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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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Today we’re sharing a colorful citrus inspiration shoot, set deep in the heart of Texas!

“You’re the barb on my wire / The spark in my campfire / There’s no brighter star in all the multiplexes. / I love this state, you know I do / But the best thing in this state is you.” Slaid Cleaves sung it right in his “Texas Love Song,” inspiring The Happy Bloom and Tristan Needham to marry true love and color at The White Sparrow. This team is eager to see couples embrace color at their weddings, and I love that they didn’t just wish it – they’re sharing with us a way to do it beautifully, one that feels authentic to the Hispanic and Texan cultures they were inspired by.

I’d love to hear: anyone out there using brighter colors at your wedding? :)

From the team:
What makes Texas so great is its blend of Southern tradition and Mexican influence. Rustic white barns meet stucco and citrus, colliding to make a beauty that no other location can duplicate. While some wedding trends are leaning further and further into the neutral color palette of greens and creams, these two cultures still embrace color, vitality and life… no matter the trend or season!

Our couple’s wedding day was filled with pops of fresh citrus, locally grown tomatillos and Claire’s favorite flower, the poppy. Their love of European culture and modernism can be seen in their minimal paper goods and clean, fresh tablescape. We loved playing the balancing game of Southern tradition meets Mexican influence meets European modernism. The location is obviously innately Southern. We loved the way that the bride’s modern two piece dress compliments the beautiful white barn. The pops of citrus keep the shoot feeling alive and fresh but not oversaturated.

Photographer: The Happy Bloom | Film Lab | Indie Film Lab | Venue: The White Sparrow | Design and Styling: Tristan Needham Design | Gown: Saint Isbael Bridal | Floral: Bows + Arrows | Rentals: Bella Acento | Rings: Susie Saltzman | Paper Goods: Graceline Art | Hair and Makeup Artist: Haley Herbst | Cake: 2 Tarts Bakery | Modeling Agency: Kim Dawson Agency | Female Model: Haley Halter | Male Model | Luis Martinez

emily Written with love by Emily
2 Comments
  1. avatar Lyndi reply

    Goodness I love all this color!!

  2. avatar The Happy Bloom reply

    Thank you for the beautiful feature! xoxo!

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Jessica and Sawyer may have chosen to forgo a few traditions, but they made sure that sweet Southern hospitality was not one of them! Since they had guests coming to town from all over the country, they wanted to give them a taste of what they love about Texas through their venue and menu selection. Opting for a laid-back vibe, these two chose to add only simple decor to the already-lovely Brooks at Weatherford and let their Tex-Mex menu (fajitas and margaritas!) shine! And of course, their dance floor was open all night! I think I might be having guest envy, y’all!

Big SW hugs to< a href="http://www.sarahmckenziephoto.com" target="_blank">Sarah McKenzie for sharing their special day with us!

I knew exactly what I was looking for before dress shopping: something classic with sleeves and lots of lace (think Kate Middleton). I actually only went to two stores, and my wedding dress shopping was complete in one day. It was an overwhelming, but super fun, experience, and my mom and I had a great time.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know it’s so hard not to, but seriously, it doesn’t matter! Your guests will not care if you forgot to print the ceremony programs or if you left your guest book at home. Try to remember that this whole wedding thing is about marrying each other!

We didn’t participate in too many traditions, as we wanted the focus of the day to be our marriage and getting to celebrate that with friends and family. However, since we had guests from all over North America, we wanted them to be able to experience all that Texas had to offer. Everything from our venue to our food and drink selections were meant to give guests a taste of what we love about Texas!

Sawyer popped the question in a sweet, private setting when we had a moment alone, which was exactly what I had wanted. We arrived home to a private family celebration, but the big surprise came the following week! I was surprised with a giant engagement celebration, courtesy of our TCU friends. I had friends who drove from all across Texas to attend, and we had an absolute blast, complete with a margarita machine and a freestyle rap battle (it was epic). It was such a sweet surprise and easily one of my favorite memories.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to use a set of vows recommended by our church, and just changed a few pieces to better fit our relationship. This was my favorite verse/line that I read: “Today, I am reminded of James 1:17, which says, ‘Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights who does not change like shifting shadow.’ Besides the gift of salvation, you are the most precious gift God has given me.”

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was eating dinner together in the bridal suite. After the ceremony, we chose to eat alone so we could spend a few minutes relaxing. Our caterer brought in plate after plate of fajita fixings and two margaritas, and we got to sit on the couch, feet up, pigging out together. It was SO nice to have a moment of peace to enjoy our food and process the day before entering the craziness of the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Since we were having Tex-Mex for dinner, we went with a triple Mexican vanilla cake, plus a Texas chocolate sheet cake for the groom’s cake. We wanted to give our out-of-town guests a taste of Texas while they were there!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think my favorite part of our wedding was the laid-back vibe. We went for simple decor, dinner was fajitas and margaritas, and the dance floor was open all night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sawyer and I met pretty early on in our college careers at TCU, through a mutual friend, but didn’t get to know each other until we started working on a philanthropy project together junior year. I needed a date to my sorority’s formal that same fall, and the rest is history!
When did y’all get married? July 22, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look! This was a recommendation from our photographer, Sarah, and was seriously the BEST decision. Taking photos (especially in the July heat) can be a less than fun experience, so getting to take most of our photos pre-ceremony was a huge relief. It also helped calm both of our nerves; Sawyer is my best friend and I didn’t want to spend our entire wedding day apart. We were able to spend more time with friends and family after the ceremony, and we got much more quiet time alone as well. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is on the fence–walking down the aisle was still incredibly special and emotional!
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted our flowers to be the focal point of our decor. We wanted lots of neutral shades of white, cream, and dusty blues, along with tons of greenery accents. Our florist, Sage Fine Flowers, executed this beautifully! We had lots of hydrangea, thistle, greenery, and succulents that all came together to create a very light and summery look!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We participated in a marriage class and premarital counseling through our church. It was a great way to get to know each other on a deeper level and prepare to live together as a Christ-centered couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we had was working within our budget. Events are my passion, so it was important to me that this day reflect us as a couple. We ended up having to prioritize what was most important for us and the guests. Things like fancy invitations and monogrammed napkins got cut from our priority list, but we didn’t end up missing them!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My wedding coordinator, Tracey, really helped keep my stress levels in check. I think that a lot of people assume that if they like planning events, they can get away with coordinating a wedding on their own. My full-time job is planning events, but no matter how experienced you are, it is impossible to enjoy your day as a bride without a dedicated person on-site running interference for you. I wanted to enjoy my day and I wanted my friends and family to do the same, and that would not have been possible without Tracey. She kept things running smoothly, and was crucial in pulling all of the final details together for me so that I had more time to enjoy my engagement season.

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Sawyer and I are living in Fort Worth and already have what feels like a herd of dogs (it’s actually only two). We are looking forward to experiencing life together, traveling, and spending time with the people we love!

Photographer: Sarah McKenzie Photography | Videographer: Jared Christopher | Planner: Tracey Shellum | Venue: The Brooks at Weatherford | Florist: Sage Fine Flowers | Wedding Cakes: Pennie Miller | Caterer: A Sophisticated Affair | Rentals: Beautiful Event Rentals | Lighting and DJ: Exodus Sound Company | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Lusan Mandongus | Bridal Salon: Bridal Boutique of Lewisville | Hair and Makeup: Micaela Evans of Kiss and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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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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