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PAIGE SPENCER and MASON EASLEY
Married June 2, 2019
Listening to Paige and Mason Easley recount their June 2019 wedding, it sounds so good you can almost taste it.
Brisket and bacon burnt ends from Heim Barbecue were on the menu and guests enjoyed frozen treats from Alchemy Pops before and after the ceremony, held on a sweltering day. A Salsa Limón food truck was parked outside Brik Venue, in case there was an emergency need for a taco or two. And custom-made lattes and cappuccinos were served into the night by a pedaling barista on the Buon Giorno Coffee Trike.
The stronger stuff flowed from a margarita machine, conveniently placed next to the dance floor, where revelers celebrated the couple’s nuptials — some, more effusively than others. “My side of the family is super-lively party people,” Paige says. “We’re from Louisiana. [Our DJ] said, ‘I’ve never seen anything like that,’ about how hard my family celebrated.”
The fun truly began about three years ago, says the couple, who met as sophomores at TCU. Mason, who hails from Seattle, ran in the same friend group as Paige. Two years later, the couple got engaged. A summer wedding, just three weeks post-graduation, followed: “Most of our friends were still in town,” Paige says. And that included the couple, who were soon off to Chicago, where Paige began graduate school at the University of Chicago.
With only eight months to plan a wedding, neither Paige nor Mason blinked. Not to say the hunt for the ideal wedding gown was not without its twists and turns, but it proved fortuitous. While Paige and her mother searched for the perfect dress, the bride met her wedding planner by chance. “I was looking at a pop-up store, and that’s where I met Deryk [Poynor] and Jordan [Cook] who were there with The Greenhouse 817,” Paige says. “They asked, ‘Are you looking for a wedding planner?’ and we said yes.” Paige was smitten with the floral designs from the South Main Street store, too, so she signed the duo on to beautify her “blank-slate” venue at Brik. (And, not to worry, a beautiful dress was at last found at the now-defunct De Ma Fille.)
As The Greenhouse 817 team began organizing the wedding with Paige and her mom, and signing vendors, they enlisted friend Daniel Wright of W Durable Goods to drive his green 1961 International Scout as a charming getaway car. Meanwhile, the couple began to envision how best to incorporate other family members. Mason’s dad, a pastor, acted as the officiant. “Having Mason’s dad, it was a big deal to us, and it was more of a laid-back ceremony,” Paige says. “It was really meaningful and original.”
Under a suspended installation of exotic peach, blush and beige blooms including anthurium and Quicksand roses, and before more than 200 guests, Paige and Mason became husband and wife.
After the ceremony, and while feasting on local fare — “We kind of wanted to give out-of-towners a taste of Texas,” says Mason — guests played games like cornhole, giant Jenga and foosball. There was even a life-sized Connect 4, which seems appropriate, given how all the details for this wedding fell right into place. — Anna Caplan
CHANTELLE PRÉJEAN and RUSTY HOLLOWAY
Married Sept. 28, 2019
As the wedding photographer behind Chantelle Renée Photography, Chantelle Préjean has seen her fair share of nuptials. What she wasn’t so familiar with was a venue that allowed dogs. So when Chantelle and her beloved, Rusty Holloway, who have three VSCs (very special canines) between them, started to plan their wedding, they knew they needed a Must Love Dogs setting.
Fans of heavy metal and classic rock, Rusty, a guitarist and singer, and Chantelle met through mutual friends in the music scene. Each brought a dog to the relationship. “Two-and-a-half years in,” Chantelle recalls, “I said, ‘Let’s get another dog.’” They added border collie mix Dahlia to complete the trio, which includes Rusty’s husky Ichabod and Chantelle’s dachshund mix Asher.
As for the elusive wedding location, Chantelle settled on Stonebridge, a scenic spot along the Nolan River in Blum, about 45 minutes south of Fort Worth near Cleburne.
Under the canopy of a giant oak tree, about 130 guests convened, thankful for the light breeze on the humid late September day. The scene, which included 10 tall, ornate brass candlesticks that Chantelle has been collecting for years, proved more than picturesque for the bride and groom. “There were butterflies flying under the tree, and a guest said it was like a fairy tale,” Chantelle says.
So, too, was Chantelle’s dress, custom-made by Elizabeth Lee Bridal Boutique in Bedford. With two detachable trains, the “dress looked different at all times,” the bride says. For the ceremony, she opted for its elegant long train; for the reception, the dress magically shortened.
Dahlia, Ichabod and Asher shared in the love by participating in the ceremony. Each dog wore a custom collar — the male dogs sported bow ties from an Etsy artisan in England, while Dahlia’s floral version was made by All That Glam — and walked down the aisle with an accompanying bridesmaid and groomsman.
The storybook setting included a modern reception hall, where the evening continued after the spiritual ceremony. A seating chart in a century-old frame from Europe directed guests to wood tables featuring vintage brass finds that came from the bride’s collection. Instead of cut flowers, Chantelle, who loves nature, opted for live plants. A verdant bounty of ferns, white orchids, and purple and white African violets embellished the tables, and some guests were lucky enough to take them home at the end of the evening.
Family and friends figured prominently in the wedding. Dinner was catered by Dallas’ Greek Isles restaurant, owned by a friend and former neighbor of Rusty’s; the DJ went to high school with the groom. Another personal touch included a memorial wall dedicated to the bride’s and groom’s friends and relatives who have passed away.
Guests fed specially made biscuits from Cake-aholics Bakery to the dogs as the evening rocked on. “Bohemian Rhapsody” closed out the reception, which was just as the bride had planned it. She wanted their wedding to end at the same time for everyone: on a high note. “It was uniquely traditional,” says Chantelle. — Anna Caplan
JENNIFER DANHOF and CHARLIE BAXTER
Married March 9, 2019
When Jennifer Danhof walked into Ashton Gardens, she knew she had found the ideal place for her upcoming wedding to Charlie Baxter. Jennifer says as a little girl she had always dreamed of her wedding, and the Corinth, Texas, venue, with its high wooden arches and large glass windows, fit her vision. In fact, it was the only place the couple toured. “I walked in and we knew it was perfect,” she says. “It brought the outdoors in.”
The couple first met at Jennifer’s cousin’s destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas. “The day after we met, he told my cousin he was going to marry me,” Jennifer remembers. The attraction was mutual. Soon after they officially started dating, Jennifer called her mom to share her feelings. “I just love his company, being around him. There’s never a dull moment.”
That fun spirit is just what they sought to share in their wedding celebration. “I wanted a day focused on us having fun,” says Jennifer. “I knew I wanted it to be about making memories with our family and friends.”
The couple had 16 close family members and friends in their wedding party. The ladies donned blush pink chiffon dresses, while the groom and groomsmen wore navy suits with white shirts and blush pink ties. Jennifer says the striped Hayley Paige dress she wore was not what she would have pictured herself wearing, but when she tried it on, she immediately knew it was the one. “It was the most fun dress I have ever put on. I didn’t want to take it off,” she says. “I felt incredible in it — like my best self. I felt every way a bride wants to feel on her wedding day.”
To let the natural beauty of the venue shine, Jennifer requested a light and simple approach to decor. For the ceremony, pale pink and white flowers and natural greens adorned a wooden cross at the front of the chapel. Similar blooms and foliage were made into bouquets for the bridesmaids and into reception centerpieces.
Besides the Texas Tech-inspired groom’s cake, Charlie’s only other request was a “fantastic DJ.” He wanted everyone on the dance floor until the celebration was over — and he got his wish. The couple danced to “Sweetheart” by Thomas Rhett, whom they had recently seen perform. “We didn’t want a typical wedding song. We wanted something we could sing along to,” says Jennifer. “We are big country music fans.”
The reception was a joyful bookend to the ceremony, which inspired some happy tears earlier in the day. As she walked down the aisle to “Once in a Lifetime” by Landon Austin, Jennifer says emotion overcame her. “I hadn’t cried all day, but in this moment all of my emotions hit me at once,” she says. “I just remember it being surreal seeing all my family and friends there and seeing him at the end of the aisle. And then knowing he was going to be my husband when I left that building.” — Jennifer Norris
BREONNA LOUD and TUNDE BAKARE
Married June 2, 2019
“I’m here to buy a car,” Breonna Loud explained pointedly when the car salesman kept trying to set her up with his friend, also a salesman at the Mercedes-Benz dealership. No, she wouldn’t give out her number.
Until … “I decided I wanted the car after the fourth or fifth time I went back,” Breonna says. “Something just told me to give my number. He called me the same day and after a couple of conversations, I realized his character, morals and principles lined up exactly with mine.”
What she didn’t know at the time was that Tunde Bakare, the man she later married in a beautiful summer wedding, had announced the minute she walked in the showroom that Breonna was going to be his bride, to much laughter among his co-workers.
About two-and-a-half years and a romantic Cabo San Lucas proposal later, Tunde had the last laugh when Breonna said yes.
“I ended up getting a car and my husband,” says Breonna.
The wedding took place in two venues chosen for their natural light and their striking modern architecture: the Marty Leonard Community Chapel for the ceremony and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for the reception. “I wanted it to be a lot of white, magical in that sense,” says Breonna. “I found exactly what I was looking for.”
Breonna planned the wedding herself, relying on coordinators at the venues, multiple conversations with the vendors and trusted friends and relatives to make sure things went smoothly on the big day.
For the ceremony, the bride chose a form-fitting lace gown by Martina Liana from Bridal Boutique in Lewisville. Bridesmaids wore their own choice of black dress. For the reception, she chose a custom dramatic layered tulle gown by Oyemwen. “I had found the designer on Instagram,” Breonna says. “I wanted something whimsical, free flowing and effortless, easy to dance in.”
In a day filled with special moments, a few stand out. Tunde’s family, of Nigerian descent, wore traditional African garments to the wedding. Guests danced to the music of DJ Bowtie, and the museum glowed from its signature reflecting pond. And how did they leave the reception? In the bride’s Mercedes, naturally.
“We were thinking about a Rolls, but then we thought, ‘Let’s ride in the car that brought us together,’” the bride says. “Ending the night that way was pretty amazing to me.”
After a Cabo honeymoon (they liked it so much when they got engaged there that they wanted to go back), the bride and groom have settled into married life and are pursuing new careers, he in real estate and she in school to become an aesthetician.
“We make it a point to have date nights and spend time together,” Breonna says. “I feel God truly prepared him for me as a husband. It’s nothing short of amazing being married. I’m super excited and in love.” — Connie Dufner
LEAH GILLIGAN and ALAN LITTENBERG
Married June 22, 2019
It’s no fairy tale that you could meet your future spouse at a wedding. Leah Gilligan and Alan Littenberg did just that at a mutual friend’s wedding near Dallas in December 2017. That they didn’t already know one another was hard to believe, as Leah, who works as a real estate agent in Fort Worth, was one of the bride’s sorority sisters at TCU and Alan, who owns a home remodeling company, was a longtime TCU pal of the bride, as well. The instant attraction (they discovered a mutual love for dogs) led to a fast courtship, and Alan proposed just nine months later when the two were visiting Leah’s parents on Lake Austin. He coaxed her outside and at the water’s edge — in the rain, no less — dropped to one knee and popped the question.
Leah found the dress-shopping experience overwhelming and chose a dress the first busy day of looking, with her mom and future mother-in-law along. But at alteration time, Leah realized it wasn’t the dress for her at all, and her especially understanding mom helped ease the bride-to-be through looking at still more shops. Suddenly, the right dress appeared at Wed Bridal Boutique, which had just opened, and Leah surprised herself by finding joy in a strapless lace gown after initially thinking that wasn’t her style.
Following her preference for classic wedding and reception looks, she went with white, pale pink and greenery with gold accents throughout the decor, and had the wedding party in gray dresses and black tie. The wedding date was special, too, as it fell right between both their parents’ 40th wedding anniversaries. For the wedding ceremony, the TCU grads were naturally drawn to Robert Carr Chapel on campus, where Leah’s aunt played music on the chapel’s piano and Leah’s brother played his guitar and sang “Love Never Fails” while the bride and her dad walked down the aisle.
The couple wanted an unusual reception venue, and Bass Performance Hall in downtown Fort Worth was the perfect choice for their party of 250. Making the reception their own, they had Magdalena’s cater the dinner with family-style platters, and had the groom’s cake made to look like their two beloved dogs, Ranger and Shiner; the pooches’ pictures also were embossed onto cocktail napkins.
Leah and Alan bucked tradition with their first-dance song: Big fans of ’80s tunes, they chose “Africa” by Toto — “we went with our gut and in my honest opinion, killed it on the dance floor,” says Leah — with guests joining them by the song’s end. “It really set the mood for dancing; we literally had to kick people off the stage at the end of the night, and we continued to party at a nearby ’80s bar called Studio 80.” Late night snacks were Whataburger treats, served on formal platters just before the couple departed Bass Hall in a white 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, arriving at the bar to dance to “Africa” once again. A week of restorative beach time in the Cayman Islands was just the right way to finish celebrating their fairy-tale courtship and wedding. — June Naylor
JESSECA MARTINEZ and BRENT CRAFT
Married June 29, 2019
Sharing a love of adventure was a sign that Jesseca Martinez and Brent Craft were meant for each other. Though the Fort Worth natives met in their hometown — a mutual friend introduced the two when they worked at Saginaw High School — their engagement took place across the Atlantic Ocean.
During their four-year courtship, Jesseca began work toward a bachelor’s degree in nursing that took her to London for a study-abroad program. That’s when Brent, to her surprise, decided to fly to London to put a ring on her finger. Jesseca thought they’d be celebrating her birthday when Brent suggested she find a special place to eat out for dinner. After dining at one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, they headed to a famous landmark in the city. “He came up with the idea from places I said were must-sees and planned our engagement in front of the famous Tower Bridge with a beautiful skyline behind it,” Jesseca recalls. “He flew all the way across the world to ask me to be his wife!”
Jesseca, now an emergency room nurse, chose a timeless dress in ivory satin with a beaded bodice and buttons trailing down her back and the length of the train. The couple kept their wedding eve celebration personal. Rather than stage a fancy rehearsal dinner, the two hosted the entire wedding party at their home over a relaxed, home-cooked dinner of chicken spaghetti.
Holding both the ceremony and reception at Classic Oaks Venue, situated on a ranch in Mansfield, the couple made the ceremony special by building a unity cross — symbolizing the union of husband and wife in the body of Christ — during the service. The cross, now in their home, reminds them of their sacred commitment.
In honor of her heritage, Jesseca and Brent delighted guests with a mariachi band to start the reception, and Brent delivered a moving toast in Spanish — a surprise for Jesseca, who didn’t know he’d been practicing this moment for her and her family. The warmth continued as others took turns speaking. “Toasts from my sister, our maid of honor, and his brother, our best man, were so very sentimental and touching,” says Jesseca. “It’s a memory we will cherish forever.”
The magnificent and unusual wedding cake paid tribute to the couple’s passion for travel, with miniature suitcases, a red double-decker bus, a globe and a replica of Big Ben standing in for a traditional cake topper. After a comical moment when the knife snapped in half as the couple sliced the cake for photos, Jesseca and Brent charmed their guests with a last dance during which they gazed into each other’s eyes and sang along to the Lanco tune “Greatest Love Story.”
Leaving the party in Jesseca’s parents’ 1967 Mustang convertible, the couple followed their wanderlust to a special beach destination for their honeymoon. At Sandals Regency La Toc resort on the island of St. Lucia, they relaxed by the Caribbean Sea and planned future adventures. — June Naylor
MORGAN NANCE and SEAN HALLBERG
Married May 29, 2019
Morgan Nance and Sean Hallberg, who met through a mutual friend during their senior year at Texas Tech University, quickly bonded over their shared faith and healthy lifestyles — including a love of being active in the great outdoors. Following graduation, they both landed jobs in Dallas and embarked on many adventures together. It was during one such jaunt, a bike ride around Lake Dillon in Colorado, that Sean proposed.
Given their love of adventurous travel, it was fitting that their wedding day wouldn’t be observed in a traditional venue near home but instead outdoors in a place of jaw-dropping natural beauty — Yosemite National Park in central California. Morgan relied on her parents to plan the wedding at Glacier Point, a scenic spot neither she nor Sean had ever visited. “It was our first time going up there,” says Sean, about the wedding locale. “Even though we could’ve seen it, we wanted to save that moment.” May weather in the park can be unpredictable, and snow had the road to Glacier Point closed up until the day before the wedding. “We all felt so excited, relieved and thankful that the road opened just in time for the big day,” says Morgan.
Some 23 family members and friends began arriving a few days before the wedding; they all rented cabins at The Redwoods in Yosemite, inside the park. “We had several nights of meals all together where we served dinner in one of the larger cabins after a day of exploring,” says Morgan. The couple had welcome bags delivered to their guests, with matching blue long-sleeve wedding T-shirts, casually answering the question of what to wear to the mountaintop nuptials.
Just as the setting wasn’t traditional, the wedding wouldn’t be at a customary hour, either, but instead at sunrise — 5:30 a.m. Considering the hourlong drive to Glacier Point from the cabin, Morgan woke up at 3:15 a.m. to slip into the cap-sleeve lace overlay gown by Watters that she’d bought back home in Texas, paired with a fingertip-length veil. She relied on friends and family for help with her makeup and hair, which they swept into an elegant chignon. The bride, together with her cousin Anna, arranged the bouquet ahead of time, with white roses, hydrangea and baby’s breath from Trader Joe’s.
On a glorious if chilly morning, Morgan’s uncle officiated the couple’s ceremony as the sun rose, illuminating the mountainous backdrop. Following the wedding, the group enjoyed a family-style breakfast and then had plenty of free time to soak in the park’s natural beauty.
That afternoon, back at The Redwoods’ indoor-outdoor event center, the reception included their first dance (to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”), champagne toasts, and make-your-own burrito bowls with tri-tip steak, smoked chicken and grilled veggies. The wedding cake, with layers of French vanilla cake filled with citrus cream and lemon curd, made for a sweet finishing touch.
The celebration continued as destination wedding photography duo Colby & Jess led the couple and their guests on a 3-mile sunset hike in the snow to Taft Point. The trek offered views of El Capitan and waterfalls created by melting snow — and it also made for some of the wedding’s most dramatic shots of Morgan and Sean on a stone cliff, 3,500 feet above the valley floor. “It was crazy looking down,” Morgan says. “They did an amazing job.” — Megan Hemmelgarn
BROOKE NEW and ROBBY REEB
Married June 15, 2019
From a jubilant proposal at the 18th hole to driving home from the reception in a neon-lit golf cart, Brooke New and Robby Reeb have always made room in their romance for fun, family and friends.
Three years after the University of Texas alums began dating, Robby surprised Brooke by dropping to one knee as she made her final putt of the round. The accomplished golfer says she was so focused on her game that she didn’t immediately notice the custom flagstick that read “Brooke, will you?”
“Right after I said yes, I heard a roar of screams,” she remembers. “I look up at the balcony of the clubhouse and there are all of my family and friends. To this day, I don’t know how he pulled it off without my knowing.”
The engagement party that followed would be the prelude to a year of planning.
“I’ve dreamt of picking out a wedding dress since I was a really little girl, but I’d never tried on dresses until I went during the summer we got engaged,” says Brooke. In one day, she donned 100 gowns in Dallas, shopping everywhere from Warren Barrón Bridal to Carolina Herrera. On a trip home to Houston months later, she chose a Mira Zwillinger gown the company flew in for her to see.
“It was strapless so I added an illusion neckline with delicate floral details,” she says, noting that her mother particularly loved the extensive pearl detailing, which is Brooke’s birthstone. “It was ethereal and beautiful, and I felt like a princess in what was a truly custom gown.”
On her wedding day, she and her dozen attendants gathered at the Fort Worth home she now shares with her groom. Its location was convenient, not far from Saint Patrick Cathedral, where they would marry, and River Crest Country Club, where they would celebrate.
Following the flower-festooned evening ceremony, the 325 guests decamped to the country club. Robby and Brooke’s private dinner downstairs quickly morphed into a first-dance rehearsal.
“Starting in January, we’d taken dance lessons once or twice a week, which ended up one of the most fun parts of the entire wedding planning,” Brooke says. The couple kept their endeavor under wraps in order to surprise guests with a number that their instructor, Erin Jane at Dance
With Me, choreographed just for them.
“Since Robby had never seen me in my dress, we’d never practiced in my dress and both of our nerves were racing,” Brooke says. “But the dance was such a highlight of the evening and definitely kick-started the reception. People still talk about it.”
Other highlights included the groom’s cake, a masterful likeness of Bevo XIV that honored Robby’s undergraduate tenure as president of the Silver Spurs, the student group charged with the care of UT’s beloved mascot.
Twin neon-lit bars, “Brooke’s Bourbon Bar” and “Robby’s Ranch Waters” lured guests out on the balconies. Each bar was stocked with customized napkins and cups; Robby’s mother commissioned custom sets of cornhole games, too.
“Robby and I have been to, and a part of, so many weddings,” says Brooke. “For ours, the focus was celebrating our love in a way that our guests would never forget.” — Lisa Martin