The moments after opening up a new, absolutely stunning wedding almost always go one of two ways in my office. It's either filled with gleeful squeals and gasps or it is totally silent as I take in the beauty in breathless awe. When I opened SMS Photography's images from this Texas wedding, somehow both scenarios were played out. I was speechless. Quiet. Couldn't even breath. But inside my head there was a cacophony of squeals, gasps, and all sorts of other girly excitement. The wedding at center was so beautiful I couldn't help myself! Click here to see the rest.
When we first started looking for venues, we had no clue what we wanted to achieve beyond an elegant yet relaxed Southern-style wedding that incorporated the beauty of the Texas Hill Country. The Wild Onion Ranch was an early favorite and obvious choice that was much more beautiful and eclectic than any venue I could ever imagine.
For the color palette, we started off looking at bridesmaids’ dresses in colors that would stand out against the natural scenery, blooming flowers, and plethora of green at the Wild Onion Ranch. We chose a dress that was a pretty mix of fuschia, magenta and maroon. From that point, our wedding planner sent a few different options of color palettes. I chose the palette that I liked the best and emphasized that I wanted to palette to be bright and vibrant for Spring.
For the theme, this was the most difficult concept to define throughout the planning process! I wanted an eclectic mix of themes: Southern, elegant, relaxed, and intimate with vintage and garden elements. There was no way that I could possibly incorporate this into one theme. I would advise other brides-to-be to just go with what they like and trust that everything will come together at the end.
I did not give our florist a lot of guidance about what specific flowers to choose. Instead, I trusted his professional expertise and provided him with more information about the overall “look” that I wanted to achieve. I was adamant that I did not want boring flowers. I relied on him to create something that was Spring-like and beautiful with unexpected and creative elements. For the table arrangements, our goal was to avoid competing with the colorful and eclectic surroundings at the Ranch, so we opted for lower-sitting, smaller arrangements that worked perfectly with the venue. Candlelight and lanterns hanging off the trees were the most important design facets for me.
I was incredibly grateful to Cristin and the florist for designing the pool house, where the Ceremony took place, with religious elements that worked well with the venue. I loved every part of wedding planning, but the decision about whether to have the ceremony in the Catholic Church or at the Wild Onion Ranch was agonizing. I grew up with strong Polish Catholic roots. I always intended to have the Ceremony officiated by a Catholic Priest. Yet I soon realized that there were multiple constraints associated with wedding times and venues – constraints that I had no right to challenge, as they were in place long before my engagement! We initially intended for the Ceremony to be in a Catholic church an hour away from the Wild Onion Ranch, but this would have been a logistical nightmare for our guests. After a lot of soul searching, I opted to change the Ceremony to the Wild Onion Ranch. Cristin at Weddings-by-Kennedy stepped in to save the day. She put me in touch with a Presbyterian Deacon, Sarah, who was willing to officiate so that we could at least have a Christian wedding outside of a church. Sarah turned out to be AMAZING. She was respectful of the dilemma, having been raised in Catholic school herself, and willing to incorporate some traditional Catholic elements into our Ceremony. Cristin also worked with our florist to secure a large iron cross that was decorated with peonies and white roses. The pool house felt like a church to me. I will always be incredibly grateful to Cristin for being so intuitive about this issue because I never asked her to take these actions. She just knew that this was a really tough decision for me and took small steps to make the Ceremony feel more like “home” to me. In the end, I made the right decision for me, and I could not have asked for a more sacred Ceremony.
I wanted a dress that was chic yet somewhat vintage in style, yet I had no clue how to pick out a dress like this. My sister got married several years ago and had an Ulla Maija (Anna Maier) wedding gown. I called Joan Pillow Bridal Salon in Houston – one of the few salons that carries Ulla Maija. She excitedly told me that the designer for Ulla Maija was coming to her salon the following weekend for a trunk show. The timing could not have been better – I got to meet my favorite designer in person, and he personally helped me try on several gowns and choose “the one.” Oddly, there was one gown that I hated in pictures and on the hanger. He insisted that I at least try it on. Low and behold, that dress was the one that became magical when I tried it on. It was perfectly suited to my body shape. He really knew what he was doing!
I went to the Kendra Scott boutique in Austin, Texas to hand-design earrings for each Bridesmaid in my wedding party. The “color bar” at Kendra Scott allows you to choose an earring design and the specific stones for each design. I brought a piece of the dress fabric with me - this was a great move because unexpected colors of stones looked best with the dress. At the end of the day, each girl got a unique and beautiful set of earrings to wear. I combined that with cream pashmina shawls that had each girl’s initials hand-embroidered. My girls loved the gifts because they were actually useful for after the wedding!?
My favorite moment was the first dance. We danced to “Swept Away” by the Avett Brothers. The timing was perfect – we were relieved that the Ceremony went so perfectly yet still excited for party time at the Reception. Plus, even though everyone was apparently staring at us for the first dance, it felt like we were the only two people in the world at that moment.
I also remember seeing my father across the dance floor when it started to sprinkle rain ever so slightly. Ever since we planned to have an outdoor wedding reception, I was crossing my fingers that it would not rain. It was a HUGE gamble! My Dad teased me relentlessly about rain, even though I know that he was hoping for nice weather as well. (I truthfully would have been thrilled, rain or shine, so long as my groom, family and best friends were there.) The weather miraculously cleared up just in time for my Ceremony to end and for everyone to enjoy the dancing. When sprinkles started, my Dad and I looked at each other across the dance floor, smiled with palms up to feel the rain, shrugged, and kept on dancing without a care in the world. It stopped one minute later.
Photography: SMS Photography / Venue: Wild Onion Ranch / Coordinator: Cristin with Weddings by Kennedy / Floral: Westbank Flower Market / Catering: 2 Dine 4 / Cake: Coco Paloma / Cocktail Music: Lost Pines Bluegrass / Band: Grady Gaines / Makeup: FaceKandy / Hair: Danielle Barr / Programs, Escort Cards, & Table Numbers: Caroline Simpson, Owner of Pumpkinhead Paperie / Rentals: Premier Rentals / Lighting: Ilios Lighting / Dress: Joan Pillow Bridal Salon