Tell us your love story.
I think Ryan and I were destined to be together since the moment he saw me at a Kilgore High School pep rally in 2007, even after performing a semi-embarrassing routine (thanks, seniors) as a freshman Hi-Stepper in an awful lime green top, he still had an interest. He was a Hi-Stepper manager and spent the rest of football season peering back at me secretly, which was a huge deal because Ryan Griffin does not take his eyes away from a football game. I was such a clueless freshman. He took me on a date on Valentine’s Day in 2008 and as they say the rest is history.
Tell us about the proposal.
Ryan popped the question on what I thought was just a normal weekend trip to Dallas. We attended the Dallas Symphony Christmas Pops concert on Friday night and on Saturday we had plans to have dinner with my parents and attend a Dallas Mavericks game. He popped the question at the top of Reunion Tower on a drizzly, cloudy December day. With the most beautiful view of downtown Dallas, he handed me a letter. My heart knew what was going on, but my brain didn’t. I finished the sweetest four-page letter and Ryan dropped to one knee and asked me the question we had both been waiting to hear for a very long time.
What I thought was going to be a normal family dinner turned into a family celebration. Second best night of my life!
How did you choose your venues?
There was no question as to where we were getting married. First Presbyterian Church in Kilgore for the ceremony was an absolute must! It means the world to us and a church ceremony was very important! The Summit Club for our reception was the perfect fit. I knew it was our venue as soon as I walked out of the first meeting with Meredith.
Why did you choose the Summit Club?
We wanted a classic, modern reception space and The Summit Club was the largest indoor venue we could find. I knew we could accomplish exactly what we wanted in the big, open space. It’s a blank canvas and I loved that about it. The Summit Club staff handled everything professionally and treated us as if we were their only clients. It’s truly a hidden gem in East Texas!
What was the design inspiration for your wedding?
I wanted our wedding to be traditional and elegant without the over-the-top feel. I always knew I wanted to follow a navy, blush, ivory and gold color scheme. I loved the mix of garden-inspired design and modern pieces, the crispness of white and gold linens, the white dance floor and leather furniture, and all of the candlelight. I think we used around 250+ candles in the space! The lighting was fantastic! It made the space so intimate. And oh the flowers, my favorite part! Ashlee created three or four different designs for the 30+ tables that were unique, but all tied the space together. I got on the garland trend and had several tables with cascading silver dollar down the ends complimented by gold candelabras and lots and lots of votives. The space was magical!
How many guests attended your wedding?
Tell us about your cake.
My wedding cake design inspiration actually came very early on in the planning. I wanted a tall cake with a simple, classic design. Since we decided to forgo a groom’s cake, we wanted a six-tier cake that gave the best of both worlds in flavors. The tiers alternated between almond vanilla (yum!) and chocolate (Ryan’s favorite!). The buttercream, ivory layers were designed to match the lacing on my dress and flowers covered the top and cascaded down one side. I chose a navy tablecloth and white lace overlay and a gold cake stand that was surrounded by silver dollar and more votives. The beautiful mirrors in the ballroom created the perfect backdrop!
Tell us about your dress.
I could have tried on wedding dresses for months, but like they say: when you know, you know; and my dress from LuLu’s Bridal in Dallas was it. I tried on a ton of dresses, but nothing measured up to the Allure Couture gown. It just didn’t get any better than the all-beaded back and stunning train! Lulu’s also designed my 9-foot veil! The dress was by far the hardest thing to keep from Ryan.
Tell us about your wedding party’s attire.
I originally wanted all of my bridesmaids to match, but after months of searching I finally decided to let them choose their own dresses in navy. They were all able to find a dress that complimented them best and was in their budget. My house party wore floor-length blush dresses in a style of their choice. They all looked beautiful! The groomsmen wore charcoal gray tuxedos with navy ties. Ryan’s tie was blush to set him apart.
Did you have a first look?
Yes! This was something I spent months talking Ryan into doing, but he says now he is so happy he did it. We wanted an intimate moment to ourselves to catch our breath, calm our nerves, and say “I love you.” Before our first look and the ceremony, Ryan and I individually read letters that we wrote to one another. I’ve always been a big fan of writing letters, but this was one of my favorite moments captured by our photographer and videographer…Ryan cried. I’ll never forget them coming out of the chapel before our first look to tell me that.
What was your favorite part of the ceremony?
The music!! If you’ve never heard the Aeolian-Skinner organ at First Presbyterian then I highly recommend it. Lorenz Maycher made all of our wedding ceremony dreams come true! We say that our ceremony was a worship service with some vows and the exchanging of rings thrown in the middle. Overall, I think my favorite part of the whole ceremony was holding Ryan’s hands and looking him in the eyes when we said our wedding vows. I’ll never forget how genuinely happy I felt at that moment.
What were some of the highlights of the reception?
Seeing the reception space for the first time. I had a vision in my head, but wasn’t really sure how it was going to look all together. Meredith, The Summit Club and all of my vendors made my vision come to life. My favorite highlight was just having all of our guests on the dance floor and seeing them have the times of their lives. Our DJ, Casey Brown, was incredible! Our guests had to be dragged off the dance floor and out the door to prep for the exit at the end of the night. That’s a party, right?
What was your most memorable moment from your wedding day?
I truly felt like it was the most magical, unforgettable experience of my life. Some of the most memorable moments include: writing Ryan’s letter in the sanctuary as Lorenz, our organist, practiced, our first look, the deep breath just before the doors opened at the ceremony, the walk down the aisle as husband and wife, giving my bouquet to the longest married couple in the room (53 years!), and not leaving the dance floor the entire night with all of our best friends and family.
Tell us about your grand exit.
Confetti!! It was blur because there was so much (luckily, water soluble) and so much love in just a few moments. I will never forget hugging our parents goodbye and waving to some of our favorite people as we were driven away. J Mitchell, our driver and wonderful family friend, said “Wow! That really was a fairytale wedding” before we even exited the Summit Club’s driveway.
Did you take a honeymoon? If so, where?
We took a week long vacation to Mo’orea in French Polynesia! It was a dream and was the perfect place to relax and talk about everything that had transpired in our year and a half of engagement.
What advice would you give to someone currently planning a wedding?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are so many little details that go into planning a wedding, and as you get closer to the date, it can feel like a lot of work, especially if you have a full-time job. Make it yours and soak up every moment.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
I sometimes still can’t believe that I did so much on my own, but I cannot thank my vendors enough for their time and talent. I wouldn’t trade them for the world!!
Venues: First Presbyterian Church Kilgore / The Summit Club
Photographer: David Cheney – David Cheney Photography
Videographer: Jen Ebright – Jenny Bright Photography
Florist: La Bella Blooms
Cake: Calavera Cakery
Catering: The Summit Club
DJ: CMB Productions
Lighting: Tyler Uplights
Linens/rentals: Tyler Tents & Events/Pursuing Eden
Bar rental: Serve’em Up
Stationery: Art by Ellie
Bride’s attire: Lulu’s Bridal
Groom’s attire: Men’s Warehouse
Hair stylists: Morgan Presley, Divine Appointments/ Catie Cooley, Salon Two18
Makeup Artist: Emily Smith, Couture Makeup Bar