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I firmly believe in love at first sight. I knew the very moment I met BDK that he was the one I wanted to marry, so I can completely understand why Ellen jokingly asked Robert to marry her on the night they met! Though he turned down that “proposal” in lieu of his super sweet one just a few years later, I’m sure Ellen was completely fine with that, especially since Robert included their family in such a momentous occasion. For Ellen and Robert, their family and a sense of community also played an important role in their wedding design, from the rows of estate tables to a total of twenty wedding cakes in three different flavors to encourage sampling and mingling. Ellen and Robert celebrated their wedding day in true Southern fashion, surrounded by those they love!

We’re sure glad Matt & Julie were there to photograph such a lovely day!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted: a lace, fit-and-flare gown with delicate sleeves. My mom, sister-in-law, and I went to the original Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas, and my dress happened to be the first I tried on. After trying on a few more, I kept going back to it and knew it was the one. I added a crystal and pearl belt, and had a fingertip-length drop veil made with Alencon lace edging to match my dress. The veil was incredibly important to me, because I have been obsessed with drop veils since Kate Middleton’s wedding. I also had my mother’s wedding dress altered (no more poofy sleeves!) and used it as my getaway dress.

We used garden roses for the bouquets, plus LOTS of greenery. We had three of the prettiest vintage pink and cream ribbons hanging from each bouquet. At the reception, we decided to forgo traditional floral arrangements and put individual garden roses on the 19 cakes that were used as centerpieces. We used garlands made of salal, podocarpus, and eucalyptus greens that extended the lengths of the tables–it looked gorgeous and smelled amazing. Our altar flowers were made up of white hydrangeas and lilies.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Last minute, yes. Robert had originally wanted to wait, but after talking to the photographers, we knew it was the best option and we are so glad we did it. Not only were the photographers able to capture such a sweet moment, it definitely calmed our nerves before and during the ceremony.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we did not. We had a very traditional Episcopalian ceremony.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Given the formality of the church and ceremony, we chose traditional songs played on the church organ. My dad and I walked down the aisle to Clarke’s “Trumpet Voluntary” and we recessed to “Hornpipe” by Handel.

I had always known I wanted to be married at my family’s church, so that was never a question. The reception venue proved to be a little harder, but as soon as we saw it, that decision became easy, too! Robert and I met, dated, got engaged, and bought our first home together in Dallas, so the Downtown/Uptown area is such a big part of our relationship. After researching and visiting several venues, we came across the 42nd floor at Cityplace Tower, which happened to be across the street from our church. We were blown away by the views of city and I loved its urban, lofty vibe. The giant windows let in so much natural light, but without the 100 degree August heat.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cakes were amazing. Instead of getting a bride and groom’s cake, we decided to give every table their own. We chose to make our cake cutting participatory, and we all cut the cakes together. There were eighteen one-tier cakes, plus a two-tiered cake for the wedding party. Heidi from Sugar Bee Sweets did a fantastic job designing the cakes, which incorporated all of our wedding colors: blush, gold, emerald, and mint. We offered three flavors, so people walked around sampling the different varieties, which encouraged mingling.

Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The long rectangular tables with the gold sequin tablecloths, garland, and cakes looked so beautiful in the room as the sun set. I love the look of rectangular tables, so we used three super-long tables that expanded the length of the room. It created such a grand statement when you walked through the door!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We formally met at the beginning of 2012 at a mutual friend’s birthday party. We had seen each other around prior, but had never actually spoken. At the time, I was living in Spain teaching English and was home for the holidays. I was supposed to go back in March, but that was not meant to be! I didn’t even want to leave the house on that particular night, so I know it was fate when we met. Robert came up to me, introduced himself, and immediately started dancing. I knew there was something different about him, and he said the same about me. I thought he was funny, and jokingly, I even asked him to marry me! We stayed up talking and joking about how our “grandchildren” would laugh that I proposed to him the night we met. We went on our first date the next week, and when I got home that night, I cancelled my flight and wrote down that I had finally met the man I was going to marry!
Tell us all about the proposal! For Robert’s 30th birthday, I had planned a big party on a vintage trolley that would take us and our friends around town while we celebrated. Before the party, Robert and I had a “scooter date”–one of our frequent trips together on his scooter–and went to dinner at our favorite local pizza place. Robert was acting a bit strange, and I was slightly upset because I thought he was mad at me. As soon as we got home, I saw both our families standing in the living room. When I turned around, Robert was on one knee. It was all a blur, but I do remember him saying I was the only thing he wanted for his birthday and for the rest of his life. We then joined our friends on the trolley and celebrated his birthday/our engagement for the rest of the night!
When did y’all get married? August 1, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 165
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had a special monogram created of our initials printed on our save the dates, invitations, cocktail napkins, cups, and cake boxes! Robert gave his groomsmen monogrammed leather flasks, and they all wore paisley print bow ties! We both had very large wedding parties (eight for me, twelve for him), which I think is definitely more popular in the South.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We went to a couples’ weekend at our church, which was extremely beneficial. If your church offers one, I highly recommend it! Each couple was given a mentor couple and ours was such a blessing. They gave us great marriage advice, as well as helped us work through the challenges we had already faced as a couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Making sure everything came together! My sister-in-law and I planned the wedding. We have our own event planning business, E+Mc², and our resources were a huge help. At the same time, as the bride, staying calm and not stressing over every detail (while in charge of it all) had its challenges.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Planning a wedding can put stress on your relationship at times, but don’t lose sight of what the day is about. Remember that it is just the beginning of your life together, and that is the most exciting part. Also, have your budget figured out before you buy/decide on ANYTHING!
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently living in Louisiana for Robert’s job, so we are concentrating on settling into our new home, making friends, and having fun as a newlyweds! We love to travel and want to take a few extended trips abroad before we start a family.

Photographer: Matt & Julie Weddings / Planner: E+Mc² / Ceremony Venue: Church of the Incarnation / Reception Venue: 42nd Floor Loft at Cityplace Tower / Florist: HEB Blooms / Cake Baker: Sugar Bee Sweets / Caterer: Andrew Ormsby Catering / DJ: Jeff Burris / Special Details: Garland / Paper Products: Studio3eleven / Bride’s Gown: Liancarlo / Veil: Toni Federici / Hair Stylist: Tovah Prue and Savanah King / Makeup Artist: Taylor Frettoloso / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Joanna August, Erin Fetherston, and Jill Stuart / Bow Ties: The Tie Bar / Flower Girl Dress, Shoes, and Flower Crown: Playful & Posh

Sugar Bee Sweets is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

marissa Written with love by Marissa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Studio 3 Eleven reply

    Yay! This wedding is beautiful! It was so much fun pressing Ellen’s custom Save the Dates and wedding invitations. She was such a great bride to work with!

  2. avatar Sarah Walters reply

    Where is that gorgeous ring from?!

  3. avatar Elegant Dallas Wedding by Matt & Julie Weddings – Southern Weddings | Salam Alikoum reply

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I fell for BDK the very first day we met–I simply knew he was the man I was going to marry, so I believe Rachel wholeheartedly when she says she knew right away that Shaman was the one for her. I’m sure the guests at their beautiful Keswick Hall wedding could tell as well! You can see just how in love these two are as you scroll through each photo. I can also see why Rachel knew her dress was the one for her the very first second she saw it–that beadwork, y’all! Talk about a beauty!

Thank you kindly to Paige Jones for sharing this romantic wedding day with us!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. While Shaman and I had been classmates at Roanoke College for three years, we had never spoken to one another until we were home for the summer in Charlottesville, Virginia, just before our senior year. I was interning for UVA Children’s Hospital in the fundraising office, and we were hosting an event at the golf course where Shaman happened to be working for the summer. I spotted him cruising across one of the putting greens and was so delighted to see a fellow classmate! I yelled Shaman’s name and he came over on his cart–we chatted a bit, exchanged phone numbers, and I knew right away he was the one for me. About a week later, while attending the Annual Pink Polo Match at King Family Vineyard, my car battery “unfortunately” died. Shaman was there as well, and I convinced him that he was the only person there that could help me. We remained in constant contact for the rest of the summer, spending every day together, usually eating ice cream and shooting hoops. By the start of school, we were inseparable and totally in love!

My dress was the very first dress I spotted as I walked into the bridal salon and, like my now-husband, I knew it was the one for me the very second I saw it. Five days after we got engaged, I went with my mom and sister to “just try on styles” to get a better idea of what I was looking for. My sister and I walked into the shop together, saw the dress at the same moment, and ran to pull it off the rack. While I tried on a number of other dresses, nothing else compared!

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? Yes! My favorite phrase was “I promise to hug you when you leave in the morning, kiss you when you return in the evening, and be thankful for each day I wake up beside you.”

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? When we were presented for the first time as Shaman and Rachel Douglass!! Yay!

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? We chose our venue for the cozy winter setting–it has historic architecture and beautiful, oversized fireplaces. Food was very important to us, and Keswick is an expert in that area. The level of service is impeccable as well!

We chose to have my mother’s cold oven pound cake recipe (a Southern favorite) with lemon buttercream icing made into eight cakes, which we placed on some of the dinner tables to serve double duty as decor. It is our very favorite cake and we couldn’t imagine NOT having it on our big day. We also chose to have a hot doughnut bar after dinner with every kind of topping you could imagine (chocolate, sprinkles, powdered sugar, and even bacon!), which was a fan favorite with the guests.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? It will all fall into place! Remember to take the time to feel loved by those who are helping you celebrate–they are so happy for you, and it is important to recognize how special it is to be surrounded by so many great people.

Don’t miss Rachel and Shaman’s highlights film by Ian’s Creations!

Tell us all about the proposal! I nearly screwed up the proposal! Since I now work at a school, I was home on spring break, and Shaman so thoughtfully took off for the week to spend it with me. On Wednesday, we were both relaxing, and Shaman kept asking if I wanted to go for a hike. I scolded him saying, “No, it’s raining! And, I’m working on emails, AND we need to clean up the house because Lindsey (my best friend) is coming into town tomorrow.” He then had my mother call and ask what we were up to–she too suggested we get out of the house and go for a hike. I thought the two of them were CRAZY! We did not go for the hike, but later in the day, we had an appointment to do our pre-qualification for a home loan. As we were trying to get out the door, Shaman asked if I thought it mattered to the mortgage company that we weren’t engaged yet–I thought he had really lost it, as we had discussed it before and I didn’t understand why he was bringing it up again. I remember looking through my bag, thinking “Whatever, he’s such a guy,” and making a note to pack a snack, when I heard shuffling behind me. When I turned around, he was down on his knee with the ring box open that he had picked out all on his own. I was totally shocked and overjoyed! He explained that this was not how he planned it, but that he couldn’t get me to leave the house! It was perfectly us anyway!
When did y’all get married? February 28, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! As both of my grandmothers have departed, I had one of my grandmother’s sapphire rings and a hanky from the other side of the family that all the women have carried with them on their walks down the aisle as my borrowed, blue, and old! My something new was the beautiful ruby necklace Shaman gave me as a wedding present. Ruby is my birthstone and one of my favorite jewels!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? What was most Southern about our wedding was the warmth in the room from all of our loved ones! We served fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese as one of our canapés, and our very historical estate venue had some Southern flair. Also, my niece’s dress was made from my mom’s wedding gown by my aunt!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did pre-marital counseling sessions with our pastor and discussed challenging topics, such as money, family dynamics, and career paths. We would encourage everyone to do it and have those open conversations!
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $25,000-$50,000
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? Living life and helping our friends celebrate their life events! We were the first to get married and we can’t wait to share in everyone’s adventures.

Photographer: Paige Jones Photography / Videographer: Ian’s Creations / Day-Of Coordinator: Just a Little Ditty / Venue and Catering: Keswick Hall / Florist: Hedge Fine Blooms / Dessert Baker: Country Confections / Draping: Blue Ridge A/V and Lighting / DJ: Andrew Hypes / Paper Products: Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Style 9100” in Blush by Allure / Bridal Salon and Veil: Bridal Impressions / Bride’s Earrings and Bridesmaid Rings: Suz Somersall/ Hair Stylist: Claibourne Reppert / Makeup Artist: Stephanie Parker / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Calvin Klein and Adrianna Papell / Groom’s Attire: Simon Spurr and Belgian Shoes

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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