Erin grew up spending summers nearby Horseshoe Bay Resort, so when selecting their wedding venue, she and Alex knew it would be the perfect choice! Situated an hour outside of Austin, the picturesque lakeside location is naturally gorgeous, and the couple selected their color palette of French blue and sage green based upon the surroundings. Working with Eclipse Event Co., Erin and Alex formed a cohesive vision: clean, classic, and welcoming. Erin shares “I wanted elegant yet un-fussy florals, which Gypsy Floral and Events translated into works of floral art.” With painterly arrangements set inside ginger jars and a showstopping hanging arrangement adorning the ceremony pavilion, we have to agree that these florals are heavenly! Read on to see the gorgeous images captured on film by Brittany Jean Photography and hear more from Erin—this Texas wedding is a favorite!
How did you meet?
I was living in New York in 2014, working for a digital ad agency doing social media content and strategy. I was single for the first time in years, that winter had been totally miserable (imagine growing up in Texas, then having to learn the hard way what a polar vortex is – yikes), and I was thinking a lot more about my career. It felt like the right time to look at MBA programs, and I stacked my wish list with schools in the South. I started emailing people I knew or friends of friends who had done the programs I was interested in to learn more, which was how I started talking to Alex. He was a fellow Vanderbilt University alum in between his first and second year in the MBA program at Emory University in Atlanta. He happened to be in New York for his summer internship, actually working just a few blocks down Park Avenue from my office. He talked me into upgrading our informational “coffee chat” into more of an “adult beverages chat” at bourbon bar near my apartment at the time. What was meant to be an hour long conversation about MBA admissions at Emory turned into us closing down this bar on a Monday night, swapping stories about our time at Vanderbilt, his deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, my plans to join my family’s business, and just about everything except the stuff you typically talk about at an informational interview for business school. It was totally magical. We spent the rest of that summer hanging out as friends, but as it became clear there was something more there, Alex convinced me to give long distance a try. I was reluctant at first, but he floored me then (as now) with his commitment and attention, which made it so easy. I got into Emory, moved to Atlanta, and the rest is more or less history.
What is your proposal story?
We shopped for a ring together, so it wasn’t exactly a surprise, but I wouldn’t change a thing because it was so in line with who we are as a couple. We bonded early in our relationship over how much we both love to cook (and eat.) Alex is, hands down, the best cook out of anyone I’ve dated…that’s not the reason I married him but, uh, it helps. 😉 Our first “real” date as a couple/the night we made it official, he came to my apartment and we braised a lamb shank. Cooking together has always held special significance for us, so when we started talking about getting engaged, doing it at home over a meal we cooked together seemed like the obvious and most meaningful choice. We bought a nice bottle of champagne and made these incredible meatballs, spaghetti, and Alex’s spicy marinara sauce. We danced barefoot to Natalie Cole in our living room and he got down on one knee. It was sweet and intimate—exactly what I wanted.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Anyone who knows Alex knows that the man loves his bow ties. They’ve been his neckwear of choice since college, and he has a wonderful (and ever-expanding) collection of them in all kinds of colors and patterns. After having to wear a (oh horrors) plain black bow tie at a wedding a few years ago, he told me he refused to wear one at his own wedding, and really, who could blame him? We decided to make our wedding attire “black tie optional – festive bow tie encouraged” almost as a joke at first, but we were thrilled on our wedding day seeing all the fun bow ties our guests showed up wearing! For my dress, I initially set two ground rules: nothing strapless, and no ball gowns. I hope you can see where this is going and what I ended up picking (spoiler alert: it was a strapless ball gown.) I chose this really simple, elegant Austin Scarlett gown made of ivory taffeta. It had this asymmetrical sash-style embellishment around the waist that I thought looked incredibly regal. It was surprisingly easy to move around in, and I felt really comfortable in it. I also chose to wear flats with it, which I can’t recommend highly enough. (Seriously, if you’re considering wearing flats with your dress, DO IT! You’ll be so happy.)
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
We knew from our experiences at other weddings that there were two key elements needed to throw a great party: the bar needed to be open, and the band needed to be awesome. As soon as we had our venue finalized, we started looking at bands and requesting quotes. We found Drywater Band through our wedding planner, Lauren Chumbley at Eclipse Event Co. in Austin. Were they a splurge? Yep. Was it worth it? Absolutely. I’m still getting calls and texts from our guests asking for their contact information. The dance floor was packed all night long, which was exactly what we wanted.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
I’ll never forget this, because it was such a kind gesture: early in the morning on the day of the wedding, one of my bridesmaids came and got me from my room, and we just went out to the resort pool and had coffee. On a day that moves at such a furious pace, where you’re pulled in multiple directions at all times, it felt amazing, even indulgent, taking twenty minutes to just get grounded. It set the best tone for the day and I’m still so grateful (so Emma, if you’re reading this—THANK YOU!) Alex and I chose to do a first look, both to help ward off jitters and take advantage of the good light. Spending the whole day separate getting ready felt a little like leaving the house without my cell phone–things felt a little “off.” Once I saw Alex during our first look, it was like everything was set right again. Alex felt the same way – nervous, until we saw each other. It was this wonderful reminder of why we were getting married and the partnership that we have. At the end of the reception, we did our send off in my family’s ski boat. We hired a driver from the resort, who took us out for a quick cruise under the stars. It was such a fun and romantic way to end the night and catch our breath, literally and figuratively. As we were pulling out from the Yacht Club, Alex’s fraternity brothers started chanting “Dorf! Dorf! Dorf!” (They call him by his last name.) But then somebody thought quickly and changed it to “Dorfs! Dorfs! Dorfs! Dorfs!” I remember turning to Alex and saying “We have amazing friends,” which they are.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
The cake is always one of my favorite parts of any wedding, and apparently the go-to bakery for wedding cake fans in the Austin area is Simon Lee Bakery. I think we booked them right after we booked the band–I don’t even think we had been engaged more than a month at that point! They made a us a simple white cake with vanilla buttercream and fresh strawberries, which we had Gypsy Floral decorate with fresh flowers. It was simple and lovely, but definitely not an area we were trying to go too over the top with since it gets destroyed before the night is over. We also had a groom’s cake made for Alex, who loves chocolate. The cake was chocolate and the icing was a combination of chocolate and peanut butter—delicious. It was made in the shape the insignia for the 2nd Infantry Division of the US Army, which was the unit Alex served with during his time in the military. It was a fun (and tasty) way for us to acknowledge his service as part of the wedding–and gave Alex the chocolate cake he deserved!
Describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
My sister is a graphic designer, so she hand drew all the table numbers on little slabs of marble. We actually saved them after the wedding to turn them into a backsplash in our kitchen later on. I also carried a golf tee in my bridal bouquet in memory of my grandfather, who passed away while I was in college. He was an amazing mentor and person, who taught me to play golf starting when I was about 5 years old. Playing golf together was our “thing” and I was lucky enough to have him follow me to tournaments all around the state of Texas when I played for my high school’s varsity team. Before he died, he gave me a huge container full of golf tees, which to this day I’m still using. It was such a small gesture, so practical, but it still means so much and I get this tangible reminder of him every time I play. It was a way for me to have a piece of him with me on a day I know he would have loved to be a part of.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
I love weird old traditions, and this was a really fun one: it’s an old Southern wedding tradition to bury a bottle of bourbon at your wedding site before the big day, then dig it up and drink it to ensure good weather on the day of. So during our engagement pictures, which we took at my family’s lake house about 6 months before the wedding, we bought a bottle of Basil Hayden and buried it in the yard. Our dads had a lot of fun finding the perfect spot and digging the hole, and our incredible photographer got some great shots of us dropping it in. The day before the wedding, we dug it up with our bridal party and toasted the weekend. I’m happy to say the old superstition worked, and we had a perfect, cloudless day for the wedding and reception outside! My something borrowed was my grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet, and my something blue was a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings my dad bought while we were in India a few months before the wedding. He bought my mom and sister matching pairs with different gemstones, and we all wore them during the wedding weekend. My sister/maid of honor and I got to wear matching “sister” earrings on my wedding day, which was really special and fun.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
You only get to do it once, and life is way too short to get hung up on the little things that inevitably will go wrong. Just roll with it and have fun! We had all kinds of things that we could have let derail the day—a missing best man on the morning of! Someone mauled the back side of the cake before we cut it! The ceremony ran way over! All of it ended up being. in the worst case no big deal, and in the best case a great story that we’ll retell for years. If the day ends and you’re married, it went all right.
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