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A Modern Military Love Story That Requires Waterproof Mascara

Warning dear readers, you probably won’t want to read this bride’s write-up if you’re in a public place. Or if you happened to skip out on waterproof mascara this morning. Trust me on this one, because I’m living proof that being in public when you’re a crying blubbery mess is anything but mesmerizing, but this wedding? Well it totally is. Captured by Becca Lea it’s the story of Claire and Christopher and it’ll have you feeling all the feels. See it all in The Vault!

Al Fresco

From the Bride…How do you capture pure magic? Is it even possible? Are there words in the English language with the ability to tell of something so majestic and purely lovely as May 15th, 2016? Alas, I am unsure… but between my words and our talented photographer’s skillful eye, I hope the magic of that day is brought to life in your heart.

The beauty of May 15th, 2016 will never fail to take my breath away. There was a moment, as I could feel the crochet hook buttoning up my dress and the sound of film clicking when all a sudden the to-do lists filled with seating arrangements, playlists, work projects put on hold…you know…the details… simply faded. I let go of the months of preparation and joyfully slipped into the bliss of wedding day.

The forecast had been for a classic Texas thunderstorm and yet, the overcast sky held the promise of lovely May sunshine. I emerged from the little room on the side of the stately DeGolyer home to be greeted by squeals and giggles of the dearest friends in the world. Standing there in my favorite dress, everything was green and real and bright. There were my nine rocks, my best girls… who have held me, prayed with me, and shaped me into the woman I am today. They were an enchanting sight, all dressed beautifully in blush looking like they could easily slip into an Anthropologie themed Waltz of the Flowers dance. Although I love my girls, I was ready to see Christopher. You see… I can get quite nervous being the center of attention, but when he’s there… I’m ok, I’m secure, I feel safe. He helps me be brave and strong amongst a million other things… I now know the meaning of “my better half” because he is my better half. As I read his note to me, it was a mixture of depth, heart, soul, and jokes… you see, Christopher has this way of making me laugh… he always keeps me laughing.

Turning the corner and seeing him there in his uniform… oh my soul… my heart still skips a beat merely thinking about it. Our first look was one of those moments, the kind that’ll be iconic in our memories forever, that at any point in our lives, we could close our eyes and relive it because it’s that vivid and strong. I’ll never forget walking towards him, ever so delicately calling his name and nervously wondering what he’d think when he turns around. We had been anticipating this moment for months because you see… Christopher and I had been long distance for over two years, joyfully walking through seasons apart including a deployment and Ranger school. This moment was not only the first time we saw each other on our wedding day, but it was also the beginning of our lives together! No more goodbyes or goodnights… we had made it. Two years of distance done, let’s begin our lives together!

As the last guest was seated and the music began to play, my dad and I were escorted through the DeGolyer mansion and out the majestic front door to ensure no one saw me. It was the most elegant and calming walk before the whirlwind and magical night began. As two of our dear friends began to sing an acoustic version of “Multiplied” by Needtobreathe, my dad and I walked down the aisle towards my best friend, and as we were about halfway there, the clouds parted and a beautiful Texas sunshine shown down on all of our best friends and family… it was as if our best guest had just taken His seat. The beautifully crafted garlands brought a royal yet organic realness to where we stood. As we were led through our vows, all I can remember is joy, the purest form of it. Proclaiming in front of all that I will be his and he will be mine. We laughed and had mist in our eyes, but everything from the music, to the sunshine, to the tiniest detail on our communion table reflected the beauty of our marriage beginning. I remember feeling the wind blow my veil as it elegantly draped down the steps and seeing the sun hit flecks of blue and gold in his eyes. Dreamiest moment of my life.

As we turned around, I was ready to have some fun! Before the social butterfly part of the night began, Christopher and I were ushered to a private dinner in the rose garden to collect our thoughts and exclaim things to each other like “we’re married!!!” acting like two kids as we sampled the incredible food we had meticulously chosen for our beloved guests.

Looking around at the enchanting place where we were going to have the greatest party of our lives was surreal. Everything from the blush and gold accents to the romantic bistro lights made us feel like we were at a European midsummer’s medieval feast in the middle of a mystical forest – which is exactly what we had envisioned. We wanted to get married surrounded by life. What a more perfect place than a garden bursting with flowers, deep green vines, and the chirping of happy creatures? It was perfection. Our florals captured the natural, organic, effortless grace that I had desired and the large number of guests felt like a small gathering of friends under the cozy canopy of the tent and lights. I felt like a princess and as I glanced over at Christopher, I felt like Cinderella – all night long. I know that may sound cliché or may even a bit silly to some, but truly, I felt …that night… a kind of magic that I’d never experienced before.

Running into the romantic tent and being cheered on was exhilarating, making me wonder if everyone could hear my heartbeat as our first dance began. We had practiced and had laughed, but honestly, in that moment, we were just us – twirling, laughing, and soaking in the lyrics of “By Two” by Dave Barnes. The rest of the evening was filled with the hearts of others, hugging every soul that had come to celebrate us. Everything from the music, the lights, the food, the cake (best cake I’ve ever had – the dark chocolate sea salt cake captured my foodiness perfectly!), and Bailey’s milkshakes cooling us down as Uptown Funk came to a close was more than we could have ever hoped for.

Our last dance… the guests had been ushered to the entrance and there were were alone on the dance floor, my dress had turned gray on the bottom from dancing hard to favorites from Justin Timberlake and Michael Jackson, my hair fallen, both of us… sweaty and messy from a night of celebration, his bowtie crooked from many hugs… and although the visual perfection of us had passed, the perfection was complete… we were married, we had celebrated with the best of people, and we were together… it had really happened… I got it all… all I’ll ever want… how did an imperfect, southern girl like me get so lucky? Perhaps it’s not luck, actually I know it’s not luck, but something infinitely greater. I’ve been given a precious gift…life with Christopher… a servant hearted, brave leader, humble explorer, thoughtful philosopher, American hero… I could go on, but as my soul sister Jane Austen would say, he is “everything a young man ought to be.” And he’s mine.

As we walked out into a sea of American flags waving, Christopher dipped me low and kissed me, making me feel more iconic than the girl dipped in New York City on V-Day. As we drove away, I began to cry in an overflow of emotion after all that had taken place. The only words I could muster to my husband, my dear Christopher was “I’m so happy… I’m just so happy.”

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Photography: Becca Lea | Event Planning: Lindsey Brunk | Styling: Lindsey Brunk | Floral Design: Shayda Craddick | Wedding Dress: Martina Liana | Cake: Layered Bake Shop | Invitations: Fig & Flourish | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan | Catering: Gil's Elegant Catering | Hair + Makeup: Beauty And The Blush | Calligraphy: Fig & Flourish | DJ: Le Force Entertainment | Venue: Dallas Arboretum | Bridal Boutique: Circle Park Bridal Boutique | Bride's Ceremony Shoes: Fabio Rusconi | Bride's Reception Shoes: Keds | Rentals: Posh Couture Rentals

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The Sweetest Monogramed Bridesmaid Brunch

Hello, brides-to-be! It’s Ali from Love You, Mean It here to share one of the most fun days i’ve had with some of my very best friends! Besides the fact that I get to marry the man of my dreams, our wedding day is something I look forward to because it’s a day we get to spend with our closest friends and family. And there is one thing for sure, I couldn’t say “i do” without a few special ladies by my side!

I love giving gifts! I often find that giving a gift is far better than receiving one, so I wanted to find a memorable way to ask my friends to be bridesmaids! For those girls living in Dallas, I thought it would be fun to host a brunch to create an experience to show how much I appreciate them, beyond just the gift they would receive.

I wanted to create an intimate setting that would make my friends feel extra special! Our wedding colors will be white, green and gold, so i wanted to incorporate this color scheme as much as possible throughout the tablescape to really set the tone for what’s to come! Each place setting had the most gorgeous pretty little plates, accompanied by green and gold accents. I wrote each girl a special note and used the calligraphy by Alli K Designs on the envelope as their place cards! And no table is complete without a beautiful centerpiece of fresh flowers. R love floral created the most stunning white and green bouquet that made the entire look come together!

For bites, I wanted to recreate some of my favorite brunch items, this time only smaller! Silver-dollar pancakes, mini pastries and petite parfaits were on the menu. And of course, no party is complete without bubbly! For the actual gift, I wanted the girls to receive something that they could not only wear during the wedding, but also have as a reminder of this special time. Inside a monogrammed jewelry box from parker thatch, they would find matching crystal earrings that would be perfect for the big day! A little something for now, and a little something for the wedding day!

I am so grateful to have such wonderful women in my life and I couldn’t have asked for a better day to celebrate them. This is just the beginning of an exciting journey ahead and luckily for me, I have some of the most kind, caring, and intelligent women by my side! To see more of our day, check out this fun video by when it clicks! Thank you so much for following along on this exciting adventure! I hope you are enjoying it just as much as I am!


Follow Ali’s Journey Down the Aisle!

Meet the Bride!

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Photography: Tarin Frantz | Calligraphy: Alli K Design | Floral Design: R Love Floral | Ali’s Top: Pleione | Ali’s Skirt: Topshop | Rentals: Pretty Little Plates | Jewelry Box: Parker Thatch | Cinematography: When It Clicks | Bridesmaid’s Earrings: J.Crew Factory |

Allison Hollins

Blogger Bride
Sail Off Into the Sunset with This Nautical Inspiration Session

Inspired by the picturesque sailboats at Dallas’ White Rock Lake, this incredible team of creatives (including Anna Smith PhotographyJenny McCannCallie ManionChelsea Q. White PhotographyKate Pease, Ben Q. Photography and Allen Tsai Photography) created a nautical dream with ethereal touches throughout. From the two-piece blue wedding dress to the delicious cakes from Sugar Bee Sweets, this inspiration session is almost too good to be true. See it all in The Vault!

From Anna Smith PhotographyOur Haystack Film Gathering community in Dallas is thriving. We have such a great and talented group of photographers that love to get together and collaborate on shoots, sharing ideas, talent and camaraderie unparalleled with other cities. Currently there are about 20 of us and we are growing! For the summer gathering, Anna Smith Photography and Silver Lining Events put on an amazingly gorgeous sunset nautical inspiration shoot at the Dallas White Rock Lake. The inspiration came from the idea to use one of the sailboats at the lake and combine that with a neutral palette of elegant, light and classy hues of blues and greens. The florals used were: cream vendela roses, cream football mums, cream privett flowering, cream peonies, spray roses cream majolica, Nigella blue, Millet green, salad leaf and silver dollar eucalyptus.

The color palette Silver Lining Events used was white, cream, shades of blue and natural greens. We chose an ethereal bridal gown from A and Be Bridal that was a two-piece corset and skirt. The corset had a light blue underlining and accented our style oh-so-well. The groom’s style was impeccable in a white tuxedo from Culwell & Son in Dallas. Vella Nest Floral designed bouquets and centerpieces with bright shades of green and white.

The table designed by Silver Lining Events was decorated with help of ChrysQ Handcrafted hand-dyed linens for a natural seaside look. We scattered sand and seashells throughout. Sugar Bee Sweets provided the two delicious-looking watercolor cakes. Bunny and Bear is my absolute go-to stationery and calligraphy company. She is so talented and created stationery and all the calligraphy with blue, green and white hues to match our floral design. We hope you enjoy this gorgeous collaboration!

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Photography: Jenny McCann | Photography: Anna Smith Photography | Photography: Chelsea Q. White Photography | Photography: Kate Pease | Photography: Ben Q Photography | Photography: Haystack Film Gathering | Photography: Allen Tsai Photography | Photography: Callie Manion | Styling: Silver Lining Events + Co. | Floral Design: Vella Nest | Cake: Sugar Bee Sweets | Jewelry: Shapiro Diamonds | Hair + Makeup: Q Hair and Make Up | Stationery + Calligraphy: Bunny And Bear Paper | Groom's Attire: Culwell & Son | Venue: White Rock Lake | Bridal Boutique: a&be bridal shop | Models: Ashley Sherrell & TJ Borcky | Ribbon: Silk & Willow | Ring Box: The Mrs Box | Sailboat: White Rock Lake Sailboat Photoshoots | Table Runner: CHRYSQ Handrafted

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