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With the help of gorgeous blooms (like those amazing Juliet rose garlands!) from Thistle Floral Design, Hannah and her mama took the completely blank canvas of The Filter Building and created a beautiful reception. They collected vintage milk glass for unique centerpieces, added glittering gold details, and even tossed in a few tiny nods to Hannah and Eric’s Parisian proposal. (It involves the famous “Love Lock” bridge and her family — you won’t want to miss it!) While their decor may be “fancy,” they decided to just go with the good stuff when it came to their dinner: fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and cornbread, oh my! I’m sure guests left with a full heart and a full belly!

Thanks to Ben Q Photography for sharing Hannah and Eric’s wedding day with us!

Last June, my mom and I were visiting my sister in Paris, France. My dad flew in for the last week that we were there, and on his first day, we went to do a little sightseeing. On our way to lunch, we were walking past the famous “Love Lock” bridge where couples put padlocks with their names written on them on the railing and throw the keys into the Seine. While my family wrote their names on their padlocks, I saw Eric standing on the other side of the bridge (looking dapper as ever, I might add!). I walked over to him, and he immediately got down on one knee, said some wonderful things, and asked me to be his wife. Not only was this the best surprise (EVER!), but we also got to spend the next week exploring Paris together to kick off our engagement!

When searching for my gown, the stylist pulled a Watters gown that fit most of my criteria–it was a simple, strapless, taffeta gown with a sweetheart neckline and hidden pockets. I added a pearl and lace belt and faux buttons all the way down the back of the dress. By the end of it, I had combined all of the elements from the photos I’d collected to create a dress that was unique and perfect for me!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My mom monogrammed our wedding date in blue onto a piece of Eric’s late grandmother’s wedding dress, and then sewed it into the hem of my wedding gown (old, borrowed, and blue!). She also his late grandfather’s wedding tux to make Eric a handkerchief. My something new was my Christian Louboutin wedding shoes!

I walked down the aisle to the Bridal Chorus and we walked out to Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.” They fit perfectly with the venue and gave us the perfect traditional church wedding that we were going for. For our first dance, we danced to a cover of Queen’s “You’re My Best Friend” by The Once. Eric loves classic rock and I’m more of an acoustic-and-coffee-house type of person, so this song was perfect for us.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our first look was our most memorable moment. At that point, our adrenaline had kicked into full gear and the excited nerves had set in! It was so nice to be able to just get away from everything and see each other before the biggest moment of our lives. We both agree that we had never felt happier than at that very moment. It was something we will never forget.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by not hiring a wedding planner. I did all of the searching, planning, budgeting, and timelines on my own. My mom is an incredibly creative person, so she was my partner-in-crime as far as the decorations and centerpieces went. Between us and her best friend, who was our day-of coordinator, we had every minute and detail planned! We also saved money by doing all of the set-up, decorating, and clean-up by ourselves.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Each centerpiece at the reception was made up of different clusters of vintage milk glass that my mom and I found during the months leading up to the wedding. Another Southern aspect of our wedding was the food. We opted out of having “fancy” food and decided to just go with the good stuff–fried chicken, pot roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, macaroni and cheese, biscuits, and cornbread!

Rather than doing one large wedding cake, we had five different cakes displayed on a wooden farm table. The cakes each incorporated different aspects of the details of our reception–a hand-painted Rifle Paper Co.-inspired design, gold lettering, lace and satin covered buttons, and milk glass hobnob, all topped with fresh flowers. They were each on top of pastel cake stands and were surrounded by glass milk vases and bowls filled with hand-painted macarons, a nod to our French engagement.

Don’t miss Hannah and Eric’s wedding film by Turquoise Video Productions below!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at a fraternity party during our sophomore year at the University of Arkansas. During our junior year, we randomly ran into each other in New Orleans when Arkansas was playing in the Sugar Bowl. We spent the night hopping between different places on Bourbon Street, and the rest is history!
When did y’all get married? February 21, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 200
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted a traditional church wedding, so we chose Perkins Chapel on the SMU campus for our ceremony. We fell in love with the pretty pews, hardwood floors, shutters, and white and gold detailing of the chapel. We also loved the fact that they have an in-house organist! For our reception venue, we chose the Filter Building on White Rock Lake. I loved the overall feel of the building–the exposed brick, the steel beams, and the cafe lights strung outside on the lakeside patio. The best thing about the venue was that it was a completely blank canvas!
Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! Since Paris will now always have a special place in our hearts, we wanted to include a few tiny Parisian details in the reception, like the macarons on the cake table. We also found an Eiffel Tower ring holder that we used to take photos of our wedding bands on.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t strive for perfection. There is so much unnecessary pressure placed on your wedding day–to be in perfect shape, to find the perfect dress and tux, to have the perfect venue, and have every tiny detail of the day be absolutely PERFECT. Well, it’s not going to be! Things are going to go wrong, but those things end up being the fun details of your wedding story. Embrace the obstacles that come up along the way, because at the end of the day, you get to spend the rest of your lives together, and that is the best part.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Since the wedding, I have joined Eric in Philadelphia. We miss our families, Texas, and all things Southern in general, but we are loving this phase of our life as newlyweds in the Northeast!

Photographer: Ben Q Photography / Videographer: Turquoise Video Productions / Ceremony Venue: Perkins Chapel / Reception Venue: The Filter Building / Florist: Thistle Floral Design / Cake Baker: Layered Bake Shop / Caterer: Celebration Restaurant / Rentals: Posh Couture Rentals / Lighting: Absolute Entertainment / Band: The Dan Quinn Band / Paper Products: Paper Source / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Bride’s Accessories: Stardust Celebrations / Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Mori Lee / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen Attire: Calvin Klein

marissa Written with love by Marissa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Ashton Dreyer reply

    The Happily Ever After sign behind their Sweet Heart table is adorable. Adding it to my wedding DIY list!

  2. avatar Tracy Melton Dallas Hair Styling & Makeup Artistry | Hannah’s Wedding Day reply

    […] Here is the link to the Southern Weddings post if you want to stop by there too:  http://southernweddings.com/2015/08/11/rifle-paper-co-wedding-by-ben-q/ […]

  3. avatar Stacy reply

    can you give me a resource for the wonderful, large chalboard?

  4. avatar Modern Preppy Wedding in Black, Gold, and Emerald with Mixed Prints! | Hey Wedding Lady reply

    […] Photography by Ben Q Photography, Floral Design by Thistle Floral Design via Southern Weddings […]

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As a proud University of Texas alum, I cringe a little admitting this, but some of the sweetest people I know went to Texas A&M. While I don’t know today’s bride and groom, Alex and Connor, personally, I can only imagine that if I did, I’d be able to say that same thing about them! From their adorable meet-cute in Aggieland to their prayerful wedding at Chandelier Grove, they’ve approached every step of their relationship with joy and intentionality. Y’all won’t want to miss Alex’s emotional walk down the aisle, their charming, rustic reception, or their meeting and proposal stories below!

Thanks so much to Mustard Seed Photography for sharing this special day with us!

Prayer was a big part of our entire wedding day. As we were getting ready, my bridesmaids prayed around me and Connor’s groomsmen prayed around him. Right before the ceremony, he and I prayed together, and we prayed numerous times during the ceremony. My dad gave a great welcome speech and prayer before dinner. Right before our sparkler exit, Connor’s parents and my parents got together and we all prayed together. God brought us together, so it was really neat to thank Him and feel His presence so often throughout our wedding day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found Claire Pettibone’s Chantilly gown online through Pinterest before I was engaged. Once we got engaged, I knew immediately that Chantilly would be my dress. I found out that Claire Pettibone was having a trunk show just a few hours away from me, and my wonderful parents came with me so I could try it on. The second I put it on, it just confirmed what I had been thinking: this was my dress.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I really wanted to see his reaction when he saw me for the first time walking down the aisle. We did want to pray together before the ceremony, so we stood on opposite sides of the house where we got ready and held hands. I am so glad we did that, because standing there, hearing his voice, and holding his hand really brought me a sense of peace. I had been so anxious and nervous all day, and it helped me calm down and focus on how sure I was that Connor was the perfect man for me.

For me, the most memorable moment is hands down the moment the barn doors opened and I started walking down the aisle. Just about everyone we know and love was standing right in front of me, but I could only see Connor, who was crying. It was so incredibly sweet seeing him so overcome with emotion at seeing me.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We had a dear friend of mine hold a wooden plank with three strands tied to it. While our pastor read from Ecclesiastes 4, we braided the strands together. It was a really special moment in our ceremony that symbolized mine and Connor’s lives intertwining, while making sure to keep God in the center of our relationship.

We had our ceremony and reception at the same venue–a private farm called Chandelier Grove. When we first visited the property, it was still very much under construction, but we could see a clear and gorgeous vision everywhere we looked. The more we talked to Stacey, the owner, the more we could feel God pushing us in her direction. The family who owns the farm are some of the kindest people we have met. Stacey did pretty much all of the remodeling herself, and even buried her husband’s Bible in the foundation of the barn! God just made it clear to both of us that Chandelier Grove was the place we were meant to get married.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding had a Southern vibe through and through. From the pecan orchard ceremony setting to the rustic barn where we held the reception, we wanted the beauty of nature to be highlighted in our wedding. We’re both born and raised Texans, so it was important to us that our wedding reflected our backgrounds.

For the flowers, I wanted very neutral colors and lots of greenery, because I wanted the flowers to enhance the beauty of the barn without overpowering it. Our florist did a phenomenal job! The only guidance I gave her was a picture of what I wanted my bouquet to look like and the colors I was going for, and then I just let her do her thing! We were very pleased with what she delivered.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t let it stress you out! There were times when I would get really stressed out about something, and I had to just take a step back from what I was working on, breathe, and remind myself that this was just a party. The truly important thing is what comes after the wedding–our marriage! When either of us was feeling stressed, we would just put aside all the wedding stuff and watch a movie or go to a nice dinner. It felt really good to occasionally put off wedding planning and focus on each other.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both students at Texas A&M University. At the start of our junior year, Connor moved into the house across the street from the one I was living in. His roommates thought my roommates were cute and brought them Skittles. My roommates thought his roommates were cute and asked me to bake some brownies we could take over to them. I did, and that is when Connor and I met for the first time. We hit it off instantly and saw each other every day for the next three weeks, spending hours staying up late and talking. He asked me to be his girlfriend by cooking me dinner, serving it as a candlelit picnic on the roof of his house, and showing me his backyard. He had carved out “Date me?” in pumpkins! Nine days after that, Connor told me he was going to marry me someday, and I knew he was right.
Tell us all about the proposal! He totally surprised me! He showed up at my house one afternoon totally unexpectedly and had me come out to the driveway. He had borrowed a friend’s Corvette and parked it in front of my house. When I got closer, I saw that he had picked out a dress for me and draped it over the passenger seat. While I changed, he packed a bag for me, and then we were off! I had no idea where we were going–each stop was a total surprise. First, he took me to get my nails done, and then he took me to a nice dinner. After dinner, we drove for over an hour, and when we finally arrived at our destination, my jaw hit the floor. He had brought me to the sister vineyard of the one we had gone to on our first date! He led me to a cottage he had rented on the property and took me out onto the back porch, which was decorated with candles, roses, and a bottle of champagne. That’s when he got down on his knee and asked me to marry him! I said, “Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” His best friend was hiding in the backyard taking pictures of us–it was all totally magical! We then spent the whole weekend touring various wineries in the area.
When did y’all get married? May 23, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 180
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows. The pastor who married us has very close ties to my family–he actually married my parents 27 years ago! That meant a lot to Connor and I, as my parents and their marriage are our role models.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. “Yellow” by Coldplay is my all-time favorite song, and when I heard Vitamin String Quartet’s version of it, I couldn’t imagine anything more beautiful to walk down the aisle to. For walking back up the aisle, we played “Shut Up and Dance” because it was time to celebrate! Our first dance song was “Duet” by Penny and Sparrow. It’s an extremely moving and tender song that was shown to us by a sweet friend, and the first time we heard it, we just knew we needed to have our first married dance to it!
Describe your wedding cake. We wanted our cake to be simply decorated with flowers. I found mugs to spell out LOVE and filled those with flowers to arrange around the cake. Connor and his dad actually made the wooden cake stand from a cut tree we found in our neighborhood! Our main wedding cake flavor was Italian creme and it was absolutely delicious! I’m not really a big cake fan, but it was so good that we totally devoured the top tier in our hotel room after the wedding!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with a sweet couple at my family’s church and had a weekend-long marriage preparation class. I can’t recommend the book we used enough! We worked our way through Dennis Rainey’s “Preparing for Marriage” and learned so much about each other and ourselves. We really grew closer during the process. We also had numerous discussions about our expectations going into marriage.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just finished moving to a new state and setting up our life together here. We adopted the sweetest little kitten, and we are looking forward to traveling together and watching the progress of the house we are in the process of building!

Photographer: Kat Theis of Mustard Seed Photography / Videographer: Jeff Richards of Green Leaf Films / Planner: Tracy Flaherty Events / Venue: Chandelier Grove / Florist: Cornelius Florist / Cake Baker: Virginia’s Cakes / Caterer: Master Chef Catering / Rentals: House of Hough / Bride’s Gown: “Chantilly” by Claire Pettibone / Bride’s Accessories: The Honey Comb / Hair and Makeup: Adorne Artistry / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “8514” by Watters / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Victoria reply

    I love the romance in the shabby chic theme and the blush color palette. Very pretty.

  2. avatar Dana reply

    love so many details in this wedding! and that first date…please. so sweet!

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When Tiffany and Andy decided they were going to get married in Texas (Chicago and Utah were also on the list!), they knew they wanted to give their wedding day the Southern flair they felt it deserved. Our Blue Ribbon Vendor venue Vista West Ranch proved to be the perfect place to say their vows and celebrate as husband and wife–it effortlessly combined the Southern feel of the Texas Hill Country with the chic, vintage vibe that Tiffany was hoping for. It also provided the backdrop for Tiffany’s most memorable moment of the day: when she and Andy saw each other for the first time. She remembers that “He looked at me just the way I had always dreamt about as a little girl.” Y’all, please pass me a tissue ASAP–that makes my heart melt!

Sending big SW hugs to Jessica Gold for capturing Tiffany and Andy’s sweet day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. The first time we met was in 2009, and to be honest, it was rather unmemorable. Our paths wouldn’t cross again until summer 2011, on the 4th of July. I was spending the weekend in Austin with family when Andy happened to show up at the same 4th of July party I was at. It wasn’t love at first sight, but as fate would have it, we ended up on the same team for a game at the party, which led us to becoming Facebook friends later that night. When it was time for me to return to Utah, we said our goodbyes and agreed to keep in touch via text. Despite the thousands of miles between us, we both found it easy and natural to confide in each other. In November 2011, I headed to Texas again for my cousin’s wedding in Dallas. Andy and I made plans to hang out while I was in town. For the first few days, our relationship seemed to stay relatively platonic, but the night before I left, we kissed for the first time and decided that this was something more than just friendship. In December, Andy took the leap and flew to Utah to spend time with me and my family for Christmas. That was when we decided that we wanted to give a long distance relationship a try, and we haven’t looked back since.

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Seeing Andy for the first time. That moment was so perfect. He looked at me just the way I had always dreamt about as a little girl. I also love seeing my family have so much fun at the wedding. We wanted to throw a special and memorable celebration, and seeing that come to life was really special.

We had a special quote from “How I Met Your Mother” that our officiant read at our ceremony which speaks so loudly about our relationship. “The great moments of your life won’t necessarily be the things you do, they’ll also be the things that happen to you. Now, I’m not saying you can’t take action to affect the outcome of your life–you have to take action, and you will. But never forget that on any day, you can step out the front door and your whole life can change forever. You see, the universe has a plan, and that plan is always in motion. A butterfly flaps its wings, and it starts to rain. It’s a scary thought but it’s also kind of wonderful. All these little parts of the machine constantly working, making sure that you end up exactly where you’re supposed to be, exactly when you’re supposed to be there. The right place at the right time.”

Describe your wedding flowers. Oh my goodness! They were amazing. I met with Bouquets of Austin early on in the planning process, and they saw and understood my vision immediately. I was blown away! Seeing all of the flowers for the first time was the perfect moment. It was emotional, but it really felt like they tied everything together.

I am from Utah, but I moved to Texas from Chicago. Andy is a born and raised Texan. When it came to picking a location, we had a lot of options! When we decided we were going to get married in Texas, I wanted to make sure to give our wedding the Southern flair it deserved. Vista West Ranch was the last location we saw. I knew from the pictures that I liked it, but when we stepped onto the property, I fell in love immediately. It combined the sweet, Southern feel of the Texas Hill Country with a chic, vintage look that I’ve always been drawn to.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The special, subtle details we included about our “right place at the right time” theme. It’s a saying we truly believe in, and it has made all the difference in our lives.

Tell us all about the proposal! Andy had been planning on taking me to a nice brunch when I arrived in Austin, so I woke up extra early to shower and get ready. When I landed in Austin, I called Andy, and he told me he couldn’t wait to see me. When I reached the end of the steps to baggage claim, I saw a familiar face, but it wasn’t his–it was his cousin. “Bao? What are you doing here?” “Hey… I’m picking you up.” “Where’s Andy?” “I don’t know…” He then handed me a letter. I opened Andy’s letter, labeled “Airport” and read it. By the end of the letter… I would be lying if I said at this point I didn’t kind of know what was happening, but I wasn’t 100% sure. After getting my luggage, Bao gave me another letter labeled “Bao” in the car. The letter said to watch a video message Andy made on the iPod in the car. Following the video, I received another letter labeled “Music.” At this point, I noticed myself shaking, and I immediately texted both my parents, “I think Andy is going to ask me to marry him today.” I listened to each song until we arrived at our next destination: the house where Andy and I first met. Inside, Char was waiting with another letter, labeled “After Her.” When I finished the letter, we continued onto our third destination, lunch at Taco Deli, our favorite taco place. From there, we headed to Starbucks–I learned later that this stop was a decoy because he needed more time! After the coffee, I received my final letter labeled “Decision.” We pulled up to the Long Center, one of the first places Andy and I went when I visited in November 2011. Butterflies were heavy in my stomach as we made our way to a grassy area where I saw both my cousin, Jeicille, and Andy waiting for me. I gave Jeicille a hug and then walked over to Andy and hugged him. He took my hands, and looking right into my eyes, he said… “You’re really pale.” (THERE’S NO SUN IN CHICAGO, ANDY!) He got down on one knee, opened a little black box with a sparkly ring inside, and asked me to marry him.
When did y’all get married? May 22, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I found my wedding dress at a consignment store. It was a sample dress, and I knew I liked it the minute I saw it on floor. Once I put it on, there was no doubt that I had found THE dress. My wedding coordinator came with me, so my dress was a surprise to everyone on my big day!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, we didn’t want to do a first look. We wanted the traditional first look at the aisle to be really special. However, we did do a secret look where we exchanged cards and gifts.
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The venue, Vista West Ranch, created an incredible ambiance, and Petal Pushers helped bring it to life with small details. From the rustic barn to the vintage tables, mason jars, local food, chairs, etc., everything came together perfectly and felt so Southern.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Picking an almost all-inclusive venue. Vista West Ranch included a lot of the components that many places ask people to pay extra for. We had the ceremony and reception in the same place. The venue was also so beautiful that a lot of it “decorated itself.” We also got a great deal on our catering and were referred to our photographer just as she was on the rise, so we really found some great deals!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t be afraid to ask for help and organize early on. If you’re not into wedding planning, think about a coordinator. Make a list of must-haves, like-to-haves and can-live-withouts. Most importantly, soak in every moment! The time leading up to the wedding feels like forever, but the wedding day flashes by in the blink of an eye.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We’re building our first house together and raising two adorable puppies, Hugo and Po. There are a lot of new changes in the forefront, and we can’t wait for the next chapter and every chapter after that.

Photographer: Jessica Gold Photography / Videographer: Photohouse Films / Planner: Iby Setzer / Venue: Vista West Ranch / Florist: Bouquets of Austin / Cake Baker: Sugar Mama’s Bakery / Caterer: Jack Allen’s Kitchen / Rentals: Petal Pushers / DJ: Tristan Tulley / Paper Products: Tiffany Lieu / Bride’s Gown: Essense of Australia / Hair Stylist: Propaganda Hair Group / Makeup Artist: Nisa Nicole / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Sarah” by Donna Morgan / Groom’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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

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

    This ceremony set-up is incredible! xo

  2. avatar Real Wedding: Katie & Seth at Ovation | Shannon Gail Weddings and Events reply

    […] Guide Photo Credits: The Style Co., Finch & Farrow Photography via Style Me Pretty, Southern Weddings, OUR LABOR OF LOVE via Refinery 29, Closer to Love Photography via Style Me […]

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