KELLY O’DONNELL and COLE HAWKINS
Married June 1, 2019
While out with a group of friends one summer evening, Kelly O’Donnell ran into Cole Hawkins, whom she had known as a fellow business student at Texas Christian University. She was glad to see a friendly face, even though she remembered having chided him for being late to a group project when they were students.
Cole, undeterred by that memory, took the chance meeting as an opportunity to finally ask Kelly out on a date. They struck up a romance, marked by frequent handwritten notes and letters. A few years later, they stopped by the TCU campus for a walk before dinner, and Cole asked her to marry him beside Frog Fountain, reading her a heartfelt letter he’d written.
The couple turned to another TCU graduate, Sarah Wintersteen, to help plan a late spring wedding that Kelly’s parents would fly in from New York to host. “One of the first things we did was book Robert Carr Chapel; we wanted family and friends to witness our vows where we went to college,” says Kelly, adding that they invited their pastor from
7 City Church to officiate.
With much of Kelly’s family coming in from New York and Cole’s traveling from California, the couple wanted to be sure to show their near and dear a good time in Texas. They kicked off the wedding weekend with a welcome party at Cowtown Brewing Co. The next evening, Cole’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner at Magdalena’s, which charmed guests with its family-style service, magical setting and chef-driven menu with Mexican flair.
On the day of the wedding, Kelly’s father walked her down the aisle to the sounds of a string quartet. The bride wore a fit-and-flare Essense of Australia gown with lace overlay and a chapel-length veil. The groom, dressed in a light gray suit and blush pink bow tie, began crying when he saw her.
Following a traditional service with Holy Communion, the couple paused for portraits outside the chapel; rain dampened their clothes but not their spirits. Driving a classic car, a chauffeur whisked them downtown to The Fort Worth Club for their reception. The wedding planner, Sarah, set aside time for the couple to privately enjoy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails before joining their guests.
The reception space, done up in shades of blush pink, ivory and gold, featured lush floral arrangements, including a dramatic halo around the chandelier. Sarah dressed the head table with a lace tablecloth, a runner of fresh flowers, pink velvet napkins, gold flatware and gold-rimmed glass chargers. “It drew all eyes to the center of the room; it definitely made a difference,” says Kelly.
The couple danced to “Precious Love” by James Morrison before being joined by friends and family on the dance floor. A memorable moment came when the DJ played a Greek song — a nod to Kelly’s mom’s heritage — and their guests formed a big circle. “People aren’t kidding when they say your wedding will go by really fast,” says Kelly. “Everyone was having the most amazing time; we are so blessed.”
NADIA SYED and ROBERT WADSWORTH
Married Oct. 19, 2019
What happens when your parents, for cultural reasons, aren’t so sure about your beloved? Nadia Syed, whose family is from Fort Worth by way of Pakistan, and Robert Wadsworth, whose family is from North Carolina, approached the challenge with love, respect and patience.
Nadia and Robert met in Denver; she was working as an AmeriCorps volunteer between college and medical school, while he was pursuing a career in accounting. Neither was expecting to start a relationship, but one blossomed, surprising them both. Nadia, who’s very close to her family, started sharing her feelings with her parents. “They had a lot of specific ideas about who would be the ideal candidate,” she says. “It took a lot of discussions.”
After four years of mostly long-distance dating and countless inter-generational conversations, they won the blessing that was so important to them. “My parents adore him, and I’m so thankful,” she says. “Now everyone’s meshed into one group; it’s so worth the wait.”
The couple vowed to not stress over wedding plans. Lone Star Mansion in Burleson accommodated all of their wedding-day festivities. They used the mansion for an elegant cocktail hour, a ceremony room overlooking the grounds for their vows and a carriage house for the reception.
Following the Pakistani traditions of Nadia’s family, there also was a Mehndi ceremony the night before that included a danceoff between the bride’s and groom’s families. Aly Cline of Significant Events of Texas planned the celebration, catered with Pakistani food by Texas King. Nadia and several of her female relatives had henna applied to their hands and feet in advance. “It’s really fun; my family is very into this dance culture,” says Nadia. “Rob and his groomsmen were able to put together a choreographed dance; we were just floored — he killed it.”
The next day, Nadia slipped into the gold beaded gown her big sister had bought for her in Pakistan and a beautiful shawl-like dupatta. “That made me feel the most bridal,” she says. Her three sisters and three of her friends donned purple saris to serve as bridesmaids. Robert wore traditional attire he purchased with some guidance from Nadia’s dad; the Syeds even helped his mother find a beautiful sari in her favorite shade of blue.
Nadia says she felt giddy waiting to walk down the aisle with her parents as a string quartet from UT Arlington began to play Florence + The Machine’s “You’ve Got the Love.” Afterward, the reception space was simply decorated with greenery and candles. Instead of traditional wedding cake, they served the bride’s favorite — Black Forest cake from Fort Worth’s Swiss Pastry Shop.
Nadia, a pediatrician, and Robert, a financial consultant, are forging their own path as newlyweds and finding a cultural middle ground. “It’s been really fun to be on this journey together; it’s different from what I grew up with, and different from what he grew up with,” Nadia says. “We’re building a sort of blend between two ways of life.”
ASHLEY PRICE and AARON LINNEAR
Married May 11, 2019
Ashley Price was running cross-country, and Aaron Linnear was running track when they met at Southern Arkansas University. As part of the same team, they and their teammates did everything together, from training to socializing. Yet Ashley and Aaron knew that things were different between them. “We just started to notice that when we’d go out to eat as a team, we’d be there still talking after everyone was gone,” she says. “We were both interested in God and in doing things the right way; I started to notice he was a different kind of guy.”
But when Ashley graduated and moved to a new town to start her job as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse and Aaron stayed in school, the distance was a strain; eventually, they broke up for a year. They both knew that they wanted to be together and that they were praying separately for guidance. When Aaron got an internship five minutes away from her house, it felt like divine intervention. They rekindled their romance, and the couple became engaged on his graduation day.
With Ashley’s entire family in North Texas and several members of Aaron’s family here, too, they decided to come home to get married, bringing along their pastor. Ashley shopped in Texas and Arkansas for a wedding dress, ultimately choosing a sleeveless mermaid-style gown with a high illusion neckline and lace bodice sparkling with tiny crystals sewn into the design. She paired it with a cathedral-length veil. On a whim, she purchased a white beaded headband online, unsure if she would wind up wearing it. When she put it on for her wedding day, her mother and bridesmaids loved the look, and persuaded her to wear it.
As Aaron waited at the altar, Ashley’s father walked her down the aisle to Jared Forman’s “Moody Jane,” an instrumental piece from the TV show Jane the Virgin. She felt both deep joy in finally getting to marry Aaron and in the seriousness of the occasion, too.
Ashley and her mother, who had done much of the planning, designed reception tables with black linens, gold-tone flatware and gold-rimmed glass plates that they purchased instead of renting. They later divided it all among the many Price siblings, so the large set could be brought back together for family occasions. The couple’s main wish for the reception was to just have fun and celebrate with their nearest and dearest; their DJ made that easy by keeping the music high-energy and enticing everyone to get out on the dance floor. “We’re pretty chill people, not necessarily party starters, so that helped,” Ashley says. “It was a blast.”
Since returning from their honeymoon in Cancun, the couple have been working hard on their dreams — she recently earned a doctorate from a pediatric nurse practitioner school, and he’s working as a software engineer — and are hoping to move to Texas. And a year later, Ashley still cherishes a special memory of the reception, a private last dance to “Moody Jane” as their guests congregated outside to see the couple off with sparklers. “I don’t know whose idea it was, but it was one of the sweetest moments — me and him without anyone else.”
DARBY LOTH and JUSTIN WALKER
Married May 1, 2020
Darby Loth and Justin Walker were planning a big weekend of events May 1 and 2: a Catholic wedding ceremony in his hometown church in Houston, followed a day later by a big outdoor reception at his family ranch.
But by early spring, it was clear that the pandemic would make their plans impossible. Having dated for more than four years already, they decided to go ahead with the important part — getting married — and made plans to celebrate with family and friends at a later date.
Darby, from Fort Worth, and Justin were students at Texas A&M University when they met through a mutual friend. First, the flirty texts began. Then, he pulled her aside to ask her out on a date. Dinner out at a nice restaurant was followed by frozen yogurt, then ice skating, then five hours of talking while stargazing from the back of his truck. “It was a really long date,” she says. “After that, I was hooked.”
Some three-and-a-half years later, they experienced another pivotal date. He invited her out for dinner, followed by a private art lesson, since Darby loves to paint. As they arrived at the studio, not only were her own paintings on display, but their immediate families were gathered. And she said yes to his elaborate proposal.
Darby bought the first wedding dress she tried on — a sleeveless lace-overlay gown with a crystal- and pearl-studded belt and cathedral-length train. But less than two months before the big event, their wedding planner called to suggest they postpone the reception until the fall due to the pandemic. “My wedding planner was amazing in rescheduling everything so fast,” she says. “He really helped me stay calm through that.”
Only immediate family attended their wedding ceremony. The couple kept things simple by purchasing flowers from a local H-E-B. Darby’s two sisters and Justin’s three sisters-in-law bought dresses in the same shade of light pink to serve as bridesmaids. The bride’s sisters woke up early the morning of the wedding to help her with her hair and makeup. Darby’s father walked her down the aisle, and Justin’s godfather, a priest, married them in a Catholic ceremony.
As they left the church, extended family from both sides surprised the newlyweds outside with signs and confetti, showing their love from a safe distance. “It meant a lot,” says Darby, “and it was funny, too, because our families didn’t talk to each other — they just came and did the exact same thing.”
The small wedding party gathered for brunch, followed by wedding cake, at Justin’s parents’ house, which his mother had decorated for the occasion. The group then decamped to the family ranch for the weekend.
Before the pandemic, Darby was concerned with such elements as catering and flowers, but her priorities shifted as the new reality emerged. “We didn’t have any of that, but our wedding was honestly still so perfect, with my family and his family,” she says. “We even had my grandma FaceTime in with us.” And while they’re looking forward to their October reception and November honeymoon, they’re feeling relaxed about the details. “It doesn’t seem as important anymore,” she says.
ALLISON CURRY and ADAM RAUSCHUBER
Married Oct. 26, 2019
Allison Curry and Adam Rauschuber bonded over a shared love of nature, so they knew they wanted to tie the knot outdoors. Fulfilling Allison’s girlhood dream, they booked Camp Waldemar near Hunt, Texas, where she attended summer camp growing up. Nestled on a beautiful stretch of the Guadalupe River, the setting also suited their plans for an active wedding weekend, with canoeing, archery and a giant firepit to gather around as options for their 250 guests.
When the pair first met in New Orleans, she was living in Dallas and he was living in Fort Worth. Allison had tagged along on a trip with a friend to celebrate her brother’s birthday; his entourage of friends included Adam. The two hit it off immediately. It was on a trip to Charleston, South Carolina, some four years later that the couple became engaged. “I’m an interior designer and am really into architecture and design; while we were walking back from dinner, he stopped so I could look at an interesting building,” says Allison. “The next thing I knew, he was on his knee.”
While bridal shopping with her mother and sister, Allison bought an elegant sleeveless wedding gown, which she paired with a cathedral-length veil. With a luxe fiesta theme in mind, she selected dark green dresses for her bridesmaids, who carried bright, festive bouquets. The men wore bow ties fashioned from Mexican textiles with their tuxes and boutonnieres featuring succulents and roses.
On the morning of their wedding, Allison and Adam joined family and friends for a lively Rauschuber vs. Curry kickball game. Afterward, while guests pursued other camp fun, the wedding party had plenty of time to get ready before the late-afternoon ceremony.
The outdoor wedding, with the river as a stunning backdrop, was held at Tejas Chapel, an intimate amphitheaterlike space. After her bridesmaids carefully navigated the steep stone aisle, Allison and her father made their way down to the altar, where Adam and his groomsmen were waiting. In front of a dramatic floral cross installed for the occasion, the pastor from Allison’s family’s church in San Angelo asked the couple to share their five favorite things about each other, making the ceremony deeply personal. Afterward, guests enjoyed a sunset cocktail hour at the pier. Donkeys wearing saddlebags packed with bottled drinks circulated, while waiters passed appetizers and “ranch water “ cocktails served in Topo Chico bottles.
After the sun went down, the celebration moved under a huge clear-top tent, keeping the feeling of being under the stars. A rainbow of colorful runners on the head table made for a bold statement, as did votive candles in clear glass pedestals of varying heights and flower arrangements in bright shades of orange and pink. Allison surprised her groom with a sculpted cake that was a likeness of his beloved 1977 Ford Bronco, which the couple also used as a getaway car at the end of the evening.
While the celebration went all too quickly, Allison says that time slowed when Adam reminded her throughout the evening to soak it in. “Look around,” he told her. “All these people are here for us.”