When someone tells you that they’re getting married at Honey Creek Ranch, doesn’t that make you immediately excited? For a couple like Madeline + Jake, who met when they were 12 years old (while shooting shotguns competitively for Texas 4H shooting sports, no less!), the ranch on the Llano River served as the sweetest place to say “I do.” We love that Madeline + Jake waited to do see each other until she walked down the aisle. I’m sure it was especially emotional since they spent most of their engagement long-distance and didn’t see each other until two days before the wedding! Big hugs go out to The Nichols for sharing this with us!
Tell us about finding your wedding dress: I knew that I wanted to get my dress in New York and I wanted my mom to be there. She flew up and we had four appointments in two days. Vera Wang was my second appointment and while I liked a couple of dresses at each place, the one I ended up picking stood out to me from the very beginning, even though the sample was pink! When I tried it on, it was just so perfect. After all the appointments, my mom and I each ranked our favorite dresses separately and it turned out that both of us put the Vera Wang Isabella dress as our #1. The ladies at Vera Wang were so sweet and they squeezed us in the next morning to come back before my mom left. Jake was with us so he had to patiently wait in the waiting room downstairs while they pulled out the ivory sample from the back and I officially decided that was my dress. After I decided, they hid the dress and brought Jake upstairs so that he could celebrate with us!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding. Everyone was seated to “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.” My bridesmaids and I walked down the aisle to “Canon in D” and our recessional music was Vivaldi’s Spring from “The Four Seasons,” movement 1: Allegro. Our first dance was to “Carried Away” by George Straight and our last dance was to “Then” by Brad Paisley.
We took some vows that Jake liked and edited them a little so that they would be fitting for our life together. My favorite line was, “I will cherish you when we are together and when we are apart” because Jake is in the Army, and we will have to spend a lot of time apart over the next years. It was really important to us to have that line because of how important it is to continue to love each other deeply despite the challenges we will face being apart often.
My brother did a reading of Ephesians 4:1-3 New Living Translation (NLT) for us. “4 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. 2 Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. 3 Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? We had the wedding at a ranch, in a barn. There were chickens wandering around the grounds and I gave my husband a gun as his wedding gift — I supposed that is a rather Southern thing to do!
I really wanted simple, loose flowers. I love tall blooming flowers and wanted tons in buckets and boxes that resembled more of a polished but natural wildflower look. I wanted to use beautiful flowers everywhere, to look full. We used purple and white stock flowers, purple and white snapdragons and purple larkspur. We combined that with sand dollar eucalyptus and seeded eucalyptus. I have a close friend from high school who is incredibly talented and creative and she did all the flowers, from the table arrangements to the bouquets and boutonnieres!
Our cake was four tiers and two different flavors. We decided not to do a groom’s cake, but instead to alternate white and chocolate cake tiers so that we were still offering two different flavors. Our white cake flavor was almond cake with a Bavarian cream filling and our chocolate cake was a Guinness beer chocolate cake with raspberry filling. The whole cake was covered in a white almond buttercream icing. My mom made our cake topper!
Eek! I could look at this sweet first dance image of M + J all day. From the looks of this photo, their joy was abundant — and that’s exactly what they wanted their guests to feel at their wedding.
I think my favorite thing about the whole wedding was the atmosphere. I really wanted it to be fun and filled with happiness and it was just so much better than I even imagined. I can’t begin to describe the feeling of having all the most important people in your life there to celebrate with you, on such a precious occasion. There was so much love in the air!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. Jake and I met when we were 12 years old. We both shot shotguns competitively for Texas 4H shooting sports. Despite living five hours away from each other, we developed a great friendship over the years and would spend weeks during the summer staying at each other’s houses. Jake was the first boy I ever kissed and then we started actually dating later in high school. We broke up my senior year of high school but remained friends. I went to college in Texas at Baylor University and he went to New York at the United States Military Academy at West Point. In the summer of 2010, I took an internship in New York City and Jake came into the city to have lunch with me. After that, we started to communicate more and a few months later he invited me to his formal for West Point in January. I think that was the weekend I knew that things were changing between us and I felt like he was the man I was going to marry. After the formal, Jake took me to the airport and as we were saying goodbye, he told me that he loved me and that he was going to marry me. After this, we started dating long distance again as I finished school and graduated. After Jake proposed, I moved to New York City to work, putting us the closest we had ever lived to each other. After 12 years of knowing each other, we are finally in the same place!
Describe the proposal. I was invited to go to the US Virgin Islands with Jake’s family for Christmas of 2011. Jake asked me to go on a walk one evening and I could tell he was a little nervous! We were walking on a hill on St. John, where we were staying. It was getting dark, but we could still see the ocean and parts of the island. After talking a little, Jake got down on his knee and asked me to marry him. It was so exciting and such a happy time! After the proposal, we went back to the house to meet up with his family and we ate grilled cheese and drank champagne. It was so fun and perfect!
In what month did you get married? July
How many guests attended your wedding? About 170
Did you decide to do a “first look”? We decided we did not want to do a first look because my favorite part of weddings is seeing the groom’s face when his bride is walking down the aisle. I didn’t like the idea of him seeing me before that moment, so we waited!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? When we started planning our wedding, I was living and working in New York City, my mother was finishing graduate school in St. Louis, Missouri, my father was living and working at my parents’ home in Spring Branch, Texas, and Jake was trying to finish and graduate from West Point, about an hour north of New York City. It was extremely challenging planning that far away from each other! When Jake graduated, he had to stay at West Point to work, but my mom and I both moved back to Spring Branch. It was really helpful to be back with my parents to plan but I didn’t see Jake from the end of May until July 12, 2 days before our wedding!
What is the one thing you are most happy you splurged on? Hands down, the photographer. Jennifer and CJ Nichols are so incredibly talented. Their photography stood out to me from the second that I discovered them and they were the first vendor we booked! I could not be happier with our photos and I haven’t even seen them all yet! Also, having a month-of coordinator was amazing! Beth from 36th Street Events was so incredible and we would not have had the wedding we had without her.
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Jake and I both feel like it was the moment we saw each other for the first time, it was so special to walk toward him down the aisle.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Pick the things that are most important to you and focus on those, then fill in the rest. I really stuck with a few things that were important to me and I am really happy with how those details and vendors contributed to the wedding. Also, I couldn’t have done it without our month-of coordinator, Beth. I wish I could put into words how awesome she is and how much she helped make our wedding happen. We brought her all of the little pieces and she put it together into this beautiful evening.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you looking forward to in the future? We are heading to Georgia for Jake to start his training as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army. I will be continuing to make art and develop my career. We will spend the next eight years with the Army and so I will be following my husband wherever that leads us. We are looking forward to learning about life together and we are so appreciative of the time we have together right now. It is amazing to finally live in the same place! There will be many challenges ahead with the time we will spend apart but I am so grateful to have him and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I guess by now we are getting pretty good at this long distance thing!