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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 oh.my.stars!!) 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 Comment
  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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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
2 Comments
  1. avatar Lyndi reply

    Goodness I love all this color!!

  2. avatar The Happy Bloom reply

    Thank you for the beautiful feature! xoxo!

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My favorite details from my wedding were the ones that looked gorgeous on that day, but could then be reused or incorporated into our newlywed home. Not only was this a win for our budget, it also now makes me so happy to see those items on a daily basis and be reminded of their first use. Callie and Chris struck gold when it comes to wedding details that can be part of their home for years to come–Callie’s dad built the gorgeous wooden farm tables that were used at the reception by hand! One now lives in Callie and Chris’ dining room, and I can only imagine how special it is for the two of them to pull up a chair there every day to relax and reconnect over a meal. Thanks to their shared love of big, family-style, Southern dinners, I’m sure they’re not the only ones who get to continue enjoying that table, too!

Thank you so much to Becca Lea for sending this joyful day our way!

I found my dress at Lewisville Bridal Boutique. I knew I waned something long-sleeved that reminded me of Grace Kelly. Other than that, I knew I didn’t want anything with lace or beading. I tried on maybe two or three dresses and couldn’t stop smiling when I put on the last one. It was a long-sleeved Berta gown with a long train, lace, and beading…of course.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Chris and I did do a first look. We chose to after talking to some of our friends and decided that we wanted an intimate moment alone together before all the craziness of the day began. We also wanted that time to have our pictures done so we wouldn’t feel rushed after the ceremony.

I chose to walk down the aisle to “Ever Be” by Bethel. It’s a beautiful song about Christ and the love He has for His bride. Throughout the song, there’s a chorus of God’s devotion, faithfulness and endurance for us. This was a sweet picture to me of what our marriage should be. It was meaningful and mirrored Christ’s heart for us.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did not write our own vows, but when Chris and I took communion together, he read some verses out loud to me as we broke bread. We then prayed together over our marriage and our new life together. It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding day.

I had seen the White Sparrow Barn on Instagram a few months before we got engaged and absolutely fell in love with it. It had just opened a few weeks earlier and I knew I wanted to get married there. We wanted an outdoor ceremony with a relaxed, family-style feeling for the reception, and we didn’t want our guests to have to travel too far outside of Dallas. The White Sparrow ended up being the perfect fit.

My dad has a knack for building things and he made all of our head tables with wood from our ranch. For the sweetheart table Chris and I sat at, he used curved branches to create a more detailed look. It meant so much to me to know that my dad took the time to build our tables from scratch. We even use one as our dining table now!

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? Chris and I LOVE Texas and all things Southern. We had custom corn hole boards made with our monogram and wedding colors for our guests to enjoy during cocktail hour. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable and enjoy themselves. For dinner, we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans, biscuits, gravy, corn, and sweet tea, all served family-style in big bowls on farm tables, which was exactly what I had always wanted. I love the Southern tradition of eating family-style, and really wanted to bring all our guests together this way. We also had a large fabric sign made to say “Texas Forever” in calligraphy that we hung at our rehearsal dinner and above our guest table at the wedding.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Fireworks! Chris and I love fireworks and I had always dreamed of getting married on the 4th of July, but our timing didn’t quite work out. Instead, my parents guided everyone outside after we cut the cake for a surprise fireworks show! We also used a Bible as our guest book, which has been so sweet to read now that we’re married. We asked our guests to highlight their favorite verse and write a note to us about their prayer for our marriage, or why that verse is significant to them.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I met in college at Texas A&M (whoop!). We were friends for five years, but we always liked each other. Several years after college, we finally started dating and knew instantly we wanted to spend forever together.
Tell us all about the proposal! Last August, I went on a weekend trip with my parents to visit my grandparents, who were volunteering at Glen Eyrie in Colorado Springs. The Glen is one of my favorite places because it has such a beautiful view of Pike’s Peak, Garden of the Gods, and a castle on site! Chris knew that and had a surprise up his sleeve. After arriving, my grandpa and I decided to go for a hike up to one of my favorite lookouts. As I rounded the corner at the top of our hike (my 70-something grandpa keeping pace behind me), I looked up, and much to my surprise, Chris was waiting for me a few feet ahead! This whole time, he had told me he was visiting his parents in Houston, but he had actually jumped on a plane the night before and had been waiting in Colorado to surprise me. He took me by the hand and guided me to an even better spot, where he got down on one knee and asked me to be his wife. And of course, he had a photographer hiding in the bushes. I couldn’t have dreamed of anything better!
When did y’all get married? March 19, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Describe your wedding flowers. I had a large bouquet with lots of greenery, peonies, Juliet roses, and pops of light pink and peach. My bouquet was one of my favorite things from our wedding. I am a huge fan of flowers, and Briley (of OhDeery Floral) made all my floral dreams come true. I was absolutely blown away by all of her creations. We had long farm tables and placed greenery all the way down them. On the head table, we used bridesmaid bouquets and some fillers that were gorgeous. Above one of the archways inside the barn, Briley also made a stunning arbor of flowers and greenery. I could not have been more pleased with the result.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. We had so many flavors of wedding cake! We chose several mini cakes to put on display. On top of that, we had mini cobblers (to fit our Southern theme), cookies, and tarts. We also had fire pits set up outside with s’mores stations on cute gold bar carts, and a hot chocolate bar.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Chris and I went through premarital counseling prior to our wedding. We went through a book called “Catching Foxes” and met with an older couple each week who counseled us throughout our engagement. It was such a blessing to have their wisdom and encouragement during our engagement, and it helped us start praying and planning for our marriage, not just the wedding.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? My grandma and mom made all of our napkins. They sewed fabric that fit into our blue color scheme and worked on them over the course of our engagement. My mom also started buying Walmart out of all their silver utensils so we would have plenty for our family-style meal without having to rent them. Instead of putting flower arrangements on all the guest tables, I chose to re-purpose our bridesmaid bouquets on the head table, and use simple greenery on the guest tables.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We just bought a fixer upper and have been renovating it ourselves! We’re enjoying learning how to do life together as a married couple.

Photographer: Becca Lea | Videographer: Paul Bailey | Planner: Lindsey Brunk | Venue: The White Sparrow | Florist: Oh Deery | Dessert Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets | Caterer: Seven Loaves Catering | Rentals: The Olive Bench | Band: In10city | Calligraphy: Fig and Flourish Calligraphy | Paper Products: Confetti Grey | Bride’s Gown: Berta | Bridal Salon: Lewisville Bridal Boutique | Hair and Makeup: Tracy Melton Artistry | Bride’s Shoes: Jeffrey Campbell | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” by Jenny Yoo | Groom’s Attire: Tommy Hilfiger | Groomsmen Attire: The Black Tux | Custom Cornhole Boards: West Georgia Cornhole

Sugar Bee Sweets is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
7 Comments
  1. avatar Becca Lea reply

    Thank you so much for featuring this beautiful wedding!

  2. avatar LAURI KENT reply

    BEAUTIFUL!!

  3. avatar Callie and Chris Wedding – Southern Weddings | The White Sparrow Barn reply

    […] SOUTHERN WEDDINGS FEATURE […]

  4. avatar Skylar Caitlin reply

    That “Texas Forever” sign is so adorable!! Also, love how they used the cafe lights outside. Not only do they provide aesthetically pleasing light, but they practically define the reception space.

  5. avatar Dallas Outdoor Wedding Venue | The White Sparrow, Outdoor Weddings reply

    […] photos in this post are courtesy of Becca Lea, and were recently featured on Southern Weddings. Be sure to take a […]

  6. avatar Madeleine reply

    Hi! That Texas forever sign is BEAUTIFUL and I want something similar for my wedding. Which vendor is it from? Thanks!!

  7. avatar Wedding Planning Update – Kyla Mary reply

    […] source: Becca Lea via Southern Weddings […]

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