A Vibrant Garden Wedding in Texas With European Flair
Kate and Karim
This love story is a true testament that "the one" might just be halfway across the world. Kate (who hails from Texas), first encountered Karim (who's from Spain), through a mutual friend that she had met while pursuing her MBA. The friend had been Karim's college mate while at St. Andrew's in Scotland and when Kate moved to London, she insisted that the two meet. They went for Spanish tapas on a late summer evening, and the conversation was endless. "I remember going to bed that night thinking, 'Oh boy, I think I am going to marry this guy!'" Kate says. She was certainly right.
After about a year-and-a-half of dating, Karim felt that it was finally time to pop the question. "I knew from the night I met Kate that I wanted to marry her," he says. "I just needed to give her enough time to want to say yes!" So, while the London-based couple was on a trip back to Kate's hometown, Karim proposed after getting her father's blessing in person. "Family is really important to us both and whilst we live abroad, we try to stay close," he explains. The moment was also extra special because Kate's brother is in the military and was about to deploy and Karim's at-home proposal allowed everyone to be a part of it.
For this "traditionally modern" cosmopolitan couple, they wanted to celebrate their love where Kate is from. "Austin is a great city which epitomizes the best of the Texas Kate loves," Karim says of their choice. When it came to choosing a specific venue, Laguna Gloria at The Contemporary Austin appealed to both of them—she loves contemporary art, and the property's villa doubled as a sculpture park, while he loves the outdoors and instantly fell in love with the grounds.
It's no surprise that for their wedding theme, they focused on "Europe meets Texas with a bohemian twist." March 26, 2016, was a perfect spring evening. Kate and Karim exchanged their own vows surrounded by 150 loved ones who traveled in from all over the world, and fusing their cultures and backgrounds while celebrating their love, their colorful garden wedding was a feast for the eyes.
The Welcome Bag
Everyone got a warm Texas welcome with their desert-stamped favor bags filled with treats from all over the world including Tito's vodka and lime (to make a drink that Kate and Karim dubbed "Texas Ranch Water"), and handmade blue-and-white pottery from Mexico. All guests also received white espadrilles, a fun homage to Karim's Spanish roots and his love of polo.
While dress shopping with a friend in Milan, Kate was on the lookout for a gown that was sleek, modern, and Italian-made. She tried on a couple of styles before stepping into her chosen made-to-measure number from a local atelier. To contrast with the gown's heavy silk and extravagant bow on the back, she paired it with a delicate Francesca Bartolucci veil and baroque pearl earrings.
Straying from convention, Kate didn't assign a specific color to her bridesmaids. Instead, she just gave them a very abstract mood board and encouraged her ladies to wear whatever they wanted. The result: bright, bold colors that aptly fit in with the springtime celebration.
Prior to the ceremony, the groom's father gave him some sound advice. "He said, 'life is a gift, and there is nothing better than sharing that gift with the person you love.'" Karim recalls.
The Bride's Entrance
Accompanied by her father, Kate walked down a path of overarching trees and tea lights to Pachelbel's "Canon in D."
Kate and Karim kept things very personal as they wrote their entire ceremony and pulled together poems, readings, songs, a Johnny Cash quote, and artistic depictions of one another. Kate's mom also added a special touch. "She wrote and read a poem called 'Let Them Have' with her wishes for us," the bride explains.
The Cocktail Hour
Following the ceremony, everyone sipped on dirty martinis and Old Fashioneds (the bride and groom's favorite drinks, respectively) by the lake. "We wanted the cocktail hour to feel very relaxed, like you were in the garden of someone's home, with Spanish music playing and delicious food," Kate explains. In keeping with that, concoctions were garnished with edible flowers and an acoustic band playing Spanish tunes lent to the atmosphere.
Friends and family were dressed to the nines for the black-tie event. "Having grown up in such different parts of the world, it was a dream to have our nearest and dearest, everywhere from India to Mexico, in one place coming together and sharing this moment," Kate says of the crowd that traveled from near and far. "It really brought our lives and stories together for the first time."
The Guest Book
On their travels, the twosome collect illustrated children's novels by Miroslav Šašek. As a fun nod to that, the author's "This Is Texas" functioned as the newlywed's guest book.
Dinner was served behind the villa and featured a long, curved table, a common sight at European weddings. Gold chairs added a glamorous yet industrial vibe, and mismatched goblets added a pop of color to the fancy dinner-party style reception.
The Table Décor
Tea candles, jewel-toned goblets, and an arrangement of peonies, roses, sweet peas, freesia, and anthurium in bronzed vases dressed up the tables, with table numbers by Carmen Collins indicating guests' places.
The Place Settings
Hints of gold were featured yet again in the classy flatware, which contrasted nicely with the wooden table and gray linens. The groom's sister also penned all the place cards.
A simple two-tiered Green Lily Bakery cake, decorated with peonies, ferns, and anthurium, ended dinner on a sweet note. "I don't quite remember what the flavor was, but I know it was delicious," Karim says.
Kate and Karim had their first dance to "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison. At around 11 p.m., everyone moved indoors where the real party began, thanks to the DJ who was accompanied by a live saxophonist.
At the end of the night, loved ones wished the newlyweds well with a sparkly sendoff.
Photography, Katherine O' Brien Photography
Location, Laguna Gloria at The Contemporary Austin
Event planning, Bird Dog Wedding
Catering, Contigo Catering
Flowers, Bricolage Curated Florals
Officiant, Kim Session
Cake, Green Lily Bakery
Hair, Andrea Juarez of Pearl Hair & Makeup
Makeup, Maris Malone Calderon of Pearl Hair & Makeup
Lighting, ILIOS Lighting Design