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Our Southern Bride Blogger Brittany and Eric’s classic Texas wedding was absolutely lovely! From their vows in front of a plantation-style home to a barn reception complete with fried chicken and pie pops, there’s no doubt that their day was undeniably Southern. Beyond the details, however, was a sense of love and community that truly made their day special. On top of that, Brittany’s outlook on their wedding day has me all, “Amen, sister!” over here! She said she won’t remember the small snafus, but “I’ll remember my husband’s face as my dad walked me down the aisle. I’ll remember the tiny raindrops that fell from the sky towards the end of our vows. I’ll remember dancing the night away with the people who mean the most to us.”

Big thanks to Elizabeth Carol for sending Brittany and Eric’s wedding our way!

I was so nervous about wedding dress shopping that I put it off for the first several months of our engagement! When I decided that it was time to bite the bullet, I researched boutiques in the area and chose two to make appointments at. Before the shopping day, I went online and looked at the designers that each store carried, just to get a feel for the styles. While I was on one of their websites, I found a dress that was everything that I had pictured for myself. Being a little overeager, I called the shop to make sure that they had “the dress” available to try on–and they did! I took off work on a Tuesday and invited my mom, grandmother, and future mother-in-law to come with me. We were the first appointment in the store, and had the entire floor to ourselves. My consultant had pulled the dress from the internet before we got there, and we then picked a few other dresses to try on. I put on “my dress” first, and instantly knew that I was done. However, in order to make the most of the appointment, I tried on a few others. Once I put on the last dress that we had pulled, I knew that it was time to put “my dress” back on, but this time, with a veil. A few tears later, I had a wedding dress! We canceled our second appointment and finished the day by meeting Eric for lunch!

Daydreaming about florals was actually one of my favorite aspects of the entire wedding planning process! I really wanted loose, lush, and organic looking arrangements with an ample amount of greenery mixed in. Since we were going with a more classic look, we stuck to blush pink and white flowers. Garden roses and peonies are my favorites, so we made sure to include those as well. The ladies at The Southern Table did an amazing job of bringing my vision to life, and I really think that the florals stole the show!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Stressing about the weather! When we decided on an April wedding date, we knew that the Texas weather would probably have some crazy surprises for us, but that didn’t stop me from checking the forecast almost daily two weeks out. We buried our bourbon, prayed a little, and knew that our wedding day would be amazing no matter what, but since almost everything was supposed to be outside, I became a little worried when the rain chances increased throughout the week. On the day-of, we all kept waiting for the rain to come, and although it sprinkled a little towards the end of our ceremony, it never did. I suppose God, and the bourbon, were on our side, because we woke up the next morning to a terrible downpour, and the rain continued for several days!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, and we actually used vows that we saw in the Southern Weddings Planner! Our favorite line was “I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become.” Since we started dating when we were 19 and 21, we have seen each other grow and change so much already, and I think that one of the most fun parts of marriage will be watching each other continue to do so–and loving the other no matter what.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our good friend, Daniel, read “The Art of Marriage” by Wilfred A. Peterson.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We were actually extremely lucky when it came to our ceremony and reception venues! When we first began wedding planning, our close family friends mentioned that they were building a sort of guest house/event center on their land, and that if we would like, we could host our wedding there. Throughout our engagement, we were able to watch everything be built from the ground up, and even help with projects along the way. This was extra special to us because we had the luxury of hosting our wedding party and closest friends all weekend.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We buried bourbon exactly one month out (and on the most beautiful day) in hopes that it wouldn’t rain on our wedding day. We were married in front of a plantation-style home, had dinner in a barn, and danced the night away under string lights and the Texas stars. We served fried chicken, and gave our guests caramel apple, peach, and blackberry pie pops as favors. The thing that was the most “Southern” though, was the love and community that we felt from everyone there. We were lucky enough to have our wedding party and closest friends stay with us in the house for the weekend, so it felt like one big slumber party. After the rehearsal dinner, we set up tables and chairs for the reception the following night. At one point I stopped and looked around at 25 of our closest friends and family who were all helping put our reception together, and I all but melted.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? No matter what happens, your day will be perfect. It sounds so cheesy and cliché, but when things don’t go exactly how you want them to, remember what it’s all about. I kept this close to my heart all through the wedding planning process, and I am so glad that I did. If something goes wrong, it can be fixed–and if it can’t, then chances are it won’t matter much in the end. After our ceremony, I realized that I had completely forgotten to put on my veil, and while that was slightly disappointing, it won’t be what I remember about our wedding day. I’ll remember my husband’s face as my dad walked me down the aisle. I’ll remember the tiny raindrops that fell from the sky towards the end of our vows. I’ll remember dancing the night away with the people who mean the most to us.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. While I was home on summer break from the University of Arkansas, I resumed my part-time job in the Employee Services Office at Six Flags Over Texas. A few weeks after returning, some of my coworkers convinced me to join the summer softball league, which Eric was also playing in. After one of the games, a few of my friends convinced me to go to a post-game party that Eric was throwing at his apartment. We met, bickered a little, and became fast friends. When I was home a few months later for fall break, we started dating. After two and a half years of being in a long distance relationship, I finally graduated and moved home to Texas, where we have been inseparable ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! I had been planning on running the Tower of Terror 10-Miler at Walt Disney World for quite some time, and although I had convinced my mom and sister to make the trip with me, Eric couldn’t. A few weeks before we were set to leave, he told me that he had to go on a work trip during that time, and definitely would not be able to make it. On the day that we got to Florida, I hadn’t heard from him at all, but I still tried to enjoy my time with my mom and sister. We had tickets to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (where adults can dress up for Halloween too!), and although my mom and sister tried to convince me to wait, I put on my cat ears and eagerly went to the Magic Kingdom dressed as Toulouse from the Aristocats. We walked around the park, not doing anything for what seemed like hours, until my mom finally said that we should go take our picture in front of Cinderella’s Castle. As we were walking up to the rose garden, I noticed Eric standing there waiting for me. Thinking that he had come to surprise me, I ran up and started talking to him. He got really serious (which never happens), said some of the sweetest things, and dropped to one knee. After I said yes and finally came back to reality, I noticed that my dad was there too! Eric had arranged for my whole family to be there, and we spent the rest of the weekend celebrating at one of my favorite places on the planet, Walt Disney World!
When did y’all get married? April 16, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 75
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look and it turned out to be one of my favorite parts of the whole day! We knew that seeing one another before the ceremony would free up time after, which was something that we really wanted. We were unsure of how we would react when seeing the other for the first time, so we felt it was important to experience these emotions by ourselves, instead of in front of all of our guests.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We planned for our marriage by attending premarital counseling once a week for eight weeks. We were also gifted Getting the Love You Want and Making Marriage Simple, both by Harville Hendrix. We read these books and followed along with the workbooks that went with them. What really helped us prepare for marriage was having serious conversations about the future and what we want for our life together.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We knew from the beginning that we wanted a small wedding with just our closest friends and family, and although our decision had nothing to do with cost, it ultimately did help out quite a bit. Since we had a much smaller guest list, it became easier to put the emphasis on the quality of the experience rather than the quantity of guests in attendance.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? On our wedding day, Eric surprised me with a pair of Groom Mickey and Bride Minnie ears as a way of telling me that we are going to Disneyland this summer! We will also be traveling to a few other destinations before the year is over, and since a lot of our friends have started relocating across the country, it’s safe to say that these newlyweds will be spending quite some time traveling!

Photographer: Elisabeth Carol Photography | Month-Of Coordination: Borrowed and Blue Occasions | Venue: Thunder Creek Ranch | Florist: The Southern Table | Cake Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets | Caterer: Babe’s Chicken | Rentals: Celebration Event Rental | DJ: DJ Frank Young | Paper Products: Clara Doyle Designs | Bride’s Gown: Style 1959 by Mikaella | Bride’s Jewelry and Shoes: Kate Spade | Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Style 852 by Watters WTOO | Menswear: Express | Signage: Fox and Sparrow Design

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Elisabeth Carol reply

    Love!!! Thanks SO much for the feature! It looks amazing!

  2. avatar Paige reply

    I would love to see the vows she referenced in their entirety! Would you mind sharing the rest of the vows that include “I take you as you are, loving who you are now and who you are yet to become.”

  3. avatar Thunder Creek Ranch Wedding by Elisabeth Carol | Wedding Trends By Drawde reply

    […] post Thunder Creek Ranch Wedding by Elisabeth Carol appeared first on Southern […]

  4. avatar Celebration Event Rental reply

    Amazing photos and we were truly honored to be a part of this special day.
    Burying bourbon to help ward off a rainy wedding day? I LOVE it!
    Thanks for including us in the post and Best Wishes!

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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Southern Weddings V8 has been on newsstands for a little over a week, but we are only getting started sharing all of the goodness that is inside! (And just a tip: we truly believe that online features can never fully capture the experience of reading through the magazine from start to finish — that’s why we have a print version! There are so many little nuggets and surprises tucked throughout that can only be understood once you’re holding our girl in your hands!)

That being said, I’m so excited today to share with you another bright and colorful V8 feature: Crawfish Boil Bash! For this story, we imagined a couple whose favorite way of celebrating involves a boiled spread and all of their friends and family. That’s how they chose to celebrate their wedding, and how they hope to celebrate their anniversary for years to come!

Big hugs to Heather Hawkins for these photos and Blue Ribbon Vendor Christina Leigh Events for planning everything to perfection!

Yes, those bow ties have tiny crawfish and pots on them! Thank you, Southern Proper!

Tamara Menges pulled together colorful handfuls of flowers for our gals to carry, including ranunculus, poppies, and garden roses.

Bold Kendra Scott jewelry not only ties together a mix and match bridesmaid look, but it makes a perfect bridesmaid gift, as well!

We loved working with this real life couple, who were married earlier this year (a few months after our shoot!).

I can’t think of anything more delicious to finish off a huge boil spread than a selection of good-enough-to-be-homemade pies. “Yum” is right!

Don’t miss this colorful celebration in action, thanks to our behind-the-scenes film from Nathan Willis!

As always, if you haven’t picked up your copy yet, you can do so here or on newsstands near you!

Photographer: Heather Hawkins Photography | Film processing: Photovision | Videographer: Nathan Willis Wedding Film Co. | Planner: Christina Leigh Events | Florals: Tamara Menges Designs | Hair stylist and makeup artist: Tracy Melton Artistry | Venue: La Torretta Lake Resort | Pies: Three Brothers Bakery | Paper Goods: Fig. 2 Design | Hand Lettering: Paperfelt | Table rentals: Bourbon & Bloom | Chair rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals | Flatware: Totally Bamboo | White china: West Elm | Colorful china and flatware: Rice from Shop Sweet Lulu | Favor jars: Specialty Bottle | Bride’s gown: “Waverly” by Anne Barge from Nordstrom | Bridesmaid dresses: Rent the Runway and Weddington Way | Jewelry: Kendra Scott | Men’s shirts: Brooks Brothers | Bow ties: Southern Proper

Christina Leigh Events, Tamara Menges Designs, and Bourbon & Bloom are all delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Valerie reply

    So fun to see!! These are popular in South Louisiana! They are always so fun especially for weddings with lots of out of town guests to experience the culture!

  2. avatar Dana reply

    one of my very favorite shoots!

  3. avatar Beth reply

    Love, love, love the citrus colors of this wedding! And, the lemons used at tablecards! Absolutely lovely!

  4. avatar Bright Wedding | The CaroLøve reply

    […] not branch out with the catering? You could go for a full on Texas barbecue, a good old Louisiana crawfish boil, a delicious Indian buffet, or absolutely anything else. All you have to do is ensure your venue […]

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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I felt like cheering at my desk while reading Stephanie and Ray’s interview! From the way they carefully wrote their vows to the reason they chose their romantic garden venue, it’s so clear that they approached their wedding with so much thoughtfulness and attentiveness to what truly matters. Our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor, Stefanie Miles, helped them pull together so many beautiful details that reflected their personal styles and love story, but most importantly, her presence let them stay focused on what they really cared about: their marriage and loved ones. I’m sure I’m not the only one wishing I could’ve been a guest at this lovely celebration!

We’re so grateful to Sara & Rocky for sharing Stephanie and Ray’s wedding with us!

Our floral design was one of my favorite surprises on our wedding day. We gave our florist, Maxine of The Southern Table, a lot of creative freedom with the floral arrangements–her only directions were that we wanted a soft, elegant, vintage-inspired feel and pops of crimson, blush, and antique gold to coordinate with our color scheme. She created beautiful bouquets that included astilbe, dahlia, amaranthus, brunia, dusty miller, and hydrangea flowers. We absolutely loved them!

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Ray and I decided to do a first look because we wanted to have a few moments to ourselves before the day began. Another factor that helped us decide to have a first a look was the fact that we wanted our wedding party (who had been with us all day) to be able to go immediately to the reception following the ceremony and be with their significant others.

Ray and I decided to write our own vows, because we wanted to spend time considering the promises that we were making to one another on our wedding day. Vows contain such lofty promises, so it was important to us that we acknowledged to one another and the witnesses to our covenant that we would not be able to perfectly fulfill these promises by our own strength. We would need the grace of God and the support of others to make it on this journey. We added a phrase encompassing that, but also kept some wording from traditional wedding vows that I had always cherished.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Ray and I spend a lot of time gardening, so I think we initially appreciated the beautiful greenery of Weston Gardens because we understood the work and toil that goes into a garden. Upon our site visit, we fell in love with the beautiful stones that gave the garden an old-world, European feel. I also loved the idea of our guests being spread out in little nooks and corners throughout the gardens. The white lights strewn through the trees gave the venue a warmth that we were hoping for at our evening wedding.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Hire a wedding planner. I wasn’t originally planning to hire one, but I can’t imagine having gone through that season without ours. Leading up to our wedding, Stefanie provided a lot of creative direction and helped us create a cohesive event. Her input was so valuable to us. It also helped take a lot of pressure off of my fiancé and I, because we had someone else with experience that helped us walk through vendor contracts, event design, reception layout, guest list, and all of the big (and small) decisions that you will need to make at some point. I remember feeling so relaxed on our wedding day because I knew that Stefanie was making sure all of our details were being carried out.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, our friend Amy made 14 single-tiered wedding cakes that were each topped with an individual letter that spelled out the phrase “This Day Forward,” which we took from our wedding vows. Our cakes were all decorated with buttercream icing, but there were a variety of flavors including chocolate, red velvet, and almond. We used vintage cake stands in silver, white, and lucite. Our florist added the finishing touch with some beautiful greenery on the table. We loved this non-traditional approach to wedding cake, and our guests loved it too.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ray and I met about seven years ago. Ray saw a picture of me at my friend’s house, and then had her to invite me to a baseball game so he could meet me. We were in a big group, and according to Ray, I didn’t talk very much at the game, so he didn’t think I was interested in him. We remained acquaintances, and five years later, I moved to Dallas and temporarily lived with our mutual friend, Mary Kathryn, and her husband, Tim. Tim and Mary Kathryn happened to need some new flooring, so they called Ray, since he works at a flooring store. Ray came out to measure their home, and noticed that someone was living in their guest room. He asked who it was, and when she told him that it was me, he decided to ask me to dinner. We went on our first date on November 9, 2011, and we ended up talking at the restaurant until it closed. We dated for a year and a half before Ray proposed in April 2013.
Tell us all about the proposal! In order to catch me off guard, Ray decided that he needed to convince me that I was planning the day. He asked Mary Kathryn to invite me to her house for lunch on Sunday, and she nonchalantly told me that I could invite Ray too. Ray had planned to propose to me at the park near their house, where we frequently visited to sit on our favorite bench, but before he could figure out a way to convince me to go, I announced, “It’s beautiful out today. We should go to the park.” I played right into his plans, and Ray couldn’t have been more thrilled. After eating lunch, we grabbed a blanket and some tiramisu and went to the park with our friends. Mary Kathryn happens to be a photographer, and she brought along her camera to “take pictures of [their] daughter.” After awhile, Ray asked me if I would like to go sit on “our bench.” I noticed he had gotten really quiet and Mary Kathryn kept looking over at us. I then asked Ray if “something was going on” and even patted him on the leg to see if I could feel a ring in the pocket of his jeans! Ray realized that time was running out before I figured out what was going on, so he got up from our bench, got down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked me if I would marry him. I said yes! Ray told me later that he proposed at the park and on our bench because he wanted to have a physical place that we could go back to and visit after we got married. It’s been really sweet to go back and sit on “our bench” and I hope we will continue to be able to sit there together through the various seasons that we will go through as husband and wife.
When did y’all get married? October 20, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress at a small boutique in Dallas on my first visit, although I returned a few times “just to make sure.” I had hoped to find a lace gown without much beading, and found a beautiful Mori Lee design that fit that description. My mom and two sisters came to see the dress and affirmed the decision. We added a veil with lace trim and a satin belt with a small touch of beading to complete the look.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We chose the song, “The One You’ll Find” by the musicians Shane & Shane for the processional because it has a beautiful crescendo that we timed to reach the peak when I walked down the aisle with my dad. We chose the song “Always Been About You” by Fellowship Creative for our recessional because it is folky and up-beat. Our first dance was to “You and Me” by the Dave Matthews Band.
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Our wedding party’s attire! I thought everyone looked great, and it was fun to see how the look we had been striving for came together. We gave the girls a color scheme, but allowed them to pick out their own dresses. The guys’ attire was purchased from Banana Republic. They were able to keep their clothing after the wedding, and several of the girls were able to borrow dresses as well, which was wonderful.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? When I think about Southern traditions, I think about the saying “a family affair.” One of my favorite things about our wedding was that our family was very involved. My sister and aunt are both cosmetologists, so my aunt did my hair the morning of our wedding and my sister worked on my makeup. I loved involving them in the process and being surrounded by people that I love. It’s something I’ll never forget.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? One of my favorite details from our wedding was serving communion to our wedding party. Ray and I wanted to begin our new life as a married couple by serving those around us. After praying and taking communion ourselves, we turned and served those in our wedding party. It was a beautiful moment, and I cherished getting to share that with those who were dearest to us.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Right now, we are enjoying life at a slower pace. Ray is thinking about possibly changing careers, and I am just trying not to burn our dinner every night. We are hoping to buy and fix up a house at some point to make it our own. We’ve found one nearby that we would love to purchase and hopefully raise a family in someday. I have loved living life every day with my best friend. Our wedding day was an incredible day and one I’ll never forget, but I’m looking forward to life with my husband and all of the memories and stories that are yet to come.

Photographer: Sara and Rocky Garza / Planner: Stefanie Miles / Venue: Weston Gardens / Florist: The Southern Table /  Cake Baker: Amy Kolkman / Caterer: City Kitchen / Rentals: Kennique Linens / Bride’s Gown: “1901” by Mori Lee / Men’s Attire: Banana Republic

Stefanie Miles is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
  1. avatar Dana reply

    oh the flowers! swoon.

  2. avatar Sara Garza reply

    Thanks SO Much for the feature!!! You guys always make us look so good!!

  3. avatar Meagan reply

    Love the guest book! Any idea of the source? Would love to do a custom one like that for my wedding :)

  4. avatar Maxine Owens reply

    Thank you so very much for featuring, Southern Weddings!!! And to such a great team of vendors!!

  5. avatar Wedding Rental Supplies reply

    Gorgeous wedding! Loved the details specially the reception area decor. The table details in white and magenta looks so pretty.

  6. avatar Le sedute degli sposi: qualche piccola idea per decorarle – Anna Rosso Eventi reply

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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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