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Bride Ivana shares her glam Texas ballroom wedding!

Any professional football fans reading today? :) I wouldn’t necessarily count myself amongst your ranks, but Ivana and Jordan’s wedding (featured in our tenth-anniversary issue!) has given me a new reason to care about the upcoming Super Bowl! Jordan plays for the Eagles, and so I, having fallen in love with this sweet couple and having no other existing allegiances, will definitely be rooting for Philadelphia on Sunday.

Of course, you can sport another team’s jersey and still cheer for Team Hicks – they’ve made it easy! From their surprise first dance to their thoughts on serving communion at their ceremony, theirs was a ballroom wedding that oozed personality.

Thanks to Blue Ribbon Vendor Jen Dillender for sharing these beautiful photos!

How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. We met through a mutual friend Jordan’s sophomore year, my junior year, in college. My friend Lydia and I were talking at a picnic table in the heart of campus as Jordan was walking by. Lydia calls him over to say hi and he briefly introduced himself to me. A day later, he reached out to Lydia asking about me, and and before I knew it, I was seeing him more and more around our 40 acre campus. We eventually exchanged numbers which led to us going on our first date. Since then, we have been inseparable!

How did you prepare for marriage while planning your wedding? Jordan was in (football) season, so we did marriage counseling with the Eagles team chaplain and his wife. We went through many exercises doing all that we could to set a solid foundation before we were actually married. It truly was a blessing to have them guide and prepare us in this new season in life.
Tell us all the basics of your wedding! We had an evening June wedding at the Barton Creek Hotel in Austin, Texas on June 24th, 2017 at 6pm. With Jordan’s schedule, we had to choose a time when he wasn’t in season or in spring training, but it turned out to be the most perfect June wedding.

What was the design inspiration for your wedding? I wanted an elegant, romantic setting with lush peonies and candles everywhere. The colors were blush, white, and gold.
What was your favorite detail of the wedding? My favorite detail of the wedding was taking communion right after we said our vows.

Tell us about your wedding flowers. I love peonies, and knew that I wanted them in my wedding. I had a mix of peonies, pink garden roses, and white orchids. They are flowers that are timeless, beautiful, and make a statement.
Did you write your own vows? We did. My favorite verse that I wrote was: “I promise to be loving, faithful, and true to you always! I promise to uplift you, motivate you, and stand with you when you’re low. I promise to always celebrate, admire, and treasure your highs. I promise to always be your best friend!”

Describe some of the decorations or décor elements you used. One decor element I wanted to see everywhere were candles. I wanted the room to be lit up for a romantic setting.
What kind of food did you serve at your reception? To start, we served a Mexican wedge salad. For the entree, guests had the option to choose between the jalapeno-brined chicken with smoked tomato butter and the seared sea bass with tomato caper relish. Both were served with garlic rosemary mashed potatoes, and seasonal roasted vegetables.

Tell us a bit about your first dance. Jordan and I surprised our guests with a Latin dance by Marc Anthony as soon as our first dance ended. It was so much fun, especially for him to take part in my Latin culture. Our friends and family loved it!
Tell us about your wedding cake! Our cake was a six layer white cake with beautiful fresh flowers that consisted of two flavors. Our flavors were orange, and chocolate cake with strawberry and grand marnier whipped cream filling.
What is the one thing that made your wedding different from anyone else’s wedding? We really tried to cater to our guests. Every person there had impacted us in some way, so we wanted to make everyone feel special and as if they were being catered to.

Describe the proposal! At the time Jordan and I were long distance because he had relocated from Austin to Philadelphia to play for the Eagles, so we planned a trip to Turks & Caicos I was very much looking forward to. We took a private boat ride, and 20 minutes or so into our sail, Captain Tim tells us we’re about to pass what many believe is the most beautiful part of Turks & Caicos. Jordan gets up to quickly refill his drink, but when he returned, he returned with much more than a refill. He gave me his hand to help stand me up. Not a word was said as we locked our eyes together. I knew IT was about to happen. He promised me a lifelong love, and made me the happiest girl in the world as he asked me to marry him. Jon, ‘the crew member,’ came over to re-introduce himself to me as ‘Jon, the photographer.’ Afterwards, we celebrated, did our engagement shoot around the islands, and even got to swim with wild dolphins which was a sweet ending to our perfect day.
How many guests attended your wedding? 250
What was Jordan’s favorite detail of the wedding? (From Jordan) My favorite detail of the wedding was the surprise first dance. I am not much of a dancer and was nervous to do it all the way up until the music began playing. Once we started dancing everything happened perfectly, even better than we had practiced. For me, it was fun to step out of my comfort zone and be able to bring excitement to the reception.
What was your reception like? It was so much fun! We couldn’t get off the dance floor and neither could our guests. For the last dance, we surprised everyone with gold and white confetti poppers that added the perfect touch to the night.
What was Southern about your wedding? Our wedding revolved around our faith. This was what was most important to us: that not only did people see our love for one another, but for Jesus Christ as well. The first thing we did as husband and wife was take communion, vowing that our foundation will be found in Him.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? My advice is that if you’re planning a wedding from afar, I highly recommend hiring a planner. It is so important to hire someone that you instantly connect with! Remember, you’ll be talking, texting, emailing, and meeting with them for the entire process, so choose someone you can imagine building a friendship with. Plus, it just makes the process that much more fun, and stress-free.

Photographer: Jen Dillender | Videographer: Wes Raitt | Planner and Designer: Brock + Co Events | Ceremony and Reception Venue:Barton Creek Resort + Spa | Florals: Botanical No.9 | Wedding Cake Baker: Simon Lee Bakery | Bride’s Gown: “Fiona” by Galia Lahav | Bridal Salon: Ivory Bridal | Bride’s Shoes: Christian Louboutin | Bride’s Jewelry: Russell Korman Jewelry | Bride’s Veil: Galia Lahav | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Lola Beauty | Groom’s Fashion: Soto & Co | Rentals: Whim Hospitality | Linens: Nuage Designs | Decor: Townsley Designs | Favors: Cornucopia Popcorn | Lighting: Filo Productions

emily Written with love by Emily
5 Comments
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  5. avatar Alisha Bradley reply

    I LOVE the save the dates. Where can I order these?!?

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There are SO many amazing venues in the South, but there’s nothing quite like a family home when it comes to adding an extra layer of meaning to a wedding celebration. Darcee and Hunter were married at the adorable chapel on Hunter’s family ranch, and as Darcee said, it’s what brought their relationship full circle–“My prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!” I’m sure all 400 of their guests felt just as home as they did while they then gathered for a cocktail hour under the big Texas sky, a family-style dinner that felt as joyful as Thanksgiving, and one of the most darling pie spreads I’ve ever seen!

Hugs to our Blue Ribbon Vendor Jen Dillender for sharing this sweet day with us!

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! I borrowed a necklace from Hunter’s sister, which was given to her by their grandmother. It was one of the sweetest and most special details from that day. My something blue were my blue Manolo Blahnik pumps, which were a fun find with my mother-in-law! Something old was a flower pin from my mom’s side of the family that I had on my bouquet. Something new was a handkerchief from a sweet friend that was embroidered with a quote by my mom–it sure came in handy (pun intended!), as it caught a lot of tears that day!

Finding my wedding dress was the hardest part of all the planning. We had a pretty short engagement, so I was under a bit of a time crunch. I remember my bridal consultant holding up what would eventually be “the dress” and I told her I didn’t even want to try it on! Eventually, I gave in, and loved it! But the over-analyzer in me just had to see if there was something better out there. I ended up going to three more appointments, and at the last appointment, I saw the same dress, and even without trying it on again, I knew that was the one. Ironically, regardless of how stressful it was, I would do it all over again–there’s nothing quite like getting to play dress up with all the girls in your life that you love the most. Those appointments still hold some of my fondest memories.

Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? Hunter and I decided to forgo the first look. It was one of the few things that we didn’t really have to think twice about because there was something really special to me about the thought of my dad walking me down the aisle to Hunter and I really wanted that moment to be the first time we saw each other.

Hunter and I were married on his family’s ranch. The ranch holds countless special memories for him and his family, and therefore, it’s super special to me as well. His grandmother built a chapel on the ranch a few years ago, and any chance I would get, I would go there to just sit and reflect on how grateful I was that I had met Hunter…and there were certainly many prayers said there that one day, I would become Hunter’s wife! This chapel would end up being the place where things came full circle for us: my prayers started there, he proposed at the chapel, and we were married at the chapel!

Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Hunter and I met a few months before my mom passed away, and unfortunately, he never got to meet her. It was the most heartbreaking time for me and it still blows me away how kind, patient, and understanding Hunter was, to be able to walk through something on that level with someone he had just met. When it came to picking out the song I would walk down the aisle to, “Mama’s Song” by Carrie Underwood summarized my feelings perfectly. Hunter is exactly what moms pray for for their daughters.

How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Lots and lots of prayer, honestly. Hunter is a police officer who works a lot of crazy hours, so we weren’t seeing each other much. I was working and planning a wedding, and while it was so much fun, it was hectic and left little time for us to see each other. I remember praying that I would be prioritizing my time well, seeing what was important and what was not, and that above anything else, that I was focusing on what it meant to become a wife.

I think the biggest Southern detail was our venue. During pictures, horses were sneaking up in the background. We had our reception in a barn that is typically a home to tractors and tools. We served dinner family-style, where each table passed around food to each other. While we were eating, I remembered looking up and seeing people chatting as they passed the rolls and butter and thinking, “This feels like one huge family Thanksgiving meal,” and I was so grateful for that!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Call us crazy, but neither Hunter nor I are really big cake eaters. We were extremely fortunate to not only have the best caterer around, but also one who is known for their AMAZING pies! We had a pie bar complete with a chocolate chip wedding pie, pies in mason jars, big pies, and mini pies!

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We had some mutual friends who consistently told me how highly they thought of Hunter and how they really wanted us to meet, and I was just not having it. Eventually, they got us to the same place at the same time to introduce us, and I’m not saying it was love at first sight, but it was something close!
Tell us all about the proposal! It was around 8 A.M. one Saturday morning when an alarm started going off. It wasn’t my phone or my alarm clock, so I got a ladder out thinking it was the batteries in my fire alarm. It wasn’t, and I wandered around my house for five more minutes looking for the source of this noise, until I found an iPad under my dresser with a note on it from Hunter sending me on a scavenger hunt. Out of pure shock and not wanting to get my hopes up, I crawled back into bed, wondering what was going on. Eventually, I got back up, got dressed, and followed my clues. My last stop led me to find Hunter at my favorite spot at his family’s ranch. A few minutes after he proposed, his family showed up, and to my surprise, he had also gotten all of my brothers and my dad, who lives 13 hours away, there too! It was sweet, simple, and perfect.
When did y’all get married? April 9, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 400
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? Planning a wedding without my mom. It was downright hard and super emotional not having her there for this, but thankfully, my mother-in-law and I were able to have the best time planning the wedding. She was gracious, kind, and made sure that we were always having fun, and if we weren’t, we stopped and came back to it later. I know my mom is thankful for the way she took care of me during that time, as am I, always.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t overthink it. Get to a point where you stop looking at another people’s weddings and just think about what really matters to you and your soon-to-be husband.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? What’s next for us is just slowing down and spending time together. Planning a wedding, getting married, honeymooning, moving, etc. has made for a crazy few months, and I’m looking forward to sitting outside on our rocking chairs just spending time together without a to do list.

Photographer: Jen Dillender Photography | Videographer: Rethinkvideo | Planner: Thirty Day Dash | Venue: Pegasus Ranch | Florist: Moosefeathers Florist | Caterer and Dessert Baker: Royers Cafe | Rentals: Loot Vintage Rentals and Aztec | Lighting: American Outdoor Systems | Band: Danny Ray and the Acoustic Production | Paper Products: Archer and Olive and Gracelaced | Bride’s Gown: “Severine” by Monique Lhuillier | Bride’s Accessories: Jennifer Behr | Hair and Makeup: Sunkissed and Made Up | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Aidan” by Jenny Yoo | Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse

lisa Written with love by Lisa
6 Comments
  1. avatar Michele reply

    Could not have been more beautiful! Wedding and people!

  2. avatar Abbi Hearne reply

    This is beautiful!! What a dream. Great job Jen!

  3. avatar Julian Zacsfalvi reply

    Beautiful details and cool outfit with the cowboy hats!

  4. avatar Cindy reply

    What color are the bridesmaids dresses?

  5. avatar Greg Coltman reply

    Great set of natural images. Great lighting!

  6. avatar julie reply

    What a BEAUTIFUL wedding, Darcee! I was wondering, do you know what color were your bridesmaids dresses were? Mineral? Dusty blue? Denmark blue? Gorgeous!!

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We’re always so thankful when we can have behind the scenes photographers on hand at editorial shoots–so much goes into the making of the finished images, and it’s a lot of fun to share a peek into that with y’all! On top of that, it’s really sweet to have these records for our own memories, and since our Texas Sweethearts editorial shoot day was a favorite from this year for both Emily and me, we’re particularly glad that our Blue Ribbon Vendor and dear friend Jen Dillender was there to spend the day with us. Our vendor team and reader models were all amazing, and made this shoot such a joy to be a part of!

It is inevitable–there are always behind the scenes shots of us snapping sneak peeks for Instagram!

All hands were on deck setting up gorgeous vignettes and details around Star Hill Ranch! This property is unreal–the owners relocated historic homes from around Texas to create the most charming faux town square. We remembered it from this wedding we shared a few years ago, and knew it was our dream venue for this shoot!

Pink Avocado Catering pulled out all the stops for our Texan-inspired menu. We were determined to make upscale frito pies a “thing” at this shoot, and couldn’t have been happier with the way they turned out!

Shooting portraits is one of my favorite parts of any shoot day. It’s so much fun seeing the fashion we chose shine, especially if there’s a real couple modeling for us! I couldn’t stop laughing at the shot below of Emily wearing the veil–she couldn’t very well leave it on the ground and let it get dirty or wrinkled, after all! :)

Everyone from our photographer, to our beauty team, to our behind the scenes photographer poured their hearts into making this editorial magical–we’re tremendously grateful to work with people who share our hearts for marriage and the magic of the South.

For the finished photos from this editorial and all of the wonderful vendors involved, see V8 in print (now on news stands and online here) and this post!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
3 Comments
  1. avatar Maureen reply

    Ya’ll are too cute! I love seeing Em and Lisa in action and with Victoria and Ben as models! Love it!

  2. avatar Rhiannon reply

    This shoot is so beautiful with such unexpected pops of color. The amaryllis are perfect! Well done, everyone!

  3. avatar Dana reply

    Wish I could’ve gone to this shoot! More Texas shoots! :)

Southern Weddings reserves the right to delete comments which contain profanity or personal attacks or seek to promote a business unrelated to the post.  And remember: a good attitude is like kudzu – it spreads.  We love hearing your kind thoughts!

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