Weddings often have a sense of nostalgia, whether it be adorning a piece of estate jewelry or wearing your grandmother’s heirloom lace veil. So when Paige Russell and Grant Parian decided to return to Oxford, MS, to be married, it was because their memories were so near and dear to them.
Paige met Grant as a freshman at Ole Miss. While they shared the same major, it took them time to find each other at one of the South’s most beloved colleges. Per the advice of a good friend, Paige asked Grant to be her date to a sorority party her freshman year. Truth be told, she needed a date since Paige is from Houston and wasn’t wired into the Ole Miss dating scene. Of course, he said yes, but Paige had to bail when she reviewed her overwhelmingly packed syllabus. With three tests the next day, her date with Grant would have to take a back seat to academics. (I know, we’re all scratching our heads, how could academics have trumped a date with Grant?) It took them a while to reconnect, but as often happens, fate played its hand. Leave it to the frat boys, who brought them together again at another party. This time there was an instant connection.
Maybe it was his dimples (she’s got ’em, too) or his Southern gentility, but Paige knew he was the one for her for the long haul.
After graduating from Ole Miss, his job took him to Atlanta and Paige followed, knowing that marriage was on the horizon. At Seaside, he proposed at a lovely chapel in the most romantic way. The setting at the chapel at Seaside inspired Paige to create a similar feel for their wedding, for which they chose The Mill at Plein Air in Oxford. Like putting a puzzle together, Paige and Grant sought to find a destination that made sense. They lived in Atlanta, but she’s originally from Houston. Also, with roots in Ole Miss and a large extended family in Memphis, selecting a central location was a positive. The simplicity of the white chapel spoke to her as did her happy memories of college and the South.
The town of Taylor, MS, came to mind from their days as undergrads at Ole Miss. Taylor has been a favorite haunt of students forever as the Taylor Grocery Store is legendary. If you want fried catfish that stops you in your tracks, then head to Taylor, as it’s only 15 minutes away from Oxford. And just like Oxford, Taylor is going through a renaissance under the watchful eye of visionary Campbell McCool. He created The Mill at Plein Air for large gatherings with an iconic chapel that hosts more than 35 weddings a year.
The chapel was designed by noted Southern architect John Tee with the intent of recreating a 100-year-old Delta church. Made from salvaged materials, the exterior is pine siding with a metal roof and windows salvaged from a church in Kentucky. The oak pews came out of the Jerusalem Baptist Church in Virginia. Willing to take the risk as the chapel was still on the drawing board, Paige and Grant trusted that the chapel would be ready to go for their June wedding, and it was.
Enlisting a wedding planner was a must since both Paige and Grand were working in Atlanta. When asked to share her vision of what she wanted, Paige muses, “I wanted my wedding to be elegant and simple at the same time.” By selecting a palette of blush, green and dusty grey, the overall look was sophisticated. Combined with the historic setting, Paige’s vision was accomplished.
For the wedding photos, Paige and Grant wanted Oxford to be a part of the mix. The days being a part of the Hotty Toddy team at Ole Miss were special with so many memories. But as she arrived to town, Paige realized she forgot her bouquet.
As a surprise, her father brought it to her and caught the first glimpse of his lovely daughter in her wedding dress. Pretty much brings tears to your eyes, doesn’t it? In Oxford, which is known for its charming look and old buildings, the crowd cheered them on and toasted their upcoming wedding.
When asked what was the No. 1 priority for her wedding reception, Paige shares, “First and foremost, I wanted everyone to have a good time.” And that they did. With the tunes of the Memphis band The Party Jammers, the wedding got rockin’ and rollin’ fast!
Paige and Grant rolled out the fun with party favors for everyone to wear on the dance floor. The band accommodated by letting more than one guest grab a microphone and sing along.
Knowing that dancing was the way to get people to party, Paige and Grant led the way on the dance floor. As the band fired it up, Paige and Grant’s first song was “When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge. As you can see from the photos, a good time was had by all!
There is a bit of wisdom that comes with marriage and it’s true — the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. And, as I finish this article, I reflect back on my own childhood, where everyone lived about a block away, and best friends were made for life. Just as the bride’s mom, Honey, is my sister’s best friend, the bride’s aunt, Rita, is my best friend. Considering that between the families there were 14 kids — eight in theirs and six in mine — it’s no surprise we found each other.
There’s something about a Southern wedding with old friends that makes me smile!
Congrats to Paige and Grant!
Photographer: Scott Burton
Ceremony: The Chapel at Plein Air
Venue: The Mill at Plein Air
Wedding Planner: Anna Purvis
Cake: Kelli’s Cakes and Confections
Transportation: Carbo Limo for Trolley
Florist: The Twisted Twig
Caterer: Party Waitin’ to Happen
Rental items: Details Rentals
Band: The Party Jammers
Ceremony Music: Dr. Robert Riggs
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