Aaryn and Nick's whirlwind romance began on January 31, 2014, when the pair met while out at a bar in Houston, Texas. They fell in love quickly, and over the summer, Aaryn began to get suspicious that a proposal was on the horizon. "Nick and I had started to plan a trip to Disney World, and my friends told me that he was definitely going to propose there, so I had no expectation of a proposal before we left," Aaryn says. But Nick caught her off guard when, about a month before their trip, he said he wanted to go look at engagement rings for fun.
"We walked into Robbins Brothers, and he got down on one knee and told me to pick out whichever ring I loved—just like in Sweet Home Alabama!" Seven months after meeting, Aaryn and Nick were engaged.
The bride, a wedding and event coordinator with Something To Celebrate, leaned on her industry friends (and her wealth of knowledge) to plan a traditional Texas wedding with a formal twist on May 8, 2015. She and her groom chose Amber Springs, a rustic yet elegant venue north of Houston, for its laid-back charm. Keep reading to see Julie Paisley's photos of how this wedding planner brought her own bridal dreams to life!
Once Nick and Aaryn found a venue that was rustic, glamorous, and could fit all of their 214 guests, they started bringing their formal vision to life, beginning with invitations with lace-inspired cut-outs.
Aaryn's Sottero and Midgley gown followed suit, combining a crystal bodice with a full organza skirt. "I knew it was the one before we were even engaged!" the bride reveals. The bridesmaids' antique lavender gowns, with an off-the-shoulder neckline, added even more romance. Says Aaryn, "I knew that was the silhouette I wanted, and it was hard to find. But the search was worth it!"
The bride's bouquet combined blush peonies, burgundy ranunculus, and ivory and lavender roses. A charm holding a picture of the bride's late father was tied to the bouquet, along with a silver pendant that Nick had given to his mother before he was deployed.
A lush floral arch, covered in roses, hydrangeas, and peonies, was set at the end of the aisle.
The aisle itself was edged with curly willow branches covered with roses, lanterns, and blush rose petals. At each seat, guests found a cone of petals to toss once the couple was pronounced husband and wife.
"The look on Nick's face when we saw each other for the first time was amazing," says Aaryn. "He rarely shows emotion, and I could tell he was fighting back tears."
Aaryn did almost all of the planning herself, then handed the reins over to a fellow coordinator the week of the wedding. "She took my very detailed plan and executed it flawlessly," says Aaryn.
Inside the ballroom, tables topped with pin-tucked champagne linens surrounded the hanging cake display. A memory table in honor of Aaryn's father, who passed away the same day that Aaryn and Nick met, featured a yellow boutonniere, his cowboy hat, and a photo. "Looking back now, I think that my father is the reason Nick and I met that night," says the bride.
Aaryn and Nick chose three types of centerpieces for their tables. Tall arrangements combined lavender and blush roses with curly willow and candles while medium and low runners of eucalyptus and fresh pink flowers decorated rectangular tables.
The couple created two signature cocktails that guests enjoyed throughout the evening: The Mrs., lavender lemonade with Tito's vodka, and The Mr., Jameson and Coke. Everyone snacked on bacon-wrapped quail before dining on herb chicken and roast beef.
For loved ones less interested in a signature cocktail, the couple worked with Three Empires Brewing to craft two beers that were were brewed just for the occasion. Aaryn and Nick chose a dark wheat and a blackberry porter for their guests to enjoy.
The dramatic hanging cake display featured strands of crystals and a lush display of hydrangeas and roses. The five-tiered confection, decorated with silver pearls, had layers of white cake with amaretto, frosted with vanilla buttercream.
At the end of the evening, guests tossed petals as the new Mr. and Mrs. made their exit.
Says Aaryn, "I know I'm a wedding coordinator, but my advice is to just elope! But if you have your heart set on a wedding, hire a coordinator and a team of vendors you really connect with and trust, and they'll make the process so much easier."
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Amber Springs || Wedding Planner: Aaryn Williams and Kristin Shrimplin of Something To Celebrate || Event Designer: Pink Parasol Designs & Coordinating || Bride's Wedding Dress: Sottero and Midgley || Shoes: Gianni Bini || Jewelry: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: Blush and Glow || Bridesmaids' Dresses: Bill Levkoff || Groom & Groomsmen's Attire: Jos. A. Bank || Engagement Ring: Henri Daussi || Wedding Bands: Robbins Brothers || Florist: The Flower Girl || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Ceremony Music: Avalon Music || Reception Music: Platinum || Catering: All Star Catering || Beer: Three Empires Brewing || Cake: Whisk Bakery || Rentals: A Finer Event, Darryl & Co.