What’s your first memory of being at a wedding? I think for many of us, those first encounters with weddings help define our all-time favorite details, and the moments we want to create on our own wedding days. In Whitney and Parker’s case, Whitney has always remembered staring up at the cake when she attended a neighbor’s wedding as a little girl, and when she and Parker celebrated their new marriage at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, the rotunda lent itself perfectly to creating that same moment with a magnificent cake. That isn’t the only meaningful tradition they included in their day, either–don’t miss the story behind Whitney’s gorgeous dress!
Thanks so much to Jennifer Lindberg for sharing this beautiful day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I am one of three girls and we are all very close. When Parker and I got engaged, my sister, Caroline, was studying abroad in Paris and couldn’t be there. I was so sad she couldn’t be a part of the engagement celebrations, so my dad surprised me and flew her to New York to be with my mom and I to try on wedding dresses! Thank goodness he did, because Caroline is the stylist of the family, and I couldn’t have imagined choosing a dress without her seal of approval! We visited lots of different designers’ showrooms over the course of several days, but I finally decided on a Carolina Herrera dress with a trumpet skirt and unique lace appliqué. I subtly incorporated my initials into the lace–a “G” to represent my maiden name and an “A” to represent my new last name. Laura Gonzalez of Coutures by Laura added the illusion neckline, which she accented with vine-like embroidery.
We were married at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. It is the church I grew up attending, so it was really important to me to have the wedding there.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? It was special to have a moment with just my dad as we peered around the corner of the bridal room at the church, watching the wedding party walk down the aisle. Because Parker and I chose to stick with tradition and not see each other before the wedding, there was so much anticipation as the doors to the sanctuary opened and I could see Parker for the first time. It was emotional, and I was so glad that we had decided to add a hymn to the service at the last minute. It allowed Parker and I a couple of minutes to regroup, but it was also such a powerful experience to be able to look back at the audience and see all of our closest family and friends standing together in support and celebration of our marriage. I know that throughout our lives together, being able to reflect on that feeling will help Parker and me through both the good times and the bad.
The reception was at the Bullock Texas State History Museum. I love the tall ceilings and the unique rotunda and staircase, but more importantly, I am a very homesick Texan, so the venue allowed us to show our friends from out of state what a great place Austin is! We had a great view of the Capitol, and our wedding coordinator, Becky Brock, created an outdoor space by bringing in boxwood walls and incorporating the oversized star in the front of the museum. I also loved that the dance floor was a granite picture of the state, so our guests danced across Texas all night!
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We incorporated both of our home states into the wedding, including the venue and late night tacos to represent Texas and the peach-themed desserts to represent Georgia. In addition, Parker and I have lived in and made friends in so many different Southern cities, so we included coffee table books from each city, so that our guests could sign the book that represented where we knew them from: Austin and Atlanta where we each grew up, Nashville where we met and went to college, and Winston-Salem where Parker attended medical school and I attended graduate school.
As a little girl, I attended my neighbor’s wedding, and still have memories of looking up at her cake in awe. I knew I wanted a big cake that would have the same effect, and the rotunda at the reception venue offered the perfect place to showcase it. The cake was five feet tall and had a beautiful swag of sugar flowers, but my favorite part was that the flavor was funfetti. Parker has many interests, so it was fun to incorporate those into his groom’s cake. He graduated from medical school two weeks before the wedding and is going to be an orthopedic surgeon, so the cake was a doctor’s bag with an X-Ray of a hand wearing a wedding band. The cake also included a Braves baseball hat and Vanderbilt football to represent his favorite teams, as well as several golf balls.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t be afraid to incorporate unique details. My mom was skeptical of our unusual first dance song and the funfetti cake, but they ended up being a hit. My favorite weddings to attend are the ones where the details let you in on who the couple is and their personalities.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are living in Nashville, Tennessee, where I am a CPA and Parker is in his Orthopedic Surgery residency at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. After living in different cities before the wedding, we have loved being together in Nashville and are enjoying our new lives together, one day at a time.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Parker and I met at Vanderbilt, where he was a grade ahead of me. I had been invited to KA’s “Old South” Fraternity Formal, but since freshmen couldn’t have cars, we caught a ride with the upperclassmen. Parker says he had tried to introduce himself throughout the semester, but hadn’t had a good opportunity, so he arranged to drive me and my date to the formal. After spending six hours in the car together, Parker asked me to dance later that night. Unfortunately for my date, Parker is a great dancer and swept me off me off my feet, both literally and figuratively.
Tell us all about the proposal! In his last year of medical school Parker was in between orthopedic surgery rotations at various hospitals across the Southeast. Before starting his away rotation at UT Southwestern in Dallas, Parker came through Atlanta, where I was living, at the time to visit. He told me that he wanted to take me to a special dinner before leaving for Texas, and he knew I was excited about the “Girl with a Pearl Earring” exhibit that was showing at the High Museum in Atlanta. When he called to tell me his uncle had tickets to a private viewing of the exhibit that he had offered to us, I was thrilled! I got off late from work, and despite getting ready in 10 minutes, I was still running late. Parker was visibly anxious, but he has always hates being late, so his behavior didn’t seem odd. When we got to the room with “The Girl with the Pearl Earring,” I walked up to the painting to look at it more closely. When I realized Parker wasn’t standing next to me, I turned around, and he was on one knee. I was so shocked, I hardly remembered to say “yes” when Parker proposed! After we left the museum, we went to dinner. The hostess led us to a private dining room, and both of our families were there waiting for us. I was surprised all over again and burst into tears! I love that we had that private moment, but were also able to celebrate with family.
When did y’all get married? May 31, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 450
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Our first dance was to “Fishin’ in the Dark” by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. It was an unusual choice for a first dance, but it was special to us because it is the first song we ever danced to when we met at Old South in college. My father/daughter dance was to “God Only Knows” by the Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are my dad’s favorite band and we grew up listening to their greatest hits on repeat, so this was a special moment with my dad.
Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed the garter that my mother-in-law and her mother had worn at their weddings. I wore a sapphire band on my right hand that my grandmother had given me as a high school graduation gift. For my something old, I wore my great-grandmother’s engagement ring on my right hand and carried Parker’s KA pin attached to my bouquet. Parker’s grandfather was very special to both of us and passed away a few months before the wedding. When Parker pledged KA in college, his grandmother gave him the KA pin that his grandfather had used to “pin” her with. Parker gave me the pin when we got engaged, and it was a special token that helped us include his grandfather’s memory in the wedding. As my something new, I wore pearl and diamond earrings that my mom gave me as a wedding gift. The pearl drops reminded me of the “Girl with the Pearl Earring” painting by Johannes Vermeer that Parker proposed in front of. I also wore a Cartier Love Bracelet that my dad gave me as a wedding gift. It was such a sweet gift for the occasion because the bracelet screws on and my dad has the key. His note said that even as he gave me away, the bracelet was a reminder that I will always be his little girl.
Photographer: Jennifer Lindberg / Videographer: Mason Jar Films / Planner: Brock + Co. Events / Ceremony Venue: Good Shepherd Episcopal Church / Reception Venue: The Bullock Texas State History Museum / Florist: Westbank Flower Market / Wedding Cake: Simon Lee Bakery / Caterer: Rosemary’s Catering / Rentals: Townsley Design / Lighting: FILO Productions / Band: Pure Party Band / Paper Products: Personally Yours / Bride’s Gown: “Aveline” by Carolina Herrera / Bride’s Veil: Coutures by Laura / Bride’s Earrings: The Menagerie / Bride’s Bracelets: Cartier and Meira T / Hair Stylist: Laura Wyrtzen / Makeup Artist: Christy Edlin / Bride’s Shoes: Kate Spade / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “G787C” in Champagne by Amsale / Menswear: Wally’s Menswear