Melissa Sweet, trousseaunicole.com
Laura J. Weems, 318-473-2351
Don Strange of Texas, donstrange.com
Old Glory Ranch, oldgloryranch.com
The Pink Tulip, pinktulipinvitations.com
She made the first move. When Elizabeth McCord, 31, planted a good-night smooch on David Welp, 29, the longtime college buddies went from friendship to flirtation. Two years later, David proposed during a raft ride down an Austin stream. "I didn’t see it coming," confesses Elizabeth, who plunged into planning a Southern-style party. Choosing the site, the Old Glory Ranch, in Wimberley, Texas, was a no-brainer. "My family owns it, so I would have been shot if I hadn’t gotten married there."
But come the clear April evening of their wedding, Elizabeth was feeling no pressure as she and David exchanged vows in the ranch’s Victorian-style pine chapel. A reading from the Bhagavad Gita (a sacred Hindu text) made for a spiritual ceremony. "The personal touches created a special energy and flow," explains Elizabeth.
The good vibrations carried through to the reception, where 450 guests sipped cocktails on a covered patio as the chapel was transformed into a grand banquet setting that showcased the couple’s eclectic taste. There were crystal chandeliers, tables covered in kiwi-colored linens, a dolphin ice sculpture and miniature donkeys offering bottled water from floral baskets. After a dinner of mesquite-grilled quail and sautéed oysters, the Pictures, a pop cover band, got the party started as Elizabeth traded her dress for a well-loved pair of jeans. "David and I were the last to leave. We wouldn’t have had it any other way." –Terrie Collymore
Learn From Elizabeth and David
A Dog’s Life: The bride’s pet pooch, Bacchus, played ring bearer and trotted down the aisle wearing a bone-shaped pillow around his neck. Elizabeth’s brother, Todd—her man of honor—had a pocketknife handy to snip the strings that held the bands.
Festive Fake-Out: The couple staged an elaborate farewell for their guests, complete with handheld sparklers, fireworks and a vintage Cadillac—then returned 30 minutes later, decked out in casual duds, ready to party.
Sugar, Sugar: Why have just one sweet? With an assist from her baker, an old college friend, Elizabeth designed a groom’s Love Goddess cake that featured 50 mini chocolate truffle confections.
Cooking alfresco-style yields flavorful foods like grilled lamb chops with mango chutney and chicken quesadillas.