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The South is chock-full of beautiful venues, so I always love when we see a wedding at a stunning, new-to-me space! With its dreamy, architectural details, and manicured grounds, Harwelden Mansion could not have made a lovelier setting for Lauren and Tony’s wedding. Originally a private home, the mansion provided an elegant, yet cozy, atmosphere where Lauren and Tony could celebrate with the ones they love. Ever Something‘s naturally beautiful blooms perfectly accentuated the romantic space with a freshly-picked-from-the-garden feel. In addition, Lauren’s mother and grandfather lovingly tended to rosemary and lavender plants all summer so they could supplement the table arrangements with their aromatic leaves–such a sweet touch that smelled just as pretty as it looked!

Big SW hugs to Fleckography for sharing Lauren and Tony’s wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I’ve never been a girly girl, so although I admire fashion, I wasn’t very into the whole process. I did a lot of research online before ever setting foot in a store, and, even when I did, I was still considering non-traditional options in the back of my mind. I went to three stores in all, once with my mom, another time with my aunt, and the last solo. I’m glad I went to the final shop because I knew when I found my dress, it was the one for me. When the dress arrived, it needed some minor alterations, so I took it to Miss Jackson’s, a Tulsa landmark and one of the only department stores in Oklahoma specializing in high-end fashion. The process was so glamorous and the attention to detail was exquisite. I’m so glad I had the experience because only one week after our wedding, the store announced it was closing its doors after “105 years of style.”

Natural beauty was a big part of our aesthetic. I knew that Ever Something here in Tulsa would create arrangements that looked freshly picked from a garden, so I was not too concerned with the specific blooms. After giving Taylor and Katie the color palette, I mentioned I would like to incorporate fresh herbs, like lavender and rosemary. They did the rest! My bouquet was lush, complex, and smelled amazing. We also envisioned a greenery garland to hang over the entrance to the mansion, which was the backdrop to the outdoor ceremony. Another garland hung gracefully from a chandelier over the buffet table. On tables, we had small arrangements that were similar to my bouquet. My sweet family asked to help with decorations, so I suggested they help supplement table arrangements. My mom knew about my love of fresh herbs, so she and my grandfather lovingly tended rosemary and lavender plants all summer, just so we could use the leaves of those plants in votive candles throughout the reception area. It was such a nice touch and, like my bouquet, smelled wonderful.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Harwelden Mansion in midtown Tulsa was built in the 1920s and is a gothic tudor-style home on the National Register of Historic Places. The original architectural details are still in beautiful condition, and the house and grounds lend themselves to a dreamy, vintage setting. Harwelden was originally a private home, so we loved the idea of having a wedding that felt simultaneously elegant and cozy.

What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? This was my favorite part of the ceremony. We chose several quotes and readings from Carl Sagan, Ekhart Tolle, Mark Twain, and Jim Henson. We created our own concept around how rare it is to find your soulmate, the person you love most, in the midst of such a vast universe. Our friend performed the ceremony and he wove them together so beautifully that people asked us for copies.

Our families and friends were so generous with their time. Having their help with everything from moving chairs and tables to solving a pre-ceremony sewing emergency was vital. It wouldn’t have been the same without them, and those are the gifts we’ll remember.

What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We are lucky enough to be involved professionally with a lot of vendors. The nonprofit organization I work for owns the venue we used, and Tony’s company (that same restaurant where we met) catered the reception. A friend sold us wine at a discount, and our beer was donated by a local brewery who worked with Tony frequently. Being able to craft a beautiful day with vendors we knew personally was amazing, not only because it saved us a lot of money, but because we got to work with our friends!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at work! I was making ends meet during my time at the University of Tulsa by waitressing at an Irish pub downtown. Tony was bartending at the bar next door, but he moonlighted once a week at the pub. My first day happened to be on the day of his weekly shift. The first thing he said to me was, “Don’t bother remembering my name, you won’t see much of me.” We managed to get to know each other regardless! I was drawn to Tony’s charm, his sense of humor, and his love of music and books. We spent the next several years in Virginia, ultimately returning to Oklahoma. We clicked immediately and have been filling each other’s lives with laughter ever since.
Tell us all about the proposal! He always surprises me on my birthday, December 23, and I celebrated my 30th in 2014. I knew we were going to a nice dinner, and when we arrived at the restaurant, there were my best friend and her husband from out of town! I thought the surprise ended there, but after dinner, we walked a few blocks to a city park that has beautiful lights around the holiday season. My best friend’s husband, Todd (an amateur photographer), wanted to “test out his new camera” on the lights. We posed for a few photos, and the next thing I knew, Tony was down on one knee and Todd was snapping away. After spending eight years together, It turned out to be the best Christmas gift we could have given our friends and family, and my favorite birthday yet!
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 50 at the ceremony and 150 at the reception
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We fell in love over music, so it was important to us to incorporate it into our day. It ended up being one of my favorite details! Tony was in charge and chose a 1960s-themed soundtrack. At the ceremony, we played all Beatles and Beach Boys songs. I walked down the aisle to M. Ward’s instrumental cover of “You Still Believe in Me,” a Beach Boys original. The reception was a party from the start–we played all 1960s R&B. People loved it, especially our parents’ generation! Our first dance was to Sam Cooke’s “Nothing Can Change This Love.” I danced with my dad to Buddy Holly’s “True Love Ways.” Music was also the theme for our party favors. Keeping with a DIY sensibility, Tony curated a mixtape, and I designed the cover art. We made and printed every detail. During those long days of wedding projects, we found that listening to and talking about possible tracks was a great way to relax and spend time together.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? After being together for eight years, we started the wedding planning process with a firm commitment to each other. Advice from family and friends kept us grounded, but planning the wedding together taught us a lot about our shared vision. Our friend married us and was great about pre-wedding sessions, so it was a fun experience to relive our relationship as we discussed the ceremony with him.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? We both have family members with physical limitations, so our timeline had to accommodate people who may not be able to stand for long periods of time, or who needed to leave early. We made it work by communicating with specific vendors and making the plans for group photos and other moments early in the planning process.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Stick to your guns, but be graceful. If you have a difference of opinion, you’ll most likely be disagreeing with someone you love very much. It’s important to honor them and listen, but to be fair to yourself. If someone wants to help, delegate! Most of all, remember to have fun. At the end of the day, the details fade in comparison to the feeling of being surrounded by so much love all at once.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? For now, we are enjoying our time as newlyweds, cooking each other extravagant dinners and spending time together. We are also looking forward to future travels as a married couple!

Photographer: Fleckography | Venue: Harwelden Mansion | Florist: Ever Something | Cake Baker: Ann’s Bakery | Caterer: McNellie’s Group Catering | Rentals: ABCO Rents Tulsa | DJ: Hank Hanewinkel III | Paper Products: Tortoise Belly | Bride’s Gown: “Rosemary” by Sottero & Midgley | Bride’s Hair Accessories: Kathy Johnson | Hair Stylist: First Ward | Bride’s Shoes: “Sofia” in Blue by Betsey Johnson | Groom’s Attire: Beshara’s Formal Wear

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Any man who takes cooking lessons before a first date to impress a girl with his culinary skills sounds like a keeper to me! Claire clearly thought the same thing about Matthew, and two years after their delicious first date, they began planning an intimate beach wedding. Rosemary Beach, Florida is a favorite destination for quite a few of the SW gals (Marissa even chose it for our Dream Southern Summer Wedding series), and I love the elegant spin Claire and Matthew put on their beach destination!

    Thank you kindly to Pure 7 Studios for sharing Claire and Matthew’s lovely wedding day with us!

    My mother, sister, grandmother, mother-in-law, and I spent a day going from one bridal shop to the next in Birmingham. We found a dress that we liked at every place, but I couldn’t pull the trigger. The last place on our list was the White Room in Cahaba Heights, AL. We found two dresses I liked, but I chose the more simple dress for our beach wedding. When I picked it, my grandmother burst into tears, saying it was the one she had wanted me to pick. We were all so happy!!

    Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? We did not do a first look. I wanted to see Matt’s face for the first time when I walked down the aisle. However, since it was a beach wedding, we did spend the entire morning together, which was a nice way to stay calm before the wedding. It’s hard to be stressed or nervous when you are lounging on the beach!

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There was a full moon and a beautiful beach breeze blowing that night. We looked around at the reception and it sunk in that we had our family there helping us to celebrate our love for each other. We loved taking pictures on the beach after the ceremony–the setting sun on the beach was beautiful. Some of the people renting a bungalow near us sent me pictures they took of us that evening. One little girl even told her mom I looked like a princess. It was a magical night!

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: It’s so hard to choose! The menu provided by Townsend Catering for the reception was divine. Brian at Myrtie Blue created a perfect ambiance with flowers, candles and lighting, as well as an intimate seating arrangement. Music performed by acoustic guitarist, Kyle Lamonica, was wonderful. It really set the mood for the reception. Many beach tourists stood outside the garden reception on the cobble streets and sipped wine while listening to Kyle. Meanwhile, Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing took care of all the details, so we didn’t have to worry about a thing!

    The bride and bridesmaid bouquets were made of white cymbidium orchids and peonies, tied with white silk dupioni, created by Brian at Myrtie Blue. Flowers for the wedding and reception included centerpieces featuring white hydrangea, peonies and orchids with white knob glass and mercury glass, A backdrop for the Town Hall was made of fig twigs with lights and white hydrangea. It was so unique and dramatic.

    Our first dance was to “In Your Eyes” by Peter Gabriel, played and sang by Kyle LaMonica, an acoustic guitarist who played at our reception. I danced with my dad to “Stand By Me” by Ben King, which is our favorite song. Matt and his mom danced to “Sweet Baby James” by James Taylor.

    Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had a three-tiered wedding cake covered in roses made of icing. It featured French vanilla fondant with alternating layers of strawberry cream and white chocolate. It was a work of art! It was so beautiful and tasted wonderful.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We were both attending the University of Alabama at Birmingham to get our undergraduate degrees. I was studying mechanical engineering and Matt was a pre-med student. We had a mutual friend who was majoring in mechanical engineering and also going to med school. I used to go to our friend’s dorm before class to study, and Matt would be there hanging out with him and his roommates. For our first date, Matt made a special dinner for me: chicken in a wine sauce. He got his uncle to give him cooking lessons beforehand, just so he could impress me, and it definitely worked! We dated for two years before becoming engaged.
    Tell us all about the proposal! Matt knew I wanted a more intimate proposal, rather than a public one. When I woke up one morning and walked upstairs for breakfast, I found Matt on his knee at the top of the staircase with the engagement ring. I’m sure he said something sweet, but in all honesty, I was crying so much from excitement, I have no idea what it was!
    When did y’all get married? June 2, 2012
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 24
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We took bits and piece from different vows we had found on the internet, picking our favorite lines from each. My favorite line was simply, “Matt, I love you. You are my best friend.” Very simple, but the complete truth.
    What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? We did not have any readings at the wedding. We were supposed to have one, but between the heat and my fitted dress, I was feeling lightheaded, so I asked the minister to speed the ceremony up.
    What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a destination wedding is particularly difficult, because you are unfamiliar with local vendors. We hired wedding planners-Jennifer Warwick-Lewis and Jennifer Fischer from It’s A Shore Thing. They did an excellent job helping us select a venue for the wedding and giving us suggestions of local vendors that worked well for our wedding and budget. Making sure we handled the details for all of our guests was a challenge too. We had to find enough places for everyone to stay. Luckily, the Inn could accommodate everyone.
    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? Pure 7 Studios did an excellent job capturing all of our special memories. Ultimately, many things are forgotten by the time the wedding is over, but Eric and Lindsey did a wonderful job! They took pictures for the wedding and fit in perfectly with our family.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to Matt completing medical school and beginning our family together!!

    Photographer: Pure 7 Studios / Planner: It’s a Shore Thing / Venue: Town Hall, Rosemary Beach / Florals and Lighting: Brian at Myrtie Blue / Cake Baker: Confections On The Coast / Rentals and Catering: Townsend Caterer / Band: Kyle LaMonica / Bride’s Gown: Watters / Paper Products: Gwins Stationery / Hair Stylist: Vivo Hair Salon / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaid Dresses: LulaKate / Men’s Attire: Jos A. Bank / Groom’s Bow Tie: Vineyard Vines

    Myrtie Blue is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

    lisa Written with love by Lisa
    24 Comments
    1. avatar Emily reply

      I love that they have fond memories of interacting with casual beachgoers — sharing the joy of your wedding day with random strangers (and lots of little girls!) is one of the most fun things about a wedding day, I think!

    2. avatar Dana reply

      love his suit and her gown. perfect together!

    3. avatar erica reply

      The feature looks absolutely beautiful. We loved photographing this lovely couple and family. Thank you so much for sharing!

    4. avatar Kyle LaMonica reply

      Enjoyed taking a trip down memory lane! It was a pleasure performing for Claire and Matt’s family back in June of 2012!

    5. avatar Mike reply

      We were at Rosemary Beach that weekend- it was the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen

    6. avatar Lori Finlen reply

      Claire & Matt had a beautiful wedding thanks to wonderful vendors and a magical night!

    7. avatar Emily reply

      It was absolutely perfect!!! And I am so glad we have all of these amazing photos. A wedding is such a beautiful thing to be a part of, esp my little sister’s, but you get caught up and can’t remember the details that made it so perfect, so these are a wonderful reminder of that day.

    8. avatar Best of 2013: Menswear – Southern Weddings Magazine reply

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    9. avatar Betty reply

      The most beautiful weekend I have ever been apart of! Congratulations Matt and Claire!

    10. avatar Trey reply

      I love my beautiful sister and my new brother in law!! We were totally rockin the seer sucker suit!!!

    11. avatar Sarah reply

      What a beautiful wedding!!!

    12. avatar Jessica Albers reply

      Gorgeous! Love the centerpieces and the brides orchid bouquet!

    13. avatar caitlin vitale reply

      You guys look great!!!!!!

    14. avatar Susanna Carter reply

      These pictures are beautiful! Congrats to the happy couple!

    15. avatar Rachael reply

      I love the colors and orchids! Congrats!

    16. avatar Lauren V. reply

      Best Wishes to you both!!!

    17. avatar Brittney Ankersen reply

      So pretty! You made a gorgeous bride!! And love the seer sucker : )

    18. avatar Nida reply

      Your sister told me all about it! It sounded perfect!!

    19. avatar Claire reply

      Thank you all so much for all of the wonderful comments. Matt and I had an amazing day and we are so flattered to have been highlighted.

    20. avatar Carolyn T. reply

      I remember when you were a little girl sitting in my classroom and now your are married. Congratulations to you and Matt!

    21. avatar Steve and Susan reply

      It was stunning! We are so glad we could share that day with the bride and groom.

    22. avatar Lauren reply

      your wedding looks beautiful Claire, i especially loved the colors you chose!

    23. avatar Helmig Clemonds Bash {Sneak Peek} | Shannon Gail Weddings and Events reply

      […] Credits (left to right/top to bottom): Elizabeth Anne Designs | Style Me Pretty | Southern Weddings | Style Me Pretty | Elizabeth Anne Designs | Bollea Floral Design | Designs by Dee | Brides.com […]

    24. avatar FEATURED FRIDAY| Pure7 Studios in 2013 reply

      […] on 30A in one of our favorite 30A wedding venues, called Rosemary Beach. Make sure you see their full spread for any needed wedding […]

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