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Houston Oaks Country Club Wedding

The vision? “Create a style that mixes the effortlessly chic outdoor California vibe with Southern charm in the setting of an unpredictable Texas summer,” which is exactly the kind of day Emily Moise of Keely Thorne Events + Bows and Arrows brought to life. And though a rain storm came through right as the vows were spoken, that didn’t dampen the love one bit. See the celebration through Kelli Elizabeth’s lens and a must-watch clip from 31 Films below!

Al Fresco

From Keely Thorne Events… Holly came to me with a date, a photographer, the dress, and a desire for a unique one-of-a-kind wedding for 300 guests at the country club her fiancé’s family owned – a homey setting where they often spent weekends during their relationship. I knew quickly that her wedding style was an outdoor California wedding in Texas. Meaning, create a style that mixes the effortlessly chic outdoor California vibe with Southern charm in the setting of an unpredictable Texas summer.

Exactly one year out from the big day, as I began pondering plans for my new bride, I sat in a restaurant for an early dinner watching the streets of the Historic Heights District flood, and I just had a gut feeling. Holly, 40 min north of me at that very moment, says she sat on the club’s patio under a clear sky toasting to one year out with her fiancé because as she always says, “it never rains out here!” But as every planner should, from the beginning I had the conversations and logistics moving along for a Plan A, and an efficient Plan B. Though, little did I know, Holly had other plans.

I introduced Holly and her mother to the perfect vendors for me to collaborate with to create her look: Papellerie for her custom branding and stationery who set the tone for guests from the beginning with the wedding website and save-the-date all the way through the wedding and beyond to custom thank you notes; Bows and Arrows for all their Texas-California experience and airy eclectic floral design; and Events in Bloom to lay out the space and dress up the outdoors with their quality rentals, linens, chandeliers, and draping.

The couple being lovers of fun cocktails, we added The Grand Bevy to the mix of vendors since they are the original craft cocktail artists for events. The groom setup their favorite restaurant, Uchi, to provide a sushi station to mix in with the club’s southern inspired menu. Nadine Moon of Who Made the Cake designed the cake around the custom floral sketches used in the couple’s stationery..

Having already hired her talented photographer friend, owner of Kelli Elizabeth Photography, we were left needing film, which was a no brainer: 31 Films. Who were so dedicated to getting “the moment” that they lost a camera to the elements and still managed goosebump inducing ridiculous films to treasure.

Holly’s fiancé, Austin, was in charge of picking the band. He wanted a big party band that would pack the dance floor: thus I turned to Atlanta for their collection of show stopping bands. They hired Jessie’s Girl, who as usual, exceeded expectations.

For hair, Holly used her go-to stylist Karla from Therapy Salon. For makeup, I introduced her to Kristin Daniell who was the perfect calm demeanor artist with exquisite talent to make Holly shine all night long, no matter what…

Now it should be noted that the Spring 2015 wedding season, as it turns out, was one of the rainiest years for Texas to date, especially on weekends. Thanks El Nino!

Fast forward to wedding week: Monday brought Houston historic mass flooding (as in, our city made national news…) Thankfully the club and roads leading to it were ok. But we were thinking, ‘it can’t possibly rain again so soon after all of that!’ But rain was still in the forecast. So we had to listen to my trusty unbiased tent guy, Derek Widis owner of SPF Event Resources, whose gut was telling him it was going to rain. Thus, the lounge and dance floor area would now be under a clear tent instead of exposed to the oak trees above. So after getting an additional décor budget approval, I made a call to Alicia at Bows & Arrows and said, “We have to make this clear tent look like a Plan A; let’s bring ‘that under-the-oak trees feeling’ back!” and Alicia, plus her team, happily worked long into the final nights of set up to get it all done to perfection.

Now for the ceremony, Plan B was a private ceremony inside the club for only family and wedding party to attend at the original ceremony time of 6:30pm. Guests knew about this in advance as we included a details card in the invitation set that stated “If it rains on our wedding day, please join us for cocktail hour at 7pm instead and we will see you there as Mr. and Mrs.! – check our wedding website for updates!” Well… as I mentioned, Holly had different plans.

Day of I still didn’t know which ceremony plan to call. I constantly checked my trusted Weather Underground app for updates. Rain chance= 30%; now 80%; then 40%; now 80%; then 30%… total gamble. It would not make up its mind…and neither could I! But Holly could. Maria at the club came outside to tell me, “Holly wants to get married outside and said you won’t let her.” I laughed and said I hadn’t decided but hey it’s a gamble no matter what plan, so if she wants to decide instead of me, that’s fine! and went to tell Holly the good news. After all, it was her wedding, so ultimately, her choice. But of course that didn’t mean I stopped checking the weather…

Holly and Austin had their beautiful first look under the club’s oak trees and sunny sky above them followed by all of their group pictures before guests arrived. (Plan A based on sunset time and ability to let their family and wedding party go straight into reception). At 5:45pm, ushers began escorting guests down the long path under the trees. The ceremony was set with sounds from the string quartet and harpist surrounded by the club’s lake with an authentic 15th Century French Chapel as the backdrop.

But once I saw a giant yellow storm cell caving in around our location on the radar, I knew we had to start early; we had to start now! In my mind, I knew I just had to get the bride and groom to the altar before the sky opened up. Once at the altar, it would be out of my hands. So I radioed my assistants inside with the wedding party to line them up and send them out. It was 2.5 min walk from their location to the altar, clock ticking, storm-a-brewin’.

Family lined up next to me, but our quartet had to stop playing and cover their antique instruments as the rain drops lightly began. As soon as the wedding party line was approaching, I cued family to walk down the sprinkled aisle. Next wedding party: No time to pace them out, couples in single file line filtered down the aisle to their place. I turn back around expecting Holly and her dad to be approaching me and sweet Holly was a minute’s walk away waiting for me to give her Plan A’s cue to walk once Austin was turned around (a calming feeling for me knowing that in her happy mindset, all was going to plan). I motioned her with discretely speedy hand movements and. as she passed me then through the ceremony gates she had a huge smile on her face, here was their big moment.. And sure enough, as her strappy flats hit the aisle, thunder boomed for the first time that day.

During the very brief ceremony, the rain got harder and harder as the smiles and laughter got bigger and louder. As I stood, literally in the aisle holding and umbrella over Kelli and her camera, I thought (and think I even said out loud with a chuckle), “huh, it’s only water…it’s only water!” I then realized that when Holly decided to get married outside that day, she accepted that she might just get rained on in doing so, and that it was ok because it was all about getting married to Austin, in front of that chapel with however many guests were willing to get rained on too.

As the officiant quickly got to their vows, the rain drops were fast and large, and as he announced them husband and wife, the sky completely opened into a complete downpour. The newlyweds ran down the aisle laughing to the awaiting a golf cart to whisk them back inside. The club staff was ready for the wet guests with towels, hair dryers and hot food ready inside as they ran for cover. The strings, now protected under the tent, played during cocktail hour, followed by Jason Allen, a friend and country musician, on his acoustic guitar while the rain continued to pour around the tents.

After getting the couple dried off and fed dinner in the club’s beautiful, well-equipped locker room, they were off into the reception to joyfully celebrate alongside their guests. They enjoyed their first dance and dances with parents before they got on the mic to thank everyone for sticking it out with them on this oh-so-special day. The band came on for a 3 hour continuous set and all danced the night away. At the very end the band’s horns section led guests out to the front of the club to clear the tent of all guests, band, and staff so the couple could dance one private last dance before making their formal exit through sparklers. The bride later told me the wedding party stayed up with them until the wee hours continuing to celebrate and even had a fireworks show lit by the groom’s brother as a surprise.

One-of-a-kind unique wedding? CHECK!

One-of-a-kind unique wedding? CHECK!

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Photography: Kelli Elizabeth | Cinematography: 31 Films | Event Planning: Emily Moise Of Keely Thorne Events | Floral Design: Bows And Arrows | Wedding Dresses: Casa De Novia | Cake: Who Made The Cake! | Bride's Shoes: Christian Louboutin Flat Sandals With Pearls | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Catering: Uchi | Catering: Houston Oaks Country Club | Makeup: Kristin Daniell Makeup Artistry | Hair: Therapy Hair Studio | Band: Jessie’s Girls | Venue: Houston Oaks Country Club | Beverage Services: The Grand Bevy | Ceremony + Cocktail Hour Music: Divisi Strings | First Dances + Dinner Music: Jason Allen Band | Floral Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Groom, Groomsmen + Usher's Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Lighting + Sound: ProSound | Photo Booth: Smilebooth | Rentals, Linens, & Drapings: Events In Bloom | Stationery, Branding + Signage: Papellerie | Tent Rentals: SPF Event Resources

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Toned Arms Workout for a Sleeveless Wedding Dress

As a bride-to-be this is THE year I want to feel my absolute best, and since I may (or may not) be wearing a sleeveless wedding gown, toned arms are an absolute must on my daily to-do list. That said, if there was ever a time to go full force into my exercise routine, it’s right now during this bride-to-be, pre-wedding dress stage. To get started, I’m sharing a few of my favorite arm exercises below!

The best part? You can do these exercises while catching up on your favorite television shows, or while your pasta water comes to a boil (basically how I spend most evenings). That said, enjoy carrying on with your post-work routine while also getting some killer toned arms in the process!

For me, motivation comes in many forms and I fully believe in the power of a colorful sports bra. I’m constantly on the hunt for high quality, comfortable and trendy pieces and Outdoor Voices encompasses all of the above. Whether you’re running errands around town or hitting a high intensity spin class, you can’t go wrong with their leggings, crop top and hoodie combo!

Ready to get those sexy toned arms for your big day?! Okay gals, time to spill the details on my favorite arm workouts! I pulled this routine from my past personal training sessions and of course, the wonderful world of online fitness videos. Do 20 reps of each exercise and complete three rounds. (Note: If you’re beyond the 2lb weight phase, scoop up whatever weight suits your fitness level)

90 degree raise

Bicep curl

Overhead press

There you have it – my favorite workouts to achieve those beautifully toned arms certain to look incredible in a sleeveless gown! Do you have any other foolproof bride-to-be workouts? I would love to hear them, be sure to share below in the comments!


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Follow Olivia’s Journey:

Meet the Bride | Bridesmaids’ Gifts | Mistletoe Moment | Save the Date

Photography: Kayla Snell Photography | Shoes : New Balance | Crop Top: Outdoor Voices | Hoodie: Outdoor Voices | Leggings: Outdoor Voices | Workout Outfit: Outdoor Voices | Yoga Mat: Lululemon


Blogger Bride
Romantic + Ethereal Pedernales Falls Inspiration Session

I’m rarely at a loss for words, but this inspiration session from Sophie Epton Photography seriously has me speechless. Those wild, bright blooms from Bristol Lane Florals. That dreamy lace BHLDN gown. And that can’t-take-my-eyes-off-it ring from Trumpet And Horn. They’re all working together to create one truly mesmerizing (and totally Pin-worthy) photo shoot. If you need me, I’ll be in THE VAULT admiring these beauties for hours to come.

From Sophie Epton Photography“But I love your feet only because they walked upon the earth and upon the wind and upon the waters, until they found me.” – Pablo Neruda

This incredible quote by Pablo Neruda was the basis of vision for our cliffside bridal inspiration, an ode to the incredible power of both love and the nature that surrounds us. Set amongst the jutting white bluffs and running waters of Pedernales Falls, we wanted to portray a bride who has traveled far away to a special place of Mother Nature, a haven for her mind to be quiet and reflect on life and devotion before her wedding day.

The grand scenery of Pedernales Falls provided both a magnificently beautiful yet peaceful backdrop of rugged earth, water and a bit of wind that was the perfect site for our bride to get lost in her own thoughts. The vivid, sumptuous colors of florals by Bristol Lane seen in both the bouquet, garland and floating petals represent the idea of a love that is bursting open like a blossom in the Spring, and provides the perfect pop of hues against the alabaster rock formations. Jessica Crowell recreated the Pablo Neruda quote on a textile banner, symbolizing the passion and devotion that is required of any long-term union, and a tangible reminder that our bride was able to hold on to during this time. The ethereal BHLDN Beau gown combined with the pearl headpiece worn by our bride further elevated the romantic feel of the shoot, and the stunning vintage engagement ring by Trumpet and Horn was the final piece de resistance of warmth and sparkle.

We hope this story provides inspiration for any future bride to take the time for themselves during their engagement to go out in the living world, de-stress, and think about the incredible commitment of love happening in their near future (and maybe have a few gorgeous photos taken along the way!)

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Photography: Sophie Epton Photography | Event Styling: Sophie Epton Photography | Floral Design: Bristol Lane Florals | Wedding Dress: BHLDN | Ring: Trumpet And Horn | Hair + Makeup: Crown Of Glory | Calligraphy: Jessica R. Crowell Lettering + Calligraphy | Venue: Pedernales Falls | Film Processing: Richard Photo Lab | Hair Accessories: Babylone Paris | Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Velvet Ring Box: The Mrs. Box

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