BRIDES Dallas: 5 Swanky Spas for Bridal Party Pampering

 Bridesmaids, Dallas, Hair & Beauty, Local, Texas, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on BRIDES Dallas: 5 Swanky Spas for Bridal Party Pampering
Nov 042016
 

When it comes to wedding planning, no one deserves more pampering than the bride. But let us not forget the ladies who have been there from the engagement toasts to the mini-meltdowns at the wedding dress store — who are almost as deserving as the bride. A fun way to enjoy a relaxing spa party for you and your bridesmaids is just the ticket to enjoy a day of relaxation. A full day of treating yourself (or even an afternoon!) is a perfect way to settle any pre-wedding jitters, so here are our favorite Dallas spas for some good ol' fashioned pampering.

Stay All Day at Koffee Day Spa + Med Spa
Not only does Koffee Day Spa live up to its "affordable luxury" tagline, it also boasts a hefty number of specialty massage services (swedish, deep tissue, pregnancy, stones, bamboo, and more). For bridal squads opting for beauty treatments, facials, manicures, and makeup applications are available.

Explore the Spa Castle
Spa Castle is unlike any spa you've ever been to: This sprawling establishment is an oasis of wellness with spa pools, a sauna valley, resting lounges, a fitness center, overnight rooms, and to top it off — a luxurious menu of spa treatments. Spend the entire weekend pool hoppin' and getting pampered with your best girls by your side.

Restore Balance at Serenity Room Day Spa
Experience their specialty, the AromaTouch Technique, a doctor-developed method that uses essential oils to relieve stress, inflammation, and other ailments which brings the body back to a balanced state. Other spa services include massages, skin care, total-body treatments, and waxing. If you and your gals are aching from the stress, this may be just the ticket.

See More: For Bridesmaid Bouquets, Head to These Expert Dallas Florists

Be One with Nature at the Spa Habitat Organic Spa & Apothecary
With four locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area, Spa Habitat is easy to get to no matter where you and your bridesmaids are coming from. Unique in that they only use organic and natural products, Spa Habitat works to provide wellness in an eco-friendly way. Relax and unwind with your gal pals with the comfort in knowing that your massage, facial, and even hair removal are holistic and gentle on the environment.

Relax at Woodhouse Day Spa
Tucked away in the quaint city of Victoria, Texas, Woodhouse Day Spa is a peaceful and charming retreat for any bridal party. With over 70 spa treatments to choose from, you and your ladies will have a hard time deciding the best plan of action — which isn't a bad problem to have. Sip on a refreshing beverage and catch up on some gossip — all while lounging in plush robes (provided, of course). Read real brides' reviews here!

For more local spas, as well wedding hair and makeup artists, be sure to browse our Dallas Beauty page!

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Get Ready to Swoon Over This Romantic Whitewashed Barn Wedding Venue

 Dallas, Real Wedding Videos, Real Weddings, Texas  Comments Off on Get Ready to Swoon Over This Romantic Whitewashed Barn Wedding Venue
Oct 292016
 

Looking for some major inspiration for your wedding ceremony and reception? Then be sure to check out our real weddings video channel, packed with tons of beautiful celebrations and countless ideas to steal for your own big day. Each week we take a deeper look at one of our favorite new love stories, and today we're taking you inside Abbe and Jordan's barn wedding in the heart of Dallas, Texas.

With Brad & Monica Wedding Films behind the camera throughout this couple's whole day, we're lucky enough to get a close look at this emotional and stylish celebration. Abbe and Jordan's day was picture-perfect — which should come as no surprise considering their venue, The White Sparrow, was designed with ceremonies and receptions in mind. The rustic look of the barn is perfectly balanced with whitewashed walls and manicured grounds, which was perfect for this couple's big day.

See More: 32 Knockout Dahlia Wedding Bouquets

Since the space is so spectacular on its own, Abbe and Jordan kept their ceremony décor minimal. Garlands of greenery studded with fresh flowers adorned the walls while empty picture frames made for a simple and sweet accent. Cross-backed wooden chairs were the ideal finishing touch, making the space feel very refined but still comfortable.

In addition to looking great, the party also seemed like a ton of fun. Everyone crowded the dance floor throughout the night, and Abbe and Jordan even handed out fun glow sticks and headbands to keep the reception interesting.

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This Black-Tie Wedding in San Antonio Was Anything But Stuffy

 Real Weddings, San Antonio, Texas  Comments Off on This Black-Tie Wedding in San Antonio Was Anything But Stuffy
Oct 262016
 

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

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Can't get enough of this gorgeous wedding? Then check out another couple's formal bash in the video below.

BRIDES Dallas: 5 Wedding Florists That Will Create the Bouquet of Your Dreams

 Dallas, Flowers, Local, Texas, Wedding Flowers  Comments Off on BRIDES Dallas: 5 Wedding Florists That Will Create the Bouquet of Your Dreams
Oct 222016
 

No wedding is complete without beautiful blooming flowers. Luckily, Dallas offers many top florists. Whether your reception requires colorful table arrangements or you just want a lush bridal bouquet, we recommend checking out these five Dallas florists to help put the final blossoming touches on your special day.

Stems of Dallas (Above)
Stems of Dallas will sit down with you and your soon-to-be hubby (and a glass of champagne, no less) to discuss the vision for your wedding before diving into the fun planning stage. They use blooms sourced from all over the world as well as a beautiful medley of foliage, fruit, and branches to complete their creative flower displays. Read real brides' reviews here!

Bella Flora of Dallas
Arrangements brimming with creamy white flowers are the specialty at Bella Flora of Dallas. Turn to them if you want to give your wedding a dreamy, ethereal aesthetic with imaginative creations that will wow your guests. Think floral chandeliers dangling from the ceiling or an awe-inspiring flower archway to exchange vows under. Read real brides' reviews here!

Posh Floral Design Dallas Florist

Photo: Courtesy of Posh Floral Design

Posh Floral Design
Posh Floral Design's couture creations range from dark and romantic tablescapes dotted with red roses to light and feminine arrangement bursting with pastel-colored flowers. Whether you want a floral halo to hang over the dance floor, blooms to dress up the aisle and alter, or fresh flowers to top your cake with, they can make it happen. Read real brides' reviews here!

See More: Still Need Sweets? Check Out These Local Wedding Cake Bakeries

Cebolla Fine Flowers Dallas Florist

Photo: Courtesy of WeddingWire

Cebolla Fine Flowers
If you're a self-professed bohemian bride, you'll fall head over heels in love with Cebolla Fine Flowers' sweet flower crowns, which are perfect for an outdoor summer wedding. You'll also adore their use of succulents in everything from groomsmen boutonnieres to bridal bouquets. Read real brides' reviews here!

Gro Floral and Event Design
Wondrous walls of flowers? Check. Stunning door-framing arrangements that greet guests as they enter the venue? Check. Mini upside down gardens floating over the tables? Check. Gro Floral and Event Designs really knows how to add a wow factor to a wedding. Read real brides' reviews here!

Be sure to stop and smell the roses (and peonies... and dahlias...) at these other top Dallas florists!

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BRIDES Houston: 5 Breweries Perfect for Wedding Events

 Houston, Local, Showers & Parties, Showers and Parties, Texas  Comments Off on BRIDES Houston: 5 Breweries Perfect for Wedding Events
Oct 142016
 
beer taps

Photo: Getty Images

If your love and passion for a cold one is more refined than throwing back cans of Bud Light — and you constantly find yourself seeking out well-crafted lagers, hosting your engagement party, rehearsal dinner, or wedding at one of Houston's craft breweries is a perfect option. With artisanal, authentic, and flavorful beer, these beloved breweries are sure to craft all your needs for your special day (no pun intended!).

Saint Arnold Brewing Company
Texas' oldest craft brewery, Saint Arnold Brewing Company provides the venue, the bartender, the beer, and the food from their in-house chef — ideal for the couple who doesn't want to do a lot of coordinating. A flourishing selection of year-round ales and seasonal brews will impress your beer aficionado guests. Rent The Investors Pub for a smaller event, with seating for 60 and a capacity of up to 100 or The Beer Hall for a larger event, with seating for 224 and a capacity of 300. Read real brides' reviews here!

Karbach Brewing Co.
Karbach Brewing Co. is a German-style brewery housing two private rooms which can each hold up to 120 guests. Both spaces come with a dance floor and a full dinner buffet created by Chef Herlen Galvez. The smaller of the two rooms can hold 40 guests while the larger of the two can hold 88 guests. Create the dinner rehearsal or wedding of your dreams with displays and stations for a reception-styled evening.

8th Wonder Brewery

The three-year-old Astrodome-inspired brewery was created by the same group behind the coveted food truck-turned-brick-and-mortar Eatsie Boys. 8th Wonder Brewery has two private rooms which can hold 30 to 50 people, perfect for an engagement party or rehearsal dinner. It also boasts a beautiful one acre area in the back which is available for rental.

See More:
Find The Right Entertainment For All Of Your Bridal Parties On Our Local Vendors Page

Town In City Brewing Company
Located in The Greater Heights, Town In City Brewing Company is the newest brewery in Houston. Houston's first official suburb, The Heights, is known as the "small town in the big city," hence the brewery's namesake. Enjoy a completely private, cleared out space in the back (brewery) and beer garden. For a semi-private event, Town In The City operates like a restaurant, where you can call in advance to rent out the space or tables. For an intimate occasion, this brewery holds 60 to 100 people — with the outdoor capacity accommodating up to 150 people.

Southern Star Brewing Company
Choose from an open taproom table reservation during the regular Friday, Saturday and Sunday hours. A variety of beer services are offered at this locale including a cash bar, a keg, or a package per person. On the weekends, Russo's NY Pizzeria provides concessions in the taproom as well as pre-ordered catering, with outside catering or food vendors allowed at no additional cost. A private taproom rental includes use of the taproom outside of the brewery hours as well as tables and stools and of course several bartenders to serve beer during your event. Read real brides' reviews here!

Haven't found the perfect party location yet? Find the ideal spot for all your bridal celebrations on our Local Vendors page!

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One Bride Stayed True to Her Texas Roots When Planning This Rustic Ranch Wedding

 Houston, Real Weddings, Texas  Comments Off on One Bride Stayed True to Her Texas Roots When Planning This Rustic Ranch Wedding
Oct 132016
 

When Marina Lodato arrived home from work on October 24, 2014, she expected to see her boyfriend waiting for her in their apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Instead, she walked in and found a gorgeous bouquet of flowers with a card that told her to go straight to the roof of the building, where she found Patrick Paccione down on one knee.

The couple gave themselves about a year to plan for their September 7, 2015, wedding at Texas Ranch Life in Chappell Hill, Texas. "The landscape and setting was exactly what I had envisioned for our day," Marina says. With help from a day-of coordinator from Keaton Events, this couple pulled off a classic Texas celebration full of romantic details that honored the bride's Southern roots. You'll fall in love with this couple's charming day, as captured by Sharon Nicole Photography.

Marina works in fashion and knew she wanted to make an elegant, statement-making dress for her wedding day. After trying on around 30 gowns, the bride found her Vera Wang A-line wedding dress with lace trim detailing and ivory and nude tulle. "I know it sounds cheesy, but I truly felt like a princess," she says. Complete with an open-back and soft, flowing waves that were accented with fresh flowers, Marina's look was perfect for a romantic outdoor wedding.

In an effort to keep her accessories minimal, the bride wore crystal drop earrings, a vintage amethyst ring from her great grandmother, and Oscar de la Renta navy heels. Her all-white bouquet of anemones, ranunculus, peonies, and Queen Anne's lace was a beautiful finishing touch.

Patrick chose a classic navy suit for his wedding day attire. His boutonniere was made of white ranunculus and seeded eucalyptus wrapped in twine.

The old adage "Everything is bigger in Texas" rings true here. This couple had a huge bridal party, which clocked in at 20 attendants! The group was made up of the bride's matron of honor, eight bridesmaids, and one "bridesman," and the groom's two best men and eight groomsmen. The ladies wore chiffon J.Crew gowns paired, while Marina's male bridesmaid wore a Calvin Klein charcoal suit with a rose-colored bow tie. Each 'maid carried a romantic bouquet of blush peonies, ranunculus, and dusty miller.

Patrick's groomsmen all wore slim fit navy suits with a Calvin Klein gray linen tie.

The couple's outdoor ceremony was held on the ranch's lawn, where an aisle with galvanized buckets of baby's breath faced a 30-foot altar of trailing greenery. "I was very involved in picking every little detail," the bride says. "It was overwhelming at times, but I plan events for a living so it was also second nature."

In keeping with the charming vibe of their outdoor venue, Marina and Patrick chose wicker chairs for their guests to sit in. The pair also created a custom wedding logo with their initials around a star that was stamped on each ceremony program.

The flower girl, Evelyn, started the ceremony by walking down the aisle in a voluminous tulle dress and a baby's breath crown. Two of the couple's nephews served as ring bearers, dressed in navy pants and suspenders and adorable cowboy boots. They even carried a homemade wooden sign down the aisle that read "Uncle Patrick, here comes your girl!"

Marina's father walked her down the aisle covered in blush colored rose petals. Then, the couple shared personalized readings and exchanged traditional wedding vows. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds made their exit to music performed by two local guitarists.

The party started in the venue's main hall where guests took in a stunning 360-degree view of the ranch through floor to ceiling windows. Marina and Patrick made their grand entrance as husband and wife as Beyonce's "Love On Top" played to kick off the celebration. Then, everyone found their seats with help from a chalkboard sign designed with the couple's custom logo.

Despite having a clear vision of what they wanted their wedding would look like, Marina says planning from afar wasn't always easy for her and Patrick. The duo made six trips back and forth from their home in New York City to Houston to meet with vendors. During those visits, she and Patrick decided on a color scheme of midnight navy, charcoal gray, and dusty rose, along with accents of whites and creams.

Reception tables were topped with vintage embroidered linens and featured rustic wooden centerpieces made from an assortment of hydrangeas, ranunculus, dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, Queen Anne's lace, and dusty miller. Table settings were topped with cookies.

Signature cocktails were inspired by two locations that are incredibly meaningful to the newlyweds — Texas, where the bride grew up, and New York City, where they met and live together. Guests who chose "The Cowboy" enjoyed a spicy margarita, while those who chose "The Yankee" sipped on the couple's take on a Manhattan.

Marina and Patrick wanted to serve their favorite cuisine — Tex-Mex — for dinner. Cilantro lime shrimp, ceviche, and quesadillas pleases everyone during cocktail hour. Then, food stations like a guacamole and make-your-own fajita bar gave friends and family an interactive meal option.

For dessert, Texas-staple Blue Bell ice cream was served up alongside the couple's three-tiered almond cake with dulce de leche and strawberry filling.

Marina and Patrick shared their first dance to Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us," and then joined their guests on the dance floor for a night full of entertainment. "My DJ was fantastic and there was never a dull moment on the dance floor," Marina remembers.

The newlyweds kicked off an incredible two-week honeymoon in Bankgkok, later traveling to the Thai cities of Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Krabi.

Venue & Catering: Texas Ranch Life || Day-Of Coordinator: Kristi Varela of Keaton Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Makeup: Jentry Kelley || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Sea Wave Diamonds || Flowers: Flora Bella Designs || Invitations: Sincerely, Jackie || Other Paper Products: Rachel Nieman || Music: Downtown Events || Cake: Susie's Cake || Photographer: Sharon Nicole Photography

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Looking for more Texas wedding ideas? Then check out another couple's Dallas bash below.

BRIDES Houston: Wedding Accessories Created by Local Texas Designers

 Houston, Jewelry & Accessories, Local, Texas, Wedding Accessories  Comments Off on BRIDES Houston: Wedding Accessories Created by Local Texas Designers
Oct 132016
 

Shopping for the perfect dress is just as important as hunting for the perfect accessories to top it all off. Whether you're a traditional bride or are opting for a more bohemian feel, the "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue" mantra can come into play with these accessories created by local designers. From tiaras to garters and veils, these treasures are meant to make your look more personal on your special day.

Jill Reno
Jewelry designer Jill Reno believes every story is romantic and unique which is why she designs her bridal jewelry to be beautiful and individually unique, just like the bride. Reno incorporates rare gemstones when designing to create pieces that have their own style and character.

Joyce Echols
From the red carpet of the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards to the 2016 Academy of Country Music Awards, Joyce Echols' shoes have made several appearances — including being worn by country superstar Miranda Lambert and E! News' Alicia Quarles. The Italian-made shoe line sticks to Texas roots drawing inspiration from barbed wire, bullets and pistols.

See More: Don't Forget Your Bouquet! Find Houston's Best Wedding Florists Here

Megan LaCroix
Specializing in one-of-a-kind floral arrangements and art pieces (with a focus on preserved flowers and botanicals), Houston-based designer Megan LaCroix looks at every floral arrangement as a piece of art. From the bouquet to a custom crown, LaCroix incorporates paint, objects of nature, textiles and salvaged materials in her work.

Elegance by Kate
Timeless and modern accessories from vintage inspired headpieces to lace garters, this Texas-based Etsy shop creates pieces for every bridal style. The jewelry reflects the elegant and sophisticated bride with Swarovski elements, freshwater pearls, and precious metals.

Need more bridal bling? Browse our Houston Jewelry page to find even more local shops for wedding accessories

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Even a Tornado Warning Couldn’t Dampen Spirits at This Texas Couple’s Family-Style Wedding

 Austin, Real Weddings, Texas  Comments Off on Even a Tornado Warning Couldn’t Dampen Spirits at This Texas Couple’s Family-Style Wedding
Oct 032016
 

Tenaya has a deep love for old houses — so much so that the design director moved to Austin, Texas, to get her master's in historic preservation at the UT School of Architecture! So when she and Matthew started to plan their Austin wedding for May 23, 2015, the bride knew she wanted a grand venue full of personality. The home in question? The Commodore Perry Estate, a 1920s estate with a walled garden that hasn't been lived in since WWII, leaving it perfectly preserved in time. But Tenaya and Matthew's wasn't all formal. "To offset the fanciness of the home, we wanted a casual, outdoor wedding on the lawn. Wine in crystal glasses, people dancing in bare feet, and family-style roasted pork and fried chicken." Sounds perfect!

The bride had a grand idea for how the day would flow: Cocktail hour on the veranda as guests arrived, a ceremony on the grounds, and a fancy picnic at farm tables, lit by the moon. "But it rained!" she says. "Thankfully we had amazing wedding planners, The Whitt Experience, so we quickly put Plan B into action." While people may have gotten a little wet, and there wasn't much moonlight with rain falling sideways all night, nothing could stop this couple from having the best wedding they could imagine. "I was going to marry the man I love and we were surrounded by all of our favorite people. Yes, it was rained out, but it was still the coolest thing," says Tenaya. Grab an umbrella and take a look at how they pulled off a wonderful celebration, weather be damned, photographed by Alysse Gafkjen.

When Matthew and Tenaya sent out their watercolor invitations, they were actually still crossing their fingers that the venue would work out. "It's not an official wedding venue, so we had to get a lot of permits," says the bride. Inspired by both the venue and the bride's antique 18th-century engagement ring, the celebration spanned decades in its design.

With a 1790s mine-cut engagement ring, Tenaya also went vintage with her other accessories: consigned Prada shoes ("They were surprisingly comfortable!" she says) and turquoise earrings from the Marburger Farm Antique Show.

Tenaya visited a few dress shops, and ended up at LOHO Bride in San Francisco. "I'm from California, and my sister's friend owns the boutique," she says. "It was the best experience: She had the motherload of perfect dresses, has amazing taste, and is such a sweet, positive person." The winning dress was a drapey silk gown by A La Robe, with lace trim and a ribbon across the back.

"My dress was classic and simple, but a little sexy, too," says Tenaya. "Dress shopping was so surreal. I never thought much about my wedding day, so it hadn't sunk in that I was getting married!"

Her bouquet popped against the simple gown, a combination of red roses, peonies, ranunculus, and scabiosa pods.

Matthew matched the late spring vibe in a seersucker suit.

Tenaya's nieces served as flower girls in white eyelet dresses, topped with crowns of greenery.

"Because rain meant we couldn't have cocktail hour on the lawn, we moved it inside the chapel on-site," says the bride.

While her dream of guests stumbling upon a 17-piece rock orchestra playing on the grounds was dashed by the rain, instead Mother Falcon set up on the altar of the estate's church.

Tenaya has five sisters, so she skipped bridesmaids and instead asked them to each pick a blue dress they loved and to find a seat in the front row of the ceremony. "We did, however, have an incredible bachelorette party in Healdsburg, shucking oysters in Tomales Bay, tasting wine in Napa and, most importantly, coming up with synchronized dance routines!"

The bride's father walked her down the aisle as a soft drizzle fell. The couple wrote their own vows, cobbling them together from readings and vows they'd read, as well as writing a few lines of their own. "The most grounding moment of the day was standing up in front of all our guests, looking into Matthew's pretty blue eyes and just being there with him," says Tenaya.

Dinner was moved inside the mansion, with the head table set up on the veranda. "It still looked stunning, even though we may have chosen to use more florals if we'd planned all along to have it inside," says the bride. She struggled to find the rentals she really wanted, so as she planned her wedding, Tenaya and a friend founded their own event rental company so other Austin brides can access what she couldn't — starting with the dark wood farm tables.

Garlands of eucalyptus leaves were interspersed with votive candles and the floral designer's collection of vintage brass figurines.

Instead of traditional menus, Tenaya and Matthew purchased a door from Home Depot and painted it with chalkboard paint. The bride's sisters hand-wrote the menu onto the door, which was then decorated with eucalyptus. They also hand-wrote each guest's name and table assignment on a Magnolia leaf, a nod to Matthew's home state of Mississippi.

The family-style dinner was planned with two friends, who are also local chefs. Cocktail hour featured charcuterie from butchers across Austin, like Dai Due and Henri's Cheese & Wine, and cocktails made with fresh juice from Juiceland (we can only imagine how tasty the rum punch was!). Dinner included slow roasted whole pig, fried chicken, and polenta with roasted vegetables.

Choosing a cake was the couple's favorite project, with Matthew picking up cupcakes from bakeries all over Austin until they found the winner: Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from Sugar Mama's.

During the best man's speech, an incredible curtain of rain came down and the tornado warnings on everyone's phones started to go off. "It blew the terrace doors wide open, so we finally had to move everyone inside," says Tenaya. But that wasn't all: Before the dancing could really start, the power went out and the fire marshals had to ask everyone to leave. "We settled on heading to the nearest bar with a great DJ, and ended up having the best after-party ever!" the bride remembers. "It's easy to put pressure on your wedding day, but at some point you need to let go and savor the moment. Things may not go as planned, but make sure you enjoy what is still happening!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Commodore Perry Estate || Wedding Planner: The Whitt Experience || Event Staff: DNA Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: A La Robe, from LOHO Bride || Shoes: Prada, from Moss Designer Consignment || Jewelry: Marburger Farm Antique Show || Hair: Lip Service || Makeup: Erin Lee Smith || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Wedding Bands: Bell and Bird || Floral Design: Transplants || Music: Mother Falcon || Catering: Chef Michael Brantley || Cake: Sugar Mama's Bakeshop || Rentals: Party at the Moontower; Loot Vintage Rentals || Photographer: Alysse Gafkjen

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Want more inspiration just like this? Then check out another couple's laid-back Austin wedding in the video below.

Even a Tornado Warning Couldn’t Dampen Spirits at This Texas Couple’s Family-Style Wedding

 Austin, Real Weddings, Texas  Comments Off on Even a Tornado Warning Couldn’t Dampen Spirits at This Texas Couple’s Family-Style Wedding
Oct 032016
 

Tenaya has a deep love for old houses — so much so that the design director moved to Austin, Texas, to get her master's in historic preservation at the UT School of Architecture! So when she and Matthew started to plan their Austin wedding for May 23, 2015, the bride knew she wanted a grand venue full of personality. The home in question? The Commodore Perry Estate, a 1920s estate with a walled garden that hasn't been lived in since WWII, leaving it perfectly preserved in time. But Tenaya and Matthew's wasn't all formal. "To offset the fanciness of the home, we wanted a casual, outdoor wedding on the lawn. Wine in crystal glasses, people dancing in bare feet, and family-style roasted pork and fried chicken." Sounds perfect!

The bride had a grand idea for how the day would flow: Cocktail hour on the veranda as guests arrived, a ceremony on the grounds, and a fancy picnic at farm tables, lit by the moon. "But it rained!" she says. "Thankfully we had amazing wedding planners, The Whitt Experience, so we quickly put Plan B into action." While people may have gotten a little wet, and there wasn't much moonlight with rain falling sideways all night, nothing could stop this couple from having the best wedding they could imagine. "I was going to marry the man I love and we were surrounded by all of our favorite people. Yes, it was rained out, but it was still the coolest thing," says Tenaya. Grab an umbrella and take a look at how they pulled off a wonderful celebration, weather be damned, photographed by Alysse Gafkjen.

When Matthew and Tenaya sent out their watercolor invitations, they were actually still crossing their fingers that the venue would work out. "It's not an official wedding venue, so we had to get a lot of permits," says the bride. Inspired by both the venue and the bride's antique 18th-century engagement ring, the celebration spanned decades in its design.

With a 1790s mine-cut engagement ring, Tenaya also went vintage with her other accessories: consigned Prada shoes ("They were surprisingly comfortable!" she says) and turquoise earrings from the Marburger Farm Antique Show.

Tenaya visited a few dress shops, and ended up at LOHO Bride in San Francisco. "I'm from California, and my sister's friend owns the boutique," she says. "It was the best experience: She had the motherload of perfect dresses, has amazing taste, and is such a sweet, positive person." The winning dress was a drapey silk gown by A La Robe, with lace trim and a ribbon across the back.

"My dress was classic and simple, but a little sexy, too," says Tenaya. "Dress shopping was so surreal. I never thought much about my wedding day, so it hadn't sunk in that I was getting married!"

Her bouquet popped against the simple gown, a combination of red roses, peonies, ranunculus, and scabiosa pods.

Matthew matched the late spring vibe in a seersucker suit.

Tenaya's nieces served as flower girls in white eyelet dresses, topped with crowns of greenery.

"Because rain meant we couldn't have cocktail hour on the lawn, we moved it inside the chapel on-site," says the bride.

While her dream of guests stumbling upon a 17-piece rock orchestra playing on the grounds was dashed by the rain, instead Mother Falcon set up on the altar of the estate's church.

Tenaya has five sisters, so she skipped bridesmaids and instead asked them to each pick a blue dress they loved and to find a seat in the front row of the ceremony. "We did, however, have an incredible bachelorette party in Healdsburg, shucking oysters in Tomales Bay, tasting wine in Napa and, most importantly, coming up with synchronized dance routines!"

The bride's father walked her down the aisle as a soft drizzle fell. The couple wrote their own vows, cobbling them together from readings and vows they'd read, as well as writing a few lines of their own. "The most grounding moment of the day was standing up in front of all our guests, looking into Matthew's pretty blue eyes and just being there with him," says Tenaya.

Dinner was moved inside the mansion, with the head table set up on the veranda. "It still looked stunning, even though we may have chosen to use more florals if we'd planned all along to have it inside," says the bride. She struggled to find the rentals she really wanted, so as she planned her wedding, Tenaya and a friend founded their own event rental company so other Austin brides can access what she couldn't — starting with the dark wood farm tables.

Garlands of eucalyptus leaves were interspersed with votive candles and the floral designer's collection of vintage brass figurines.

Instead of traditional menus, Tenaya and Matthew purchased a door from Home Depot and painted it with chalkboard paint. The bride's sisters hand-wrote the menu onto the door, which was then decorated with eucalyptus. They also hand-wrote each guest's name and table assignment on a Magnolia leaf, a nod to Matthew's home state of Mississippi.

The family-style dinner was planned with two friends, who are also local chefs. Cocktail hour featured charcuterie from butchers across Austin, like Dai Due and Henri's Cheese & Wine, and cocktails made with fresh juice from Juiceland (we can only imagine how tasty the rum punch was!). Dinner included slow roasted whole pig, fried chicken, and polenta with roasted vegetables.

Choosing a cake was the couple's favorite project, with Matthew picking up cupcakes from bakeries all over Austin until they found the winner: Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from Sugar Mama's.

During the best man's speech, an incredible curtain of rain came down and the tornado warnings on everyone's phones started to go off. "It blew the terrace doors wide open, so we finally had to move everyone inside," says Tenaya. But that wasn't all: Before the dancing could really start, the power went out and the fire marshals had to ask everyone to leave. "We settled on heading to the nearest bar with a great DJ, and ended up having the best after-party ever!" the bride remembers. "It's easy to put pressure on your wedding day, but at some point you need to let go and savor the moment. Things may not go as planned, but make sure you enjoy what is still happening!"

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Commodore Perry Estate || Wedding Planner: The Whitt Experience || Event Staff: DNA Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: A La Robe, from LOHO Bride || Shoes: Prada, from Moss Designer Consignment || Jewelry: Marburger Farm Antique Show || Hair: Lip Service || Makeup: Erin Lee Smith || Groom's Attire: J.Crew || Wedding Bands: Bell and Bird || Floral Design: Transplants || Music: Mother Falcon || Catering: Chef Michael Brantley || Cake: Sugar Mama's Bakeshop || Rentals: Party at the Moontower; Loot Vintage Rentals || Photographer: Alysse Gafkjen

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Want more inspiration just like this? Then check out another couple's laid-back Austin wedding in the video below.

BRIDES Dallas: 4 Wedding Cake Alternatives That Will DEFINITELY Impress Your Guests

 Cakes, Dallas, Local, MD, DC and VA, Texas, Wedding Cakes  Comments Off on BRIDES Dallas: 4 Wedding Cake Alternatives That Will DEFINITELY Impress Your Guests
Sep 272016
 

Weddings have slowly moved from cookie-cutter to deliciously unique over the years, so if you're anything but traditional you'll love these wedding cake alternatives. For the bride that dares to be different, any of these alternatives are sure to please your guests. Here are some wedding cake alternatives found in Dallas for your big day.

Indulge in a Candy Bar
Candy bars give your guests a variety of options and a make everyone feel like a kid again. Sweet Tooth Candy Bar Co. based out of Crosby, Texas will do all of the leg work to make your candy buffet dreams come true with custom signs and colorful candy options. Simply work with them to customize candy selection, design, and themed accessories — and they'll do the setup and take down. Read real brides' reviews here!

A Chocolate Fountain
For the chocolate and fruit lover, FS Fruit Arrangements & Snacks creates elaborate and eye-catching fruit arrangements that are anything but traditional. Pair your customized fruit creation with a chocolate fountain and your guests will be saying "What cake? Who needs a cake!?" Besides being a total Pinterest-worthy moment, the fruit gives your guests a healthier option to nibble on while the fountain looks truly spectacular.

See More: Don't Forget About the Pre-Dessert Noms! Check Out Dallas' Top Wedding Caterers Here

An 'Mmm Mmm Good' Pie Station
Pies are a great in-between option for those that really just don't love cake would like to cut into something during the big cake reveal.Emporium Pies in the Bishop Arts District specializes in handmade scrumptious pies without artificial preservatives, hydrogenated oils, dyes, or corn syrup. Guests will rave about this culinary treat — and, it's almost a guarantee that you won't be left trying to figure out what to do with leftovers.

Aesthetically-Pleasing Cupcakes
Cupcakes are a fun cake alternative because they give you and your guests many more flavor options to choose from — while still being just as delicious as cake. Create beautiful and creative spreads or stack them on tiered dishes for a bakery-type display. Dallas' well-loved Sprinkles cupcake shop is an essential pick for the cupcake-loving bride. For the bride that wants to personalize the treats so they match wedding décor, Sprinkles will create a custom design for each bite. Read real brides' reviews here!

Check out more local bakeries for all of your big day sweets here!

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