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Bride Melissa shares her dreamy Texas wedding at The White Sparrow.

I’m delighted to introduce y’all to today’s bride Melissa! She describes her blue and white wedding to Thomas as “a beautiful spring dream.” And, y’all, I could not agree more. Inspired by an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet hand-painted by her mama, their May wedding at The White Sparrow had me swooning as soon as we saw it. I love how each detail that was incorporated has significance to their story as a couple or their family heritage, but what I love most (besides that big ol’ bow on the back of her dress because!!) is Melissa’s advise to those currently planning a wedding. She said three simple things: “Pray, prepare, and relax.” Yes, girl! Now I sure know a lot more advise might be needed, but that sounds like the perfect place to start.

Big thanks to Apryl Ann for capturing such a lovely day in May!

We’re thrilled to have featured this wedding in our latest print magazine, be sure to head to the Southern Weddings Shop to see snag your copy.

Our wedding was inspired by Texas wildflowers, and I really started to see my vision after we took our engagement pictures. Our pictures were taken a field of wildflowers, and I loved how the printed blue dress I wore looked against the warm colors of the flowers. When it came time to design our invitations, my mother painted an abstract, watercolor bluebonnet, and it turned out to be the main inspiration for our entire wedding design. My mother is a talented artist and graphic designer, so it was so special to have one of her works incorporated into our wedding design. The bluebonnet painting was the background for our invitations and was eventually tied into all of the prints in the wedding.

Our wedding was on May 6, 2017 at The White Sparrow in Quinlan, Texas. The ceremony began at 5:30PM and our reception followed. I first saw The White Sparrow in a magazine and it immediately caught my eye. I initially dismissed getting married in a barn setting, but as soon as I saw the beautiful white building I began to change my mind. My first trip to visit the venue was in early January and it was a wet, bitterly cold day. Even with the dreary weather, the barn looked magnificent, and I knew it would only look lovelier on a spring May day. We had the pleasure of meeting the owner who told us the story behind the barn. She was a Mississippi native and said most of the materials used to build the barn were from the Magnolia State. It was perfect! The barn perfectly fit our desire to create a “Tex-sippinian” wedding. The White Sparrow has the most welcoming, traditional-yet-modern feel and is the perfect canvas for our wedding vision.

We chose to get married in May for many reasons. First, it is my favorite month of year! I love how the spring flowers are in bloom and the weather begins to warm with the promise of summer. Secondly, there is no football in May! I know this may sound silly to some, but Thomas and I come from families who plan their schedules around college football games and I did not want our wedding to interfere with any big games. Lastly, as if May wasn’t already the perfect month, my new initials are MAY (Melissa Austin Yoste). It was a sure sign, y’all!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? The journey to find my dress was quite long. I must have tried on at least 30 gowns before I found the one. There was a time when I became very frustrated and thought my dream dress was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I stumbled across a picture of a gown on Pinterest and knew I had to try it on! As fate would have it, Neiman Marcus Bridal Salon in Dallas had the dress in town for a few days at a trunk show so I was able to try it on with my mother, family friend, and maid of honor. I knew it was the dress for me as soon as I put it on. It was such a magical feeling, and I absolutely loved everything about the gown! Fun fact about the dress, it is by Sachin and Babi and is a part of their very first bridal gown collection! It truly is a beautiful piece of art.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. Our wedding ceremony took place under two large, beautiful trees in the lawn of the venue. Our ceremony was performed by Pastor Bo Thompson, our local pastor from Rhea’s Mill Baptist Church. Pastor Bo gave a beautiful message on marriage and led the guests in prayer. Thomas’s father performed a reading, and we were so glad that he played a role in our ceremony. Following the message, Thomas and I participated in a Unity Cross display which beautifully symbolized our relationship being rooted in The Lord.

We both agree that the reading of our vows was the most touching moment of our wedding day. It is easy to say, “I love you” to someone, but more difficult to explain WHY you love that person. Writing our vows gave us the opportunity to put our feelings into words and profess our love for each other in front of all our family and friends.

Did you have a cocktail hour? We had cocktail hour immediately following our ceremony on the porch and side lawn of the venue. As with the rest of wedding, we wanted the cocktail hour to be filled with small Southern comforts and hospitality. Our signature drinks, along with a selection of craft beer and cured wine list, were served at the cocktail hour. Our signature drinks included a Southern Mule and Margarita. To help create an inviting atmosphere, I curated a playlist of soulful, upbeat songs to be played during cocktail hour. Wendy had another piece custom-built to hang our escort cards from, which were watercolor flower petals with my mother’s bluebonnet design. Wendy also built a frame for guests to write us well wishes and insert into it – it was Anthropologie-inspired.

Our reception was a beautiful spring dream. From the moment you stepped into the main room at the venue, you were met with stunning florals and inviting guest tables. With the room filled with all of our closest family and friends, Thomas and I felt surrounded by love and warmth. We wanted our wedding to an event where people felt comfortable and at home. We spent the evening saying hello to old friends, dancing with our wedding party and soaking up every moment of our special day. The design for our reception stemmed again from the bluebonnet print and wildflower inspiration. The main room at The White Sparrow is absolutely stunning and the tall, white walls truly gave us the perfect blank slate for our vision. I really wanted to include lots of prints in our reception design. Since the space is all white, I loved how the mix of different blue printed tablecloths and paper goods added depth and dimension to the space. The pop of warmth from the flowers gave the room life and a touch of spring.

Having a Southern wedding was very important to us because it is who we are. We wanted our guests to feel the hospitality and warmth from the moment they were greeted with welcome bags at the hotel to the time they received Whataburger fries and Dr. Pepper as a wedding favor at the end of the night. We wanted our wedding to be event where people felt welcome, comfortable and like family. Every detail had meaning and significance to us.

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Pray, prepare, and relax. My most important advice for future brides would be to pray for guidance, patience, and strength. Every morning I began my day with prayer and it allowed me to see more clearly and handle the stress of planning with ease. Also prepare for marriage with your fiancé by completing pre-marital counseling. Thomas and I met with our pastor for several weeks, and it was one of our favorite parts of the planning process. It allowed us to grow as a couple and remember to focus on what truly matters, our marriage! I would also tell future brides to relax! I know it is easier said than done (and this is coming from a very type-A, worrisome bride) but it will all work out in the end! Make sure you take some time for yourself and not think or talk about the wedding for a while. It will ease and refresh your mind.

One of the Southern traditions we did was burying the whiskey. Following with tradition, we buried a bottle of whiskey in ground on a picture-perfect May day in hopes that our wedding weather would be just as great. Since we were getting married in early May, which is storm season in Texas, I crossed my fingers that our whiskey bottle would bring us some luck! Sure enough, our wedding day had the most picture-perfect weather and we dug up the bottle of whiskey after cutting the cake. To this day, I believe the whiskey bottle was truly magical.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Early on in our relationship, Thomas and I made playlists for each other. It was a way of staying connected when we lived eleven hours apart. Ever since then, there have always been a few songs that made me think of him and our time together. Because of this, I was very selective in the songs we chose for our wedding. Our first dance song was difficult to choose because we had so many favorites! We ended up choosing “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton, because it’s a song that has a lot of meaning to us. My father-daughter dance was to “Mr. Bojangles” by Jerry Jeff Walker, and it may sound like an odd choice, but it was the song my dad first taught me how to dance so it brought back childhood memories. I also shared a sweet moment with my dad dancing to “Melissa” by the Allman Brothers, which is actually the song I was named after. Beers were raised and boots were stomped when the DJ played “Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks for our last group party song. After the guests exited the venue for the send off, Thomas and I danced to one of my all-time favorite songs “Coming Home” by Leon Bridges.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met on a blind date! We were set up by mutual friends and went bowling for our first double date. To be completely honest, I was very hesitant to go on the date (I thought blind dates were cliché) but my friend Lisa gave me the extra push, and I am so glad she did! After the first date with friends, Thomas made sure to reach out to me and set up a date just for us at a local sushi restaurant. We spent the evening getting to know each other and we were both surprised with how easy and comfortable our conversation flowed. By the end of the night, I knew Thomas was special. The sushi date led to many others in the course of two weeks, and before we knew it, it was time to return to our schools for fall semester. Hours before I left for Austin, we met at a park, decided to date long distance (me in Austin, TX and Thomas in Oxford, MS), and the rest is history! The years of long distance were difficult and filled with countless hours of driving (Austin and Oxford are 11 hours apart!), but the distance solidified our relationship and love for each other.
Describe the proposal. Thomas asked my parents permission for my hand in marriage in October 2015 and he decided to propose in December when all of our family would be together for the holidays. I am a University of Texas graduate and love Austin so he decided the city would be the perfect location for a proposal! Thomas concocted a plan which included inviting my brothers and cousins to spend a day in Austin doing some of my favorite activities. He played it off as my Christmas gift so that I would not become suspicious. After eating breakfast at Walton’s Fancy and Staple restaurant, visiting Blanton Art Museum, walking around Rainey Street and grabbing donuts at Voodoo, we capped the day off with a trip to the Texas State Capitol Building. We explored the beautiful building and when we reached the center of the infamous rountunda, Thomas got down on one knee and proposed! It was a perfect moment and what made it even better was the fact that my best friends were on the third floor of the building capturing pictures of the proposal from above! Following the proposal, we got celebratory drinks at Moonshine Grill and then headed to what I thought was going to be a small dinner with our parents. To my surprise, we arrived at Abel’s on the Lake filled with ALL of our friends and family! It was the perfect ending to a fantastic day and I was so glad Thomas included our loved ones in the special occasion.
What was the weather like on your big day? Absolutely stunning! My number one concern while planning our wedding was the weather. May weather can be a toss up in Texas, since it is normally the wettest month of the year. However, our whiskey bottle magic worked and we were blessed with the most beautiful day! Our day was filled with clear skies, lots of sun, perfect temperatures and just the right amount of breeze. God was looking down on us that day.
How many guests attended your wedding? 185.
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Thomas and I both agree that the hardest part was deciding on the guest list. We both come from very large families and we wanted everyone to attend! However, it was not realistic to have a guest list of 300 people so we had to make some difficult decisions.
Did you try anything new or nontraditional? Our wedding party included eight bridesmaids, eight groomsmen, two honorary groomsmen and four ushers. I had two maids of honors in my bridal party, because both girls mean so much to me and are such valuable people in my life. Thomas had two honorary groomsmen for close friends that have passed away. Including these men in our ceremony was very important to Thomas and we included their names in memory in our ceremony program.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We included soft, acoustic songs in our ceremony. I wanted to set a romantic, emotional tone for the ceremony. “In My Life” by Jake Shimbukuro played while our grandparents and parents were escorted down the aisle. The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to Canon de Pachelbel by Guitar Duo and I followed with “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by The O’Neill Brothers Group. The recessional song was “Wildfire” by John Mayer. It is one of my favorite songs, and it has such a happy and upbeat vibe, which made for the perfect ceremony exit song.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? During our cocktail hour, we served chili lime grilled shrimp on tortilla chips, smoked gouda pimento cheese with ham on masa shortbread and fried green tomatoes with a red pepper aioli. During the ceremony, we had a selection of food stations that included a Southern Biscuit Bar, Taco Bar and Avocado Bar. We wanted to really tie in our “Tex-sippian” theme in our menu with a combination of both Southern comfort food and Tex-Mex staples. We also wanted to encourage our guests to get out of their seats and socialize while gathering their meal and is why we chose to have food stations.
Who was your favorite vendor and why? (Our wedding planner) Wendy!! Wendy was able to take my abstract and vague ideas for our wedding and turn them into stunning reality. She was with Thomas and me every step of the way during the planning process and was always available for questions or concerns. My mother and I talked so frequently with Wendy in the months leading up to the wedding that afterwards we really missed our weekly email chats.
What’s next for you as a couple? We look forward to enjoying married life while living in downtown Dallas. We are settling into our apartment and love being able to make a little home for ourselves. We are also dreaming of getting a dog someday, but will wait a few years much to Melissa’s dismay. We also look forward to traveling to new places, visiting friends and of course attending University of Texas and Ole Miss football games in the fall.

Photographer: Apryl Ann Photography | Videographer: Marc Roberts Videography | Planner and designer: Birds of a Feather Events | Venue: The White Sparrow Barn | Florals: The Southern Table | Caterer: Gil’s Elegant Catering | Wedding cake: Sugar Bee Sweets Bakery | Bride’s gown: “Olivia” by Sachin and Babi | Bridal salon: Neiman Marcus | Bride’s shoes: NearlyNude Sandal by Stuart Weitzman | Bride’s earrings: Ross-Simons | Bride’s veil: Jurgita Bridal | Bride’s hair clips: BHLDN | Hair and makeup: Beauty and the Blush Artistry | Bridesmaid dresses: “Inesse” in Ciel Blue by Jenny Yoo | Men’s suits: Jos. A. Bank | Men’s ties: The Tie Bar | Groom’s cufflinks: College Elegance | Paper designs: Tammy Grimmett | Calligraphy: Cleggraphy Designs | Paper printing: Edwards Printing Service and Kathy Benson | Rentals: Top Tier Event Rentals | Linens: La Tavola Linen | Entertainment and lighting: LeForce Entertainment

marissa Written with love by Marissa
  1. avatar Lisa reply

    This might have been my favorite V10 wedding…those linens! The bouquets! THAT DRESS!! So, so lovely, and they seem like the sweetest couple!

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Bride Felicia’s lovely Lone Star State wedding.

I’m really excited for y’all to meet today’s bride, Felicia, because her wedding to Gideon is giving me all the Texas feels! Though I only lived in Texas for a short time, it’s a state that you’re sure not to forget easily. And Felicia and Gideon did their home state proud with a semi-destination wedding at Travaasa Austin filled with lots of cowboy hats and even more cowboy boots! When planning their wedding, they envisioned their friends and family participating in activities together and seeing each other often through the weekend. So they worked with Travaasa Austin to reserve the entire resort for a magical wedding weekend of fun events (like horseback riding and ropes courses!) and, most importantly, a four-part marriage celebration! Of course, with a wedding weekend so packed full of gatherings, there are many beautiful details and sweet moments to talk about, but my favorite thing is Felicia’s advice to those planning a wedding. She said, “Do not let the joy of this most precious day get lost in a sea of expectations that will distract you.” Oh my stars, what sage advice. Keep scrolling for more goodness from Felicia!

Big SW hugs to Nichols Photographers for sharing!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Gideon and I really wanted a destination wedding where all our closest friends and family could spend a weekend together. We envisioned friends and family participating in activities together and seeing each other often through the weekend. We liked the idea of guests not having to drive from one venue to the next with all wedding-related events in one convenient location. We also both really love Texas! So we wanted a destination-type wedding, but we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else but the state we so dearly love. Travaasa Austin was perfect. We reserved the entire resort for our wedding weekend to provide that destination and community environment we were looking for. I am from San Antonio, and Gideon is from Dallas, so Austin was a great place for us to meet in the middle. And who doesn’t love the Texas Hill Country?

Gideon designed my ring. The center stone is a round diamond from his mother’s ring. The two side stones are pear-shaped. I have two daughters, so Gideon liked the three stone ring to symbolize me and my girls. For his wedding band, Gideon picked the largest gold band he could find! He loves gold as it matches the watch he inherited from his grandfather.

My gown is a one-of-a-kind custom couture gown created by Nardos Design and inspired by the Italian heritage of my family. The silhouette is a fitted draped french silk in pristine white with an Italian hand beaded lace bodice and delicate eyelash details. My grace and femininity were the inspiration for Nardos from the sketching to the final fitting.

Gathering our friends and family in one place for the weekend was of the upmost importance to us, so Travaasa was the perfect venue. Guests checked in on Friday for a full day of scheduled resort activities (horseback riding, yoga, spa appointments, ropes course, etc.!), followed by “An Evening Under the Texas Stars.” The evening kicked off with a rehearsal dinner at the resort’s Solidago Gardens, where guests sipped bourbon cocktails and dined family style (literally, under the stars!) in the open-air courtyard. The menu consisted of Southern favorites such as short ribs, quail, grits, and Texas sheet cake. On Saturday, we utilized all of the remaining space at Travaasa for a four-part marriage celebration! We were married in the late afternoon in the Live Oak Courtyard–a gorgeous lawn with views of the Hill Country.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Pretty much all our music was nontraditional. We had a string quartet play the music, but it was all contemporary. We also had two close friends sing a beautiful song during communion, “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham. Max Helmerich was our vocalist and guitarist (he is in the band Wilderado) and Jesse Ihde sang harmony.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Having communion was an important part of the ceremony for both Gideon and I. We felt strongly that this sacred act should be the first thing we do together in our marriage.

Gideon has brought immeasurable joy into my life. My favorite moments are when we read and dream together. He is intentional, thoughtful, fun, and genuine.

I wore a fitted silk and lace gown, and Gideon and his groomsmen were perfect Southern gentlemen in crisp blue jeans and cowboy hats.

It is so easy to get caught up in the details of a wedding. You can go crazy looking at Pinterest at what others have done that has been beautiful or creative and you may feel pressure to have everything perfect or exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would be. My advice is to focus less on the details and more on the moments you will be creating with your new husband, family, and friends. The details will not seem as important as time rolls forward. What you will hold dear in your heart is how you felt when you walked down the aisle…you will remember the time you spent with your girlfriends getting ready for the big event and celebrating after the ceremony. Do not let the joy of this most precious day get lost in a sea of expectations that will distract you. Take the time to visit with each guest (if possible) to thank them for sharing this special moment in time with you. Soak every joyous moment in.

Following the ceremony, guests traveled down to the pool deck for cocktails and appetizers. The pool deck has an incredible view and looks out over Lake Travis–the perfect spot for watching the sun set. One of my favorite details was set here–an escort card wall filled with native blooms. We hand tied each invitation with the organic plant dyed silk ribbon. Escort cards used various flowers and plants found on Gideon’s ranch. He actually hand painted each one! The flowers were then attached to a card with each guest’s name hand calligraphied in navy ink.

When it was time for dinner, guests were invited up to the Mesquite Patio, which earned its name for the gorgeous trees whose branches cover the space. The band, Ice House, kicked dinner off by leading guests in “Texas Our Texas,” and then, following the blessing, guests dined at long tables under twinkling lights. When dinner wound down, everyone was invited to the Lone Star Ballroom for dessert and dancing. The band kept everyone on the dance floor until the final, confetti-filled song. We departed under a sea of rose petals on a golf cart decked out with a Texas flag.

The bridal cake was red velvet. It is my favorite! It was topped with beautiful flowers. The groom’s cake was decorated like an oil rig complete with geology under the surface (Gideon is in the oil and gas business). The groom’s cake was chocolate.

When did y’all get married? October 29th, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? I would say, “Hire Ellen Westcott to do EVERYTHING!” My only regret was not paying her more to do more!! She was amazing. All our vendors were phenomenal. Aside from Ellen I would also recommend The Nichols for photography. They were wonderful to work with and very focused on getting everything done in a timely manner.

Photographer: Nichols Photographers | Planner: Westcott Weddings | Venue and Caterer: Travaasa Austin | Florist: Sprout Flowers | Makeup Artist: Makenzi Laine | Rentals: La Tavola, Loot Vintage, and Marquee Events | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweet Treats | Lighting: ILD | Band: Ice House Band | Paper Products: The Inviting Pear and The Boarding School Collective | Bride’s Gown: Nardos Design | Hair Stylist: Kate Leatherwood at Last Satellite Salon

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Today we’re sharing a colorful citrus inspiration shoot, set deep in the heart of Texas!

“You’re the barb on my wire / The spark in my campfire / There’s no brighter star in all the multiplexes. / I love this state, you know I do / But the best thing in this state is you.” Slaid Cleaves sung it right in his “Texas Love Song,” inspiring The Happy Bloom and Tristan Needham to marry true love and color at The White Sparrow. This team is eager to see couples embrace color at their weddings, and I love that they didn’t just wish it – they’re sharing with us a way to do it beautifully, one that feels authentic to the Hispanic and Texan cultures they were inspired by.

I’d love to hear: anyone out there using brighter colors at your wedding? :)

From the team:
What makes Texas so great is its blend of Southern tradition and Mexican influence. Rustic white barns meet stucco and citrus, colliding to make a beauty that no other location can duplicate. While some wedding trends are leaning further and further into the neutral color palette of greens and creams, these two cultures still embrace color, vitality and life… no matter the trend or season!

Our couple’s wedding day was filled with pops of fresh citrus, locally grown tomatillos and Claire’s favorite flower, the poppy. Their love of European culture and modernism can be seen in their minimal paper goods and clean, fresh tablescape. We loved playing the balancing game of Southern tradition meets Mexican influence meets European modernism. The location is obviously innately Southern. We loved the way that the bride’s modern two piece dress compliments the beautiful white barn. The pops of citrus keep the shoot feeling alive and fresh but not oversaturated.

Photographer: The Happy Bloom | Film Lab | Indie Film Lab | Venue: The White Sparrow | Design and Styling: Tristan Needham Design | Gown: Saint Isbael Bridal | Floral: Bows + Arrows | Rentals: Bella Acento | Rings: Susie Saltzman | Paper Goods: Graceline Art | Hair and Makeup Artist: Haley Herbst | Cake: 2 Tarts Bakery | Modeling Agency: Kim Dawson Agency | Female Model: Haley Halter | Male Model | Luis Martinez

emily Written with love by Emily
  1. avatar Lyndi reply

    Goodness I love all this color!!

  2. avatar The Happy Bloom reply

    Thank you for the beautiful feature! xoxo!

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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