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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

marissa Written with love by Marissa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Sarah reply

    I’m absolutely, completely obsessed with this wedding, loving the bold use of color and obvious joy!

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A big part of setting my own wedding date was which flowers would be in season, and while I don’t know if Ashley and Shane planned this from the beginning, with that criteria in mind, they couldn’t have picked a more magical weekend to become husband and wife! These two met, fell in love, and tied the knot in our nation’s capital, and their wedding date landed exactly when the iconic Washington D.C. cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. With the help of their planner, A. Dominick Events, and their florist, Amaryllis Inc., they fully embraced the opportunity to incorporate these seasonal blooms into their day. The results included one of the most incredible ceremony set-ups I have ever seen, as well as some of the prettiest portraits!

We were so thrilled to include Ashley and Shane in V8–thanks so much to Abby Jiu for sharing their special day with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. What was your favorite thing about it? My wedding dress was the first dress I tried on at the first bridal salon I visited! I had my dress customized by the designer, Modern Trousseau. I loved everything about it!

Our wedding was a spring wedding in Washington, D.C. It occurred the weekend that the cherry blossom trees were in full bloom. We held our ceremony and reception at the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium. It started at 5:30 p.m. and the attire was black-tie optional.

Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? We had a religious ceremony officiated by Reverend Jeff Mazal. We opted to use traditional vows, and reciting them was the most special part of the ceremony. We also had a wine box ceremony at our wedding, which we loved. Our guests seemed to enjoy it too.
What songs did you use for your ceremony? We had a string quartet, Pop Culture Strings, perform the music for our ceremony. For the processional, they played “What a Wonderful World.” I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D.” Our recessional song was “We Found Love” by Rihanna.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The décor of the ceremony. The cherry blossom-lined aisle made walking down the aisle to Shane more magical than I could have ever imagined.

For the ceremony and reception decor, we chose to focus on modern elements with accents of lush, seasonal florals in shades of pink. The guests were greeted with an escort card display of lucite tables featuring pale pink roses, cherry blossoms, and orchids. The modern aspects of the lucite provided a striking contrast to the stone entryway of the historic venue. At the ceremony, we used lucite chairs, and a breathtaking aisle was created out of cherry blossom branches sitting on pale pink boxes. As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, the ceremony space was transformed and transitioned to deeper shades of pink. The patterned navy linens tied back to the wedding invitations, while the pops of pink in the table arrangements and napkins brought a fun punch to the otherwise gray room.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. How did you choose them? What did you love about them? I was not a bride who came in with a list of the kinds of flowers that she had to have at her wedding. I knew that I wanted a lot of pink florals, but that was it! I really trusted our florist, Amaryllis, to create beautiful arrangements based on my taste. They did an amazing job! My bouquet was made of garden roses, peonies, ranunculus, lisianthus, and gloriosa lilies. The bridesmaid bouquets included softer colors than the bridal bouquet, and featured pale pink garden roses and a touch of dusty miller.

We had a sit-down dinner that started with a wonderful spring salad, follow by a surf-and-turf entrée. We served a petite filet mignon and a crab cake. Following dinner, we had dessert and cookie tables that guests were able to choose from. The caterers also passed around some late-night snacks, which our friends loved after working up their appetites on the dance floor. The late night snacks included french fries, beef sliders, and mini pizzas.

Tell us about your wedding cake or sweets. We could not decide on just one flavor for our wedding cake, so we had three: carrot cake, a traditional buttercream cake, and chocolate truffle.

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. When you ask either of us how we met, we generally reply with a chuckle and say “at a bar.” In 2010, Shane was working part-time as a DJ at a bar in the historic neighborhood of Georgetown in D.C. I was at the bar for a friend’s birthday celebration. Shane struck up a conversation and we hit it off immediately.
Describe the proposal: Shane knew only one thing about how he wanted to propose: he wanted it to be a surprise. He proposed on May 25, 2014. The weeks prior had been full of excitement–we spent a week in the Dominican Republic, Shane graduated from George Washington University, and almost all of his immediate family came to town to visit for his graduation festivities! I was hoping a proposal would happen at one of those events, but it didn’t. A week after Shane’s graduation, one of my best friends, Sara, came home for a visit. Sara wanted to spend some time outside of the National Cathedral (we both had attended and graduated from the National Cathedral School for Girls). I thought this was a great idea and tried to convince Shane to come along. He appeared to be a bit uninterested, but eventually obliged. We all spent about an hour walking through the Cathedral and pointing out our favorite stained glass windows, and walking around the grounds and down into the chapels. Our last stop was the Bishop’s Garden, which is one of my favorite places. By this time, I was ready to leave so we could get home to prepare for a cookout we were hosting that night. However, Shane insisted that we sit and enjoy the garden for a while longer, so we found a spot in the grass. It was then that Shane pulled the engagement ring out of his pocket and asked me to be his wife! Of course, I said yes!
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Energetic, joyful, fun
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What was the most memorable or touching moment of your wedding day? Shane found it difficult to pick his most memorable or touching moment of the wedding day, but he would say it was a tie between walking back up the aisle with me after the ceremony and the toasts. For me, the most touching moment was when Shane recited our vows.
Who was one of the most special guests at your wedding? All of the guests at our wedding are extremely important to us. However, our most special guest was my 90-year-old grandmother. It was such a blessing to have her share our special day with us.
What’s next for you as a couple? Shane is beginning graduate school in the fall. We are going to work to become established in our careers and build a strong foundation for our marriage.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? If it is in your budget, hire a wedding planner. It was the best decision we made and truly helped us enjoy the process.
Best advice or most memorable comment someone made to you during the wedding celebration: The best advice we received during the wedding celebration was to take a few minutes to appreciate and process what’s happening around us on our wedding day. It is one of the only days of your life when all of your friends and family will be in the same place. Enjoy it!

Photographer: Abby Jiu | Videographer: Blue Sky Films | Planner: A. Dominick Events | Venue: Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium | Florals: Amaryllis, Inc. | Caterer: Design Cuisine | Cake Baker: Kendall’s Cakes | Bride’s Gown: Modern Trousseau | Bridal Salon: Hitched Salon | Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bride’s Jewelry: David Yurman | Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale | Hair Stylist: Decade Hair Design | Makeup Artist: Nour Kazoun | Groom’s Tuxedo: Alton Lane | Groom’s Shoes: Paul Parkman | Groomsmen Fashion: The Black Tux | Ties: The Tie Bar | Paper Goods: Cheree Berry Paper | Rentals: Party Rental and DC Rental | Linens: La Tavola | Transportation: Atlantic | Lighting: Frosting Lighting | Officiant: Rev. Jeff Mazal of Weddings by Jeff | Valet: MJ Valet | A Capella Choir: Hullabahoos | Pop Tarts: Ted’s Bulletin | Chocolates: Historical Chocolate Company | Champagne Splits: Personal Wine | Welcome Bags: Wedding Chicks | Cake Topper: Better Off Wed | String Quartet: Pop Culture Strings | Band: Sound Connections | Escort Cards: Lettering by Lynne

lisa Written with love by Lisa
2 Comments
  1. avatar Sarah Chancey reply

    The cherry blossoms are to die for in this design, I love how they incorporated it in their photos outside and then brought it inside, genius! Also, how adorable is this couple?

  2. avatar April reply

    What a beautiful wedding! All of the details are carefully thought out. It’s almost as breathtaking as the bride herself.

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