Happy Hump Day, Lovelies!!! Today’s featured wedding comes from Ashley of Ashgene Photography. She is a Texas based wedding photographer. Ashley has been so accommodating to GSS on this feature. Thank you! Melanie and Wes were married at Melanie’s family’s ranch in Seguin, Texas on April 23, 2011. Melanie was kind enough to answer a few questions for us:
How did you and Wes meet? Wes & I went to Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas together. We met & became fast friends within the first days of starting school freshman year and by Senior Year of High School we were doing everything together. We both went to University of Texas for college, but we never interested in dating each other – we were each other’s support & best friend.
How long have you been together? Oh goodness, it feels like,…. when were we not? But, literally, we have been best friends for almost ten years… dating for 6 of those years & engaged for a little less than one year & married for 6 months!
How did Wes propose? After almost five years of dating and ten years of sharing a best friendship, Wes surprised me with pink champagne & long stemmed pink roses on the rooftop of our NYC apartment! While the Empire State Building watched from above, Wes got down on one knee & popped the question. We enjoyed our first moments of our engagement on top of the world as the sun slipped away behind the Hudson River. What a miraculous sight! Once the sun had said its last goodbye, we went to feast on our favorite meal- Paella and Sangria from our favorite NYC Spanish food restaurant, of course! “Cheers-ing” to many years of happiness and adventure ahead, we could not have been more blissful.
Your dress is gorgeous, where did you get it and how did you know it was “the one”? Well, now that’s a funny story. Being from the fashion industry & educated in fashion, I have been sketching wedding dresses my whole life. I knew what I wanted & knew I wasn’t going to find it. I didn’t want strapless, I wanted layers & layers of organza on the skirt. While in NYC, I bought a white double-faced satin strapless dress as a base so I wouldn’t have to spend time doing the boning & I was going to build my dress on top of that. As life goes, my dress wasn’t touched until about a month before the wedding. My parents were very concerned, so we went to all the Austin wedding boutiques. I remembered one boutique that carried Vera Wang. In the back of my head, I always knew the Diana dress by Vera Wang was the most similar to the dress I had envisioned as my perfect dress.
To make a long story short, we found the dream dress. I took it directly to my tailor, Elsie, to change it a little bit to my liking – raising the hip line, taking in the side seams a bit & redoing the heart shape to better suit me. I altered the Wang. Elsie had it completed in a week – I tried my altered dress on for the first time the Wednesday before my Saturday wedding! I knew it was the “one & only” the second I put it on. I think I can say everything happens for a reason after that – I love my dress more than anything. In the end, I decided not to put straps on it. It just seemed too perfect the way it was.
Oh, I did squeeze in time to making my poofy Priscilla Presley-inspired veil & the Bridesmaids’/Flower Girls Organza Flower belts & corsages with the helpful skills of a friend from fashion school coming to Austin early!
What sold you on your wedding venue? Well, I’m from Austin, but as I say, I grew up on my Ranch. The one place I dreamed of having my wedding in Austin was Laguna Gloria. Clara’s old villa & the beautiful grounds overlooking Lake Austin in itself is perfect. It also had a lot of sentimental value in my life as the place I cultivated my passion for design & in Wes’s family too. His parents were married there in the 80’s! However, my dream place to get married was my family’s ranch, The Runnin R Ranch in Gonzales County. More precisely, I wanted to get married in the barn! However, having a classy affair on a working horse ranch was every overwhelming & my dad would reply with a chuckle, “That old smelly thing!”
I was engaged on June 11, 2010. When this inevitable day came & we started planning for the big day – my first choice was the Runnin R, of course! And without missing a beat, my dad’s reply was the same. I went with my second choice of Laguna Gloria. Luckily, they had April 23rd available! We booked it in July & vigorously started planning, but I didn’t let the ranch go. Through the summer, autumn & winter, my mom, sister & I planned, planned, planned! Save the Dates were sent right after the New Year. Little by little, my parents started to understand that my heart wasn’t fully in Laguna Gloria & as much as I loved it & wanted to make it work, it wasn’t where I was meant to get married & have our special day. Plus, our guest list was much bigger than LG was really available to accommodate. At the beginning of February, less than three months before our wedding date, & after much (much) convincing, my parents finally agreed & committed to changing the venue to the Ranch. However, our ranch is a lot different than a hundred-year-old Italian Villa in Austin. We threw everything out the window & started the planning from scratch three months before the wedding! On top of that, we needed to seriously update the place including roads, barns, etc in order to accommodate the 250 guests. Through a lot of overwhelmingly hard work & many people laboring day after day on little things like gardening to huge projects like renovating the tack room to be a fun photo booth, building a full functioning bar with pull up window in another room, having a neon Runnin R sign made for the new bar, hanging chandeliers & moving hay, we created an oasis in the middle of the country. With no professional wedding planner wanted (my family are creative party throwing people), my dad, mom & I took this project on full time with help from my sister, brother-in-law, fiancé & many friends of our Ranch community – We created the Ranch Wedding Sanctuary I had imagined. All out guests from Austin were brought out there by charter buses on April 23rd & the rest was magic.
What was your “something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue”?
- My something old was my cake topper. It is my maternal grandparents from 1950 whom celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary in June.
- My something new was my teardrop diamond necklace my parents gave me as a wedding present. I had mentioned I would love to wear my mom’s necklace down the isle as my something borrowed, and they surprised me with my own.
- My something borrowed was my maternal great grandmother’s 100 year old Bible that was used in our ceremony.
- My something blue was a white ribbon sewn into in my dress with my maiden name embroidered in blue.
How did you choose your wedding color palette? Well being Easter weekend, I thought pastels. I am a pink lady, so I always knew soft pinks. I also love all white crisp weddings & monochromatic anything. So, we did white & ivory, light pink & slightly deeper but still soft peony pink against the rustic brown & gray barn, green trees & blue sky.
Do you have any advice for bride and grooms that are in the planning process? Ha! Yes, don’t change your mind weeks before the wedding and maybe get a wedding planner! This is a day to be happy & only that! So, once the day comes, let all the planning & details slip away, breath & soak it all in. Brides focus on what matters & thoroughly enjoy you & your husband’s day – it’s the only wedding day y’all will get!
What song did you dance to for your first dance? We wanted our wedding to feel like an NYC Chic Party had been dropped onto the Runnin R Ranch. Both adoring true oldies of music & film, we picked Swing so we could dance to Frank Sinatra, the best performer of all time & a New York legend. We love the fun upbeat vibe & words to ‘Cheek to Cheek’, as well as it has meaning that we will dance through life ‘cheek to cheek’ & the title is engraved in Wes’s wedding ring.
What was your favorite part of your big day? The most memorable part was when the ancient transformer exploded about mid-reception, (leaving us in the dark for a while), a huge cheer went up from the crowd & we impromptu cut the cake by candlelight. Also, hugging my parents at the end of the aisle during the ceremony was super special & joining the reception by dancing with my husband to Cheek to Cheek – all of which really set the tone for the whole experience of the wedding!
Venue: The Radford’s Runnin R Ranch (Yes, there is no g and no apostrophe)
Dress: Vera Wang
Hair: Jessika Cottle owner of Jco Salon and Spa of Austin
Cake: A wonderful local lady named Oralia Avalos who owns Austin Sweet Delights.
Floral: My sister, Glenna K Bruun designed & created all the floral from the centerpieces to boutique to boutonnières. My mom did my bouquet. My mom & I picked the flowers we wanted to use (mostly tulips, peonies, lilies & ranunculus for Easter & then carnations because they are symbolic for our sorority Chi Omega.) at Austin Flower Company & purchased them in bulk.
Linens: We bought bolts of burlap & muslin from Hobby Lobby – my aunt, mom & sister created them!
Catering: Whole Foods Market on Lamar Blvd, in Austin, Headquarters
Tents and rentals: Premiere Party Central of Austin
Take Away Restroom: A Royal Flush, Inc
Lighting: FILO Designs
Transportation: Star Shuttle and Golf Cars of Austin
Bartenders: Austin’s Elite
String Quartet: Pricilla Arasaki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Day of Wedding Planner: Sarah Staats
DJ/Band: Hotcakes (hotcakesentertainment.com)
Photographer: Ashley Roberts of Ashgene Photography
Videographer: Ashley Wedding DVD and Video (RexAshley.com)
Invitations/Wedding Stationery: I did it! I designed them on Photoshop, bought an industrial printer & sat at home for three weeks printing every part of every one – when I say they were, “made with love” I mean it. I did the save-the-dates, programs & other paper goods the same way, except when we finally got around to printing the programs the week before the wedding I sent them to a small printing company to do the job for me!
Thank you so much, Ashley, for sharing this amazing wedding with us! Please stop by Ashgene Photography’s website and show her some love! And thank you, Melanie, for taking your time to answer our questions! We wish you and Wes a lifetime full of love, laughter, and happiness!!! May every day be better than the last!
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