While it’s inevitable that a few things will go wrong while wedding planning, it is so much more fun to hear about the things that go right! In Gabrielle and Dustin’s case, a few details came together serendipitously as they planned their summer Vista West Ranch wedding–in particular, when Gabrielle chose her gorgeous wedding dress (don’t miss the sweet story below!), and when she stumbled upon pictures of their dream venue, only to realize it was located a few hours away from Dustin’s hometown. Even if not a thing had gone the way they had planned though, Gabrielle and Dustin’s hearts were in the right place from day one –she said, “At the end of the day, you get to marry the love of your life. That in and of itself is a perfect day!”
The story of finding my dress is pretty magical. My internship in Dallas was with Watters in their Communications, PR, and Merchandising departments. I spent my days admiring all of the gorgeous gowns and picking out the ones I would love to wear if I were engaged and dress shopping. When I returned from my graduation trip engaged, my director, David, had a little gift on my desk! Later that day, Vatana Watters herself came up to the office to congratulate me, and as a gift, told me I could choose the dress of my dreams for my big day! At first, I thought it was just a joke, but then realized she was serious! I was so overwhelmed, I started crying! I felt truly blessed and that God put me in that internship for that reason! I tried on five dresses before David brought in a gown from the design room that had just been completed that day for next season’s collection. I put it on and it was just perfect! Totally not what I thought I wanted, but it was definitely the one. He told me that they would be able to make it for me in time for the wedding and that I would be the first bride to ever wear that gown!! David Lopez and Vatana Watters, I am truly so thankful for you!
What was your most memorable moment about your wedding day? There are so many moments we’ll remember forever–our families and friends helping us celebrate, our first dance, my dress, the nervous jitters, our vows… but I think we can both agree that the most memorable moment was the moment we became husband and wife in front of God, our families, and our friends!
Our pastor from college, Reggie, was able to fly out to officiate our ceremony, which meant so much to the two of us! While we had beautiful readings, I think our favorite part of the ceremony was the foot washing. We decided to incorporate this because it is a tradition of service and symbolizes that not one of us is above the other.
What made you choose your ceremony and reception venues? Did they have any special significance to you? Dustin and I knew that we wanted our wedding to have a laid back, celebratory feel. When we got engaged, we started looking for rustic chic wedding venues online, but I couldn’t find any in Florida (where I’m from) or in Houston (where Dustin is from). One day, while I was on Pinterest, I saw a gorgeous photo of a venue and clicked on it, thinking it would be somewhere out of reach, like Colorado or something. To my surprise, it was in Austin! It was so beautiful and exactly what we had been envisioning. Dustin wan’t able to come to the open house with me, but he trusted me enough to book it! It was the first and only venue I had to see, and we were both sold!
What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome while planning your wedding? I think the biggest challenge we overcame was wanting to please so many people who were a big help with the wedding. When it came down to it, we realized that it was our day and that it was all about us getting married. Everything would work itself out as long as we were calm and remained focused on this day being a a celebration of our union! Everything could have gone wrong, but it would have still been the best day ever because we got to marry each other.
My wedding flowers were more amazing than I could have ever dreamed! Petal Pushers and our family friend, Cathy, did the most amazing job. I wanted a color palette of clean white, light blush accents, and mercury glass and mason jars everywhere. The barn looked like a dream and our head table was just breathtaking! I couldn’t believe how beautiful it looked. My father-in-law made benches that ran the length of the farm tables, and our friend, Cathy, decorated them beautifully! They made such a statement!
Describe your wedding cake or dessert. Our cake was beautiful! We chose a really simple white ruffle design with metallic gold dusting on the edges. We had three flavors: chocolate with fresh strawberry filling, chocolate with chocolate filling, and vanilla with bavarian cream filling. We also had mini pies in mason jars at each place setting as our favors, because who doesn’t love a good mini pie in the summer? We chose apple pie and Texas Two Step (half brownie, half pecan pie). They were a hit!
How did y’all meet? Tell us your love story. Dustin and I met our freshman year of college at Florida State University. I was on the FSU Golden Girls dance team and he was on the FSU football team. It was winter break and both of our teams had to be in Tallahassee to practice for the UDA College Dance Team Nationals and for the football team’s upcoming Bowl Game. It wasn’t love at first sight, but we did start hanging out a lot. We started attending the same bible study and church together, and things quickly grew from friendship to something more. On March 20, 2010, Dustin was driving me back to my dorm one night, but then took a detour to the stadium, claiming he had to go get his cleats from the locker room. He told me to follow him, so I did. Instead of going to the locker room, he led me out onto the football field and asked me to be his girlfriend on the 50-yard line of Doak Campbell Stadium! That was almost five years ago, and we’ve been together ever since. It was so fun being able to cheer him on from the sideline for all four years of college!
Tell us all about the proposal! After Dustin graduated, he was drafted to the Buffalo Bills and moved to New York, while I still had a semester at FSU and an internship left to complete. After I completed my internship in Dallas in December, I flew back to Tallahassee for my graduation. Dustin had told me that he wasn’t able to come due to his football schedule, which was totally understandable. I was invited to a holiday party for the head football coach and his wife’s organization, Kidz 1st Fund, and my best friend, Courtney, and my old boss, Carrie, begged me to steal away from my family for an hour to go with them. I told them over and over that my mother was not going to go for it! The night before my graduation, I arrived in Tallahassee and found that my mother had had some sort of change of heart and decided to let me go for an hour. As we were approaching the stadium, I noticed that all of the lights were on, but it seemed pretty quiet for a big event to be going on. Upon rounding the corner to enter the field, I was totally shocked to see Dustin, alone, standing on the 50-yard line in the empty, but lit, stadium! As I walked (as fast as I could with heels on) towards him, I turned around and saw both my family and his sitting in the stands above! After walking the longest 50 yards of my life, I was met by Dustin asking me to be his wife, in the exact spot where our journey began four years prior!
When did y’all get married? July 4, 2014
How many friends, family members, and loved ones attended your wedding? About 175
How did you plan for your marriage while planning your wedding? Dustin and I did a pre-marital course with our pastor and his wife every week via Skype. In addition to this, we prayed fervently together and devoted time to the Bible every day.
What was one way you saved money or cut costs at your wedding? We did do a little bit of DIY. I addressed all the save the dates and invitations, we had a friend help with flowers, we made our own programs, and we provided a lot of the decor instead of renting it (mercury glass, mason jars, frames, etc.).
What advice do you have for folks currently planning a wedding? Relax, breathe, and HAVE FUN! Too many brides get stressed about the wedding being perfect and forget that it’s supposed to be a fun process. You don’t want to look back on this time in your life and remember how awful it was. Everything works itself out in the end, and at the end of the day, you get to marry the love of your life. That in and of itself is a perfect day!
What’s next for you as a couple? What are you most looking forward to about married life? We are moving to New Orleans, Louisiana where Dustin is playing for the Saints! We look forward to finding a home, getting settled, and enjoying life together with our two precious pups. Hopefully, lots of traveling is in our future! We’re looking forward to making memories, creating traditions, and growing closer to each other and God!
Photographer: Feather and Twine Photography / Videographer: Forever Film Studios / Planner: Coordinate This / Venue: Vista West Ranch / Florist and Rentals: Petal Pushers / Dessert Baker: Classic Cakes by Lori and Tiny Pies / Caterer: Verde’s / Rentals: Petal Pushers / Band: The Royal Dukes / Bride’s Gown: “Santina” by Watters / Bride’s Bracelets: Bourbon and Boweties / Bride’s Earrings: Kate Spade / Makeup Artist: Maris Malone Calderon / Bride’s Shoes: Stuart Weitzman / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: “Feathered Ruth Dress” by French Connection / Menswear: Men’s Wearhouse
Feather & Twine, Petal Pushers, and Vista West Ranch are delightful members of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!