Anneka first heard about Hooman through a co-worker at her private equity group in New York City. As it turned out, the co-worker was one of Hooman's college friends, and a blind date was quickly arranged for one evening in February 2012. "Luckily for her career, it all worked out!" Anneka jokes. Almost two years later, in October of 2013, Anneka thought Hooman was taking her for a normal weeknight dinner date, but her groom-to-be had something much more special up his sleeve. "I was a bit delayed at work, but Hooman very patiently told me it was no big deal and he was happy to wait," she says. "He started improvising where he would actually propose since my work delay had caused us to miss daylight in Central Park!" He chose a cozy spot on a bench by the fountain in front of the Plaza Hotel, where he finally had the opportunity to pop the question. "The surprises continued from there," she remembers. First, the couple met friends for drinks, then headed to Paris for a three-day celebration in the City of Lights.
Choosing the perfect venue for their November 15, 2014, wedding took some creative thinking. Although the pair resides in New York, Anneka felt strongly about tying the knot in her home state of Texas. But what was even more important was finding a city with a destination feel and a property that had both plenty of natural beauty and lots of character. They chose the Wild Onion Ranch in Austin, Texas, and invited 225 guests to celebrate with them in a Napa-meets-Texas style bash. "We envisioned something very romantic with an outdoor ceremony but wanted it to be elegant with lots of soft colors and candlelight," the bride says. "We had a beautiful canvas to work with at the Wild Onion and tailored it to this vision with elements like a long, beautiful dark wood-and-mirror cocktail bar, a margarita bar with a selection of drinks and toppings, and an elegant seating lounge area." Keep reading to see every stunning photo, captured by Caroline + Ben Photography.
Anneka admits she tried on at least 50 dresses before she found her dream wedding gown. The winner was a strapless lace mermaid from Vera Wang. "This one was the perfect in between of being feminine, a little sexy, a little dramatic, and just 'different' enough," she says. "Plus, my friends and my mom loved it." Even though it was a long process, the bride says she truly loved every minute of it. "I definitely recommend giving yourself plenty of time to go to lots of different places and have that experience before you have to narrow it down. That way you can enjoy it a bit before having to make the tough decisions, and you don't feel pressured to do so."
The groom wore a Ralph Lauren Black Label navy tuxedo with a boutonniere made of white spray roses and greenery. Anneka's bouquet was comprised of white orchids, pink and white roses and spray roses, and plenty of romantic greenery.
The bride had eight bridesmaids by her side; six of her attendants wore blush gowns from Jim Hjelm in a variety of different silhouettes while the last stood out in sparkling dresses. "My maid of honor wore an Adrianna Papell beaded gown in taupe while my eighth bridesmaid, my sister-in-law, found a beautiful silver beaded dress at Anthropologie," Anneka says. "She was pregnant with my nephew at the time and wound up growing out of her original dress two weeks before the wedding, but this blended in perfectly with the bridal party and the beading on my maid of honor's dress. I ended up preferring this to our original plan!"
The couple worked with Becky Brock of Brock + Co. Events to plan their day. "I told Becky from the beginning that I would tell her my vision and then ask her to give me three good choices for everything," she says of the planning process. "That approach worked wonderfully for us, so instead of me scouring through hundreds of website and options for everything, I relied on her team to give me three options per category. Every vendor I picked from those three options turned out to be perfect." When it came to the bride's vision for her ceremony altar, Becky and her crew nailed it. With the help of florist Wendee Sawran, the team created a wooden arch with an asymmetrical cascade of flowers and greenery. "With the lights of the setting sun and the mistiness from rain that day, the result was really gorgeous."
Wooden cross-backed chairs were arranged facing the beautiful altar and lanterns welcomed guests into the space. Anneka's father walked the cheerful bride down the aisle, before she and Hooman exchanged traditional vows.
The Wild Onion offers both indoor and outdoor spaces, and with questionable wedding day weather, the couple was happy to have had the option to host their reception beneath a clear tent. But before guests found their seat in the flower-filled reception space, everyone stopped by the lounge area for a margarita. "Instead of a signature cocktail we had the margarita bar," Anneka says. "Everyone loved it!" The couple offered pomegranate, mango, and lime margaritas, and let guests customize their libation with chile salt, candied jalapenos, grilled pineapple, and broiled orange.
Rows of long tables were set up beneath the light-filled tent and were topped with either a patterned champagne or champagne lace tablecloth. For centerpieces, the couple chose a series of mismatched arrangements of roses, greenery, astilbe, raunculus, and greenery that were displayed along the length of the tables. "We used different pot styles, like wood and white ceramic, in different sizes and shapes so the look wasn't overly uniform," the bride says. Candles and potted succulents and cacti were also added to keep tables looking different.
Anneka and Hooman chose traditional white plates, clear stemware, and gold silverware for their place settings, but added in dark wooden chargers for color contrast and to tone down the feminine color palette. The bride and groom's chairs were draped with a garland of white flowers. After a multi-course dinner, which included a choice of short rib, chicken, or a vegetarian entrée, the party moved inside for dancing and dessert.
After the couple shared their first dance to Al Green's "Love and Happiness," Anneka and Hooman invited their guests to join them on the dance floor. "We flew in DJ Frank Delour from Miami because he is a total genius when it comes to getting the dance floor rocking," the bride says. "We really focused on making sure all our guests had a raucous good time and ours was the third wedding in our family that Frank has played, so we were confident he would read the crowd well and deliver."
The partying stopped only for dessert, which included a four-tiered wedding cake, cake pops, macarons, and assorted cookies. While the bride remembers everything on the dessert wagon being a huge hit, their entirely vanilla confection stole the show.
While their guests were still dancing, Anneka and Hooman secretly had brunch boxes delivered to everyone's hotel rooms. "They were filled with scones, jams, and beverages," the bride says.
After a sparkler exit, Anneka surprised her new husband with a vintage getaway car. Then, the two enjoyed a mini-moon in Miami followed by two weeks in New Zealand for their honeymoon. "I think the bride and groom's state of mind really sets the tone for a party, even if there are hundreds of other people there," Anneka says. "So if you decide that you are going to have the best time ever, even if XYZ things go 'wrong.' Being happy and looking on the bright side makes any possible negative into a big positive for you and all of your guests."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Wild Onion Ranch || Wedding Planner: Becky Brock of Brock + Co. Events || Officiant: Sarah de la Fuente || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Makeup: Denise Vasquez || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Jim Hjelm; Adrianna Papell; Anthropologie || Groom's Attire: Ralph Lauren Black Label || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Abe Mor NYC || Florist: Wendee Sawran || Invitations: Meldeen || Additional Paper Productions: Carolyn Jane; Anibella Ink + Paper || Music: Hill Country Strings; The Good Nights; DJ Frank Delour || Catering: 2 Dine 4 Catering || Cake: Polkadots Cupcake Factory || Rentals: Marquee Event Group; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; Townsley Designs || Videographer: Love Bird Wedding Films || Photographer: Caroline + Ben Photography
Did you love this Texas wedding? Then check out another couple's Austin wedding in the video below.