I’m pretty sure that if I told you that this wedding had a former Abercrombie & Fitch model for a groom, a bride that rode in on a white horse, and a ceremony that took place on a field covered in yellow wildflowers, you might think I was writing a romance novel. But y’all, it did! For their special day, Kelli and Michael wanted their California friends and family to feel the warmth of Southern hospitality and the fun of a Texas country wedding. With the help of Blue Ribbon Vendor, Two Be Wed, Kelli’s matron of honor’s parents’ ranch became the site of this sweet day, where guests were invited to make themselves at home and celebrate the newlyweds’ love with all things Southern. I love the South, and seeing it shared through our couple’s eyes makes my heart sing–Kelli and Michael even had a good ol’ tractor to transport guests!
We’re so thankful to Christianne Taylor for sharing this lovely day with us in V7!
How did the two of you meet? Tell us your story. I was a new sophomore in Santa Barbara, where I had just transferred to my new school, and I didn’t know anyone. My dad and I were downtown at Brooks’ orientation, and we wandered into a coffee shop where Mike worked. I immediately noticed the ridiculously good-looking barista. Mike was literally an Abercrombie & Fitch model at the time, so I was understandably shy, and I made my dad go place the order! Months later, I ended up moving into a house in Montecito with four random roommates. One of the roommates, Lauren, happened to work at the coffee shop with Mike, and she quickly filled me in on the fact that this super handsome guy was only a year older than me, had never had a girlfriend before (crazy, right?!), and apparently was super sweet, soft spoken, and shy. And, he was a Christian and a Young Life leader at Santa Barbara High School! Of course, my crush quickly grew into a full-blown obsession. In the meantime, I had started casually seeing another guy, and that relationship ended just before Valentine’s Day. I went out for a single ladies’ Valentine’s Day dinner with Lauren, and she told me that Mike had been asking about me for months! When I had ended the relationship with the other guy on my own, she felt it was okay to finally let me know about Mike. Mike, in the meantime, didn’t know Lauren was chatting with me or that I had ended things with the other guy, but when I got home that night, he had left me a sweet message, asking me to coffee. We have been together ever since.
I had the amazing opportunity to meet and work with wedding dress designer Hayley Paige on an article for Houston Magazine. She comes to Houston often for trunk shows and has become a close friend. She is just the sweetest and most talented person I know. When Mike and I got engaged, she went above and beyond to make sure my dress was perfect and I had everything I needed. I had the privilege to shoot the owner’s of Now & Forever Bridal Boutique’s wedding in Hawaii the year before Mike and I got married. They, along with Hayley, have also become close friends, and they made my dress buying experience above and beyond wonderful.
What was Southern about your wedding? Everything: the decor, the environment, the horses, the ranch, the boots, the rustic theme, and the tractor.
We tried to do as much of our own stuff as possible. We had SO many friends with unique gifts and talents contribute to our day. We couldn’t have done it without them! I made/printed our save the dates, favors, confetti bags for the ceremony, and chalkboard signs for favors. I also printed and designed our wedding programs, which featured illustrations by Tricia Lowenfield.
Tell us a bit about the wedding ceremony. What part was most special to you? Did you include any special readings? It was all so special. We did communion–our faith is an important part of who we are as individuals and a couple.
Who was your officiant? Why did you choose him/her? Our officiant was our pastor who has known me since I was young. I used to be the youth intern at the church with him, and he has mentored me for a long time. It was special to have him counsel Mike and I leading up to the wedding and to have him as a part of the big day.
Bride’s favorite detail of the wedding: The horse we had the opportunity to ride in on! I also loved the birch sticks that lined the ceremony aisles–they had cascading ivy, vines, and white flowers on top. The cross at the end of our aisle had matching florals. The sun setting behind it made the water on the lake glisten. It couldn’t have been a more beautiful way to show our family and friends the warmth of the South.
We got married in Marquez, Texas at my best friend’s ranch. She was also my matron of honor and wedding photographer! Their ranch was such a blessing to have on our big day. Her family was so unbelievably hospitable, and they are much like family to me as well, so it couldn’t have been more perfect. The majority of our family and friends were coming from California, so we wanted to give them a real Texas experience. The ranch was the perfect fit! We had horses, a tractor, boots, and all! The ceremony took place on a field covered in yellow wildflowers, overlooking a beautiful lake. I love nature and wanted our wedding to be simple, elegant, and rustic.
Groom’s favorite detail of the wedding: The coffee favors. He’s become a coffee connoisseur and we home-roasted a lot of coffee ourselves. Our wedding favors were bags of coffee from Northstar Coffee Co. that said “Love is Brewing”–we thought this was only appropriate, considering the role it played in our story.
We had one of my close friends make our cake and cupcakes. She has a vegan catering company called Ripe Cuisine, and everything was amazing. We had chocolate and carrot cake for Mike–it’s his favorite!
Date of your wedding: March 16, 2013
Describe the proposal: It was simple and sweet. We had decided to go on a break for a few months before getting engaged. We both had graduated, he moved to Seattle, and I was in Houston. The break made us realize we were ready to be together for life. He made the move to Houston a few months later, and proposed at my parents’ house.
Three adjectives that describe the day are: Rustic, elegant, and organic
What was the weather like on your big day? Beautiful. It was in the mid-80’s during the day and the high 60’s at night. We had an outdoor fireplace and fleece blankets in baskets for guests to cozy up with.
How many guests attended your wedding? About 150
What was the biggest challenge you faced while planning your wedding? Logistics! I am a creative, so the nitty gritty and numbers stuff have always been hard for me. I’m SO thankful for the girls at Twobewed–they were a Godsend! I couldn’t have done anything without them.
Describe your bridesmaids’ dresses. How did you choose them? It was so important to me that my bridesmaids not feel burdened, but loved the experience of our wedding. I wanted them to encompass our theme, but also be comfortable and embody the warmth of spring in Texas. I picked out some cute, ivory lace, corset-top sundresses from American Eagle that the girls all wore with boots.
What was your reception like? Intimate and informal. We wanted guests to feel at home, and not like there was a routine or regimen that needed to be followed.
What was the design inspiration for your reception? We had hanging string lights and several seating vignettes–lots of chaise lounges–for a cozy, but elegant, backyard ranch feel. The food was served on the porch, set up on rustic wooden doors converted into tables, with vintage wine barrels as the base.
Did you have a cocktail hour? If so, what was it like? Yes, but it was brief. We displayed chalkboard signs depicting our signature mocktails (it was a dry wedding, as our venue dictated).
What kind of food did you serve? We served upscale barbecue with veggies, prepared by Ara Malkein with Aracan Kitchen. He was the sous chef for Wolfgang Puck for several years in California, and he was such a joy to work with!
What was the funniest moment? What was the scariest? Our grand entrance featured Mike leading me in on a beautiful white horse, but my horse almost took off with me on the back of it!
What advice would you give to someone currently planning his or her wedding? Don’t sweat the small stuff–none of it matters. Just enjoy every moment and take it ALL in. It flies by so quickly.
Photographer: Christianne Taylor / Videographer: Sweet Start / Planner: Two Be Wed / Graphic Designer: Rumford Graphic Design / Venue: Great Rock Ranch / Florals: Joanna Dunton / Caterer: Ara Malekin with Aracan Kitchen / Cake Baker: Ripe Cuisine / Bride’s Gown: “Hattie” by Hayley Paige / Bridal Salon and Accessories: Now and Forever Bridal Boutique / Bride’s Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bride’s Hair Accessory: Serephine / Bridesmaid Dresses: American Eagle / Hair and Makeup: Shannon Bloodworth / Groom’s Attire: Hugo Boss / Groomsmen Attire: H&M / Paper Goods: Vera Wang / Linens and Rentals: Aztec Rentals / DJ and Lighting: Unique Style Productions / Wine Barrels: Katy Barrel Co.
Two Be Wed is a delightful member of our Blue Ribbon Vendor Directory!