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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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    What started as a chance meeting (after Janelle “sashayed” in front of Paul, of course!) grew into something so sweet! But, it wasn’t a surprise to these two–Paul even saved the receipt from their very first date because “he had a feeling that ‘this’ might be going somewhere!” Not only did Paul save the receipt, he ever-so-romantically presented it to Janelle at their reception as a surprise. Along with that, I’m sure that seeing Paul’s brother officiate the gorgeous ceremony at the Waterside Chapel was so touching to witness!

    Big hugs to Ashley Seawell for sharing this lovely day with us!

    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes, this was very last minute. My something borrowed and something old was an heirloom locket from my mom that I have always loved. When opened, the locket has two pictures: one of my mom and dad on their wedding day and the other of my mom and her mom on her wedding day. I think its priceless, especially since my grandmother is no longer with us. My something blue was my garter. My something new was my wedding dress!

    We visited the Inn at Palmetto Bluff early last year and absolutely fell in love with the place. The grounds were immaculate and we felt we were worlds away from the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. Upon seeing the breathtaking Waterside Chapel, we knew this was the place we wanted to get married. Most importantly, we wanted to share our experience with loved ones who would hopefully be able to appreciate it as well.

    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Paul’s older brother, Eric, performed the ceremony and used many Scriptures from the Bible that focused on love and the marriage covenant.
    Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our ceremony Songs consisted of the following: “Jesu, Joy of a Man’s Desiring” for the seating of the family, “Canon in D” performed by a close friend for the procession of the bride, “Revelation Song” for the lighting of the unity candle, and “Hallelujah Chorus” for the recessional. Our first dance song was “The One, He Kept For Me” by Maurette Brown Clark. This song was a testimony to God’s faithfulness in our lives and how He kept us until the perfect time when we would meet and eventually join as one.

    The location, food, family focus, and tradition were very Southern! The large oak trees with Spanish moss scream Southern, and as for our food, we wanted comfort food and dishes that meant something to us, so we served shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and brisket.

    Describe your wedding flowers. Sue Burden did an amazing job with the flowers. She was easygoing and set my mind at ease from the start. I showed her some of the pictures I had collected and told her I wanted various shades of white for the flowers with a little greenery. She delivered and I was extremely pleased with the results.

    During the time he was supposed to be saying his “thank you” speech, Paul decided to do his own thing. To my surprise, he told his version of how we first met and the details of our first date. At the end, he pulled out the receipt from our first date, back on March 19, 2010. He said he kept it because he had a feeling that “this” might be going somewhere. Who knew he would save it for three and a half years and present it to me on our wedding day!!! Oh, how I love that man!

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was studying for my licensing exam in Books-A-Million on a Saturday afternoon when in walked a cute guy in gym clothes who caught my eye. He sat down at a table not too far away from me so I decided to get up and sashay across the bookstore to go get a book (that I didn’t really need). Upon returning to the table, I realized Paul had not even looked up, so I decided I should really get back to work. I sat down and proceeded to study. A few minutes later, I looked up, and there he was! Paul smiled and introduced himself and asked if he could sit with me. We talked for a bit, exchanged numbers, and went on a date the following Friday–March 19, 2010. The rest is history!
    Tell us all about the proposal! Paul says he did not originally intend to propose on the day that he did, but something in him made him go with the flow and do it! I thought it was beautiful. We were headed to church when he said he forgot his Bible, so he ran back inside to get it, but took way too long. I was still sitting in the car waiting for him when he called me on my cell phone. He did not sound like himself and he asked me to come help him out with something quickly. I assumed he had hurt himself, so I bolted inside to see what was wrong. I ran around looking for him and eventually found him in his room on bended knee. I asked him if he was okay, and he looked up, stared me in the eyes, said some beautiful things, and proceeded to ask me to be his wife. Of course, I said yes…I’d been waiting for this for longer than I’d like to admit! :)
    When did y’all get married? January 12, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75 guests
    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. This did not go as smoothly as I initially thought it would. I went home to Miami to go shopping with my mom, and I just knew my hometown would have what I was looking for, as the options were endless and more than I could ever ask for. By the end of the weekend, I was tired, frustrated, and had just about given up, so I returned to Raleigh empty-handed. I researched the bridal stores in the area, and the last store on my list, Alexia’s Bridal, had MY dress–the dress I envisioned. It caught my eye immediately. I tried it on and I knew I was sold when I found myself prancing around in it, dancing in the mirror, and smiling!
    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, we opted out of a first look. We are very traditional and wanted to be surprised.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Having a destination wedding, it was difficult at times to let go of the reigns and trust that everything would come together as God intended. Most of the planning was done via phone and email with our wedding planner, Sage, who was absolutely wonderful and attentive. I had a hard time finding someone to do my hair and makeup to my satisfaction, but Sage eventually found Denise Teasdell, and the trial was the day before the wedding. Thankfully, she was absolutely wonderful.
    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Paul wore his own suit, we didn’t have a wedding party, we limited the number of guests, we were married during an off-peak season and day, and our family helped us out with different projects when they could.
    What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We are extremely thankful that Paul’s older brother, Eric, who is a minister, was able to marry us. He has been so instrumental in our lives and he knows us well. Having him marry us was meaningful in more ways than anyone could ever realize.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I loved walking through the doors of the chapel and locking eyes with my husband-to-be until I reached him at the altar. I never imagined he would get choked up, but he did, and so did I. It was a moment I will never forget. When I asked Paul what was his most memorable moment was, he said, “Seeing you down the aisle.” He knows just what to say to make me smile!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Remember what the true purpose is for the day–the union of you and your soulmate. Everything else pales in comparison to that.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are so blessed to have one another. As a couple, we are looking forward to completely consolidating residences and beginning to start our own family!

    Photographer: Ashley Seawell / Venue, Catering, and Desserts: The Inn at Palmetto Bluff, a Montage Resort / Wedding Designer: Sage Beecher / Florist: Sue Burden / Wedding Cake: Dorcas Rowson / Groom’s Cake: Signe’s Bakery / Band: Reggie Coddrington and Band / Bride’s Gown: “Jiselle” by Carolina Herrera / Invitations: Dani Writes / Bride’s Sash: Vera Wang / Hair and Makeup: Denise Teasdell / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Groom’s Attire: Armani / Soloist/Guitarist: Beth Forby / Ceremony Musicians: Two Strings Are Better than One

    marissa Written with love by Marissa
    3 Comments
    1. avatar Emily reply

      Adore her veil + gown!

    2. avatar Lindsay {Everistta} reply

      What a stunning wedding from beginning to end. Just loved it! I love the Bride’s veil. So simple and pretty.

    3. avatar Friday 5: The Top Real Hotel Weddings of the Week – My Hotel Wedding reply

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