Jo and Ryan always knew they wanted to have a wedding day filled with their friends and family, but after a battle with skin cancer derailed their 10/10/10 wedding plans, they opted for a small wedding in Ryan’s parents’ backyard instead. The two continued to dream about a vow renewal or blessing of their marriage someday, but with the busyness of life and two sweet boys, it kept being placed on the back burner. When Jo realized their fifth wedding anniversary fell on a Saturday in 2015, she knew this was the time, and immediately staring planning the colorful Hill Country celebration we were thrilled to share in V8! With the help of Without Wax, Katy‘s beautiful blooms, including Jo’s favorite peonies, the JW Marriot in San Antonio came to life for a celebration we’re sure was worth the wait!
Big hugs to Jenna McElroy for sharing Jo and Ryan’s sweet day with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? I first saw it on Pinterest after the 2015 Marchesa runway show pictures were posted. I couldn’t believe it when I saw it by chance when I went into Saks to see other dresses. It was even more exquisite in person! The tulle and beading are incredible.
When we got married five years prior, I didn’t have any bridesmaids, so I did feel like I missed that part of the experience. There is something special about bonds between sisters and girlfriends, so I did want to have some time with them to celebrate. Once I knew which girls were attending, I started figuring out dress options that would work for each of my best friends. Since my dress was blush, I decided to go with a mismatched look, and I specifically picked out a color and style for each girl once it was narrowed down. Everyone looked stunning!!
Tell us a bit about the ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? The entire ceremony was special to me! My childhood best friend, Alex, had recently gotten married to a wonderful man of God, and we were honored to have him create our ceremony for us. It was perfect!! Since the ceremony was about our five-year marriage and our baby boys, we all stood together during the blessing.
We had talked about a vow renewal or blessing of some sort over the first few years of our marriage. We moved from Danville to Katy, Texas in the beginning of 2011, when Ryan got a job in the oil/gas industry. Another big move put plans for a blessing on the back burner. In February 2012, we had our second son, Wyatt, and again, with life being so busy, didn’t talk about celebrating anytime soon! Before we knew it, it was summer 2014 and we were attending our friends’ wedding at the JW Marriott Hill Country here in San Antonio. The resort is incredible, so I checked dates for the next year, and when I saw that our fifth anniversary would be on a Saturday in 2015, I instantly started planning. The Hill Country part of Texas is beautiful! It has the spectacular views I am used to being surrounded by, having lived in Phoenix and the East Bay Area. We wanted all of our family and friends to come to Texas, because it is where we have built a life over the years.
Tell us about your flowers. I love peonies, so that was the one flower I knew I wanted the most! I made sure Katy knew the colors I loved, and she created breathtaking arrangements! For my girls, I wanted to do something a little different to make sure they stood out amongst everyone else, but I didn’t want to do the traditional “bridesmaid” thing. Along with coordinating the colors of their dresses, I had flower hairpieces made that they could wear instead of carrying a bouquet.
We did three single-tiered cakes on individual stands. The cakes were red velvet, lemon, and chocolate, and were decorated with the same flowers that were used in our arrangements. We also shared my two go-to treats with our guests: bite-sized cupcakes by Baked By Melissa, and my favorite macarons from Dana’s Bakery.
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through our mutual friend, Nick. I grew up with Nick and Ryan met him when he started at ASU.
Describe the proposal: Ryan was back in Danville to celebrate Christmas in 2009 with his family, while I spent it in Phoenix with mine. We had discussed an engagement because Ryan was enrolled in the MBA program at St. Mary’s near his hometown, which was set to start in January of 2010, so I was planning to go with him. He had a ring designed and brought it back to Phoenix when he came home after Christmas. He asked me to marry him on New Year’s Eve when we were alone in his house before going to dinner and out to meet friends to ring in the New Year. The sweetest part was that he surprised me and included my parents and sister in our dinner plans.
How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? I had many serious health issues quickly surface once I moved to Danville, so our wedding plans changed and we bumped everything up. Initially, we planned a 10/10/10 wedding back home in Scottsdale, but then I found out I was expecting, and had skin cancer, which needed surgery immediately. The skin cancer was stabilized in time for us to have a small, but beautiful, wedding in my in-laws’ backyard vineyard. I continued to go through some scary health issues with my pregnancy towards the end, but thankfully, everything ended up being okay for both the baby and me. After our first son, James Ryder, was born, I had radiation for my skin cancer, and the bells palsy I had gotten started clearing up. We just needed to do what was best for the moment in our lives, and always said that one day, we would celebrate with all our family and friends!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Colorful, family-filled, dreamy
How many guests attended your wedding? About 120
What did the groom wear? We didn’t follow tradition with the groomsmen thing at all, so when it came time to take photos, my husband gathered his best friends that were near us. We got some great shots of them all just being themselves!
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? After going through the complications and scares I had with my health and during pregnancy, I was just thrilled to be able to have this moment five years later with all our family and friends together.
Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used: I wanted lots of flowers! We also had some gorgeous china plates for each table setting and some beautiful vintage furniture to create more seating for our guests.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? We wanted a buffet-style meal so everyone could get what they liked and as much as they wanted of it! We had a macaroni bar, a meat carving station, a salad bar, and chicken and waffles.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? I think what was most special about what Ryan and I did was that we blessed our marriage of five years and our two beautiful boys with the people we love the most.
Photographer: Jenna McElroy | Videographer: Jason & Daris | Planner, Designer, and Florals: Without Wax Katy | Venue, Catering, and Cake: JW Marriott Hill Country Resort San Antonio | Macarons: Dana Bakery | Mini Cupcakes: Baked by Melissa | Bride’s Gown: Marchesa | Bridal Salon: Saks Fifth Avenue | Bride’s Shoes: Valentino | Bride’s Jewelry: Roberto Coin | Bride’s Clutch: Nancy Gonzalez | Bride’s Rings: David Yurman | Bridesmaid’s Dresses: BCBG Max Azria, Jill Stuart, and Jenny Yoo | Streamers: Studio Mucci | Candy: Sugarfina | Sugar Cookies: Jolie Delights | Hair and Makeup: Maitee Miles Hair & Makeup | Groom’s Fashion: Suit Supply | Paper Goods: Stationery Bakery | Cake Plates: Layla Grayce