Bride Melissa shares her dreamy Texas wedding at The White Sparrow.
I’m delighted to introduce y’all to today’s bride Melissa! She describes her blue and white wedding to Thomas as “a beautiful spring dream.” And, y’all, I could not agree more. Inspired by an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet hand-painted by her mama, their May wedding at The White Sparrow had me swooning as soon as we saw it. I love how each detail that was incorporated has significance to their story as a couple or their family heritage, but what I love most (besides that big ol’ bow on the back of her dress because oh.my.stars!!) is Melissa’s advise to those currently planning a wedding. She said three simple things: “Pray, prepare, and relax.” Yes, girl! Now I sure know a lot more advise might be needed, but that sounds like the perfect place to start.
Big thanks to Apryl Ann for capturing such a lovely day in May!
We’re thrilled to have featured this wedding in our latest print magazine, be sure to head to the Southern Weddings Shop to see snag your copy.
Our wedding was inspired by Texas wildflowers, and I really started to see my vision after we took our engagement pictures. Our pictures were taken a field of wildflowers, and I loved how the printed blue dress I wore looked against the warm colors of the flowers. When it came time to design our invitations, my mother painted an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet, and it turned out to be the main inspiration for our entire wedding design. My mother is a talented artist and graphic designer, so it was so special to have one of her works incorporated into our wedding design. The bluebonnet painting was the background for our invitations and was eventually tied into all of the prints in the wedding.
Our wedding was on May 6, 2017 at The White Sparrow in Quinlan, Texas. The ceremony began at 5:30PM and our reception followed. I first saw The White Sparrow in a magazine and it immediately caught my eye. I initially dismissed getting married in a barn setting, but as soon as I saw the beautiful white building I began to change my mind. My first trip to visit the venue was in early January and it was a wet, bitterly cold day. Even with the dreary weather, the barn looked magnificent, and I knew it would only look lovelier on a spring May day. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner who told us the story behind the barn. She was a Mississippi native and said most of the materials used to build the barn were from the Magnolia State. It was perfect! The barn perfectly fit our desire to create a “Tex-sippinian” wedding. The White Sparrow has the most welcoming, traditional-yet-modern feel and is the perfect canvas for our wedding vision.
We chose to get married in May for many reasons. First, it is my favorite month of year! I love how the spring flowers are in bloom and the weather begins to warm with the promise of summer. Secondly, there is no football in May! I know this may sound silly to some, but Thomas and I come from families who plan their schedules around college football games and I did not want our wedding to interfere with any big games. Lastly, as if May wasn’t already the perfect month, my new initials are MAY (Melissa Austin Yoste). It was a sure sign, y’all!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? The journey to find my dress was quite long. I must have tried on at least 30 gowns before I found the one. There was a time when I became very frustrated and thought my dream dress was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a picture of a gown on Pinterest and knew I had to try it on! As fate would have it, Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon in Dallas had the dress in town for a few days at a trunk show so I was able to try it on with my mother, family friend, and maid of honor. I knew it was the dress for me as soon as I put it on. It was such a magical feeling, and I absolutely loved everything about the gown! Fun fact about the dress, it is by Sachin and Babi and is a part of their very first bridal gown collection! It truly is a beautiful piece of art.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony took place under two large, beautiful trees in the lawn of the venue. Our ceremony was performed by Pastor Bo Thompson, our local pastor from Rhea’s Mill Baptist Church. Pastor Bo gave a beautiful message on marriage and led the guests in prayer. Thomas’s father performed a reading, and we were so glad that he played a role in our ceremony. Following the message, Thomas and I participated in a Unity Cross display which beautifully symbolized our relationship being rooted in The Lord.
We both agree that the reading of our vows was the most touching moment of our wedding day. It is easy to say, “I love you” to someone, but more difficult to explain WHY you love that person. Writing our vows gave us the opportunity to put our feelings into words and profess our love for each other in front of all our family and friends.
Did you have a cocktail hour? We had cocktail hour immediately following our ceremony on the porch and side lawn of the venue. As with the rest of wedding, we wanted the cocktail hour to be filled with small Southern comforts and hospitality. Our signature drinks, along with a selection of craft beer and cured wine list, were served at the cocktail hour. Our signature drinks included a Southern Mule and Margarita. To help create an inviting atmosphere, I curated a playlist of soulful, upbeat songs to be played during cocktail hour. Wendy had another piece custom-built to hang our escort cards from, which were watercolor flower petals with my mother’s bluebonnet design. Wendy also built a frame for guests to write us well wishes and insert into it – it was Anthropologie-inspired.
Our reception was a beautiful spring dream. From the moment you stepped into the main room at the venue, you were met with stunning florals and inviting guest tables. With the room filled with all of our closest family and friends, Thomas and I felt surrounded by love and warmth. We wanted our wedding to an event where people felt comfortable and at home. We spent the evening saying hello to old friends, dancing with our wedding party and soaking up every moment of our special day. The design for our reception stemmed again from the bluebonnet print and wildflower inspiration. The main room at The White Sparrow is absolutely stunning and the tall, white walls truly gave us the perfect blank slate for our vision. I really wanted to include lots of prints in our reception design. Since the space is all white, I loved how the mix of different blue printed tablecloths and paper goods added depth and dimension to the space. The pop of warmth from the flowers gave the room life and a touch of spring.
Having a Southern wedding was very important to us because it is who we are. We wanted our guests to feel the hospitality and warmth from the moment they were greeted with welcome bags at the hotel to the time they received Whataburger fries and Dr. Pepper as a wedding favor at the end of the night. We wanted our wedding to be event where people felt welcome, comfortable and like family. Every detail had meaning and significance to us.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Pray, prepare, and relax. My most important advice for future brides would be to pray for guidance, patience, and strength. Every morning I began my day with prayer and it allowed me to see more clearly and handle the stress of planning with ease. Also prepare for marriage with your fiancé by completing pre-marital counseling. Thomas and I met with our pastor for several weeks, and it was one of our favorite parts of the planning process. It allowed us to grow as a couple and remember to focus on what truly matters, our marriage! I would also tell future brides to relax! I know it is easier said than done (and this is coming from a very type-A, worrisome bride) but it will all work out in the end! Make sure you take some time for yourself and not think or talk about the wedding for a while. It will ease and refresh your mind.
One of the Southern traditions we did was burying the whiskey. Following with tradition, we buried a bottle of whiskey in ground on a picture-perfect May day in hopes that our wedding weather would be just as great. Since we were getting married in early May, which is storm season in Texas, I crossed my fingers that our whiskey bottle would bring us some luck! Sure enough, our wedding day had the most picture-perfect weather and we dug up the bottle of whiskey after cutting the cake. To this day, I believe the whiskey bottle was truly magical.
Tell us a bit about your first dance. Early on in our relationship, Thomas and I made playlists for each other. It was a way of staying connected when we lived eleven hours apart. Ever since then, there have always been a few songs that made me think of him and our time together. Because of this, I was very selective in the songs we chose for our wedding. Our first dance song was difficult to choose because we had so many favorites! We ended up choosing “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, because it’s a song that has a lot of meaning to us. My father-daughter dance was to “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker, and it may sound like an odd choice, but it was the song my dad first taught me how to dance so it brought back childhood memories. I also shared a sweet moment with my dad dancing to “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers, which is actually the song I was named after. Beers were raised and boots were stomped when the DJ played “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks for our last group party song. After the guests exited the venue for the send off, Thomas and I danced to one of my all-time favorite songs “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date! We were set up by mutual friends and went bowling for our first double date. To be completely honest, I was very hesitant to go on the date (I thought blind dates were cliché) but my friend Lisa gave me the extra push, and I am so glad she did! After the first date with friends, Thomas made sure to reach out to me and set up a date just for us at a local sushi restaurant. We spent the evening getting to know each other and we were both surprised with how easy and comfortable our conversation flowed. By the end of the night, I knew Thomas was special. The sushi date led to many others in the course of two weeks, and before we knew it, it was time to return to our schools for fall semester. Hours before I left for Austin, we met at a park, decided to date long distance (me in Austin, TX and Thomas in Oxford, MS), and the rest is history! The years of long distance were difficult and filled with countless hours of driving (Austin and Oxford are 11 hours apart!), but the distance solidified our relationship and love for each other.
Describe the proposal. Thomas asked my parents permission for my hand in marriage in October 2015 and he decided to propose in December when all of our family would be together for the holidays. I am a University of Texas graduate and love Austin so he decided the city would be the perfect location for a proposal! Thomas concocted a plan which included inviting my brothers and cousins to spend a day in Austin doing some of my favorite activities. He played it off as my Christmas gift so that I would not become suspicious. After eating breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple restaurant, visiting Blanton Art Museum, walking around Rainey Street and grabbing donuts at Voodoo, we capped the day off with a trip to the Texas State Capitol Building. We explored the beautiful building and when we reached the center of the infamous rountunda, Thomas got down on one knee and proposed! It was a perfect moment and what made it even better was the fact that my best friends were on the third floor of the building capturing pictures of the proposal from above! Following the proposal, we got celebratory drinks at Moonshine Grill and then headed to what I thought was going to be a small dinner with our parents. To my surprise, we arrived at Abel’s on the Lake filled with ALL of our friends and family! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day and I was so glad Thomas included our loved ones in the special occasion.
What was the weather like on your big day? Absolutely stunning! My number one concern while planning our wedding was the weather. May weather can be a toss up in Texas, since it is normally the wettest month of the year. However, our whiskey bottle magic worked and we were blessed with the most beautiful day! Our day was filled with clear skies, lots of sun, perfect temperatures and just the right amount of breeze. God was looking down on us that day.
How many guests attended your wedding? 185.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Thomas and I both agree that the hardest part was deciding on the guest list. We both come from very large families and we wanted everyone to attend! However, it was not realistic to have a guest list of 300 people so we had to make some difficult decisions.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our wedding party included eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, two honorary groomsmen and four ushers. I had two maids of honors in my bridal party, because both girls mean so much to me and are such valuable people in my life. Thomas had two honorary groomsmen for close friends that have passed away. Including these men in our ceremony was very important to Thomas and we included their names in memory in our ceremony program.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We included soft, acoustic songs in our ceremony. I wanted to set a romantic, emotional tone for the ceremony. “In My Life” by Jake Shimbukuro played while our grandparents and parents were escorted down the aisle. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Canon de Pachelbel by Guitar Duo and I followed with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by The O’Neill Brothers Group. The recessional song was “Wildfire” by John Mayer. It is one of my favorite songs, and it has such a happy and upbeat vibe, which made for the perfect ceremony exit song.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? During our cocktail hour, we served chili lime grilled shrimp on tortilla chips, smoked gouda pimento cheese with ham on masa shortbread and fried green tomatoes with a red pepper aioli. During the ceremony, we had a selection of food stations that included a Southern Biscuit Bar, Taco Bar and Avocado Bar. We wanted to really tie in our “Tex-sippian” theme in our menu with a combination of both Southern comfort food and Tex-Mex staples. We also wanted to encourage our guests to get out of their seats and socialize while gathering their meal and is why we chose to have food stations.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? (Our wedding planner) Wendy!! Wendy was able to take my abstract and vague ideas for our wedding and turn them into stunning reality. She was with Thomas and me every step of the way during the planning process and was always available for questions or concerns. My mother and I talked so frequently with Wendy in the months leading up to the wedding that afterwards we really missed our weekly email chats.
What’s next for you as a couple? We look forward to enjoying married life while living in downtown Dallas. We are settling into our apartment and love being able to make a little home for ourselves. We are also dreaming of getting a dog someday, but will wait a few years much to Melissa’s dismay. We also look forward to traveling to new places, visiting friends and of course attending University of Texas and Ole Miss football games in the fall.
Photographer: Apryl Ann Photography | Videographer: Marc Roberts Videography | Planner and designer: Birds of a Feather Events | Venue: The White Sparrow Barn | Florals: The Southern Table | Caterer: Gil’s Elegant Catering | Wedding cake: Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery | Bride’s gown: “Olivia” by Sachin and Babi | Bridal salon: Neiman Marcus | Bride’s shoes: NearlyNude Sandal by Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s earrings: Ross-Simons | Bride’s veil: Jurgita Bridal | Bride’s hair clips: BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Beauty and the Blush Artistry | Bridesmaid dresses: “Inesse” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Men’s suits: Jos. A. Bank | Men’s ties: The Tie Bar | Groom’s cufflinks: College Elegance | Paper designs: Tammy Grimmett | Calligraphy: Cleggraphy Designs | Paper printing: Edwards Printing Service and Kathy Benson | Rentals: Top Tier Event Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Entertainment and lighting: LeForce Entertainment