First comes L O V E, then comes M A R R I A G E…
The story of planning our wedding, all the way up to our actual wedding day is something I have wanted to share for SO LONG! For those nearest and dearest to us, you might have already seen the photos, but I promise this is still chockfull of behind the scenes and unseen pics.
As you all know from the From the Beginning post, we got engaged December 19th (2 days after my birthday!) and from there I took off with the planning process. With football coming to an end- and us headed back to Houston- I knew this was it… FULL BLOWN WEDDING MODE.
I was sooo excited, but first things first… I had to find a wedding planner.
There was so much to do… and I mean, SO much: meet vendors, pick a venue, + of course, find my DREAM wedding dress.
But we weren’t about to do all of that without the most important people in our lives by our side…
26 bridesmaids and groomsmen later we were set!
If you don’t know by now how amazing Pinterest is, then this is officially your introduction… it.is.the.best!
I quickly began ‘pinning’ things on Pinterest: dress inspo, décor, flowers + wedding gifts to give our wedding party. I don’t think you ever realize just how much planning goes into planning your dream wedding until you’re right in the thick of it… but with so many decisions- and so little time- I was on it!
I still remember choosing Todd Events to design + plan our special day. I had heard + seen the amazing events that Todd and his team had planned in the past and they were all absolutely S T U N N I N G!
Of course, first I sent them my favorite Pinterest inspirations…
Then we met to discuss color schemes, floral arrangements, centerpieces + so much more…
And with that I left completely satisfied that they not only understood my vision… but that they would make it even that much better!
The actual ceremony and reception venue turned out to be the second place that we looked at. We needed something that WOW’d us… while also fitting our list of 500 people!!! From the second I walked into The Corinthian, I knew it was the one… and funny enough, it was even on my Pinterest Inspo board : ) It was enormous… it was grand… and it was the perfect place to celebrate our big day!
Next we had to pick out the ever so important Save the Dates + Invites.
Wedding Paper Divas designed EVERYTHING from the save the dates to the invites to even the napkins at the bridal shower and wedding. They knew exactly what I was looking for and perfectly coordinated the tones and fonts to fit our wedding scheme. They were truly a great team to work with!
Next we had to pick photographer(s), caterers, and all of the entertainment!
From the moment I spoke to Martha (of Unique Design Studio) I knew I was going to love her! Known for photographing other NFL weddings, I easily found her beautiful work on social media. As soon as I found my wedding dress, I scheduled my bridal shoot in Miami at a beautiful location she had found.
On the day of our wedding she captured every.single.detail- and I mean everything! The thought and care she put into each moment will help us to treasure those memories for the rest of our lives! Thank you soooo much Martha!
We also knew we wanted to have a videographer, and so for that we went with Alex + Whitney from Sculpting With Time. We first met them at Kyle Field (Texas A + M’s home field) where they perfectly captured us running crazy with Mackenzie around the stadium… as well as on my Grandparents’ beautiful ranch another time. If they could capture those moments- especially, in the place where we fell in love- we knew they could capture our wedding day too… and WOW did they deliver! Not only are they an inspirational couple to be around and work with in general, but they produced a gorgeous 15-minute wedding film that we will always have to relive that incredible day… hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Ashli + Mike Evans | Feature Film from Sculpting With Time Productions
For our cakes… yes cakes… we went with Nadine Moon from Who Made the Cake (what a great name btw!) in Houston. Nadine effortlessly took my “want list” of cream colors, pearls and lace detailing and turned it into a masterpiece.
While she whipped up her design, my mom, grandma and best friend, Breanna, + I tasted all the different flavors she had to offer. When I say it was hard to choose… I MEAN IT! Everything was so delicious, but eventually we knew the one that was right for us!
As a surprise, I had a custom Groom’s Cake made but the initial design part was a bit…. challenging. Mike has so many hobbies and likes, but in the end we went with a Harry Potter Groom’s Cake with each tier designated to a different house at Hogwart’s!
If you know Mike then you know that Harry Potter is his absolute favorite movie series of all time- and yes he knows ALL 8 word for word! Forget going toe to toe with him over sports, he likes a good Harry Potter challenge and usually wins every time! Needless to say… the cake was a major hit!
Knowing we would want endless memories of the night, we hired a photo booth company to capture all of the fun + excitement with our family and friends.
Entertainment was a whole other ball game. We needed the party to start… and never stop! We ended up going with 3 different forms of entertainment: Our orchestra, Divisi Strings welcomed our guests before the ceremony. Next, our incredible wedding singer Trace Kennedey, a well-known singer from the X Factor, sang the most perfect rendition of our wedding song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ by Ed Sheeran.
And finally, to keep the dance floor hot all night, we had DJ Steve Nice, from the popular Houston radio station 97.9 The Box. From start to finish, it was literally music to our ears!
With only a few things left, we quickly found our rehearsal dinner spot and caterers.
As soon as Mike heard caterers, he was all about it! I mean what kind of guy wouldn’t want to go try all kinds of amazing food, right? With so many guests and different food preferences, it was SO hard to narrow it down. In the end, we went with Jackson and Company Catering and chose 4 different food stations so there was something for everyone! From the freshest seafood bar to beef and potatoes to a pasta station… NO ONE went home hungry that night!
Finally, it was about where to hold the rehearsal dinner the night before. JW Marriot Houston Downtown Hotel was more than gracious to host our sit down dinner, where we spent the night telling stories, laughing and friends and family sending us wishes for love + happiness.
Later that night, we extended the invitation to our other out of town guests to enjoy a casino and open bar with us, also at JW Marriot. That evening- and the following day after the wedding (which was also Valentine’s Day)- we stayed in the Presidential Suite at the JW. They also gifted us blushing newlyweds with a complimentary couple’s massage… it was the BEST way to start our first day being married.
I even pulled off a few surprises throughout the night…
Such as a video game truck for Mike and his groomsmen for the morning of the wedding! They LOVE video games so I knew this would be the perfect gift for them… and I have to say, IT WAS A HIT!
Then for added entertainment for our guests, we hired a caricature artist from Best Entertainers to sketch pictures of our guests all night long.
Not only was it fun… but it was the perfect souvenir for them to remember the night.
Finally, if you grew up in Texas, then you would know (and I mean… if you know, YOU KNOW) that Whataburger was always one of the go-to fast food spots- especially for late nights after Northgate!
Whenever we head home to Texas, Whataburger is usually one of our first stops, so it was only right that we brought something we love so much to all of our guests after a late night of partying and dancing!
The surprises may have been fun for everyone to see, eat and experience… but I loved being able to watch them all enjoy it even more I think. There’s no better way to thank your loved ones for the continuous support and love than injecting some added fun into the night!
Well, that’s that… everything from start to finish.
My next post will be ALL things wedding style and chic… and yes… that means the dress!