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For all our dear friends who have been enduring such a mean, frigid winter, Madeline and Hunter’s wedding will warm your heart right up! With their pretty pastel palette, their wedding at the Barr Mansion looks exactly how I think spring should feel–warm sun shining down, the loveliest blooms, and tons of joy! And how neat is it that they said their vows under a huge pecan tree that is over a hundred years old? So very, very Southern!

I’m so glad Sarah McKenzie shared this sweet day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My only criteria for the dress was that it couldn’t be strapless. The first place I went was Nordstrom, and I picked five to try. Despite one being strapless, I immediately knew the dress was the right one when I put it on!

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, I am very traditional. I wanted to see his expression the moment that I was walking down the aisle.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did pre-marital counseling through our church in Houston.

As I was looking at pictures of other weddings in Austin, every picture that I liked was taken at the Barr Mansion. The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and I have always loved historic houses.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The vintage furniture that was set up around the cocktail area really sticks out in my mind, especially the pink couch!

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Choose the things that you care about most and spend time working on those things. Do not stress over the tiny details; you will not even remember the small stuff the day after the wedding (and neither will your guests).

We had an all-organic carrot cake frosted with cream cheese icing, featuring no artificial dyes–the color was beet-juice based–and real flowers.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends during our senior year at Texas A&M University. My mother was always telling me that I would never meet a man if I didn’t get out of the house more, but he came right into my kitchen one day! Over the course of several months, I drew him in with baked goods and home-cooked meals. He eventually invited me to dinner at his parent’s house in Houston. After that night, we officially began dating.
Tell us all about the proposal! He proposed on Valentine’s Day. We went to dinner at a nice restaurant, and then went to a local park. When we arrived, he pulled a backpack from the car, and when I asked what it was for, he just said, “You’ll see.” After strolling along one of the paths, we stopped to rest on a bench. He then opened the backpack to reveal a thermos of hot water, mugs, and a variety of tea bags. We made tea and enjoyed the quiet of the night. After he finished his tea, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride.
When did y’all get married? Summer 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony took place under a huge pecan tree that is over a hundred years old. Right in the middle of the ceremony, one of the limbs began to crack and fall. Fortunately, it was on the other side of the ceremony and some of the lower limbs caught it, preventing it from crashing to the ground.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are expecting our first baby this summer!

Photographer: Sarah McKenzie / Venue, Cake Baker, and Caterer: The Barr Mansion / Florist: STEMS / Rentals: Bee Lavish / Band: Terra Vista Strings and Royal Dukes Band / Paper Products: The Stationery Bakery and Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Mila” by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN and Veils by Studio Alma / Hair and Makeup: Celeste at Austin Wedding Hair & Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Heidi” by J. Crew, “In Due Corsage” by Modcloth, “Mikado Corded Lace Illusion Neckline Dress” by David’s Bridal, “Annabelle” by BHLDN, ASOS / Groom’s Attire: Al’s Formal Wear / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sarah McKenzie reply

    Awwww yeah!!! Thanks for the feature!!!

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While it’s inevitable that a few things will go wrong while wedding planning, it is so much more fun to hear about the things that go right! In Gabrielle and Dustin’s case, a few details came together serendipitously as they planned their summer Vista West Ranch wedding–in particular, when Gabrielle chose her gorgeous wedding dress (don’t miss the sweet story below!), and when she stumbled upon pictures of their dream venue, only to realize it was located a few hours away from Dustin’s hometown. Even if not a thing had gone the way they had planned though, Gabrielle and Dustin’s hearts were in the right place from day one –she said, “At the end of the day, you get to marry the love of your life. That in and of itself is a perfect day!”

Thank you so much to our Blue Ribbon Vendor, Feather & Twine, for sharing this sweet celebration with us!

The story of finding my dress is pretty magical. My internship in Dallas was with Watters in their Communications, PR, and Merchandising departments. I spent my days admiring all of the gorgeous gowns and picking out the ones I would love to wear if I were engaged and dress shopping. When I returned from my graduation trip engaged, my director, David, had a little gift on my desk! Later that day, Vatana Watters herself came up to the office to congratulate me, and as a gift, told me I could choose the dress of my dreams for my big day! At first, I thought it was just a joke, but then realized she was serious! I was so overwhelmed, I started crying! I felt truly blessed and that God put me in that internship for that reason! I tried on five dresses before David brought in a gown from the design room that had just been completed that day for next season’s collection. I put it on and it was just perfect! Totally not what I thought I wanted, but it was definitely the one. He told me that they would be able to make it for me in time for the wedding and that I would be the first bride to ever wear that gown!! David Lopez and Vatana Watters, I am truly so thankful for you!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There are so many moments we’ll remember forever–our families and friends helping us celebrate, our first dance, my dress, the nervous jitters, our vows… but I think we can both agree that the most memorable moment was the moment we became husband and wife in front of God, our families, and our friends!

Our pastor from college, Reggie, was able to fly out to officiate our ceremony, which meant so much to the two of us! While we had beautiful readings, I think our favorite part of the ceremony was the foot washing. We decided to incorporate this because it is a tradition of service and symbolizes that not one of us is above the other.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Dustin and I knew that we wanted our wedding to have a laid back, celebratory feel. When we got engaged, we started looking for rustic chic wedding venues online, but I couldn’t find any in Florida (where I’m from) or in Houston (where Dustin is from). One day, while I was on Pinterest, I saw a gorgeous photo of a venue and clicked on it, thinking it would be somewhere out of reach, like Colorado or something. To my surprise, it was in Austin! It was so beautiful and exactly what we had been envisioning. Dustin wan’t able to come to the open house with me, but he trusted me enough to book it! It was the first and only venue I had to see, and we were both sold!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge we overcame was wanting to please so many people who were a big help with the wedding. When it came down to it, we realized that it was our day and that it was all about us getting married. Everything would work itself out as long as we were calm and remained focused on this day being a a celebration of our union! Everything could have gone wrong, but it would have still been the best day ever because we got to marry each other.

My wedding flowers were more amazing than I could have ever dreamed! Petal Pushers and our family friend, Cathy, did the most amazing job. I wanted a color palette of clean white, light blush accents, and mercury glass and mason jars everywhere. The barn looked like a dream and our head table was just breathtaking! I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked. My father-in-law made benches that ran the length of the farm tables, and our friend, Cathy, decorated them beautifully! They made such a statement!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was beautiful! We chose a really simple white ruffle design with metallic gold dusting on the edges. We had three flavors: chocolate with fresh strawberry filling, chocolate with chocolate filling, and vanilla with bavarian cream filling. We also had mini pies in mason jars at each place setting as our favors, because who doesn’t love a good mini pie in the summer? We chose apple pie and Texas Two Step (half brownie, half pecan pie). They were a hit!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Dustin and I met our freshman year of college at Florida State University. I was on the FSU Golden Girls dance team and he was on the FSU football team. It was winter break and both of our teams had to be in Tallahassee to practice for the UDA College Dance Team Nationals and for the football team’s upcoming Bowl Game. It wasn’t love at first sight, but we did start hanging out a lot. We started attending the same bible study and church together, and things quickly grew from friendship to something more. On March 20, 2010, Dustin was driving me back to my dorm one night, but then took a detour to the stadium, claiming he had to go get his cleats from the locker room. He told me to follow him, so I did. Instead of going to the locker room, he led me out onto the football field and asked me to be his girlfriend on the 50-yard line of Doak Campbell Stadium! That was almost five years ago, and we’ve been together ever since. It was so fun being able to cheer him on from the sideline for all four years of college!
Tell us all about the proposal! After Dustin graduated, he was drafted to the Buffalo Bills and moved to New York, while I still had a semester at FSU and an internship left to complete. After I completed my internship in Dallas in December, I flew back to Tallahassee for my graduation. Dustin had told me that he wasn’t able to come due to his football schedule, which was totally understandable. I was invited to a holiday party for the head football coach and his wife’s organization, Kidz 1st Fund, and my best friend, Courtney, and my old boss, Carrie, begged me to steal away from my family for an hour to go with them. I told them over and over that my mother was not going to go for it! The night before my graduation, I arrived in Tallahassee and found that my mother had had some sort of change of heart and decided to let me go for an hour. As we were approaching the stadium, I noticed that all of the lights were on, but it seemed pretty quiet for a big event to be going on. Upon rounding the corner to enter the field, I was totally shocked to see Dustin, alone, standing on the 50-yard line in the empty, but lit, stadium! As I walked (as fast as I could with heels on) towards him, I turned around and saw both my family and his sitting in the stands above! After walking the longest 50 yards of my life, I was met by Dustin asking me to be his wife, in the exact spot where our journey began four years prior!
When did y’all get married? July 4, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dustin and I did a pre-marital course with our pastor and his wife every week via Skype. In addition to this, we prayed fervently together and devoted time to the Bible every day.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did do a little bit of DIY. I addressed all the save the dates and invitations, we had a friend help with flowers, we made our own programs, and we provided a lot of the decor instead of renting it (mercury glass, mason jars, frames, etc.).
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax, breathe, and HAVE FUN! Too many brides get stressed about the wedding being perfect and forget that it’s supposed to be a fun process. You don’t want to look back on this time in your life and remember how awful it was. Everything works itself out in the end, and at the end of the day, you get to marry the love of your life. That in and of itself is a perfect day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are moving to New Orleans, Louisiana where Dustin is playing for the Saints! We look forward to finding a home, getting settled, and enjoying life together with our two precious pups. Hopefully, lots of traveling is in our future! We’re looking forward to making memories, creating traditions, and growing closer to each other and God!

Photographer: Feather and Twine Photography / Videographer: Forever Film Studios / Planner: Coordinate This / Venue: Vista West Ranch / Florist and Rentals: Petal Pushers / Dessert Baker: Classic Cakes by Lori and Tiny Pies / Caterer: Verde’s / Rentals: Petal Pushers / Band: The Royal Dukes / Bride’s Gown: “Santina” by Watters / Bride’s Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade / Makeup Artist: Maris Malone Calderon / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Feathered Ruth Dress” by French Connection / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

Feather & Twine, Petal Pushers, and Vista West Ranch are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Stacy {Woodsy Weddings} reply

    The dress is stunning, I love the cut on the top. And, the use of different chairs at the reception table adds vintage rustic charm!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    her dress is sooo beautiful!!!

  3. avatar Stacey (petal Pushets) reply

    love this couple & so happy to see their beautiful wedding on your gorgeous blog!

  4. avatar Morgan reply

    I am looking at this venue for my wedding. The only dates available still are summer dates. How was your summer weddings as far as the heat and the ceremony?????

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With the help of their planner, Courtney Kappus of Moore & Co. Events, Laura and Neil transformed the Elkridge-Harford Hunt Club into a fabulous venue that was completely unique, and totally their own! I love how they used colorful blooms to complement their black, white, and gold decor, and how fun is that marquee above the band? As they celebrated while dancing under a beautiful tent dressed with glittering lights, surrounded by rolling hills and running horses, Laura and Neil always kept their focus on why they were celebrating in the first place.

We’re so happy Jeff Frandsen of Brooke Courtney Photography was on hand to capture this lovely day!

We met at the pool of our apartment building. I was one of the first people at the pool that day and I saw him walk in. I remember everything about that moment. I willed him in my direction and he sat right next to me. I obviously said nothing, too bashful to even look up from my book. About 30 minutes passed before my friend arrived, and I asked if she wanted a glass of wine. The cute guy next to me, my back now to him, announced “I would love a glass.” Done and done. We introduced ourselves, talked till the sun set, and have been inseparable since that moment.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted something different–a place where our guests had never attended a wedding before. We wanted a location that reflected the season and the beauty that is the Maryland countryside. The fox hunting club had understated elegance, and the fact that it was not a venue at all allowed us to play up a unique theme with just a few whimsical details

We wanted elegant and classic music for the ceremony that was a bit more interesting than the standard choices. We had “Stranger in Paradise” and “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera played for the prelude, “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” by Bach for the seating of the families,”Rondeau” by Mouret for the processional, and “Te Deum” by Charpentier for my walk down the aisle. The recessional was to “Water Music” by Handel. Having a trumpet play seemed quite fitting given the steeplechase and fox hunt surroundings.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The whole feeling of the night was Southern–we danced under a beautiful tent dressed with glittering lights, surrounded by rolling hills and running horses. We also really like chicken and waffles and ham biscuits, so naturally, we needed to have them served at cocktail hour!

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The lanterns hanging from the trees and above the dance floor made our reception so magical. I also loved the boxwood around the dance floor, the marquee sign that hung behind the band, the Rifle Paper Co. notecards we made into table numbers, the signature cocktail we named after our sweet labrador, Mya, and the overall color scheme of the day.

I borrowed a white coral beaded bracelet that belonged to my grandmother. My mother and my aunt had both worn it on their wedding days, too. For my something old and blue, I carried a handkerchief that Neil’s twin sister made for her own wedding two years ago out of their late mother’s wedding dress. It was embroidered in blue with their initials, and she gave it to me at my bridal shower. My something new was my sparkly gold glitter shoes.

Don’t miss Laura and Neil’s video from Wise Films!

Tell us all about the proposal! I hurried through the door of our home hoping to make it to a friend’s party on time when I heard “our” song playing. I turned the corner to find Neil on bended knee, in a tuxedo, with champagne, holding a ring box, sweating bullets. He told me how much he loved me and finally asked, “Laura Jane, will you marry me?”
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 155
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had visited four shops and found a few dresses I liked, but I ended up going with something completely different than what I had envisioned. I walked out of the fitting room and felt like a movie star. The dress was simple, but elegant, and I liked being able to add my own touches with my lace-trimmed veil and sparkly beaded sash.
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We wanted our own special moment to connect before the chaos of the day, so I am so glad we chose to do a first look. It helped ease a lot of nerves so that we were really able to enjoy the day of our marriage.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was super simple because Neil and I really wanted individual strawberry shortcakes–the real kind, with a shortbread biscuit, fresh strawberries, and lemon crème fraiche.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We prioritized what was important to us and I did a TON of research. I recommend hiring a planner, as they can save you money through the relationships they have.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t drive yourself crazy striving for perfection. Don’t worry about what other people might think of your wedding details. Remember why you are celebrating in the first place, and always remain gracious.

Photographer: Jeff Frandsen of Brooke Courtney Photography / Videographer: Wise Films / Planner: Courtney Kappus of Moore & Co Events / Venue: Elkridge Harford Hunt Club / Florist: Petal and Print / Cake Baker: Mary Elliott / Caterer: Laurrapin / Rentals: Party Party and Loane Brothers / Lighting: Davinci / Band: Spectrum / Special Details: XOXO Vintage / Paper Products: The Pleasure of Your Company / Bride’s Gown: “Dakota” by Nicole Miller / Bridal Salon: Garnish Boutique / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade / Bride’s Veil: Sara Gabriel / Bride’s Sash: Untamed Petals / Hair Stylist: Devon Baltimore / Makeup Artist: Blend Makeup Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: J. Crew / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Assorted styles in Vanilla, Guava, Blush, and Opal by Amsale / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Ties: The Tie Bar / Draping: 27 Studios / Boxwoods: Plants Alive / Linens: Linen Hero / Farm Tables: Vintage Affairs

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Wedding Video Wednesday XXVI » Borrowed and Blue Occasions reply

    […] Wedding Video is off of Southern Weddings and is so […]

  2. avatar Jennifer Quillen reply

    Beautiful wedding! I love the picture frame seating chart. Can you tell me where you got the picture frames?

  3. avatar Chris reply

    I really like the His/Hers framed drink idea. Can I find out if you all used a particular template?
    Thanks!

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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