Mary Holmes was attending Newcomb Art School when she met McDonald Stephens, who had transferred from Washington and Lee University to Tulane University for ROTC. They went on a blind date set up by well-intentioned cousins, and that was it! They dated for two years, then McDonald decided to drive all night and day to Greensboro, N.C., to ask Mary’s father for her hand in marriage. Of course he said yes, and McDonald presented her with a beautiful ring at Christmas.
Mary was working on her senior art project at Newcomb College so her mother, Mary Poole Holmes, planned the whole wedding from North Carolina – except for Mary’s dress and the bridesmaids’ dresses, which she had designed at Town & Country. Mary’s dress was white silk tulle with ruching on the border of both the dress and the veil. Her full-length illusion veil cascaded from a coronet of Brussels lace that Donald’s parents brought back from a trip to Europe. Her bouquet was a cascade with white orchids, stephanotis and gardenias. Her mother loved flowers and created all of the arrangements for the church and reception from her own garden, using magnolias, flowering quince, orange blossoms, pear blossoms, gardenias and roses. The bridesmaids also carried cascading bouquets and wore bandeaus of yellow roses, blue delphinium and baby’s breath in their hair.
They were married in a small Episcopal Parish house but had a large reception at the Starmount Forest Country Club.
After the festivities, Mary and McDonald left on an incredible honeymoon that started in New York at the Plaza Hotel in a grand suite. Then it was off on a cruise to Central and South America on the Santa Rosa, one of the prestigious ships in the Grace Line.
Everyone remembers McDonald Lee Stephens, who presided over Stephens Buick, then Chevrolet, then foreign cars and Mercedes Benz. He passed away at the young age of 57, but Mary continues her passions for her family, painting and gardening.