Mitch Myers was stuck in the friend zone with Kayla Kiser's for years before he finally got the gumption to ask her on a date. Luckily, it was the only date the pair needed in order to discover what had been there been between them all those years. "We both knew on that first date that this was it for us," Kayla says, "and we couldn't believe it took us so long just to go out." On that first date, the couple went casual at an area pizza joint, so on the eve of their wedding, they returned to relax and soak in what was to come. "Instead of having a rehearsal dinner, we went back to the restaurant to share a pizza," the bride says. "It was very special, and it took the nerves right off. It really let us focus on each other and have a quiet moment in all the crazy."
Kayla and Mitch decided to have not one but two wedding celebrations: An intimate mid-December morning ceremony and brunch that bonded them in marriage, followed by a New Year's Eve reception for 150 guests — with a break for their honeymoon in between. Their unusual schedule allowed the couple to plan and party without stress: "The reception was just a fun get together with all of our friends to celebrate a new year and our new marriage, a nice chance for everyone to go big and get dressed up."
With Kayla's sister and brother-in-law at the helm of the planning process — they own GRO Floral & Event Design in Dallas, where the two-part celebration was held — the couple was able to kick back and relax as their two parties came together. See how they pulled it off below, as documented by Shaun Menary Photography.
With two unique parties in store, the couple invited their guests to the celebrations with different paper suites. For their ceremony at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, 80 guests received a formal ivory and gold invitation complete with elegant calligraphy. "The mansion is a smaller venue, perfect for a more intimate party and looks beautiful in the morning for brunch," Kayla says.
For their New Year's Eve reception at the Joule Hotel, the bride and groom chose a fun navy and gold invitation, ideal for the fun party they had in store for 150 friends and family members.
As Kayla was trying on other wedding dresses in the fitting room, her best friend was on the hunt for the gown in the salon's racks. She found it — an Italian silk trumpet by Anne Barge — and immediately brought it to Kayla to try on. "It was simple and timeless and made me feel beautiful," says Kayla. "No fuss about it." To complete her look and give it a little sparkle, the bride wore a beaded belt and a crystal hair pin on the big day.
Mitch kept his look classic, wearing a navy tuxedo, soft gray tie, and a white boutonniere.
Kayla asked her bridesmaids (including her sister-turned-planner!) to wear mismatched dresses in shades of gray. Each woman carried a round bouquet of burgundy and white peonies, dusty miller, and berries except for Kayla, who toted an arrangement of more delicate pinks.
The couple's dog, Lenny, also made a brief appearance at the morning celebration. Their guests loved seeing the dapper dog, who was dressed in a blue bow tie for the occasion. "Some of our friends even started using the hashtag #lennyfindsadad," Kayla says.
For their ceremony and brunch, the couple chose the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas, a space where the bride had visited often with her family. "We have always gone to the mansion for dinner when we had something really important to recognize and celebrate," she says. "The mansion seemed fitting for this occasion as well." Plus, the property provided the intimate atmosphere the couple wanted for the 80 guests who attended that day.
Kayla and Mitch trusted GRO Designs to create every décor aspect, down to the color palette. "A lot of the floral design was a surprise to me, which was the fun part about the ceremony," Kayla says. "I didn't choose colors or design — I just trusted them."
It seems Kayla put her trust in some seriously talented visionaries. The designers created a flower wall ceremony backdrop made of white, pink, green and burgundy blooms, with a cross as the simple centerpiece to an otherwise spectacular space.
Kayla's father walked her down the aisle, before she and Mitch exchanged traditional Christian vows. "I wanted it to be very intimate and special, just focused on the Lord and our new marriage, which Mitch's uncle officiated," Kayla describes.
After the ceremony, the room was quickly changed over so that guests could sit and enjoy brunch with the couple. GRO Designs yet again designed the décor, running pink blooms held in white bud vases down the length of long rectangular tables, the flowers fading in an ombré pattern from fuchsia to just-barely blush.
In lieu of place cards, the couple set out gold ornaments decorated with guests' names. Ornaments were a theme of the day, with the couple swapping them in for a tradition guest book, too. "Our guests signed with gold and silver pens on gold or white ornaments," Kayla explains. "I cannot wait to decorate our first Christmas tree together and reread all the thoughtful things people wrote on these ornaments."
Despite the early hour, the couple still served a traditional strawberry cream cheese wedding cake, decorated with fresh flowers in the couple's color palette, for dessert.
Kayla and Mitch shared a dance to Leon Bridges' "Coming Home," then left the brunch in a shower of pink rose petals.
Fast forward 11 days, and the couple returned from their Turks and Caicos honeymoon to join 150 guests at Dallas' Joule Hotel for their New Year's Eve reception. "The hotel is anything but cookie cutter," explains Kayla. And the couple's décor — think, gold, silver and black streamers, colored lighting, and a checkered dance floor — only made the space more unique.
Here, Kayla slipped on a glittering Jenny Packman dress, and danced the night away with Mitch and their family and friends. "I didn't do a lot of bridal things at the party," she says. "We just had a good time all together."
That good time was fueled by tasty bites like mini sliders and tacos and unique signature drinks.
For dessert, an assortment of sweets pleased every palette.
Kayla, Mitch, and all of their guests made memories in a prop-filled photo booth, complete with requisite New Year's hats and glasses.
The evening ended with a New Year's kiss and metallic balloons falling from the ceiling.
Kayla realizes their wedding schedule was unconventional, but she wouldn't change a thing. "Go with your gut," she advises other brides. "I would know immediately what I wanted, but would still spend hours researching just to decide that I wanted the first choice. I just needed to trust myself better with these big decisions."
Ceremony Venue: Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Reception Venue: The Joule Hotel
Wedding Planner & Florist: GRO Designs
Veil & Groom's Attire: Stanley Korshak
Hair: Pin Salon
Makeup: Maitee Miles
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Nordstrom
Photographer: Shaun Menary Photography