Chris and I began dating in October of 2010 after casually getting to know each other for a few months. We felt extremely in love to begin with and talked about getting married. We really just knew early on in our relationship that this was it for us. Chris and I had a long distance relationship for several months. I lived in El Paso, Texas where I was going to school and Chris lived in Nacogdoches, Texas where he was going to school as well. Over the New Year holiday, Chris visited me in El Paso for a couple of weeks. He had originally planned on proposing at our friend’s NYE Party, but could not get the ring in time. After a day of golfing, movie watching and then dinner, we came back to my dorm room. Just the two of us. Then, Chris popped the question quietly and intimately. He was nervous. I could tell. We both knew what was coming and it was a moment we wanted to treasure for ourselves.
Shop Till You Drop
I set our wedding date nearly 18 months in advance, so when it came to the dress, I gave myself time to find exactly the right gown. The dress was not the first thing I felt that I needed to run out and purchase. I knew fashions changed in the wedding world, so the longer I waited the better chance I would have of purchasing the latest style. I also did not feel the need to look for two dresses; one dress was all I needed and wanted. I visited multiple bridal shops and tried on different styles of gowns, felt the different fabrics, in order to get an idea of what I wanted and what worked best for my body type and shape. I looked at multiple bridal magazines, Pinterest, googled images on the internet, and looked at various bridal blogs. I also watched all of the wedding TV shows. I know I wanted lace and for my gown to be ivory. An elegant and modern dress with a dramatic back is what I envisioned. My wedding was in September and I scheduled my first and only appointment at the bridal salon in January. I was immediately attracted to the Augusta Jones rack on the second floor of the salon. I didn’t exactly want a mermaid or a ballgown type of dress either. I tried on about 5-7 wedding gowns and fell in love with Daphne. I loved the material and the lace. The fabric felt absolutely fantastic. I knew this was the quality of gown I was looking for without hesitation. By that afternoon, I had my wedding gown ordered. By the end of July, all of the alterations were completed and my gown was ready for bridal portraits in August.
A Perfect Day
The night before the wedding we didn’t see each other and refused to do a first look prior to the ceremony to leave the element of surprise. The groom also got married on his birthday.
Our wedding was a bit of a destination wedding. No one we knew lived in the town where it was held. Everyone (including our band and photographer) was an hour or more away. The wedding day was more relaxed compared to the days leading up to it. I made it my goal to have mostly everything done so that the morning and midafternoon, before the wedding took place, could be as relaxed as possible.
The ceremony and reception was at one great 60 acre venue called Villa di Felicita (Mansion of Happiness). All of the bridesmaids and mothers had their hair and makeup done in the bridal suite rather than at a salon in order to avoid traffic delays or getting lost. The groomsmen had their separate suite as well. That Saturday turned out to be a perfect 80 degree day with plenty of sunshine for the 5 P.M. ceremony. We had a pretty traditional Christian ceremony with a string quartet playing selections the entire time guests arrived and as the wedding party came down the aisle. The string quartet did covers of contemporary and classic music. Our string quartet included 2 violinists and a cellist who performed, “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley as I came down the aisle and the groomsmen walked down to “Marry Me” by Train.
We also made it a priority to honor loved ones who are no longer here with us by adding their names to our programs and carrying keepsakes in my bouquet and in Chris’ boutonniere. Every inch of the venue is picturesque and secluded from outside noise pollution. It was intimate, private, and meaningful in front of 200 family members and friends. For the recessional our wedding coordinators popped in none other than “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to set the mood for the celebration.
After the ceremony, our guests were able to seat themselves for a few hours of dinner and dancing in a piazza style ballroom with a distinctive star lit ceiling. For the reception, we wanted a great and unique celebration. We wanted our guests to be entertained and our wedding to be memorable. The celebration was important to us so we had a live band, a photo booth, memory/memorial tables, and a surprise fireworks display. We also wanted something for everyone so we asked our guests to vote for their favorite meats on their response cards prior to the wedding. That worked out well and the food was exceptional.
There were also wedding day coloring books available to the children at our wedding. Following the fireworks were the toasts and cake cutting. The bride’s cake was amaretto cream and Italian cream with butter cream frosting. While the groom’s cake was a rich German chocolate cake disguised as a Breaking Bad/birthday cake. The lead singer of our band, along with our wedding guests, sung the groom happy birthday as well.
We just really wanted everyone to feel welcomed, have fun and feel appreciated for being there to celebrate such a special moment in our lives.
Words of Wisdom
Your wedding day will not go perfectly. There will be little things you thought could not go wrong, that will go wrong. Just remember to look at the bigger picture of why you both are here in the first place; to declare your love for each other in front of people who care about you and love you. Most importantly, you must respect each other first and the people who came out to witness you marry your best friend. The stress level is tremendous. Always send a thank you. Be courteous to all of your vendors; they’re here for you as well and they are human too. If you are getting married outdoors wearing a long veil and there is a breeze, have your maid of honor guide your veil down the aisle. Bring a tooth brush, extra flats, extra contacts, makeup, eyelash glue, etc. Do not wait until the last minute or week to do everything; get small things done early. Hire a videographer because you will miss moments you had no idea you missed, like your ceremony music. The day goes by quicker than a blink of an eye and you will want a video. Make sure your family has adequate seating. If something goes wrong, let it go and enjoy the night. It’s your wedding, do what you have always dreamt of. Don’t hold back (as long as it’s in good taste). This is it. Most people won’t experience this ever again.
Location: VIlla DI Felicita in Tyler, Texas