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I went to college in Austin, so I have an extra soft spot for all our ATX couples–especially when they’re as sweet as Rachel and Chris! These high school sweethearts grew up together, and when the time finally came for them to tie the knot, I can only imagine how incredible the energy at the Barr Mansion was as their loved ones gathered to be a part of their next chapter. Everyone was completely present as Rachel and Chris saw each other for the first time when Rachel walked down the aisle, they recited traditional vows, and they read touching letters to one another during their ceremony. As Rachel said, “I think maybe it’s because we had both waited so long for that moment, there was no way we weren’t going to be totally focused and enjoy it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy than I did when I was up there with Chris!”

Thank you so much to The Nichols for sending this lovely day our way!

The dress I wore (Brisa by Christos) was the first dress I ever tried on. When I first tried it on, I really liked it, but it was significantly over our price range, so I decided to just block it out of my mind. Over the course of a year, I would try on dresses and think I found the one… but when it came down to purchasing one, I could never get myself to do it. It got to the point where I had seen every dress in Austin and I didn’t feel like I had found one I wanted to wear. I was so frustrated! Then, one day, I was looking through Instagram and saw the pictures of Emily (Southern Weddings gal!) wearing the Brisa dress and I realized that I had to have that dress. I had always felt so bad asking for it because of the price, but at this point, my mom knew how desperate I was, so I thought maybe it would be okay. I asked my mom if we could go back so I could try it on and she said yes! When we arrived at the store, I told the woman what dress I wanted to try on again and she just gave me this look…I knew instantly what had happened. About a month prior, the dress had been discontinued, never to be made again. When she told me, I didn’t cry…but boy, was I crying on the inside. She brought out several dresses for me to try on, but I didn’t like any of them. Then she told me she still had the size 10 sample Brisa dress in the back and she brought it out. I thought maybe I could get it altered to fit me. The dress was the floor model and it looked pretty bad, but I was convinced I could get it all fixed up! As I was looking in the mirror convincing myself that this plan would work, the consultant remembered that she sold the dress in my size to a girl eight months prior. She decided to text the girl and ask if she would want to sell her dress to me. The girl immediately responded and said she already had it in a resale shop in town and that it hadn’t sold yet! My mom and I sped over there and we got my dream dress for a great price. It was a crazy day that I’ll always remember!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Barr Mansion is just so beautiful. I didn’t look anywhere else because I knew that was the place I wanted to get married.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No. Chris and I have always talked about that moment and how special it would be to see each other for the first time during our ceremony. There is something so awesome about walking down the aisle to your groom and seeing the look on their face. I couldn’t imagine doing it any other way.

We wrote letters in addition to saying traditional vows. My favorite thing Chris wrote was: “From this day forward, our lives will be one binding thread, and each new knot we tie will be a decision that we make as one. I won’t ever leave you behind or wandering, I’ll catch you when you stumble, I’ll dry your tears when you cry, and I’ll revel in your joys. I will always be faithful to you, and I will never, ever stop praying for you.” His favorite thing I wrote was: “Yes, we’ve gone through many arguments and times of disappoint in each other, but no obstacle has ever pushed us apart and no obstacle ever will. I give you that promise on this day, I will never give up on our love and if I ever think about it, I will run towards the Lord until he brings me right back to you. We’ve always found a way back to each other’s arms and I know that we always will.”

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Right after we got engaged, we took a marriage class at our church for newly married/engaged couples. We learned so much about the true meaning of marriage and how to make God the center of it all. It got our minds focused on what really matters and reiterated how serious the commitment we were making is. About four months before our wedding, we also began premarital counseling with the pastor of the church Chris grew up at. We dug so deep and solved so many issues. One thing we are so happy that we did, and would recommend to anyone getting married, is to make sure there is nothing you are keeping or have kept from the other person. Being completely honest and open with one another about everything in our lives brought us even closer than we could have imagined, and it has made our transition into married life feel so much more natural and easy.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Think about your guests. It was so important to us that people had a good time at our wedding, and it made it that much more fun for us to see people enjoying themselves throughout the night. We tried to pick music that would get people up and dancing, food and drinks they would enjoy, and we tried to talk to as many people as we could. All of that made it feel like an awesome party.

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Not going over budget! There are so many beautiful options out there and so many cute, extra things to add, but we had to say no to some things.

Our desserts were made by Barr Mansion and were the yummiest desserts we’ve ever eaten. Chris decided on the homemade apple cobbler and I chose the four-berry naked cake with whipped cream. As if it couldn’t get any better, we also had ice cream from Lick (my favorite ice cream shop ever–it’s better than the gelato in Italy!). The flavors we chose were Hill Country Honey Vanilla Bean and Ladybird Lavender Crisp.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I met in high school and started dating a few months later. I had never felt so comfortable around someone as I did around Chris. He is not just the love of my life, but also my closest friend. I love that we’ve grown into adulthood together. We have some of the best stories since we’ve been together through high school and college! I can’t imagine spending my life with anyone else.
Tell us all about the proposal! I pretty much saw the entire thing coming, but that didn’t make it any less special. We went on vacation with my parents to Martha’s Vineyard, and one night, they told me we were going to dinner. We drove for a very long time–it looked like we were headed to the middle of nowhere. As it turns out, Chris was taking me to the most beautiful beach. He definitely set the scene perfectly. He walked me down to the beach and we didn’t speak–we were both just smiling because we both knew that the other knew what was coming. It was after a walk down the beach that he asked me to marry him. It was a very sweet moment and I’ll never forget how excited we both were. One of my favorite memories from our proposal is that he put the engagement ring on the wrong finger. It was pretty cute!
When did y’all get married? May 7, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We began choosing music together very early on in the process, and it was probably one of the most fun and collaborative parts of planning our wedding. We wanted to choose music that everyone would enjoy, but that still felt special to us. I walked down the aisle to the main theme from the movie “One Day” by Rachael Portman. Chris and I love that movie and could watch it together over and over again. The score is so lovely and emotional; just hearing the sound of those strings in the main theme can make me start to tear up. We walked back up the aisle to the second, upbeat half of “Lover’s Carvings” by Bibio, which was a great way to signal that the party had officially started. For our first dance, we danced to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. Our dancing music was a mix of so many things: top 40, 70s dance music, rap, country, and classic wedding songs.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We didn’t have a full bar–just wine and beer. It was still so much fun and literally everyone was dancing.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony is something we will never forget. People had told us that it would zoom by and that we wouldn’t remember anything, but we were both so present, it was almost unbelievable. I think maybe it’s because we had both waited so long for that moment, there was no way we weren’t going to be totally focused and enjoy it. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so happy than I did when I was up there with Chris!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Our honeymoon in Tulum was so beautiful and fun, it made us excited to plan our next trip together. Chris and I really want to see as many pretty places and eat as much delicious food as we can over the course of our lives. Right now, we are just working and enjoying our nights together. I love to cook, so after work, I normally come home and make something tasty. We’re also excited to continue to decorate our apartment together; it’s so fun when your place really starts to feel like the two of you. We recently bought a plant and we are very excited about that!

Photographer: The Nichols | Videographer: Michael Larkin | Venue, Caterer, Dessert and Rentals: Barr Mansion | Florist and Rentals: Stems | Lighting and DJ: Greenbelt DJ | Paper Products: Oak & Orchid | Bride’s Gown: “Brisa” by Christos | Veil: “Peony” by Christos | Jewelry: Nordstrom | Hair Stylist: Jeni Hoover Brady | Makeup Artist: Maris Malone Calderon | Bride’s Shoes: “Felicia” by Sam Edelman | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Banana Republic | Groom’s Attire: “Hugo Boss | Ties: The Tie Bar

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Dana reply

    love so many details in this wedding!

  2. avatar Jennifer Nichols reply

    Thank you Southern Weddings for sharing this beautiful wedding that we were fortunate enough to document! Congrats to Rachel and Chris!

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I share an alma mater (the University of Texas–hook ’em!) with today’s bride and groom, Alison and Andrew, and I’m sure I speak for many Longhorns when I say that it is tremendously easy to fall in love with Austin. The city also set the stage for Alison and Andrew’s love story, so it was a natural fit when it came time to choose the location for their wedding! After Alison and her bridesmaids got ready for the day at the iconic Hotel St. Cecelia, she and Andrew were married at Laguna Gloria, which they chose for its view of Lake Austin–one of their favorite places to spend time together. I’m sure that any of their guests who traveled in for the celebration loved getting a taste of the incredible place where Alison and Andrew fell in love!

Thank you so much to Clark Brewer for sharing this beautiful day with us!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We love spending time on Lake Austin, and Laguna Gloria has a beautiful view of the lake.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Yes. We wanted to take all of our photos before the wedding so we could enjoy the cocktail hour with our guests!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We used traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Our readings were a September 8, 1869 letter written by Mark Twain to Olivia Langdon (no relation to me) in anticipation of their own wedding and “A Blessing for a Marriage” by James Dillet Freeman.

Describe your wedding flowers. The flowers were composed of peonies, ranunculus, lily of the valley, dahlias, parrot tulips, garden roses, lisianthus, lilac, dusty miller, bay laurel, seeded eucalyptus, olive, and a trailing jasmine vine.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was toasted coconut with vanilla buttercream.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends while attending The University of Texas.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 225
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace that was made for my grandmother for her wedding. It was also worn by my mother, aunts, and cousins on their wedding days.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? There were tornado warnings and major flooding the day before our wedding.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My good friend Jane of Carolyn Jane Design designed our save the dates, wedding invitations, programs, and menu!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are looking forward to traveling to Italy this fall for our honeymoon.

Photographer: Clark Brewer | Planner: 36th Street Events | Ceremony Venue: Laguna Gloria | Reception Venue and Caterer: Westwood Country Club Austin | Florist: Posey Floral and Event Design | Cake Baker: Michelle’s Patisserie | Rentals: Loot and Bee Lavish | Lighting: Illios | Band: The Motts | Paper Products: Carolyn Jane Designs | Bride’s Gown: Carolina Herrera | Hair Stylist: Salon Hush | Makeup Artist: Donna Bruns | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Groom’s Attire: Billy Reid

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    I love how effortlessly classic this wedding is, while brining the funk from Austin in, in the details!

  2. avatar Alison & Andrew | Clark Brewer Photography reply

    […] See more from Alison & Andrew’s wedding on Southern Weddings […]

  3. avatar 36th Street Events reply

    Thank you for sharing our work!!

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If you follow Southern Weddings on Instagram, you’ve probably seen that for the past five days, Kristin and I have been in New York City! Not only is the Big Apple where Bridal Market is currently taking place, it’s also the place today’s sweet couple, Jessica and Chuck, currently call home. While they got engaged and planned their wedding from NYC, they decided on Jessica’s hometown of Austin, Texas for their late spring celebration. Her mama scoped out dozens of venues in the area, and as soon as Jessica and Chuck pulled up to Pecan Springs Ranch on a weekend trip, they knew it was the place for them! It turned out to be just right for their celebration, complete with a beautifully mismatched bridal party (hint: keep an eye out for one of their photos in V8!), a prayerful ceremony, and Jessica’s dream twinkle lights at the reception.

Thanks so much to our talented Blue Ribbon Vendor, Jen Dillender, for sharing this lovely day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My parents are the absolute sweetest. They flew to visit Chuck and I so that my mom could help me find a dress. With coffee in hand, we began the day’s journey and visited different stores in the city. We finally found ourselves at Lovely Bridal, where I tried on a bunch of different dresses before finally slipping on the Watters Persiphone gown. I looked over at my mom, who was tearing up, and knew it was the one!

Describe your wedding flowers. Magical. Absolutely magical. The flowers for the wedding were mainly neutrals and greenery. I wanted it to be natural and a little wild looking–more “Secret Garden” than refined. There were little touches of florals throughout the ceremony and reception site with hanging flower rings, a garland and a flower wall over the cake stand, and bird cages intertwined with greenery and candles on the tables.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look. We wanted a special time for just the two of us before the ceremony. The moment he turned around and we saw each other for the first time that day, I knew we had made the right decision. It was one of those unique moments that just the two of us shared, and it’s a moment in time we will remember forever!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We chose not to write our own vows; we went with the tried and true, but we also exchanged personal letters before the ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Two close friends I grew up with are not only some of the sweetest people, but they also play the harp and violin like a dream, so we asked them to play for the ceremony. The processional for the bridal party was “Bittersweet Symphony,” and I walked down the aisle to “Be Thou My Vision,” our favorite hymn, which holds deep significance for both of us. I asked two of my best friends if they would sing a worship song called “Holy Spirit” during communion. Some of my favorite memories from college include these gals and listening to them play music together.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? My sweet mom actually visited most of the venues, because Chuck and I were both at school in NYC while wedding planning. I think she visited about 25 different venues in the Austin area! I came home for a weekend trip to look at a few of the venues we had narrowed it down to, and when we pulled up to Pecan Springs Ranch, I knew it was the perfect place for our big day! It had a gorgeous area for an outdoor ceremony, a great rain plan option, and a beautiful indoor reception room. There were also special areas for both the guys and the gals to get ready in.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The cake was a naked cake with flowers and greenery for décor. The bottom layer was carrot cake, the middle was Italian cream, and the top (Chuck’s personal favorite) was key lime. Chuck’s only regret is not going back for a second piece of the key lime! We also had delicious pies; it was a Texas wedding, after all!

What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My family and Chuck all know of my love for twinkle lights. My dad designed an exquisite chandelier out of twinkle lights, which was hung in the reception hall, and we had more lights that stretched out from the chandelier, creating a magical setting for our reception.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. According to me, Chuck and I met at the campus coffee shop at Oral Roberts University. According to Chuck, we met in the cafeteria two weeks before, as he distinctly remembers choosing the food line that I was in so he could introduce myself. No one truly knows! I do remember vividly that he was what my close friend called “my celebrity crush.” He was a junior and I was just a freshman at the time, but the first time I saw him, I knew he was the only person I would date in college. Amazingly, it worked out. Through a roommate date event, we ended up becoming friends, and our relationship just continued from there!
Tell us all about the proposal! The day began like any other Saturday in New York City, except that Chuck had planned a special day before school picked up for the fall semester. It began with a stroll through Central Park, across Bow Bridge, and winding around Bethesda fountain, then onto row boating in the lake, and finally, to a picnic by the boat pond, where he popped the question! When his legs started shaking, I could tell something was going on, and when he got down on one knee, I knew what was about to happen. We ended the day sharing ice cream and taking in the city lights from the top of the Rockefeller. Both our families already knew he was going to propose, but they definitely kept it a secret!
When did y’all get married? June 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 260
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Yes! Something blue was the bottom of my shoes, something new was my wedding dress, and something borrowed was my mom’s ribbon and pearl pins she used for her own wedding bouquet. Also, my dad gave my mom a heart locket the day I was born with my birthday inscribed on it and a verse, and my mom gave it to me the week before the wedding. I had no idea she had had it for over 22 years, and I wore it for the rehearsal dinner!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We met with our pastors from C3 Brooklyn to do marriage counseling before the wedding. This couple has been such an incredible example of marriage to us, and they have never stopped encouraging us as individuals and as a couple. Chuck’s brother and sister-in-law, who are pastors in Miami, also counseled us before the wedding. These couples are awesome, and through their life experiences, they gave us bits of wisdom that will stay in our hearts forever.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The suspenders. Definitely putting the buttons on the suspenders the day before. To make an unnecessarily long story short, don’t stress over the little things.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Here are a few things that helped us stay within our wedding budget: 1. Being organized early on so that we could take advantage of sales. 2. Keeping the reception centerpieces to a minimum. 3. Not serving wine or beer–just a champagne toast. 4. Using flowers strategically–at our outdoor venue, we didn’t need too many. 5. Having a bridesmaid flower crown-making party the day before the wedding. So fun!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? The day goes by really quickly, so don’t spend time stressing over the little things. Enjoy the day and the process leading up to it. Try to take in the most important moments, especially those with family. Having your loved ones there to celebrate with you is the sweetest thing!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Chuck and I moved back to NYC, where he is finishing up law school and I am finishing my undergraduate studies in psychology. We’re looking forward to graduating this year and starting our new life together. The only additions to our family in the near future will be a great dane and a dachshund (his and hers dogs!).

Photographer: Jen Dillender / Planner: Donna Aleman / Venue: Pecan Springs Ranch / Florist: ZuZu’s Petals / Cake Baker: Sweet Treets / Caterer and Rentals: Papa’s / Lighting: Commercial Property Resources / Band: The Cave Dwellers / Paper Products: Mary Sue Evans / Paper Printing: Global Printing / Bride’s Gown: “Persiphone” by Watters / Bride’s Veil: Melissa Frye / Hair and Makeup: Adore / Bride’s Shoes: Blue by Betsey Johnson / Groom’s Suit: Jos. A Bank / Tie and Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Groom’s Shoes: Cole Haan / Groomsmen’s Pants: Banana Republic / Groomsmen’s Shirts: Macy’s / Coffee Bar: Stouthaus Coffee Pub

Jen Dillender is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Charles & Jessica, Pecan Springs Ranch Wedding » Jen Dillender Photography, Austin TX Wedding & Lifestyle Photographer reply

    […] Thank you to Southern Weddings for featuring this wedding on their blog this fall! You can find more from this sweet bride and groom here! […]

  2. avatar Beverly reply

    I love the bridesmaids dresses! Where are they from?

  3. avatar The Bridal Party Tending List: What Every Bridesmaid and Maid of Honor Should Know | Wedding Trends By Drawde reply

    […] Mary Courtney + Kit by Graham Terhune, Jessica + Chuck by Jen Dillender, bottom: Stephanie + Glenn by Rachel […]

  4. avatar Nicole reply

    Hi, you’ve listed very vendor except the one I was looking for! Lol where is the MOH’s dress from? Thanks

  5. avatar Jen Covington reply

    Hi there, I was looking for info on the bridesmaid dress vendors. You wouldn’t happen to be able to share would you?

    Thanks so much!

  6. avatar KCS reply

    I have been searching for the MOH’s dress.. any info on the designer?

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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