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There are SO many amazing venues in the South, but there’s nothing quite like a family home when it comes to adding an extra layer of meaning to a wedding celebration. Darcee and Hunter were married at the adorable chapel on Hunter’s family ranch, and as Darcee said, it’s what brought their relationship full circle–“My prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!” I’m sure all 400 of their guests felt just as home as they did while they then gathered for a cocktail hour under the big Texas sky, a family-style dinner that felt as joyful as Thanksgiving, and one of the most darling pie spreads I’ve ever seen!

Hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Jen Dillender for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace from Hunter’s sister, which was given to her by their grandmother. It was one of the sweetest and most special details from that day. My something blue were my blue Manolo Blahnik pumps, which were a fun find with my mother-in-law! Something old was a flower pin from my mom’s side of the family that I had on my bouquet. Something new was a handkerchief from a sweet friend that was embroidered with a quote by my mom–it sure came in handy (pun intended!), as it caught a lot of tears that day!

Finding my wedding dress was the hardest part of all the planning. We had a pretty short engagement, so I was under a bit of a time crunch. I remember my bridal consultant holding up what would eventually be “the dress” and I told her I didn’t even want to try it on! Eventually, I gave in, and loved it! But the over-analyzer in me just had to see if there was something better out there. I ended up going to three more appointments, and at the last appointment, I saw the same dress, and even without trying it on again, I knew that was the one. Ironically, regardless of how stressful it was, I would do it all over again–there’s nothing quite like getting to play dress up with all the girls in your life that you love the most. Those appointments still hold some of my fondest memories.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Hunter and I decided to forgo the first look. It was one of the few things that we didn’t really have to think twice about because there was something really special to me about the thought of my dad walking me down the aisle to Hunter and I really wanted that moment to be the first time we saw each other.

Hunter and I were married on his family’s ranch. The ranch holds countless special memories for him and his family, and therefore, it’s super special to me as well. His grandmother built a chapel on the ranch a few years ago, and any chance I would get, I would go there to just sit and reflect on how grateful I was that I had met Hunter…and there were certainly many prayers said there that one day, I would become Hunter’s wife! This chapel would end up being the place where things came full circle for us: my prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Hunter and I met a few months before my mom passed away, and unfortunately, he never got to meet her. It was the most heartbreaking time for me and it still blows me away how kind, patient, and understanding Hunter was, to be able to walk through something on that level with someone he had just met. When it came to picking out the song I would walk down the aisle to, “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood summarized my feelings perfectly. Hunter is exactly what moms pray for for their daughters.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Lots and lots of prayer, honestly. Hunter is a police officer who works a lot of crazy hours, so we weren’t seeing each other much. I was working and planning a wedding, and while it was so much fun, it was hectic and left little time for us to see each other. I remember praying that I would be prioritizing my time well, seeing what was important and what was not, and that above anything else, that I was focusing on what it meant to become a wife.

I think the biggest Southern detail was our venue. During pictures, horses were sneaking up in the background. We had our reception in a barn that is typically a home to tractors and tools. We served dinner family-style, where each table passed around food to each other. While we were eating, I remembered looking up and seeing people chatting as they passed the rolls and butter and thinking, “This feels like one huge family Thanksgiving meal,” and I was so grateful for that!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Call us crazy, but neither Hunter nor I are really big cake eaters. We were extremely fortunate to not only have the best caterer around, but also one who is known for their AMAZING pies! We had a pie bar complete with a chocolate chip wedding pie, pies in mason jars, big pies, and mini pies!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We had some mutual friends who consistently told me how highly they thought of Hunter and how they really wanted us to meet, and I was just not having it. Eventually, they got us to the same place at the same time to introduce us, and I’m not saying it was love at first sight, but it was something close!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was around 8 A.M. one Saturday morning when an alarm started going off. It wasn’t my phone or my alarm clock, so I got a ladder out thinking it was the batteries in my fire alarm. It wasn’t, and I wandered around my house for five more minutes looking for the source of this noise, until I found an iPad under my dresser with a note on it from Hunter sending me on a scavenger hunt. Out of pure shock and not wanting to get my hopes up, I crawled back into bed, wondering what was going on. Eventually, I got back up, got dressed, and followed my clues. My last stop led me to find Hunter at my favorite spot at his family’s ranch. A few minutes after he proposed, his family showed up, and to my surprise, he had also gotten all of my brothers and my dad, who lives 13 hours away, there too! It was sweet, simple, and perfect.
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding without my mom. It was downright hard and super emotional not having her there for this, but thankfully, my mother-in-law and I were able to have the best time planning the wedding. She was gracious, kind, and made sure that we were always having fun, and if we weren’t, we stopped and came back to it later. I know my mom is thankful for the way she took care of me during that time, as am I, always.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t overthink it. Get to a point where you stop looking at another people’s weddings and just think about what really matters to you and your soon-to-be husband.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? What’s next for us is just slowing down and spending time together. Planning a wedding, getting married, honeymooning, moving, etc. has made for a crazy few months, and I’m looking forward to sitting outside on our rocking chairs just spending time together without a to do list.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Videographer: Rethinkvideo | Planner: Thirty Day Dash | Venue: Pegasus Ranch | Florist: Moosefeathers Florist | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Royers Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Aztec | Lighting: American Outdoor Systems | Band: Danny Ray and the Acoustic Production | Paper Products: Archer and Olive and Gracelaced | Bride’s Gown: “Severine” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s Accessories: Jennifer Behr | Hair and Makeup: Sunkissed and Made Up | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Michele reply

    Could not have been more beautiful! Wedding and people!

  2. avatar Abbi Hearne reply

    This is beautiful!! What a dream. Great job Jen!

  3. avatar Julian Zacsfalvi reply

    Beautiful details and cool outfit with the cowboy hats!

  4. avatar Cindy reply

    What color are the bridesmaids dresses?

  5. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great set of natural images. Great lighting!

  6. avatar julie reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Darcee! I was wondering, do you know what color were your bridesmaids dresses were? Mineral? Dusty blue? Denmark blue? Gorgeous!!

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Callie and Chris are a couple after our own hearts! Not only did they celebrate their wedding day in true Southern fashion–in cowboy boots and pearls, surrounded by their favorite people at Classic Oaks Ranch, under the beautiful Texas sky–but they also ever-so-carefully prepared for their marriage while planning their sweet celebration. Callie prayed throughout their planning process that they would not solely be focused on their wedding day, but also be prepared for the days to follow and “the most important part,” their marriage!

Thanks so much of Anne Brookshire for sharing this special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I wanted something comfortable and romantic. I had been eyeing a dress online and planned to try it on once I had a break from work. My mom and good friend, Megan, went with me, and they were the best support system! I tried on the dress that I thought I would love, but it just wasn’t right. Two dresses later, I tried on the perfect dress–elegant, comfortable, and goosebumps-worthy! There was a Sprinkles cupcake store right next to the bridal salon, so naturally, we made our way over to snack on a cupcake while I made the decision. It was a wonderful experience!

We focused on Ephesians 5:22-33 during our engagement and premarital counseling, so our pastor emphasized this scripture during our ceremony. This scripture is a great reminder of the husband and wife’s roles, and how together, man and wife seek to fulfill God’s purpose through submission and relying on faith. Chris’ grandfather, Pop Pop, also told the story of Abraham and Sarah during our ceremony, which was incredibly meaningful.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We didn’t end up doing a first look. Chris and I both loved the idea of our first moment locking eyes on our wedding day being while I was walking down the aisle, and I’m so thankful we stuck to that decision. It is a moment I’ll never forget!! We did have a first touch, where we exchanged letters and gifts, and boy, was that fun!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Walking down the aisle, hands down. I didn’t think I’d be nearly as emotional as I was during that moment, but I lost it (in a good way!). There is truly nothing else in the world like that moment, and I’ll remember it vividly for the rest of my days!

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? This was something I prayed for consistently during the planning process–to not be so focused on the wedding planning that I didn’t prepare for what was to come after that day, the most important part! I tried my best to enjoy the fun planning moments, but to not dwell on too many specifics. Chris and I had an incredible premarital counselor, and he taught us a lot about specific aspects of marriage that might be awkward to randomly bring up. We feel like we were given so much incredible advice, and now, we are enjoying the ups, downs, hard, and fun moments of marriage! It’s so incredible going through every journey in life with your best friend.

My aunt is a florist, and boy, did she pull out all the stops! We have very similar taste, so I knew she would make everything look just like I envisioned. I wanted big blooms and greenery to be the general theme, so we used peonies, garden roses, eucalyptus and succulents. All of the bouquets and arrangements turned out more perfectly than I could have ever imagined!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. The bride’s cake was a very classic white wedding cake with fun, different fillings in every layer, including lemon, raspberry, cream cheese, and strawberry. The groom’s cake was classic chocolate cake with strawberries, but we added a fun twist and put antlers all over the top of it! Chris is a big fan of hunting, so it was the perfect touch at our ranch wedding.

We’re both from Southern states (Texas and Oklahoma) and loved the idea of getting married on a ranch. I looked into some different places, and Classic Oaks Ranch was the obvious winner. The owners of the ranch, Joe and Cathy, were absolutely incredible! They were both so relaxed and such a joy to work with when planning the best day of your life!

From the cowboy boots and cotton boutonnieres to the pearl necklaces and lace dresses, our whole night had both subtle and obvious Southern details! We got married under the Texas sky at a ranch and enjoyed some Southern rainfall as we left for the night, surrounded by our favorite people celebrating with sparklers! We also had bacon-wrapped quail as one of our appetizers, and I’m not sure if you can get more Southern than that! :)

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Chris and I both went to Baylor University, and anyone who went to Baylor knows of a huge tradition we have every February called All University Sing. His fraternity and my sorority performed together during our senior year, and although we didn’t meet during that time, we had a lot of mutual friends and vaguely knew of each other. We eventually ended up at the same place at the same time, and he asked me to a fraternity take-a-date, which was to a minor league baseball game. We ate hot dogs and Dippin’ Dots, watched some baseball, and got to know each other, and the rest is history! He was so kind and pursued me so sweetly from the very beginning. I knew he was the one!
Tell us all about the proposal! Chris casually mentioned he wanted to have a date night, but that he had a special surprise. We live in Oklahoma City, and there’s a riverwalk area downtown where you can ride a riverboat. Every time we go to this area, I ask him if we can ride a boat because it looks like so much fun, but Chris always rolls his eyes because it’s a thing only tourists do. But that night, the big surprise (or so he told me) was that he had rented a boat for just the two of us! I arrived at his apartment (not suspecting anything) in casual clothes with my hair in a braid. He sweetly asked, “Babe, will you wear your hair down for me tonight?” He knew I would want my hair down for the proposal and pictures! I was reluctant at first, but didn’t think anything of it because he loves my hair down, so I unbraided it. We got to downtown, hopped on the boat, and then Chris got pretty quiet–when he asked me to take off my sunglasses, I knew! He asked me to marry him and I said yes. As we continued our ride, we looked around the curve to see our closest friends and family all along the river bridge!
When did y’all get married? June 26, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 325
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I did! My something borrowed was my maid of honor’s ring and lipstick! The red lipstick was a last minute decision, and I’m so glad I trusted my best girls on that one! My something blue was a cute sticker I put on the bottom of my shoes with “Mrs. Tkach” on one shoe and our wedding date on the other. My something old was my grandmother’s pearl wedding ring she gave me on my 16th birthday, the sweetest gift. My something new was a beautiful pearl necklace from my soon-to-be husband!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Wedding invitations! It really boggled my mind that it’s possible to spend thousands of dollars on paper that people usually end up tossing, so I went with pretty simple invitations. I addressed all the envelopes using Mail Merge on my computer and printed them on my printer! Lots of labor, huge money saver!
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Enjoy it! It’s so easy to hope for engagement while dating, and then hope for the wedding day once you’re engaged, but embrace every moment while you’re experiencing it because it will fly by. While it’s so tempting to think of the future, let every day and every moment with the love of your life fully hit you. Oh, and have lots and lots of cake.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently learning how to live life with me working full-time as a NICU nurse and Chris finishing medical school. Our next crazy journey will be finding out where he matches for residency. We’re just loving and learning and pursuing the Lord together, and there’s nothing better!

Photographer: Anne Brookshire / Videographer: Jake Brown / Planner: Sunny Looper / Venue: Classic Oaks Ranch / Florist: Annie’s Garden / Cake Baker: Cakes by Charlesa / Caterer: The Reata Restaurant / DJ: Ed Petty / Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas / Bride’s Gown: “Onyx” by Catherine Deane / Bridal Salon: BHLDN / Earrings and Necklace: Mikimoto / Hair and Makeup: Kiss and Makeup DFW / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Celia” by BHLDN / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse / Harpist: Jenny Glass

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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I’m pretty sure that if I told you that this wedding had a former Abercrombie & Fitch model for a groom, a bride that rode in on a white horse, and a ceremony that took place on a field covered in yellow wildflowers, you might think I was writing a romance novel. But y’all, it did! For their special day, Kelli and Michael wanted their California friends and family to feel the warmth of Southern hospitality and the fun of a Texas country wedding. With the help of Blue Ribbon Vendor, Two Be Wed, Kelli’s matron of honor’s parents’ ranch became the site of this sweet day, where guests were invited to make themselves at home and celebrate the newlyweds’ love with all things Southern. I love the South, and seeing it shared through our couple’s eyes makes my heart sing–Kelli and Michael even had a good ol’ tractor to transport guests!

We’re so thankful to Christianne Taylor for sharing this lovely day with us in V7!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. I was a new sophomore in Santa Barbara, where I had just transferred to my new school, and I didn’t know anyone. My dad and I were downtown at Brooks’ orientation, and we wandered into a coffee shop where Mike worked. I immediately noticed the ridiculously good-looking barista. Mike was literally an Abercrombie & Fitch model at the time, so I was understandably shy, and I made my dad go place the order! Months later, I ended up moving into a house in Montecito with four random roommates. One of the roommates, Lauren, happened to work at the coffee shop with Mike, and she quickly filled me in on the fact that this super handsome guy was only a year older than me, had never had a girlfriend before (crazy, right?!), and apparently was super sweet, soft spoken, and shy. And, he was a Christian and a Young Life leader at Santa Barbara High School! Of course, my crush quickly grew into a full-blown obsession. In the meantime, I had started casually seeing another guy, and that relationship ended just before Valentine’s Day. I went out for a single ladies’ Valentine’s Day dinner with Lauren, and she told me that Mike had been asking about me for months! When I had ended the relationship with the other guy on my own, she felt it was okay to finally let me know about Mike. Mike, in the meantime, didn’t know Lauren was chatting with me or that I had ended things with the other guy, but when I got home that night, he had left me a sweet message, asking me to coffee. We have been together ever since.

I had the amazing opportunity to meet and work with wedding dress designer Hayley Paige on an article for Houston Magazine. She comes to Houston often for trunk shows and has become a close friend. She is just the sweetest and most talented person I know. When Mike and I got engaged, she went above and beyond to make sure my dress was perfect and I had everything I needed. I had the privilege to shoot the owner’s of Now & Forever Bridal Boutique’s wedding in Hawaii the year before Mike and I got married. They, along with Hayley, have also become close friends, and they made my dress buying experience above and beyond wonderful.

What was Southern about your wedding? Everything: the decor, the environment, the horses, the ranch, the boots, the rustic theme, and the tractor.

We tried to do as much of our own stuff as possible. We had SO many friends with unique gifts and talents contribute to our day. We couldn’t have done it without them! I made/printed our save the dates, favors, confetti bags for the ceremony, and chalkboard signs for favors. I also printed and designed our wedding programs, which featured illustrations by Tricia Lowenfield.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? It was all so special. We did communion–our faith is an important part of who we are as individuals and a couple.
Who was your officiant? Why did you choose him/her? Our officiant was our pastor who has known me since I was young. I used to be the youth intern at the church with him, and he has mentored me for a long time. It was special to have him counsel Mike and I leading up to the wedding and to have him as a part of the big day.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The horse we had the opportunity to ride in on! I also loved the birch sticks that lined the ceremony aisles–they had cascading ivy, vines, and white flowers on top. The cross at the end of our aisle had matching florals. The sun setting behind it made the water on the lake glisten. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful way to show our family and friends the warmth of the South.

We got married in Marquez, Texas at my best friend’s ranch. She was also my matron of honor and wedding photographer! Their ranch was such a blessing to have on our big day. Her family was so unbelievably hospitable, and they are much like family to me as well, so it couldn’t have been more perfect. The majority of our family and friends were coming from California, so we wanted to give them a real Texas experience. The ranch was the perfect fit! We had horses, a tractor, boots, and all! The ceremony took place on a field covered in yellow wildflowers, overlooking a beautiful lake. I love nature and wanted our wedding to be simple, elegant, and rustic.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The coffee favors. He’s become a coffee connoisseur and we home-roasted a lot of coffee ourselves. Our wedding favors were bags of coffee from Northstar Coffee Co. that said “Love is Brewing”–we thought this was only appropriate, considering the role it played in our story.

We had one of my close friends make our cake and cupcakes. She has a vegan catering company called Ripe Cuisine, and everything was amazing. We had chocolate and carrot cake for Mike–it’s his favorite!

Date of your wedding: March 16, 2013
Describe the proposal: It was simple and sweet. We had decided to go on a break for a few months before getting engaged. We both had graduated, he moved to Seattle, and I was in Houston. The break made us realize we were ready to be together for life. He made the move to Houston a few months later, and proposed at my parents’ house.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Rustic, elegant, and organic
What was the weather like on your big day? Beautiful. It was in the mid-80’s during the day and the high 60’s at night. We had an outdoor fireplace and fleece blankets in baskets for guests to cozy up with.
How many guests attended your wedding? About 150
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Logistics! I am a creative, so the nitty gritty and numbers stuff have always been hard for me. I’m SO thankful for the girls at Twobewed–they were a Godsend! I couldn’t have done anything without them.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? It was so important to me that my bridesmaids not feel burdened, but loved the experience of our wedding. I wanted them to encompass our theme, but also be comfortable and embody the warmth of spring in Texas. I picked out some cute, ivory lace, corset-top sundresses from American Eagle that the girls all wore with boots.
What was your reception like? Intimate and informal. We wanted guests to feel at home, and not like there was a routine or regimen that needed to be followed.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We had hanging string lights and several seating vignettes–lots of chaise lounges–for a cozy, but elegant, backyard ranch feel. The food was served on the porch, set up on rustic wooden doors converted into tables, with vintage wine barrels as the base.
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, but it was brief. We displayed chalkboard signs depicting our signature mocktails (it was a dry wedding, as our venue dictated).
What kind of food did you serve? We served upscale barbecue with veggies, prepared by Ara Malkein with Aracan Kitchen. He was the sous chef for Wolfgang Puck for several years in California, and he was such a joy to work with!
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? Our grand entrance featured Mike leading me in on a beautiful white horse, but my horse almost took off with me on the back of it! 

What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff–none of it matters. Just enjoy every moment and take it ALL in. It flies by so quickly.

Photographer: Christianne Taylor / Videographer: Sweet Start / Planner: Two Be Wed / Graphic Designer: Rumford Graphic Design / Venue: Great Rock Ranch / Florals: Joanna Dunton / Caterer: Ara Malekin with Aracan Kitchen / Cake Baker: Ripe Cuisine / Bride’s Gown: “Hattie” by Hayley Paige / Bridal Salon and Accessories: Now and Forever Bridal Boutique / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Serephine / Bridesmaid Dresses: American Eagle / Hair and Makeup: Shannon Bloodworth / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen Attire: H&M / Paper Goods: Vera Wang / Linens and Rentals: Aztec Rentals / DJ and Lighting: Unique Style Productions / Wine Barrels: Katy Barrel Co.

Two Be Wed is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Julie reply

    This is just the sweetest thing! I love the ‘meet cute’ sign!

  2. avatar Tricia Lowenfield reply

    So fun to see this beautiful wedding!! I loved working with the bride on her program illustrations.

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