. He has so few opinions, I feel I should at least respect the ones he does have!
Which room in your home is your favorite, and why? I love our kitchen. It is open to the family room, and we spend so much time in both of those rooms. I love the light and the fact that I can be doing my thing in the kitchen while still being able to see the boys and Todd while they hang out in the family room.

Which items from your wedding registry do you use the most often? Our everyday dishes are my favorite thing. We still don’t have the entire set, but I just love the pattern. We even use them for holidays because I love them more than our fine china. I also love my All Clad pots and pans. I never would have bought them for myself, so I’m super thankful to have them.
What different decisions, if any, would you make for your registry if you knew then what you knew now? I wouldn’t have registered for things like cookie decorating kits and pancake batter dispensers. Those things have never been used in six years!
Who cooks dinner? I do. I meal plan on Sundays, shop on Monday mornings, and usually cook four meals per week. We do leftovers at least once for every meal I make, and on Saturdays, I make a crockpot meal. I get it started in the morning and then we can enjoy our day without having to spend much time in the kitchen.
What is your go-to weeknight meal? Weekend meal? I’ve recently given up grains and sugar, so I haven’t eaten this in a while, but I love Kevin and Amanda’s Spicy Sausage Pasta. It is amazing and a total splurge, but it’s a crowd pleaser! On the weekends, I love to make The Pioneer Woman’s Pot Roast or Skinny Taste’s Chicken Santa Fe.
What’s your favorite place to find recipes? I have a huge collection of Junior League cookbooks, and each one of them is filled with tried and true, passed down recipes. I also love Skinny Taste, The Pioneer Woman, and Ina Garten. Now I’m getting hungry!

Where do you splurge and where do you save when decorating? I splurge on lighting. Light fixtures can really define a space and make a big statement. I’m fortunate that my mom is a decorator and I am a buyer for her company, so I’ve been able to save a lot by getting really beautiful things at wholesale cost. I’ve also purchased a few antiques at antique markets–Scott’s in Atlanta is full of beautiful treasures, and they will bargain with you! I talked a guy down by half the cost when I purchased my dining room chairs. I found them and they were exactly what I had dreamed of, but I had a budget. I told him I wouldn’t spend more than my budget allowed, and he called me 20 minutes later to tell me that he’d sell them to me at the price I named.

What most makes your house feel like home? I am a strong believer in filling our home with things we love. Books we’ve read. Souvenirs from travels. Local pottery. Family photographs. When I’m accessorizing, it is so important to me not to have anything that is just “filler,” so it sometimes takes me awhile to finish decorating a room. Our home tells our story, so every little thing here also seems to have a story.

I spy some Lara Casey Shop products!

What’s your best tip for balancing your relationship and other life priorities? This gets so tough. I feel like with every season, we have to reevaluate and set new boundaries. Todd works long hours, and as a blogger, it’s easy for me to get very distracted by letting in too many “voices” via other blogs, social media, responding to blog comments, etc. I’ve found that I have to start my day early if I want to take care of my personal needs, like my quiet time and Bible reading, exercise, and any other things that just serve me. I stay at home with the boys, so the rest of my day is all about them. Todd is home between 6:30 and 7:00 every night, so that time for dinner and bedtime is sacred. We really value the weekends. I have a monthly Sunday girls night, but otherwise, the weekends are for family. Our favorite weekends are the lazy ones spent at home watching movies and playing outside with the boys.

Do you have a favorite date night idea to share? When Hudson was a baby, we used to just get in the car and let him sleep while we drove around, looked at houses, and saw new things popping up in our town. These days, we love to go out to dinner and to see a movie. Movies are a real treat! When we can’t get out, we put the kids to bed and watch a movie together on Amazon Prime. Our Blu-ray player has been such a great thing for binge-watching TV shows together and seeing movies we never got to see in the theater.
What is one small way you love or serve your spouse? I’ve realized that Todd is so happy and so much less stressed when I am financially responsible and respectful of our budget. When I don’t go to Target or make random little Amazon purchases, it makes him so happy.

Do you have children? We have two boys, aged five and three. Things are still up in the air in regards to whether or not there will be more children, but right now, we’re so happy with these boys.

Is there anything else about your home or family life that you think our readers would be interested in? Our relationships with Jesus Christ are the most important things to us. We want our children to see that in us, and when we find that we’re not making time for Him, we stop and reevaluate and decide what we need to change. It is amazing how much of a difference we see when we allow God to lead us and we stop trying to do things on our own. Life gets really crazy and can be very distracting, but we know that when we put God first and allow Him to be in control, He does work all things together for our good.

What has been the most surprising thing about marriage? The wedding is just the beginning. It’s not always pretty after that, but the memories trump the wedding by a million!
Before getting married, I wish someone had told me… to let go of all expectations and understand that two different upbringings are going to require making big decisions together. It’s not about a fairy tale and it’s not about instant gratification. The beauty of marriage is experiencing the memories along the way.

In 2014, our family is most excited about… being settled! We spent 2013 living with Todd’s grandmother, and we are so thankful for that time, but it is nice to be back to living in our own home with just the four of us, making memories. We’re looking forward to a summer full of days at the pool and doing our best to unplug.

We’re so grateful to Erin and Todd for sharing their hearts and home with us! Be sure to follow along with Erin on her blog or on instagram, Twitter, or Facebook.

A little reminder: we’d love to hear from you! Our hope is to feature REAL couples in the South – not just folks who write blogs (though we love them, too!), but also your inspiring friend, super talented cousin, or neighbor with the cutest house – the kind of person everyone would love to “e-meet.” If that sounds like you or someone you know, take a peek at our Southern Newlywed submission page and shoot us an email!

emily Written with love by Emily
6 Comments
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Love Erin! Her perspective on filling their home with things that matter is so inspiring, and her meal planning strategy just might convince me to finally try cooking with a crockpot!

    • avatar Erin reply

      Thank you, friend! The key to the crockpot is finding a really great recipe because they’re not all great. ;) But I promise it can change your week if you make one or two crockpot meals! So excited for you!

  2. avatar Kristin reply

    I am packing my bags and heading to Erin’s house!! I am pretty sure her kitchen was made for entertaining. It makes my hostess heart beat a little faster. I am also quite envious of her cookbook collection ;)

  3. avatar Erin reply

    Kristin, my door is always open for you! Come on down and we’ll cook from those old Junior League cookbooks and you can teach me some things about the kitchen!

  4. avatar aimee broussard reply

    Adore Erin! Her home is lovely, but her heart is golden. She’s one of my favorite blogs/instagram accounts because her sweetness and faith shines through everything she does. Love this series!

  5. avatar Megan Bryant reply

    Love this post! I have been reading Erin’s blog for quite some time and her new home is absolutely beautiful. A dream home for sure. Her family is what we all hope and pray for as little girl’s and when we walk down the aisle on our wedding day.

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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