How did you meet your Fiance?
Ryan and I actually graduated high school together, but didn't officially meet until the summer before our junior year of college. It started as a fun-filled night of karaoke with friends. A mutual friend of ours invited him to join us after I had mentioned that I thought Ryan was…what's the word? HOT. At the time, he was working as a greeter at Abercrombie in the Galleria, so you can just imagine. Anyway, I had no idea that he'd turn out to be my future husband.
After that fateful night, we started to see each other a lot more that summer, mostly hanging out in groups. Eventually Ryan was able to man up and ask me out on a date. We dated long-distance for while since he went to the University of Houston, and I was at Texas A&M. But after a year, I moved back to Houston for nursing school. Then after 6 years of dating, we finally got married!
Tell us about the proposal!
It’s cliché to say our proposal story is truly one-of-a-kind, but in order to appreciate it, you need a little background. I’m currently a transplant coordinator in the Texas Medical Center. Prior to finishing nursing school, I started working as a private nanny for a then 10-year-old girl named Kaitlin—a job I continued to work in addition to my hospital job. Kaitlin was diagnosed with ALS, a progressive and debilitating neurological disorder. She had gone from being a completely healthy and active child to being totally dependent, requiring nursing care around the clock. Despite being given a difficult prognosis and short life expectancy, she had surpassed everyone’s expectations and was an inspiration to everyone who met her.
Because Kaitlin had become family to both Ryan and me, he wanted to include her in his proposal plans. After receiving my parents’ blessing, Ryan conspired with Kaitlin’s grandparents, Tommy and Dee-Dee, to plan the perfect proposal. On the eve of October 2, 2013, Dee-Dee told me to dress up for a photo-shoot so she could get some pictures of Kaitlin and me together. We had been having tons of impromptu shoots, so this wasn't a strange idea. When I arrived at Kaitlin’s house, she was especially happy to see me. She was no longer able to speak, but she kept laughing whenever I mentioned the “photo-shoot.” I figured she was excited to get dressed up. What teenager wouldn't be?
We were finishing up our primping when Kaitlin’s Uncle Darren walked in to get some “test shots” of us getting ready. I heard the door open, and when I turned around I saw Ryan with two pink roses in his hands—one for me, and one for Kaitlin. I was surprised to see him, but Dee-Dee had mentioned wanting to have pictures with Ryan, also, so I assumed she called him to join the fun. The next thing I knew, Ryan was down on one knee presenting me with a ring box containing the most gorgeous diamond ring. He barely finished saying, “Will you marry me?” before I exclaimed, “YES!” After I cried, laughed, and hugged everyone, we Skyped my parents to deliver the news.
As surprised and thrilled as I was, Kaitlin and her family still had another surprise waiting for us downstairs in the form of a mini-engagement party. It was the most magical night. It was so much better than anything I could have imagined. The best part—thanks to Uncle Darren, I can watch the night over again because he caught it all on film.
Last June, we said goodbye to our sweet, Kaitlin. She played such a big part in our lives and taught us so much about life. Wherever we go, we carry her in our hearts.
How did you choose the location for your wedding? What type of venue were you looking for?
We chose Briscoe Manor in Richmond, Texas, as our wedding venue. Ryan's parents had recommended we take a look at the venue since they had a wonderful experience as wedding guests in the past. At the time, neither of us had a definite picture of where we wanted to get married. We knew that we wanted a venue that could accommodate a fairly large guest list and that could host the ceremony, cocktail hour, and reception.
Once we saw the venue in person, we loved it immediately and decided not to look any further. I remember, during our tour, we were standing in the gorgeous limestone chapel looking at each other and telepathically saying, "Yes. I'm totally marrying you here." In one sentence, Briscoe was the rustic, charming, and romantic taste of Texas we wanted to give our guests. How many venues can boast a white fence lining a lush, green field complete with longhorns? Seriously, real longhorns. Aside from the picturesque landscape and beautiful facility, Briscoe's experienced staff helped ease the process of wedding planning. Our on-site coordinator really knew her stuff which was comforting to my type-A self.
How did you decide on your bridesmaids dresses? Tell us about your experience at Bella!
I was very blessed to have eight beautiful and wonderful friends as bridesmaids in my party. Even though eight is a lot of dresses to pick, I knew that choosing the bridesmaids' look was going to be so much fun! I had so many ideas swirling in my head, but I had no idea where to start looking for the actual dresses. One of my bridesmaids recommended Bella to me since she had a great experience with them in the past. One rainy day, I gathered three of my local girls for a field trip to scout out some options. Initially, I wanted each bridesmaid to choose her own dress within a blush or nude color palette. Of course, I still wanted to have a designer and fabric in mind to help them narrow their search.
Once we walked into Bella Houston, we were greeted warmly by our consultant. Right away, I noticed the racks and racks of dresses in every shade and fabric type. I was a little overwhelmed at first, but our consultant navigated the waters smoothly and confidently. Our search was off to a great start with our elected bridesmaid modeling several different styles for the audience. Then, there it was. The dress. It was a floor-length chiffon Amsale gown with off the shoulder sleeves in Bellini. I think my jaw actually dropped because our consultant took it as her cue to have the rest of the girls try the same dress on. Each of them looked absolutely stunning.
Did you ever watch "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants"? Well that's what this moment was like. The same dress looked amazing on three different body types. I took it as my cue to make an executive dress decision and go with that Amsale style.
Our great experience with Bella didn't stop there. I wasn't completely sold on the Bellini color for the girls. I loved it, but it looked too close to the dream pink I had chosen for my wedding gown. They were wonderful enough to order swatches for me to compare with my gown. Finally we decided on vanilla for bridesmaids and blush for the MOH.
Our experience with Bella was simply wonderful. Our consultant was so accommodating with my flight-of-ideas during our first appointment but still kept us on track. She even sent me a thank you note after the appointment. For me, that was a unique and truly classy touch. Those things make all the difference. I knew this was a great place, so I recommended my mom go to her local Bella to find her mother of the bride dress. They were especially accommodating since I insisted on attending her appointment via Skype. I'm such a bossy daughter. But she found a gorgeous lace Amsale dress that we loved.
Who designed your bridal gown? Where did you get it?
Choosing my wedding dress turned out to be much harder than I thought. There are just so many pretty dresses out there, and I liked most of the ones I had put on. I honestly thought I just wasn't going to have that "bride moment." After trying on about 50 "pretty" wedding gowns, I finally fell irrevocably in love with one during a trunk show at Casa De Novia. I chose the Madison gown by Monique Lhuillier.
My mom lives out of town, so she wasn't there when I found my dress. She knew I loved Monique Lhuillier, so she had been sending pictures of some gowns she liked--including Madison. From the picture, it wasn't a dress that I thought I would choose, but it turned out to be everything I had ever wanted.
I felt sad that my mom wasn't with me during the wedding dress experience, so I wanted to do something special for her.When she came into town for my first dress fitting, I planned a surprise "first look" shoot for the two of us.The photographer perfectly captured her reaction to seeing me in the dream wedding gown she helped choose. That was probably one of my best ideas.
What was your favorite part of the day?
The whole day was joyful, beautiful, and slightly blurry at the same time.It's hard to choose one favorite, but let me give it a shot. There was a moment, right before I walked down the aisle, when the chapel doors opened and all eyes were on me. Seeing all of those happy faces just took my breath away.Time stopped, and I was surrounded by friends and family.The love and joy in the room was palpable.
I should add that our wedding weekend saw some bad weather. Actually, that's an understatement. The weather was almost apocalyptic, complete with rumors of tornado threats. However, our amazing guests braved the weather to share in our big day. I know we are both so grateful to be blessed with wonderful people who shaped our lives and continue to support us as we start our new chapter together.
What inspired you when you were planning your big day?
Well I've pretty much been planning my dream wedding since I was 5. I wanted the wedding to be modern and romantic with a touch of classic fairy tale. After some fervent pinning on my Pinterest idea board, I finally came up with my perfect wedding recipe. The inspiration ingredients I chose were a mix of Ralph Lauren, Marchesa, and a dash of Restoration Hardware. I loved the idea of using some contrasting elements in the decor to represent both of our distinct styles. It was the perfect marriage of modern, romantic, and fairy tale.
As far as wedding colors, I decided to use several. I chose creme, blush, champagne, and charcoal, which was based off of my favorite Nyx eyeshadow palette, "Caviar and Bubbles". As we booked our vendors, we made choices for everything one-by-one. Rustic venue, champagne linens, gold and blush invitations, blush uplighting, etc. One of my favorite ideas for the centerpieces was a tall candelabra full of baby's breath which was inspired by an Ines di Santo ad. In the end, when I saw it all my choices come together on the wedding day, it was even better than I ever dreamed.
What advise do you have for other brides?
It's so cliche, but my advice is to enjoy every minute of the engagement, the planning, and the wedding day itself. I'm not going to sugar coat it. At times, the whole thing can turn into a frantic, swirling hurricane of stress. Coming from a picky, slightly persnickety bride, I'm all about planning every single detail. But in the end, you only get to be Cinderella once. So take a deep breathe, step away from your detailed wedding blueprints, and stop to smell the roses. Don't sweat the little things. And absolutely take a few minutes to yourself on the day-of just to take a look around and to soak it all in. The wedding day itself is over before you know.
Video & Photos Credits: Tomas Ramos Photographers & Film Production, Cody Keith Photography and Fred Feng