I went to college in Austin (hook ’em!), so Austin weddings will always have a special place in my heart. Claire and Adam did the city proud at their Allan House wedding–it struck the loveliest balance of sentimental, personal, unique, and fun. After a sweet first look and personal letters to each other read at the ceremony, Claire and Adam celebrated their marriage with dancing, emotional toasts (be sure to read about them below!), and even a little ping pong. We’re so glad that Caroline + Ben were on hand to capture every moment, and then share it with us!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! I borrowed my mom’s earrings. My something blue was the tag/logo on my TOMS shoes. I had an old cufflink of my dad’s with his initials on it sewn into the skirt of my dress. He passed away in 2010, so it was an emotional day, and I wanted to incorporate him in little, subtle ways. My something new was my dress!
We said short, traditional vows, but also chose to write letters to each other that were read by the officiant, since we didn’t want to be confined to the format of vows when saying what we wanted to say. Adam’s letter was the perfect combination of sentimental and funny–just like him. I was definitely both laughing and crying throughout the ceremony!
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We wanted something central to downtown Austin so our family and friends could enjoy the city for the entire weekend, since most of them were coming from out of town. We loved the relaxed, backyard feel the Allan House provided, as well as the live oak trees. Growing up in Houston, I have always LOVED them, so having the ceremony and reception under a canopy of live oak tree branches was the ideal setting in my mind!
The venue was an old Victorian house and courtyard covered with live oak trees. The food, served family style, was all upscale comfort food–our passed appetizers were lobster corn dogs, bacon-wrapped dates, and tomato soup shooters with grilled cheese wedges. Dinner included short ribs with truffle mash, roasted chicken, green chili mac and cheese, green beans with tomato jam and fried onions, and more. Our late-night snack was frito pies!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Right after walking down the aisle, I accidentally kissed Adam, so I yelled “Oops!” and burst out laughing. After over a year of planning the wedding, I made the most common sense mistake! It was such a sweet moment, and it immediately took the edge off and made everyone more comfortable and relaxed for the rest of the ceremony. Another memorable moment was hearing the toast that my dad wrote for me and Adam before he died. He had passed away four years earlier, and Adam and I were only dating at the time, but we had been together for awhile, so I think he knew this day was coming, and he wanted us to have something special from him. Overall, when I think back to our wedding, I remember looking into each other’s teary eyes, squeezing each other’s hands, and hearing our letters to each other, all in the presence and with the support of the people we love most in the world. It doesn’t get much better!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I don’t think we could possibly narrow it down, although I did love our life-size cardboard cut out of our dog–my mom wouldn’t let him be the ring bearer, much to my dismay. He wore a bow tie and stood by the front door, greeting guests! I also liked the personal touches that made the wedding “us,” like using a travel coffee table book as our guest book because I love to travel (we asked guests to recommend their favorite place to visit), and writing the table numbers on framed book pages because Adam loves to read. Those little details really made the whole wedding feel more personal and meaningful.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Although we grew up about 45 minutes away from each oher, we met in Nicaragua, of all places, in January 2007, when we were working with a community development non-profit organization (Manna Project International). We became good friends and didn’t start dating until about a year later when we were both back in the States. We are thankful that our relationship started on the strong foundation of being best friends first (as cheesy as that sounds)!
Tell us all about the proposal! We were living in Chicago at the time and often did “tourist-y” things around the city. While visiting the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), Adam suggested we take a picture in the Skydeck, a glass ledge/box 103 stories above ground. Right as the picture was being taken, he got down on one knee. Chicago will always hold a special place in our hearts, and I love that we have an awesome picture of the proposal with the city lit up behind (and under!) us!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? Yes, mostly because we wanted to get as many pictures with our wedding party and families done before the ceremony so that we could enjoy the cocktail hour and reception with the rest of the guests. We are nontraditional in a lot of ways, so we didn’t think twice about our decision not to wait until the ceremony to see each other–that wasn’t important or significant to us.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. I walked down the aisle to “Trumpet Voluntary” and one of Adam’s groomsmen played the trumpet–he was awesome! Our first dance was to “Wonderful” by My Morning Jacket, one of our favorite bands, who we’ve seen live and listened to together over the years. We also had a last slow dance to John Legend’s “Stay With You”–we love the lyrics.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The bride’s cake was very simple, decorated with messy frosting and a few coral peonies. The tiers alternated between white cake with cream cheese and white cake with strawberries. The groom’s cake was chocolate and Dynamo-themed, since Adam is a big soccer fan and Dynamo is the local MLS team.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money by bringing in our own alcohol and returning unopened bottles! We also used a DJ instead of a band.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We just bought a house! And now that we’ll have a yard, we want to get a furry friend for our dog, Pico.
Photographer: Caroline + Ben / Planner: Pearl Events / Venue: The Allan House / Florist: Posey / Cake Baker: Simon Lee Bakery / Caterer: Royal Fig / Lighting: ILD / String Trio: Musical Discovery / DJ: Greenbelt DJ / Invitations: William Arthur / Program Fans: Magnet Street / Bride’s Gown: “#8709” by Jim Hjelm / Bridal Salon: Glamour Closet / Hair Stylist: Simply Mandy / Makeup Artist: Nisa Nicole / Bride’s Shoes: TOMS / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Suit Supply