Tag Archives: Marriage

The Perfect Wedding Venue

23 Sep

Bell Tower Chapel- Katie Norris Portrait Arts

The venue is the first big piece of any wedding planning puzzle. When I think of the venue Anthony and I selected, I can’t help but think it is perfect. We started talking about where we wanted to get married and we came up with two absolute criteria: the first is that we wanted to get married in Fort Worth, where I, and both of our parents live, the second criterion was that I didn’t want to spend more than a certain amount on our venue. Anthony narrowed down the options even further by saying he didn’t want to stray too far from downtown.

Another deciding factor in our venue hunt was date. We played hopscotch on the calendar, avoiding family birthdays, holidays, and the Texas heat until we came up with our options: April or October. We didn’t want the average 14 month engagement, so we settled on April and started our search. I added one more thought to the list of ideals, but tried to remain flexible: I wanted to have the ceremony and reception in the same place.

I did my research, and lots of it. I began online by looking photos and compared pricing. Then I sent e-mails and made phone calls. Ultimately, I narrowed it down to two venues: YWCA and Bell Tower Chapel. I set up an appointment for Anthony and I at Bell Tower via e-mail, then called YWCA to set up an appointment and found out they were booked each weekend in April. If Bell Tower didn’t work out, the search would continue.

Let me back up a bit. When I first saw Bell Tower Chapel, it stood out to me. It was the only venue that grabbed me. It might have even been love at first sight (if you can fall in love with a venue).  I had never seen it, nor heard of it. I didn’t know anyone who had gotten married there, but the photos, which don’t do the venue justice, spoke to me.

We met with coordinators of Bell Tower, and signed a contract. That’s it. One venue is all we visited. But it gets better.  As silly or insignificant as they may seem the chairs that come with the venue are, well, perfect. My colours are metallics. The chiavari chairs for the reception area are gold. Additionally, what venue called Bell Tower would be complete without a bell? Anthony and I are looking forward to ringing the bell after we walk back down the aisle together. Wedding bells will be ringing, literally.

There are a couple of other details that add to the feeling of delightful perfection. The Chapel was built in 1958 and designed by architect Donald Nelson. That may mean nothing to you, but it holds significance to us. One of Donald Nelson’s most notable works was Fair Park, in Dallas, Texas, where we met! Furthermore, the chapel was donated in 2008 to ACH Child and Family Services. They had no programmatic use for the chapel and gardens so they use it as a wedding venue and all proceeds support the mission of the organization.

Location. Budget. Timing. Significance. Support.

Venue perfection.

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He Got On One Knee

14 Aug

Anthony picked me up from work on Friday, August 3rd. My stepdad was working on my car, and Anthony was in town because he had the day off. Earlier in the day Anthony had asked me if I wanted to try any new restaurants for dinner (he knows how much I love doing that). I named two places, but we ended up settling on another. I suggested we go straight from work but Anthony said he wanted to go to my house where he had forgotten his new camera.

As soon as I walked into the house I thought, “It smells strangely like flowers in here.” Then I opened my bedroom door and understood why. I was up to my knees in balloons and there were dozens (and dozens) of white flowers everywhere. I turned around and he was on one knee. The moment was such a blissful blur. I don’t remember much of what he said, but I knew he was asking me to marry him. I said yes!

Once I agreed to become is wife, he handed me a little black lock-box: a little something for me to open on our wedding day. I’m sure he did it because he knows it will drive me crazy until April 27th (also because he is sweet and thoughtful, creative and romantic). He proceeded to tell me that he had made previously made reservations for Ellerbe’s, one of the two restaurants I suggested earlier. We dined and celebrated for two hours!  The evening felt so surreal.

I don’t think I could have picked a ring for myself that I love more! He worked with Bario-Neal to customize it. The rose gold, the champagne diamonds, the etching: his doing. My (other) best friend later told me she thought that I had picked the ring. After telling her I hadn’t she said, “He knows you so well.” What a symbol of his love!

Anthony went to such great lengths to make the proposal a surprise. He met me for lunch in the middle of the day after talking to my parents in the morning with plans to prepare the proposal after lunch. I couldn’t have kept such a secret, or such a straight face!

I’m so thrilled to be marrying him. I feel as if, before he proposed, he “married” himself to me. He asked himself the tough questions. He made the commitment. He took the risk. He said yes, all before asking me to. I am loving and enjoying this fiancée phase. What a sweet 9 months we will have of planning and preparation for a lifelong marriage.

 

Jordan + Nicole

1 Aug

In June, a couple of my childhood friends got married. The sweetest part about their big day is that you could tell they had put as much thought and effort into planning and thinking about and preparing for the marriage as they did the wedding. They had a Friday evening ceremony followed by a dessert reception. It has been so much fun for me to learn more about the wedding by reading the bride’s mom’s blog, and from my lengthy q+a with the bride. Here are some excerpts of Nicole’s answers.

  • What was your favorite part of the planning process?
My favorite part of the planning process was knowing the end goal was to marry Jordan. Next to that, the time I was able to spend with my family and my mom planning the wedding was extremely precious. 
This is my favorite picture of Nicole and her Mom.

Nicole and Her Mom

  • What advice would you give brides-to-be?
Tell yourself,  “At the end of all of this, worst case scenario, I get married to the person I’m supposed to marry.” This keeps it all in perspective. And if you can’t tell yourself it’s worth it because you are marrying the person, stop right where you are. ALSO, dedicate many hours to preparing for marriage as you plan a wedding. Jordan and I read Real Marriage by Mark and Grace Driscoll, 1 chapter a week, highlighted stuff, and came together to talk and ask hard questions. 
Marriage Contract
  • What were the small details that you hoped people noticed?
I hoped people noticed the pictures we chose to use, I also loved that my mom’s wedding dress was present, and  that people felt like their time was respected. 
Mother's Wedding Dress
  • What was your least favorite part of the planning process?

 The small details like picking out rentals. I got to a point where I didn’t want to look at silverware and different dishes and then calculate the best deal. There were many times I wanted to say “I don’t care about that. You decide and let me know how it goes.” A bride shouldn’t feel guilty if she doesn’t absolutely love every part of planning her wedding.

  • How long in total were you able to sit down during the reception?
I think that I may have sat for 10 minutes as soon as we got there, had a couple bites of food, and then I didn’t sit down until Jordan and I left.

Mr. and Mrs. Masons

  • Did Jordan play a large role in the planning?
 Jordan is so passionate about music that he chose all the ceremony music and rearranged the pieces for the piano and viola player we had at the wedding. He did the arrangement for “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros that I walked down the aisle to.
The Groom’s cake was a book of sheet music “opened” to the music he arranged for her to walk down the aisle to.
Groom's Cake

  • As far as budget goes, where do you think you got the most “bang for your buck” or value?
My dress was only $800 which I thought was great, but I think not paying a DJ and making our own playlist was a GREAT way to save money. I never went into the planning process wanting to spend much money, but you find the deeper into planning you get, the more beautiful you want a wedding to be, the more money you have to spend. So you fight the “is this REALLY worth it” battle within yourself.
Veil
  • Was there anything you wanted your guests to learn about you as a couple from your wedding?
We wanted our guests to know that the Lord comes first in our relationship, and it is only by His grace and example that we can love each other selflessly.
  • What has become of all the wedding decor? (donated, tossed, repurposed, etc.)
Alot of the wedding decor was created with the intention of being reused. We used MUCH of the decor to decorate, and that was our goal from the beginning of wedding planning, to spend money on pieces we love so much we want to have them in our home.
Below is a picture of a sign the Father of the Bride made for the wedding. Read his wedding day letter to his daughter and weep. Or blubber.
Sign by FOB

  •  Would you mind sharing your vows in part or in whole? (Nicole did share the complete vows, I shared my favorite lines for the purpose of length.)
    Jordan’s vows: 
    I promise you I will:
    Speak calmly and never be harsh.
    Diligently take care of and provide for you.
    Not be perfect nor think I am, but I will always give the best of me to you
    Always see you as my standard of beauty
     
     Nicole’s vows:
    I vow to:
    Enrich you and better you through support, respect, and admiration.
    Kiss you every day.
    Be a safe place, where home is an oasis and is rejuvenating.
  • Any places you’d suggest to someone travelling to your honeymoon location?
We went to Seattle and LOVED it. We stayed in downtown in a condo we found on homeaway.com and walked everywhere. We went to Pike Place Market, which is a MUST! We ate amazing food and bought salmon from the market that we cooked at our condo in the full kitchen.
  • As a new wife, is there any “new marriage” advice you would give others?

Don’t get upset if your spouse doesn’t do things on your clock. I realize that it’s not fair for me to expect him to jump up on my watch. If something bothers you that you can fix, just fix it. 

Credits:

Photographer: Nicholas Leitzinger/Venue: Eagle Mountain International Church/Dessert Bar: Milestone Culinary Arts Center/Invitations and Programs: Amy Bomar/Flowers: The Elegant Petal/Videographer: Charis Pope/Cakes: Colleen’s Cakes/Dress: By Watters from Addison Bridal Couture

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