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One of the most fun aspects of working at Southern Weddings is seeing firsthand just how many ways there are to have a “Southern wedding.” From classic ballroom celebrations to rustic ranch soirées and everything in between, Southerners embrace so many distinct styles! One look that we don’t see too often is colorful, Southwestern-inspired weddings, which is why I immediately fell head over heels for the way Alicia and Ian celebrated their marriage. They dreamed up an outdoor wedding full of their favorite Tex Mex details (y’all, they even had a queso bar!) and only the traditions that meant the most to them as a couple. They also did an amazing job of showing their guests the utmost in Southern hospitality–be sure to take a peek at their advice about this below!

Thank you so much to Archetype Studio for sharing this beautiful day with us!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look despite my reservations about it. I loved the idea of Ian seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle, but in reality, I didn’t want to spend any time after the ceremony posing for pictures. Once the ceremony started, I wanted the evening to be about the wedding, the celebration, and being around the people we love rather than the photos.

Ian and I knew that we wanted to get married outside in San Antonio in the fall. I wanted to get married in Ian’s parent’s backyard, but Ian wanted to get married at the McNay Art Museum. We compromised, deciding to have the rehearsal dinner in his parent’s backyard and the wedding at the museum. They’re both beautiful outdoor locations, but the museum’s architecture more closely matched our Tex Mex-inspired vision.

We wrote our own vows and it was probably my favorite part of the entire wedding. I think about them and carry them with me in my heart. I have two favorite lines from our vows. From Ian’s: “I promise to always nurture your dreams and help you exceed your goals. I promise to always listen and always comfort you, in the best of times or the blurst of times.” Not only is his promise to help me exceed my goals and comfort me critical to our daily life, but “the blurst of times” is a reference to a Simpson’s joke, and it always makes me smile when I think about it. It’s such a classic Ian joke, and I love it. From mine: “I promise to remember that the quality of our inner life together is more important than anything I can create or accomplish in the outer world.” I think about this line from my vows nearly every day. It really resonates with me because I’m a determined attorney in Manhattan practicing criminal law, and I have to remind myself that the greatest accomplishment, the greatest privilege, and the greatest responsibility in my life is the happiness of my marriage to Ian. Living my vows is the best homage to pay our beautiful wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start with the macro, the bigger goals. For Ian and I, we started with the ultimate goal of wanting our wedding to be easy on our guests. We didn’t want our guests to feel that a lot was expected of them monetarily or in terms of their time, and we wanted the people we love to really feel that love. With that main goal in mind, all the other questions were easy to answer–yes to ceremony and reception at same venue, no to a seated dinner with pre-planned meal, yes to a great variety of food and seating options, yes to transportation being provided, and no to a wedding party and the expectations that go along with it. It’s easy to get caught up in the frame of mind that, “This is MY day,” or, “This is what I want,” which sometimes leads to cutting things guests enjoy. But, if you get to live with the love of your life forever, you’re getting your way every day. Make the celebration about the people who taught you how to love, and the day will be even more special for everyone.

Describe your wedding flowers. We had a fresh and bright, watercolor-ombre, Southwestern palette with a fusion of cacti, succulents, and soft-petalled blooms in every shade of pink (except peach) peonies, garden roses, dahlias, and ranunculus. Our wedding flowers were out of this world.

Most of our wedding details were south Texan with Mexican flavor. Our save the dates were a hand-drawn watercolor of a man’s bullfighting/mariachi jacket and a woman’s embroidered dress, fabulously painted by a college friend of mine. The decor on the tables at the reception included Mexican textile runners and geometric brass terrariums. Our south Texan-inspired food included fried quail with jalapeno gravy, hand-pressed gorditas, avocado halves stuffed with shrimp, ceviche, or vegetables, and a table dedicated to queso, a melted Mexican cheese dip.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was vanilla with caramel filling and a vanilla buttercream frosting. The design was classic and simple in white with the wedding flowers on and around it. We also had a groom’s cake, which was a collection of about 15 chocolate cakes decorated as cacti.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ian and I went to high school together in San Antonio, Texas in the early 2000s. We became friends over instant messenger my sophomore year of high school (Ian’s junior year), and were on the cusp of becoming romantic when I went abroad to Spain during my junior year. That year, we religiously kept in touch over phone and email, and Ian planned to visit me for his senior year spring break. He booked tickets and reserved a hotel room, and then, the day before his flight, terrorists attacked Madrid. Ian cancelled his trip and we lost our momentum. Over the five years that followed, we both dated other people, we both went to undergrad in Southern California, and both periodically kept in touch. After graduating from undergrad, we also both happened to move to Austin. I had just sworn off of eternally pining for Ian, but within a week of both living in Austin, we were dating. We moved to New Orleans together so I could attend law school, then moved to New York. We dated for six years before getting engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! One frigid day (March 7, 2015, to be exact), I dragged Ian to a brunch with me and about a dozen of my girlfriends in SoHo. I had been misinformed and didn’t know that none of their boyfriends were coming to brunch, but we had a ball. Afterwards, we walked across Washington Square Park to get a cab home, and Ian just took the ring out of his front jean pocket, held it up, and said, “Wanna get married?” like it was no big deal. Of course, I said yes! We called the girlfriends we had just been at brunch with, met at a bar in West Village, and celebrated all day into the night. Neither Ian nor I like formality or over-the-top gestures, so it was true to us and, in my opinion, that made it perfect.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ian and I were only having a six-month engagement, so I couldn’t spend a lot of time searching for a wedding dress (which I wasn’t sad about). I’m really not into shopping, so I knew I could only go to one or two stores before starting to hate the experience. Based on some internet research, I knew I wanted my dress to be from an Israeli designer because I loved several Israeli brands online, especially the lace they used. I brought one of my best girlfriends to a boutique on the upper east side of Manhattan, where they carried several Israeli designers. I tried on about seven dresses and narrowed it down to two. I went home to sleep on it and realized the next morning that one of them was much more “me,” and the other was more who I wished I was. I went back to the store the next day to put down my deposit.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In writing our own vows, we really had to reflect on who we were, our weaknesses, and what was important to promise to each other for all time. Confronting those things with love in front of your guests is very powerful and freeing. Saying every line sincerely and not for show or because everyone has that specific thing at their ceremony makes you really think about what’s important and relevant to your unique relationship.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? After dating for about six years and knowing each other for 12 years, Ian and I knew exactly what we wanted: a short engagement, a small(ish) wedding in San Antonio, and lots of delicious Tex Mex at the reception. However, our biggest challenge was picking the venue and the date. We had a six-week window in which we wanted to have the wedding, and we wanted to accommodate our family and friend’s schedules. It worked out that Halloween was the best date for most people, and the venue was available. I wasn’t thrilled to get married on Halloween, but it ultimately became a very special part of our wedding. Our niece and nephews dressed up, making everyone laugh.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We decided not to have a videographer. We frequently see wedding videos on social media of people we only distantly know, and we wanted our wedding experience to be somewhat private–only for us and the guests we invited. We wanted to remember the events the way they happened, and not through the eye of a camera.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After such a fun wedding and honeymoon in South Africa and Mozambique, we’re looking forward to traveling more together, including traveling to attend our friends’ weddings.

Photographer: Archetype Studio | Planner: Sweet August Events | Venue and Lighting: The McNay Art Museum | Florist: Clementine | Cake Baker: Cakes by Cathy Young | Caterer: Don Strange Ranch | Rentals: Aztec USA and Luxe Event Decor | Band: The Royal Dukes | Special Details: Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop | Paper Products: Girl General | Bride’s Gown: “Veronica” by Flora | Bride’s Veil: L’Fay Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: Bloomingdale’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Madame Make-Up and Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Groom’s Attire: Club Monaco and Cole Haan

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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  1. avatar Adrienna reply

    Oh wow, those succulent cupcakes are SO CUTE!

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While they have so many great moments to remember from their wedding day at the beautiful Castleton Farms, for Mary and Dom, the moment when their eyes met as she walked down the aisle takes the cake! It was filled with so much joy and happiness that they know they’ll never forget. Planning a wedding and honeymoon around Dom’s hockey schedule was no easy task, but together, they focused on what was most important to them as a couple and showed their guests the sweet Southern hospitality of Mary’s home state of Tennessee. As for Mary’s sage advice for those planning a wedding? “Don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” Yes, ma’am!!

Big hugs to Jennie Andrews for sharing this dreamy day with us!

I loved my dress! A few days after the proposal, I went out with my mom, sister, and sister-in-law to do some dress shopping (they were staying with me for a few days after the big surprise engagement dinner). They were only in New York for a short time, so we made tons of appointments and were ready to hit up every store in NYC. Of course, the first shop we went to, a cute little boutique called L’Fay Bridal, had some of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen! THE dress was about the fifth one I tried on, and once I put it on, I could not stop smiling. We all knew it was the one, but did not want to pick a dress quite that quickly. After leaving the shop, I called Dom and told him I thought I had found the dress. He was happy to hear it and told me to go for it! The next day, I went in and bought it.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We tried to save some money in every category along the way, skipping letterpress on the invites, buying bridesmaid dresses during major sales at J. Crew, and things of that nature. Most significantly, we worked with our florist to reuse as many of the arrangements as we could. Flowers from the rehearsal dinner were used at the cocktail hour the next day, and flowers from the ceremony were brought up onto the deck of the barn to decorate the bar. Also, we did our rehearsal dinner at Castleton Farms, since we were able to pay for a weekend package. Not paying for a new venue for that dinner was a big cost saver.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a string trio play classics like Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” and “Trumpet Voluntary” for the ceremony. We wanted those sweet and traditional melodies to set the tone for the day.
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We had a traditional Christian wedding and said the traditional vows.

There are so many great moments that we remember so vividly about the whole day, but by far, the most memorable moment for us was when I was walking down the aisle. Dom didn’t want to see me too early when I was far away, so he was facing Pastor Wood until I entered the doors and was ready to come down the aisle. When he turned, our eyes met, and we both just exploded with joy and happiness!

We chose Castleton Farms for our ceremony and reception for a few different reasons. First, I am from Tennessee and wanted to have the wedding in my home state! Second, Castleton Farms was stunning. It was every dream wedding Pinterest board come true, and after one quick visit (in the winter, even!), we were beyond interested. We met with the venue coordinator, Darla Walker, and were so impressed by her that we booked that very day! I think I called her around 9 P.M. to book it because I was so set on having that venue and was worried that someone else might take our date! Fitting in a wedding and honeymoon around a hockey player’s schedule is quite a feat!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding reception in a barn. The night before the wedding, all the girls and I slept over at the venue in the big, Southern mansion they have on property. It was amazing! We had a lemonade tent with all kinds of lemonade for the guests during the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour was more of a game hour, complete with lawn games like croquet, blongo ball, and corn hole–all good, Southern games! We knew it would be hot and people would need to fan themselves a bit to keep from overheating, so we made our ceremony programs fans. We also had barbecue as an entree option at the dinner.

We had a three-layer white wedding cake with fresh flowers on it. We also had some delicious cupcakes (about four different flavors and colors) and little jars of heart-shaped apple pies. The apple pie was supposed to go with the moonshine bar, but they were out on display and got eaten pretty quickly–long before the moonshine came out!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. One of my friends from college played tennis with Dom during the summers. Once we had been introduced, Dom invited me to come and see a game some time (he plays for the New York Rangers). After the first game I went to, I was waiting for him to come out after the game to head to dinner with me and a few friends. When he walked around the corner, my heart jumped. I quickly began to see that I was not the only one with a little crush, since I seemed to be getting a bit more attention than his other guests at the games–and kept getting the invite back. Also, he was playing incredibly well any time I was at a game! It didn’t take long for us to begin dating. We were out to dinner after one of his games when we made it official. We love going back to that restaurant and thinking about that special time.
Tell us all about the proposal! Dom proposed in Central Park! Central Park is a special place for us. We spent a number of different occasions there while we were dating–having picnics, taking walks, going ice skating, and riding bikes. Last December, we were trying to decide if we should stay in New York for Christmas or go home to be with our families. We finally decided to stay in the city, even though we would really miss our families. On Christmas Eve, we spent the day doing all things Christmas-y and just enjoying the day together. Later in the day, Dom suggested we go ice skating. As you may guess, skating with a hockey player is quite a fun experience!! After skating, he suggested we go out to dinner so that I would not have to worry about cooking anything. He called The Boathouse restaurant to see if we could get reservations, and lo and behold, they had some availability. We got dressed up and started walking to dinner. The Boathouse is in the middle of Central Park, so you have to walk through the park to get there. The only things around were the horse-drawn carriages going by every now and then. Somewhere along the walk, words of love were exchanged and a ring was given. We like to keep the details of it between the two of us! :) After getting engaged, we continued our walk to the restaurant, stopping to hug and kiss and laugh every few steps. To my surprise, when we arrived at the restaurant, out popped my parents, Dom’s parents, and my brother and sister-in-law!!! Dom had flown everyone up for a surprise engagement dinner! It turned out that it would be a family-filled Christmas after all, with even more reasons to celebrate.
When did y’all get married? July 11, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? There were about 140 people at the wedding. We felt so loved that so many friends made the trip to Tennessee to be there.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! To be honest, I did not think that through! I did, however, have something borrowed and blue. When Dom and I were first dating, I started wearing one of his blue flannel shirts because I needed a light jacket and didn’t have one, so he let me borrow it. He told me I looked better in it than he did, so I wore it a bunch and loved it! I wore that button-down all day while I was getting ready for the wedding. It was a little reminder of the start of all the love–not to mention, it was perfect for the job and cute!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t forget the whole reason you are planning this event: to unite yourself with the love of your life! Trust me, you won’t even get to see most of the things you spent months planning. You will be so busy gazing at your husband and taking in all the smiles and hugs from your friends and family, that all those details that seemed so crucial will go largely unnoticed by you and your fiancé. Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are back to work now and are also having fun redecorating Dom’s old place. We both want to have a family and are excited to get started on that in the near future! Also, we love working out together, so Dom spent the summer teaching me to play tennis! We are looking forward to playing together throughout life.

Photographer: Jennie Andrews / Videographer: Alex Widmer / Venue and Coordination: Castleton Farms / Florist: Samuel Franklin / Cake Baker: Cheryl McMillan / Caterer: All Occasion Catering / Rentals: All Occasions Party Rental / Band: Emerald Empire Band / Paper Products: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown: Berta Bridal / Bridal Salon and Veil: L’Fay Bridal / Hair and Makeup: Bangs and Blush / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various styles in Misty Rose by J. Crew / Menswear: J. Crew / Transportation: Chariots of Hire / Cupcakes: Scrumps Cupcakes / Invitation Calligraphy: Alice Sword

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Dimity reply

    Oh, what a beautiful piece of advice from Mary! “Planning a wedding is like most things in life: you should try your hardest to make it the best that you can, but don’t let the illusion of perfection distract you from the beauty of the life that is right in front of you.” I will carry this with me as I plan our special day. Thank you for sharing xo

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