As Chelsea Harms and Evan Tuohy lounged on a sandy beach outside their home in Puerto Rico, Evan asked Chelsea what she wanted for Christmas. She ticked off a number items before Evan casually asked if she might like an engagement ring — and held up a sparkling band. "I was so surprised," Chelsea says. "It was the perfect moment. We brought out champagne and watched a sailboat pass in front of the sun."
The couple decided on a reverse-destination wedding for their April 18, 2015 nuptials. Instead of bringing guests to the Caribbean for their wedding, Chelsea and Evan traveled from their home in Puerto Rico, where they both work as marine biologists, to Winona, Texas, where the bride's sister-in-law's family owns and operates a sprawling ranch, for a natural celebration surrounded by 90 guests. The couple envisioned a rustic, vintage fête, and their family helped them accomplish their dream from afar. "Thanks to the efforts of my brother, sister-in-law and her family, we were able to have our dream wedding," Chelsea says. And lucky for them, Feather & Twine Photography was there to document it all.
The dress Chelsea chose — a Watters creation in head-to-toe lace — was the only dress the bride says she didn't want to try on. The ethereal gown was beautiful, but not the sexy sheath she had envisioned. "Once I put this one on, it was like stepping into something made just for me and my personality," Chelsea says. "I decided to go with what made me feel like me, rather than what I thought would be pretty on me." To add to the heavenly look, Chelsea donned a green and white floral crown.
Evan wore a charcoal suit with a matching charcoal tie, and what Chelsea describes as "funky" socks. The bride carried a bouquet of cotton, gardenias, lavender, ranunculus, succulents, and grasses.
Chelsea instructed her three bridesmaids to choose any knee-length dress that wasn't satin, in shades of pastel pink, lavender, or gray. "I wanted them to be comfortable and find something they felt good in, but also it fit our theme of that mixed match look," the bride says. One thing she asked all of her 'maids to match? Their shoes. "They wore the same rose gold sandals because they are all taller than me," Chelsea says.
Evan's groomsmen wore a charcoal gray suit like the groom, but added pale blue ties in a variety of different textures for a pop of color.
Chelsea and Evan chose a shady spot beneath an oak tree for their ceremony. "The trees were our main feature, but we also hung flowers in jars and pepper flowers from the branches, too," the bride says. They used two old doors to create an archway at the top of the aisle.
For their outdoor ceremony, the wedding party processed down a grass aisle lined with baby's breath to an acoustic version of The Princess Bride's theme song.
Guests watched from their seats — an array of mismatched chairs. In place of hand written vows, the couple shared a selection of Bible verses they felt reflected them as a couple.
At their reception, friends and family enjoyed a menu of brisket-stuffed poblano peppers, mesquite orange glazed chicken, green rice and grilled veggies on farm tables that the couple made from reclaimed wood. "Starting in December, Evan, my brother, my dad, and I worked to build three tables for family dinner seating, a sweetheart table for Evan and I, and a cake table," Chelsea says. "This required the most time and effort and wasn't finished until about four days before the wedding."
The couple decorated those special tables with a variety of moss, wood, succulents, and dried lavender, with sequined rose-gold table runners spanning the length of each. "We also decorated the space with vintage jars and books that had significance to us," says Chelsea.
Rather than a single cake, Chelsea and Evan had three one-tiered confections, made of layers of honey lavender cake filled with a blackberry buttercream, spiced carrot cake topped with toasted coconut, and Chelsea's own chocolate cake. Each mini dessert was frosted with buttercream icing.
Chelsea and Evan danced their first dance to 311's "Love Song," and left the reception for their honeymoon in Bali.
Though it didn't rain on their big day, Chelsea says it was supposed to — which was of concern since their day revolved around being outdoors. Her advice to future brides is to have a back-up plan. "Most importantly, be prepared to make final decisions and be happy with those choices," she says. "Everyone is there to see you, so it doesn't matter if they are watching from under umbrellas, or sitting in a barn instead of outdoors. Let the little things be little things."
Venue: Blue Sky Land & Cattle Co. || Bride's Wedding Dress: Watters || Hair & Makeup: Faces by Tasha || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Men's Wearhouse || Florist: The Flower Girl || Invitations: Minted || Music: DJ Mike Hill || Catering & Cake: Adalante Catering || Photography: Feather & Twine Photography
Looking for more Texas wedding inspiration? Then check out one couple's laid-back celebration in Austin in the video below.