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There are SO many amazing venues in the South, but there’s nothing quite like a family home when it comes to adding an extra layer of meaning to a wedding celebration. Darcee and Hunter were married at the adorable chapel on Hunter’s family ranch, and as Darcee said, it’s what brought their relationship full circle–“My prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!” I’m sure all 400 of their guests felt just as home as they did while they then gathered for a cocktail hour under the big Texas sky, a family-style dinner that felt as joyful as Thanksgiving, and one of the most darling pie spreads I’ve ever seen!

Hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Jen Dillender for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace from Hunter’s sister, which was given to her by their grandmother. It was one of the sweetest and most special details from that day. My something blue were my blue Manolo Blahnik pumps, which were a fun find with my mother-in-law! Something old was a flower pin from my mom’s side of the family that I had on my bouquet. Something new was a handkerchief from a sweet friend that was embroidered with a quote by my mom–it sure came in handy (pun intended!), as it caught a lot of tears that day!

Finding my wedding dress was the hardest part of all the planning. We had a pretty short engagement, so I was under a bit of a time crunch. I remember my bridal consultant holding up what would eventually be “the dress” and I told her I didn’t even want to try it on! Eventually, I gave in, and loved it! But the over-analyzer in me just had to see if there was something better out there. I ended up going to three more appointments, and at the last appointment, I saw the same dress, and even without trying it on again, I knew that was the one. Ironically, regardless of how stressful it was, I would do it all over again–there’s nothing quite like getting to play dress up with all the girls in your life that you love the most. Those appointments still hold some of my fondest memories.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Hunter and I decided to forgo the first look. It was one of the few things that we didn’t really have to think twice about because there was something really special to me about the thought of my dad walking me down the aisle to Hunter and I really wanted that moment to be the first time we saw each other.

Hunter and I were married on his family’s ranch. The ranch holds countless special memories for him and his family, and therefore, it’s super special to me as well. His grandmother built a chapel on the ranch a few years ago, and any chance I would get, I would go there to just sit and reflect on how grateful I was that I had met Hunter…and there were certainly many prayers said there that one day, I would become Hunter’s wife! This chapel would end up being the place where things came full circle for us: my prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Hunter and I met a few months before my mom passed away, and unfortunately, he never got to meet her. It was the most heartbreaking time for me and it still blows me away how kind, patient, and understanding Hunter was, to be able to walk through something on that level with someone he had just met. When it came to picking out the song I would walk down the aisle to, “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood summarized my feelings perfectly. Hunter is exactly what moms pray for for their daughters.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Lots and lots of prayer, honestly. Hunter is a police officer who works a lot of crazy hours, so we weren’t seeing each other much. I was working and planning a wedding, and while it was so much fun, it was hectic and left little time for us to see each other. I remember praying that I would be prioritizing my time well, seeing what was important and what was not, and that above anything else, that I was focusing on what it meant to become a wife.

I think the biggest Southern detail was our venue. During pictures, horses were sneaking up in the background. We had our reception in a barn that is typically a home to tractors and tools. We served dinner family-style, where each table passed around food to each other. While we were eating, I remembered looking up and seeing people chatting as they passed the rolls and butter and thinking, “This feels like one huge family Thanksgiving meal,” and I was so grateful for that!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Call us crazy, but neither Hunter nor I are really big cake eaters. We were extremely fortunate to not only have the best caterer around, but also one who is known for their AMAZING pies! We had a pie bar complete with a chocolate chip wedding pie, pies in mason jars, big pies, and mini pies!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We had some mutual friends who consistently told me how highly they thought of Hunter and how they really wanted us to meet, and I was just not having it. Eventually, they got us to the same place at the same time to introduce us, and I’m not saying it was love at first sight, but it was something close!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was around 8 A.M. one Saturday morning when an alarm started going off. It wasn’t my phone or my alarm clock, so I got a ladder out thinking it was the batteries in my fire alarm. It wasn’t, and I wandered around my house for five more minutes looking for the source of this noise, until I found an iPad under my dresser with a note on it from Hunter sending me on a scavenger hunt. Out of pure shock and not wanting to get my hopes up, I crawled back into bed, wondering what was going on. Eventually, I got back up, got dressed, and followed my clues. My last stop led me to find Hunter at my favorite spot at his family’s ranch. A few minutes after he proposed, his family showed up, and to my surprise, he had also gotten all of my brothers and my dad, who lives 13 hours away, there too! It was sweet, simple, and perfect.
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding without my mom. It was downright hard and super emotional not having her there for this, but thankfully, my mother-in-law and I were able to have the best time planning the wedding. She was gracious, kind, and made sure that we were always having fun, and if we weren’t, we stopped and came back to it later. I know my mom is thankful for the way she took care of me during that time, as am I, always.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t overthink it. Get to a point where you stop looking at another people’s weddings and just think about what really matters to you and your soon-to-be husband.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? What’s next for us is just slowing down and spending time together. Planning a wedding, getting married, honeymooning, moving, etc. has made for a crazy few months, and I’m looking forward to sitting outside on our rocking chairs just spending time together without a to do list.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Videographer: Rethinkvideo | Planner: Thirty Day Dash | Venue: Pegasus Ranch | Florist: Moosefeathers Florist | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Royers Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Aztec | Lighting: American Outdoor Systems | Band: Danny Ray and the Acoustic Production | Paper Products: Archer and Olive and Gracelaced | Bride’s Gown: “Severine” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s Accessories: Jennifer Behr | Hair and Makeup: Sunkissed and Made Up | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Michele reply

    Could not have been more beautiful! Wedding and people!

  2. avatar Abbi Hearne reply

    This is beautiful!! What a dream. Great job Jen!

  3. avatar Julian Zacsfalvi reply

    Beautiful details and cool outfit with the cowboy hats!

  4. avatar Cindy reply

    What color are the bridesmaids dresses?

  5. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great set of natural images. Great lighting!

  6. avatar julie reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Darcee! I was wondering, do you know what color were your bridesmaids dresses were? Mineral? Dusty blue? Denmark blue? Gorgeous!!

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My favorite details from my wedding were the ones that looked gorgeous on that day, but could then be reused or incorporated into our newlywed home. Not only was this a win for our budget, it also now makes me so happy to see those items on a daily basis and be reminded of their first use. Callie and Chris struck gold when it comes to wedding details that can be part of their home for years to come–Callie’s dad built the gorgeous wooden farm tables that were used at the reception by hand! One now lives in Callie and Chris’ dining room, and I can only imagine how special it is for the two of them to pull up a chair there every day to relax and reconnect over a meal. Thanks to their shared love of big, family-style, Southern dinners, I’m sure they’re not the only ones who get to continue enjoying that table, too!

Thank you so much to Becca Lea for sending this joyful day our way!

I found my dress at Lewisville Bridal Boutique. I knew I waned something long-sleeved that reminded me of Grace Kelly. Other than that, I knew I didn’t want anything with lace or beading. I tried on maybe two or three dresses and couldn’t stop smiling when I put on the last one. It was a long-sleeved Berta gown with a long train, lace, and beading…of course.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chris and I did do a first look. We chose to after talking to some of our friends and decided that we wanted an intimate moment alone together before all the craziness of the day began. We also wanted that time to have our pictures done so we wouldn’t feel rushed after the ceremony.

I chose to walk down the aisle to “Ever Be” by Bethel. It’s a beautiful song about Christ and the love He has for His bride. Throughout the song, there’s a chorus of God’s devotion, faithfulness and endurance for us. This was a sweet picture to me of what our marriage should be. It was meaningful and mirrored Christ’s heart for us.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but when Chris and I took communion together, he read some verses out loud to me as we broke bread. We then prayed together over our marriage and our new life together. It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding day.

I had seen the White Sparrow Barn on Instagram a few months before we got engaged and absolutely fell in love with it. It had just opened a few weeks earlier and I knew I wanted to get married there. We wanted an outdoor ceremony with a relaxed, family-style feeling for the reception, and we didn’t want our guests to have to travel too far outside of Dallas. The White Sparrow ended up being the perfect fit.

My dad has a knack for building things and he made all of our head tables with wood from our ranch. For the sweetheart table Chris and I sat at, he used curved branches to create a more detailed look. It meant so much to me to know that my dad took the time to build our tables from scratch. We even use one as our dining table now!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Chris and I LOVE Texas and all things Southern. We had custom corn hole boards made with our monogram and wedding colors for our guests to enjoy during cocktail hour. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. For dinner, we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits, gravy, corn, and sweet tea, all served family-style in big bowls on farm tables, which was exactly what I had always wanted. I love the Southern tradition of eating family-style, and really wanted to bring all our guests together this way. We also had a large fabric sign made to say “Texas Forever” in calligraphy that we hung at our rehearsal dinner and above our guest table at the wedding.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Fireworks! Chris and I love fireworks and I had always dreamed of getting married on the 4th of July, but our timing didn’t quite work out. Instead, my parents guided everyone outside after we cut the cake for a surprise fireworks show! We also used a Bible as our guest book, which has been so sweet to read now that we’re married. We asked our guests to highlight their favorite verse and write a note to us about their prayer for our marriage, or why that verse is significant to them.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I met in college at Texas A&M (whoop!). We were friends for five years, but we always liked each other. Several years after college, we finally started dating and knew instantly we wanted to spend forever together.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last August, I went on a weekend trip with my parents to visit my grandparents, who were volunteering at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs. The Glen is one of my favorite places because it has such a beautiful view of Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, and a castle on site! Chris knew that and had a surprise up his sleeve. After arriving, my grandpa and I decided to go for a hike up to one of my favorite lookouts. As I rounded the corner at the top of our hike (my 70-something grandpa keeping pace behind me), I looked up, and much to my surprise, Chris was waiting for me a few feet ahead! This whole time, he had told me he was visiting his parents in Houston, but he had actually jumped on a plane the night before and had been waiting in Colorado to surprise me. He took me by the hand and guided me to an even better spot, where he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. And of course, he had a photographer hiding in the bushes. I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better!
When did y’all get married? March 19, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Describe your wedding flowers. I had a large bouquet with lots of greenery, peonies, Juliet roses, and pops of light pink and peach. My bouquet was one of my favorite things from our wedding. I am a huge fan of flowers, and Briley (of OhDeery Floral) made all my floral dreams come true. I was absolutely blown away by all of her creations. We had long farm tables and placed greenery all the way down them. On the head table, we used bridesmaid bouquets and some fillers that were gorgeous. Above one of the archways inside the barn, Briley also made a stunning arbor of flowers and greenery. I could not have been more pleased with the result.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had so many flavors of wedding cake! We chose several mini cakes to put on display. On top of that, we had mini cobblers (to fit our Southern theme), cookies, and tarts. We also had fire pits set up outside with s’mores stations on cute gold bar carts, and a hot chocolate bar.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Chris and I went through premarital counseling prior to our wedding. We went through a book called “Catching Foxes” and met with an older couple each week who counseled us throughout our engagement. It was such a blessing to have their wisdom and encouragement during our engagement, and it helped us start praying and planning for our marriage, not just the wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My grandma and mom made all of our napkins. They sewed fabric that fit into our blue color scheme and worked on them over the course of our engagement. My mom also started buying Walmart out of all their silver utensils so we would have plenty for our family-style meal without having to rent them. Instead of putting flower arrangements on all the guest tables, I chose to re-purpose our bridesmaid bouquets on the head table, and use simple greenery on the guest tables.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just bought a fixer upper and have been renovating it ourselves! We’re enjoying learning how to do life together as a married couple.

Photographer: Becca Lea | Videographer: Paul Bailey | Planner: Lindsey Brunk | Venue: The White Sparrow | Florist: Oh Deery | Dessert Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets | Caterer: Seven Loaves Catering | Rentals: The Olive Bench | Band: In10city | Calligraphy: Fig and Flourish Calligraphy | Paper Products: Confetti Grey | Bride’s Gown: Berta | Bridal Salon: Lewisville Bridal Boutique | Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Tommy Hilfiger | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Custom Cornhole Boards: West Georgia Cornhole

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

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Becca Lea reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar LAURI KENT reply

    BEAUTIFUL!!

  3. avatar Callie and Chris Wedding – Southern Weddings | The White Sparrow Barn reply

    […] SOUTHERN WEDDINGS FEATURE […]

  4. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    That “Texas Forever” sign is so adorable!! Also, love how they used the cafe lights outside. Not only do they provide aesthetically pleasing light, but they practically define the reception space.

  5. avatar Dallas Outdoor Wedding Venue | The White Sparrow, Outdoor Weddings reply

    […] photos in this post are courtesy of Becca Lea, and were recently featured on Southern Weddings. Be sure to take a […]

  6. avatar Madeleine reply

    Hi! That Texas forever sign is BEAUTIFUL and I want something similar for my wedding. Which vendor is it from? Thanks!!

  7. avatar Wedding Planning Update – Kyla Mary reply

    […] source: Becca Lea via Southern Weddings […]

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Classic, elegant, and rooted in place are a few words I often use to describe my favorite “type” of wedding, so I was delighted when I saw that Erika and Kenny’s Savannah celebration hit all of those nails on the head. Even though their 11-month engagement was a particularly stressful time in their lives, they pulled off a day that truly celebrated their love for one another, their families, and the traditions and culture of the South. It’s so evident that even in the midst of moving, house hunting, and more, when it came to their wedding, Erika and Kenny worked hard to be intentional and hospitable. I can only imagine their marriage will be marked with those same sentiments!

Thanks so much to Brian Flint for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a few details of the wedding planned out in my head, but a wedding dress was not one of them. I just knew I wanted something timeless and true to myself. My first appointment was at Ivory & Beau in Savannah. After trying on only eight dresses, I went with my gut and chose a beautiful, lace Elaya Vaughn dress by Kate Pankoke. I was in and out of the store in under an hour! Easiest shopping trip ever.

A first look logistically made sense, but we never considered doing one. Every time we imagined our wedding day, our thoughts would jump to the moment when we would lock eyes as I walked down the aisle towards him. Even though I cried my way down the aisle, we have no regrets! It was such a happy and surreal moment!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a harpist at our ceremony and he was great! He played “How Great Thou Art” for the seating of the parents and grandparents and “Can’t Help Falling in Love” for the bridal party entrance. The harp music plus the waterside setting made it so enchanting!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? A family member graciously offered to let us host our ceremony in his yard, overlooking the marsh on Wilmington Island. This site has hosted many shrimp boils, oyster roasts, and celebrations. The moss-draped oak trees and the marsh at high tide provided us with a magical and romantic backdrop for our ceremony. We rented trolleys to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception, which was in downtown Savannah at the Knights of Columbus. We wanted an indoor reception that was convenient to all the downtown amenities. We had many out-of-town guests, and it was important to us to show them all of our favorite parts of Savannah.

Joann’s Florist did such a great job with our flowers! We used a lot of seeded eucalyptus, dusty miller, cream cabbage roses, white ranunculus, white hydrangeas, and white veronica sprigs. Garlands lined the tables and hung over the mantle of the fireplace. It really transformed the reception space! We saved some of the flowers to dry and frame for our house, but the rest were taken to a local nursing home so that they could continue to be enjoyed.

Our wedding cake was from Publix and we couldn’t have been happier! It was pretty, delicious, and affordable! Instead of a groom’s cake, we opted for a flaming donut bar. Our caterer, Savannah Event Catering, fried a Krispy Kreme donut, poured bourbon in the middle, lit it on fire, and extinguished the flames with a Coke. He topped it with pralines and served it with ice cream. Amazing and so entertaining!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met while we were living in Atlanta. Kenny made the first move and invited me to coffee. I let him choose the location and, to my surprise, he chose my favorite coffee shop. It was such a beautiful day and we sipped our coffee next to the river while enjoying great conversation. It really was perfect. We’ve been together, drinking coffee, ever since!
Tell us all about the proposal! Traveling is one of our favorite things to do together, so I didn’t think twice when Kenny suggested that we take a relaxing weekend trip to Daufuskie Island, South Carolina. Daufuskie is a charming little island between Savannah and Hilton Head that can only be reached by boat. A local artist told us about a great place to watch the sunset, so that night, we rode our golf cart over to the point. Kenny balanced his iPhone on the golf cart to take a timed photo of us. After a few seconds, he turned to me and started saying sweet things as we were taking in the beautiful scenery. What I thought was a special moment turned into a REALLY special moment when he dropped to one knee. I was so surprised! I didn’t believe him until I saw the ring. He then told me his iPhone had been taking a video, not a timed photo. He captured the moment for us and we were able to freeze shot pictures from it. It was beyond perfect!
When did y’all get married? March 5, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: This is tough because everything came together in such a lovely way. We both really loved our hurricane lamps, though. My dad believes every house should have one (or ten). It was one of the first things my parents gave Kenny and me when we bought our first house. We were able to use my dad’s collection at the reception and it was beautiful. It added just enough light and charm to the space.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? A week after we were engaged, Kenny’s work transferred him to another city. Our engagement was 11 months long and included wedding planning, house hunting, job searching, and moving. It was an eventful, emotional, and often challenging 11 months. We grew so much during this season of change. We learned how to effectively communicate, tackle our challenges together, and keep our relationship God-centered.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge was definitely the guest list. We both come from big families and have lived in multiple cities. We could have easily invited 500 people, but we wouldn’t have been able to have the wedding we wanted with that many guests. Cutting the list was a long and painful process, but I think it worked out well.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? With a design background, I knew exactly what I wanted for the invitations. The only issue was the cost, so I decided to take them on as a DIY project. I purchased my beautiful, deckle-edged, homemade paper off of Etsy and my dear and talented friend, Lauren Walker, designed my invites in her beautiful calligraphy. I completed the look with a monogrammed gold wax seal. It was a lot of work, but the outcome was exactly what I wanted.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Prioritize. Figure out what you would consider a successful wedding and plan accordingly. Spend your money on things that will help you reach that vision and save money in the areas that don’t matter as much. It varies couple to couple but it is the best way to figure out where to cutback and where to splurge.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We look forward to working on our historic home, spending a lot of time on our porch swing, continuing to travel the world, and experiencing life together.

Photographer: Brian Flint Photography | Planner, Rentals and Florals: Carlson Premiere Events | Ceremony Venue: Private residence | Reception Venue: Knights of Columbus | Florist: Joann’s Florist | Cake Baker: Publix | Caterer: Savannah Event Catering | Band: A Nickel Bag of Funk | Bride’s Gown: Elaya Vaughn Bridal by Kate Pankoke | Hair and Makeup: Beyond Beautiful by Heather Ferguson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Jenny Yoo, Bari Jay, and Joanna August | Alterations: Stitch | Calligraphy: Lauren Walker with Caroline & Fitz Design Co.

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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