What happens when country club chic and rustic ranch wedding meet? Apparently amazing things. Because that’s just what took place at this Rio Roca Ranch wedding captured beautifully by Sarah Kate. Top it all off with florals from Jackson Durham so pretty they’ll make you cry, and ladies and gents, we have a winner. See every pretty moment right here.
From the Bride…When we graduated from TCU in 2008, I headed South to law school at Baylor in Waco and Stewart stayed in Fort Worth to get a masters in Ranch Management. Then, he moved to Dallas. So, for three years, we made the 1.5 hour drive up and down I-35 going to visit each other. Imagine poor Stew’s surprise when my third and final year in law school brought the opportunity to work for a judge in Austin for a year….Austin is another 90 miles South of Dallas. When I told Stew the news, he responded, “wait, you got your directions mixed up, you’re supposed to be moving North.” But, true to form, he supported my decision to go to Austin for a year, and we then started making the 3 hour drive up and down I-35. At the end of my clerkship, and dating in the same place for three years, and four years apart, he proposed in Fort Worth, where it all began. I actually thought we were going to his little brother’s graduation dinner. Turns out, we were all dressed up because he proposed in a beautiful spot while his brother hid in the bushes and took pictures. After, we went to dinner where, “surprise!” both of our families were waiting to celebrate at our favorite restaurant. I finally moved to Dallas and we got married ten months later. Now we both work in Dallas but race to the ranch every chance we get.
Inspiration for the wedding:
Stewart and I dated for seven years before we got married. In those seven years, his family bought land where we loved to ride horses and four wheelers. One day when we were riding, we stopped at the top of a bluff to overlook the Brazos River. It was one of those spots where you stand and just know there is a God and He is perfect. In that moment, as Stewart and I stood there, I knew I was with the man I would marry. Fast forward about four years to when he proposed. By then, the land had turned into a working ranch, the Rio Roca Ranch, and there was now an unbelievably gorgeous glass chapel on the property – not far down from “our spot.” It seemed like fate that a chapel was built in the spot where I first knew we would be married. But, I’m from a small town in Louisiana- Natchitoches (pronounced nak-a-dish and home of Steel Magnolias) and really struggled with whether we should get married there. Unlike many girls, I never had a “dream” wedding in mind – didn’t have the colors chosen, the cake designed, and had never slipped in to try on a wedding dress, so I was starting from scratch. I tried to picture getting married in my beautiful home town, but none of the details would fall into place. Ultimately, every time I closed my eyes and envisioned marrying Stewart, I saw the Brazos River behind us and that amazing bluff. Once I saw that, I could suddenly and easily envision all of the other details – my dress, colors, etc. So, there was my answer.
We both love all things western, so I knew our wedding needed to reflect that. BUT, I am also very traditional and have always loved the classic, country club wedding. I didn’t want our wedding to be mason jars and boots – I wanted elegance, in the midst of the country. So I guess my theme sort of became “a country club wedding in the country.” We did jeans, boots, sundresses, and Texas country for the rehearsal dinner, but kept the wedding very classic and formal…it just happened to be on a ranch. Is “ranch elegance” a theme?
The best details weren’t the flowers or the place settings, but the things that reflected our interests and heritage. Our guest amenity box had homemade Italian cookies from Nona, my Italian grandmother, a keepsake from the Rio Roca Ranch, salt water taffy from New Orleans, Zapp’s chips from Louisiana, and a CD with all of our favorite music from the seven years we’ve been together. During the wedding, we went for traditional, with a few twists. Stewart wore a grey suit, his boots and a buckle I designed for him years ago; he and his groomsmen walked out to an acoustic guitar playing “Sharp Dressed Man.” In other words, he was comfortable, and it showed. I just couldn’t imagine Stewart at the ranch in shiny black shoes and walking up the aisle to classical music. I, of course, went traditional and chose Canon in D. But my girls walked down to The Beatles…who could be better? Finally, just to keep things interesting, two opera singers sang “The Prayer”, quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever experienced as their amazing sound passed over the bluff outside. We had the wedding on the lawn overlooking the glass chapel because it was all part of my “vision”.
The wedding reception really reflected my Sicilian heritage: we passed lemoncello after dinner that my Nona made and served them in the same glasses our Italian cousins would serve it to us in Sicily. I loved hearing all the guests follow Nona’s lead saying, “Salute!” My Italian cousins also brought bonbonnieres over from Italy that were handed out as favors. These are lace flowers filled with five Jordan almonds to represent happiness, wealth, longevity, fertility, and health. We danced to the traditional Italian wedding song, at which point Nona stole the microphone from the lead singer of The Project and kept singing after the music stopped. Then, to reflect TCU, our grooms cake was a custom cowboy boot with a horned frog and our last name on it. We also pulled all of our friends together for the TCU fight song. Finally, Stewart drove us away in a 1947 International green pick up. It was beautiful and pristine, yet a great ode to our love of all things classic. Of course, Stewart forgot to tell me until we were driving away that the truck had no lights. Luckily he has every road memorized because it was pitch black!
Photography: Sarah Kate | Florist: Jackson Durham | Wedding Dress: Warren Barron Bridal | Cake: Creme De La Creme Cake Company | Stationery: Color Box Design And Letterpress | Hair & Makeup: Dana Dixon | Calligraphy: Laurie Harper | Lighting: Beyond Lighting | Coordinators: Mary Huddleston And Sara Fay Egan | Groom\'s Attire: Joseph A. Banks | Music : The Project | Rentals : Ducky Bobs | Tent: Mike Sandone Productions, Inc. | Venue: Rio Roca Ranch