“It’s comparable to building and installing a home, which is what I do on a daily basis, but this is for one night!” exclaims Melissa Lacy, who works as an interior designer.  She and Robert “Kyle” Welker only had eight months to pull off the perfect Southern wedding. Though the couple lives in Atlanta – they met at a neighborhood festival – they elected to host their nuptials in the bride’s hometown of Waco, Texas. Choosing a ceremony site was easy: “I have always wanted to get married in my family church,” shares the bride. For the reception space, they chose to take more of a risk and took over a suspension bridge over the Brazos River in downtown Waco. “Because the majority of our friends had never been to Waco, we really wanted to showcase the city's best and do something outside the box,” Melissa asserts. “It requires much more effort and time to 'build your own' venue but worth it in the end.”

The goal of the evening was to be “traditional with an edge,” according to the bride. She followed family custom by holding her vow exchange in the church where she is a fifth-generation member. Clutching a snowy bouquet of peonies as she walked down the aisle, the bride wore a strapless lace trumpet gown with a stunning cathedral veil.  A large guest list and wedding party made it a wholly Texan affair. 

Even though the venue choice was a modern selection, the reception still had the feel of a classic Southern garden party. The newlyweds were surprised with a private dining table, featuring the grandmother of the bride’s antique linens and china. “It was where Kyle and I had time to chat and laugh about it all,” Melissa muses. Her grandmother’s china was also an accent for both the wedding and groom’s cake, along with the mother of the bride’s crystal flutes. The main confection of the evening was a grand six tiers, crowned with cream peonies and adorned with green vines down the side. The groom’s cake featured chocolate frosting in a basket-weave pattern, decorated with chocolate-covered strawberries. The guest tables featured a “Southern mixture of unique blooms and lush greens,” says the bride. The arrangements showcased antique hydrangeas, garden roses, smilax vines, gardenia greens, and magnolia blossoms. 

After a buffet-style dinner that brought together the best of Texas and Deep South cuisine, Melissa and Kyle were eager to get on their black-and-white bull's-eye dance floor.  “We didn’t want to take up any time from [dancing] so we did the cake cutting early in the evening and knocked out our ‘to-do list’ right away!” explains the bride. “We are all fun-loving and relaxed people so I wanted the reception to feel as equally relaxed and comfortable.”

Though her advice for her past self is to “slow down and breathe,” Melissa asserts that future brides should “stand up for yourself to make sure your ideas and wants are heard.” After all, it is your day.