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Jessica and Sawyer may have chosen to forgo a few traditions, but they made sure that sweet Southern hospitality was not one of them! Since they had guests coming to town from all over the country, they wanted to give them a taste of what they love about Texas through their venue and menu selection. Opting for a laid-back vibe, these two chose to add only simple decor to the already-lovely Brooks at Weatherford and let their Tex-Mex menu (fajitas and margaritas!) shine! And of course, their dance floor was open all night! I think I might be having guest envy, y’all!

Big SW hugs to< a href="http://www.sarahmckenziephoto.com" target="_blank">Sarah McKenzie for sharing their special day with us!

I knew exactly what I was looking for before dress shopping: something classic with sleeves and lots of lace (think Kate Middleton). I actually only went to two stores, and my wedding dress shopping was complete in one day. It was an overwhelming, but super fun, experience, and my mom and I had a great time.

What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff. I know it’s so hard not to, but seriously, it doesn’t matter! Your guests will not care if you forgot to print the ceremony programs or if you left your guest book at home. Try to remember that this whole wedding thing is about marrying each other!

We didn’t participate in too many traditions, as we wanted the focus of the day to be our marriage and getting to celebrate that with friends and family. However, since we had guests from all over North America, we wanted them to be able to experience all that Texas had to offer. Everything from our venue to our food and drink selections were meant to give guests a taste of what we love about Texas!

Sawyer popped the question in a sweet, private setting when we had a moment alone, which was exactly what I had wanted. We arrived home to a private family celebration, but the big surprise came the following week! I was surprised with a giant engagement celebration, courtesy of our TCU friends. I had friends who drove from all across Texas to attend, and we had an absolute blast, complete with a margarita machine and a freestyle rap battle (it was epic). It was such a sweet surprise and easily one of my favorite memories.

Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We decided to use a set of vows recommended by our church, and just changed a few pieces to better fit our relationship. This was my favorite verse/line that I read: “Today, I am reminded of James 1:17, which says, ‘Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights who does not change like shifting shadow.’ Besides the gift of salvation, you are the most precious gift God has given me.”

What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? I think the most memorable moment of our wedding day was eating dinner together in the bridal suite. After the ceremony, we chose to eat alone so we could spend a few minutes relaxing. Our caterer brought in plate after plate of fajita fixings and two margaritas, and we got to sit on the couch, feet up, pigging out together. It was SO nice to have a moment of peace to enjoy our food and process the day before entering the craziness of the reception.

Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Since we were having Tex-Mex for dinner, we went with a triple Mexican vanilla cake, plus a Texas chocolate sheet cake for the groom’s cake. We wanted to give our out-of-town guests a taste of Texas while they were there!
Our favorite detail of the wedding was: I think my favorite part of our wedding was the laid-back vibe. We went for simple decor, dinner was fajitas and margaritas, and the dance floor was open all night.

How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Sawyer and I met pretty early on in our college careers at TCU, through a mutual friend, but didn’t get to know each other until we started working on a philanthropy project together junior year. I needed a date to my sorority’s formal that same fall, and the rest is history!
When did y’all get married? July 22, 2016
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 140
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We did decide to do a first look! This was a recommendation from our photographer, Sarah, and was seriously the BEST decision. Taking photos (especially in the July heat) can be a less than fun experience, so getting to take most of our photos pre-ceremony was a huge relief. It also helped calm both of our nerves; Sawyer is my best friend and I didn’t want to spend our entire wedding day apart. We were able to spend more time with friends and family after the ceremony, and we got much more quiet time alone as well. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who is on the fence–walking down the aisle was still incredibly special and emotional!
Describe your wedding flowers. I wanted our flowers to be the focal point of our decor. We wanted lots of neutral shades of white, cream, and dusty blues, along with tons of greenery accents. Our florist, Sage Fine Flowers, executed this beautifully! We had lots of hydrangea, thistle, greenery, and succulents that all came together to create a very light and summery look!
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We participated in a marriage class and premarital counseling through our church. It was a great way to get to know each other on a deeper level and prepare to live together as a Christ-centered couple.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? The biggest challenge we had was working within our budget. Events are my passion, so it was important to me that this day reflect us as a couple. We ended up having to prioritize what was most important for us and the guests. Things like fancy invitations and monogrammed napkins got cut from our priority list, but we didn’t end up missing them!
What is the one detail or vendor that you were so happy to have as a part of your wedding? My wedding coordinator, Tracey, really helped keep my stress levels in check. I think that a lot of people assume that if they like planning events, they can get away with coordinating a wedding on their own. My full-time job is planning events, but no matter how experienced you are, it is impossible to enjoy your day as a bride without a dedicated person on-site running interference for you. I wanted to enjoy my day and I wanted my friends and family to do the same, and that would not have been possible without Tracey. She kept things running smoothly, and was crucial in pulling all of the final details together for me so that I had more time to enjoy my engagement season.

What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? Sawyer and I are living in Fort Worth and already have what feels like a herd of dogs (it’s actually only two). We are looking forward to experiencing life together, traveling, and spending time with the people we love!

Photographer: Sarah McKenzie Photography | Videographer: Jared Christopher | Planner: Tracey Shellum | Venue: The Brooks at Weatherford | Florist: Sage Fine Flowers | Wedding Cakes: Pennie Miller | Caterer: A Sophisticated Affair | Rentals: Beautiful Event Rentals | Lighting and DJ: Exodus Sound Company | Paper Products: Wedding Paper Divas | Bride’s Gown: Lusan Mandongus | Bridal Salon: Bridal Boutique of Lewisville | Hair and Makeup: Micaela Evans of Kiss and Makeup | Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff | Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

marissa Written with love by Marissa
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    Anyone who has experienced a long distance relationship can attest to how tough it can be, but if there’s one plus side, it’s that the time when you and your love are together becomes all the more special! Kristan and Jason are college sweethearts whose post-grad jobs brought them apart for a year before they were reunited in Houston and engaged shortly thereafter. For their Texas wedding, they drew inspiration from their seven years of dating by writing their vows together, serving their favorite bundt cake flavors, and even naming their reception tables after places that were sentimental to them. Their planner, Lauren at Something to Celebrate, and florist, Maxit Flower Design, took these sweet details from Kristan and Jason’s love story and helped them tie it all together–topped off with the prettiest coral charm peonies!

    Thank you kindly to Sarah McKenzie for sharing this special day with us!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? While we love the tradition of the bride and groom seeing each other for the first time when the bride walks down the aisle, we decided to do a first look based on the recommendations of married friends. All of our friends who had done one talked about how nice it was to have that special moment together without everyone watching, and how, from a logistical perspective, it just made the day run smoother. Having now done a first look at our wedding, we could not agree more! It really was perfect and allowed us to have a very special, intimate moment together, and to take plenty of pictures of just the two of us, without missing out on the reception!

    Our flowers were, without a doubt, one of our favorite aspects of our wedding! We are so thankful that we had the chance to work with Maria Maxit–her work was absolutely breathtaking and we feel like the beautiful arrangements and decor that she crafted truly helped to make our wedding everything that it was. Maria captured our vision perfectly, finding ways to integrate vibrant color and gorgeous flowers (so many peonies!) throughout every element of our special day.

    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? From the incredibly meaningful and touching words of our officiants, to the exchanging of personal vows, to the sun setting in the background as we took communion together as our first act as husband and wife, we will forever treasure every second of our wedding ceremony.
    Did you write your own vows? If so, what was your favorite phrase, verse or line? We did write our own vows, and we are so glad that we did! We co-wrote five promises that we each wanted to say to one another, and then we each added another promise and additional words about what the other person means to us. One of our favorite lines from the five promises that we co-wrote stated, “I promise to love you selflessly, as you have loved me, and as Christ has loved us.”

    We knew we had found our venue the moment that we arrived to visit Balmorhea last fall. It is breathtaking and unique and felt every bit “us.” We were so drawn in by the amazing owners (who built the venue themselves!) and the incredible staff (we worked with Alison McIntyre, who was phenomenal!). We could not have dreamt of a more perfect place to celebrate our special day. It captured the essence of Southern charm by beautifully combining rustic design with classic elegance, and creating a welcoming, down-to-earth atmosphere that truly felt like home to us and our guests.

    Did you pull any wedding inspiration from memories you have together? Tell us about it! We decided that instead of doing table numbers for our reception, we wanted to name the tables after cities that were significant to us. Katy & Co. helped us craft a seating chart, as well as a corresponding display board which explained why each city meant something to us. Each of the 17 cities were places that had become very special throughout our seven years of dating–from Waco, where we first met at Baylor, to Houston, the city we now call home. We made sure each table had a picture of us in the city represented by that table.

    We have always loved Nothing Bundt Cakes and were thrilled to find out that they could cater our wedding. We decided to give guests the choice of our favorite flavors: lemon and red velvet.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met at Baylor University’s summer camp for incoming freshman. We dated throughout college and the beginning of our professional careers. After seven years of long distance dating and many hours of travel, we are so ecstatic to finally be able to call each other husband and wife, and to have the opportunity to do life together each and every day in the same city!
    Tell us all about the proposal! After a year of long distance, I was so excited to be reunited with Jason in July 2014 when I moved back to Houston. We knew that we were ready to get engaged at some point soon, and while part of me wanted to be surprised, the other part of me wanted to know EVERYTHING about the proposal! After much persistence on my part, Jason gave me four weekends to block off. The first weekend rolled around and Jason sweetly arranged for me to meet up with my dear friends from college to do brunch and get our nails done. It was a fantastic day, but I had convinced myself that he wasn’t going to propose until the last of the four weekends he had told me to block off. The next weekend, Jason told me that I needed to be ready at 3:30 in the afternoon, and when 3:30 rolled around, my cousin Brianne showed up at my house and said that she was going to be my coffee date. When we arrived at Starbucks, my brother and his girlfriend Ashley, who had come home from Baylor in Waco and were inside! They handed me a handmade mug and a note from Jason that told me what the next few hours had in store–Brianne would be taking me across Houston to various locations that were representative of things about our relationship. At each stop, there would be a clue and a puzzle piece that I would collect. While I could read the clue, I was not allowed to open the puzzle pieces. After stops at the Houston airport, IHOP (a place where Jason and I had many a breakfast), a movie theatre (one of mine and Jason’s favorite things to do is see movies), and my favorite store (Nordstrom in the Galleria, where Jason had chosen a dress for me), we drove over to the beautiful fountain wall at the Galleria. Brianne dropped me, and when I saw Jason in the middle of the field, I ran towards him! I had accidentally left the puzzle pieces in Brianne’s car, so without hesitation, he bolted off after Brianne, who was driving away, and caught her just in time. He proceeded to tell me about the significance of each piece as he unwrapped it and placed it on a board. The pieces spelled out “will you marry me” on top of a collage of pictures from us from the past seven years–he said so many amazing, wonderful things, and then got on one knee and proposed with the most beautiful ring I had ever seen in my life!
    When did y’all get married? June 6, 2015
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 170
    Did you have something borrowed, blue, old, and new? If so, do tell! My grandmother passed away when I was younger, and not having her to celebrate with us on our special day was so tough. However, I have no doubt at all that she was there in spirit, and to honor her, we integrated her brooch into my bouquet as my something old.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We were so blessed to be surrounded by friends and family throughout the wedding planning process who consistently helped us focus on what matters most. Rather than getting caught up in the details of the wedding day, they reminded us of the importance of investing in and preparing for the marriage that followed. In addition to the great advice we received from friends, family, and our officiant, we attended premarital counseling at our church in downtown Houston.
    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? One of our best decisions was to hire a day-of coordinator. Our coordinator, Lauren, was fantastic–she kept us on track in the weeks leading up to the wedding, provided fantastic vendor recommendations, and perfectly executed all of the details we had planned on the day-of. We highly recommend that everyone get a day-of coordinator to make sure that you have the chance to truly let the logistics go and focus on enjoying all of your hard work on the day of the wedding.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? We are currently having so much fun getting settled into our first home together just outside of downtown Houston. We are so excited for all of the adventures in store for us in the coming years–from getting the chance to enjoy all of the small, simple joys of life while at home in Houston, to hopefully having the chance to travel the country and the world with friends and family. We could not be more thankful for all that lies ahead.

    Photographer: Sarah McKenzie Photography / Videographer: Brad and Monica Eggerton / Planner: Something to Celebrate / Venue: Balmorhea Events / Florist: Maxit Flower Design / Dessert Baker: Nothing Bundt Cakes / Caterer: Cafe Natalie / Linens: House of Hough / DJ and Lighting: Johnny Black Productions / Favors: Laura Baartmans / Paper Products: Katy & Co / Bridal Salon: Mia Bridal Couture / Hair and Makeup: April Thompson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Style F15810” in Black by David’s Bridal / Menswear: The Black Tux / Calligraphy: Cypress Calligraphy / Ties: Knotty Tie Co.

    Sarah McKenzie is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!

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

      So beautiful! I love the pops of coral against the black bridesmaid dresses!

    2. avatar Dana reply

      that is some proposal story! wow!

    3. avatar Cafe Natalie reply

      It was an absolutely beautiful wedding. So happy for Kristan and Jason! Thank you for letting us be a part of your big day.

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    For all our dear friends who have been enduring such a mean, frigid winter, Madeline and Hunter’s wedding will warm your heart right up! With their pretty pastel palette, their wedding at the Barr Mansion looks exactly how I think spring should feel–warm sun shining down, the loveliest blooms, and tons of joy! And how neat is it that they said their vows under a huge pecan tree that is over a hundred years old? So very, very Southern!

    I’m so glad Sarah McKenzie shared this sweet day with us!

    Tell us about finding your wedding dress. My only criteria for the dress was that it couldn’t be strapless. The first place I went was Nordstrom, and I picked five to try. Despite one being strapless, I immediately knew the dress was the right one when I put it on!

    Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? No, I am very traditional. I wanted to see his expression the moment that I was walking down the aisle.
    How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? We did pre-marital counseling through our church in Houston.

    As I was looking at pictures of other weddings in Austin, every picture that I liked was taken at the Barr Mansion. The venue is absolutely gorgeous, and I have always loved historic houses.

    Our favorite detail of the wedding was: The vintage furniture that was set up around the cocktail area really sticks out in my mind, especially the pink couch!

    What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Choose the things that you care about most and spend time working on those things. Do not stress over the tiny details; you will not even remember the small stuff the day after the wedding (and neither will your guests).

    We had an all-organic carrot cake frosted with cream cheese icing, featuring no artificial dyes–the color was beet-juice based–and real flowers.

    How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. We met through mutual friends during our senior year at Texas A&M University. My mother was always telling me that I would never meet a man if I didn’t get out of the house more, but he came right into my kitchen one day! Over the course of several months, I drew him in with baked goods and home-cooked meals. He eventually invited me to dinner at his parent’s house in Houston. After that night, we officially began dating.
    Tell us all about the proposal! He proposed on Valentine’s Day. We went to dinner at a nice restaurant, and then went to a local park. When we arrived, he pulled a backpack from the car, and when I asked what it was for, he just said, “You’ll see.” After strolling along one of the paths, we stopped to rest on a bench. He then opened the backpack to reveal a thermos of hot water, mugs, and a variety of tea bags. We made tea and enjoyed the quiet of the night. After he finished his tea, he got down on one knee and asked me to be his bride.
    When did y’all get married? Summer 2014
    How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
    What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? Our ceremony took place under a huge pecan tree that is over a hundred years old. Right in the middle of the ceremony, one of the limbs began to crack and fall. Fortunately, it was on the other side of the ceremony and some of the lower limbs caught it, preventing it from crashing to the ground.
    What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are expecting our first baby this summer!

    Photographer: Sarah McKenzie / Venue, Cake Baker, and Caterer: The Barr Mansion / Florist: STEMS / Rentals: Bee Lavish / Band: Terra Vista Strings and Royal Dukes Band / Paper Products: The Stationery Bakery and Minted / Bride’s Gown: “Mila” by Hayley Paige / Bride’s Accessories: BHLDN and Veils by Studio Alma / Hair and Makeup: Celeste at Austin Wedding Hair & Makeup / Bride’s Shoes: Betsey Johnson / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Heidi” by J. Crew, “In Due Corsage” by Modcloth, “Mikado Corded Lace Illusion Neckline Dress” by David’s Bridal, “Annabelle” by BHLDN, ASOS / Groom’s Attire: Al’s Formal Wear / Groomsmen Attire: Men’s Wearhouse

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

      Awwww yeah!!! Thanks for the feature!!!

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