Erin and Jake met in high school at a rowing club in Austin. It was a private club since none of the schools in Austin had their own teams, and they noticed each other from afar. Jake’s first impression was that she was almost as tall as he was (and holy crap, they are tall!!!) Erin’s first impression was that Jake was shy, and sweet. They spent a few years on each other’s radar before they finally started dating (per Erin “for real dating”) the summer before Erin left for college. They didn’t let that stop them! After a few months together, and just prior to Erin leaving for school, they decided this was too good to let go because of something as silly as 1,000 miles of separation. They continued dating long distance throughout the five years that it took both of them to finish school, and when they finally graduated, they joined each other in Houston. Four years of learning later (including a separation), they are finally getting married.
Jake planned to take Erin for a chilly morning hike in Sam Houston National Forest. He got Erin out of bed that morning, trying to hustle her into her hiking clothes, and sneakily stuffing a change of clothes and some toiletries into a duffle bag. They left the apartment and started driving north on 59, just as if they were really going to hike. But, as they came to the exit for the airport, he abruptly exited, saying there had been a change of plans. They parked, and went through security. They boarded a plane to Newark. They were upgraded to first class, which allowed Jake to drink enough to calm himself down a bit. They landed in Newark an hour and a half late due to some mechanical issues, which was unfortunate. It was early January, and the sun was going down extremely early in the northeast. Nonetheless, they grabbed their rental car (and turned the heated seats ALL the way up), and drove to a beach on Long Island. The beach was closed, so they snuck onto the sand quietly and illegally (ha!) in the 11 degree weather, surrounded by fresh snow and listening to the Atlantic. There was a lighthouse in the distance. Jake gave his speech. He asked Erin to marry him… without kneeling. Erin isn’t traditional, so he assumed she wouldn’t want that.
He got down on one knee, and asked again. And again. And again. (She really liked hearing the question.) She said yes, and they ran back to the car. They then found an Italian restaurant, drank good wine, ate hot food, and went to sleep happy.
The Wedding Day
The forecast said it was going to rain. But not heavy rain, you know the kind of rain that want to stop you from doing anything outside but still not wet your garden. I arrived very early to make sure I can scout the location and get into the mood of the people in this wedding… every wedding has a different feel, believe it or not. As I walked in, Erin’s brother in law, Sean, was greeting me. He pointed me to Erin’s room and right even before I knocked, Aidan – Erin’s sister and bridesmaid, came out and gave me the wedding details that I asked for from Erin a few nights ago.
After I was done with the details and scouting the venue, I joined Erin in her dressing room. Her mom sat quietly at one corner watching Alexis, a friend of Erin, helping her putting the dress on. I could tell that her mom was a little emotional. But proud. After all, her little daughter was about to get married. And it was not helping that Erin was being the second daughter that was getting married. But after seeing Erin struggled putting her shoes on (you can see the non-traditional Erin through her shoes! And the engagement ring), Mom sprung over and helped.
I then took Erin out for a bridal session. And unexpectedly, Erin met her Dad in the hallway. He was shielding Jake from seeing Erin.
Jake arrived a little later. When I came into the room, he was binging on a Vietnamese banh mi and the rest of the guys were just chilling in the groom’s room. I asked him if he was ready, “As ready as I can be!” – he said. We decided that the dressing room was too dark so we went outside to dress him up. His best man, Forrest, was holding his phone in selfie camera so Jake can see himself and put on his bowtie – by the way, I am so admired the ones who can put a bowtie on by themselves. There were so much laughters but mostly giggles from Jake’s siblings. As fashionable as Jake was, his siblings probably never saw him getting dress for such important occasion and being so nervous at the same time.
Time for the ceremony! Thank goodness there was no rain so the plan of having the ceremony outdoor was executed smoothly. Erin and Jake’s speech to each other was so emotional that they both cried. They had found the best person for themselves who got them in every way. And Jake could make Erin giggle right after.
Their wedding was intimate but they had all the fun they wished they could. The night ended with flower petal exit. I was leaving the night thinking to myself, there are truly no two stories the same. Love always works its magic.
Hair & Make up: Your Beautiful Face
Venue: River Oaks Garden Club
Cake: Erin’s mom – Linda Dobbs
DJ: Essen Entertainment
Officiant: Sam Shimek
Registry: Amazon, West Elm
Rings: Eklektic Jewelry Studio
Catering and Rental: Mélange
Photography: Half A Rice Studios