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It takes a very special couple to commit to a relationship across the pond shortly after meeting for the first time, but after Hunter’s stepsister played matchmaker, Hunter and Heather knew they wanted to give it a shot! Many long distance phone calls and international flights later, followed by a year together in Chicago, Hunter proposed in their soon-to-be home. Even though Heather is from above the Mason-Dixon Line, I daresay her focus on creating a meaningful wedding day, her sweet perspective on what matters most, and her love for monograms make her a Southern belle at heart!

Thank you so much to Nate Henderson for sharing this lovely wedding with us!

Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ah, the dress! I found it on the first day I went dress shopping. My mom lives about four hours away from Chicago, and it was just the two of us. During the third and final appointment of the day, I saw the dress hanging in the back of the store. It looked different than anything I had seen and I thought it could go either way–be really great or really wrong. I put it on and said, “Va va voom!” My mom cried, and then I cried, and we knew it was the one! One funny little mishap is that the alterations team mistakenly hung the dress by the straps when they packed it for my travel. The straps stretched from it hanging incorrectly, so when I put it on on the big day, the top was huge, and it was a wrinkled mess. My sister steamed the wrinkles and my maid of honor pinned it with safety pins! No one could tell and in those moments, girls, you just have to take a deep breath and say, “C’est la vie!”

What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? The church we were married in was the church Hunter attended growing up in Savannah. We wanted to bring our friends and family down South, as there really is nothing else like it! The oak trees covered with Spanish moss remind me of The Notebook, and created such romance and mystique.

It was really important to both of us that we did not see each other beforehand–we are traditional in that regard. I will never forget walking down the aisle with my dad and seeing the expression on Hunter’s face. Having that time, while the beautiful music played in the church, to soak in the emotion in front of our family and friends who traveled to be a part of our special day, is a priceless moment we will never forget.

Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My bridesmaid generously let me borrow the gorgeous earrings she wore at her wedding. My dress was new. My mother wore a royal blue lace dress and looked beautiful, so she was my blue! For old, I pinned a necklace to my bouquet which had belonged to my Grandmother, who passed away six months earlier. In that way, she was with us!

I am a firm believer that a wedding should be welcoming to your guests and should represent the two of you! My favorite details were H&H carnival lights that we ordered from Etsy, which our wedding coordinator attached to the front of the bar. We also had a beautiful monogram designed that we used on the napkins, cups, and pillows for the couches in our seating area. These pillows are now on our sofa, and we will use the monogram for the rest of our lives!

Describe your wedding flowers. The setting of the reception was already beautiful, so I wanted the flowers to enhance the natural beauty. I chose a lush white, ivory, and green palette, which I think is so elegant. We repurposed two large arrangements (hydrangeas, roses, snap dragons, bells of ireland, french tulips that loosely cascaded), hydrangea wreaths, and boxwood garland from the church to the reception. We did halos for the flower girls with willow eucalyptus and white spray roses, which could not have been any sweeter. I also added a sprig of heather to Hunter’s boutonniere!

Our first dance was to “You are the Best Thing” by Ray Lamontagne. It is less traditional than our ceremony choices, but the lyrics suited us. We took dance lessons beforehand, but in the end, we just winged it–except for one awesome, Dirty Dancing-esque dip at the beginning!

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. I absolutely love wedding cake and always make a point to have at least a bite at weddings I attend for good luck! I had an entire Pinterest board of stunning cakes, and in the end, I couldn’t decide between two designs, so I let our cake designer surprise me. She loved the idea and said it was a designer’s dream! It was beautiful, and it tasted as good as it looked, with vanilla bean cake filled with raspberry and white chocolate mousse.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. I was living in London and my friend, Mary Allen, told me I had to meet her stepbrother, Hunter. “The two of you would be perfect together!” she told me. Hunter was living in Chicago, and when I was home visiting friends, she arranged our first date. Hunter was not feeling well and tried to hide it during the evening. I thought he was handsome, but very quiet, and I was surprised when he asked to see me again. We got to know each other more, met each other’s friends, and had a great time! He drove me to the airport at the end of my visit, and we continued to see each other every six weeks. After many trips across the pond, phone calls, and bbm messages exchanged, I moved to Chicago just over a year later. I’m not exactly sure what it was that Mary Allen saw in both of us, but she was right, and we will forever be grateful to her!
Tell us all about the proposal! From Hunter: Heather and I were planning to move in together in mid-May 2013. I decided that I’d pull the trigger on Friday, April 26, specifically because I knew Heather likes the number 26, and the anniversary of when we first met was April 27, two years prior! I talked our soon-to-be landlord into giving me access to our empty future apartment, and then had our close friend, who was also our real estate agent, call Heather “on behalf of the landlord” to go over to the apartment and meet the “repair man.” I was “in a work meeting” during that exact window of time when Heather tried calling me to see if I could meet her there. I arrived to the apartment an hour early and began arranging it the best I could with rose petals and lit candles. Upon Heather’s entry, she called for the “repair man” to see if he was there yet, then turned toward the opposite side of the apartment, for what seemed to me like ten minutes! Finally, she came down the hallway toward me, saw the rose petals, and stopped in disbelief. I then took a knee and read a note that I had prepared, which I specifically wanted to write so that she could always look back and remember what I told her that day. She said “YES!” I capped off the proposal by revealing one red rose behind my back and asking Heather if she would “accept my final rose?”–a humorous nod to our favorite TV show. We were happily married exactly one year later!
When did y’all get married? April 26, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 160
Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we said traditional vows, and our minister, Edwin Chase, delivered a beautiful message. In our meetings before the wedding, he also taught us about the Five Love Languages, which I highly recommend for all couples!
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. Both the bridal party and I walked down the aisle to Canon in D. We had violins playing it, and when I came down the aisle, the organ played softly to intensify the song a little more. I have always loved Canon in D and wanted it to play as long as possible. The recessional was the traditional Wedding March, which felt like a celebration!
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? Negotiate where you can and take time to price compare between vendors. Some vendors will charge you extra fees that you can eliminate, or you can negotiate an extra service to be included in your quote. The best advice I received at the onset of planning was to make sure your vendor is committed and excited to work with you. If you don’t feel that way, chose another vendor who is appreciative of your business.
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We had an amazing honeymoon in the Maldives and then settled into our new married life, but we haven’t slowed down. Hunter opened his own business and we are expecting a baby boy in May!

Photographer: Nate Henderson Photo / Ceremony Venue: Wesley Monumental UMC / Reception Venue: Oldfield Club / Florist: Harvey Designs / Cake Baker: Minette Rushing Custom Cakes / Rentals: Snyder Events / Lighting: JLK Events / Band: Sol Fusion / Paper Products: Elizabeth Grace / Save the Dates: Studio R / Bride’s Gown: Elizabeth Fillmore / Bridal Salon and Veil: Belle Vie Bridal Couture / Hair Stylist: JW Salon & Spa / Makeup Artist: SKINZIN / Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: JLM Couture / Groom’s Attire: Trunk Club / Wedding Coordinator: Posh, Petals & Pearls / Favors: Maison de Macarons / Monogram: Alison R. Banks Designs / Linens: La Tavola Linen and Marianne’s Rentals

Posh Petals & Pearls is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

lisa Written with love by Lisa
1 Comment
  1. avatar Emily reply

    I know what you mean about your dress, Heather, but it is unmistakably gorgeous on! Love it!

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Finding a venue can be a challenging part of wedding planning (at least, it was for both me and Emily!), but for today’s couple, the decision was one of the simplest they made. From the sweeping lake views to the dramatic architecture, it’s easy to see why Katie and Ben fell head over heels in love with Villa del Lago–it was the perfect setting for their romantic, elegant, outdoor wedding. With the help of the prettiest blush florals and a touch of sparkle, the talented gals at Keely Thorne Events brought Katie’s wedding day vision to life!

Thank you kindly to Akil Bennett for sharing this beautiful wedding with us!

Tell us all about the proposal! I kind of knew it was coming when he told me, “Don’t plan anything for this weekend because I’m taking you on a special trip to the W in Austin…” He found out through the grapevine that I knew it was happening that weekend, so he decided to surprise me at his house before we left instead. I showed up with my bags packed. He was in the front entryway on one knee with roses strewn all over the floor, and he said, “Kathryn Leigh Sheen, will you marry me?”

My bridesmaid and wedding planner, Emily Moise, did a wedding at Villa del Lago and showed me pictures from the event. After I saw the pictures, I never even looked at any other venues. It was the first and only venue I looked at and I knew immediately it was exactly what I wanted. With a gorgeous pavilion, a perfectly cut lawn, a waterfall, and a ceremony site that overlooked Lake Travis and the Hill Country, it felt like a dream.

Did you decide to do a “first look”? Why or why not? No, I wanted him to be surprised. As the ceremony began, he turned around and faced the water. When I came down the aisle, he turned around and saw me for the first time. I couldn’t stop smiling and he was tearing up.
Tell us about some of the songs you used throughout your wedding and why you chose them. We had beautiful music for the ceremony. We hired Hill Country Strings and they were amazing–they played the harp, guitar, and violin. I especially loved the song I walked down the aisle to: “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” That was one of my favorite moments of the day.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? No, we really liked the traditional vows.
What readings, if any, did you have at your ceremony? Ben and I read surprise poems for each other. We each picked a poem that reminded us of one another. I choose “Sonnet XVII” by Pablo Neruda for Ben and he choose “These I Can Promise” by Mark Twain. It was really special to finally hear what his poem for me was.

A few of my favorite things I remember that made the day more perfect were my gorgeous bouquet, fried macaroni cheese appetizers, the rose-decorated cake, my father’s speech, our first dances, our final dance, and our heart-shaped sparkler grand exit. It was everything I had hoped for and more. All of the planning my amazing wedding planners and I had done really paid off. Of course, none of it would have mattered if I hadn’t had the perfect guy to say “I do” to, but luckily, I did.

What Southern details or traditions did you include in your celebration? What was Southern about your wedding? The outdoor setting, wooden benches and table, and lanterns added a Southern feel to our wedding. Fried macaroni and cheese appetizers were pretty Southern too! Our band also played a lot of country music, and our first dance was to a Southern song, “Feet Don’t Touch the Ground,” by Stoney Larue.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We went to high school together and knew of each other. He was a few years older, and we hung out with a similar crowd, but our paths never crossed much. It wasn’t until after college that we met again. I went up to him at a bar and started chatting away. When he asked for my number, I was so nervous that I ignored him and changed the subject. He messaged me on Facebook a few days later. We went on our first date the following weekend, and after that date, I knew he was the one, despite the fact that he took me to see Borat.
When did y’all get married? October 5, 2013
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 190
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. I went to Brickhouse Bridal in The Woodlands with my mom, sister, sister-in-law, and mother-in-law. They each picked a dress that they wanted me to try on and I wound up choosing the first one I tried. I especially loved my veil–the lace on it matched the lace on the dress perfectly.
Describe your wedding flowers. My wedding flowers had a very soft, romantic feel. I wanted muted colors like white, ivory, blush, and champagne. My bouquet had hydrangea, majolica spray roses, ivory ranunculus, gardenias, champagne vendela roses, and blush Keira garden roses. The stems were exposed and wrapped in ivory satin ribbon and topped with pearl beads. The bridesmaids carried spray roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, dahlias, and Juliet garden roses wrapped in ivory satin ribbon. The groom and groomsmen wore ivory ranunculus, accented with ivory snowberry and wrapped in natural woven ribbon. The reception flowers were similar, and we also chose to include a lot of candles, lanterns, and mercury glass accents.
If you are comfortable responding, what range did your wedding budget fall into? $50,000-$75,000
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We saved money in our floral bill because the wedding venue was so naturally beautiful that we didn’t need an excessive amount of flowers. Our wedding planner, Emily Moise, also advised me on where and when to cut costs. She was really good at telling me where I needed to spend a lot and where I should save.
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? Keely Thorne Events wedding planners, Emily Moise and Sydney Mafrige. They made sure everything went perfectly! Our photographer, Akil Bennett, was amazing too. He not only did an excellent job at our wedding, but also on our engagement and bridal portraits. Ben liked him a lot. He made our engagement photos so easy and relaxing–nothing was forced or awkward.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Get a wedding planner!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are expecting our first child this June. It’s a boy! We can’t wait to meet him!

Photographer: Akil Bennett / Videographer: The Pros Wedding Videography / Planner: Emily Moise of Keely Thorne Events / Venue: Villa del Lago / Florist: Merveille / Cake Baker: Simon Lee Bakery / Catering: Pink Avocado Catering / Rentals: Premiere Party Central / Lighting: Illios Lighting / Band or DJ: The Grooves / Bride’s Gown: Enzoani / Bridal Salon: Brickhouse Bridal / Alterations: Beautiful U / Hair and Makeup: Nicki from The Perfect Face / Bride’s Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Amsale / Groom’s Attire: Tom James / Groomsmen Attire: Jos. A. Bank

lisa Written with love by Lisa
4 Comments
  1. avatar Emily Moise reply

    Thanks so much for posting Katie & Ben’s wedding from KTE!!! It was a beautiful wedding for one beautiful, sweet couple.

  2. avatar Christen reply

    What a stunning wedding!!! Katie is my sister in law and was not only the most beautiful bride but the most gracious through the entire process! Akil did an amazing job. Great memories!!!

  3. avatar Nicole reply

    Oh guys. That line of banquet tables under the string lights kills me!! So beautiful.

  4. avatar Dana reply

    beautiful venue and that flower girl picture is so adorable!

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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