Laura and Mason’s wedding is a near-perfect example of what we mean when we say we love weddings with meaningful, personal details. From the songs they chose to the things they wore to the food they ate and the tables they ate at, every layer of their celebration had a story behind it or a significance attached to it. While I’m sure every guest didn’t catch every nuance of every detail, I’m equally sure that the overall effect — of a joyful, very intentional beginning to married life — was evident to all. Happily, we get the inside scoop from the bride herself, with beautiful photos by Paige Reaux to illustrate! Please enjoy, friends!
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Mason and I agree that our best days are days we spend together, so we decided to do a first look. We wanted to be able to spend some quality time together before the ceremony and reception laughing, exchanging gifts, and having photographs taken. I was so thankful that we did the first look, because with the rain hiccup we experienced later in the day, I don’t think we would have gotten nearly as many great photos.
The gals of TULIP outdid themselves with this one! The loose, garden-style bouquets were jewel-toned for fall, with garden roses, raspberry clematis, ranunculus, dahlias, smoke bush and maple foliage, and seeded eucalyptus.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We, like many Southern couples, decided to keep with tradition and say the vows that generations before us have said. Instead of being worried about reciting a speech in front of hundreds, we were able to be completely present, joyful, and genuine as we repeated those promises to each other.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Shakespeare’s sonnet 116 was read at the start of our ceremony. Mason and I spent a semester studying in London, so we knew we had to incorporate some Shakespeare! We also had a scripture passage, Philippians 4:4-9, printed in our programs. The same verse is engraved in Mason’s wedding band.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Mason and I chose each song for the string quartet to play during the prelude–a custom mix of traditional hymns and contemporary songs. Our ceremony had a couple of musical shout outs to our parents’ weddings. We included “We’ve Only Just Begun” by the Carpenters, which was sung at the Mason’s parent’s wedding, in the prelude, and “Surely the Presence,” which was sung at my parents’ wedding, during the ceremony. We also had a duet of “How Deep the Father’s Love” sung as we took communion together immediately following our vows.
To transform the sanctuary, my dad had “October Glory” maple trees brought in, and Lesley from TULIP accented them with two beautiful altar arrangements.
We had a near-catastrophe with a 15-minute rainstorm during the hors d’oeuvres hour of the reception, during which Mason and I both got drenched (luckily, we had a backup tent for our guests to take cover)! But when the rain stopped and the celebrating started, I looked around and thought “Thank you, Lord!” because my dream was able to come true!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Well, first of all, my husband’s name is Mason Dixon, and we were both born and reared below the line of his namesake. Having our ceremony at the small town church I grew up going to and the reception at my childhood home gave our wedding the special warmth of Southern hospitality. I gave all of the special women in mine and my groom’s extended families a monogrammed vintage handkerchief. We had magnolia garlands galore and state fair taffy as favors for the guests. Our menu was totally Southern and very Mississippi oriented—we had mini chicken and waffles, pimento and cheese fritters, fried catfish, blackened gulf shrimp, fried okra, and gourmet mac n’ cheese, just to name a few!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The chalkboard menu boards at the reception were one of my favorite details. I spent many hours writing them, so I became a little attached. Other favorites were definitely the custom velvet table runners made by my aunt and the white pumpkins painted in gold with our monogram. Oh, and I can’t forget the lovely farm tables that my dad had built especially for the event, using 120-year-old wood from our family farm!
My cake was a five-tiered French almond vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing. A cascade of roses and a gold sequined tablecloth made the cake display as pretty as it was yummy. For Mason’s groom’s cake, he had a trio of chocolate cakes in different flavors. The center cake was cinnamon chocolate (his favorite!) accented with gold coins, in reference to Mason’s banking career and coin collection. One of the accent cakes was German chocolate and the other was raspberry chocolate.
I lost my mother to breast cancer about two and half years ago, so planning a wedding without her was definitely a challenge. She was such a talented organizer and planner! I tried to incorporate her memory into as many wedding decisions as possible. For example, I found the best picture of my mom and dad covered in birdseed as they left their own wedding reception, which made it easy for me to decide that we should have birdseed tossed during our exit as well. I was so thankful to have my incredible father, sisters, and fiancé, who all put in so many hours helping me plan!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Exchanging notes from American history class during the second semester of our freshman year at Mississippi College brought us together. As I was handing over a copy of notes for the final exam, Mason asked me to go get coffee with him. By the next semester, we were officially dating. And the rest is history!
Tell us all about the proposal! Early one November Saturday morning, I was riding in the car with Mason to what I thought was a banking banquet, where he was supposed to receive an award. We took a detour, and when I asked Mason if we were lost, his response was a simple kiss on my forehead and an admission that he was not really receiving an award that day. I was a little suspicious, but still in denial that this might be the day we get engaged. The next thing I knew, we were standing near Lake Caroline watching an incredibly large rainbow-striped hot air balloon being inflated. We got into the hot air balloon, and as I was looking over the edge of the basket, high above the treetops, I felt Mason tap me on my shoulder. I turned around and he was down on one knee with a huge smile on his face and a diamond ring in his hand. To make it even better, Mason had written and recorded a special love song for me that he played when we were safely back on land. He had even organized a celebration with our families for that evening. I felt so blessed and loved. What an exhilarating day!
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 350
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. While flipping through the pages of my first set of wedding magazines, I came across a picture of a dress that I fell in love with. I kept this image of lovely silk with hints of alenҫon lace in my mind as I went shopping with my two sisters, and just as we were about to give up hope and leave the second store empty handed, my older sister spotted my dream dress on the mannequin!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! The pearl and diamond earrings I wore were borrowed from my grandmother, and since they were circa 1910, they also served as my something old. Blue was covered doubly—I wore a sapphire and diamond bracelet that had belonged to my mother, and my older sister sewed a bespoke teal blue velvet and alenҫon lace garter to coordinate with all the details of the day. For something new, I had shoes given to me by my younger sister and a special fragrance that will forever be associated with wedding excitement.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have great things to say about all of my vendors! Lesley from TULIP created amazing bouquets, Heather from Pretty Presentations spent two full days at my house setting up and figuring out the rain plan, and Paige of Paige Reaux Photography is definitely one of the best photographers in Mississippi. Another detail that the day would NOT have been complete without was my adorable flower girls. The list could go on and on!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I can’t pick just one! I specifically remember my dad calming me down during the nervous/excited moments just before he walked me down the aisle. The sheer joy I felt when Mason and I said our vows is something I will never forget! It even felt somewhat ethereal when the sunlight beamed through the stained glass windows and lit our faces.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Invest in the planning process as much as possible! It WILL feel overwhelming, but it is totally worth it when you see your vision come to fruition and you get to marry someone you love. It really makes for a pretty spectacular day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are enjoying settling in our home and being able to spend lots of time together. We’ve been having fun using all the great wedding gifts we got and learning how to cook! We are excited to travel together, and right now we’re looking forward to a ski trip this spring.
Photographer: Paige Reaux Photography / Videographer: Brian Flint / Ceremony Venue: Bay Springs Baptist Church / Reception Venue: Bride’s family home / Florist: TULIP Design Studio / Cake Baker: Elyse Thompson / Caterer: Pretty Presentations / Rentals: Taylor Rental / Lighting: Davaine Lighting / DJ: Solid Gold / Bride’s Gown: Judd Waddell / Bridal Salon: Low’s Bridal / Paper Products: Sweet Caroline Designs and Fresh Ink / Bride’s Shoes: Joan and David / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaid / Men’s Attire: Joseph Abboud / Flower Girl Dresses: Pegeen / Linens: La Tavola and DIY / Farm Tables: Custom by the bride’s father / Favors: Malone’s Taffy / Calligraphy: Dominique Jordan / String Quartet: Rhythms Music Services