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The South is chock-full of beautiful venues, so I always love when we see a wedding at a stunning, new-to-me space! With its dreamy, architectural details, and manicured grounds, Harwelden Mansion could not have made a lovelier setting for Lauren and Tony’s wedding. Originally a private home, the mansion provided an elegant, yet cozy, atmosphere where Lauren and Tony could celebrate with the ones they love. Ever Something‘s naturally beautiful blooms perfectly accentuated the romantic space with a freshly-picked-from-the-garden feel. In addition, Lauren’s mother and grandfather lovingly tended to rosemary and lavender plants all summer so they could supplement the table arrangements with their aromatic leaves–such a sweet touch that smelled just as pretty as it looked!

Big SW hugs to Fleckography for sharing Lauren and Tony’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’ve never been a girly girl, so although I admire fashion, I wasn’t very into the whole process. I did a lot of research online before ever setting foot in a store, and, even when I did, I was still considering non-traditional options in the back of my mind. I went to three stores in all, once with my mom, another time with my aunt, and the last solo. I’m glad I went to the final shop because I knew when I found my dress, it was the one for me. When the dress arrived, it needed some minor alterations, so I took it to Miss Jackson’s, a Tulsa landmark and one of the only department stores in Oklahoma specializing in high-end fashion. The process was so glamorous and the attention to detail was exquisite. I’m so glad I had the experience because only one week after our wedding, the store announced it was closing its doors after “105 years of style.”

Natural beauty was a big part of our aesthetic. I knew that Ever Something here in Tulsa would create arrangements that looked freshly picked from a garden, so I was not too concerned with the specific blooms. After giving Taylor and Katie the color palette, I mentioned I would like to incorporate fresh herbs, like lavender and rosemary. They did the rest! My bouquet was lush, complex, and smelled amazing. We also envisioned a greenery garland to hang over the entrance to the mansion, which was the backdrop to the outdoor ceremony. Another garland hung gracefully from a chandelier over the buffet table. On tables, we had small arrangements that were similar to my bouquet. My sweet family asked to help with decorations, so I suggested they help supplement table arrangements. My mom knew about my love of fresh herbs, so she and my grandfather lovingly tended rosemary and lavender plants all summer, just so we could use the leaves of those plants in votive candles throughout the reception area. It was such a nice touch and, like my bouquet, smelled wonderful.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Harwelden Mansion in midtown Tulsa was built in the 1920s and is a gothic tudor-style home on the National Register of Historic Places. The original architectural details are still in beautiful condition, and the house and grounds lend themselves to a dreamy, vintage setting. Harwelden was originally a private home, so we loved the idea of having a wedding that felt simultaneously elegant and cozy.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? This was my favorite part of the ceremony. We chose several quotes and readings from Carl Sagan, Ekhart Tolle, Mark Twain, and Jim Henson. We created our own concept around how rare it is to find your soulmate, the person you love most, in the midst of such a vast universe. Our friend performed the ceremony and he wove them together so beautifully that people asked us for copies.

Our families and friends were so generous with their time. Having their help with everything from moving chairs and tables to solving a pre-ceremony sewing emergency was vital. It wouldn’t have been the same without them, and those are the gifts we’ll remember.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We are lucky enough to be involved professionally with a lot of vendors. The nonprofit organization I work for owns the venue we used, and Tony’s company (that same restaurant where we met) catered the reception. A friend sold us wine at a discount, and our beer was donated by a local brewery who worked with Tony frequently. Being able to craft a beautiful day with vendors we knew personally was amazing, not only because it saved us a lot of money, but because we got to work with our friends!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at work! I was making ends meet during my time at the University of Tulsa by waitressing at an Irish pub downtown. Tony was bartending at the bar next door, but he moonlighted once a week at the pub. My first day happened to be on the day of his weekly shift. The first thing he said to me was, “Don’t bother remembering my name, you won’t see much of me.” We managed to get to know each other regardless! I was drawn to Tony’s charm, his sense of humor, and his love of music and books. We spent the next several years in Virginia, ultimately returning to Oklahoma. We clicked immediately and have been filling each other’s lives with laughter ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! He always surprises me on my birthday, December 23, and I celebrated my 30th in 2014. I knew we were going to a nice dinner, and when we arrived at the restaurant, there were my best friend and her husband from out of town! I thought the surprise ended there, but after dinner, we walked a few blocks to a city park that has beautiful lights around the holiday season. My best friend’s husband, Todd (an amateur photographer), wanted to “test out his new camera” on the lights. We posed for a few photos, and the next thing I knew, Tony was down on one knee and Todd was snapping away. After spending eight years together, It turned out to be the best Christmas gift we could have given our friends and family, and my favorite birthday yet!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 50 at the ceremony and 150 at the reception
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We fell in love over music, so it was important to us to incorporate it into our day. It ended up being one of my favorite details! Tony was in charge and chose a 1960s-themed soundtrack. At the ceremony, we played all Beatles and Beach Boys songs. I walked down the aisle to M. Ward’s instrumental cover of “You Still Believe in Me,” a Beach Boys original. The reception was a party from the start–we played all 1960s R&B. People loved it, especially our parents’ generation! Our first dance was to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love.” I danced with my dad to Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways.” Music was also the theme for our party favors. Keeping with a DIY sensibility, Tony curated a mixtape, and I designed the cover art. We made and printed every detail. During those long days of wedding projects, we found that listening to and talking about possible tracks was a great way to relax and spend time together.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? After being together for eight years, we started the wedding planning process with a firm commitment to each other. Advice from family and friends kept us grounded, but planning the wedding together taught us a lot about our shared vision. Our friend married us and was great about pre-wedding sessions, so it was a fun experience to relive our relationship as we discussed the ceremony with him.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We both have family members with physical limitations, so our timeline had to accommodate people who may not be able to stand for long periods of time, or who needed to leave early. We made it work by communicating with specific vendors and making the plans for group photos and other moments early in the planning process.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stick to your guns, but be graceful. If you have a difference of opinion, you’ll most likely be disagreeing with someone you love very much. It’s important to honor them and listen, but to be fair to yourself. If someone wants to help, delegate! Most of all, remember to have fun. At the end of the day, the details fade in comparison to the feeling of being surrounded by so much love all at once.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For now, we are enjoying our time as newlyweds, cooking each other extravagant dinners and spending time together. We are also looking forward to future travels as a married couple!

Photographer: Fleckography | Venue: Harwelden Mansion | Florist: Ever Something | Cake Baker: Ann’s Bakery | Caterer: McNellie’s Group Catering | Rentals: ABCO Rents Tulsa | DJ: Hank Hanewinkel III | Paper Products: Tortoise Belly | Bride’s Gown: “Rosemary” by Sottero & Midgley | Bride’s Hair Accessories: Kathy Johnson | Hair Stylist: First Ward | Bride’s Shoes: “Sofia” in Blue by Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Beshara’s Formal Wear

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    As a proud University of Texas alum, I cringe a little admitting this, but some of the sweetest people I know went to Texas A&M. While I don’t know today’s bride and groom, Alex and Connor, personally, I can only imagine that if I did, I’d be able to say that same thing about them! From their adorable meet-cute in Aggieland to their prayerful wedding at Chandelier Grove, they’ve approached every step of their relationship with joy and intentionality. Y’all won’t want to miss Alex’s emotional walk down the aisle, their charming, rustic reception, or their meeting and proposal stories below!

    Thanks so much to Mustard Seed Photography for sharing this special day with us!

    Prayer was a big part of our entire wedding day. As we were getting ready, my bridesmaids prayed around me and Connor’s groomsmen prayed around him. Right before the ceremony, he and I prayed together, and we prayed numerous times during the ceremony. My dad gave a great welcome speech and prayer before dinner. Right before our sparkler exit, Connor’s parents and my parents got together and we all prayed together. God brought us together, so it was really neat to thank Him and feel His presence so often throughout our wedding day!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found Claire Pettibone’s Chantilly gown online through Pinterest before I was engaged. Once we got engaged, I knew immediately that Chantilly would be my dress. I found out that Claire Pettibone was having a trunk show just a few hours away from me, and my wonderful parents came with me so I could try it on. The second I put it on, it just confirmed what I had been thinking: this was my dress.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I really wanted to see his reaction when he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. We did want to pray together before the ceremony, so we stood on opposite sides of the house where we got ready and held hands. I am so glad we did that, because standing there, hearing his voice, and holding his hand really brought me a sense of peace. I had been so anxious and nervous all day, and it helped me calm down and focus on how sure I was that Connor was the perfect man for me.

    For me, the most memorable moment is hands down the moment the barn doors opened and I started walking down the aisle. Just about everyone we know and love was standing right in front of me, but I could only see Connor, who was crying. It was so incredibly sweet seeing him so overcome with emotion at seeing me.

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had a dear friend of mine hold a wooden plank with three strands tied to it. While our pastor read from Ecclesiastes 4, we braided the strands together. It was a really special moment in our ceremony that symbolized mine and Connor’s lives intertwining, while making sure to keep God in the center of our relationship.

    We had our ceremony and reception at the same venue–a private farm called Chandelier Grove. When we first visited the property, it was still very much under construction, but we could see a clear and gorgeous vision everywhere we looked. The more we talked to Stacey, the owner, the more we could feel God pushing us in her direction. The family who owns the farm are some of the kindest people we have met. Stacey did pretty much all of the remodeling herself, and even buried her husband’s Bible in the foundation of the barn! God just made it clear to both of us that Chandelier Grove was the place we were meant to get married.

    What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding had a Southern vibe through and through. From the pecan orchard ceremony setting to the rustic barn where we held the reception, we wanted the beauty of nature to be highlighted in our wedding. We’re both born and raised Texans, so it was important to us that our wedding reflected our backgrounds.

    For the flowers, I wanted very neutral colors and lots of greenery, because I wanted the flowers to enhance the beauty of the barn without overpowering it. Our florist did a phenomenal job! The only guidance I gave her was a picture of what I wanted my bouquet to look like and the colors I was going for, and then I just let her do her thing! We were very pleased with what she delivered.

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t let it stress you out! There were times when I would get really stressed out about something, and I had to just take a step back from what I was working on, breathe, and remind myself that this was just a party. The truly important thing is what comes after the wedding–our marriage! When either of us was feeling stressed, we would just put aside all the wedding stuff and watch a movie or go to a nice dinner. It felt really good to occasionally put off wedding planning and focus on each other.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both students at Texas A&M University. At the start of our junior year, Connor moved into the house across the street from the one I was living in. His roommates thought my roommates were cute and brought them Skittles. My roommates thought his roommates were cute and asked me to bake some brownies we could take over to them. I did, and that is when Connor and I met for the first time. We hit it off instantly and saw each other every day for the next three weeks, spending hours staying up late and talking. He asked me to be his girlfriend by cooking me dinner, serving it as a candlelit picnic on the roof of his house, and showing me his backyard. He had carved out “Date me?” in pumpkins! Nine days after that, Connor told me he was going to marry me someday, and I knew he was right.
    Tell us all about the proposal! He totally surprised me! He showed up at my house one afternoon totally unexpectedly and had me come out to the driveway. He had borrowed a friend’s Corvette and parked it in front of my house. When I got closer, I saw that he had picked out a dress for me and draped it over the passenger seat. While I changed, he packed a bag for me, and then we were off! I had no idea where we were going–each stop was a total surprise. First, he took me to get my nails done, and then he took me to a nice dinner. After dinner, we drove for over an hour, and when we finally arrived at our destination, my jaw hit the floor. He had brought me to the sister vineyard of the one we had gone to on our first date! He led me to a cottage he had rented on the property and took me out onto the back porch, which was decorated with candles, roses, and a bottle of champagne. That’s when he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him! I said, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” His best friend was hiding in the backyard taking pictures of us–it was all totally magical! We then spent the whole weekend touring various wineries in the area.
    When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows. The pastor who married us has very close ties to my family–he actually married my parents 27 years ago! That meant a lot to Connor and I, as my parents and their marriage are our role models.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Yellow” by Coldplay is my all-time favorite song, and when I heard Vitamin String Quartet’s version of it, I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful to walk down the aisle to. For walking back up the aisle, we played “Shut Up and Dance” because it was time to celebrate! Our first dance song was “Duet” by Penny and Sparrow. It’s an extremely moving and tender song that was shown to us by a sweet friend, and the first time we heard it, we just knew we needed to have our first married dance to it!
    Describe your wedding cake. We wanted our cake to be simply decorated with flowers. I found mugs to spell out LOVE and filled those with flowers to arrange around the cake. Connor and his dad actually made the wooden cake stand from a cut tree we found in our neighborhood! Our main wedding cake flavor was Italian creme and it was absolutely delicious! I’m not really a big cake fan, but it was so good that we totally devoured the top tier in our hotel room after the wedding!
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with a sweet couple at my family’s church and had a weekend-long marriage preparation class. I can’t recommend the book we used enough! We worked our way through Dennis Rainey’s “Preparing for Marriage” and learned so much about each other and ourselves. We really grew closer during the process. We also had numerous discussions about our expectations going into marriage.
    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 memories are you looking forward to making together? We just finished moving to a new state and setting up our life together here. We adopted the sweetest little kitten, and we are looking forward to traveling together and watching the progress of the house we are in the process of building!

    Photographer: Kat Theis of Mustard Seed Photography / Videographer: Jeff Richards of Green Leaf Films / Planner: Tracy Flaherty Events / Venue: Chandelier Grove / Florist: Cornelius Florist / Cake Baker: Virginia’s Cakes / Caterer: Master Chef Catering / Rentals: House of Hough / Bride’s Gown: “Chantilly” by Claire Pettibone / Bride’s Accessories: The Honey Comb / Hair and Makeup: Adorne Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “8514” by Watters / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Victoria reply

      I love the romance in the shabby chic theme and the blush color palette. Very pretty.

    2. avatar Dana reply

      love so many details in this wedding! and that first date…please. so sweet!

    3. avatar 48 Creative Rustic Wedding Ideas for Your Big Day | Stylish Wedd Blog reply

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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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