Gold accents, floral chandeliers, and a neutral color palette made this upscale, peony-themed affair anything but plain.
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Suzanne and Joseph were friends and coworkers long before they made plans to spend the rest of their lives together. Joseph, who owns several restaurants outside Houston, put Suzanne on his management team nearly five years before the couple began to date. But once they were an official pair, it didn't take nearly as long for Suzanne to start dropping hints about the type of engagement ring she preferred. "I made sure he knew I wanted it to be a solitaire with a thin gold band," she says.
Though the ring may not have been a complete surprise, the proposal was: Since Suzanne, now a freelance makeup artist, expected Joseph to pop the question on an anniversary, holiday, or other special occasion, she was disappointed when her birthday passed with no engagement. But the next day, Joseph took her to dinner at one of their favorite places, invited her family to join them, and asked her to be his wife. "It really was a surprise and I'm so glad my family was there for the moment," she says.
On November 18, 2017, the couple again shared a celebratory meal—this time, alongside 180 of their family and friends—after becoming husband and wife at Chandelier Grove in Tomball, Texas. The stately historic barn, exquisite floral décor, upscale food stations, and live music made the day everything they'd hoped for, but paled in comparison to the joy they felt during the ceremony. "It was me and him making this commitment to one another surrounded by our friends and family, and that's it," says Suzanne. "Nothing else needed." Joseph agrees: "It was the perfect celebration to truly start our lives as one."
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The guests' first glimpse of the floral theme that anchored the wedding's décor came courtesy of invitations by Rachel Nieman of Artful Designs. Nieman incorporated the couple's penchant for peonies into their stationery suite with an invitation that layered scripted text over a custom floral illustration, wrapped the bundle in vellum, and sealed it with the couple's monogram in gold wax. Blue envelopes with a watercolored liner set off addresses in gold calligraphy. "Peonies became a theme throughout the wedding," says Suzanne.
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A Timeless Location
The couple chose Chandelier Grove in Tomball, Texas, for their ceremony and reception. They exchanged vows inside a light-filled glass barn, hosted a cocktail hour with lounge seating and a double quartet outside, and returned to the barn for dinner and dancing. The property offered the rustic style Suzanne and Joseph loved, with enough character to create an elegant backdrop for the sophisticated event they envisioned—"something classy and timeless," Suzanne says. "Something I could look back on years later and still be in love with."
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Suzanne hoped to say "yes" to her dress at New York's Kleinfeld Bridal, but tried on a few dresses at a Houston shop before her appointment. Nothing seemed right, and it wasn't until she got to Kleinfeld that she realized the looks she was requesting weren't what she really wanted, so she changed direction. A lace Pnina Tornai wedding dress with a corset and sweetheart neckline ended Suzanne's search immediately. "I felt like the thing I loved most about the gown was how classic and timeless it was," Suzanne says. "I felt like I could pass the gown onto my daughter and it would be something she could feel beautiful [wearing] in years to come."
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Father and Son
Joseph wore a dark blue tuxedo with contrasting black detailing, a black bow tie, and cufflinks—all from Joseph Abboud—with Cole Haan shoes. His son also suited up in a tuxedo (a kid-size version found on Amazon) so he was ready to be the center of attention when Suzanne surprised him and Joseph during the ceremony with vows she wrote specifically for her new stepson.
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The couple's flower girl wore an appropriately patterned dress and a crown of fresh blooms.
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The showstopping wall of windows at Chandelier Grove's glass barn created a natural focal point for the ceremony. Tulipina made Suzanne's vision of a "soft-colored, abundant floral" theme come to life with a custom-made eight-foot wreath covered in willow, roses, peonies, and ranunculus. Each of the taller statement arrangements throughout the ceremony space contained its own unique mix of varying blooms and colors, finished with gold accents.
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Above and Beyond
To accent the geometric lanterns and exposed beams of the barn, Tulipina also created hanging floral chandeliers for the space. The chandeliers incorporated the same flowers as the ceremony wreath—willow, peonies, ranunculus, and roses—with the addition of white ferns at the top.
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A Floral Floor
Even the floor ended up covered in peonies: Artful Designs created a chalk art composition to accentuate the entrance to the ceremony.
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A large sign from Artful Designs welcomed guests to the ceremony with the floral illustration and gold script from the invitation. Instead of designating a bride's side and groom's side, guests were encouraged to sit "wherever your heart desires."
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A Peony Pillow
As the ring bearer, Joseph's son carried Suzanne's diamond infinity band and Joseph's classic ring on a pillow printed with the same peony design used throughout the wedding.
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Saying "I Do"
Suzanne's brother walked her down the aisle as Divisi Strings played "Ave Maria." The couple kept their wedding party small—Suzanne chose only a maid of honor—and asked Houston comedian Ryan Thauburn to officiate. "He wrote a beautiful yet funny speech," Suzanne says. "We decided to best fit us as a couple, we wanted it to be a religious ceremony without being officiated by a priest."
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Instead of a traditional guest book, the couple ordered a one-of-a-kind bench from Etsy for guests to sign throughout the evening. They plan to keep in their garden at home. "I thought this idea was perfect to keep the day alive as we walk past it every day," Suzanne says.
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A Shower of Streamers
The cocktail hour—where guests snacked on a "bite-sized Southern-style brunch" as Divisi Strings performed—took place outside, but lounge furniture, rugs, flooring, and two separate bars made it feel as luxurious as any indoor space. As the newlyweds prepared to enter the barn for dinner, guests lined up in front of the doors and released dozens of shimmering gold streamers around them. "With the number of rules the venue had on confetti it was a bit difficult to get the streamer cannons approved, but I'm glad it all worked out in the end!" says Suzanne. "It was definitely a wow moment."
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Though Suzanne and Joseph decided not to assign seats at the reception, they did set up a farm table for their immediate family that acted as the focal point for the room. "We wanted to create an atmosphere where people could walk around and not be tied to their chair," Suzanne says. The relaxed atmosphere extended to the meal: "When Joseph and I chose the menu, we stuck to foods we truly enjoy." Instead of a seated dinner, they offered food stations stocked with their favorites—Tex Mex street tacos, American sliders, and Southern barbecue from Silver Stone Events. "Make decisions that are what you want," advises Joseph. "The day is about you two as a couple and you don't want to get so caught up in pleasing everyone that you end up with something that you don't like in the end."
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A garland of willow, garden roses, oncidium orchids, ranunculus, and narcissus, accented with glowing votives in gold holders, ran the length of the long table where the bride and groom sat with their immediate family. More gold accents, including flatware, detailing on the plates, and calligraphy, worked with the lush florals on the farm table to create a refined look for the place settings.
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Their First Dance
During dinner, Piper Hatfield and her team at Piper & Muse Events flipped the glass barn from a dreamy ceremony space into chic party room, installing a black acrylic dance floor, bars, and lounge furniture. Suzanne traded her corseted gown for one from Berta with a mermaid silhouette, lace cap sleeves, and a deep neckline, before the couple shared their first dance to Ruelle's "I Get to Love You."
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A five-tier cake from Cakes by Gina incorporated the wedding's metallic and floral elements with gold leaf accents and peonies. The couple chose a different flavor for each layer—butter cake with cream cheese strawberry filling; butter cake with vanilla filling; carrot cake with cream cheese filling; marble chocolate; and white cake with cream cheese strawberry filling—and also served a chocolate sheet cake with peanut butter filling.
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Photography, Corbin Gurkin
Location, Chandelier Grove
Event planning, Piper Hudson of Piper and Muse Events
Catering, Silver Stone Events
Videography, Sculpting with Time
Officiant, Ryan Thauburn
Stationery and Calligraphy, Artful Designs
Cake, Cakes by Gina
Hair, Lisa Pelayo
Groom's tuxedo, tie, and cufflinks, Joseph Abboud
Groom's shoes, Cole Haan
Lighting, LG Entertainment
Transportation, Monarch Limousine
Bar Catering, Excel Pours
Live Painter, Agnes Russo
Photo Booth, Mirmir