One Bride Stayed True to Her Texas Roots When Planning This Rustic Ranch Wedding

Real Weddings

When Marina Lodato arrived home from work on October 24, 2014, she expected to see her boyfriend waiting for her in their apartment in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Instead, she walked in and found a gorgeous bouquet of flowers with a card that told her to go straight to the roof of the building, where she found Patrick Paccione down on one knee.

The couple gave themselves about a year to plan for their November 7, 2015, wedding at Texas Ranch Life in Chappell Hill, Texas. "The landscape and setting was exactly what I had envisioned for our day," Marina says. With help from a day-of coordinator from Keaton Events, this couple pulled off a classic Texas celebration full of romantic details that honored the bride's Southern roots. You'll fall in love with this couple's charming day, as captured by Sharon Nicole Photography.

Marina works in fashion and knew she wanted to make an elegant, statement-making dress for her wedding day. After trying on around 30 gowns, the bride found her Vera Wang A-line wedding dress with lace trim detailing and ivory and nude tulle. "I know it sounds cheesy, but I truly felt like a princess," she says. Complete with an open-back and soft, flowing waves that were accented with fresh flowers, Marina's look was perfect for a romantic outdoor wedding.

In an effort to keep her accessories minimal, the bride wore crystal drop earrings, a vintage amethyst ring from her great grandmother, and Oscar de la Renta navy heels. Her all-white bouquet of anemones, ranunculus, peonies, and Queen Anne's lace was a beautiful finishing touch.

Patrick chose a classic navy suit for his wedding day attire. His boutonniere was made of white ranunculus and seeded eucalyptus wrapped in twine.

The old adage "Everything is bigger in Texas" rings true here. This couple had a huge bridal party, which clocked in at 20 attendants! The group was made up of the bride's matron of honor, eight bridesmaids, and one "bridesman," and the groom's two best men and eight groomsmen. The ladies wore chiffon J.Crew gowns paired, while Marina's male bridesmaid wore a Calvin Klein charcoal suit with a rose-colored bow tie. Each 'maid carried a romantic bouquet of blush peonies, ranunculus, and dusty miller.

Patrick's groomsmen all wore slim fit navy suits with a Calvin Klein gray linen tie.

The couple's outdoor ceremony was held on the ranch's lawn, where an aisle with galvanized buckets of baby's breath faced a 30-foot altar of trailing greenery. "I was very involved in picking every little detail," the bride says. "It was overwhelming at times, but I plan events for a living so it was also second nature."

In keeping with the charming vibe of their outdoor venue, Marina and Patrick chose wicker chairs for their guests to sit in. The pair also created a custom wedding logo with their initials around a star that was stamped on each ceremony program.

The flower girl, Evelyn, started the ceremony by walking down the aisle in a voluminous tulle dress and a baby's breath crown. Two of the couple's nephews served as ring bearers, dressed in navy pants and suspenders and adorable cowboy boots. They even carried a homemade wooden sign down the aisle that read "Uncle Patrick, here comes your girl!"

Marina's father walked her down the aisle covered in blush colored rose petals. Then, the couple shared personalized readings and exchanged traditional wedding vows. Once they were pronounced husband and wife, the newlyweds made their exit to music performed by two local guitarists.

The party started in the venue's main hall where guests took in a stunning 360-degree view of the ranch through floor to ceiling windows. Marina and Patrick made their grand entrance as husband and wife as Beyonce's "Love On Top" played to kick off the celebration. Then, everyone found their seats with help from a chalkboard sign designed with the couple's custom logo.

Despite having a clear vision of what they wanted their wedding would look like, Marina says planning from afar wasn't always easy for her and Patrick. The duo made six trips back and forth from their home in New York City to Houston to meet with vendors. During those visits, she and Patrick decided on a color scheme of midnight navy, charcoal gray, and dusty rose, along with accents of whites and creams.

Reception tables were topped with vintage embroidered linens and featured rustic wooden centerpieces made from an assortment of hydrangeas, ranunculus, dahlias, seeded eucalyptus, Queen Anne's lace, and dusty miller. Table settings were topped with cookies.

Signature cocktails were inspired by two locations that are incredibly meaningful to the newlyweds — Texas, where the bride grew up, and New York City, where they met and live together. Guests who chose "The Cowboy" enjoyed a spicy margarita, while those who chose "The Yankee" sipped on the couple's take on a Manhattan.

Marina and Patrick wanted to serve their favorite cuisine — Tex-Mex — for dinner. Cilantro lime shrimp, ceviche, and quesadillas pleases everyone during cocktail hour. Then, food stations like a guacamole and make-your-own fajita bar gave friends and family an interactive meal option.

For dessert, Texas-staple Blue Bell ice cream was served up alongside the couple's three-tiered almond cake with dulce de leche and strawberry filling.

Marina and Patrick shared their first dance to Keith Urban's "Making Memories of Us," and then joined their guests on the dance floor for a night full of entertainment. "My DJ was fantastic and there was never a dull moment on the dance floor," Marina remembers.

The newlyweds kicked off an incredible two-week honeymoon in Bankgkok, later traveling to the Thai cities of Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and Krabi.

Venue & Catering: Texas Ranch Life || Day-Of Coordinator: Kristi Varela of Keaton Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Makeup: Jentry Kelley || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Sea Wave Diamonds || Flowers: Flora Bella Designs || Invitations: Sincerely, Jackie || Other Paper Products: Rachel Nieman || Music: Downtown Events || Cake: Susie's Cake || Photographer: Sharon Nicole Photography

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