Written by Michael Newsom
Couple from near and far to host their nuptials in the Velvet Ditch.
Though it was a long way from his native Quito, Ecuador, Santiago Mejia decided to come back to Oxford to get married so his family could experience the charming Southern town he fell in love with while he was also falling in love with his wife.
Santiago and Callie Self Mejia, now of Memphis, met at their Ole Miss graduate school orientation in 2014, so it was natural that they bring their families together two years later to celebrate their marriage in the city where they met.
“It was very special because it was an opportunity for me to show my friends and family not only a town that I fell in love with, but the town where I fell in love with my sweet, Southern bride,” Santiago said.
Plein Air in Taylor was the chosen venue for the wedding ceremony and reception in November 2016, which paid homage to both their cultures. The groom is obsessed with salsa music, so it was incorporated into the wedding and cocktail hour at the reception.
There were also other nods to his home country, as well as his wife’s Delta roots, especially in the food served. Guests enjoyed empanadas, shrimp ceviche and plantain fritters, among other Ecuadorian dishes. To showcase Southern cuisine, there was Mississippi fried catfish with mac and cheese, barbecue sliders and mustard green dip with petite cornbread muffins.
“It was so important to us for our wedding to feel like the blending together of two cultures,” Callie said. “We come from two different backgrounds that we are both so proud of, so we wanted all of our friends and family to experience some of the best of what both our cultures have to offer.”
Empire State of Mind
Drew and Amanda Jones Broyles’ wedding guests were thrilled to have an excuse to come to Oxford and spend a few days celebrating the joining of two hearts in holy matrimony on June 9, 2018.
“Most everyone came from out of town, so they made a trip out of the wedding,” Amanda Broyles said. “Our guests stayed on campus at the Inn at Ole Miss or on the Square at the Graduate. We welcomed our out-of-town guests with gift bags and a list of our favorite places to eat and drink, like City Grocery and Saint Leo.”
The town holds significance for the couple, who both grew up tailgating in the Grove, graduated from the university and have a deep love for Ole Miss and Oxford.
“Drew grew up loving Ole Miss sports and tailgating in the Grove, and ever since I was little, I've always admired the beauty and the artistic scene of this charming city,” Amanda Broyles said.
The couple married at Castle Hill just before moving to New York City, so naturally their wedding had an Empire State theme, including a New York Yankees groom’s cake with greenery and trees around it to mimic Central Park. Their first dance was to “New York, New York” and guests received koozies with images of the state of Mississippi and the state of New York with hearts in them.
Getting married in Oxford was special to the couple, Drew Broyles said.
“We had the best time at our wedding,” Drew said. “Oxford already held some of our greatest memories growing up and throughout college and now we have the memory of our wedding in Oxford. There’s just something super special about the place.”
House Divided, United in Oxford
Ben McCreary and his wife Mary Blair Johnson McCreary are your typical “house divided” couple.
Ben, who graduated from Mississippi State University, is a diehard Bulldog fan, while Mary is an Ole Miss graduate. They got married in Oxford, a town Ben loves — but he’s probably not allowed to say that very loudly in certain company.
“Oxford is a great town, full of great food and entertainment,” Ben said. “Even though I graduated from Mississippi State, Oxford is one of my favorite places.”
Mary Blair’s entire family went to Ole Miss, and the family owns a condo in Oxford. It’s somewhat of a second home to her.
The McCrearys, who now make their home in Nashville, married at Oxford University Methodist Church. During their reception at The Jefferson Oxford, guests at the reception drank from “McCreary’s House Divided” Styrofoam cups as a tribute to the couples’ divided sports loyalties. The signature drink, the Baldwyn, was named after Ben’s hometown.
The pair held their rehearsal dinner at the Chancellor’s House, and guests stayed at the Graduate. Oxford’s downtown area offered some advantages over Mary Blair’s hometown of Jackson for hosting the kind of wedding she envisioned, she said.
“I wanted to be on the Square,” Mary Blair McCreary said. “After the rehearsal dinner we all went to the Coop. It was fun to be on the Square and just hang out. Compare it to a Jackson wedding, where you would have had to get in a car and go somewhere else to continue the party. All we had to do is just walk around the Square.”
Perfect Party Place
The town that boasts having “never lost a party” is also home to many close friends and relatives of William Mounger and Maggie Hewitt Mounger, two Ole Miss graduates who got married at Oxford University Methodist Church on March 9. They live in Memphis, but Oxford was a natural choice for their wedding.
“We love Oxford and the atmosphere is perfect for hosting a party,” Maggie said. “Another reason is, my parents got married in Oxford in 1992, so we thought it would be special to continue the tradition, and of course everyone always wants an excuse to come to Oxford.”
The impressive stained-glass windows and the altar at OU Methodist made for an unforgettable backdrop for the couple’s nuptials, she said. The Jefferson was the only venue the bride considered for the reception. She credits manager Lisa Mills and the staff there for making her special day perfect.
“The venue is beautiful,” Maggie said. “The exposed wood beams and antique chandeliers throughout The Jefferson make it so unique. I could not have imagined my wedding being held anywhere else.”
The groom’s cake — an edible replica of Vaught-Hemingway Stadium — paid homage to Ole Miss football, an important part of the couple’s life. It was flanked by nachos, hotdogs, popcorn and more of William’s favorite game day foods.
“Having our wedding in Oxford was such a great decision,” William said. “We love Oxford and couldn’t have picked a more perfect place to get married.”