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Bride Katie shares the details of her Texas Hill Country wedding!

We sure love to see a couple relaxing and soaking up their wedding day around here in the Southern Weddings office (just search #SWWeddingDayJoy on Instagram!), and Katie and Cameron just exude joy. Katie’s memories from their beautiful day go back to celebrating and not sweating the small stuff again and again. “We loved being out on the dance floor with our family and friends! Dancing is one of our favorite things in the whole world, so seeing all the faces of people we love around us jamming out and having a great time, was a memorable highlight!”

With that heart for hospitality, it should come as no surprise that Katie notes, “It was important to Cameron and me that our first act of marriage was serving others, so we served communion to our immediate family and wedding party.” This is such a beautiful reminder to look for ways to take the focus off yourself and serve your guests through your wedding. Those moments will likely become your favorite highlights!

And if you need another example for inspiration, I personally would feel very loved by their donut wall. (Friends planning weddings, please make this a trend!)

When did y’all get married? June 30, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 250

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? My favorite detail from our wedding was our flowers. The Heirloom Table stole the show with stunning bouquets and table centerpieces, the most beautiful blooms, and touches of greenery. Mercedez was incredible to work with and she went above and beyond my expectations with her floral creations!

My favorite participant in the ceremony is our flower girl, Tre’yah. Tre’yah is a very close friend of ours that we met while we were at Texas A&M through Younglife Capernaum, a ministry whose target audience is people with special needs. She is 20 years old and has Down Syndrome. Tre’yah is full of joy, so sweet and caring, and has the best dance moves!

We had communion at our ceremony for everyone. It was important to Cameron and me that our first act of marriage was serving others, so we served communion to our immediate family and wedding party. Communion was also served to the wedding guests. It made the ceremony so intimate and beautiful. We loved sharing that moment with our friends and family.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. My family lives in Fort Worth, and I teach kindergarten in San Antonio, so the highlight of finding my dress was that my mother and both of my grandmothers drove down to spend the day with me. My mother-in-law and sister-in-law were there too! It was unanimous, and my dress was the first one I tried on!

Cameron and I wrote our vows together. My favorite line in our vows is, “asking that you be no one other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not yet know, praying that our marriage is a living testimony to God’s love and grace.”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? I had always wanted to get married in the Texas Hill Country. Cameron and I did a lot of Googling and found Canyonwood Ridge (along with some other awesome venues in Dripping Springs). We booked it without even seeing it in person, because we both knew it was perfect for us and the wedding we had envisioned.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? I used Etsy for all our signs and table numbers. There are so many calligraphy fonts to choose from! I was able to find exactly what I wanted, and it was so easy to use the templates to create simple, classic decorations.

Cameron and I both love the movie, “A Walk to Remember” (with Mandy Moore, who is apparently my celebrity look-alike). One of our favorite songs is from the movie called, “Only Hope.” Cameron likes to play it on the piano, and we listen to it a lot together. It’s a special song for us! I surprised him with it as I walked down the aisle. We had two musicians (piano and violin) with incredible voices and it was so beautiful. The look on his face was priceless! Our song walking back up was “This Will Be (An Everlasting Love)” by Natalie Cole because its such a happy song and we love singing and dancing to it in the car! Our first dance song was “Ain’t No Mountain.” Cameron and I love to dance, so we wanted something fun and upbeat. Our band made it so fun to dance to, and it helped set up the lively party atmosphere we wanted!

My wedding cake had three tiers! I chose wedding white with raspberry filling. It was simply iced with white buttercream and had some of our bright colorful flowers on it! Cameron doesn’t care for sweets, but he loves pies and donuts! We decided to do a donut wall with chocolate, glazed, strawberry, and vanilla donuts. It was so unique and fun. Plus, Cameron made both of the donut walls himself, so it was a great project for him leading up to the wedding!

What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding was traditional and classic, the way a good Southern wedding should be! My favorite Southern detail was the Aggie War Hymn! In the middle of the dancing, it came on and all the Aggies circled up and sang and swayed and whooped. It was awesome and so memorable!

Tell us your love story in one sentence. Cameron and I started out as friends, then became best friends, then flirty best friends, and then we fell in love.
Tell us all about the proposal! Cameron was about to start medical school and had started hinting to me about proposing…four years from then after he finished! I believed him, so when he got down on one knee, I was caught completely off guard. We had started planning a surprise birthday weekend for his dad in Fredericksburg, TX months before. Little did I know his dad knew about everything about it, and I was helping plan my own proposal. Before we met up with the family to kick off the weekend, Cameron suggested that we visit a winery. It was October 14th. Before we left, he asked if I wanted to walk down near the vines. I turned a corner and there was a huge oak tree strung with lights and pictures of us. He had made a rocking chair for me with our new monogram, and there was a huge bouquet of colorful flowers (which you’ll see later are my favorite)!! It was a picture-perfect proposal.
Did you decide to do a first look? Cameron and I are old souls and more traditional when it came to the first look. We chose not to do a first look, and I am so happy with our decision, because I will never forget the doors opening and seeing Cameron’s face when he first saw me!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I loved talking to our vendors and watching my vision slowly come to life! It was like a wedding puzzle that was being put together piece by piece! I also loved that Cameron had opinions about things and helped me make a lot of the decisions.
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? For me, the hardest part of wedding planning was delegating the work. I had so many resources and people there who wanted to help me! In the end, I learned to ask for help when I needed it and to not try to do everything by myself.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff! All those tiny details you’re worrying about and obsessing over? No one notices! Save yourself the stress and enjoy the planning process. At the end of the day, you’re marrying your best friend and you won’t remember how the table numbers looked or what kind of pen was used for the guestbook.

Photographer: Hannah Mayson | Videographer: byDesign Films | Wedding Coordinator: Stephanie Middleton at Canyonwood Ridge | Ceremony and Reception Venue: Canyonwood Ridge | Florist:  The Heirloom Table | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweet Treets Bakery | Caterer: Austin Catering | Band: Icehouse Band | Paper Products: Tag and Company | Bride’s Gown: “Style MD205” by Eddy K Milano from Bridal Galleria of Texas | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lola Beauty | Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Louise” Tulle Skirt in “Sea Glass” and “Cleo” Top in “Harbor Mist” by BHLDN | Menswear: The Black Tux | Bar: Bar Divas of Austin

Written with love by Catherine
1 Comment
  1. avatar Zookbinders reply

    Beautiful wedding. Gown is perfection! The bride looks perfectly stunning. Great photography


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Bride Cathleen shares her New Orleans-inspired wedding in St. Louis!

Today’s wedding looks very familiar and brings back a lot of happy memories for me! I have to admit that when I saw “Peabody Opera House Wedding by Mike Cassimatis” in our queue, I thought it was a mistake! You see, my wedding, featured here, was by (the incredible!) Mike Cassimatis with our reception at the Peabody Opera House. It turns out the similarities don’t even end there. We also had extremely similar bridesmaids’ dresses and hairstyles (both for the ceremony and reception!). So clearly I think today’s bride, Cathleen, has exquisite taste.

But what makes this wedding so special is the way Cathleen and Mike brought Cathleen’s hometown and the city where they met, New Orleans, to St. Louis! It’s especially fitting, because St. Louis also has a rich French history, its own French Quarter, and a rollicking annual Mardi Gras celebration. No traditional New Orleans detail was left unturned, from the second line to the cake pull to the beignet cafe! Cathleen summed it up best, saying, “All of these special touches definitely left our guests singing, ‘laissez le bon temps rouler!'”

Tell us your love story in one sentence. We met by complete chance on the streets of New Orleans, and as they say, the rest is history!
What was your favorite thing about wedding planning? I really enjoyed designing our save-the-dates and invitations. My sisters and I loved the movie, “Meet Me in St. Louis” growing up. So it was really fun to incorporate it into the paper products and get all of our guests excited to come visit The Lou!

When did y’all get married? July 15th, 2017
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200

Did you decide to do a first look? We decided to stay traditional and not do a first look. I will truly never forget the earnest look on Mike’s face as he waited for me at the end of aisle. Instead, as quite the daddy’s girl, I decided to do a first look with my dad. From dance recitals to proms, I remember eagerly rushing down the stairs to see the reaction on my dad’s face. On my wedding day, as he slowly cracked the door open and looked at me with the same doting expression and his eyes welled up with tears, I felt just like that little girl again. It was a moment with my dad I will always cherish.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis is our home parish just a few blocks from where we live. The first time we attended mass there, we noticed a few details that felt very personal to us. Just inside the entrance to the church on the ceiling reads “keep the faith” which is saying used frequently by both of our families. The ends of the pews have a carving of a fleur de lis inside of a celtic cross. As I’m from New Orleans and Michael is Irish, we took it as a sign that if we ever got married, this would be the place. We chose the Peabody Opera House as the venue for our reception because of the fabulous art deco-inspired architecture and details. I really wanted our wedding to have a 1920s feel with a lot of Southern flair, and the Peabody was a perfect fit.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? We had a full Catholic ceremony complete with the Basilica’s talented choir. My two best guy friends served as lectors for the mass and sat across from us up on the alter. I remember a very specific part of the wedding just before our vows when they had all of our bridal party join us on the alter. The choir was singing a capella, and it was the most surreal and beautiful moment having all of our closest family and friends on the alter with us as we prepared to say, “I do”. Our wedding was also the anniversary of my aunt’s passing. She was my godmother and namesake and holds a very dear place in my heart. We had a special set of intentions on behalf of her and other loved ones. So although they could not be there in person, we felt them in spirit celebrating our day of love and joy.

Tell us the highlights of finding your wedding dress. One of my surgery co-residents and I went dress shopping after being on call for 24 hours. We were both completely exhausted, but after trying on this one dress, we both sprang to life and knew it was perfect! Of course, I could not make the final decision without the blessing of my mom and sisters. So they made the trip to St. Louis and after seeing it agreed wholeheartedly that this was the one!

We had so much fun incorporating a bunch of Southern traditions into our wedding. First was the steamboat. Historically, the steamboat played a huge role in developing the South from the ports of New Orleans to St. Louis along one of the greatest rivers in the world, the Mississippi. Between the ceremony and reception, we had our guests board the Becky Thatcher river boat and take a journey through time down the Mississippi River.

What was your favorite detail from your wedding? I especially loved the roaring twenties elements we incorporated into our reception. From a champagne tower, flapper girls, a gramophone, and an old school man in the moon photo booth, it all came together. My favorite detail, however, were F. Scott Fitzgerald quotes we had framed and displayed throughout the venue. They appeared to be written on an old type writer and held sweet sayings such as, “I love her…and thats the beginning and end of everything.”

What did you serve for your wedding cake or dessert? We chose to do a traditional New Orleans wedding cake: white, almond flavored confection, with a sweetened pineapple filling, and butter cream icing. We also found a terrific bakery in St. Louis that was able to make beignets!

Michael and I were driving home one day, and Tim McGraw’s “On Top of the World” came on. There’s a line that goes, “we could have something or nothing and we’d still be sitting on top of the world.” It really captured the feeling of timeless love we wanted for our wedding, so we chose it as our first dance. The most anticipated dance, however, was the father-daughter dance. I am the last of my dad’s three girls to get married, so I knew we wanted to make it really special. For months leading up to the wedding, we took dance classes together to prepare, which were amusing to be sure. We chose the song, “Daughter” by Loudon Wainwright. Of course our live performance was not without a few missteps, but it was 100% us. At the end of our dance, the band kicked in with James Brown’s, “I Feel Good.” We surprised everyone with a quick two-step routine and then invited all of our guests to the dance floor to kick off the party!

At our reception, guests enjoyed New Orleans-style beignets and coffee at the Cafe Beignet as well as a traditional New Orleans wedding cake. Prior to cutting the cake, the single ladies gathered around the cake and participated in a “cake pull” where they each pulled a ribbon attached to a charm beneath the cake to find out their fortune. College football is, of course, a huge part of the South. Mike and I went to the University of Florida, and the rest of my family attended LSU. So of course the reception included fight songs with guests chanting, “geaux tigers!” and “go gatas!” But the absolute highlight was for sure the second line. Mike and I carried feathered white and black umbrellas and paraded everyone in attendance up the stairs and around the balcony above the dance floor. The trumpet and saxophone players accompanied us on the parade as guests spiritedly waved handkerchiefs that we had made special for the occasion. The band was absolutely phenomenal! At the end, we served our favorite Southern late night snack…Chick-fil-A! All of these special touches definitely left our guests singing, “laissez le bon temps rouler!”

What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day? Our reception venue, the Peabody Opera House, shares a corner with the Scottrade Center where the St. Louis Blues Hockey team plays. A few weeks before the wedding, my wedding planner and I found out that it might be possible to use their pyrotechnics for our wedding reception send-off on the front steps. It was the only detail I kept an absolute secret from my fiance, Michael. So at the end of the reception after all of the guests were escorted outside, they opened the front doors and Michael and I stepped out into what seemed like a sea of fireworks around us. Michael was in complete shock as we walked down the steps grinning ear to ear. It was truly magical!

Tell us all about the proposal! Mike and I did long distance from Florida to Nashville for one year, so Nashville holds a special place in our hearts. Five years later, after we moved to St. Louis, Mike had a conference in Nashville, and I flew there to meet him so we could then both drive down together to a family beach trip in Seaside, Florida. I decided it would be a good idea to get an impromptu spray tan while waiting for him to finish up. When I met up with Mike, he looked at me in horror, as I resembled an oompa loompa! I did my best to scrub off the orange tint, and we headed out to dinner with some of Mike’s friends. On the walk back to our car we were midway across the John Seigenthaler bridge, and Mike said to hold up to take a picture. He then dropped to one knee in front of the Nashville skyline and popped the big question. His friend Doug surprised us with champagne and we sat along the Cumberland River excited to share the big news with our family. The next day, we drove to Seaside, Florida where our families surprised us with a marvelous engagement party. It was a weekend to remember!
What was the hardest part about planning your wedding? I think the hardest part of the planning was having my mom and sisters in a different state. I really wanted their opinions on everything from venues to cakes to music. So it took a lot of Facetiming and Pinterest boards, but we made it work!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? After you make a decision, whether it be the cake, invitations, or dress…stop looking! Continuing to look at magazines will make you start to re-think your decisions. Just stay true to your vision of your wedding day and it will turn out perfectly!
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? I just wanted to give a huge thanks again to all of our incredible vendors mentioned below. Especially Frankie from Festive Couture Florals, who is unbelievably talented. When we walked into our venue for the first time, his arrangements left me completely speechless. He created a true work of art that I will remember and love forever.

Photographer: Mike Cassimatis | Videographer: Mike Dalton | Event Planner and Designer: Kristin Ashley Events | Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis | Reception Venue: Peabody Opera House | Florist: Festive Couture Floral | Wedding Cake Baker: The Cakery | Rentals and Lighting: Exclusive Events | Band: TC Squared | Hand-painted Photo Booth: Oh So Vivant | Paper Products: Denise Wilson | Bride’s Gown: Essence of Australia | Bride’s Hairpiece: Maria Elena | Hair Stylist: Danielle Style | Makeup Artist   Whitney Reynolds | Bride’s Shoes: Bella Belles | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Beignet Baker: Cafe Ventana

Written with love by Catherine
  1. avatar David D-Print reply

    I can totally see the ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ inspiration in the wedding invitations and save the dates! Gorgeous wedding and stunning bride and groom, you guys definitely brought New Orleans to St. Louis.
    Congratulations Cathleen and Mike!

  2. avatar Tina Jenkins Crawley reply

    We were so privileged to bring our windy city chicago sounds to St. Louis and we loved being a part of this unbelievable and #OVERTHEMOONEY St. Louis Wedding for Cathleen and Mike .
    Thanks for including us in your blog credits and special thanks to Kristin Ashley Events and Mike Cassimatis for his incredible images.
    Kindly, Tina J Crawley
    Band Leader – TC Squared
    #tcsquared -#beatmixmusic Band –
    Chicago , IL USA

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One of my most prized possessions (and one of the most frequently-admired items in my home!) is the giant canvas in our living room. It’s a large (24×30 inches) photo of the sky at sunset on our wedding day, taken by our wedding photographer. The sky that day was the most beautiful ombre of pink, lavender, and blue, and walking by our canvas never fails to transport me back to being a bride!

Because of this, one of the best pieces of advice I offer my engaged friends is to ask their photographer to take a few landscape shots during their portrait session. That way, you can prominently display a reminder of the day you said “I do” without decorating your walls with only your faces :)

Photo by Morgan Stradling of her Canvas HQ artwork

Whether you choose to highlight a portrait, a landscape, an engagement photo, or something else entirely, our friends at Canvas HQ are a great source for printing your beloved photos! They offer sizes ranging from 6″ to 96″, all at reasonable prices (and they’re always running coupon offers, so don’t order without one!).

I’d love to hear: how have you remembered your wedding in your home? With a canvas? Framed photos? An album? Something else? Tell me!

This post is sponsored by Canvas HQ. Thanks for your support of the brands who make Southern Weddings possible!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Colleen reply

    We are doing a charm cake at my nieces bridesmaid luncheon. Should the cake be pink and what is the significance of the color??

    • avatar Emily reply

      Hi Colleen! How fun! No, the cake does not have to be pink – I’ve never heard of that! Most of the ones I’ve seen have been white, but you can choose any color you like! :)

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