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Bride Felicia’s lovely Lone Star State wedding.

I’m really excited for y’all to meet today’s bride, Felicia, because her wedding to Gideon is giving me all the Texas feels! Though I only lived in Texas for a short time, it’s a state that you’re sure not to forget easily. And Felicia and Gideon did their home state proud with a semi-destination wedding at Travaasa Austin filled with lots of cowboy hats and even more cowboy boots! When planning their wedding, they envisioned their friends and family participating in activities together and seeing each other often through the weekend. So they worked with Travaasa Austin to reserve the entire resort for a magical wedding weekend of fun events (like horseback riding and ropes courses!) and, most importantly, a four-part marriage celebration! Of course, with a wedding weekend so packed full of gatherings, there are many beautiful details and sweet moments to talk about, but my favorite thing is Felicia’s advice to those planning a wedding. She said, “Do not let the joy of this most precious day get lost in a sea of expectations that will distract you.” Oh my stars, what sage advice. Keep scrolling for more goodness from Felicia!

Big SW hugs to Nichols Photographers for sharing!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Gideon and I really wanted a destination wedding where all our closest friends and family could spend a weekend together. We envisioned friends and family participating in activities together and seeing each other often through the weekend. We liked the idea of guests not having to drive from one venue to the next with all wedding-related events in one convenient location. We also both really love Texas! So we wanted a destination-type wedding, but we couldn’t imagine getting married anywhere else but the state we so dearly love. Travaasa Austin was perfect. We reserved the entire resort for our wedding weekend to provide that destination and community environment we were looking for. I am from San Antonio, and Gideon is from Dallas, so Austin was a great place for us to meet in the middle. And who doesn’t love the Texas Hill Country?

Gideon designed my ring. The center stone is a round diamond from his mother’s ring. The two side stones are pear-shaped. I have two daughters, so Gideon liked the three stone ring to symbolize me and my girls. For his wedding band, Gideon picked the largest gold band he could find! He loves gold as it matches the watch he inherited from his grandfather.

My gown is a one-of-a-kind custom couture gown created by Nardos Design and inspired by the Italian heritage of my family. The silhouette is a fitted draped french silk in pristine white with an Italian hand beaded lace bodice and delicate eyelash details. My grace and femininity were the inspiration for Nardos from the sketching to the final fitting.

Gathering our friends and family in one place for the weekend was of the upmost importance to us, so Travaasa was the perfect venue. Guests checked in on Friday for a full day of scheduled resort activities (horseback riding, yoga, spa appointments, ropes course, etc.!), followed by “An Evening Under the Texas Stars.” The evening kicked off with a rehearsal dinner at the resort’s Solidago Gardens, where guests sipped bourbon cocktails and dined family style (literally, under the stars!) in the open-air courtyard. The menu consisted of Southern favorites such as short ribs, quail, grits, and Texas sheet cake. On Saturday, we utilized all of the remaining space at Travaasa for a four-part marriage celebration! We were married in the late afternoon in the Live Oak Courtyard–a gorgeous lawn with views of the Hill Country.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Pretty much all our music was nontraditional. We had a string quartet play the music, but it was all contemporary. We also had two close friends sing a beautiful song during communion, “Divine Romance” by Phil Wickham. Max Helmerich was our vocalist and guitarist (he is in the band Wilderado) and Jesse Ihde sang harmony.

What were some of the most meaningful or special parts of your ceremony? Having communion was an important part of the ceremony for both Gideon and I. We felt strongly that this sacred act should be the first thing we do together in our marriage.

Gideon has brought immeasurable joy into my life. My favorite moments are when we read and dream together. He is intentional, thoughtful, fun, and genuine.

I wore a fitted silk and lace gown, and Gideon and his groomsmen were perfect Southern gentlemen in crisp blue jeans and cowboy hats.

It is so easy to get caught up in the details of a wedding. You can go crazy looking at Pinterest at what others have done that has been beautiful or creative and you may feel pressure to have everything perfect or exactly how you’ve always dreamed it would be. My advice is to focus less on the details and more on the moments you will be creating with your new husband, family, and friends. The details will not seem as important as time rolls forward. What you will hold dear in your heart is how you felt when you walked down the aisle…you will remember the time you spent with your girlfriends getting ready for the big event and celebrating after the ceremony. Do not let the joy of this most precious day get lost in a sea of expectations that will distract you. Take the time to visit with each guest (if possible) to thank them for sharing this special moment in time with you. Soak every joyous moment in.

Following the ceremony, guests traveled down to the pool deck for cocktails and appetizers. The pool deck has an incredible view and looks out over Lake Travis–the perfect spot for watching the sun set. One of my favorite details was set here–an escort card wall filled with native blooms. We hand tied each invitation with the organic plant dyed silk ribbon. Escort cards used various flowers and plants found on Gideon’s ranch. He actually hand painted each one! The flowers were then attached to a card with each guest’s name hand calligraphied in navy ink.

When it was time for dinner, guests were invited up to the Mesquite Patio, which earned its name for the gorgeous trees whose branches cover the space. The band, Ice House, kicked dinner off by leading guests in “Texas Our Texas,” and then, following the blessing, guests dined at long tables under twinkling lights. When dinner wound down, everyone was invited to the Lone Star Ballroom for dessert and dancing. The band kept everyone on the dance floor until the final, confetti-filled song. We departed under a sea of rose petals on a golf cart decked out with a Texas flag.

The bridal cake was red velvet. It is my favorite! It was topped with beautiful flowers. The groom’s cake was decorated like an oil rig complete with geology under the surface (Gideon is in the oil and gas business). The groom’s cake was chocolate.

When did y’all get married? October 29th, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $75,000-$100,000
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding? I would say, “Hire Ellen Westcott to do EVERYTHING!” My only regret was not paying her more to do more!! She was amazing. All our vendors were phenomenal. Aside from Ellen I would also recommend The Nichols for photography. They were wonderful to work with and very focused on getting everything done in a timely manner.

Photographer: Nichols Photographers | Planner: Westcott Weddings | Venue and Caterer: Travaasa Austin | Florist: Sprout Flowers | Makeup Artist: Makenzi Laine | Rentals: La Tavola, Loot Vintage, and Marquee Events | Wedding Cake Baker: Sweet Treats | Lighting: ILD | Band: Ice House Band | Paper Products: The Inviting Pear and The Boarding School Collective | Bride’s Gown: Nardos Design | Hair Stylist: Kate Leatherwood at Last Satellite Salon

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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Though Catherine and Will did give a lot of thought to eloping, they ultimately decided they wanted to celebrate their marriage with their friends and family, so a wedding weekend it was! After a whirlwind search that ended with lots of great venues but none that felt exactly right, they found themselves on a tour of Blue Ribbon Vendor RT Lodge. The peaceful atmosphere and opportunity to have the property all to themselves for the weekend sealed the deal!

String lights, bales of hay covered in family quilts, and s’mores by the fire helped create the magical, “grown-up summer camp” feel Catherine and Will were hoping for. And judging from the joy in these photos, I’m thinking they’re pretty glad they didn’t decide to elope!

Thanks to Cody Myers for sharing their sweet Tennessee day with us!

The wedding dress wasn’t a detail of planning that I was especially excited about, so I put off looking until a ways into our engagement. Because we were on a tight timeline, I knew we needed to find something that day. After trying on a few dresses that were definitely not the one at different shops, we went to The Sentimentalist. The dress I ended up going with was flowy and relaxed with great lines. It had the perfect feel for our wedding, and I couldn’t have been happier!

I was very against the idea of not seeing Will until I walked down the aisle, so we both had breakfast at the lodge with our bridesmaids and groomsmen. Seeing him that morning was so nice, and it set a great tone for the day. If it was supposed to be one of the most important days of our life, it didn’t seem right not to spend most of it together! After breakfast, we went our separate ways to get ready with our friends, and then we had a first look in our wedding clothes in the woods at the Lodge.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? We gave a lot of thought to eloping, but once we decided to have a wedding weekend, we decided to get married in the mountains in North Carolina. After a whirlwind search, we decided to go look at RT Lodge in Tennessee. It isn’t what I thought we were looking for, but as we toured the property under umbrellas, the peaceful atmosphere pulled us in! It really felt like grown-up summer camp in the woods.

We used traditional Presbyterian vows, and we loved the simplicity and significance of those words that have been said time and again…”in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health, as long as we both shall live.” And it was so meaningful to use the words “husband” and “wife” for the first time!

The only readings we had at the ceremony were two Bible verses. One of our officiants read Romans 12:1-2, 9-18, and our other officiant read Colossians 3:12-17. We wanted our ceremony to be simple, meaningful, and very centered on God.

We wanted our ceremony music to be traditional, but walking down the aisle made me nervous, and listening to traditional processional songs made me even more nervous, so we decided to go with a more contemporary song for that part! One of our officiants suggested at an early meeting that we have everyone sing a hymn during the ceremony, and we chose one of our favorites (“Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”). We chose to have the hymn be played right after communion, so we were still sitting down in the seats with everyone, which was so sweet.

Will and I danced to Blake Shelton’s “Mine Would Be You” for our first dance. Our bluegrass band played a shortened version of it and it was really fun! My dad and I danced to Elvis’s “Sweet Caroline,” a song he would sing to me when I was a baby.

Our cocktail hour site was a grassy area just behind the ceremony site that had strung lights from trees Alex had planted and hay bales covered in family quilts around a fire. One other really sweet detail we loved was that after our rehearsal dinner, everyone hung out by the fire making s’mores and relaxing. It was the perfect ending to a really great day.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Will and I met on my first day of work at the Tennessee governor’s office (I give him a hard time because he doesn’t remember meeting me!). We slowly became office friends, and after a while, things began to shift into the possibility of becoming more. Will finally asked me out on an October Friday to go watch a Braves playoff game after work. After a somewhat bumpy first date (I was really nervous and didn’t even have my ID!), the rest of our story has been an amazing adventure!
Tell us all about the proposal! As soon as our busiest season of work ended, Will planned a trip to the Grove Park Inn in Asheville for a weekend getaway. On Saturday, we drove up the Blue Ridge Parkway to find a place to hike. After a lot of discussion with locals about where to go, we ended up at the summit of the Craggy Gardens Pinnacle trail with 360-degree views. After enjoying the view for a few minutes and taking some pictures, Will began saying some amazing things, and he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! We were able to enjoy the rest of the day up on the mountain, and then we celebrated with a perfect dinner in downtown Asheville. We didn’t tell anyone the news that day (except for every stranger I encountered!), so on Sunday, we spent the drive home calling friends, and even stopped in Knoxville to tell my mom on Mother’s Day (my dad already knew).
When did y’all get married? October 24, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 105
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: For me, the paper aspect of the wedding were something I was very excited about! I was able to create the save the dates and I painted the fireplace at the lodge and did the calligraphy, and we had Chelsea Petaja create the most wonderful invitation suite. I loved working with her and I couldn’t have been happier with the way everything turned out. I love vintage stationery and stamps, so I started collecting old stamps as soon as we got engaged. Each envelope had six or seven vintage stamps on it! One of our favorite details of the actual wedding was the ceremony and cocktail hour sites–Alex (our coordinator) made those blank canvases come to life!
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! Making sure I was wearing each category was one of the details that ended up not happening in the chaos of the weekend, so I only had a borrowed veil and new dress/shoes. BUT, there was a lot of “old” strung throughout the wedding, like the old (and blue!) Chevy truck, the cake topper, the film photography, the Super 8 video, my paternal grandparents’ wedding guest book that we used as our guest book. We laugh that our wedding was straight out of the 50s!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? Will had a special bourbon bar during the reception, which was made up of a selection of bourbon from Southern distilleries. For our rehearsal dinner (which took place on the front lawn of RT), we ate barbecue, drank Cokes in glass bottles, and had banana pudding served in the sweetest Spode Woodland bunny bowls. Most of our food had a Southern base, from fried chicken at my bridal luncheon Friday to collards at the reception!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We tried to be very intentional about the fact that the wedding was only one day in the scope of our entire marriage, so we went to a marriage seminar, had counseling with our minister, and read a lot of books together like Tim Keller’s “The Meaning of Marriage.”
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? We had Campbell Brewer film our wedding in Super 8 video. The nostalgic feel of our video is incredible, and all of our details fit perfectly with that medium. He edited amazing videos for us. Because we had an amazing film photographer (Cody Myers) shoot the weeding, the video truly feels like our photos came to life! I loved using the wedding as an excuse to hire really talented people I know. My friend, artist James Worsham, created our altar–it was so perfect! He really set the scene with the wood altar, the fabric draped over, and the copper flower stands he made! Also, I had an artist I know from high school, Adele Yonchak, paint small canvases for my bridesmaids; they turned out so perfectly, and I loved being able to give them to my closest friends.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was really important to us that the day be centered around the ceremony. Communion was served during our ceremony, and being able to experience that sacred moment with our closest family and friends while rain lightly fell was so special.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding? Will loves old trucks, and I was able to borrow an amazing 1960s Chevy pickup truck from a couple I know in Knoxville. There was a road next to our ceremony site, so Will drove us away from the ceremony in that! Our videographers got amazing Super 8 footage from the bed of the truck, and even running alongside while we were driving.

Photographer: Cody Myers | Videographer: Campbell Brewer of Clark Brewer Photography | Planner, Venue, Catering, Rentals, and Lighting: RT Lodge | Florist: Lisa Foster Floral Design | Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design | Cake Topper: The Delightful Crow | Ceremony Music: Tim West and Adam Cromer | Band: Sweetwater Road Band | Paper Products: Chelsea Petaja | Save the Dates: 23Postcards | Printing: Midtown Printing and For Your Party | Invitation Stamps: Bride and Verde Studio | Bride’s Gown: “Kerry” by Theia | Bridal Salon: The Sentimentalist | Hair Stylist: Eric Patterson and Elisabetta Proietto of Twisted Scissors | Makeup Artist: Patty Watson | Bride’s Shoes: Tali Grand Waterproof Bow Wedge in Canyon Rose by Cole Haan | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Annabelle” in Shadow Grey, Mist Grey, and Blush by BHLDN | Groom’s Attire: Brooks Brothers | Groomsmen’s Ties: The Tie Bar | Welcome Bags: Bradley’s | Transportation: Big Love Bus | Altar: Handy Dandy Productions | Bridesmaids’ Gifts: Adele Yonchak

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa

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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After a long bout of warm weather for the season, we’re kicking off December by stocking the SW office with tea and hot cocoa and turning up the holiday music! In that vein, I can’t think of a more perfect wedding to share with you today than Peyton and Tyler’s beautiful day. The combination of Peyton’s long lace sleeves, the deep red of her bridesmaid dresses, and the natural backdrop of RT Lodge all add to the cozy feeling. While it was a hard decision, opting for a smaller guest list allowed the two of them to spend more time focusing on celebrating with the most important people in their lives, and I must say, it certainly made their whole day feel a bit more special! Huge SW thanks to Finch Photography for sharing Peyton and Tyler’s beautiful day with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! I grew up in Maryville and one of my favorite things about my hometown is the Foothills Fall Festival. Knowing how much I love going to the concerts at the festival, Tyler came up with a plan to propose there. Finally, it was the day of the proposal and everything was in place. Tyler’s parents and my grandmother had come into town for the big event. Both families and some friends all piled into the car and went to church together before heading to the festival. I was very concerned that Tyler was sick or something because his hands were extremely sweaty, which quickly became a funny joke to all of those in the know! Once at the festival, I was so excited by all the booths, crafts, and food that it was nearly impossible to get me to go to our seats for the afternoon concert. In between concerts, an announcer came off the stage and started talking to different people in the audience. Tyler and I (just so happened…) to have seats next to the aisle and in the front. The announcer started talking to us, and then, he asked us to look up on the screen. There was a note written by me when I was little about how I had had the best time at the fall festival. Tyler then got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. I already knew that Tyler was the one, but when he proposed, I was so surprised that I didn’t answer and simply stared at him! The announcer reminded me to think long and hard about the decision, and I finally said yes!

I had a pretty good idea of what my dream dress would look like–I wanted long lace sleeves (a winter wedding must!), an A-line shape (my most flattering look), and I wanted it to make me feel like a princess. I actually found the perfect dress on Pinterest and then went dress shopping to find something similar, but, of course, had no luck. Then I happily realized that the dress I had pinned was from Alfred Angelo, and that they had a store nearby. I put on the dress, everyone cried, and I bought it! I absolutely loved my wedding dress–it really was my dream dress!

What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The guest list. Choosing who should be on the guest list and making cuts were the hardest parts. We wanted to include everyone we know and love, but it is just unrealistic with venue sizes and costs. We ended up having to invite only family and lifelong family friends. Also, we opted to have an adults-only wedding (minus children who had to travel with parents from out-of-town or that were in the wedding, for whom we offered child care during the reception). The guest list was difficult to make, but in the end, we felt like we had the people who meant the most to us there to share in our special day.

We did a first look. I was against the idea at first, based on tradition, but our wedding was at 4 P.M. and I was worried about getting pictures done with enough lighting after the ceremony. I am really glad that we did this! By the time the wedding day came, I was so anxious to see Tyler that I was glad it was before the ceremony so we could actually have a moment to see each other and talk. Tyler was so overjoyed and excited to see me in my dress that he stared to tear up the moment he saw me.

Tyler and I decided to write our own vows so that they would be promises from our own hearts. It was amazing how in-sync our vows ended up being, since neither of us heard or saw the other’s before the ceremony. My favorite part was that we both promised to keep Christ in the center of our relationship, and that no matter what, we were in this adventure together. During the ceremony, Tyler was incredibly sentimental and emotional during his vows, while I could not contain my joy and smiles as I made my promises. This was such a reflection of each of us and made the moment even more perfect.

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We had both our wedding ceremony and reception at RT Lodge. This was the perfect location for us for so many different reasons. 1. I actually live less than two minutes from the venue. This was nice because it was so familiar to me! Growing up, my family used to take walks through the Maryville College woods past RT Lodge. Also, in the event that anything was left at home (which some things were!), it was easy for someone to go and grab whatever we needed. 2. The feel of the Lodge. There is something elegant, yet manly about the lodge, which fit both of us really well. Especially getting married in the winter, the lodge just fit the feel we were going for.

I was completely obsessed with my wedding flowers. My bridal bouquet was beautiful, made with lush, neutral blooms. My flower girls and maid of honor had some amazing flower pieces in their hair. We had logs covered with candles and flower petals leading down the aisle to our arch, which was adorned with flowers. At our reception, we had centerpieces that included deer antlers, which really was cool with the lodge atmosphere. Our flowers had a vintage, natural elegance feel that really captured the look we were wanting.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Since our last name is Camera, a camera-shaped groom’s cake was a definite must! Our guests thought this idea was so clever, and it was a huge hit. The bride’s cake was five tiers in simple textures with gold accents, which all came together into a simple, yet beautiful design. Both of the cakes were absolutely delicious!

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? At the end of our reception, everyone was on the dance floor having a great time, singing and busting moves. Then, to Tyler’s and my surprise, everyone circled around us and sang “As Long As We’re Here” by Kristy Starling–an all-time favorite song of mine. It was such a spontaneous and special moment. We felt so loved being completely surrounded by our favorite people. Immediately after this moment, we headed to our sparkler send-off on the RT Lodge lawn. It was the perfect end to the perfect day!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Tyler and I met on August 30, 2013. It was the first weekend back at school and some friends invited me over to their house. I was sitting on a couch with a friend in the living room when Tyler walked through the front door and we instantly locked eyes. It was one of those moments when reality actually felt like a movie (Tyler even says that the second he saw me, he knew that I was going to be his girl). We basically maintained eye contact for the next ten minutes, until I realized he was shy and I was going to have to make the first move, so I walked over to him and introduced myself. We ended up talking for the rest of the evening and exchanged numbers before we left. The next morning, I woke up to a text from him asking when he could see me again. We ended up hanging out every single day for the next few months. He asked me to be his girlfriend on October 19 and then proposed exactly a year later.
When did y’all get married? December 19, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: Two of the most special pieces of our wedding were the arch and the guest “log.” Tyler was so insistent on having a “power arch” (as he called it), and we were having zero luck. My papaw offered to build us exactly what we wanted, and it was so perfect! We are planning to put the arch in the backyard of our new home. For the guest log, we had everyone sign an actual wooden log. My papaw cut down the log from his yard and gave it to me. Following the wedding, he turned the log into a bench for us to put into our home.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We are both so fortunate to have parents who are still married. Tyler and I took time to sit and talk with our parents about the keys to having a lasting, successful, and blissful marriage. Tyler and I also participated in marriage counseling leading up to the wedding. We took the time to talk and pray together about the future, and continuously asked happy couples in our lives for advice.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Since the wedding, I graduated from college and we moved back to my hometown. Tyler and I are now starting our new life in the cutest, old, cottage-style home. We spend a lot of time having bonfires and celebrations with our friends and family. We are so excited to see what is ahead for us on this adventure together!

Photographer: Finch Photography / Videographer: Milestones / Venue, Planner, and Caterer: RT Lodge / Florist: Whimsical Gatherings / Wedding Cake: Cheryl McMillan Cake Design / Lighting and DJ: Ogle Entertainment / Paper Goods: The Happy Envelope / Bride’s Gown and Accessories: Alfred Angelo / Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Bangs and Blush / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: White Lace and Promises / Menswear: Jos. A. Bank

RT Lodge is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

Written with love by Jess Metcalf
  1. avatar Olivia reply

    What a beautiful wedding! We are getting married in January and love the fur stoles the bridesmaids are wearing. Where are they from?

  2. avatar Gosia reply

    I am not a fan of red, but after seeing this weeding I might change my mind!

  3. avatar The most wonderful time of the year… | ZsaZsa Bellagio – Like No Other reply

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