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Charming Texas Engagement Session + WIUP

The weekend is finally upon us dear readers. But as you prepare for summertime fun times, we wanted to leave this charming Texas engagement session with you. If you’re feeling some extra warmth, it might be because the photos you see were lovingly taken by the bride-to-be’s sister, Christine  Doneé, who flew in from LA to surprise her. You can see it all here. And don’t miss the discounts and giveaway at the bottom!


From Christine Donee PhotographyThis engagement session is very near and dear to my heart, as the sweet bride-to-be is none other than my beautiful younger sister!

When Austin, her fiancé, called me early last month to inform me he was proposing to Ashley, I immediately asked to shoot their engagement photos. Logistics were tricky, to say the least. I currently reside in Los Angeles, CA and not only would I need to fly into Dallas, TX, but the plan would need to be carried out in complete secrecy. Austin had planned a gorgeously elaborate proposal for a Friday evening on the lake (with family and friends to celebrate there after she said yes!), so we were quickly putting things into motion for a next-day photo session that Saturday evening. Luckily, I have one amazing and talented family! We had a full wardrobe brought to the house, our aunt on hand for makeup and hair, and plenty of helping hands to arrange an unforgettable evening.

Arbor Hills provided the perfect backdrop for these two. It’s naturally beautiful, simple and completely down to earth – just like Ashley and Austin. The love and excitement radiating from them could be felt by anyone around, and as an older sister there was nothing in the world like seeing her so full of happiness. As if this all wasn’t romantic enough, we ended the evening with them lighting a wish lantern together at White Rock Lake – near the spot of their very first date some time ago. Needless to say, this is one evening none of us are likely to ever forget.

Photography: Christine Doneé Photography | Venue: Arbor Hills Nature Preserve

Dream destination wedding from Escapes.CA
Doie Lounge Robe

This week’s DISCOUNTS…
Vino Backyard Designs
Diamond Mansion

For our California brides… Discounts from Paperwhites Photography.

For our Mid Atlantic brides… Discounts from Femina Photo + Design and Uber.

For our Midwest brides… Discounts from Bliss Weddings & Events.

Congratulations to Veronica V! You’ve won $100 gift certificate to durga-kali.

Congrats to Jennifer M. who won the Amanda Archer Navy Pier strapless cocktail dress giveaway!

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Al Fresco Texas Wedding at the Gruene Mansion Inn

An al fresco wedding under the stars and twinkling lights is easily one of my favorite types of fêtes. Whenever I see a beyond pretty one like this stunner from Forever Photography Studio I get a little jealous that I wasn’t there to witness this party unfold first hand. From the florals designed by Last Petal to the lovely setting of the Gruene Mansion Inn, peeling back the layers of this pretty party is one fabulous way to spend your day – and you can see just what I mean here


From Forever Photography StudioAlicia and Mark met on July 17, 2011 at Old City Park in Fort Collins, Colorado where Alicia runs a home spa and Mark is a Professor of Oncology at Colorado State University. Alicia had given up on dating for a while – for a long while. It had been several years since she had been on date. But she had not given up on the idea of meeting her soul mate and finding perfect love. Mark, too, had been out of the dating scene for several years when he decided to give the world of online dating a try. His first online date would be his last.

In early July 2011, Mark posted a profile on the popular dating site, Zoosk, under the name of “Young Professor.” Alicia had tried online dating years before but had given up after several weeks of meeting all the wrong guys. It was destiny, then, that Alicia’s friend and work colleague, Carrie, happened to be on the Zoosk site on the day that Mark posted his profile. “Alicia. I just found this guy online who would be perfect for you!” Carrie pulled up “Young Professor” and showed his profile to Alicia. There he was…. The man of her dreams. Alicia spent the evening creating a profile so she could interact with this “Young Professor” and learn more about him online. Late that evening, Mark went onto to the Zoosk site and discovered a new profile of a beautiful woman. She called herself, “Doglover11.” After all, Alicia did have two dogs and 11 was her lucky number. Mark sent her a virtual “wink.” He got nothing back. So he sent her a short message… Still, nothing in reply. One last try, he sent one more message. Third time was the charm. Alicia replied and engaged in several days of online icebreaking. The sparks began build. So they set a date to meet next to the lake in Old City Park.

Following their first meeting, Alicia thought Mark was too good to be true. Mark thought he had blown the date. They were both wrong. Their second date included dinner and a long, late night walk around old town Fort Collins. That led to an invitation for a home cooked meal at Alicia’s house. Then another date…. And another. In early fall, Alicia traveled to Maryland to visit her grandmother for two weeks. How convenient! Mark had academic meetings in Washington, DC at the same time. Their romance traveled to the east coast where they spent their evenings romping around Mark’s graduate alma mater, Georgetown University. Each evening was spent at one of DC’s finest restaurants…. 1787… Old Ebbitt Grill… etc. Then they would spend the later hours at one of Mark’s old college bars. First it was the Tombs in the old Georgetown District…. Then Murphy’s in Alexandria, Virginia. And once the bars closed, they spent the wee hours walking and admiring the beautiful row houses and gardens around Georgetown University. Early fall in Washington, DC is hot and humid. Their romance was heating up too. By the time they boarded their plane to return to Colorado, Alicia and Mark had fallen in love. Mark would travel to DC for business 5 more times that year. Alicia joined him for every trip. And each evening, following Mark’s day of business, they relived their first trip to DC together. Dinner, bars, and long night time walks.

Mark proposed to Alicia in January 2012. They had driven up to spend a winter weekend outside Rocky Mountain National Park. The snow was falling and the temperatures were in the single digits when Mark parked his jeep next to Bear Lake. The lake was frozen under almost two feet of ice. It was after 10PM and the only light for miles around was a small flashlight that Mark carried. Walking out onto the lake, Mark asked Alicia to hold the light for second. As she took the light, he dropped to one knee and held up a ring.

That spring, Mark took Alicia to visit his home state of Texas. While driving the winding Texas hill country roads lined with bluebonnets, paint brush, and Mexican blankets, Alicia decided that the Texas Hill Country would be the perfect location for their wedding. And so it came to be, on October 3, 2013 that Alicia and Mark, joined by their immediate families were married outside Gruene Hall , one of the oldest dance halls in Texas, on the banks of the Guadalupe River. Mark’s oldest brother had just been appointed by the state governor as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas. The swearing-in occurred in Austin on the morning of October 3. And his first order of business as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas, was the marriage of Alicia and Mark.

Alicia and Mark are living happily ever after in Fort Collins, Colorado with their three dogs, Norman, Rio, and Kya.

Photography: Forever Photography Studio | Flowers: Last Petal | Cake: Serendipity Cakes | Makeup: Maris Malone Calderon | Venue: Gruene Mansion Inn

Last Petal and Forever Photography Studio are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Last Petal

Forever Photography Studio

Rustic Porch Wedding in Texas

If this Texas wedding doesn’t hit you deep in the heart, then you either need to check out the full gallery, or we need to rewrite that song. It simply doesn’t get more charming than this. Of course it helps to have Sweet Pea Events on your side, a quintessentially Texas venue like the TPC Craig Ranch, and lush bouquets from Di Fiori. So keep scrolling for more pretty captured thanks to Ben Q. Photography.


From Ben Q. PhotographyTaylor and Ryan had a gorgeous wedding on September 28th, 2013. Some inclement weather made them switch to a plan B and get married underneath the most charming porch ever at TPC Craig Ranch. Taylor’s family is so sweet and we loved how involved the families were in the wedding. Her parents actually grew succulents in their garden that were used in the floral arrangements. The reception florals were arranged inside wooden stumps cut by Taylor’s father. The entire vibe was Southern charm and effortless comfort.

Photography: Ben Q. Photography | Event Planning: Sweet Pea Events | Floral Design: Di Fiori | Cake: Legacy Cakes | DJ: Simply Music | Venue: TPC Craig Ranch

Sweet Pea Events and Di Fiori are members of our Little Black Book. Find out how members are chosen by visiting our FAQ page.
Sweet Pea Events

Di Fiori