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An Elegant Fort Worth Wedding at Marty Leonard Community Chapel

By tory@360westweddings.comFebruary 5, 2024No Comments

An Elegant Fort Worth Wedding at Marty Leonard Community Chapel

 From a chance Facebook message to a dreamy proposal in the heart of New York City to exchanging vows at the iconic Marty Leonard Community Chapel, join us for an exclusive Q&A with bride Sarah Cummins as we dive into the details of their special day.

The couple. Sarah Cummins & Billy Rodgers
The venues. Marty Leonard Community Chapel & Ridglea Country Club
The Photographer. Madeline Edwards Photography

The Love Story

Billy and I met through a mutual friend, one of my colleagues that I see daily and had heard my dating horror stories. She walked into the office one morning and said, “I found your husband, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner.” Billy had reached out to her on Facebook after she posted a picture of her and I at her bridal shower. She asked me if she would tell him to contact me, and I said sure! He messaged me on Facebook and I didn’t respond for about a month, when I finally did he asked me to go out that night. So we did. That was it.

The Proposal

Fast forward seven months, Billy and I love to travel. In the first few months of dating we went to the Bahamas, Vegas, Turks, and lastly, my favorite city in the world NYC. He had never been to the big city, I go at least one to two times a year and have for the last decade. I was so thrilled to show him all of my favorite places. (My dream proposal has always been to be proposed to in Central Park). That being said, Billy proposing on this trip was not even on my radar. It was our second day on the trip and we had plans to meet my aunt who had come into town to have brunch with us and take us to see the Lion King Broadway musical. My aunt is like my mom, as my mom passed when I was a child. We had brunch at SaraBeth’s and then went next door to the Plaza to have a glass of champagne. After that, we walked over to the park. I had no clue my life was about to change, I hadn’t even curled my hair that day; it was straight, and I never have straight hair. So we did what I always enjoy doing: walking around and taking in all the beauty. Pointing out all of my favorite spots to Billy as we walked. He had his arm around me, he said, “I just want you to know how much I love you, but I have one question for you” and he got on one knee. Everyone around us started clapping and yelling and I swear I blacked out. I thought I had died, it was the craziest feeling. He had to say “is that a yes” because I was just standing there in shock. The best day ever! I said yes, obviously, and then we headed straight to see the Lion King where I had to sit quietly for three hours which was very difficult given my adrenaline!

The Wedding Venue

I have always known I wanted to get married in a beautiful church. The day we got engaged, I googled the most beautiful church in Fort Worth. There are multiple options, but when I saw Marty Leonard Chapel I knew that was the one. I scheduled a tour, loved it, and booked it that day! We didn’t even look at another venue. It’s truly stunning.

The Vibe

Oh man, this was my favorite part! I am an interior designer, so the details and visuals were very important to me. I had an immediate vision and I stuck with that the entire time. I wanted a classic white wedding. Very elegant, we chose formal attire, we wanted our guests to feel fancy. I love a good excuse to get decked out. But mostly I wanted everyone to have FUN. That is exactly what we did.

The Photography

I wanted a photographer that stood out and didn’t follow the standard. Someone that caught my eye and made me feel something when looking at their work. We had a photographer and a videographer (worth it 1 million percent). Our videographer actually did our engagement photos as well. This wasn’t that hard of a process for me, I just spent a ton of time looking through social media at photographers/videographers and really as soon as I saw their work that was it, crossed off the list. Hired! (Thankfully they were available)

The Dress

The dress! Such a fun experience. I knew I wanted all white and a WOW factor. I had one dress trial before I landed at the boutique where I actually purchased my dress. So many options, so many styles, all so beautiful. I like to feel good about the people I am working with, to have a good connection with if you will. When I met Sue, the owner of Ava’s Bridal, I knew I was in good hands. She really took the time to ask the right questions before my appointment to have a ton of options pulled for me before my arrival. I tried on a TON of dresses that day, but one stood out to me. It was like nothing I had ever seen. It made me cry when I put it on. It was perfect, the most beautiful dress I’ve ever seen. EVER. My aunt, my best friend, her daughter, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were all there. I asked my sister-in-law to be a bridesmaid that day. It was a really special day.

The Accessories

I wanted to stay classic with my accessories and overall look. My veil was very long and had a lace trim, and I wore pear-shaped diamond teardrop earrings and diamond sparkly Jimmy Choos. My hair was in a low updo and one of my best friends did my makeup. (The one who introduced me to my husband.) My bouquet had a pretty large pin attached with pictures of my family that had passed. My mom, grandma, great-grandma and grandpa.

The Bridesmaids

I had eight bridesmaids. I needed all of my girls there with me that day. I chose satin chocolate brown floor-length dresses for the bridesmaids’ attire. Brown was my great grandmother’s (Meme’s) favorite color. Now it is my favorite color. They all wore black heels and straight diamond dangle earrings. They chose their own hair and makeup styles. I wanted them to feel their best.

The Groomsmen

Black suits for the guys, 100%. We had some cowboys on our hands so the hats and boots made an appearance once we got to the reception. But they went along with my vision for the ceremony 🙂

The Wedding Rings

Billy designed my ring on his own. It is a radiant cut with a hidden halo. Billy’s band is a white gold simple band, just like he wanted.

The Hair and Makeup

I definitely wanted my hair and makeup to compliment my dress. I chose a low updo, and I had three trials before the big day. I like to be sure and not stressed out on the day off. My makeup artist is, as mentioned above, one of my best friends. She has done my makeup so many times I knew it would be perfect no matter what.

The Stationery

I chose classic and elegant for my stationary; white with black font and black envelopes. Modern and clean while still staying with the formal feel.

The Florals

Florals were probably the biggest shock for me when navigating the wedding industry as someone who knew nothing about anything really. I met and spoke to multiple florists before landing with the florist I chose. Again, after our initial phone call I knew she was the one. I wanted all white, classic florals with huge tree-like greenery on every other table. Half of the tables were white ceramic low bowl arrangements and the other half were the tall tree arrangements. The girls and I all carried white bouquets. My bouquet was over the top and dripping with long florals, she was heavy but oh, was it worth it!

The Morning Of

I had a suite at the Worthington Renaissance in downtown Fort Worth. I wanted plenty of room for everyone to spread out and enjoy the day. Everyone arrived at 8:00 a.m. The girls wore brown silk pajama sets and I wore a white feather pajama set, naturally. We had breakfast and lunch brought in. My maid of honor and aunt had my suite decked out with probably 150 yellow long-stem roses; they were Meme’s favorite. I lost my meme a few years ago, she was so important to me. I was sad about her not being able to be there that day. She would have been so proud. She was there in spirit and in all of the little details, brown silk pajamas, and yellow roses. My bridesmaids put together a playlist with all of my favorite songs. I was calm throughout the entire day. Which shocked everyone, including me. I’m not sure why, I just was. Everything went smoothly, we had two hair and makeup artists along with two hair stylists, my 8 bridesmaids, flower girl, mother-in-law and aunt in the room. I was surrounded by so much support and love that day.

The Ceremony

Our church held 200 people and it was full to the brim. Almost everyone we invited showed, which meant so much to us. One of our close friends was the officiant, we were in great hands. We had an organist playing before and during the ceremony. I walked down the aisle to the classic “Here Comes the Bride.” My aunt walked me down the aisle. She said this is the most favorite memory of her life. When the doors opened for me to make my entrance I just locked eyes with Billy and focused on getting to him without losing it and crying hysterically, or falling. I made it, with a few tears shed. The ceremony was classic, short, sweet, and to the point. I kissed my groom and off we went!

The Reception

Our reception was held at Ridglea Country Club, in the large ballroom. The chandeliers in this space are so stunning! The entire place is just perfect. We had a cocktail hour for our guests featuring our favorite cocktails. Mine was a “Sassy Sarah Martini” and I even had “Sarah” drink stirs. Billy’s cocktail was a ranch water. Our guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres while a pianist played. I wanted to see my tablescapes before anyone else. Everyone was kept in cocktail hour until we arrived and mingled for a bit until dinner. My tables were white with gold and crystal accents. We put a lottery ticket in a little black envelope with a penny glued to it on everyone’s plate as our favors. Everyone loved this! We did our first dance, enjoyed dinner then it was time for speeches. So many tears of joy during the speeches. After the bouquet toss and garter throw, it was party time. There were glow sticks and light up sunglasses passed and we danced the night away. We had a sparkler exit to a vintage white car. By this point I could barely walk from dancing, but I put my heels back on and did it!

The Planning

I interviewed a ton of planners. I am a very organized person myself and enjoy planning but I knew this was out of my league. I needed a professional. Someone that would go along with my ideas and assist me in making this wedding truly mine. My planner was the best, so calm and collected. Which I need because I am the opposite. We planned our wedding in eight  months;  it was plenty of time considering I started the day we got engaged. 🙂

The Cake

My cake was all white, and four tiers. Layered with white florals, it was alternating layers of classic almond and Italian wedding flavor. Billy’s cake was golf, fishing and poker themed, and he chose carrot cake.

The Food

We carefully chose all of the options on our menu. We wanted to have a ton of options for everyone as well as pick things we would like if we were attending a wedding. We had several passed appetizers, and a buffet with a steak, fish and chicken option. Then we obviously had a late night snack, which was honey butter chicken biscuits.

The Entertainment

We hired a DJ who is a personal friend, which made it even better because he knew us and our vision and absolutely blew it out of the park. I also had a 360 photo booth which was a huge hit. I also had a huge white feather wall behind the photo booth, because why not?

The Favorite Moment

I truly don’t have a favorite moment. The entire day was my favorite. Every single second. I’m so thankful for my wedding day and all of our loved ones that chose to be there with us on that day.

The Unexpected

Well, I jumped the gun and said “I DO” entirely too early during our vows. Everyone laughed and said it was special. I guess if someone is going to cause a hiccup in the ceremony, it had better be me.

The Honeymoon

We had a multi-stop honeymoon. We started in the U.S. Virgin Islands and ended up at Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands. We are big beach people, it was beautiful and just what we needed after all the hype!

The Advice

My best advice to any bride is to go all out – do all the things. Be in your bride era. Stay true to what is important to you and your fiancé. Do your research on everything, keep looking until you find the right vendor. Ask for help. But really just have fun, it’s your day. The reason you are getting married is love, and at the end of the day none of the rest of it really matters.

The Vendors