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I love how even Lauren and Chad’s courtship is Southern! It started with a casual meeting through mutual friends, and their love developed over watching many college football games, which we know is a quite the feat for a couple with competing undergraduate alma maters! When it came time to plan their wedding, they knew that with the help of their planner, Laura from Ashton Events, they not only wanted to incorporate their love of the South (having grown up in Florida, Lauren wanted to include citrus!) and tradition, but also their college allegiances. While our own Nicole isn’t much of a college football fan (I know!!), I simply can’t let this wedding go by without mentioning how absolutely “her” it is!

Hats off to Sunglow Photography for sharing this sweetly colorful wedding with us!

P.S. You don’t want to miss their proposal story! It’s steeped with tradition, and actually gave me chills!

I was originally set on wearing my momma’s wedding dress. It is a beautiful dress with gorgeous scalloped details flowing into a long train, complete with lace sleeves and a sweetheart neckline–perfect for a Southern belle. After taking the dress to two different seamstresses though, I found out we wouldn’t be able to alter it to fit me while maintaining the original beauty of the dress. While in a bridal store with my momma’s dress, my sister eyed a tiered lace gown and begged me to try it on. Just to please her, I did, and fell in love. It was elegant and and classic–everything I wanted in a wedding dress. After making the decision to purchase the new gown instead of wearing my momma’s, the bridal salon’s seamstress made my cathedral veil using lace pieces from my momma’s dress.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? I always wanted to be married in a church to represent God’s role in marriage. Westminster Presbyterian was a beautiful church that allowed my hometown pastor to officiate the ceremony. For the reception, we wanted a venue that encompassed everything we love about the South: wraparound porches, Spanish moss-filled oak trees, and hospitality. Rocking H Ranch was the perfect venue for us!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We decided to not have a first look. Tradition was very important to both of us, and we wanted our reaction down the aisle to be very genuine and intimate. We will never forget the moment we caught each other’s eyes once the church doors opened. Chad was tearful, and I was so excited, I even jumped a bit! We were so happy we got to share that moment with our family and friends.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The escort card board. Our wedding planner, Laura of Ashton Events, painted a piece of scrap metal to look like an antique citrus label, personalized with our names and wedding date. The guests’ names were handwritten on magnolia leaves and displayed on the board. As names were removed and guests took their seats, this creative label was revealed. We now have the artwork displayed in our house, and is a great keepsake from the wedding we will always cherish.

I wanted my flowers to be classic and elegant. To be honest, I didn’t have any vision for the floral arrangements, but having grown up in Florida, I wanted to incorporate my passion for agriculture and highlight what we are known for: citrus. Our wedding planner and florist did an outstanding job taking my simple style and creating beautiful, Southern-inspired florals. The whites and greens were the perfect complement to the Florida oranges and tangerines! My favorite piece was the large magnolia leaf garland for the head table.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? I have always valued the Southern etiquette and hospitality instilled in me by my momma and Nana. We wanted our family and friends to feel at home with us at the reception, so we decided to use vintage china plates for the food service. Additionally, we served our own version of sweet tea, “Mason Dixons,” during cocktail hour, which are made from sweet tea vodka and lemonade. You can’t be Southern and not love college sports, so of course, we had to incorporate our love for our teams! From the college-themed cornhole games, singing the school fight songs, and the groom’s cake, to leaving through a row of team-colored shakers, we definitely shared our love for college sports! The definition of Southern is tradition. We stayed true to our Southern heritage by keeping our ceremony and vows very traditional. Everyone knows it’s almost a sin to wear white or seersucker before Easter in the South, but I love seersucker, and wanted to find a way to incorporate it into the wedding. The groomsmen and Chad wore seersucker bow ties, the ushers wore seersucker ties, and the bridesmaid bouquet wraps were made from seersucker fabric. The magnolia leaves and citrus in our decor also represented everything I love about living in the South.

Y’all, there is a chandelier hanging from an oak tree! Be still my heart!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We had both been living in College Station, Texas attending graduate school at Texas A&M for a year before our paths crossed. Thanks to mutual friends, we began hanging out during the summer of 2011. Right before fall classes started in August 2011, a group of our friends decided to take a trip to Gruene, Texas to float the river. Chad didn’t know it at the time, but I had developed a crush on him. That river trip marked the beginning of our courtship, and we went on our first date the Monday we returned to town. Over the next year and a half, our love developed over watching many football games (which is a big feat, considering we are both diehard fans of our undergraduate alma maters, Auburn University and Oklahoma State University), completing grad school, traveling, moving to Florida, and starting new careers.
Tell us all about the proposal! I was itching to visit friends in Texas, and decided to surprise my friend the weekend of her Aggie Ring Dunk in April 2013. Chad randomly decided to tag along. After arriving in College Station and patiently waiting for me to finish talking to friends, Chad, with the help of two friends, suggested a walk around the Texas A&M campus. I didn’t suspect anything unusual because my friend wanted to visit Scoates Hall, the old stopping grounds of our grad school department, which required us to pass Academic Plaza on the way. As we approached the plaza, my friend pretended to receive an “important” phone call from work. Chad kept walking, and before I could catch what was going on, Chad led me to the Century Tree. The Century Tree holds a special place in the hearts of Texas A&M Aggies because tradition says that if a couple walks under the branches of the tree, they will eventually marry. If the proposal takes place under the tree, the marriage will last a lifetime. Chad dropped to one knee and asked me to spend a lifetime with him, and of course, I said yes!
When did y’all get married? March 8, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 295
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Keeping with tradition, we recited traditional wedding vows. However, my favorite line was when our pastor asked Chad if he took me to be his wife, and he emphatically said, “Absolutely!”
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. For the bridal entrance, I chose Pachelbel’s Canon in D. As a harpist, this song has always been my favorite to play for weddings, and I always knew it was what I wanted to walk down the aisle to. During the ceremony, my sister and cousin sang “Come Thou Fount” and “10,000 Reasons.” We wanted our ceremony to be a true worship service, and these songs signified how thankful we were for the blessings the Lord has placed in our lives and relationship. Our first dance was to “The Best Thing” by Ray LaMontagne. We both love to dance and have a good time, so we wanted our first dance to be fun! For the father/daughter dance, I surprised my daddy with “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynyrd Skynyrd. I grew up listening to classic Southern rock with my daddy, and Lynyrd Skynyrd is his favorite band. He loved it! Every time I hear a song by them, I immediately think of my daddy.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake matched the Southern, citrus-inspired decor of the wedding. I wanted the cake to be simple and elegant, and the hints of lace and magnolia flowers were perfect. For the groom’s cake, we incorporated Chad’s love for his alma maters. It was in the shape of of Oklahoma and Texas, decorated with Oklahoma State University and Texas A&M University logos and colors.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My something borrowed was a handmade lace doily from Chad’s grandmother who was unable to travel to the wedding. My something blue was a blue and orange butterfly given to me by my granny. My something old was the lace on my veil from my momma’s wedding dress. My something new was the set of pearls I wore, which were given to me by both sets of my grandparents, as well as my dress. Also, a personal mentor of mine mailed me a sixpence when we were first engaged, so I wore it in my shoe for good luck!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge during the planning process was making decisions. This is where my wedding planner was a life saver! I tend to be an indecisive person, and Laura was able to provide options and help me narrow down my choices. I could completely trust her advice!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We were able to save money by establishing our priorities at the very beginning of our planning process. Our priorities determined the percentage of our budget we spent on certain items, and we tried to stick to it.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Hands down, I was so grateful for our wedding planner, Laura Helm! She is the best problem-solver I know, and she made the entire planning process very easy and stress-free. It was reassuring to know we were working with someone who wanted to make sure we had the best experience on our wedding day that we could!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? After the ceremony, Chad and I drove by ourselves to the reception site about ten minutes away. With the convertible top down and the most beautiful blue sky we’ve seen, we had those few moments to ourselves to relish in starting our lives together. We couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. We’ve never felt so much joy and anticipation for the future.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Never forget the purpose of the wedding. Remind each other constantly of your love for one another, and of your future together. At the end of the day, when everything is said and done, you have each other and that’s all that matters.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are excited to establish our new family and traditions over the coming years. We can’t wait to see where life takes us and what God has planned!

Photographer: Sunglow Photography / Videographer: Indie Atlantic Films / Planner and Paper Products: Ashton Events / Ceremony Venue: Westminster Presbyterian Church / Reception Venue: Rocking H Ranch / Florist: Taylormade Wedding & Event Flowers / Wedding Cake: Hands on Sweets / Caterer: Puff ‘n Stuff Catering / Rentals: Premier Party Rentals / Lighting: Tampa Lights / DJ: DeLeon Entertainment / Linens: Kate Ryan Linens / Rentals: Dishie Rentals / Bride’s Gown: “Dari” by Rivini / Bridal Salon: Solutions Bridal Designer House / Bride’s Veil: Solutions Bridal Designer House / Hair Stylist: PhD Salon / Makeup Artist: Sarah Phillips Makeup Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Macy’s / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Men’s Suits: Men’s Wearhouse / Bow Ties: The Belle and The Beau / Additional Vendors: Harrison School of the Arts String Quartet

Ashton Events is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    Don’t tell my alma mater, but this Aggie wedding has me smitten! Love their family photo table and her adorable getaway outfit :)

  2. avatar Angela Higgenbotham reply

    We so enjoyed getting to know Lauren and Chad such a wonderful young couple, as well as vibrant community leaders! They were in great hands with Laura Helm of Ashton Events! We love her, so sweet and talented! Laura has blessed many of our Brides and Grooms here with their “Own Vision”, always with style and class.

  3. avatar Emily reply

    Such happy centerpieces! And I am ALWAYS a fan of a black and white dance floor!

  4. avatar Nicole reply

    This is just like my dream wedding! Banquet tables, a black and white dance floor, string lights and oranges everywhere will do me in each time!

  5. avatar Mia Maria Design reply

    This fabulously unique escort card display is to die for!

  6. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #139 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] wedding is what happens when Southern meets Floridian: magnolias and oranges, sunshine and Spanish moss, plus cornhole and college […]

  7. avatar Southern Weddings Weekly Round-Up – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

    […] Lauren and Chad‘s wedding was oh so Southern, and we (especially Nicole) loved the citrus details! Jessica and Thomas‘ “Gone With the Wind-meets-modern elegance” wedding was just our style. […]

  8. avatar Friday Fresh Squeeze #140 | Floridian Weddings reply

    […] all these magnolia and orange […]

  9. avatar Robin + Rose Design reply

    I thought this looked like a church in Lakeland as soon as I saw the picture of the bride making her entrance! Great to see such a pretty wedding right here at home! I love how they incorporated the citrus.

  10. avatar Fruit &Veggie Wedding Theme | Vizcaya reply

    […] Source on  Southern Weddings  Using fruit as a centerpiece in a planter box is sure to freshen up your […]

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    […] Southern Weddings; Sunglow Photography […]

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It is always so much fun to see a wedding planner’s wedding! In Leanne and Jason’s case, they were inspired by their love of the South, a collection of beautiful family heirlooms, their rival Texas college loyalties (y’all know I’m with Jason on this one–hook ’em!), and most importantly, their parents, who have both been married for over 39 years. The beautiful magnolias and preppy striped details are surely thanks to Leanne’s design savvy, but their touching ceremony and care for their guests was what made this day truly special!

Thanks to Sara & Rocky for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed my mother’s monogram brooch that my father had given to her on their wedding day in 1970. I’ve always loved it. Jason gave me a monogram necklace for our wedding as well. My something blue was my clutch. My mother carried it to her prom and gave it to me, and I had been saving it since high school to carry at my wedding. My something old was my veil, which was handmade of Brussels lace that my mother purchased in Belgium in 1969. It cost $450 even back then, and is a priceless family heirloom. My mother and aunt both wore it at their weddings, and I made the wedding dress consultant swear she wouldn’t bring me any dresses to try on that didn’t match my veil.

I chose to walk down the aisle to an instrumental version of Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day.” She is my favorite artist of all time, and every time I’ve heard that song, I imagined it being played at my wedding. She is from Austin, so it was fitting to use a musician from Texas. One of my bridesmaids sung “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”–this is not only one of my favorite hymns, it also really explained how our waiting patiently for each other attested to God’s faithfulness in our lives. Every person in our wedding has already been married, so we stood by countless friends as they met and married their spouses. We feel so grateful to have finally found each other and we know that God’s faithfulness will continue in our lives, no matter what challenges may arise.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes, since we had a civil ceremony outside, we knew we wanted to write vows that represented our commitment to one another, and to really help our friends and family see our deep love for each other. My favorite lines from my vows to Jason were, “You smile at me when I am at my worst and turn my bad moods into fits of laughter… and who can forget your sense of adventure? You have turned my life into one giant, fun-filled ride.” My favorite line from Jason’s vows were, “I’ve waited for you my entire life; I’ve fought for you, and broken down the walls around your heart. I was always optimistic there was a future for us. You have been worth any struggle.”

Our entire wedding was over-the-top Southern. From the magnolias on our invitation, as a nod to my parents’ Mississippi roots, to the quilt that was displayed on the old church pew, hand-sewn by my great grandmother out of my mother and grandmother’s clothes. The cotton boll boutonnieres paid homage to my grandfather’s cotton farm. Our cocktail napkins said “Cheers Y’all” because we wanted our guests to know that every detail was about them feeling welcome and at home. Our first dances were all to country music, and we two-stepped, naturally. I even changed into my boots for the reception so I could really enjoy it all! We had custom cornhole boards made that represented the college football rivalry in our marriage–I’m a Texas A&M Aggie and Jason’s a Texas Longhorn. It must be a family tradition, as my parents went to State and Ole Miss!

Describe your wedding flowers. They were AMAZING!! Our flowers were white, ivory, and pale pink with touches of coral, green, and gold. Branching Out utilized roses, spray roses, garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, sweet peas, lisianthus, freesia, anemones with black centers, gardenias, magnolia foliage, clematis vine, jasmine vine, and Italian pittosporum to create natural, whimsical styles with of lots of texture and movement. We used a mixture of gold, white, and striped vases, urns, and footed bowls to create various heights of centerpieces throughout the reception space. Gold glittered rods were also styled with miniature magnolia wreaths with navy and white striped bows.

We had a biscuit bar at cocktail hour, complete with homemade strawberry jam, and also served sausage balls made from my grandmother’s recipe. Our dinner menu consisted of short ribs, jalapeno cheese grits, greens, squash casserole, cornbread, and parker house rolls with honey butter. We had coconut macaroons flown in from the Mississippi State Bakery as a surprise for my dad, and gave them out as favors with monogrammed stickers.

As Jason’s fraternity brother serenaded me, I knew this was my Southern wedding dream come true. Amazing food, family and friends, great music, and a well-stocked bar. It really was the perfect day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Jason and I met through an online dating website. We’re both older in the midst of busy careers, so we eventually took the plunge. Never in a million years did we actually think we’d meet our spouses that way. Our first date was in fall 2012 when we watched a Dallas Cowboys game, and then ended up going to Central Market, a local market and cafe, to shop for some beer to pair with one of Jason’s new cigars. We decided you can learn a lot about someone at the grocery store, just based on what they like to eat and how they shop. Now we always reminisce about our relationship at grocery stores, which definitely makes it more fun! I knew Jason was special when he would stay up till 2 a.m. to talk to me while I drove home from weddings. Dating an event planner isn’t an easy task, especially during wedding season! He would even bring me dinner sometimes when he knew I was exhausted and didn’t have time to cook. By the spring, we knew this was the best relationship we’d ever been in.
Tell us all about the proposal! We went to a friend’s wedding Memorial Day weekend, and Jason whispered, “I don’t think this is our last walk down the aisle together,” as we left the church. We went ring shopping together after our friend’s wedding weekend. I fell in love with a setting, and he selected a stone. When he said, “We’ll take it,” I nearly fainted! He turned to me and said, “Well, of course we know we’re getting married!” The ring was custom made and took three weeks to be completed. Those were the longest three weeks of my life! After they were up, I told him that if he held onto the ring for much longer, I didn’t think I’d survive. One Saturday afternoon in June, I went to his place after work. When I knocked and walked in, he was on his knee in the living room, surrounded by dozens of flowers and our favorite music playing. He then explained the significance of all the flowers: red roses because I’m the love of his life, white roses because his love for me is pure and he never wants to hurt me, maroon for my Texas A&M, orange for his Texas Longhorns, and an array of colors because I’m the “most colorful woman he knows.”
When did y’all get married? March 16, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 175
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Because I’m a wedding planner, I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of time to look for a dress, or find one that didn’t require a multitude of fittings. My mom asked me to go to a shop that sold samples when my aunt was in town, and I never in a million years thought I would buy a dress that day. When I tried on the fifth or sixth dress and saw their faces, then looked in the mirror, I knew it was the one. It fit so perfectly and didn’t even need to be hemmed. It also looked so lovely with my mother’s heirloom Brussels lace veil that all the women in my family have worn in their weddings, which sealed the deal.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Jason and I wanted to do a first look so that we could have some time alone and get any tears out of the way before the ceremony. We didn’t want to “ugly cry” through our vows, which we wrote ourselves. We also knew that it would be so nice to take pictures beforehand and then spend more time with our friends and family who had literally flown in from all over the world to be there.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I loved the family photo table with the large magnolia wreath that said “Because He first loved us.” It was filled with pictures from our parents’ and grandparents’ marriages, along with photos of our relatives who couldn’t be with us. Not only did we get married because of God’s love, but because of all of the love that our family and friends poured into us, and the wonderful examples of marriage in the generations before us. Both mine and Jason’s parents have been married for over 39 years.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? It was definitely hard to design and plan a wedding as a full-time event planner. Because I’m exposed to so many amazing vendors, it was very hard to narrow down who to select and what design elements I could incorporate that wouldn’t feel reminiscent of other events I had planned. I really had to stay true to who Jason and I are as a couple and focus on what our family and friends would enjoy most. At the end of the day, I knew I wasn’t my own client–I was the bride. I learned that even though I wanted people to see my design talents, all that really mattered was that I was marrying my best friend and that everyone we loved would be there.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? One way that we saved money was with calligraphy. I thankfully inherited beautiful handwriting from my mother and grandmother, so I addressed all of our invitations and hand-lettered the magnolia leaf escort cards. We also purchased decor when we could get it on sale, such as some of the specialty vases, bar trays, striped straws, and decanters for the cigar bar. We tried to save money on any of the minor details that Jason and I could create by hand.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? We both stopped during dinner to stare at our wedding bands and try to soak in the fact that we were actually MARRIED! We looked out over the room and were filled with so much joy to see everyone we loved look so incredibly happy and having such an amazing time.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a planner and try to get things done as soon as you can. The last few weeks leading up to your wedding should be focused on preparing for your marriage and enjoying your family and friends, not focusing on little details. It will help you go into your wedding with a sense of calmness that no amount of money can buy.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are getting settled into our house and enjoying projects to get it fixed up. We are looking forward to traveling, falling even more in love, and continuing to get to know each other even more every day. We can’t wait for a lifetime of adventures! Our journey is just beginning, and we are so excited about the possibilities.

Photographer: Sara & Rocky / Videographer: Lynn Films / Planner: Catherine Ball Events / Venue: The N at Hardway Ranch / Florist: Branching Out Floral & Event Design / Wedding Cake: Ginny Stewart Designs / Caterer: EuroCater / Rentals: Gold Dust Vintage Rentals / DJ: Glenn Roush, Le Force Entertainment / Bride’s Gown: Casablanca / Paper Products: Inscriptions on the Boulevard / Bride’s Bracelets: J.Crew and Stella & Dot / Hair Stylist: Liz Hernandez / Makeup Artist: Adina Wright / Bride’s Shoes: “Antigravity” by Easy Spirit / Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein / Tent: Dallas Party Tent & Event / Linens: Fabulous Events / Chalkboards: Eclectic Viv / Coconut Macaroons: Mississippi State Bakery / Menus: Minted / Monogrammed Napkins: One Kings Lane

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Beautiful wedding! Loved the unique and pretty details of this wedding.

  2. avatar Erica reply

    Where was this wedding held?? I’m looking at venues in the area and this looks like a beautiful setting!

  3. avatar Emily reply

    I love all of their magnolia details – the wreaths + garlands are gorgeous!

  4. avatar Occasions In Print reply

    There is so much to love about this wedding: the outside seating is awesome, the pick up truck is a great idea and of course, the bacon with gravy and biscuits, I am sure was delicious!

    • avatar Hannah reply

      Beautiful wedding! Any idea where that guest book is from, I love it!

    • avatar LeeAnne reply

      Hey Hannah! My husband’s uncle actually made our guest book, but there are vendors on Etsy that make similar options. Good luck!

  5. avatar Rachel reply

    A beautiful wedding and an even more beautiful bride and person. I love you, LA! :) It was an honor to stand beside you on your wedding day.

  6. avatar Charmaine (Rustic Folk Weddings) reply

    Adore the way the couple paired their bold color palette throughout their wedding.

  7. avatar LeeAnne reply

    Hey Erica! The venue is The N at Hardway Ranch, in Bluff Dale, Texas. Good luck with planning and thanks for your sweet words!

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  9. avatar Louise reply

    I would love to know how the champagne bottle was made – is that a sticker or engraving and who were the suppliers? Thank you!

  10. avatar Kayla reply

    Hi there. Where did you get your wooden Texas-shaped guest book? It is beautiful!

  11. avatar LeeAnne reply

    Louise – we ordered the champagne through a company in California, Miramonte Winery.

    Kayla – my husband’s uncle made our guest book. It is solid Maple, so will last a lifetime. You can definitely find similar items on Etsy that can be made to order.

    Best wishes to you both!

  12. avatar Pretty Palettes #98 reply

    […] But!  This color palette isn’t reserved solely for nautical weddings.  These wedding colors can be used in summer weddings anywhere!  In fact, these photos are actually from a wedding at a ranch in Texas!  You can check out the fill feature over on Southern Weddings. […]

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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