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Kelly + Will know how to make a Southern fete gorgeous and approachable. Their April “I do’s” took advantage of the colorful blooms and gorgeous skies in Louisiana — making their outdoor wedding a joyful occasion. We just love that Kelly’s most memorable part of the day was the ceremony “It was fabulous from the moment I walked down the aisle with my dad (who was teary eyed unbeknownst to me) and the moment Will and I tripped back up it (our faces were hilarious).” I think it’s the best summation of their sweet, charming and fun wedding day. Big thanks to Ashleigh Jayne for sharing these photos with us!

I found the dress on my first shopping trip at a local boutique in Baton Rouge. It was the week of my engagement party and my best friend who lives in North Carolina was in town. It was important for me to look while she was there so she could share the moment with me. I went with a small crowd (my mom, grandmother, two sisters, and two best friends). When I found one I loved, I decided to take a leap and go with it. I can be very indecisive so it was good to get that very big decision out of the way early on.

Describe your wedding flowers: Abundant. I am definitely a flower person. I love real flowers, fake flowers, flower prints, flower everything. Our florist made colorful wild flower arrangements. It was breathtaking and exactly what I wanted. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were more vibrant like the flowers on the tables. My bouquet was colorful as well, but a little more muted than the rest. It had ranunculus, billy balls, garden roses, ferns, and some other wildflowers. The bouquet was wrapped in lace from my mother’s wedding gown and was so thick my hand barely fit around it!

Marissa and I have a special place in our hearts for little puggies, so I about squealed when I saw this photo! Kelly + Will’s pup, Rosie served as their ring bearer and the couple loved being able to share the day with her.

There were so many really amazing details that I have two favorites: I loved that we got to share our day with our pug, Rosie, who was the flower girl. She is our baby and we were very happy we were able to include her. My second favorite detail was our tying the knot ceremony. Instead of lighting a unity candle, we literally “tied the knot.” My parents used to race sailboats in the Gulf of Mexico. We tied a knot in a rope that they used on their boat back in the day. A very dear friend of ours spoke and then Will’s sister sang. It was definitely one of my favorite parts of the day.

Did you write your own vows? Yes both of us did. I was very surprised at how eloquent Will was. He is normally very laid back and somewhat reserved but his vows were amazing. Usually I am the talkative and expressive one, but he pulled out all the stops and even overcame his fear of public speaking to tell me how much he loved me and to promise that he would love me always in front of our family and friends. Practically our entire wedding party was crying. It was close, but I held it together thank goodness!
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our wedding ceremony was not very traditional but the pastor did read the popular verse I Corinthians 13: 4-7. That Bible verse is pretty much wedding-perfect.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The venue. We got married at the beautiful Windrush Gardens at the LSU Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, LA. There were lots of Southern flowers and huge mossy oaks. We had a big wedding party of nine groomsmen, nine bridesmaids, and two ushers. It was huge, which I think is definitely a Southern thing. Good ol’ Southern hospitality was abundant. Our wedding reception was a cocktail reception with lots of room for mingling and dancing and plenty of refreshments like our signature drinks (strawberry beer and strawberry margaritas). We also used gingham. Will was wearing a gingham bowtie and the groomsmen wore gingham shirts, which definitely added some sweet Southern charm.

We went the nontraditional route with cakes. The wedding was a cake ball cake from a local shop here in Baton Rouge. Will’s brother made the cake topper and it sat on an old suitcase that belonged to Will’s mother. It had two different flavors: some balls were tiramisu cheesecake and other balls were strawberry. The groom’s cake was modeled in the shape of Will’s favorite car: a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa. Half of it had Oreo filling and the other half was filled with chocolate and peanut butter. The cake was a surprise for him. I wanted it to be all of his favorite things in one.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We first met at a wedding in November 2007. Will was a groomsman in the wedding and I attended the wedding as the date of my coworker, Lisa. While Lisa and I were having fun at the reception, we were approached by Kyle, another groomsman. Will came over soon after to see who Kyle was talking to and Will and I hit it off. We made plans for our first date the next day and made it “official” on December 9, 2007. After over three years of dating, Will proposed on the levee of the Mississippi River at the edge of Louisiana State University on May 11, 2011.
Describe the proposal. Will proposed to me during my last finals week at LSU on the same day the ring arrived. I had been studying all day at the apartment for my employment law final that evening. Will’s parents came over for a little bit around dinner time and Will and his dad went downstairs to “look at something on Will’s car.” Instead of looking at the car, Will’s dad was actually giving Will the engagement ring that had arrived at their house a few days before. The four of us went for a quick bite to eat, and then Will dropped me off at my final on campus. Will says that once he had the ring, he couldn’t wait even a day to propose. After I finished my final, Will picked me up in his car and suggested that we check out how high the water was against the Mississippi River levee. (The water had just reached record heights). When we arrived, I thought Will was acting a little strange because he kept trying to steer me away from the other people on the levee. I knew something was going on, so I let him lead me away from the crowd. I even gave Will a hug and “accidentally” brushed Will’s jeans pocket, which caused a big enough reaction that I was pretty certain he was proposing. (I am one of those girls that cannot stand to be surprised. I have to know everything all of the time.) Due to my shameless attempts at ruining the surprise, Will gave up at trying to be stealthy and got down on one knee. I have no clue what he said afterwards, I just responded with “Are you serious?” and then, “Yes, let’s get out of here before people notice you just proposed!” (I was in finals wear and didn’t want an audience.)
In what month did you get married? April
How many guests attended your wedding? Approximately 200
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, we did a first look. Getting great shots of the two of us together in our wedding day finery was very important to me. Everyone warned me that you barely see each other at the reception, so we made sure we had time to be alone on the day. The first look was the perfect time for that. Plus, we got some really great pictures that will last forever!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Wedding party processional was to “Beautiful Day” by U2, performed by the fabulous Gabe Jacobs (a family friend). The bride’s processional was to “Falling Slowly” by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, also performed by Gabe Jacobs. Our ceremony song was “Dream” by Priscilla Ahn, performed by my new sister-in-law. Our recessional was to “All You Need is Love” by The Beatles. For our entrance to the reception, we played “We Are Young” by Fun. Our first dance was to the acoustic version of “Calling You” by Blue October. The f-daughter dance was to “Sweet Child of Mine” by Guns & Roses and the mother-son dance was to “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong. For our last dance, we played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” by Israel Kamakawiwoʻole.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Losing a bridesmaid dress! In January, we shipped a dress to my bridesmaid that lives in North Carolina and she didn’t receive it until after the wedding! It was a disaster because the designer that we used for the bridesmaid dresses went out of business so they couldn’t send us a replacement. We ended up getting a dress online that was not the same but very similar. Thank goodness for J.Crew!
What range did your wedding budget fall into? $10,000-$25,000
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? My wedding planner, Elyse Skansi of Tying the Knot Wedding Coordination. She was invaluable. I cannot say enough good things about her. She completely understood what we wanted our wedding to be like and helped us make it the best day of our lives. Everyone tells me how unique my wedding was and how it felt like us. I even had a few people tell me that it was the best wedding they have ever been to!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? If I were to give any advice to a future bride and groom, it would be to forget about what everyone else does or chooses. Find your inspiration and make your wedding about you as a couple and what makes you happy together.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? Currently, we are looking for our dream home which is very exciting. We are outgrowing our one bedroom apartment rapidly with all of the wedding gifts we received. After that, we are looking forward to some pre-baby traveling (I’ve never been to Europe). Then, our plan is to start a little family.

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Rose {Rose and Ruby Paper Co.} reply

    Absolutely love the colour of the bridesmaids dresses! What a gorgeous setting too! And love the streamers for the grand exit!

  2. avatar Lauren @ Every Last Detail reply

    Love love love the colors! :)

  3. avatar Elyse Skansi reply

    EEKKK! I am so humbled and honored for Kelly and Will’s wedding to be featured! As their planner, I was SUPER excited when they told me they wanted a bright and fun wedding with a ton of details! A designers dream! Thanks so much for recognizing all of our hard work :)

  4. avatar Julia ~ Mrs. Vintage reply

    I love absolutely every sweet detail!! Great job!


  5. avatar Anna reply

    That pug is to die! Love the colorful arrangements.

  6. avatar Indian Wedding Forum reply

    I really like the blog posts and pictures here. I have been here a couple of times earlier as well and I like the information that you share here.

  7. avatar foxgown reply

    congrats,it’s so wondeful

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String lights, all white table settings with sweet succulent-flled details and… a piñata! Maconda + Sacha’s elegant Texas wedding (with a twist) looks like my kind of party. I love how M + S played off the natural beauty of the perfectly Southern The Argyle mansion with their classically understated decor.

I also love the sense of family they so effortlessly created. Reggie from Phenom Photographers, who was on hand to document Maconda + Sacha’s big day, told us that one thing that struck him from the beginning with this couple was the overwhelming feeling of family. From the beginning I just felt like I belonged there, almost like a cousin with a film camera.

Such dapper gents! I ‘m quite fond of the trend of mixed bridesmaid’s dresses, and I must say I love that Sacha and his groomsmen went the mix’n’match route with their tuxes.

I love Maconda’s smile in the photo on the right. Her joy jumps right out of the screen!

The Byrd Collective did a stunning job creating florals that flowed perfectly with the lush landscape of The Argyle lawn. Sometimes less is more – there is such beauty in the simplicity of these arrangements.

How much fun do you bet this was? I love the idea of a piñata at the reception!

Thanks again to Reggie for sharing this beauty with us!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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  2. avatar Rania reply

    Very classical wedding though it is very elegant… I have nothing to add, nothing beats the classic styles no matter how much we try.

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  4. avatar msdressshop reply

    The dress is very beautiful. The fabric is very smooth and it is very shining.

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When someone tells you that they’re getting married at Honey Creek Ranch, doesn’t that make you immediately excited? For a couple like Madeline + Jake, who met when they were 12 years old (while shooting shotguns competitively for Texas 4H shooting sports, no less!), the ranch on the Llano River served as the sweetest place to say “I do.” We love that Madeline + Jake waited to do see each other until she walked down the aisle. I’m sure it was especially emotional since they spent most of their engagement long-distance and didn’t see each other until two days before the wedding! Big hugs go out to The Nichols for sharing this with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew that I wanted to get my dress in New York and I wanted my mom to be there. She flew up and we had four appointments in two days. Vera Wang was my second appointment and while I liked a couple of dresses at each place, the one I ended up picking stood out to me from the very beginning, even though the sample was pink! When I tried it on, it was just so perfect. After all the appointments, my mom and I each ranked our favorite dresses separately and it turned out that both of us put the Vera Wang Isabella dress as our #1. The ladies at Vera Wang were so sweet and they squeezed us in the next morning to come back before my mom left. Jake was with us so he had to patiently wait in the waiting room downstairs while they pulled out the ivory sample from the back and I officially decided that was my dress. After I decided, they hid the dress and brought Jake upstairs so that he could celebrate with us!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Everyone was seated to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” My bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” and our recessional music was Vivaldi’s Spring from “The Four Seasons,” movement 1: Allegro. Our first dance was to “Carried Away” by George Straight and our last dance was to “Then” by Brad Paisley.

We took some vows that Jake liked and edited them a little so that they would be fitting for our life together. My favorite line was, “I will cherish you when we are together and when we are apart” because Jake is in the Army, and we will have to spend a lot of time apart over the next years. It was really important to us to have that line because of how important it is to continue to love each other deeply despite the challenges we will face being apart often.

My brother did a reading of Ephesians 4:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT) for us. “4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding at a ranch, in a barn. There were chickens wandering around the grounds and I gave my husband a gun as his wedding gift — I supposed that is a rather Southern thing to do!

I really wanted simple, loose flowers. I love tall blooming flowers and wanted tons in buckets and boxes that resembled more of a polished but natural wildflower look. I wanted to use beautiful flowers everywhere, to look full. We used purple and white stock flowers, purple and white snapdragons and purple larkspur. We combined that with sand dollar eucalyptus and seeded eucalyptus. I have a close friend from high school who is incredibly talented and creative and she did all the flowers, from the table arrangements to the bouquets and boutonnieres!

Our cake was four tiers and two different flavors. We decided not to do a groom’s cake, but instead to alternate white and chocolate cake tiers so that we were still offering two different flavors. Our white cake flavor was almond cake with a Bavarian cream filling and our chocolate cake was a Guinness beer chocolate cake with raspberry filling. The whole cake was covered in a white almond buttercream icing. My mom made our cake topper!

Eek! I could look at this sweet first dance image of M + J all day. From the looks of this photo, their joy was abundant — and that’s exactly what they wanted their guests to feel at their wedding.

I think my favorite thing about the whole wedding was the atmosphere. I really wanted it to be fun and filled with happiness and it was just so much better than I even imagined. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of having all the most important people in your life there to celebrate with you, on such a precious occasion. There was so much love in the air!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jake and I met when we were 12 years old. We both shot shotguns competitively for Texas 4H shooting sports. Despite living five hours away from each other, we developed a great friendship over the years and would spend weeks during the summer staying at each other’s houses. Jake was the first boy I ever kissed and then we started actually dating later in high school. We broke up my senior year of high school but remained friends. I went to college in Texas at Baylor University and he went to New York at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the summer of 2010, I took an internship in New York City and Jake came into the city to have lunch with me. After that, we started to communicate more and a few months later he invited me to his formal for West Point in January. I think that was the weekend I knew that things were changing between us and I felt like he was the man I was going to marry. After the formal, Jake took me to the airport and as we were saying goodbye, he told me that he loved me and that he was going to marry me. After this, we started dating long distance again as I finished school and graduated. After Jake proposed, I moved to New York City to work, putting us the closest we had ever lived to each other. After 12 years of knowing each other, we are finally in the same place!
Describe the proposal. I was invited to go to the US Virgin Islands with Jake’s family for Christmas of 2011. Jake asked me to go on a walk one evening and I could tell he was a little nervous! We were walking on a hill on St. John, where we were staying. It was getting dark, but we could still see the ocean and parts of the island. After talking a little, Jake got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. It was so exciting and such a happy time! After the proposal, we went back to the house to meet up with his family and we ate grilled cheese and drank champagne. It was so fun and perfect!
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? About 170
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We decided we did not want to do a first look because my favorite part of weddings is seeing the groom’s face when his bride is walking down the aisle. I didn’t like the idea of him seeing me before that moment, so we waited!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? When we started planning our wedding, I was living and working in New York City, my mother was finishing graduate school in St. Louis, Missouri, my father was living and working at my parents’ home in Spring Branch, Texas, and Jake was trying to finish and graduate from West Point, about an hour north of New York City. It was extremely challenging planning that far away from each other! When Jake graduated, he had to stay at West Point to work, but my mom and I both moved back to Spring Branch. It was really helpful to be back with my parents to plan but I didn’t see Jake from the end of May until July 12, 2 days before our wedding!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Hands down, the photographer. Jennifer and CJ Nichols are so incredibly talented. Their photography stood out to me from the second that I discovered them and they were the first vendor we booked! I could not be happier with our photos and I haven’t even seen them all yet! Also, having a month-of coordinator was amazing! Beth from 36th Street Events was so incredible and we would not have had the wedding we had without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jake and I both feel like it was the moment we saw each other for the first time, it was so special to walk toward him down the aisle.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick the things that are most important to you and focus on those, then fill in the rest. I really stuck with a few things that were important to me and I am really happy with how those details and vendors contributed to the wedding. Also, I couldn’t have done it without our month-of coordinator, Beth. I wish I could put into words how awesome she is and how much she helped make our wedding happen. We brought her all of the little pieces and she put it together into this beautiful evening.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are heading to Georgia for Jake to start his training as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. I will be continuing to make art and develop my career. We will spend the next eight years with the Army and so I will be following my husband wherever that leads us. We are looking forward to learning about life together and we are so appreciative of the time we have together right now. It is amazing to finally live in the same place! There will be many challenges ahead with the time we will spend apart but I am so grateful to have him and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I guess by now we are getting pretty good at this long distance thing!

nicoleyang Written with love by Nicole
  1. avatar Elizabeth reply

    This wedding is absolutely gorgeous. Such a sweet story of how Madeline and Jake came together. Madeline’s dress is beautiful, and I love the flowers and use of eucalyptus. And that cake is pretty spectacular. Mom did a great job on the cake topper, too :)

  2. avatar Emily Lawrence reply

    Her dress could not be more breathtaking! And I hope I can find a place as amazing as her’s to have my reception in.

  3. avatar The Nichols reply

    Such a lovely wedding to document! Thanks to Madeline and Jake for including us and thank you to SW for featuring this charming wedding!

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  7. avatar Angela Rando reply

    Beautiful! Love the flowers, especially the bride’s bouquet. The barn is gorgeous.

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  9. avatar Linda reply

    What a beautiful wedding. I love all of the purple touches as well as the rustic feel.

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