Laura is a straight-talking, cowboy-boot-wearing Texan; Matthew is a volleyball-playing California guy. A while after his sister introduced them, they spent two and a half years commuter-dating between Austin and Los Angeles. Their backgrounds are decidedly different: Laura's family spent weekends at her great-grandfather's farmhouse, decorated with a huge taxidermic Texas longhorn. Matthew was raised in the elegant Pacific Palisades in a house overlooking the ocean and near a golf course. Yet Laura and Matthew share many values, most notably a devotion to family. In 1999 at a chic Parisian restaurant, Matthew popped the question.
In an intimate ceremony, Laura and Matthew recite the same wedding vows said by her parents, who celebrated their 40th anniversary earlier that week. The flower girl wears a hair wreath that was handwoven the previous afternoon by Laura's sister and bridesmaid, Hollis. The ring bearers held pillows contributed by each family.
Matthew's brother-in-law C.J. Olivares and his daughter Natalie try their hand at croquet; with a dozen children under age 10 in attendance, the couple wanted to make sure the kids had as much fun as the grownups, so the reception also featured other games and an arts-and-crafts table.
Since the Groppes had vacationed at the ranch for so many years, the family had become quite close to the head wrangler, who wanted to do something special for the wedding: A wagon ride to the reception was his gift. He spent the week sanding and repainting the wagon, meticulously grooming the horses, and making it into a chariot for the wedding party.