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A romantic ceremony at a Mediterranean-inspired villa followed by dinner beneath the stars – it sounds like a dream come true! Christi and Shawn thought first and foremost about their guests as they planned their wedding at Villa Del Lago in Austin, and the results are simply beautiful. Some of our favorite details include: the flower girls darling dresses, escort cards attached to dramatic gold-dipped fruit, and the single long table for dinner. Spectacular!
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?People remember weddings that uniquely reflect the personality of the bride and groom – and that can be achieved on any budget. Focus on incorporating special details that celebrate who you are as a couple and don’t be afraid to edit out the things that are not important to telling your story. You will be glad that you put your energy and your budget towards the things that are lasting.
“Some of my most cherished memories of the year we spent planning our wedding are the moments I spent with my mom, sister and other family members crafting special details. My mom made the flower girl dresses out of silk faille I picked up on a trip to New York, and needle pointed the ring bearer’s pillow based on the design of one of my grandmother’s tapestries. My sister spent days designing the most precious children’s table full of fun treats and a custom wedding coloring book. I love that our DIY approach allowed us time to spend together and let the whole family share in creating a meaningful celebration.”
“It was important to us to have a religious ceremony that reflected our relationship and our beliefs. Our ceremony was an Episcopalian service followed by a Persian blessing. We strongly embrace our heritage and culture, and knew from the onset that we wanted the ceremony to incorporate meaningful traditions.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, casual, elegant.
Why did you choose this location for your ceremony? Shawn and I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather in Texas with a romantic, outdoor wedding. When we discovered the green garden at Villa Del Lago overlooking Lake Travis, we loved that it was intimate and elegant without being stuffy. It perfectly matched our vision for our ceremony.
What was your favorite thing about your ceremony? The ceremony was held at sunset, and the warm, natural light was incredibly beautiful. There is such a great energy at dusk when the day turns to night. It was the perfect way to transition the event from the ceremony to the celebration.
What were your ceremony readings? Our readings made our ceremony very personal and helped to express our feelings for one another. We included Song of Solomon 8:6-7, Colossians 3:12-17, John 15:9-12 and Rumi’s This Marriage Ode.
The Nichols | Snippet & Ink
“Our reception was absolutely magical and incredibly intimate. It was a clear night, perfect for dining in the garden beneath the café lights. All 160 guests sat at the head table, and the family-style, candlelight dinner made the newly-acquainted feel like they were feasting with close friends.”
Persian wedding celebrations often include an ornate table or display called the “Sofreh Aghd.” Each item laid on the Sofreh, an ornamented cloth, represents a quality the couple hopes to bring into their marriage.
“I always wanted a small wedding, but as we drew up our guest list, we realized that small was not possible – or at least not as small as we hoped. That’s why we loved how intimate eating at one long table on the lawn felt.”
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Carve out a portion of your budget for a honeymoon, even if it’s a couple days at a nearby location. The bride and groom spend so much time during the week of their wedding with friends and family that it’s nice to have the days following the celebration to share time with just each other.
North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains are a stunning backdrop for a wedding that draws inspiration from nature. Caroline and Ryan’s classic fall celebration was all about fun, family and one another – pretty perfect if you ask me!
“Our families are very important to us, so we found ways to honor those people who couldn’t be there to celebrate on our wedding day. We gathered old photos of our loved ones and displayed them on the player piano during cocktail hour. One of Ryan’s cousins who couldn’t make the trip baked and individually wrapped over 100 pieces of fruit cake, an Indian wedding tradition, for our rehearsal dinner. And we used Ryan’s great grandmother’s cake knife, shipped from India, which made it feel like she was there with us!”
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Have fun at your wedding! If you are happy, your guests will be happy.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?Make time for date nights – in the midst of wedding planning, it’s great to get away from your long list of tasks and enjoy each other’s company.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I would have made room in our budget for a videographer. It would be nice to relive moments like our vows or our first dance on film.
“Ryan’s last name, “Lobo,” means “wolf” in Spanish. We wanted to incorporate touches of this throughout the wedding, so our wedding website, hashtag, and the paper products all featured his last name. Ryan made a CD of some of our favorite songs he called “Lobolove Songs,” and we even had little wolf figurines as cake toppers!”
“Ryan is Catholic but I’d always dreamed of having an outdoor ceremony, so we held a small Catholic ceremony at Christ the King Church in Atlanta a few days before our celebration at the Old Edwards Inn.”
Your ceremony in three words. Relaxed, Outdoors, Simple.
Who officiated your ceremony? When we learned that our original officiant wouldn’t be able to travel to our wedding, the Old Edwards Inn recommended Rev. Carl Southerland. He helped us to create a traditional ceremony with very personal touches, and it all came together beautifully!
What were your vows like? We talked about writing our own vows but struggled with where to start. We came across some vows online that were traditional but didn’t feel too formal. They summed up everything that we felt and both instantly wanted to use them:
“I take you to be my beloved [husband/wife], to have you and hold you, to honor you and treasure you, to be at your side in sorrow and in joy, to suffer with you in hard times, to share with you in prosperous times, to be transformed by our life together, and to love and cherish you always. I promise you this from my heart, with my soul, for all the days of my life.”
“There was rain in the forecast for our wedding day, so we were a bit concerned about our outdoor, tented ceremony. But the day was absolutely gorgeous, and only once the reception was in full swing did it start to rain. The sound of the rain on the roof was so romantic, everyone joked that it was right on cue!”
How would you describe your reception?Mountain Chic meets Rustic Elegance.
Why did you choose this location for your reception. The Barn, where we held the cocktail hour, and the connected Pavilion had very natural, rustic, industrial touches – bars, beams and chandeliers made out of reclaimed wood – but were surrounded by lush flowers and soft greenery. The Pavilion featured glass windows that opened accordion-style. The space was gorgeous, and practical in case of rain, which turned out to be a winning combination!
What was your wedding menu? We consider ourselves foodies and Chef Johannes of the Old Edwards Inn worked with us to customize the entire menu. We had a “strolling dinner”, with food stations in different corners of the reception Pavilion, including a shrimp and grits martini bar, and other Southern specialities.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve?We had a small two-tier vanilla and chocolate chiffon cake, and served carrot cake squares, warm chocolate cakes, apple crisps and macarons. At the end of the night, there was also a fireside s’mores station.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?The cake cutting: Ryan made a beautiful toast and thanked our families and friends for their love and support of us as a couple. Then he made an emotional, surprise toast to me, which had us all laughing and crying. It was such a romantic moment.
How did you go about choosing music for the reception? Ryan worked with our DJ on the reception’s playlist, and we had a mix of romantic, jazzy songs during dinner and great music for dancing throughout the night. Ryan wanted the last song to be the instrumental version of Outkast’s song “Spottieottiedopalicous” for our sparkler exit. DJ Eric actually kept the party going and set up his equipment at a local bar for the unofficial after party!
Robb and Sean drew inspiration from their shared career in aviation for their relaxed backyard wedding in Weston, Connecticut. The celebration was so fun that their guests are already asking about a vow renewal!
“This was the first gay wedding many of our guests had attended, and I think they were waiting to see how it would play out: Do they walk down an aisle? How do the vows work? Instead of focusing on wedding traditions, we built our ceremony the way we envisioned it, walking out together to The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and leaving out anything that didn’t resonate with us as a couple.”
Your ceremony in three words.Love, laughter and aviation.
What was your ceremony music?Two members of our wedding band, a keyboardist and a flutist played during our ceremony. After walking in together to “Here Comes the Sun”, we walked out to another Beatles classic, “All You Need is Love“.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our wedding planner Amy referred us to a wonderful celebrant named Elisa Chase. We met her and quickly knew she was a match for us.
How did you plan your ceremony? Our officiant asked us to complete a detailed questionnaire about each other, full of very personal questions. She crafted our ceremony and vows using those responses, and it was perfect. It was a true representation of who we are and how we fell in love with one another. After the ceremony, we had many guests asking for copies of it.
How did you go about planning your wedding? Originally we thought we would plan the wedding ourselves. But as pilots, we both travel non-stop, and quickly realized that wedding planning would be best left to the professionals. After our first meeting with our planner, we immediately felt a huge relief – and we were excited about all the ideas we’d talked about! Having a planner really let us enjoy the process, instead of stressing over it.
“We put up a beautiful tent in Sean’s brother’s backyard, and filled it with unique furnishings that our wedding planner sourced. As pilots, our wedding had a “aviation” theme, so there were charming little details incorporated throughout. We wanted the theme to be clear without going overboard, and all our guests were delighted.”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?We were inspired by our shared piloting career to include aviation-inspired details, but we weren’t sure how to bring our ideas to life. Our wedding planner was a huge help in this department, and came up with lots of ideas fit that fit the theme perfectly.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve?We served several flavors of cupcakes, included salted caramel and lemon meringue, and there plenty extra for people to sample a few flavors or take one home!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?Our first dance together was pretty special. It was almost surreal to be dancing to the song we talked about so much for all those months. We were relieved that the “hard part” of the day was over and we could let loose and enjoy our celebration!
If you had to do it over again, is there anything you would do differently? We said it the day of and we still feel like it was a truly perfect day. Our friends are begging us to do a wedding reunion party since the original was so much fun!
Paper airplane seating cards, aviator sunglasses, aeronautical charts and tables named for airports significant to Robb and Sean were just some of the charming aviation-inspired details the pilots incorporated into their reception décor.
Inspiration drawn from nature is always so lovely, and the setting at Atalaya Castle, a Spanish-style manse set on Murrells Inlet, provided Shelbi and Barend with plenty to work with. From the whimsical oyster details to the gorgeous flowers, you’ll love this oceanside Southern celebration!
“When Barend brought me to his home to meet his family for the first time, one of the places he was excited to show me was Atalaya Castle. Not only does it sit on the beach, but the natural colors and beautiful setting provide such a romantic backdrop. I fell in love with Atalaya on that first visit, so when Barend asked me to be his wife, it was the natural choice. It was wonderful to be able to join our families at a location that was special to us, and held many fond memories.”
Your ceremony in three words. Laid-back, casual, and short.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? From the beginning, we knew we wanted the ceremony to be short and sweet. We chose the civil template that our officiant provided, then edited it down, and added our own vows.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our officiate was Rev. Benjy Simmons; I actually chose him after reading great reviews on Weddingwire!
Kelly Sauer | Snippet & Ink
What was your ceremony music?Our ceremony music was very special as it was performed by my brother, Bren Bailey, on acoustic guitar. The wedding party walked down the aisle to “In My Life,” originally performed by The Beatles. I walked down the aisle with my mother & father to Cat Powers’ “Sea of Love.” Our recessional was Bren’s acoustic version of the Beach Boys’ “God Only Knows.”
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? It’s a toss-up between my brother performing the music and my husband’s sweet vows.
“We were inspired by the beautiful colors and natural environment around Atalaya. Our reception was held in one of the castle’s courtyards, and we created a casual atmosphere perfect for our laid-back celebration.”
How would you describe your reception? Relaxed, seaside elegance.
Did you do any DIY projects? We made oyster garlands for all of the tables, which looked so pretty lit with votive candles and gray and white tapers in antique brass candlesticks.
What was your wedding menu? Catering was provided by one of our favorite places to eat when we visit Barend’s family, Hog Heaven BBQ! Barend and I both love oysters, so we decided to make it a Pig Pickin’ and Oyster Roast. The food was served buffet style, with a whole hog as the focal point.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve?We had a four-tiered vanilla and chocolate cake. It was an elegant take on our ocean theme, with grays and blues, candy oyster shells, and pearls.
Did you have a signature cocktail? During the cocktail hour, we served one of our favorite drinks, the Moscow Mule.
What was your first dance song? My husband and I danced our first dance to my brother’s acoustic version of “Strangers”, originally performed by The Kinks. It was a great moment!
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My favorite part of the reception was the Father/Daughter dance. My dad has two left feet, so he insisted on taking dance lessons with me. He spent several weekends visiting with us and going to lessons, so we got extra time together, and the added bonus of learning how to dance! The song we chose was also extra special; we danced to “My Girl” by the Temptations. This song had been my father’s parents’ song, so it was meaningful for both of us.