One of the most fun aspects of working at Southern Weddings is seeing firsthand just how many ways there are to have a “Southern wedding.” From classic ballroom celebrations to rustic ranch soirées and everything in between, Southerners embrace so many distinct styles! One look that we don’t see too often is colorful, Southwestern-inspired weddings, which is why I immediately fell head over heels for the way Alicia and Ian celebrated their marriage. They dreamed up an outdoor wedding full of their favorite Tex Mex details (y’all, they even had a queso bar!) and only the traditions that meant the most to them as a couple. They also did an amazing job of showing their guests the utmost in Southern hospitality–be sure to take a peek at their advice about this below!
Thank you so much to Archetype Studio for sharing this beautiful day with us!
Did you decide to do a first look? Why or why not? We decided to do a first look despite my reservations about it. I loved the idea of Ian seeing me for the first time walking down the aisle, but in reality, I didn’t want to spend any time after the ceremony posing for pictures. Once the ceremony started, I wanted the evening to be about the wedding, the celebration, and being around the people we love rather than the photos.
Ian and I knew that we wanted to get married outside in San Antonio in the fall. I wanted to get married in Ian’s parent’s backyard, but Ian wanted to get married at the McNay Art Museum. We compromised, deciding to have the rehearsal dinner in his parent’s backyard and the wedding at the museum. They’re both beautiful outdoor locations, but the museum’s architecture more closely matched our Tex Mex-inspired vision.
We wrote our own vows and it was probably my favorite part of the entire wedding. I think about them and carry them with me in my heart. I have two favorite lines from our vows. From Ian’s: “I promise to always nurture your dreams and help you exceed your goals. I promise to always listen and always comfort you, in the best of times or the blurst of times.” Not only is his promise to help me exceed my goals and comfort me critical to our daily life, but “the blurst of times” is a reference to a Simpson’s joke, and it always makes me smile when I think about it. It’s such a classic Ian joke, and I love it. From mine: “I promise to remember that the quality of our inner life together is more important than anything I can create or accomplish in the outer world.” I think about this line from my vows nearly every day. It really resonates with me because I’m a determined attorney in Manhattan practicing criminal law, and I have to remind myself that the greatest accomplishment, the greatest privilege, and the greatest responsibility in my life is the happiness of my marriage to Ian. Living my vows is the best homage to pay our beautiful wedding.
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Start with the macro, the bigger goals. For Ian and I, we started with the ultimate goal of wanting our wedding to be easy on our guests. We didn’t want our guests to feel that a lot was expected of them monetarily or in terms of their time, and we wanted the people we love to really feel that love. With that main goal in mind, all the other questions were easy to answer–yes to ceremony and reception at same venue, no to a seated dinner with pre-planned meal, yes to a great variety of food and seating options, yes to transportation being provided, and no to a wedding party and the expectations that go along with it. It’s easy to get caught up in the frame of mind that, “This is MY day,” or, “This is what I want,” which sometimes leads to cutting things guests enjoy. But, if you get to live with the love of your life forever, you’re getting your way every day. Make the celebration about the people who taught you how to love, and the day will be even more special for everyone.
Describe your wedding flowers. We had a fresh and bright, watercolor-ombre, Southwestern palette with a fusion of cacti, succulents, and soft-petalled blooms in every shade of pink (except peach) peonies, garden roses, dahlias, and ranunculus. Our wedding flowers were out of this world.
Most of our wedding details were south Texan with Mexican flavor. Our save the dates were a hand-drawn watercolor of a man’s bullfighting/mariachi jacket and a woman’s embroidered dress, fabulously painted by a college friend of mine. The decor on the tables at the reception included Mexican textile runners and geometric brass terrariums. Our south Texan-inspired food included fried quail with jalapeno gravy, hand-pressed gorditas, avocado halves stuffed with shrimp, ceviche, or vegetables, and a table dedicated to queso, a melted Mexican cheese dip.
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our wedding cake was vanilla with caramel filling and a vanilla buttercream frosting. The design was classic and simple in white with the wedding flowers on and around it. We also had a groom’s cake, which was a collection of about 15 chocolate cakes decorated as cacti.
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Ian and I went to high school together in San Antonio, Texas in the early 2000s. We became friends over instant messenger my sophomore year of high school (Ian’s junior year), and were on the cusp of becoming romantic when I went abroad to Spain during my junior year. That year, we religiously kept in touch over phone and email, and Ian planned to visit me for his senior year spring break. He booked tickets and reserved a hotel room, and then, the day before his flight, terrorists attacked Madrid. Ian cancelled his trip and we lost our momentum. Over the five years that followed, we both dated other people, we both went to undergrad in Southern California, and both periodically kept in touch. After graduating from undergrad, we also both happened to move to Austin. I had just sworn off of eternally pining for Ian, but within a week of both living in Austin, we were dating. We moved to New Orleans together so I could attend law school, then moved to New York. We dated for six years before getting engaged.
Tell us all about the proposal! One frigid day (March 7, 2015, to be exact), I dragged Ian to a brunch with me and about a dozen of my girlfriends in SoHo. I had been misinformed and didn’t know that none of their boyfriends were coming to brunch, but we had a ball. Afterwards, we walked across Washington Square Park to get a cab home, and Ian just took the ring out of his front jean pocket, held it up, and said, “Wanna get married?” like it was no big deal. Of course, I said yes! We called the girlfriends we had just been at brunch with, met at a bar in West Village, and celebrated all day into the night. Neither Ian nor I like formality or over-the-top gestures, so it was true to us and, in my opinion, that made it perfect.
When did y’all get married? October 31, 2015
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? 150
Tell us about finding your wedding dress. Ian and I were only having a six-month engagement, so I couldn’t spend a lot of time searching for a wedding dress (which I wasn’t sad about). I’m really not into shopping, so I knew I could only go to one or two stores before starting to hate the experience. Based on some internet research, I knew I wanted my dress to be from an Israeli designer because I loved several Israeli brands online, especially the lace they used. I brought one of my best girlfriends to a boutique on the upper east side of Manhattan, where they carried several Israeli designers. I tried on about seven dresses and narrowed it down to two. I went home to sleep on it and realized the next morning that one of them was much more “me,” and the other was more who I wished I was. I went back to the store the next day to put down my deposit.
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? In writing our own vows, we really had to reflect on who we were, our weaknesses, and what was important to promise to each other for all time. Confronting those things with love in front of your guests is very powerful and freeing. Saying every line sincerely and not for show or because everyone has that specific thing at their ceremony makes you really think about what’s important and relevant to your unique relationship.
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? After dating for about six years and knowing each other for 12 years, Ian and I knew exactly what we wanted: a short engagement, a small(ish) wedding in San Antonio, and lots of delicious Tex Mex at the reception. However, our biggest challenge was picking the venue and the date. We had a six-week window in which we wanted to have the wedding, and we wanted to accommodate our family and friend’s schedules. It worked out that Halloween was the best date for most people, and the venue was available. I wasn’t thrilled to get married on Halloween, but it ultimately became a very special part of our wedding. Our niece and nephews dressed up, making everyone laugh.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We decided not to have a videographer. We frequently see wedding videos on social media of people we only distantly know, and we wanted our wedding experience to be somewhat private–only for us and the guests we invited. We wanted to remember the events the way they happened, and not through the eye of a camera.
What’s next for you as a couple? What memories are you looking forward to making together? After such a fun wedding and honeymoon in South Africa and Mozambique, we’re looking forward to traveling more together, including traveling to attend our friends’ weddings.
Photographer: Archetype Studio | Planner: Sweet August Events | Venue and Lighting: The McNay Art Museum | Florist: Clementine | Cake Baker: Cakes by Cathy Young | Caterer: Don Strange Ranch | Rentals: Aztec USA and Luxe Event Decor | Band: The Royal Dukes | Special Details: Sogi’s Honey Bakeshop | Paper Products: Girl General | Bride’s Gown: “Veronica” by Flora | Bride’s Veil: L’Fay Bridal | Bride’s Earrings: Bloomingdale’s | Hair Stylist and Makeup Artist: Madame Make-Up and Hair | Bride’s Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Groom’s Attire: Club Monaco and Cole Haan
Oh wow, those succulent cupcakes are SO CUTE!