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Real Weddings

Take a look at six of Austin's most beautiful weddings of 2014.

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BRITT MAREN + DEREK ORRELL | October 4, 2014

They say there are two sides to every story, and in model Britt Maren’s case, this old adage holds true. Britt’s husband Derek Orrell, head chef of The Heyward in Brooklyn, vividly remembers the first time be saw Britt in Barcelona, when the two of them were a part of the same modeling agency. Britt, however, didn’t recall meeting Derek until she walked into his apartment by chance six months later in New York City. No matter the story, it’s certainly no surprise that the chef and model duo were married in a classically gorgeous (and delicious!) affair. As a Houston native, Britt came back to her Texas roots to have her wedding at the Escondido Golf and Lake Club in Horseshoe Bay. You may recognize Britt (who planned the entire wedding herself), from the pages of Vogue, and she has also appeared in campaigns for Victoria’s Secret, Neiman Marcus and Alexander Wang. Stunning white floral arrangements and a pig-topped groom’s cake filled the day—the perfect blend of timeless elegance and personal touches. A few of the bride’s favorite details included walking down the aisle in a Monique Lhuillier dress and matching lace jacket, and gifting guests with pretzel brittle and cacao nib caramel corn from one of her and Derek’s favorite New York City pastry chefs. Looking to the future, the newlyweds can see themselves eventually settling down in Austin, especially after purchasing a house in Hyde Park last year. “We both love it [in Austin] and Derek would love to open a restaurant here,” Britt says.

Britt + Derek photography by Hyde Park Photography

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ANNA ANAMI + WILL HARDEMAN | April 19, 2014

“And as is always the case, our moms were right,” Anna Anami says about the relationship between she and now husband, Will Hardeman. After meeting in 2007 and attending UT Austin together, the couple finally began dating in 2012, after years of encouragement from their mothers. One year later, Anna said, “One thousand times, Yes!” to Will’s proposal, and they were married in just four months at The Driskill Hotel, the same place where Will’s parents hosted their own wedding reception years earlier. An elegant spring affair on Easter weekend was the perfect way for the couple to celebrate their romance. Over 400 guests enjoyed both an American and Persian ceremony and feasted on a mix of Iranian and American fare. The cultural traditions were a very important and special part of the wedding day for Anna, as was incorporating several nods to the Easter holiday. The evening culminated in a custom choreographed Viennese Waltz and an Easter-themed dessert bar, complete with a five-tier orange and Grand Marnier chiffon cake. Anna and Will left their wedding lavished in love, surely thanking their mothers for the persistent matchmaking effort that began seven years ago.

Anna + Will photography by Ashley Garmon Photographers

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CHELSEA JOHNSON + TREY HARDEE | September 13, 2014

It was a track meet for Team USA that allowed them to meet 10 years ago, so it’s only fitting that their special day included a pole-vaulting bride-and-groom cake topper and custom Nike shoes for all of the groomsmen. Now an Olympic Decathlete, Trey Hardee said “I do” to “the woman of his dreams,” Chelsea Johnson. Trey describes the moments after he and his new wife walked down the aisle together as his favorite of the day. “We stood alone in a room for about a minute [and] it felt like eternity. That feeling of being with my soul mate, intertwined spiritually forever, made my heart skip several beats,” he says. The deep love that Trey and Chelsea share was prevalent throughout their beautiful, blush-colored celebration with friends and family at Pecan Springs Ranch. The couple infused local Texas flair into their day by serving Rudy’s Barbecue and Gourdough’s Doughnuts, which Chelsea admits were so delicious that they were “devoured in five minutes.” One of Chelsea’s favorite parts of the day, however, was when she and Trey publicly thanked their mothers with a poem and roses during their ceremony. It is this mutual love and care for other people that makes Trey and Chelsea a perfect match today, years after their athletic endeavors first brought them together.

Chelsea + Trey photography by Diana Lott

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NATALIE SMITH + LAWRENCE OCONNOR | October 25, 2014

For bride Natalie Smith, it was the Chair Dance during Hava Nagila that she remembers most from her wedding to Lawrence O’Connor, especially “Being up in the chairs and looking out on all of our friends and family dancing around us in a circle,” she says. This incorporation of Jewish traditions was important to the couple, who married at the University of Texas Alumni Center, under a foliage-adorned chuppah. The fall fête was eight years in the making, as Natalie and Lawrence first met at a Bandera Chili Cook-Off and Biker Rally in 2006, but the timing between them never quite worked until they saw each other four and a half years later at a Funky Meters concert. This love of music led them to find the band, Shinyribs, for their celebration, and Natalie and Lawrence were thrilled to share such a fun and memorable night of live music with their guests. Other personal touches infused their day with eclectic charm, from two of Natalie’s uncles taking part in the wedding ceremony to a specially-commissioned Bill Wilhelmi cake topper, a nod to both the bride and groom growing up with the artist’s work in their childhood homes. The couple may have saved the best for last, though, when they rode off in a pedicab and listened to passers-by cheering them on as they drove through downtown Austin to their after party.

Natalie + Lawrence photography by Stefano Choi

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KELLY WYNNE + WALT FERGUSON | July 5, 2014

When Kelly Wynne, founder and designer of contemporary handbag line, Kelly Wynne, and Walt Ferguson, project manager at White Construction Company, first met at a friend’s party on the Fourth of July, the sparks that flew that night were not just in the sky. The couple, who both grew up in Austin, had instant chemistry when they finally met on that summer night in 2010. They were married exactly four years later, on Fourth of July weekend. The ceremony took place in Hyde Park Baptist Church, where Kelly and Walt shared one of their favorite moments of the day. “It felt like no one else was in the room,” Kelly recalls, “It was just my best friend and me making a life promise to each other.” From there, the day turned into a true celebration, with Kelly and Walt exiting the church to two trumpets playing the song, “Happy,” by Pharrell Williams. As guests entered the reception at the Austin Country Club, they walked into multiple lavishly-decorated rooms, each dripping with lush florals, candlelight and elegant metallics. The magic of the evening continued when Kelly and Walt shared their first dance, leaving Kelly feeling like a proper princess in her Pnina Tornai Venetian lace and Swarovski crystal ball gown. The newlyweds were off to Bora Bora for their honeymoon, but not before the fairytale day concluded with confetti on the dance floor and a sparkler-lit send-off in a 1979 Rolls-Royce Corniche convertible.

Kelly + Walt photography by Julie Wilhite

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NATALIE KOTHE + WILL MEREDITH | July 19, 2014

Surrounded by palm trees and standing beneath the warm California sun, Natalie and Will Meredith said “I do” on the gorgeous grounds of The Biltmore Four Seasons Resort in Santa Barbara. Will attended the University of California at Santa Barbara and the Meredith family has a home in Montecito, so these two Austinites chose to whisk their family and friends out west to witness their seaside nuptials. The all-white affair exuded elegance in every detail, from Natalie’s Monique Lhullier gown to the hand-calligraphed dinner menus. Even the couple’s two Vizslas dressed up for the occasion, with Champ donning a bowtie and Lady wearing a garland of greenery. Their first kiss as a married couple was among the highlights of the day for the new Mr. and Mrs. Meredith, along with the swoon-worthy florals that filled the ceremony and reception sites. “Our floral designer, Mindy Rice, did such an amazing job,” Will recalls, “Her work is incredible and really brought our venues to life.” The celebration also included the best in local fare, as Natalie and Will served their guests sweet pea risotto, a salad of greens, avocado and heirloom tomatoes, and a selection of seasonal entrees. The night wasn’t complete without the newlywed’s first dance to Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” and a moment to take in the view of beautiful Butterfly Beach from their reception. It was then that the events of the day finally sunk in—they were now, finally, and forevermore, husband and wife.

Natalie + Will photography by Jose Villa

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