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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
  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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In the Sweet Tea Society, we believe that while details are nice, true love always, always wins. When the heritage and family that we value so much becomes part of a wedding day through the details, it’s incredible, and I think Amber and Patrick found that magic combination with their family wedding portrait display! I love how they not only honored their families, but also strong marriages, by sharing how long each couple had been married. I can only imagine the stories those couples could tell, and the sage advice they could give!

If you know me, you know I also can’t pass up giving Amber props for her AND her bridesmaids’ stoles–so chic!

Big hugs to The Nichols for sharing this sweet day!

Tell us all about the proposal! The night of the proposal, Patrick planned dinner for us at The Driskill, a beautiful, historic hotel in our hometown of Austin, Texas. I think Patrick knew I would say yes after he treated me to red wine and a juicy steak! After enjoying dinner, we walked around downtown until we came to a special bench near Patrick’s work building, Frost Bank Tower. The bench has special meaning because we sat there and prayed together the day before his job interview over a year ago. We prayed for a lot of things that day–obviously, that his job interview would go well the next day, but also for our future together and that God would use us and our relationship to glorify Him. We sat on the bench and started talking about how much we had grown in that year, and then Patrick got down on one knee and proposed! After the proposal, we walked to The Belmont, a really cute concert venue nearby. We saw one of our favorite local Texas country artists, Wade Bowen, and Patrick surprised me by having a bunch of our close friends at the concert waiting to celebrate with us! Later that night, we also made a stop by J.Blacks, the bar where Patrick and I first met! The next day, both of our parents came up for the University of Texas football game, and then we all went out to celebrate with some Mexican food!

Describe your wedding flowers. Our florist used large, lush, organic mixed greens and red and burgundy flowers, including dahlias and ranunculus, with a few pops of plum and fuchsia flowers for depth. The bouquets were accented with trailing burgundy velvet ribbon.

We knew we wanted our wedding to feel cozy, so we kept that in mind when we were looking at venues. It seemed right when we saw an indoor fireplace and an outdoor fire pit with rocking chairs around it at the venue we chose. It was out in the Hill Country of Austin, so there were beautiful views. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling made the venue feel very elegant, while still maintaining the cozy feel we wanted.

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had a solo acoustic guitarist play the music during the ceremony. The most significant song during the ceremony was “Come Thou Fount,” which we had him play when we had communion. It meant a lot to both of us because our faith is the most important thing to us. Our first dance song was “Oh Tonight” by Josh Abbot Band. We both love Texas country music and have always loved singing this song together in the car, so it just seemed right that it was our first dance song. My father-daughter dance was to the Texas fight song, because my dad and I are both University of Texas alumni. Our whole family went to The University of Texas, so we are very big Longhorn fans, and it is a big part of our bond as a family.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? I would advise wedding planning over wine, cheese, and especially chocolate! What helped take stress away from us was remembering that the wedding is only one night, but marriage is forever.

Our wedding cake was a four-tiered vanilla pound cake with vanilla frosting. The groom’s cake was a pecan pie from Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop. We also had chocolate cupcakes topped with salted caramel and vanilla cream cheese frosting, drizzled with salted caramel. Patrick’s favorite dessert is pecan pie, so his mom always makes one before we visit them. For Patrick’s “grooms cake,” we had a pecan pie, and his mom also made 150 mini pecan pies for the guests.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends at a bar in downtown Austin, Texas. We saw each other again the next day at a church service and ended up going out the next week for our first date.
When did y’all get married? February 7, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 275
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We prepared for marriage by doing pre-marital counseling through our church. We read books and material on specific subject matters like finances, in-laws, communication, etc.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I am a people pleaser and love for everyone to be happy, so when planning, telling someone I didn’t like something was very hard for me. My wedding planner, Ellen Westcott with Westcott Weddings, was very helpful with taking care of the challenges!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We kept the alcoholic beverages to beer, wine, and champagne, rather than liquor. Instead of doing a bunch of different appetizers, we did one big appetizer, and we opted for a DJ instead of a band. All of these decisions saved us a lot of money and turned out great.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Patrick and I gave a speech together after the maid of honor and best man toasts. It meant so much to stand in front of our friends and family and thank them for their love and support on this journey.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are looking forward to learning how we can use our talents together to help serve others.

Photographer: The Nichols / Videographer: Moonlit Weddings / Planner: Ellen Westcott of Westcott Weddings / Venue: Ma Maison / Florist: Meredith of Brisol Lane Floral Design / Wedding Cake or Dessert Baker: Sugar Mama’s Bakeshop / Caterer: Whole Foods/ DJ: James Jumonville / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: Lazaro / Bride’s Hairpiece, Earrings, and Sash: Sabina K W / Hair Stylist: Mandy Silver / Makeup Artist:Makenzi Laine / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: J. Crew / Groom’s Attire: Banana Republic / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A Bank

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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We’re back with part two of Samantha and Samuel’s beautiful Austin wedding (see part one here)! After the sweet ceremony, guests headed to cocktail hour to check out the margarita bar, and then joined the newly married Sam and Sam for an al fresco dinner under the chandeliers. The perfect end to the night? A killer dance party on the monogrammed dance floor!

Thanks so much to The Nichols and Lovely Little Details for sharing Samantha and Samuel’s special day with us in V7!

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? Why was this design special to you as a couple? Since I study and work in interior design, the aesthetics of our wedding were really important to me. I grew up following my mother to antique stores and estate sales, so I have had a love of found objects for most of my life. I knew that I wanted a touch of antique design to weave throughout the wedding; however, I wanted to keep the feel romantic and fresh, rather than overly whimsical or rustic. Vintage brass candlesticks, French settees, and whitewash Chiavari chairs helped to bring in this classic feel. We also added a few custom touches that Sam and I brainstormed with the help of our planner, Jacin, like the gray and white painted bars and the gold calligraphy “Cheers” sign behind the main bar. We kept our color palette soft so that it wouldn’t distract from the beauty of the large oak trees covered in string lights and lush green surroundings: blush, gold, champagne, ivory, and soft blue, with pops of coral. The evening was all about taking the beauty of the outdoor landscape and enhancing it, rather than distracting from it.

We were taking photos during the cocktail hour, but we wanted to keep our guests entertained and enjoying the night. We had an open bar as well as a margarita bar, to incorporate one of our favorite drinks! Guests could choose from a variety of margarita combinations, from a blueberry jalapeno margarita to a classic lime margarita garnished with cotton candy! Sam and I also both chose to have a signature cocktail. The Mrs. Sam was a champagne cocktail with St-Germain elderflower liquor. The Mr. Sam was a classic Manhattan.

Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: I loved our setting for dinner. We did a family-style table set up for our guests with long tables, rather than round ones. The florals, place settings, and candlesticks were some of my favorite items to pick out with Jacin, and I was so thrilled with the look we created! I wanted to have the dinner underneath the stars to enjoy the beautiful evening, but at the same time, I thought it would be so romantic to dine under chandeliers. To incorporate both of these elements, we used a tent frame to enclose the dinner tables and to hang the chandeliers from. Leaving the tent frame open allowed guests to look up and see the beautiful night sky. While Sam and I were having our first dance before dinner, I remember glancing up and seeing the gorgeous sky and just soaking in the beauty of the night and that moment.

What was Southern about your wedding? I did a cake pull during my bridesmaids’ brunch! It was so fun to read the girls their fortunes and incorporate this tradition. We also incorporated many Southern touches throughout the wedding, as my family has roots in Texas and Oklahoma. We served mint juleps and a margarita bar, in true Tex-Mex style. We also utilized family heirlooms in the décor–pottery that has been passed down through my mom’s side of the family held florals and decorated the guest book table. We also had a cigar roller during the reception that created cigars for our guests to enjoy.

We wanted to carry the soft, romantic feel of the ceremony and dinner into the reception aesthetic, while also adding a bit more drama. We had our monogram (created by Moya Minns) projected onto the dance floor, and set up three outdoor lounges next to the dance floor that incorporated French settees, tufted ottomans, and throw pillows with our monogram on them.

As we made our way out to our awaiting getaway car, our amazing band, Matchmaker Band, performed a New Orleans-style procession out through the main grand entrance to Green Pastures. The best man and maid of honor led the procession out down the hedge-lined path as our guests waved both Australian and American flags to send us off. As we rode off in our vintage Bentley, we couldn’t believe how amazing a night it was–we felt like the luckiest couple alive.

Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: You mean beside my wife’s dress and all the fun we had?! We were able to incorporate so many Australian hints throughout the wedding, some subtle, some not as much, which made for such an amazing experience. Aside from Samantha and I uniting, bringing together all of our favorite people from all our different walks of life and seeing everyone enjoy themselves was amazing.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? We both agree the BEST decision we made was hiring a wedding planner! Jacin of Lovely Little Details was an absolute delight to work with, and made the entire wedding planning process so fun and stress-free. Knowing that she was on top of all the tiny details made it possible for us to enjoy the fun that comes with being engaged and putting together a day to celebrate the merging of two families!
What are you most looking forward to about marriage? I am just looking forward to doing life with Sam. He’s such an incredible person: hilarious, kind, sensitive, supportive, and strong. I know that no matter what we might face, having him by my side will be a comfort.

Photographer: The Nichols / Videographer: Elysium Productions / Planner, Designer, and Florist: Jacin Fitzgerald of Lovely Little Details / Venue, Caterer, and Cake: Green Pastures Restaurant / Bride’s Gown: “5844” by Liancarlo / Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal Atelier / Bride’s Shoes: “Hangisi Satin Pumps” in Light Pink by Manolo Blahnik / Bride’s Veil: “9849” by Liancarlo / Bridesmaid Dresses: “G560C,” “G629C,” and G425C in Blush by Amsale / Hair Stylist: Katie Sullivan of Azur West Salon and Jeni Hoover / Makeup Artist: Kristin Daniell Makeup Artistry / Groom’s Tuxedo: Burberry / Groomsmen’s Tuxedos: Men’s Wearhouse / Invitations: Southern Fried Paper / Calligraphy: Moya Minns of MM Ink / Watercolors and Bridesmaids’ Brunch Invitations: Momental Designs / Rentals: Marquee Event Group, Loot Vintage Rentals, and Townsley Designs / Linens: La Tavola Linen / Guest Shuttles: R&R Limo Bus / Getaway Car: Antique Limousines of Austin / Lighting: Ilios Lighting / Cigar Roller: Bobalu

lisa Written with love by Lisa
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