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During a beach-side bike ride on one of my and Brandon’s first vacations together, we explored the construction site that is now Alys Beach. We were even able to walk through the half-built homes as they were being constructed, and now, every time I see a wedding there, it brings back such sweet memories of our dating life. With their favorite wedding detail being their venue, and Emily and Reed’s plans to vacation there each year for their anniversary, I’m positive those future trips will be filled with joyous memories of their beautiful wedding on the Central Park Green! Playing off the modern white architecture, Emily and Reed worked with Lauren Chitwood Events to bring in rustic driftwood and succulents combined with lush peonies and protea. That gorgeous custom driftwood arch had guests talking for months!

Thank you kindly to Amy Campbell for sharing Emily and Reed’s wedding with us!

I found my dress in Nashville at B. Hughes. I had previously looked in Birmingham, where my sister lives, and liked a few dresses, but knew I couldn’t make any decisions until I visited this shop. I tried on a strapless Reem Acra dress and knew it was the one for me. I felt so pretty in it and didn’t want to take it off. I still love it a year later!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We didn’t write our own vows, but did speak to our officiant about the flow and words we wanted him to use during the ceremony. The vows were very simple, but those words are so meaningful. While saying my vows to Reed, I started crying. I’m not a big crier, so I started laughing at myself for crying. It was a sweet moment we’ll both remember forever.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? My best friend, Maggie, read Colossians 3:12-14. This was a verse Reed and I kept reading during our premarital exercises. I love the words in this verse and thought it would be special for her to read it.

I grew up going to the beach near Sandestin and Seaside, Florida. Every wedding I’d seen along Highway 30A was so beautiful, and we loved the idea of getting married at the beach. We looked at multiple venues in Rosemary Beach and Alys Beach, and the Central Park Green at Alys Beach was the exact look I wanted. The small green is surrounded by trees and a breathtaking modern pool and restaurant. It turned out to be a perfect venue and I couldn’t have been happier!

Describe your wedding flowers. Lauren and I discussed many different looks, but we ultimately decided to mix the rustic look of driftwood and succulents with peonies and protea. She sent me examples of what she thought I would like, and after seeing a photo that included a gorgeous driftwood arch, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Lauren and her florist created one for our wedding and it was the most beautiful arch I’ve ever seen. It was so memorable–people talked about it months after the wedding.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by trimming down the guest list. Initially, we wanted around 300 guests, but after talking with our planner, Lauren, we decided to invite 170. It was hard to exclude some people but in the end it felt intimate and was a great size for the venue.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We both went to college at Ole Miss. I always knew who he was and had a crush on him, so a mutual friend introduced us after I told him I thought Reed was cute. For a few months after meeting, we would see each other around Oxford and always seemed to get into long conversations. He finally asked me out on a date, and we dated for five years before getting married.
Tell us all about the proposal! Reed and I went to my parents’ house in Mississippi for Thanksgiving. We all decided to cook outside because the weather was so nice. Reed had planned everything with my family beforehand, and to give him time to propose, they all snuck back into the house. Due to lack of sleep from working the night before, I didn’t even notice their attempts to leave us alone. While we were outside talking, my sisters and my mom attached the ring to our dog, Daisy, and then let her back outside. Daisy immediately ran up to us, sat down, and I noticed the ring tied around her neck with a bow. Reed got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. We spent the night celebrating with my family and calling friends to tell them the news.
When did y’all get married? June 13, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our favorite detail of our wedding was the venue. After getting married there, we now want to go back to Alys Beach every year! It’s the most beautiful place I’ve been in the United States.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? My husband and I are both from Mississippi and he is a passionate Ole Miss football fan. One of my favorite memories of the night was when Reed took the mic onstage, spouted Ole Miss football statistics, and led our mostly Mississippi reception in the Hotty Toddy cheer.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Our wedding officiant, Gary Wingo, introduced us to a premarital workbook, “Before You Say I Do.” This helped us prepare for marriage and discuss things we otherwise may not have discussed. As a result, we grew closer and learned how to handle certain situations should they arise.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Originally, Reed and I were going to marry on May 16, 2015. After we set the date, we had trouble finding vendors who were available that day. After a few minor meltdowns, we decided to change our wedding date to June 13. I’m so happy we did, because everything worked out perfectly.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? The most memorable moment for me was seeing Reed for the first time. Having my dad walk me down the aisle to my husband was such a great feeling. When I finally saw Reed and he had a big smile on his face, it was the exact moment I’d pictured for my entire life. The ceremony was definitely my favorite part of the whole wedding day.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are enjoying life in Nashville as a family of three (we have a French bulldog named Willis). I have so much fun with Reed, even when we’re doing simple, daily activities. I hope we continue having fun together, and maybe one day add to our little family.

Photographer: Amy Campbell | Planner and Florist: Lauren Chitwood | Venue: Central Park Green in Alys Beach | Wedding Cake: KaraBoo Bakery | Caterer: Townsend Catering | Band: The Heather Hayes Experience | Paper Products: Dement Printing and Fresh Ink | Bride’s Gown: Reem Acra | Hair and Makeup Stylist: Ana Crane | Bride’s Shoes: “Fearne” by Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  1. avatar Macey reply

    Everything looks like a dream! Beautiful.

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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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    Emily and I couldn’t help but giggle at the story of how Elise and Paul met. Her first memory of him was when he walked up to her and her best friend…to invite her best friend to homecoming! Needless to say, Paul did ultimately come around, and he and Elise dated through the rest of high school and college, tying the knot a few weeks after Elise graduated. Since planning a wedding during such a busy season proved to be a bit overwhelming, the incredibly talented Ginny Au helped bring their vision of a romantic, classic, loft celebration to life. I’m sure y’all will agree, the result was completely lovely, and Elise and Paul’s joy is contagious!

    Thank you so much to Mandy Busby for sharing this beautiful day with us!

    I think our vendors are what made the entire wedding planning process so easy and fun. Our wedding planner, Ginny Au, introduced us to almost all of our vendors, who worked so well together. From the moment I met Ginny, I felt confident and comfortable with all of her ideas. Our calligrapher, Holly Hollon, was so personable and easy to work with. The way she designed our save the dates and invitations fit our style so perfectly, we looked for different ways to incorporate her work into our wedding day as well.

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I decided from the beginning that I wanted my wedding dress to be a secret from my friends, so just my mom and I went to find it. We had gone to one or two other places before we went to Diane’s Formal Affair. I didn’t really know what I was looking for, but I knew right away that my dress was the one when I put it on!

    Katie did a beautiful job with our flowers! She used olive branches, Claire de Lune peonies, Sarah Bernhardt peonies, white lisianthus, white tuberose, oak leaf hydrangea, viburnum, dusty miller, and a variety of garden roses. She tied them up in beautiful Frou Frou Chic ribbon. My bouquet was so heavy, my arm was sore the next day! It was definitely worth it because it was the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen–not to mention, it smelled fantastic.

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Paul and I chose not to see each other before the ceremony. Although we always thought we would have a first look, we changed our minds during the planning process. Ginny and Mandy both encouraged us to save the first look for when I walked down the aisle. It wasn’t as private as a first look would have been, but looking back, we’re so thankful we followed through with this tradition. It’s a memory filled with so much emotion, and we’ll never forget it.
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Instead of a first look, Paul and I met around a door to talk and exchange wedding day gifts before the ceremony. I remember feeling so nervous and giddy. I think this stands out as the most memorable moment because it was the last moment we shared before becoming husband and wife.

    If we had to choose one detail from our wedding that was our favorite, it would be our wedding video. Watching it for the first time was like reliving the whole day–I cried all over again! The Film Poets did such a wonderful job capturing the entire day. Parts of that day were a blur because we were so overwhelmed with happiness, and Matt and Pacey created such a special keepsake to help us relieve those emotions and memories every day!

    What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose to have our ceremony at Advent, which is where my family attends church. For the reception, Paul and I were looking for something with a loft feel, rather than a country club. I loved Bridgestreet because it had so much character. It was also close to our ceremony venue, so it worked out perfectly!

    Dreamcakes did our cakes and they were delicious. Mine was their vanilla flavor cake with vanilla icing. It had four tiers and was tinted to match the blue color we used throughout the wedding. It was decorated with fondant flowers and our monogram. Paul did a chocolate cake with chocolate icing for the groom’s cake, which was decorated with chocolate shavings.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Paul and I met in high school. My first memory of him is from the lunchroom, when he walked up to my best friend and I to ask her to the homecoming dance. He doesn’t remember me being there, but I definitely was! We started talking in algebra class during our sophomore year, and made it official on May 23, 2008. He proposed to me in the spring of our junior year of college. We were married the next May, three weeks after my college graduation!
    Tell us all about the proposal! I’m not easy to surprise, so Paul knew his proposal would have to be well thought out. It took a couple of white lies, but he got me to his parents’ house and surprised me with a dinner on their back porch. It was set up exactly like our first (and my favorite) Valentine’s Day date, which had been in that same spot. After a delicious dinner, Paul went inside to get dessert. When he came back outside, the next thing I knew, he was on one knee, proposing! I was so surprised; Paul had a hard time understanding me through all my tears. Our families were anxiously awaiting the phone call at my parents’ house, where they had gathered to celebrate with us. It was a perfect night!
    When did y’all get married? May 24, 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 325
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We read traditional vows that followed the Book of Common Prayer in the Episcopal Church.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Besides marriage counseling with our pastor, Paul and I spent our engagement reading “This Momentary Marriage” by Tim Keller. We would read it on our own and then spend time together each week to talk about what we read. Even though we thought we knew all there was to know about each other, Paul and I learned a lot about what the other expected in our marriage. It was a great time to talk and pray for our future as husband and wife.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge for me was probably all the change that was happening. May brought a lot of new adventures, including college graduation, getting married, and moving into our first home as husband and wife. It could be a little overwhelming!
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy every day! My mom and I had such a great time planning mine and Paul’s wedding, and I was truly sad when it was over. I look back on it and only have good memories of the whole process! My advice would just be to stay focused on the bigger picture. It is such a beautiful time in your life and you will never have it back!
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Paul and I have been living in Tuscaloosa, but are planning to move back to Birmingham this summer. I will continue to teach elementary school and Paul will finish up his undergrad at UA, where he is working to become a mechanical engineer. We are looking forward to year two of marriage and all that it brings our way!

    Photographer: Mandy Busby / Videographer: The Film Poets / Planner: Ginny Au / Ceremony Venue: Cathedral Church of the Advent / Reception Venue: Bridgestreet Gallery and Loft / Florist: Cloth of Gold / Paper Goods: Holly Hollon / Cake Baker: Dream Cakes / Caterer: The Happy Catering Company / Band: The Fountain City Players / Bridal Salon: Diane’s Formal Affair / Hair and Makeup: Holly Caffee / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaid Dress Salon: Bella Bridesmaids / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    4 Comments
    1. avatar liam smith reply

      Amazing bridesmaid reaction shot

    2. avatar Lindsay Colvin reply

      Such a unique and beautiful cake, love it! Also, that bridesmaid shot is such a precious moment.

    3. avatar Emily reply

      Love the sweet decals they included at their reception venue! Such a small detail, but really lovely!

    4. avatar Laura reply

      Beautiful wedding! I love everything from the invitations to the florals to the bride’s dress.

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