Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Real Wedding of Amanda and Ian

I love the "Real Wedding" stories that are featured in the glossy Wedding magazines. Even though the couples are complete strangers to me, I will read them word for word and drink in all the details. I didn't want to spend the $700 plus it costs to "feature" my daughter's wedding in one of these, nor do I have connections with a well-known photographer or celebrity wedding planner who will foot the bill. So, I decided to post my daughter's Real Wedding Story right here on Blogger! It was also a way to sum up everything that has transpired in the last year into a more fluid story. But, it turned out long...sorry!

Amanda and Ian
Waco, TX
May 21, 2011

Amanda and Ian were both incoming Freshmen at Baylor University in 2007, and happened to be assigned to the same group together in the Baylor Welcome Week activities. In no time they were dating exclusively and became inseparable during the next 3 years.

During Spring Break of their Junior year, while Amanda was out of the country on a mission trip to Morrocco with their church, Ian called her Father, Wes, and asked if he could make the 2 hour drive up to the Dallas/Fort Worth area for a visit, because he had something to discuss. With a marriage blessing secured from Amanda’s parents (and with all parties sworn to secrecy) Ian planned an outing at the start of the summer break from school. The plans were for the two of them and another couple to go on a “double date” camping trip to the rugged wilderness area of central Texas which holds a large rock formation known as Enchanted Rock. As far as Amanda knew, the whole thing was being planned by the other couple.

It was there while Ian and Amanda had a few quiet moments together admiring the sunset vista of the Texas Hill country, that he got down on one knee and presented an engagement ring to her. She was totally surprised, and accepted the ring tearfully while their friends (who were in on the surprise) snapped photos of the two, and other park visitors clapped at what they had just witnessed.

Wedding planning started soon after and continued through the next 13 months. The couple decided to have the wedding in Waco, where they had lived throughout their college career and had made many good friends. It also happened to be a convenient central meeting point for the bride and groom’s Texas families. They envisioned a fairly formal, traditional church wedding, with a reception featuring a good meal and plenty of desserts. And the bride definitely wanted there to be dancing!

Having the wedding in Waco posed a bit of a logistics problem, since Amanda was based there for the majority of the school year and her parents did not live there. Amanda was also very busy with her Senior year of college. Although she and her mother Janet exchanged many phone calls and emails planning, choosing the vendors, and pulling together most of the major components of the wedding, the Mitchells decided to also seek the help of a “Weekend-Of Cooordinator” in Waco. It would be helpful to have a local wedding expert dealing with the local vendors, pull all the details together, and oversee all the wedding weekend events so that Amanda, Ian, and their families could better enjoy the day. They enlisted Denise Harlan of “Thee Designs” to fulfill these functions.

The church choice was obvious, since Amanda and Ian are active in the college ministry at First Baptist Woodway (a suburb of Waco). Because of restrictions on dancing, the party would have to move away from the church following the ceremony. After researching the venue options in Waco and finding that not many would hold the number of guests that were anticipated, the decision was made to have the reception at the Waco Hilton Hotel. The space included three large meeting rooms, which is known as the “Three Rivers Ballroom” when combined together. The recently renovated hotel had a classic feel and featured in-house food and catering services with a good reputation.

Attendants for the wedding included Maid of Honor, Krista Mitchell (sister of the bride), and bridesmaids Sarah Childs, Rachel Scala, Hannah Crabtree, Paige Baker, and Abigail Pitzer. Ian chose his brother Ryan Hughes to be his Best Man, and groomsmen included Jon Middaugh, Jeremy Goss, Jordan Richardson, Jordan Edwards, and Kyle Martin. Amanda also selected her room-mate Kristin Johnson to attend the Guest Book, and ushers were K.C. Mangen, Moses Sandoval, and Nolan Bixler.

Exactly one week following Amanda’s graduation from Baylor, Magna Cum Laude, with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, the wedding weekend arrived. The day before the wedding, Amanda and her six attendants enjoyed a spa/pamper day including lunch at Ultimate Escape Spa in Hewitt, TX as their Bachelorette outing. That evening Ian’s parents, Chuck and Cathy, hosted a casual family-friendly rehearsal dinner near the church at Mama Bari’s Italian restaurant for the bridal party and immediate family.

On the morning of May 21st, Amanda, her attendants and the Mother of the Bride arose early and were at the church by 7:30 a.m to begin hair and makeup preparations. At 12:00 noon the wedding party made their way down the aisle, with Amanda escorted by her Father, Wes. Amanda and Ian were united in marriage before a gathering of 170 friends and family members, in a meaningful service led by First Baptist Woodway’s College Pastor, Michael Criner.

The bride wore an ivory satin ballgown by Maggie Sottero, featuring pickups, a beaded bodice and embroidered hem and train, with a cathedral length crystal-beaded veil. She chose a simple pearl choker and drop earrings for her jewelry. In keeping with the light blue and ivory color scheme, the bridesmaids all wore floor-length light blue chiffon gowns with a satin waistband and floral detail on one shoulder strap.

The bride’s bouquet was made of light blue hydrangeas, roses, and calla lilies. The bouquet was wrapped in lace from her mother’s wedding dress, and featured an heirloom blue cameo from the Mitchell family. The bridesmaids bouquets were simple stems of light blue hydrangea blooms.

Ryan Hughes played the guitar and sang “Dancing in the Minefields,” joined by Krista Mitchell. Ian and Amanda lit the Unity Candle together during the solo “One Hand, One Heart”, also sung by Krista Mitchell.

After the ceremony, the bridal party and families adjourned for a photography session. A white stretch limousine and driver was standing by to take the bride, groom, and entire bridal party to the Hilton for the reception.

By this time the wedding guests had already arrived at the reception venue and were enjoying delicious appetizers and a punch fountain in the foyer adjacent to the ballroom, which overlooked a patio and garden area of the hotel.

When the ballroom doors opened for the reception, hosted by the brides’ parents, the room was set with tables covered with linens in the blue and ivory color theme. The tables featured several different styles of elegant centerpieces including hydrangeas, white roses, and spider mums, as well as candles and pretty collected vases on mirrors. The guests enjoyed a plated luncheon, while DJ Johnny Bradshaw of Central Texas Talent acted as M.C. and provided music for dining and later dancing. The newlyweds surprised the guests with their choreographed first dance together, to the song "Why Don't We Just Dance?"

Guest tables were given names as well as numbers, with the names corresponding to locations in Waco of particular significance to the Bride and Groom. Photos of the couple at the locations were featured in clear frames with the table numbers attached. Menu cards in the wedding colors were place on the guest tables, along with bubble favors to be used later in the reception.

Instead of a traditional wedding cake, the couple opted for lovely sky-blue iced cupcakes. The tiers of the cupcake stand were decorated with beads and trim by Amanda with the help of Ian’s mother Cathy and Ian’s two grandmothers, in the light blue and ivory color theme. There was also a cake ball display taking the place of the groom’s cake. The cake balls were graciously made and gifted to the couple by a personal friend. The cake ball display stand was crafted by Amanda and her mother, and was in the colors and theme of the Florida Gators, a team favorite of the groom and his family. The reception also featured an ice cream sundae bar which proved to be very popular and refreshing on the hot Texas afternoon.

The guests enjoyed the food, toasts, and traditional bouquet and garter toss, and after a short time of dancing it was time to say goodbye to the newlyweds. The couple would be embarking on a Caribbean Honeymoon cruise the next day, and they needed to drive to Galveston, Texas that evening. The reception guests showered the couple with wedding favor bubbles as they danced their last dance, and then followed the
ouple with more bubble-blowing out to the circle drive of the hotel as the couple departed in the stretch limo. The guests did not leave the ballroom empty handed; they were invited to take leftover cupcakes with them in small Chinese takeout containers provided by the bride and her family.

The couple is still currently residing in Waco, as Ian finishes his last semester of graduate Accounting work at Baylor, and Amanda works for Hewlett-Packard on their Management Information Systems team.

Amanda and Ian’s Wedding Ingredients:
Ceremony Venue First Baptist Church, Woodway, TX
Reception Venue and Catering Three Rivers Ballroom, Hilton Hotel, Waco, TX
Photography Engagement --Abigail Criner Photography, Waco, TX; Bridal Portraits and Wedding – Chapel Hill Photography, Waco, TX
Officiant Pastor Michael Criner
Consultant Denise Harlan, “Thee Designs” Waco, TX
Gown Maggie Sottero, Bridal Co., Denton, TX
Veil Bridal Co., Denton, TX
Hair & Makeup Trendz Salon, Waco, TX
Bridesmaid’s Dresses David’s Bridal
Formalwear Squires Formal Wear, Waco, TX
Flowers Denise Harlan, “Thee Designs” Waco, TX
Cupcakes Patsy’s Bakery, West, TX
Cake Balls Phuong Luu, Waco TX
Stationery Save the Date Cards—designed by bride, Overnight; Invitations--Jordan Browning, “Ever After” Waco, TX ; Programs and Menu Cards—designed by Denise Harlan, “Thee Designs” Waco, TX; printing by Print Mart, Waco, TX
Music Ceremony--Krista Mitchell, Flower Mound, TX and Ryan Hughes, New Braunfels, TX; Reception DJ--Johnny Bradshaw, Central Texas Talent, Waco, TX
Transportation Luxury Limousine, Waco, TX
Rentals Action Rental, Waco, TX (furniture, dancefloor, linens)
Cake Displays; designed and decorated by the families
Favors Bubbles-- Wedding Shop; Printed Napkins--Party City; Chinese Takeout Boxes--; Personalized Labels—Oriental Trading Co. and 123
Honeymoon Carnival Cruise Lines (Caribbean)

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