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Monthly Archives: October 2013

As you may know, my darling husband is also from Alabama and from a gigantic family with big strong Southern roots! Since we are expecting our first little one, we knew his/her name would come straight off the family tree in my in-law’s foyer. I had to explain to Miss Emily that if it’s a boy he’d “be a Branch.” Meaning we’d give him the name of my husband and many Kloess men before him (BDK is one in a long line of Branchs!). Well, today, I feel like I met my match in couple form! While this adorable duo may live in Texas now, their own heritage in Alabama runs deep as a wishing well! Take their venue; Joanna + Sellars were married at the Oak Bowery plantation that was built around 1845. In true blue Southern fashion, Sellars is the great-great-great-great grandson (ESM, III), of the original couple the plantation was built as a wedding present for! While the plantation is no longer in their family, I cannot think of a better place for them to begin their lives together.

We’re sending lots of SW love to Candace Nelson for sharing such a lovely day with us!

Perfectly placed pouf, and a good deep side part? Yep, Joanna nailed it with her just-enough-Southern-bump hairstyle!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. 
Since the age of 13, I have been seriously dreaming about my wedding dress. It was at this time in my life that my sister got married and introduced me to bridal magazines. Over the years, I have collected around 100 magazines or so, in which I have flipped through and highlighted and circled dresses that were “the one.” This made me the running joke with my family and friends, but it definitely paid off in the end! When the time came to go dress shopping, I knew just what I wanted–the classic Watters Escalante gown I had been coveting in magazines and online for a while. My mom and cousin, Sara, went to Birmingham with me to look for a dress. The shop we went to did not carry Watters, but I went ahead and tried on a lot of other dresses. All of them were so pretty that I got a little stressed out and confused. We decided to give it another try at another shop a little closer to home, Diane’s Formal Affair. Diane’s is in my hometown, so my mom, sister, niece, and I went there a couple of days later. I asked about the Watters dress, and they took me straight to it. I tried it on and just knew! It was everything I had dreamed of. The lace top reminded me of my mother’s wedding dress that was handmade by her grandmother, so I instantly fell in love with it for that reason. We ordered the dress that same day, and looking back, I could not have made a better decision!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Neither of us ever thought we would do the “first look,” but we decided to do it. Our fabulous photographer, Candace Nelson, actually recommended that we do the first look, and we both were so thankful that we took her advice. We loved the fact that it was “just us” because it was so intimate and special. We were also very happy we did this because we both were dying to see each other all day. I mean, we did spend our entire dating and engagement life apart from each other, so we were ready to get the “forever together” thing started!

Did you write your own vows? 
We went with the traditional Christian vows, however, we worked very closely with my father (who was also the minister who married us!) in writing the ceremony. Sellars and I picked out a lot of scripture together that we loved. We did a marriage retreat with our church here in Texas, and during this retreat, we broke down each line of our vows and talked about what they meant to both of us. It was very important to both Sellars and I that we understood and meant each word, because we were making a covenant not with just each other, but with our Lord Jesus Christ as well.

There were so many details to the wedding that we loved and that I could go on and on about. However, one detail that was pretty awesome was our venue. When I first began looking for venues, I knew I wanted something with a rustic, Southern feel. When I stumbled upon The Reserve at Oak Bowery’s website, I thought it was perfect. I immediately sent the link to Sellars and asked him what he thought. He responded and asked if I had read the history of the plantation. Of course, I had only looked at pictures, but in going back to the history of the venue, I learned that this plantation was once in Sellars’ family (Sellars, of course, knew this!). Oak Bowery plantation was built around 1845 by Elizabeth Harris’ parents as a wedding present for herself and her husband, Edward Sellers McCurdy. On May 25, 2013, I married their great-great-great-great grandson, Edward Sellars McCurdy, III. The plantation is no longer in the McCurdy family, but each of the rooms in the home is named after one of their family members. Both of our families take pride in family heritage, so Oak Bowery was the perfect place to begin our lives together.

I think if you asked our guests this question, they would definitely tell you our food! We really wanted to go all the way with our Southern theme, so we decided to put together a Southern menu to die for: fried chicken, roasted pork loin, braised collards, mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade macaroni and cheese (my favorite!). These dishes were served with cornbread, yeast rolls, and of course, sweet tea! We even had hot sauce and mayonnaise for the collards. Also, the details of the wedding made it simply Southern. Our venue was a rustic plantation setting that was the epitome of Southern. We also represented our new Southern home, the state of Texas, through our wedding favors. Malisa Harris made us the most adorable cookies in the shape of Texas with a heart right over our new home in Katy. The back of the Texas cookies were sealed with our new address, so our guests could keep in touch!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. 
Yummy! Our baker, Malisa Harris made our cake with two different inside layers: strawberry and cream cheese pound cake. These layers alternated and were topped with cream cheese icing. Sellars is not a huge fan of cake, but he ate a whole piece of the cream cheese pound cake layer, so that should tell you it was amazing! For Sellars’ treat, we decided to do his favorite dessert of key lime pie. The pies were in miniature form and adorned with a raspberry sauce or homemade whipped cream. They must have been really good because they were all gone before we could eat any!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. 
On January 15, 2011, I randomly met Sellars’ sister at my best friend’s wedding. His sister and her friend decided to do a little matchmaking and told me I needed to meet Sellars, who they just knew was my soul mate. Little did I know, they were correct! At the wedding, I played right along and told the two girls I would love to meet Sellars. I did not think anything would come of it, but then I got a friend request on Facebook (so cheesy) from my supposed “soul mate” that very same night. I decided to send a message to Sellars via Facebook, and I boldly gave him my number and told him to call me if he wanted to meet his future “soul mate.” A day or two later, I received a phone call from this guy whose country accent was even thicker than mine, and I thought, “What the heck…it’s a free meal!” The next weekend was the National Championship celebration in Auburn (War Eagle!), and Sellars came into town that night to take me to dinner. I can remember going to the celebration with my best friend Cambre and her husband, Nathan. They both thought it would be so funny if this random blind date turned into the real thing. Who would have guessed?! That night, for some reason, I was very nervous, and when I opened the door and saw Sellars McCurdy standing there, I immediately got butterflies in my stomach. He took me to my favorite Auburn restaurant, Hamilton’s, that night, and we had great conversation and great food. On the way home, I remember him reaching out and holding my hand; he held it the whole way home. When I got home, I felt different. My whole world was different, and Sellars’ world was different too. That random blind date turned out to be the most important night of my life.
Tell us all about the proposal! 
On Friday, December 7th, 2012, Sellars came into town from Katy, Texas, where he moved about six months after the beginning of our relationship. We always looked forward to our visits because our time together was so limited. I teach high school, so at 3:00, I rushed to his mom’s house to pick him up (I literally left the school building as the bell was ringing!). We visited a bit with his mom, and then she had to leave to “run errands.” Sellars and I decided to play with their dog, Callie, in the back yard until his mom returned. We sat next to each other, just having a heart-to-heart and playing with the dog. Sellars kept telling me he loved me every five minutes–which I never get tired of hearing. Then, we started going over a list I had made earlier in the week of all the things we had to do. I, being the pushy person I am, put “get engaged” as the last item on our list of things to do (in my defense, we had already tried on rings and talked about it). After we had gone through almost the entire list, Sellars asked about the last item I listed, and then he pulled out the ring! I am pretty sure I never actually said yes, instead, I just cried tears of joy and fulfillment. We went on a date that night, just the two of us. The next day, my parents came down to the family farm (he had invited them earlier) to hunt, and later our families went to Michael’s Table in Montgomery to eat and celebrate. It was the most perfect weekend, and it will forever be one of my all-time favorite memories!

When did y’all get married? 
May 25, 2013

How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 
Around 150 loved ones

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? 
Per our request, my father used a lot of scripture in our wedding ceremony. Again, it was so important to us that our wedding was centered around the One who made our love possible: God. One of our favorite readings, though, was done by our good friend, and my mentor, Tiffany. She prayed the most genuine prayer over us and then prayed my favorite verse, Ephesians 3:14-21. Sellars is more than I could have ever asked for from the Lord, and for that reason, I am thankful to our God, for “He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…” (verse 20).

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. 
For our ceremony, we picked out our favorite hymns to be played. We were blessed to have one of my students play the hymns on her guitar for the ceremony. I opted to not come down the aisle to the traditional bridal march, but instead I walked to “Be Thou My Vision.” My sister sang Sellars’ favorite hymn “Sanctuary” during a time of prayer. We left down the aisle to “Come Thou Fount.” We both were so happy we decided to use hymns because we felt like it kept the focus right where it needed to be. Our first dance was to the Christian song, “Dancing in the Minefields” by Andrew Peterson. Tim Tyler, the best piano man in the South, sang the lyrics to this amazing song that Sellars picked out himself. The song is about a couple dancing through the minefields of life and having the strength to do it because of the promises of God. This song definitely defines our relationship.

Describe your wedding flowers. 
Perfection! Our wedding flowers were absolutely gorgeous thanks to our wonderful florist, Lisa Thorne, who was able to take the little direction we gave her and turn it into something that far exceeded our imaginations. We told Lisa we wanted to use blush and ivory colors, nothing too bright. My bouquet was mostly made up of the most beautiful blush peonies with a touch of pink. The bouquet stems were wrapped with lace and adorned with one of my great-grandmother’s brooches. The bridesmaids carried bouquets composed of blush roses, stock, hydrangea, dusty miller (love this stuff!), and lisianthus. One of my favorite pieces was Sellars’ boutonniere. It was a blush peony and a sweetheart rose with a touch of seeded eucalyptus. My absolute favorite flower piece, however, was the mantle. The stone fireplace was garnished with a swag of polar star roses, cream hydrangea, blush peonies, asparagus fern and rucus. My dad made a white wooden cross to set in the middle of the swag, which completed it to be the perfect backdrop for our wedding ceremony!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? 
My cousin, Sara was my maid of honor and helped me check off all of my somethings. My favorite was the something borrowed. Sara let me borrow her diamond earrings her father gave to her just before he passed away when she was younger. My uncle was like a second dad to me and he was very special to our family, so by borrowing those earrings, I felt as if I was carrying a part of him with me that day. My something blue was the garter that Sara picked out for me. My something old was my great-grandmother’s first set of wedding bands. My mother gave them to me years ago, and I always knew I wanted to wear them on my wedding day. My something new was, of course, my fabulous dress!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I would say our distance was a huge challenge. A lot of the planning was done by me running around, taking pictures, and sending them to Sellars so he could give his input! Also, just trying to make everyone happy. Planning a wedding involved a lot of opinions, so Sellars and I constantly had to stop and think about what was important in our decision-making.

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? 
This is a hard question to answer because all of our vendors were such a blessing! However, the day was made complete by our talented photographer, Candace Nelson. She and her husband, David, did an amazing job capturing the intimacy of the day. They were so easy to work with and made both of us feel so comfortable. I have probably looked at our wedding pictures at least a hundred times since she sent them to us. It means the world to us that we will have these memories forever.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? 
For me, having my father walk me down the aisle and then marry me to the man of my dreams was pretty memorable. It was so special to see my father have the strength to give me away and then do the job of marrying us. For the most part, I knew everything my dad was going to say during the ceremony. However, he surprised me by talking a little bit from a dad’s point of view, rather than a minister’s. To see the emotion in his eyes and words was very moving. There was also a part of the wedding my dad did not tell me about. He and Sellars’ dad (who was also Sellars’ best man) prayed a quiet, intimate prayer over us as a couple and as their children. Standing there with Sellars and our dads, listening to our dads pour their hearts out and trying to hold back their tears (but definitely failing) was a very humbling, emotional and memorable experience for both of us.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? 
I am definitely an advocate for short engagements! We had about six months to plan and that was almost too long!! Also, just have fun and plan together, just the two of you. During wedding planning, you can get so caught up in trying to make everyone else so happy that you forget what it is really about. Try to focus on the bigger picture: marrying the man/woman who God placed on this earth for you!

What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? 
Shortly after the wedding and honeymoon, I moved to Katy, Texas, where Sellars has lived for the past two years. We moved into a new apartment that is slowly starting to look and feel like a home. Sellars works for Great Southern Wood (YellaWood) in a small town in Katy, and I recently obtained a job with the Katy Independent School District teaching tenth grade English. We are basically here on our own and only know a few people here. Our main goal is to get back closer to Alabama one day, but for now, we are just excited about beginning our lives, just the two of us in a cool place like Texas (everything is better in Texas, right?!).

Photographer: Candace Nelson Photography | Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Reserve at Oak Bowery | Florist: Lisa Thorne, Thornes and Thistles | Wedding Cake & Pie Baker: Malisa Harris, Sweet Malisa’s | Caterer: Christopher Wilton, Wilton’s Catering | Pianist: Tim Tyler | Bride’s Gown: Watters gown from Diane’s Formal Affair, Escalanta Style | Paper Products: Elizabeth Gilmer, Gilm Press | Bride’s Veil: Diane’s Formal Affair | Bride’s Headpiece: Palisades Bride | Hair Stylist: Tiffany Cummins, friend of bride | Makeup Artist: One Eighty Wellness Spa | Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lula Kate from Bella Bridesmaids | Groom’s and Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Additional Vendors: Tim Tyler via Music Garden

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Kat reply

    I’m a huge fan of that picture of her in the back of the pick-up! It’s completely adorable!!

  2. avatar Lisa reply

    I LOVE the story of how they found their venue–it was so meant to be!

  3. avatar Denise reply

    Loved being part of our niece and new nephew’s special day! My favorite was the stone fireplace and wooden cross that served as the backdrop for the ceremony, it was beautiful and original! Beautiful couple, beautiful wedding!

  4. avatar LulaKate : Blog Lovin’: reply

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Happy October! Now that the last month of summer 2013 is behind us, it’s time to recap our #summerdoin challenge! This challenge definitely motivated us to enjoy the best of the South this summer, and we were overjoyed that so many of y’all joined in. First of all, here are a few of our staff favorites!

1. Marissa‘s favorite was traveling to Chapel Hill for way too many biscuits and lots of laughs at our team shoot.

2. Lisa loved visiting the beautiful beaches at Tybee Island, Georgia with her family.

3. Lara‘s favorite was baking banana bread for one of her elderly neighbors.

4. Kristin planted her very first garden and made fried green tomatoes for the first time.

5. Emily enjoyed floating down a river in inner tubes with John and her siblings-in-law over the Fourth of July.

6. Nicole traveled to a new Southern city, New Orleans, where she tried a delicious muffaletta.

We loved following along as y’all checked #summerdoins off of the list as well! Thank you kindly to those of you who shared the checklist on your own blogs and social media accounts (like Charity and Jessica)–we appreciate it! Here are a few fun instagrams we rounded up from the hashtag.

7. Ashley went fishing for catfish.

8. Kathleen and Joe got out in the Tennessee countryside.

9. Victoria found Cheerwine in Texas (no easy feat!).

10. Abi went blueberry picking…with chickens!

11. Allyson attended a baseball game

12. Rachel went to the beach with her adorable family.

Thank you again to everyone who participated–it sure was fun! By the way, our next #SouthernDoin calendar is going to be holiday themed! Leave your favorite Southern holiday activities in the comments, and maybe it’ll end up on our list!

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

    Definitely baking pies and goodies for neighbors! It wouldn’t be the holidays in Georgia if the whole neighborhood didn’t share pecan pie and toffee!

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I am truly delighted to be sharing Ali and Austin’s wedding with y’all today! Not only are the pictures from their Texas wedding so beautiful and full of joy, their story–from both of their perspectives!–is also the absolute sweetest. From a first date “adventure” to a proposal that, yes, made me cry at my desk, to a wedding full of meaningful music and details, these Baylor sweethearts captured my heart. I hope their love brightens your day as much as it has mine!

Hugs to Jennefer Wilson for sharing Ali and Austin’s wedding with us!

I had the opportunity to go dress shopping with my mom, Sally, my little sister and one of the maids of honor, Emma. We began the day at The Blushing Bride, which is a boutique in my hometown of Frisco, TX. Right away, I noticed a beautiful, natural-waist dress with bits of lace detailing and absolutely fell in love with it! I asked to try it on first and was head over heels for it once I put it on! Both my mom and I cried when I showed it off! For the sake of getting perspective, I did try on more dresses at the Blushing Bride and went to one more boutique in Dallas later that day. However, while other dresses were beautifully made and very flattering, I couldn’t get dress #1 out of my head! I think that the important part about choosing a wedding dress is finding one that makes you feel radiant from any camera angle, that reflects your personal style, and that you feel comfortable eating and dancing the night away in!

Describe your wedding flowers. When gathering ideas on Pinterest, I was drawn to pictures of garlands and free-flowing arrangements. I wanted the bouquets to look organic and effortless–like they were picked from a beautiful garden. I also wanted to create a kind of arbor effect inside the Chapel at Chestnut Square with large arrangements that drew the guests’ eyes to the altar. All of the things on my wish list were masterfully created by Ashley Kirk of Ashlilium! The bridesmaid bouquets were whimsical and full of different types and textures of lavender, white, and soft pink flowers. Each was wrapped in soft gray velvet. My bouquet was a beautiful combination of large blooms and delicate accents. I was touched by the way that Ashley incorporated the handkerchief my mother-in-law had carried on her wedding day by wrapping it with the velvet around the base of the bouquet!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we decided to do a first look and we believe it was an excellent decision! I was anxious to see Austin and to have precious moments with him before the big day really got going! The photographs that were taken during the first look are some of my favorites and are proudly displayed on the walls of our new little house! Doing the first look before the ceremony also allowed Austin and me to be the first people to arrive at the reception. This gave us the chance to check out how everything we had been planning had come together! We also decided to do a receiving line as guests entered the reception. This was one of our FAVORITE decisions because we were able to greet and thank each one of our guests! It was important for us to communicate how much it meant to us that all of our friends and family were able to be a part of our big day! Brides will tell you that waiting to talk with people during dinner or dancing is a challenge. Because of the receiving line, we were able to sit down and enjoy our delicious dinner and have a blast on the dance floor knowing that we had already spoken to everyone!

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? While preparing for the wedding, I was touched by a prayer for marriage that I found in the Common Book of Prayer. I asked Austin’s uncle, Ruben, who was officiating, to include it in some capacity during our ceremony. He included the sentiments in a personal prayer he had been preparing. “Make their life together a sign of love to this sinful and broken world, that unity may overcome estrangement, forgiveness heal guilt, and joy conquer despair.”
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment of my wedding day was walking down the aisle with my daddy and squeezing his arm tight as we neared the altar. I am blessed with an amazing dad who has always been by my side and supported me through every season of my life. Having him give me away was very meaningful to me because of the closeness my family shares. I remember locking eyes with Austin and feeling my tears turning to a smile full of excitement for our life together! I hope to create a new family with Austin that is as positive, nurturing, and loving as the family that raised me.

We were so blessed by members of our church family, who offered to let us use their stunning 1957 black and white Chevrolet Bel-Air to drive away from the chapel in! We hopped in the car with petals falling and church bells ringing! It was such a fun exit!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We were married in a historic little white chapel commonly found in farming towns around Texas. We incorporated monograms on getting-ready robes, the cake, and in other reception details. Mason jars were used for drinks at the reception, as well as vases for flowers. We served Southern comfort foods at our reception and BBQ at the rehearsal dinner. Austin chose homemade apple pie as a groom’s cake. My house party was made up of two of my dear friends, Chelsea Cunningham and Bonner Briggs, who did a wonderful job of welcoming guests as they passed out programs and handed out muslin bags filled with lavender for our exit!

Austin and I had so much fun choosing the flavors of our wedding cake! We decided on white wedding, amaretto, and red velvet and each layer was delicious! Lace details from my dress were incorporated into the design of the cake. The bottom layer was ruffled with lace at the base, the next two layers were shades of lavender that gradually became lighter, the next layer incorporated more of the lace details, and the top layer highlighted a monogram that we had used on our invitations, which was encircled with a garland. For his groom’s cake, Austin chose to have apple pies made. Sonya Jacobs, wife of Warren, who performed the ceremony music, made all of the yummy apple pies and even put a little letter A on top of each of them!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ali’s version: On the first Tuesday of spring semester during my sophomore year at Baylor University, I took my seat in American Educational Thought a few rows behind a tall, dark-haired freshman, whom I quickly judged to be obnoxious. To my credit though, my opinion of Austin changed as the semester went on and I noted his intelligence, sense of humor, and passion for people with special needs. I distinctly remember the day that I considered Austin more than just a boy in my class. I was walking to my Children’s Literature class and passed Austin, who was reading on one of the campus’ swinging benches. As I approached the bench, Austin set aside his book to say hello. We made small talk about the classes we were headed to and parted ways. I knew Austin was a really friendly guy and I did not imagine that our quick conversation had made any lasting impact on him. My class that day ended early, and since it was a beautiful, sunny day, I decided to eat my lunch outside. I sat on the small stone wall and entertained myself by people watching, until I heard my full name called out from across the street. I then watched Austin wave enthusiastically, dismiss a group of his friends, and drag a friend across 5th Street to see me. After meeting his friend, I was told that I was quite a lucky girl to have Austin Amaro come over to talk to me and that Austin knew just about everyone on campus. I remember laughing as Austin teased his friend about embarrassing him, but I also thought I saw him blush. Once my classes were done for the day, I went home and immediately talked to Kylie Rhodes, my best friend and roommate at the time, about what had happened that day. We decided to “creep” him online so that she could see what Austin looked like. When we couldn’t find him on Facebook, Kylie and I resorted to looking Austin up on the Baylor directory and finding his school ID picture. Kylie then informed me that she had been told by a mutual friend that Austin had been interested in being set up on a date with me all semester and that he was “in love” with me. I recall my face burning as I blushed, but also feeling excited about his interest in me. After class that next week, Austin asked to walk me to my car and invited me on an “adventure.” We have been on an incredible adventure ever since! Austin’s version: The spring of my freshmen year, I somehow registered for a sophomore-level education class called American Educational Thought. On the first day of class, I was struck by a tall, beautiful blonde that walked through the door. I anxiously waited to see where this beauty would sit. Unfortunately, she sat behind my right shoulder, which meant I had to completely turn my body just to strike up a conversation. I did not let this deter my pursuit. A friendship developed and by April, I had mustered up enough confidence to ask her on a date. On April 20th, 2010, I walked Ali to her car at the business school parking garage, and asked her if she wanted to go on an “adventure” with me that weekend. I have no idea as to why I asked her on an “adventure” as opposed to a date, but now I had to live up to it. We exchanged numbers and walked away. As I headed through the business school lobby on my way back to Penland, I began high-fiving those around me and throwing my hands in the air with excitement. Little did I know that Ali was watching through the parking garage staircase and had seen me jump around with excitement and high-five random people. On April 24th, 2010, Ali and I went on our first date, and apparently it went really well. The spring semester ended with me receiving a C in American Educational Thought, and Ali receiving an A. Apparently, turning my shoulder all semester had not been good for my grades. I may have not gotten a good grade in the class, but I did get my best friend and my future wife.
Tell us all about the proposal! Our special date began with Austin taking me to Waco Hall to watch The Nutcracker performed by the Waco Symphony Orchestra and the Austin Ballet Company. It was very sweet and thoughtful of him to take me to The Nutcracker, because that has been one of my family traditions since I was a little girl. After the ballet, we went to the store to decide on some wine to take to dinner at Baris, which is one of our favorite Italian restaurants. We made a quick stop at Katie’s Custard to share a “Dirt and Worms,” which is my favorite ice cream treat, before driving down Austin Avenue to look at Christmas lights. Austin Avenue is one of the streets in Waco that Austin and I love to drive down to look at the beautiful old houses. It was also something we did on our very first dates. Austin Avenue led us straight downtown to a beautiful fountain next to Waco City Hall which had the Waco W lit up in Christmas lights. When we reached this location, Austin parked the car and asked if I wanted to walk around for a bit. He took my hand and walked around the fountain with me to a spot that had lights and candles already set up. At this point, Austin turned to face me and I heard our song, “Your Hand In Mine” by Explosions in the Sky, begin to play in the background. He somehow got me to stop looking at him and look up at the ALICO building, a Waco landmark, and it was then that I noticed that the C and the O had been turned off so my name was lit up for the whole city to see!!! He shared that it was no coincidence that we drove down Austin Avenue, that ALI was shining in the sky, and that we were in the same class together years ago. He quoted scripture, spoke incredibly kind words over me, and then knelt down on one knee and asked me to marry him! After I said YES, our friends and family were in town to celebrate our engagement with us! The entire night was incredible!
When did y’all get married? July 6, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I asked Warren Jacobs, the incredible worship pastor from my home church, Preston Trail Community Church, to perform during our sweet ceremony. We decided that the songs I had chosen would really sound beautiful if two guitars and a violin were used. Explosions in the Sky’s song “Your Hand in Mine” has always been meaningful to Austin and me. We listened to it on one of our first dates and Austin had it playing while he proposed! Warren was able to adapt the song so that the music built as each of the bridesmaids walked down the aisle and came to a climax when the doors opened for my entrance. Austin and I chose to take communion while Warren and Becca, my sister and one of the maids of honor, sang “Your Glory” by All Sons and Daughters. We chose this song because it spoke so clearly to the purpose of communion and marriage. We are first and foremost committed to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. It is through this relationship that our marriage is strengthened and can have a lasting impact on the people around us. We left the chapel on a happy note with “You Always Make Me Smile” by Kyle Andrews. Our band, Identity Theft, performed all of the special songs at our reception. Travis, Austin’s brother and best man, suggested the song “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground” by Stoney LaRue as a possibility for our first dance. We loved that the song communicated how different life was once we found one another and that now we can’t imagine life apart! My dad and I danced to “Butterfly Kisses” by Bob Carlisle because when I was little, that is the song I always pretended to dance with him to. Austin and his mom danced to “My Wish For You” by Rascal Flatts, because it communicated her love for him and her great hope for our future! The last song that we danced to was “Mirrors” by Justin Timberlake, because it ended the night on a fun, energetic note, while also being sentimental!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed and old was the handkerchief from my mother-in-law. My something blue was the bow on my garter and the bows on my bustle. My news were my dress and Kate Spade earrings. I also carried a lucky penny in my shoe throughout the ceremony and reception thanks to my bridesmaid, Kendal Miller!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? I have told everyone I know about how much I LOVED our photographer Jennefer Wilson. I walked away from our initial meeting telling Austin how much I wanted to be real life friends with her and her sweet husband Michael! Jennefer was so much fun to work with because she was easygoing, genuine, and incredibly talented! She was always willing to talk things through with me and even met me an extra time before the big day to walk through each location! She was also the one to draw up the final schedule for our big day which was SO beyond the call of duty, but was such a blessing to me! I can’t say enough nice things about this girl. She is wonderful and we were so happy to have her as a part of our wedding!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Just do you! If your wedding is a reflection of you and the relationship that you have with your future spouse, then it will be beautiful and enjoyed by all! My mom was great about reminding me throughout the process that at the end of the day, you are married, and the marriage is what matters! Don’t get caught up in the details! But, if you do need help with the details, throw a craft night! My mom and I invited friends over, turned on some fun music, served snacks and punch, and set up stations of the remaining wedding crafts for them to help us with. We had so much fun socializing and checking crafts off our list!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are currently living in San Antonio and have both found jobs teaching in the area! Austin will be teaching Special Education in Alamo Heights ISD. He will be focusing on life skills with students who have graduated from high school and helping to prepare them for life after school! I will be teaching Kindergarten in Northside ISD! We are most looking forward to having the opportunity to settle into our little house and to spend every day learning more about each other!

Photographer: Jennefer Wilson | Videographer: Jerod Chambers | Ceremony Venue: The Chapel at Chestnut Square | Reception Venue: The Flour Mill | Florist: Ashley Kirk | Wedding Cake Baker: Shannon Star from Layered Bake Shop | Pie Baker: Sonya Jacobs | Caterer: McKinney Catering Company | Band: Identity Theft | Bride’s Gown: “Deidre” by Lis Simon | Paper Products: Love vs. Design | Bride’s Hair Accessories/Veil/Jewelry: Kate Spade | Hair Stylist: Montanna Wilson | Makeup Artist: Denise Basden | Bride’s Shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style 320” by Bill Levkoff | Men’s Vera Wang Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Kat reply

    I love how the bride’s joyful expression carried throughout every single picture!!

  2. avatar Emily reply


  3. avatar Dana reply

    how they met is so adorable; i especially loved austin’s version! her wedding flowers are perfection!

  4. avatar Britni Ramsey reply

    Great job Jennefer!! Their story is so precious!

  5. avatar Melissa Vause Feetham reply

    This wedding cake and the wedding featured before this one had the same cake topper…what does it say? Mean?

  6. avatar Melissa Vause Feetham reply

    nevermind! I see it now…says “We do!” I was trying to read it as “liledol” hehe ;-)

  7. avatar Featured | Southern Weddings – Jennefer Wilson Photography reply

    […] Our couples always bless us more than we could ever ask for or imagine but Ali + Austin are a rare gem. Their constant encouragement has left a huge mark on our hearts and we couldn’t be more thankful. They are the couple that you wonder “is it possible to be THAT nice?” when you say your goodbyes. Their story makes you even more sure that God has big, intentional dreams laid out for His children…I am forever thankful for these two! Take time to read their beautiful love story, you wont be disappointed! You can find the post here!  […]

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