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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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I love it when a tradition starts with only the bride or groom’s family, but then a wedding turns it into something that all their loved ones can enjoy. For Colleen and Nicholas, that’s Kiawah Island. Though Nicholas’ family had been vacationing there for years, after bringing Colleen along while dating, it became the perfect place for these two to celebrate their marriage. It didn’t hurt that as soon as they drove up to the Ocean Course on a post-engagement vacation, they knew it was the exact place where they wanted to share their love of Kiawah Island and each other with their friends and family! A clear-top tent, an abundance of beautiful blooms by Fox Events, and plenty of sweet Southern sunshine later, and I’m sure all the guests in attendance will be itching to create their own traditions on the island, too!

Thanks to Tim Willoughby for capturing this beautiful day!

My dress was actually one of the first ones I tried on. I was so excited to try on wedding dresses, so my mom and I went to Saks right away, just for fun! We weren’t expecting that I would find my dress so quickly, but as soon as I put it on, I absolutely loved it. I went to a few other appointments just to make sure, but ended up coming back to the first one I loved!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We had a really hard time deciding if we wanted to do a first look, but we ended up doing one. We were so happy we did! It was really special to have our first moment together on our wedding day be for just the two of us (and our little yorkie, who made an appearance for some pictures). It gave us the opportunity to take a lot of our pictures before the reception so we could enjoy as much of the celebration as possible, and also made us much less nervous for the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but we had one of our close mutual friends officiate our wedding, which added a special and personal touch to the ceremony.

Nick has been going to Kiawah with his family since he was a kid, and we all went there together a couple of times when we started dating. We were there on vacation a few weeks after we got engaged and decided to look at some venues. As soon as we drove up to the Ocean Course, we knew that’s where we wanted to get married! It was so much fun to be able to share one of our favorite places with all of our friends and family for the weekend.

The one thing I knew I wanted at our wedding was tons of flowers! We went with a neutral palette of white and light pink with some pops of blue and lots of greens. Our wedding planner also did all of our flowers–she and her team did an amazing job! When Nick and I walked into our tent for the first time, we were so happy with how beautiful it looked.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? All the dancing. Our wedding band, ATL Groove Factory, was absolutely amazing and had everyone on the dance floor the entire night! For our after-party, a good friend of ours from NYC who is a DJ kept the dancing going. We had so much fun with everyone!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Nick and I both went to Cornell, but somehow never met, even though we have a ton of mutual friends. After college, we were both living in New York, and I went to a 4th of July party in the Hamptons that ended up being at a house Nick and his friends were renting that summer. After we spent the day together, Nick asked me to go out again the next day in the city. After that, we were pretty much inseparable!
Tell us all about the proposal! A couple of summers ago, we were spending a week out on the North Fork of Long Island. We made a nice dinner to have outside at sunset, but I noticed Nick wasn’t eating anything. He said he needed to go inside and grab some balsamic vinegar to add to the food, but instead, he came back outside, got down on one knee, and proposed!!
When did y’all get married? October 10, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: There are so many little details, but one of the best were the two big swings we had on the edge of the dance floor. They looked beautiful and everyone had so much fun on them! I also loved the chandeliers that we hung from the top of the tent.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did. My twin sister let me borrow the sapphire and diamond earrings she wore for her wedding day, and I wore blue satin shoes to take care of my something borrowed and something blue. My mother and my mother-in-law both provided pieces of lace from their wedding dresses that were wrapped around my bouquet as something old, and I wore a bracelet Nick gave me the morning of our wedding as something new.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The most difficult part of getting married on Kiawah Island was figuring out transportation for all the guests, since there wasn’t one main hotel where the majority of guests were staying. Somehow, our wedding planner and our families managed to figure out where everyone was staying and get everyone to the wedding on time.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Our wedding planner, Lauren Fox. We knew planning our wedding in Kiawah from NYC would be a little more difficult, but Lauren made everything so much easier. I always say I would re-plan our wedding all over again because that’s how enjoyable Lauren made the whole process!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just moved to a new apartment in Brooklyn, so we’re just enjoying married life in our new neighborhood. And we’re hoping to grow our family soon!

Photographer: Tim Willoughby | Videographer: Hart to Heart | Planner and Florist: Fox Events | Venue and Caterer: The Ocean Course | Wedding Cake Baker: Jim Smeal | Rentals: Snyder Events and Ooh! Events | Lighting: Technical Event Company | Band: ATL Groove Factory | Paper Products: Studio R Design | Bride’s Gown: “Cora” by Austin Scarlett | Bride’s Jewelry: Zoe Chicco | Hair Stylist: Charlotte Belk, Wedding Hair by Charlotte | Makeup Artist: Pamela Lesch | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale in Navy Blue | Menswear: J. Crew

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar elaine reply

    Where is her reception dress from?!? Amazing!

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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
1 Comment
  1. avatar Adrienna reply

    Oh wow, those succulent cupcakes are SO CUTE!

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