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I have a little bit of a habit of calling dibs on introducing y’all to Texas weddings–from ranch celebrations to stylish downtown soirées, I love them all! Melissa and John’s wedding is certainly no exception, especially when I spotted Melissa’s gorgeous Amsale gown and read about the Tex Mex-inspired details she and John included in their day (a nod to the Cinco de Mayo party that kicked off their relationship). I love that, as a result, their wedding day was completely elegant, but undeniably fun–surely, a perfect fit for these Texan sweethearts!

Thanks so much to Elisabeth Carol for sharing this gorgeous day with us!

My something borrowed was a pair of Jude Francis earrings from one of my best friends. My something blue was my monogram stitched on a garter that also included the monogram of a best friend who was married in April 2014. We will continue this tradition until all our friends are married! My something old were pictures of my grandparents in framed charms. Both sets of my grandparents are no longer with me, and these charms were pinned to my bouquet. Lastly, my something new was my Jimmy Choo shoes. I can’t wait to wear them again on anniversaries and special occasions.

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My sister-in-law sent me a picture of a dress she saw, and I instantly fell in love. My mom, sister, and I had plans to go dress shopping in Dallas the weekend before Thanksgiving, when we would all be together. The bridal department in Neiman Marcus agreed to ship the dress from their Chicago store, so we started there. It was the first dress I tried on, but I knew I wanted to try on lots more in various styles. After trying on twenty or so, I put the first dress back on and knew it was the one. We purchased the dress and cancelled the rest of my bridal appointments. Ironically, it was November 21, 2014 when I said “yes” to my dress. It was so fun knowing that in exactly one year, I would be wearing this dress down the aisle!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? This was one of the hardest decisions for me while wedding planning. I had always imagined the church doors opening and seeing my husband for the first time, but after a lot of thought, we decided to do a first look. The sun was going to set early on our November wedding date and I knew I wanted pictures together outside! Additionally, I wanted to remember our vows at the altar–I knew I would be too nervous if I waited until the ceremony to see John. The first look allowed us to spend a good amount of time together on our wedding day and share the true emotion with each other when seeing one another for the first time.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My childhood friend read Colossians 3:12-14. It was so special to include her in our ceremony, because we grew up together, attending the same church and church camp. She and her husband will be a special part of our marriage going forward, and a couple who will hold us accountable to the reading we selected for our ceremony.

We decided to get married in Houston because it was such a special part of our relationship over our four years of dating! It also simplified the wedding planning process to get married in the city we were living in. We got married at the church John grew up in because it was important to us to get married in the church we would eventually raise a family in. Because my family is not from Houston, I wanted all our venues to be close by, to make it easier on our guests. I loved the traditional setting and classic decor of the Houston Country Club.

Describe your wedding flowers. We had all shades of white and ivory with dark green and touches of lime. I chose loose and airy, garden-style arrangements with lots of texture. I also wanted flowers that went with the season. The flowers included hydrangeas, eskimo roses, polo roses, majolica spray roses, and tulips. For the touch of green, the florist added trick dianthus, viburnum, and magnolia leaves. She also included seasonal blooming branches and curly willow for some texture.

My wedding cake was a four-tiered classic white cake with fresh flowers in between each layer. John’s groom’s cake was a chocolate square base with a replica of Texas A&M’s football helmets. The SEC logo was even included on his cake!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The Mexican fiesta flair we incorporated into our reception was a fun reminder of John’s first trip to Austin for my Cinco De Mayo party back in 2011. I got ready in a white Mi Golondrina dress, which was hand-stitched in Mexico. John and his wedding party wore colorful suspenders made in Mexico and South America. A mariachi band entertained guests during the cocktail hour of our reception. John’s signature drink was a Cuba Libra: rum and Coke with fresh lime. Colorful flower crowns and maracas were brought out to the dance floor when the dance party started–even the band’s female saxophonist grabbed one! Guests launched colorful confetti before John and I left in a golf cart decorated in bright Mexican paper flowers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. John and I attended rival colleges. When we met, he had just graduated from Texas A&M and I had another year and a half at The University of Texas. John’s high school friend was dating my college best friend, and they invited us both to Galveston, Texas for a beach weekend! I can still remember the first time I saw John. We had such a great weekend with friends, but parted ways on Sunday. A year later, the same friends invited us both back to Galveston again, and this time, we really hit it off. Before parting ways on Sunday, John asked for my number and I don’t think we have gone a day without speaking since. John was living in his hometown of Houston, and I still had a semester left of college in Austin. We were unsure if anything would come of our relationship, due to the distance. My best friends devised a plan that I would host a Cinco de Mayo party at my house and we would invite John to Austin to visit. John accepted the invitation and came in for the weekend. We continued to visit each other, and eventually agreed to date long distance. I graduated in December 2011 and accepted a job in Houston. Both John and Houston became very special to me as I settled into adult life.
Tell us all about the proposal! John had planned to surprise me after work on one particular Friday night in October 2014. I almost ruined his entire proposal plan when I, unexpectedly, finished work early that day. John usually leaves the office an hour before me on Fridays, so I’m sure he was in full-on panic mode when I told him I was heading home. Once home, I decided to go for a run around my neighborhood. When I got back, John’s car was parked outside. I opened the front door, and there was John on one knee. I was so sweaty and so surprised! We spent some time soaking in the moment before calling our family and friends to share the good news. John had made reservations for us at a restaurant I was dying to try, and told me we would meet up with friends at our favorite bar afterwards to celebrate. After dinner, John insisted we go home and drop off the flowers that he surprised me with at dinner. I was anxious to meet up with my best friends, but agreed. We turned onto the street, and in the middle of it, our closest friends and family were standing there holding a huge sign that said, “Congrats John and Mel!” He had a planned an engagement party and thought to invite our closest friends and family. The next day, we headed to the beach with the couple that introduced us. It was so fun being back where it all started!
When did y’all get married? November 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? John and I instituted weekly date nights, which is something we want to have in our marriage too! Some weeks, it was just a quick, weeknight meal, while other weeks, it was a planned outing. We set a rule that we couldn’t talk about the wedding during this time. This was hard for me! Life will get busy and we hope weekly dates will help us slow down and enjoy time with just each other and no other distractions.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? The sweetest detail from our wedding was incorporating a special moment during our ceremony to honor John’s late father. When John and his brother walked their mother down the aisle to seat her, they first went up to the altar and lit a candle in his memory, which burned throughout our ceremony. John’s family could look past John and his brother, who was his best man, and see the candle burning behind them. It was a sweet reminder that his father was with us on our wedding day. We gifted John’s mother with a lantern to hold the candle after the wedding as a keepsake.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? So many to choose from! John and I would have to agree that our last dance of the night was the most memorable moment of our wedding day (probably because we were on the biggest high from the night)! While the guests were lining up for our reception exit, John and I shared a private dance together. I don’t think I have ever been so happy in my life or felt so loved. We had just danced the night away surrounded by our family and friends, and then having one last moment for just the two of us for a dance to the band’s encore was unforgettable.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We loved that the holidays fell right after our wedding. It was so fun making new traditions and holiday memories together. We plan to squeeze in as many weekend getaways we can throughout the year, but our calendar is packed full with engagement celebrations and weddings. We are looking forward to celebrating these wonderful friends in 2016.

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol | Videographer: Philip Harbuck | Planner: Sarah Bett | Ceremony Venue: Chapelwood United Methodist Church | Reception Venue, Florist, and Caterer: Houston Country Club | Cake Baker: Susie’s Cakes | Linen Rentals: Aztec | Chair Rentals: A Finer Event | Lighting: Intelligent Lighting Design | Band: Password Band | Save the Dates: Clara Doyle Designs | Custom Stamps: Zazzle | Invitations: October Ink | Calligraphy: The Southern Inkwell | Reception Signage: Little Carbao Studio | Monogram Designs: Mallory Hope | Bride’s Gown: “Lenox” by Amsale | Bridal Salon and Veil: Neiman Marcus Dallas | Hair Stylist: Albert Dominguez of The Hairdressers | Makeup Artist: Jennifer Aronson | Bride’s Shoes: “Isabel” in Champagne Glitter by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Elena” in Silver Bells by Joanna August | Menswear: Jos. A Bank | Photo Booth: Texas Party Booth | Custom Water Bottles: Papellerie | Confetti Launcher Sticks: Flutterfetti | Wedding Programs and Welcome Boxes: Well Wish Tree Paper Goods | Favors: DGZ Chocolates

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    In 2015, we featured 187 beautiful, meaningful Southern weddings here on our blog. Every single one was SO special to us–it’s truly an honor to learn about each couple’s story, and the fact that they so generously invite us into this precious day of their lives is something we never take lightly. Every year, we love going back through each wedding (yup, every single one!) to round up some of the most unique, memorable details–those things that even months later, we remember the most vividly. I’m kicking things off today with my personal favorite category: bridal looks! A wedding dress holds a whole story within itself–the moment the bride realized it was the one for her, the second her groom sees her in it for the first time, and so much more. We love the way these ladies chose dresses, accessories, hair styles, and makeup that perfectly complemented the styles of their weddings and added to the stories of their wedding days. Without further ado, our most memorable bridal looks of 2015!

    Allison‘s Gatsby-esque Jenny Packham (photo by Alisha Crossley)

    Jessica‘s sparkly Hayley Paige (photo by Tracy Enoch)

    Ellen‘s champagne Monique Lhuillier with delicate beading (photo by Mary Rosenbaum)

    Lacy‘s undeniably classic, feminine style, reminiscent of Audrey Hepburn (photo by Archetype Studio)

    Lindsay‘s heirloom gown and lace appliqué veil (photo by Natalie Watson)

    Mare‘s classic Southern belle style (photo by Brian Flint)

    Mary Catherine‘s dramatic silk Le Spose di Giò (photo by Paperlily Photography)

    Abigail‘s Tara Keely gown, complete with a big Southern bow (photo by Michelle Lyerly)

    Anna‘s embellished and ruffled St. Pucchi (photo by Amy Arrington Photography)

    Catherine‘s custom Heidi Elnora (photo by Mike Cassimatis)

    Tracy Enoch and Amy Arrington Photography are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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    1. avatar Dana reply

      that sparkly hailey page…so beautiful! But all of these are just stunning. What lucky brides!

    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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    I fell for BDK the very first day we met–I simply knew he was the man I was going to marry, so I believe Rachel wholeheartedly when she says she knew right away that Shaman was the one for her. I’m sure the guests at their beautiful Keswick Hall wedding could tell as well! You can see just how in love these two are as you scroll through each photo. I can also see why Rachel knew her dress was the one for her the very first second she saw it–that beadwork, y’all! Talk about a beauty!

    Thank you kindly to Paige Jones for sharing this romantic wedding day with us!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. While Shaman and I had been classmates at Roanoke College for three years, we had never spoken to one another until we were home for the summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, just before our senior year. I was interning for UVA Children’s Hospital in the fundraising office, and we were hosting an event at the golf course where Shaman happened to be working for the summer. I spotted him cruising across one of the putting greens and was so delighted to see a fellow classmate! I yelled Shaman’s name and he came over on his cart–we chatted a bit, exchanged phone numbers, and I knew right away he was the one for me. About a week later, while attending the Annual Pink Polo Match at King Family Vineyard, my car battery “unfortunately” died. Shaman was there as well, and I convinced him that he was the only person there that could help me. We remained in constant contact for the rest of the summer, spending every day together, usually eating ice cream and shooting hoops. By the start of school, we were inseparable and totally in love!

    My dress was the very first dress I spotted as I walked into the bridal salon and, like my now-husband, I knew it was the one for me the very second I saw it. Five days after we got engaged, I went with my mom and sister to “just try on styles” to get a better idea of what I was looking for. My sister and I walked into the shop together, saw the dress at the same moment, and ran to pull it off the rack. While I tried on a number of other dresses, nothing else compared!

    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! My favorite phrase was “I promise to hug you when you leave in the morning, kiss you when you return in the evening, and be thankful for each day I wake up beside you.”

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When we were presented for the first time as Shaman and Rachel Douglass!! Yay!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our venue for the cozy winter setting–it has historic architecture and beautiful, oversized fireplaces. Food was very important to us, and Keswick is an expert in that area. The level of service is impeccable as well!

    We chose to have my mother’s cold oven pound cake recipe (a Southern favorite) with lemon buttercream icing made into eight cakes, which we placed on some of the dinner tables to serve double duty as decor. It is our very favorite cake and we couldn’t imagine NOT having it on our big day. We also chose to have a hot doughnut bar after dinner with every kind of topping you could imagine (chocolate, sprinkles, powdered sugar, and even bacon!), which was a fan favorite with the guests.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It will all fall into place! Remember to take the time to feel loved by those who are helping you celebrate–they are so happy for you, and it is important to recognize how special it is to be surrounded by so many great people.

    Don’t miss Rachel and Shaman’s highlights film by Ian’s Creations!

    Tell us all about the proposal! I nearly screwed up the proposal! Since I now work at a school, I was home on spring break, and Shaman so thoughtfully took off for the week to spend it with me. On Wednesday, we were both relaxing, and Shaman kept asking if I wanted to go for a hike. I scolded him saying, “No, it’s raining! And, I’m working on emails, AND we need to clean up the house because Lindsey (my best friend) is coming into town tomorrow.” He then had my mother call and ask what we were up to–she too suggested we get out of the house and go for a hike. I thought the two of them were CRAZY! We did not go for the hike, but later in the day, we had an appointment to do our pre-qualification for a home loan. As we were trying to get out the door, Shaman asked if I thought it mattered to the mortgage company that we weren’t engaged yet–I thought he had really lost it, as we had discussed it before and I didn’t understand why he was bringing it up again. I remember looking through my bag, thinking “Whatever, he’s such a guy,” and making a note to pack a snack, when I heard shuffling behind me. When I turned around, he was down on his knee with the ring box open that he had picked out all on his own. I was totally shocked and overjoyed! He explained that this was not how he planned it, but that he couldn’t get me to leave the house! It was perfectly us anyway!
    When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! As both of my grandmothers have departed, I had one of my grandmother’s sapphire rings and a hanky from the other side of the family that all the women have carried with them on their walks down the aisle as my borrowed, blue, and old! My something new was the beautiful ruby necklace Shaman gave me as a wedding present. Ruby is my birthstone and one of my favorite jewels!
    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What was most Southern about our wedding was the warmth in the room from all of our loved ones! We served fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese as one of our canapés, and our very historical estate venue had some Southern flair. Also, my niece’s dress was made from my mom’s wedding gown by my aunt!
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor and discussed challenging topics, such as money, family dynamics, and career paths. We would encourage everyone to do it and have those open conversations!
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Living life and helping our friends celebrate their life events! We were the first to get married and we can’t wait to share in everyone’s adventures.

    Photographer: Paige Jones Photography / Videographer: Ian’s Creations / Day-Of Coordinator: Just a Little Ditty / Venue and Catering: Keswick Hall / Florist: Hedge Fine Blooms / Dessert Baker: Country Confections / Draping: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting / DJ: Andrew Hypes / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Style 9100” in Blush by Allure / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridal Impressions / Bride’s Earrings and Bridesmaid Rings: Suz Somersall/ Hair Stylist: Claibourne Reppert / Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Calvin Klein and Adrianna Papell / Groom’s Attire: Simon Spurr and Belgian Shoes

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
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      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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