In December of 2013, Catherine Bowen went home to her family's ranch for a weekend when she met one of her brother's law school friends, Richard Reed. The two began dating shortly thereafter and celebrated their one year anniversary in May of 2015 with dinner and a show. "Since we were already celebrating, I didn't even think to expect a proposal," Catherine says, but that's exactly what she got. The elated couple ended their meal with a champagne toast and enjoyed the second half of their celebration as a newly engaged twosome.
Catherine and Richard spent the next year-and-a-half preparing for their January 16, 2016, black-tie wedding in San Antonio, Texas. When the couple began planning, they knew they wanted to have their ceremony in the University United Methodist Church, where Catherine's parents were married almost 30 years earlier. And when the bride grabbed a drink at Club Giraud after work one evening, she fell in love with the historic charm of the space and knew it was perfect for their reception. She and Richard enlisted the help of Katherine from Sweet August Events to create a romantic all-white celebration, and Mint Photography was there to capture the details.
"My vision was classic romance," the bride says. "We wanted a black-tie event but we didn't want it to feel stuffy." Their William Arthur invitation suite totally nailed the vibe.
When Catherine learned about an upcoming trunk show at a local bridal salon, she figured it would be a good way to kickstart what she thought would be the long process of finding her wedding dress. But when she arrived for her appointment, the very first gown she saw caught her eye. She held off on trying on the Martina Liana lace ball gown, but as soon as she did, everyone in the room cried. "It was perfect. I didn't expect to find it so quickly," she says.
One of the aspects the bride loved most about her wedding dress was how versatile it was. Complete with a removable lace topper, Catherine was able to remain covered up during her church ceremony but then convert the dress into a party-ready strapless style for the reception.
She completed her look with a cathedral-length mantilla veil, her mother's earrings, and a diamond tennis bracelet Richard gave her as a wedding gift. Her all-white bouquet featured white roses, carnations, and hydrangeas, paired with touches of foliage for texture, and was wrapped in ivory silk ribbon.
It was important to Catherine that her bridesmaids be comfortable on the wedding day, so she carefully selected these white chiffon dresses from Donna Morgan. They varied in style so that each woman could choose her favorite style but were uniform in length to keep their look cohesive.
The bride and her father walked down the aisle towards the altar, which was decorated with tall candelabras and gorgeous ivory arrangements of flowers. There, the couple exchanged traditional vows in front of their 200 guests.
The newlyweds got the party started with their first dance to "Feeling Good" by Michael Bublé while guests watched on and sipped on the cocktail of the night: champagne with St. Germain liqueur, garnished with a raspberry.
Rather than hosting a traditional sit-down dinner, this couple decided on food stations featuring all of their favorite dishes. They had everything from duck gumbo to shrimp and grits. "We love to socialize, so we definitely didn't want our guests to feel chained to a table with six people they've never met before," Catherine says. But skipping a plated meal didn't mean this couple wanted to skimp on decorations. Tables were elegantly dressed with low arrangements of white and green flowers, including roses, peonies, anemones, eucalyptus, and berries.
The pair snuck away for 20 minutes to share their dinner in private. "It was so nice to just spend time with Richard one-on-one before spending four hours talking to everyone else we invited to the wedding," the bride says.
After everyone had their fill of dinner, Catherine and Richard cut into their six-tiered wedding cake. Inside, the confection contained alternating layers of white cake with bavarian cream filling and chocolate cake with raspberry filling, all topped with a thick layer of buttercream frosting.
Catherine has some advice for brides who are just getting started on wedding planning. "Trust the professionals! They do this all the time, and they definitely are there to help you!"
Ceremony Venue: University United Methodist Church || Reception Venue: Club Giraud || Wedding Planner: Sweet August Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Martina Liana || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Hair & Makeup: Mistique Salon || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Donna Morgan || Groom's Attire: Hickey Freeman || Flowers: Clementine || Invitations: William Arthur || Music: 5150 Productions || Cake: Cakes by Cathy Young || Rentals: DPC Event Services || Videographer: Oak and Cypress Films || Photographer: Mint Photography
Can't get enough of this gorgeous wedding? Then check out another couple's formal bash in the video below.