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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.
Who officiated your ceremony? Our family minister, Reverend Wyckoff of St. Luke’s on the Lake officiated the Episcopalian ceremony, and Shawn’s family members gave the Persian blessing.
What was your ceremony music? The processional was a live, acoustic cover of Elvis Presley’s “Cant Help Falling in Love” sung by our close friend, Bonnie Bishop. The recessional was Natalie Cole’s “Everlasting Love.”
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.
“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.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? Sour cream cake with fresh berry filling.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? We loved how the Spazmatics, our 80’s cover band, quickly turned the reception dinner into a serious dance party!
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Austin Wedding at Villa Del Lago by The Nichols5 March 2015
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 was your ceremony music? A local violinist performed the ceremony music. The processional included “La Vie En Rose” for the seating of grandmothers and mothers, “Autumn Leaves” for the wedding party, and “Lover’s Waltz” for my entrance. Our recessional was Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling In Love.”
What were your ceremony readings? My mom read, “I carry your heart with me(i carry it in” by e.e. cummings, and Ryan’s dad read 1 John 4:7-12.
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.”
“When we had our first kiss, my veil actually got knocked off my head–but I caught it and everyone clapped and laughed. It was a great moment!”
“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 inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We were inspired by the mountains, the greens and whites of the property, and a classic color palette – black and white and champagne.
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.
What was your first dance song? Our first dance was Ray Charles’ “It Had To Be You.” My father and I twirled to Nat and Natalie King Cole’s “Unforgettable,” and Ryan and his mother danced to “The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston.
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!
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