Meet my new favorite dress! Isn’t she fantastic? When I came upon this dress, I knew I had to have her and would find an occasion for her later. We had our friends’ wedding this weekend in Virginia, and this was the first thing I packed.
A big part of building my wardrobe has been mixing high and low pieces. Not everything has to be a name brand or of a certain price point, but instead, I focus on purchasing things I absolutely love and filling in the gaps with less expensive items. For example, I splurged on this dress but found these simple gold heels and this fun bag at great prices to complete my look. I can’t wait to wear this again!
Sometimes you come across a piece that you just have to have. You have nowhere to wear it and definitely don’t need it, but it’s coming home with you. That’s how I felt when I came across this dress. I had been eyeing it for awhile, but when I recently saw that it went on sale, I pulled the trigger.
Once I put it on, I realized that I could dress it up or down. You don’t need a special occasion after all! Last Saturday night I wore it to our favorite Mexican restaurant in town, Javier’s, but you could totally wear it to a summer wedding as well!
I’m realizing that I have so many clothes that I love but feel I need a “special occasion” to wear them. But why? I need to wear what makes me happy and feel good! Put on the dress you’ve been saving, gals, and have some fun!
Thanks for stopping by! XO, MS
P.S. Don’t forget when you shop Mignonne Gavigan, you can use my discount code MARYSANFORD15.
I feel like the spring is usually full of events from weddings to Easter and Mother’s Day. Something’s always going on, so I found you the perfect dress for at least one of your upcoming events. I mean, if you’re a bride, you need this!! Blue and white toile is definitely a favorite of mine in home decor and clothing, and on this dress, it’s fab! All you need are a pair of simple heels and a dainty earring to complete the look. Happy spring!
I’m in the life stage where many of my friends are getting engaged and married! It’s definitely an exciting time, but it can also be challenging when you’re trying to pick out the perfect gift for this special occasion. Above, I’ve linked some of my favorite gifts I received and things I think would commemorate this occasion perfectly. All I want my besties to feel is oh so loved when their engagements happen!
It can be overwhelming trying to find dresses perfect for all of the showers, the parties and the rehearsal dinner when you’re a bride. There are so many decisions that need to be made when you’re planning a wedding, so let me help you eliminate some of those decisions by rounding up some fabulous white dresses perfect for those events. Finding your wedding dress is hard enough! I hope you love the dresses I selected.
These heels are just waiting for a party! Have you checked out Nicola Bathie’s collaboration with Antonio Melani for Dillard’s? Well, it’s filled with everything you may need for the holidays including these heels, sparkly dresses and festive accessories! I wore them this past weekend for a rehearsal dinner, and I was impressed with how comfortable they were. The platform definitely makes a difference. You can also get these heels in black and emerald velvet.
Below I have linked a few more of my favorite items for the collaboration!
“Lizzie McGuire, you are an outfit repeater!” I love this dress so much that I’ve worn it the last three out of four weekends for different wedding related events. Behind my wedding and rehearsal dinner dresses, this might be my next favorite. Gosh, I just love it. Typically I wouldn’t spend this much on a dress, but I knew that I would have quite a few opportunities to wear it coming up.
I had trouble finding the perfect shoe to go with it, though. Obviously, the dress is the statement, so I wanted to find a heel that was sleek and comfortable. My black heels felt too harsh against the green, and my white heels felt too summery. Since I splurged on the dress, I didn’t want to splurge on my heels too. I’m pleased with how this look came together!
Between this coming May and last, Henry and I will have been to and/or in 10 weddings. That means lots of party dresses needed! I recently purchased this beauty for a bridesmaids luncheon, and I plan on wearing it to a rehearsal dinner too in just a couple of weeks. Because we have so many events coming up, I am buying just a few dresses that will work for several of the occasions. This piece is a little different from what I usually gravitate towards, so I was happy when I stumbled upon it!
I have a few more fun dresses cued up for you, so be on the look out!
Finding the perfect dress was one of my favorite parts of wedding planning but also maybe one of the toughest. Let me tell you why, but first, a little background on my process. A few things I knew I wanted going in were straps, texture and a v neckline. My mom, grandmother and I visited three Dallas bridal salons: Warren Barron, Bridal Salon at Neiman Marcus and Stanley Korshak Bridal Salon. We did this all in one day which was helpful because I needed to see what my options were and make a decision quickly due to a short engagement.
I was very hard on myself when it came to choosing my dress, and I think that’s because I work in fashion and didn’t want to choose a dress that everyone had seen before. I wanted my dress to be unique, special to me and a showstopper. Yes, Dallas has a great number of bridal salons, but I kept thinking I was missing out on something else. I essentially needed to make a decision that week, so traveling to another bridal salon wasn’t an option.
After trying on quite a few dresses, I kept coming back to this Monique Lhuillier. I knew there were a few different things we could add that would make this dress a one of a kind. Once I decided this was my dress, we placed the order with extra lace to make the jacket. I thought the jacket would be the perfect addition for our church ceremony – conservative, polished and feminine. Our seamstress not only hand placed and sewed each piece of lace onto the tulle jacket, but she also tied the most beautiful bow that was ready to go on the wedding day. The blush ribbon was added to accentuate my waist, bring out the blush in the dress and add another dimension to the overall look. Finally, we added a simple blush veil to tie it all together. Because there were so many details already, we decided to go with a plain veil instead of one with lace or beading.
I wouldn’t change a thing about the dress I wore, but I thought it could be fun to show you guys a few other dresses I tried.
This Vera Wang is the first dress I tried and loved. I was drawn to the nude underskirt, the coordinating lace veil and the lace cap sleeves, but there was a problem. The lace sleeve prevented me from dancing, and dancing was one of the things I was looking forward to most.
Next, I tried this three dimensional Mira Zwillinger dress with the coordinating veil. I don’t like wearing strapless, but if I did, I’d wear this stunner. I love how the flowers add so much texture to an otherwise sleek and simple dress.
Are you open to wearing a little color on your wedding day? Initially, I would’ve said absolutely not, but after seeing this Monique Lhuillier beauty, I considered it. If I had chosen this dress, I was going to make the front all one length and probably add a fuller skirt.
You can probably tell that I have a thing for Monique Lhuillier. I just love how every single one of her dresses is feminine, elegant, drapes perfectly and falls softly. No matter your figure, there is a Monique dress for you.
As you can see, the Magnificent dress is very similar to the Maeve dress I chose. There is a long sleeve jacket and a fuller skirt you can layer on top. This is an easy way to switch up your ceremony and reception looks without having two dresses. I remember feeling like Kate Middleton when I put this one on.
The Monique Lhuillier Bloom dress was my runner up. I mean, how stunning! It’s funny how different my final two dresses were. Maeve is traditional in cut and fabric, and Bloom is more fashion forward with the print, color and texture. I had such a hard time deciding between the two, but once again, I had to think about my dancing capabilities. There was very little arm mobility in this dress, so I had to sadly say goodbye to Bloom. In my next life, she’s all mine!
I had so much fun going down memory lane with you! I can’t believe that this was exactly 11 months ago. Wow, how much has changed since then!
Hi friends! We are three months into marriage, and I’m finally getting a chance to share all of our wedding day details. As many of you know, it takes many hands and lots of time to plan a wedding, so this may explain why it’s taken me so long to get all of this together. There is just so much to cover! Shout out to our wedding planner, Audrey Hurst, for making our vision come to life!
Location, location, location
I’ve known since the beginning of high school that I wanted to get married in the church I grew up attending, Christ United Methodist Church, and then have the reception at the Annesdale Mansion. Annesdale has always been a bit mysterious to me because it sits behind a grand gate with trees covering its facade. You can see bits of its Italianate architecture and the stunning gardens from the street, but you have to look up photos online to get a better glimpse of its beauty. From the moment I first drove by, this 1855 mansion on eight acres was calling my name. When I finally got to tour the property, mind you after we had paid the deposit, I was thrilled that my parents and Henry were allowing my dreams to come true. I love old homes and architecture, and Henry often makes fun of me because I would rather live in a home that was built 100 years ago instead of something that was built in the last decade.
Henry and I had a general idea of when we wanted to get married because we knew he would most likely be attending business school this fall. From there, we chose our wedding date based on Annesdale’s availability. Call me crazy, but I had our wedding date before we were even engaged. That’s how much I wanted to get married here. I also knew that there would be a ton of brides rescheduling their weddings due to covid, so if this is what we wanted, I better go ahead and get it on the books.
Once we had our venues locked in, my mom and grandmother made the trip to Dallas to go dress shopping. We visited three salons: Warren Barron, Neiman Marcus and Stanley Korshak. A few things I knew I wanted were straps, texture and a v neckline. After trying on dozens of dresses that Saturday, I had to take a couple of days to figure out which dresses were the most “me.” I took my trusty maid of honor, Margaret, back to Warren Barron a few days later to try on my favorites once more. I needed her encouragement! I ended up choosing the beautiful Monique Lhuillier Maeve gown that I will forever love. Instead of purchasing the matching jacket, we chose to create our own for a more conservative look for the church. I took it off for the reception but kept the blush ribbon on for the whole night.
There is so much more that went into my dress decision that I will share in a separate blog post. Be on the lookout!
Of course, your wedding day ensemble isn’t complete without shoes and jewelry! I knew I wanted a shoe that was going to be comfortable for all day wear, so I went with the white Loeffler Randall block heel – love the bows! I have these heels in gold and have worn them to countless weddings and events, so I knew just what to expect. I also wanted to buy a shoe that I knew I would wear again, and, guess what?! I already have.
Now it’s jewelry time. Other than my engagement ring and a dainty bracelet Henry had given me, I wanted to find the perfect pair of earrings to complete my look. Lucky for me, I have a very talented friend who designs beautiful jewelry. Taylor Miller Turner runs Hazen & Co and added a bridal line to her jewelry business after her own wedding. I selected these elegant pearl drop earrings. Aren’t they just perfect?!
Our wedding suite
Your options are endless when it comes to designing your wedding invitations. The fonts, the paper, color schemes, whether you go modern or more traditional… This part of the planning can be very overwhelming! We chose to go a more traditional route since that was an overall theme for the wedding.
The women at Stovall Collection are fabulously skilled at all things paper, stationary and invitations. They even designed our wedding monogram that was found on the save-the-date, the formal invitations, cups and napkins, our wedding cake and the dance floor. The gold script, the blue bow, the gold tissue liner and the crisp paper came together beautifully! Now I just need to get it framed.
Before the wedding invites were shipped off, they went to our calligrapher. She addressed each envelope in a matching gold ink.
My girls, my bridesmaids
Light blue is one of my very favorite colors, so I knew I wanted there to be touches of it throughout our wedding weekend. Bella Bridesmaids has hundreds of dress options, so I narrowed it down to my favorite shade of light blue and a dress style that I thought would look great on everyone. The most important thing to me was that each girl felt both beautiful and confident in her dress.
Taylor Turner, of Hazen, and I also worked together to come up with earrings for each of my bridesmaids. We chose these mother of pearl clovers and added a touch of light blue to coordinate with their light blue dresses. Thank you Taylor for creating these dreamy earrings! I hoped these would be pieces that the girls would wear later, and they surely have! From there, each bridesmaid got to choose her hairstyle, shoes and any other jewelry she wanted to wear.
Before they slipped into their light blue dresses, they lounged in these fun blue and white striped pjs! I knew we had a long day ahead, so comfort was key. I should’ve given them slippers too because it was rather chilly inside the Annesdale. Click here to shop the pjs I wore too! We have some great photos of us hanging out that I will cherish forever.
Do you remember the “Down by the valley” chant you sang in elementary school? Well that is what we are singing here haha… Who knew that each city had their own version!
Hair + makeup
We had the most fabulous makeup artist, Alicia Lee, do our makeup for the ceremony and reception. She made us look beautiful and natural without us feeling cakey – the worst! She worked her magic, and our makeup lasted all night! Not only are her makeup skills just fantastic, but she’s also hilarious! She kept the mood light and fun all day which I really appreciated. I hope to work with her again!
All of my bridesmaids have great hair, so Mina and Vanessa from Capelli salon had a field day with them. I let each girl choose how they wanted to wear their hair, but most chose half up half down with curls. Of course, we needed tons of hairspray and teasing to get us through the night!
Side note: I’m really glad we had two hairstylists and one makeup artist. Three girls could be getting ready at once which made the day more efficient.
I did both a makeup and a hair trial. During our makeup trial, Alicia told me to find a lip liner and lipstick that I wanted to wear the day of. It was nice to have my own lipstick, so I could reapply throughout the night. Once again, my trusty MOH, Margaret, was there to remind me!
The hair took a couple of tries to nail down, but I think that’s because I’m so used to doing my own hair. I tried an updo (which fell down in 30 minutes) and then tried multiple half up half down styles. I have a lot of hair, so the updo was just too heavy to stay intact. The half up half down styles were better suited for my hair, but I didn’t want too much volume. We ended up finding the right amount to keep my hair intact all night without it looking like I had a bump-it in!
All things floral
I will be the first to admit that I know very little about flowers. I know when something looks beautiful, but that’s about it. Our planner started the flower conversation by showing us a variety of options. That meant showing us flowers from other weddings and from Pinterest, of course. I didn’t want a lot of color – mainly whites, ivories, blushes and greenery. Lots and lots of greenery.
Audrey showed me a photo of an arrangement with pretty soft corals mixed in with the whites, ivories and greenery. I loved that look, so we decided to put a similar arrangement at the champagne station right as guests walked in. I do also have an obsession with blue and white ginger jars, so you will see a lot of those throughout the reception.
Garden District definitely brought our vision to life with the stunning focal point in the church, the beautiful arrangements throughout the Annesdale, the bouquets and of course, the floral arch highlighting Annesdale’s porte cochere. Our guests walked through the arch to get their champagne and enter the reception.
We also wanted to make the wedding cake a focal point against the fireplace. Garden District adorned the mantel and the surrounding area with a flower explosion. It wasn’t exactly what I envisioned, but it turned out beautifully. If this was the one “miss,” then we were absolutely successful in planning our dream wedding!
Our first look
I was SO against doing a first look with Henry for the longest time. In fact, up until a week or so before our wedding. I wanted him to see me for the first time walking down the aisle, veil over my face with all the drama. Something just seemed so special about that moment.
It turns out that I’m anxiety prone, and our night would be much more rushed if we didn’t do pictures before the ceremony. We both knew we would enjoy the night much more if we weren’t rushing. This turned out to be the greatest decision! We were able to have some time alone before the ceremony to be excited together, calm our nerves and just enjoy our special day. Not to mention, we got some fabulous photos because of it.
Have your cake and eat it too
As you can imagine, Henry and I had a great time designing the cakes and choosing the flavors. We kept the design of the main wedding cake simple, but we did have some fun with the groom’s cake. The flowers surrounding the wedding cake were enough! Originally, I wanted to surprise Henry with the design of the groom’s cake, but since I was making a lot of the decisions, this was a great place for him to get involved and have some fun. Let’s be real, he didn’t care about the flowers we chose or the furniture we rented.
Henry and I met at SMU, so naturally, Dallas Hall, SMU’s first and most prominent building, had to be the focal point. Our beloved first born, Murphy, was highlighted too! We couldn’t resist adding that scruffy boy. Laura from Flour Garden is a master! Can you believe Dallas Hall is cake?! She can create just about anything you can imagine, so if you’re in Memphis, you must use her. They taste good too!
Henry’s favorite cake flavor is Italian cream, and mine is chocolate. No surprise there if you know me even just a little bit. We chose to have Italian cream and wedding cake make up the main cake and then chocolate for the groom’s cake. All were fantastic.
CFY came highly recommended to us by our planner for their creativity and excellent food. I’ve been to several weddings they’ve catered, and the food was always fabulous. One thing’s for sure, Henry and I love to eat. We love to try new restaurants and enjoy delicious meals. This was one part of the wedding planning Henry looked forward to most, especially since we got to have so much input. We knew we didn’t want generic wedding food. We wanted to have some fun with the dishes we offered, and I believe we accomplished that.
We were blown away by how the honeycomb bar turned out. Guests got to build their own biscuit with honey, fried chicken, ham and bacon. It was definitely a hit! Another one of my favorites was the truffle slider. Oh my goodness, that burger melted in your mouth. I could’ve had 10.
CFY also has an incredible staff. They were so courteous, attentive and assigned one staff member to Henry and me. She consistently checked on us to make sure we had enough food and drink. Henry and I found this to be helpful, so we could focus on mingling and enjoying the night rather than chasing down a glass of champagne.
Oh my goodness, there are countless bands out there. Where do you even start?! We found our band, 1 More Song, through Atlanta’s EastCoast Entertainment. I cannot tell you how many promo videos I watched to sift through the variety of bands ECE offers. Many of them were fairly similar, but we chose 1 More Song based on their personality, their engagement with the crowd and of course, their song choices. If you’re going to play oldies, I’m in!
Live music is one of our favorite parts of a wedding, so having a band over a DJ was the right choice for us. I will say, 1 More Song made the entire wedding party dance on stage which we could’ve lived without. This definitely wasn’t in the contract!! Otherwise, Henry and I were both pleased with our band selection.
The Annesdale was a blank canvas, a beautiful blank canvas at that. We could really arrange the reception however we wanted. There were quite a few rooms on the first floor and a lush garden and lawn to use. It made the most sense to put the tent and dance floor on top of the back patio. This way we didn’t have to build our own floor – think $$$.
I love the pendants we hung in the tent! Funny story – three of these were stuck on a ship in the middle of the ocean, so we ended up using something different in the garden. When it comes to wedding planning, you’ve got to roll with the punches.
Next we used the garden to house a big bar, a couple of food stations and lots of seating. It was really important to Henry and I that there was ample seating for guests to enjoy their food or to just take a break from the dance floor. Most of the rentals you see came from White Door Events including these beautiful bamboo chairs. Our planner had the great idea of styling each area with unique furniture. I love the way this turned out!
I also wanted to include a more casual lounge area for our guests to enjoy, so these french sofas and chairs were the perfect addition. I love how this conversation area turned out centered around one of Garden District’s beautiful arrangements.
We offered even more seating between the dance floor and the house. There we used Annesdale’s gold chiavari chairs. This was a great way for us to create a transition between spaces and save a little bit of money. We also used these tables and chairs inside near other food stations. White Door is the best, so if you have an upcoming event, you must use them! You will love the variety of furniture and accessories they have available.
Photography + videography
By now, you can tell we had a fabulous photographer. Two in fact. We used a team from Alisha Crossley Photography of Mountain Brook, Alabama. This was truly the best money we spent. They did a wonderful job, and we will cherish these photos forever. I still can’t get over how well they turned out. Henry and I just browse through these photos some nights and smile. Anna and her second shooter captured the day perfectly.
I was also dead set on having a videographer. Pictures capture still images, but a video can capture someone laughing, dancing and having a good time. I’ve called this our highlight real. Henry and I wanted to be able to relive our night over and over again. Nashville’s Cardboard Films definitely executed this!
You know the saying: something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue. Well, this is my grandfather’s beautiful 1970 Mercedes 280SL convertible. I grew up riding in this with my grandfather and cousins, and it brings back the best memories. It was only fitting that this bad boy was our getaway car. And can I say, this car really fits in with the scenery.
Henry and I want to thank everyone who made this weekend possible. It truly was our dream wedding, and we couldn’t be more grateful. After a year of craziness, we got to have our favorite people all in one place. This was a weekend we will never forget.