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I firmly believe in love at first sight. I knew the very moment I met BDK that he was the one I wanted to marry, so I can completely understand why Ellen jokingly asked Robert to marry her on the night they met! Though he turned down that “proposal” in lieu of his super sweet one just a few years later, I’m sure Ellen was completely fine with that, especially since Robert included their family in such a momentous occasion. For Ellen and Robert, their family and a sense of community also played an important role in their wedding design, from the rows of estate tables to a total of twenty wedding cakes in three different flavors to encourage sampling and mingling. Ellen and Robert celebrated their wedding day in true Southern fashion, surrounded by those they love!

We’re sure glad Matt & Julie were there to photograph such a lovely day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted: a lace, fit-and-flare gown with delicate sleeves. My mom, sister-in-law, and I went to the original Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas, and my dress happened to be the first I tried on. After trying on a few more, I kept going back to it and knew it was the one. I added a crystal and pearl belt, and had a fingertip-length drop veil made with Alencon lace edging to match my dress. The veil was incredibly important to me, because I have been obsessed with drop veils since Kate Middleton’s wedding. I also had my mother’s wedding dress altered (no more poofy sleeves!) and used it as my getaway dress.

We used garden roses for the bouquets, plus LOTS of greenery. We had three of the prettiest vintage pink and cream ribbons hanging from each bouquet. At the reception, we decided to forgo traditional floral arrangements and put individual garden roses on the 19 cakes that were used as centerpieces. We used garlands made of salal, podocarpus, and eucalyptus greens that extended the lengths of the tables–it looked gorgeous and smelled amazing. Our altar flowers were made up of white hydrangeas and lilies.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Last minute, yes. Robert had originally wanted to wait, but after talking to the photographers, we knew it was the best option and we are so glad we did it. Not only were the photographers able to capture such a sweet moment, it definitely calmed our nerves before and during the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not. We had a very traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Given the formality of the church and ceremony, we chose traditional songs played on the church organ. My dad and I walked down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and we recessed to “Hornpipe” by Handel.

I had always known I wanted to be married at my family’s church, so that was never a question. The reception venue proved to be a little harder, but as soon as we saw it, that decision became easy, too! Robert and I met, dated, got engaged, and bought our first home together in Dallas, so the Downtown/Uptown area is such a big part of our relationship. After researching and visiting several venues, we came across the 42nd floor at Cityplace Tower, which happened to be across the street from our church. We were blown away by the views of city and I loved its urban, lofty vibe. The giant windows let in so much natural light, but without the 100 degree August heat.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cakes were amazing. Instead of getting a bride and groom’s cake, we decided to give every table their own. We chose to make our cake cutting participatory, and we all cut the cakes together. There were eighteen one-tier cakes, plus a two-tiered cake for the wedding party. Heidi from Sugar Bee Sweets did a fantastic job designing the cakes, which incorporated all of our wedding colors: blush, gold, emerald, and mint. We offered three flavors, so people walked around sampling the different varieties, which encouraged mingling.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The long rectangular tables with the gold sequin tablecloths, garland, and cakes looked so beautiful in the room as the sun set. I love the look of rectangular tables, so we used three super-long tables that expanded the length of the room. It created such a grand statement when you walked through the door!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We formally met at the beginning of 2012 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We had seen each other around prior, but had never actually spoken. At the time, I was living in Spain teaching English and was home for the holidays. I was supposed to go back in March, but that was not meant to be! I didn’t even want to leave the house on that particular night, so I know it was fate when we met. Robert came up to me, introduced himself, and immediately started dancing. I knew there was something different about him, and he said the same about me. I thought he was funny, and jokingly, I even asked him to marry me! We stayed up talking and joking about how our “grandchildren” would laugh that I proposed to him the night we met. We went on our first date the next week, and when I got home that night, I cancelled my flight and wrote down that I had finally met the man I was going to marry!
Tell us all about the proposal! For Robert’s 30th birthday, I had planned a big party on a vintage trolley that would take us and our friends around town while we celebrated. Before the party, Robert and I had a “scooter date”–one of our frequent trips together on his scooter–and went to dinner at our favorite local pizza place. Robert was acting a bit strange, and I was slightly upset because I thought he was mad at me. As soon as we got home, I saw both our families standing in the living room. When I turned around, Robert was on one knee. It was all a blur, but I do remember him saying I was the only thing he wanted for his birthday and for the rest of his life. We then joined our friends on the trolley and celebrated his birthday/our engagement for the rest of the night!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a special monogram created of our initials printed on our save the dates, invitations, cocktail napkins, cups, and cake boxes! Robert gave his groomsmen monogrammed leather flasks, and they all wore paisley print bow ties! We both had very large wedding parties (eight for me, twelve for him), which I think is definitely more popular in the South.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went to a couples’ weekend at our church, which was extremely beneficial. If your church offers one, I highly recommend it! Each couple was given a mentor couple and ours was such a blessing. They gave us great marriage advice, as well as helped us work through the challenges we had already faced as a couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Making sure everything came together! My sister-in-law and I planned the wedding. We have our own event planning business, E+Mc², and our resources were a huge help. At the same time, as the bride, staying calm and not stressing over every detail (while in charge of it all) had its challenges.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning a wedding can put stress on your relationship at times, but don’t lose sight of what the day is about. Remember that it is just the beginning of your life together, and that is the most exciting part. Also, have your budget figured out before you buy/decide on ANYTHING!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living in Louisiana for Robert’s job, so we are concentrating on settling into our new home, making friends, and having fun as a newlyweds! We love to travel and want to take a few extended trips abroad before we start a family.

Photographer: Matt & Julie Weddings / Planner: E+Mc² / Ceremony Venue: Church of the Incarnation / Reception Venue: 42nd Floor Loft at Cityplace Tower / Florist: HEB Blooms / Cake Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets / Caterer: Andrew Ormsby Catering / DJ: Jeff Burris / Special Details: Garland / Paper Products: Studio3eleven / Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo / Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Tovah Prue and Savanah King / Makeup Artist: Taylor Frettoloso / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August, Erin Fetherston, and Jill Stuart / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Flower Girl Dress, Shoes, and Flower Crown: Playful & Posh

Sugar Bee Sweets is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Studio 3 Eleven reply

    Yay! This wedding is beautiful! It was so much fun pressing Ellen’s custom Save the Dates and wedding invitations. She was such a great bride to work with!

  2. avatar Sarah Walters reply

    Where is that gorgeous ring from?!

  3. avatar Elegant Dallas Wedding by Matt & Julie Weddings – Southern Weddings | Salam Alikoum reply

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Hello there, readers! June’s Southern Bride of the Month has a plethora of fabulous details to share with you, so let’s get right down to it, shall we? Make sure you read Alison + Cal’s engagement story, too — it’s a long one, but super sweet!

Hi! What’s your name?
Alison Pierce

And who’s your handsome fiancé?
Cal Oxford II

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story.
Cal and I first met while working for the same company a few years ago. He and I worked in a close-knit office and were involved in a few clients together. Honestly, I thought that he was just too good to be true, so I was a bit hesitant at first! Cal has the biggest heart and completely perfect manners. He is the definition of a true Southern gentleman, which has become so rare!

Now tell us alllll about the proposal.
It was such a surprise! I knew that it was coming at some point, but I did not expect it at all when it happened! Cal’s grandmother was celebrating her birthday and wanted more than anything to travel with the family to Nashville and see a show at the Grand Ole Opry. Now, being from Tennessee and loving Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry, this was right up my alley! We had spent a weekend in Nashville a few months earlier and completely fell in love with The Patterson House, a fabulous place for cocktails, and decided that we would see a show at the Opry and afterwards go to The Patterson House for drinks as a family. It was all set and I was so happy to be a part of the birthday weekend!

Little did I know that Cal and his amazing sisters had been working overtime all week to set up the perfect proposal! Cal called The Patterson House a week earlier to tell them his plan and ask for their help. After he finished, the woman on the phone laughed at him and asked if he realized how busy the weekend is for them – he was crushed! But before he could hang up, she stopped him and said that she thought it was really sweet and that they would be on board. That started the ball rolling. During the show at the Opry, I noticed that Cal’s family was very quiet and I just assumed it was because they weren’t big fans of country music. Regardless, I was tapping my toes and having a great time! We left and I could not understand why everyone was hightailing it out of the building! They told me that we had a reservation and that we were going to be late. Little did I know that The Patterson House does not take reservations…except for this special situation.

Once we arrived, Cal’s sister nearly broke her neck trying to jump out of the car so fast, and I took off running after her. She hadn’t been there before, and I thought that she might need some help! She was actually trying to lose me so she could get inside and make sure that everything was set up correctly and that a special, select menu was handed to me. I later learned that Cal’s oldest sister worked with The Patterson House to create a special insert that would be placed in the middle of one menu…my menu. Well, of course I caught up to Cal’s sister and luckily was handed “my” menu. I start flipping through while the rest of the family was still settling in and Cal had not even sat down yet. I did not understand why he was still standing by the side of the table – I was ready to get the party started! Before I knew it, I had completely flipped right past the special insert and started talking about some drinks near the back of the menu! Unbeknownst to me, everyone was on the edge of their seats and Cal’s sister asked me to flip back to the middle of the menu. It was then that I saw it: “Featured Cocktail… Alison, Will You Marry Me?” I threw the menu down and covered my face in complete shock! I peeled my fingers away from one eye and saw Cal down on one knee with tears in his eyes and a beautiful emerald ring. Of course I said yes, and there was not a dry eye at the table! Family is so important to both of us, and having Cal’s family with us for such a special moment was just wonderful! His grandmother had a super fun birthday and we had an amazing weekend!

When’s the big day?
We are getting married on September 10th, 2011. There were a few options for catchy wedding dates this year and 09.10.11 was our choice!

Where might you two be tying the knot?
We will be having both the ceremony and reception outside at Cal’s childhood home. We wanted to be somewhere that felt real to us, and nothing feels more real than home.

Who or what has been most inspiring in the wedding planning process?
Two items have provided inspiration from the very beginning of planning the wedding: cotton bolls and the altar that Cal is building. Those two items were decided on first and have been a consistent theme throughout.

Cotton inspiration images from Jasmine Star

Who or what has been most helpful in the wedding planning process?
Our families! We are all very hands on and everyone has been so wonderful to help with ideas and projects. We absolutely could not have done this without the support of our families!

Has your vision for your wedding changed or evolved over the course of your engagement? If so, how?
The suffocating Georgia heat has changed our vision just a bit! Originally, we wanted to have an uncovered reception with lovely strung lights and hanging Mason jar lanterns, but decided very quickly that we just can’t do that to our guests in early September! A tented reception with lots of fans is what we have planned now. Although, I secretly wish every day that a cold front will come through that weekend and that we will be able to cancel the tent…shhhhh!

Which part of your wedding are you most invested in?
Definitely the food and drink! Cal and I are complete foodies and want our guests to enjoy delicious Southern staples like shrimp and grits and ham biscuits from Gayla Grubbs at Mill Towne Gourmet, classic Southern desserts with a twist like mini peach pies and red velvet cake balls from Lauren Chekanow at Sugar Style Events and creative cocktails including the “Tennessee Tickler” made from Ole Smoky Moonshine! Although the wedding will be in Georgia, there will definitely be a Tennessee presence!

Cheese straws and ham biscuits! (Biscuit photo courtesy of Southern Living)

Have you picked your dress yet? How’d that go?
I was so focused on other details that I waited until the very last minute to go dress shopping! I was so lucky to have one of my best friends with me and she ended up being more help than I ever could have imagined. I had a very good idea about the type of dress I wanted, but once I was trying them on I was completely overwhelmed. In addition, I was running a fever and didn’t even realize it! With the no-nonsense, tough decision making ability of my sweet friend, we were able to decide on the all Spanish lace La Sposa Lituania and I could not be happier!

Alison’s Lilly Pulitzer rehearsal dress and gorgeous emerald engagement ring!

Who is your favorite vendor you’ve booked so far?
I love all of my vendors! They have all truly been wonderful to work with! We are completely anchored by the expertise and guidance of our planner, Ashley Baber. That woman never sleeps! We feel so secure knowing that she is behind everything. In addition to our food and dessert gurus, Jessica with Something Borrowed Vintage Rentals is providing us with the most amazing church pews and other beautiful vintage items, Blake and Jeff with Peachtree Tents and Events are providing the tent and rentals that we need, Anna from Anna and Spencer Photography is our photographer, Tortoise and Hair are performing a few very special songs during the ceremony and family friends The Party Time Band, will be getting everyone moving on the dance floor all night long!

Vintage church pew inspiration from The Found Blog

Do you have a favorite Etsy store you’d love to tell us about?
Etsy has become a new addiction! It was such a pleasure to work with Rachel from Benign Objects on our custom wedding invitations. They turned out beautiful and Rachel was just wonderful!

Custom pieces from Benign Objects. Fun fact: Rachel’s wedding was featured in V3!

What has been the best part of wedding planning? The worst part?
The best part of planning the wedding has been the time Cal and I have spent laughing together while working on projects (although, I know that sometimes we were delirious!) and high-fiving each other when we come up with new and even better ideas. The worst part has been staying focused on completing tasks when we really just want to lie by the pool! That has been so tricky lately!

What has been the biggest challenge so far in wedding planning?
Having a full time career! Working while planning a wedding is exhausting! Time management and updated to-do lists are crucial and even then you are mentally drained. Just last night, I wasn’t sure what was fueling the words that were coming out of my mouth. Honest to goodness, what energy was left to put those sentences together that I was speaking?! Beyond working, creating our save the dates was quite a challenge. We cut wood from the yard where the ceremony and reception will be held and had to trim that wood down to equal sized rounds. Needless to say there were numerous trips to the local home improvement store and many late nights cutting and sanding the rounds and finding the perfect box for them to be mailed. We were never sure that the save the dates would work out, but we were determined!

Milk glass inspiration and Alison + Cal’s handmade save the dates!

What are you most looking forward to on your wedding day?
There is so much I am looking forward to! I am most looking forward to seeing Cal’s face when I walk down the aisle. I get chills just thinking about it! My mother is my best friend and matron of honor and Cal’s father is his best man, so having them there beside us will be a special moment that we will never forget. We are also very excited to dance the night away with our family and best friends and to send them off with homemade peach jam and beer and cider brewed by Cal and me!

Any advice you’d like to pass along to fellow brides?
Start early and plan very little the week of the wedding. Things change and your vision evolves throughout the process, therefore you are always adding more to the list. The more you get done upfront, the more time you have to lie by the pool!

Now it’s your turn to ask for advice – is there anything you’d like to poll the SW readers on?
We cannot decide on a first dance song! Are there any suggestions that would fit with a Southern, vintage wedding?

Thank you so much for playing along, Alison! Readers, if you’d like to apply to be a Southern Bride of the Month, check out this post for all the details! If you’ve already emailed me, you’re still in the running for future months!

The Southern Bride of the Month header was designed by our Assistant Art Director Sierra, with illustration by Curious & Company!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Katie B reply

    Wow! It sounds like you two are all geared up for a beautiful fall wedding. It is going to be amazing for sure! I think you gave great advice about planning as much as you can ahead of time and doing very little the week of (let’s see if it works out for you! Much easier said than done haha).

    hmmm, first dance song, What about Under this Harvest Moon? We danced to You and Me by Dave Matthews band and absolutely loved it. First dance songs are so personal, it’s hard to give recommendations! Sweet pea by Amos Lee? Good luck choosing a song!

  2. avatar Jessica reply

    I love that Lilly dress for the rehearsal! I might just have to copy that! Mine is next Friday evening and I think that would be perfect!!

    • avatar Lara reply

      Jessica! You are getting married next week! SO excited for you!!!

  3. avatar Caitlin reply

    What a gorgeous couple! It seems as though you will pull together a gorgeous Southern wedding! Some cute, Southern song choices that I think could work are Thompson Square’s “Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not,” Little Big Town’s “Bring It On Home To Me,” Garth Brooks’ “To Make You Feel My Love,” and The Band Perry’s “All Your Life.” Super cute, super sweet songs! Hope this helps a little bit!

  4. avatar Emily reply

    Your wedding sounds absolutely gorgeous! Great advice on planning too! My fiance and I are dancing to Percy Sledge’s “I’ll Be Your Everything,” which fits with the Motown music that we grew up listening to in the South. My fiance’s sister and her husband recently tied the knot and danced to Ray Lamontagne’s “You are the Best Thing.” It was so sweet. Good luck and best wishes!

  5. avatar Natalia reply

    Wow! This is one wedding I am dying to see come to fruition. Can’t wait to see the outcome!

  6. avatar Emily reply

    I love that someone already suggested Amos Lee. What about “Southern Girl” by Amos Lee?

  7. avatar Lindsey Skye reply

    First Dance Songs:

    Until You by Dave Barnes

    Nothing Fancy by Dave Barnes

    I Have and Always Will by Dave Barnes


    • avatar Emily reply

      Love Dave Barnes, Lindsey! Great suggestion :) This is random, but have you heard his Christmas CD? I’m kind of obsessed with it…

    • avatar Lara reply

      Ditto to that! Love Dave and the Christmas album is the BEST!

    • avatar Lindsey Skye reply

      Emily: I start listening to Dave Barnes Christmas in JULY! :)

    • avatar AshleyHH reply

      Emily: Dave Barnes is AMAZING!! I love him so much. God Gave Me You is another great one for a wedding song.

    • avatar Lindsey Skye reply

      Lindsey Skye: Until You (You, The Night & Candlelight) Version. :)

  8. avatar Kelly reply

    LOVE the church pew ideas and the backyard wedding. Can’t wait to see this all come together! I’m getting married in October and we are still trying to figure out our first dance song as we don’t have “a song”…here are a few ideas… Clink Black – When I said I do, Zac Brown Band – Whatever It Is, Rascal Flatts – I Won’t Let Go, George Strait – I Cross My Heart, Michael Buble – Everything, Jason Mraz – I’m Yours…Good luck!

  9. avatar Alison Pierce reply

    These suggestions are WONDERFUL!! Thank you all!!

  10. avatar Sierra reply

    I wonder if anyone with a wedding recently has played Scotty McCreery’s I Love You This Big. I’m really feeling it right now. And George Strait’s Carrying Your Love With Me is my all time favorite.

  11. avatar Kelli Taylor/Daniel Taylor Photography reply

    The cotton strands–I’m dying. Love them.

  12. avatar Megan reply

    To me, Elvis is the epitome of “southern vintage” in terms of music. I had a friend who danced with her husband to his “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and it was beautiful.

  13. avatar Kelly reply

    I am obsessed with the vintage furniture rental company! I’ve seen a few on blogs around the country-but there are none where I live! I just got married last weekend. My (now) Husband and I danced to “Ain’t no Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. No one expected something so ‘upbeat’ and everyone had a great time! However, I am currently obsessed with Blake Shelton’s, “Honeybee”. We gave jars of honey as our favors from a honey bee that my fiance bought me a long time ago-she lives on a bee farm in Georgia-so that song would have been perfect! We played it at the end of the night instead! :)

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  15. avatar Floral Cotton reply

    We have seen cotton used in such awesome ways, but this might be the BEST!

    We provide cotton to wedding planners/florists and other customers! Check us out if you don’t have a supplier!

  16. avatar Inspiration Board: Cotton « einhochzeitsblog reply

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