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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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    Anyone who has experienced a long distance relationship can attest to how tough it can be, but if there’s one plus side, it’s that the time when you and your love are together becomes all the more special! Kristan and Jason are college sweethearts whose post-grad jobs brought them apart for a year before they were reunited in Houston and engaged shortly thereafter. For their Texas wedding, they drew inspiration from their seven years of dating by writing their vows together, serving their favorite bundt cake flavors, and even naming their reception tables after places that were sentimental to them. Their planner, Lauren at Something to Celebrate, and florist, Maxit Flower Design, took these sweet details from Kristan and Jason’s love story and helped them tie it all together–topped off with the prettiest coral charm peonies!

    Thank you kindly to Sarah McKenzie for sharing this special day with us!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? While we love the tradition of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time when the bride walks down the aisle, we decided to do a first look based on the recommendations of married friends. All of our friends who had done one talked about how nice it was to have that special moment together without everyone watching, and how, from a logistical perspective, it just made the day run smoother. Having now done a first look at our wedding, we could not agree more! It really was perfect and allowed us to have a very special, intimate moment together, and to take plenty of pictures of just the two of us, without missing out on the reception!

    Our flowers were, without a doubt, one of our favorite aspects of our wedding! We are so thankful that we had the chance to work with Maria Maxit–her work was absolutely breathtaking and we feel like the beautiful arrangements and decor that she crafted truly helped to make our wedding everything that it was. Maria captured our vision perfectly, finding ways to integrate vibrant color and gorgeous flowers (so many peonies!) throughout every element of our special day.

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From the incredibly meaningful and touching words of our officiants, to the exchanging of personal vows, to the sun setting in the background as we took communion together as our first act as husband and wife, we will forever treasure every second of our wedding ceremony.
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows, and we are so glad that we did! We co-wrote five promises that we each wanted to say to one another, and then we each added another promise and additional words about what the other person means to us. One of our favorite lines from the five promises that we co-wrote stated, “I promise to love you selflessly, as you have loved me, and as Christ has loved us.”

    We knew we had found our venue the moment that we arrived to visit Balmorhea last fall. It is breathtaking and unique and felt every bit “us.” We were so drawn in by the amazing owners (who built the venue themselves!) and the incredible staff (we worked with Alison McIntyre, who was phenomenal!). We could not have dreamt of a more perfect place to celebrate our special day. It captured the essence of Southern charm by beautifully combining rustic design with classic elegance, and creating a welcoming, down-to-earth atmosphere that truly felt like home to us and our guests.

    Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! We decided that instead of doing table numbers for our reception, we wanted to name the tables after cities that were significant to us. Katy & Co. helped us craft a seating chart, as well as a corresponding display board which explained why each city meant something to us. Each of the 17 cities were places that had become very special throughout our seven years of dating–from Waco, where we first met at Baylor, to Houston, the city we now call home. We made sure each table had a picture of us in the city represented by that table.

    We have always loved Nothing Bundt Cakes and were thrilled to find out that they could cater our wedding. We decided to give guests the choice of our favorite flavors: lemon and red velvet.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at Baylor University’s summer camp for incoming freshman. We dated throughout college and the beginning of our professional careers. After seven years of long distance dating and many hours of travel, we are so ecstatic to finally be able to call each other husband and wife, and to have the opportunity to do life together each and every day in the same city!
    Tell us all about the proposal! After a year of long distance, I was so excited to be reunited with Jason in July 2014 when I moved back to Houston. We knew that we were ready to get engaged at some point soon, and while part of me wanted to be surprised, the other part of me wanted to know EVERYTHING about the proposal! After much persistence on my part, Jason gave me four weekends to block off. The first weekend rolled around and Jason sweetly arranged for me to meet up with my dear friends from college to do brunch and get our nails done. It was a fantastic day, but I had convinced myself that he wasn’t going to propose until the last of the four weekends he had told me to block off. The next weekend, Jason told me that I needed to be ready at 3:30 in the afternoon, and when 3:30 rolled around, my cousin Brianne showed up at my house and said that she was going to be my coffee date. When we arrived at Starbucks, my brother and his girlfriend Ashley, who had come home from Baylor in Waco and were inside! They handed me a handmade mug and a note from Jason that told me what the next few hours had in store–Brianne would be taking me across Houston to various locations that were representative of things about our relationship. At each stop, there would be a clue and a puzzle piece that I would collect. While I could read the clue, I was not allowed to open the puzzle pieces. After stops at the Houston airport, IHOP (a place where Jason and I had many a breakfast), a movie theatre (one of mine and Jason’s favorite things to do is see movies), and my favorite store (Nordstrom in the Galleria, where Jason had chosen a dress for me), we drove over to the beautiful fountain wall at the Galleria. Brianne dropped me, and when I saw Jason in the middle of the field, I ran towards him! I had accidentally left the puzzle pieces in Brianne’s car, so without hesitation, he bolted off after Brianne, who was driving away, and caught her just in time. He proceeded to tell me about the significance of each piece as he unwrapped it and placed it on a board. The pieces spelled out “will you marry me” on top of a collage of pictures from us from the past seven years–he said so many amazing, wonderful things, and then got on one knee and proposed with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life!
    When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My grandmother passed away when I was younger, and not having her to celebrate with us on our special day was so tough. However, I have no doubt at all that she was there in spirit, and to honor her, we integrated her brooch into my bouquet as my something old.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We were so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family throughout the wedding planning process who consistently helped us focus on what matters most. Rather than getting caught up in the details of the wedding day, they reminded us of the importance of investing in and preparing for the marriage that followed. In addition to the great advice we received from friends, family, and our officiant, we attended premarital counseling at our church in downtown Houston.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of our best decisions was to hire a day-of coordinator. Our coordinator, Lauren, was fantastic–she kept us on track in the weeks leading up to the wedding, provided fantastic vendor recommendations, and perfectly executed all of the details we had planned on the day-of. We highly recommend that everyone get a day-of coordinator to make sure that you have the chance to truly let the logistics go and focus on enjoying all of your hard work on the day of the wedding.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently having so much fun getting settled into our first home together just outside of downtown Houston. We are so excited for all of the adventures in store for us in the coming years–from getting the chance to enjoy all of the small, simple joys of life while at home in Houston, to hopefully having the chance to travel the country and the world with friends and family. We could not be more thankful for all that lies ahead.

    Photographer: Sarah McKenzie Photography / Videographer: Brad and Monica Eggerton / Planner: Something to Celebrate / Venue: Balmorhea Events / Florist: Maxit Flower Design / Dessert Baker: Nothing Bundt Cakes / Caterer: Cafe Natalie / Linens: House of Hough / DJ and Lighting: Johnny Black Productions / Favors: Laura Baartmans / Paper Products: Katy & Co / Bridal Salon: Mia Bridal Couture / Hair and Makeup: April Thompson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style F15810” in Black by David’s Bridal / Menswear: The Black Tux / Calligraphy: Cypress Calligraphy / Ties: Knotty Tie Co.

    Sarah McKenzie is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

      So beautiful! I love the pops of coral against the black bridesmaid dresses!

    2. avatar Dana reply

      that is some proposal story! wow!

    3. avatar Cafe Natalie reply

      It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. So happy for Kristan and Jason! Thank you for letting us be a part of your big day.

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    Emily and I are on our way back to the South after four days of admiring hundreds of beautiful wedding gowns at Bridal Market (check out #SWBridalMarket on Instagram for pictures from our trip!). Throughout it all, it was surprisingly easy to identify dresses that you, our lovely readers, would love as much as we did. Like us at Southern Weddings, we know that you value tradition and love all things classic, but you’re also not afraid to be yourself and do things your own way, both in your dress and in your wedding. Brooke and Carlos are a perfect example of this balance–they honored tradition through elements like their ceremony music and having their first look while Brooke was walking down the aisle, but they also embraced a unique, super fun “swingin’ Sixties” theme through their black and white decor.

    We’re so grateful to Akil Bennett for sharing this fabulous wedding with us!

    I was looking for a dress that was unique and modern, but still romantic and sweet. When I found the Contessa dress from BHLDN, I knew I had found my dress! I was immediately drawn to the innovative screen-printed lace and the fit and flaire silhouette that was that perfect mixture of traditional and mod.

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We were both enchanted with the idea of having that moment when the church doors opened, our eyes locked, and we lost our breath for a moment. We thought it too good to not share with our friends and family!

    For the ceremony, we chose All Saints Catholic Church, not only because of it’s 100+ year old history in the Houston Heights, but also for its simply stunning interior. Its Byzantine-style ceiling and images whisk you away to another time. For the reception, we knew that using a standard ballroom would simply not work for our vision, so we set out to find the perfect raw venue. After countless tours, calls, and drive-bys, we stumbled upon Silver Street Studios, the oversized warehouse of our dreams!

    What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We fashioned some of our own custom linens. We decided on family-style tables with long black and white striped runners (all made by my mom with fabric from Ikea). For each place setting, I folded 200 black napkins that we purchased online into bow ties.

    Once we had our larger than life venue, we knew we needed a few details that could hold their own in such a big space. That’s where the marquee letters came in! I passed along my oversized marquee letter idea to my uncle, a talented carpenter, to see if he would be willing to create a 5-foot “B+C.” The finished product was beyond my expectations! This project was a labor of love–Carlos and I painted the letters with a total of six coats of metallic paint in order to get that golden finish, popped in several strands of outdoor lights from Target, and voila!

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Classic/cool was the name of the game, so I went with a retro four-tiered cake from Alphorn Bakery, complete with a vintage bride and groom figurine on top that I found on Etsy. Finding a couple that looked like us was tricky, so I was over the moon when I found a gent with a dashing stache! Carlos loves the Rollings Stones, so there was no better groom’s cake than one modeled after the cover of Let it Bleed, flawlessly executed by Jodi Fernandez of Silver Cake Studios. We were blown away by the amount of attention she paid to the details!

    Music has always connected Carlos and I, from the first time we had a conversation to when we carefully curated a soundtrack to our wedding. During the reception, we chose music that not only had meaning to us, but that fit the theme of the swinging sixties–music that people of all generations could boogie to! Our first dance was a combination of Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell,” where we did our own version of the Pulp Fiction dance, and the Lou Reed love song “Perfect Day,” which has been a song of significance throughout our relationship. Music was such a big factor at our wedding that our favor for our guests was a soundtrack to commemorate the evening.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through a mutual friend in high school in 2002. We made an instant connection through our sense of humor and kept each other laughing until Carlos went off to college later that summer. The distance could not keep our friendship from blossoming. Of course, every tale has two sides, and this love story is no exception–I knew Carlos was the one shortly after meeting him! It took Carlos a bit longer to realize I was the perfect girl for him. As the universe brought us both to Austin, Carlos realized I was the one for him.
    Tell us all about the proposal! On November 1, we took a trip to Marfa, a small town in West Texas, 10 hours away from Houston where we reside. I surprised Carlos with the trip in honor of his 30th birthday in June, but little did I know, I would soon receive a surprise of my own. We ended the first day of our trip with a sunset tour of the Chinati Foundation, 330 acres of land. The tour consisted of just Carlos and I and one other couple. It began with Donald Judd’s 100 Untitled Works in Mill Aluminum. As we approached the end, I saw a miniature version of the aluminum boxes. I said, “Aw, look! A little one!” Carolos said, “Oh, that’s cool! It looks like it has a lid. You think I can touch it?” “NO! Don’t touch it!! You cannot touch the art! You’re going to get in trouble!!!” In total disregard of my warnings, he bent down on one knee and proceeded to carefully pull the lid off the perfectly polished box. Nestled inside was a dainty ring box. He pulled it out and turned around to reveal a glistening diamond ring, and I watched as my one and only love asked, “Brooke Joanna Manning, will you marry me?” Fighting back tears, I said, “YES!” I soon found out that EVERYONE was in on it! The “other couple” turned out to be photographers Carlos had hired to capture this wonderful moment. The docent, who had placed the box, brought out wine and gave a toast to our engagement. It was truly a perfect day.
    When did y’all get married? November 9, 2013
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 185
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We went traditional, as we wanted vows that could truly withstand the test of time.
    Describe your wedding flowers. I decided to alternate succulents in white tulip vases, gold candles, and gold vases with exotic flowers like mink protea (a flower that looks like it doubles as a man eater). For the bouquets, I wanted something fun and a little funky, but still soft. My lovely best friend, owner of Sweet Sunday Events and Rentals, chose mink protea, white ranunculus, white dahlias, and eucalyptus.
    If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? My most memorable moment was ending the night next to my husband on the dance floor while “Buddy Holly” by Weezer was playing in the background, everyone was dancing around us, and a confetti cannon went off, letting metallic confetti/streamers slowly drift down onto the people we care about most in the world!

    Photographer: Akil Bennett / Planner: Two Be Wed / Ceremony Venue: All Saints Catholic Church / Reception Venue: Silver Street Studios / Florist: Flowers for Olivia, Sweet Sunday Events & Rentals / Cake Baker: Alphorn Bakery / Catering: A La Carte / Rentals: Aztec, Swift & Co. / Lighting: Bright Star Productions / DJ: Jose Diaz from LG Entertainment / Floor Decal: Sign Guys Houston / Paper Products: The Stationery Bakery / Favors: Night Owls Print / Bride’s Gown: “Contessa” by BHLDN / Bride’s Hair Accessories: BHLDN / Hair and Makeup: Southern & Adorn / Bride’s Shoes: Seychelles / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Nordstrom / Groom’s Attire: J.Crew / Photobooth: PhotoMoto

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
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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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