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!
It was an absolute honor and pleasure spearheading this project with you, Emily and team SW! What a beautiful end result, and perfect way to celebrate a gorgeous 10th anniversary issue!
We couldn’t love your work more, Rhi! Thanks for being an SW gal with us. :)
[…] concept behind our efforts? A tenth year anniversary vow renewal with a couple that more than anything values marriage, tradition, celebration, and legacy. The […]
This is incredible!! Bravo Southern Weddings!
Thank you, Shana!
What a breath of fresh air this editorial is! The celebration of marriage is simply beautiful, and I adore all of the subtle nods incorporated throughout. You can tell each and every detail is so thoughtfully curated and meaningfully chosen… and what really shines through is the JOY and focus on love + community. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!!
Thank you so much, Stephanie! This is beautifully articulated. This is what we aim to achieve in everything we do! We’re so thankful to have you in the SW family. :)
[…] brought the release of the 10th issue of Southern Weddings Magazine! And I was very honored to have our editorial featured in a special back of the book piece […]
[…] the photos shown here are obviously not from the Royal wedding but instead are from this Southern Weddings editorial I had the pleasure of planning and designing in 2017. The bouquet I created entirely out of lily of […]