More than a decade after falling in love as teenagers, this couple tied the knot in a summery brunch wedding where everyone wore white.
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Shakira Hyatte and Travis Bolton had known each other since they were babies—their mothers' families were friends before the two were born—but since they grew up hundreds of miles apart, in Illinois and Wisconsin respectively, they didn't see each other very often. The two exchanged numbers and started talking on the phone after one of Travis' visits to his Illinois family when he and Shakira were freshmen in high school—but their budding romance was cut short. "I wasn't allowed to date, yet I managed to rack up a $300 phone bill due to our long-distance conversations. Needless to say, I got in trouble and we weren't able to further pursue a relationship," says Shakira.
Their paths diverged as they got older, until they ran into each other 13 years later at another family party on an evening cruise. "Throughout all the years that had passed, in the back of my mind I always thought about Shakira and had love for her," says Travis. He asked her to dance and, at the end of the night, "I asked her one serious question," he says: "If I was to ask you to marry me, what would you say?" Shakira responded, "I might say yes." They began dating officially a few weeks later, and in December 2014, Travis asked again, proposing to Shakira by the waterfall at the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, where he had invited more than 30 people—including his daughter; Shakira's mom, sister, and grandmother; and the couple's friends—to meet them for the weekend.
Shakira and Travis planned their 170-guest wedding for June 10, 2016—exactly three years from the night they had reconnected, dancing together at the party on the boat—and built the color scheme around Shakira's go-to shade. "White is my favorite color, and the only color, besides black, that I don't get tired of," she says. "I thought it was fitting to have all-white day." Guests were invited to dress in the same color, giving the wedding a bright, cohesive feel with accents of springy green from the flower arrangements and natural wood tones inside the White Sparrow Barn, where the couple held the ceremony and reception. "I remember looking out of the bridal suite window at the flood of white entering the barn and being so grateful for all the people who travelled to be with us that day," says Shakira. "There was just so much love in that building. I still get overwhelmed when I think about it."
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Shakira and Travis had almost decided on a downtown Dallas venue when she came across the White Sparrow Barn while browsing wedding inspiration on her phone. "I had to see it in person," she says. "I fell in love as soon as I pulled up to the gate." The rustic white building inspired the rest of the couple's wedding day style, too: "My theme, color scheme, and pretty much everything else changed when I saw the White Sparrow Barn," says Shakira.
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The bride had exhausted her search of Dallas bridal shops without finding a wedding dress she loved: "I felt like I was settling," she says, "and my mom was not having that!" She flew to Chicago, her hometown, to continue looking, and found her lacy Inbal Dror gown while shopping with her mother. "I knew it was the one because it totally matched my personality," she says. "Inbal Dror designs can be slightly risqué, yet eloquent, and that is exactly what I wanted and had envisioned."
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The Finishing Touch
Shakira showed off the gown's low back with an elegant ponytail courtesy of her mother, and kept her jewelry subtle with teardrop cubic zirconia earrings from Nordstrom. "I knew I wanted my jewelry to be simple, so it really wasn't a priority to me," she says. "In fact, I waited to the very last minute, maybe a couple of days before the wedding, to purchase earrings."
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Travis followed the wedding's color palette with a slim fit Perry Ellis suit. "My wife told me to find an all-white suit," he says. "I only tried a few different ones—I was more concerned about what the groomsmen were wearing." His choice to wear the suit without a tie wasn't planned, but it did parallel the proposal: "On the proposal day, I was trying to tie a bow tie and couldn't get it perfect, so I actually did not have a tie for the proposal or the wedding."
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For his wedding ring, Travis chose a white gold band that matched Shakira's diamond solitaire engagement ring. "I showed Shakira some photos of what I wanted, and she told me they were an old style," he says. "When I got the band on the wedding day, it was perfect. It is very unique because our wedding day and a Bible verse, Genesis 2:18, [are] engraved on the inside."
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Ladies in White
Shakira asked her closest female friends and family members to stand beside her as bridesmaids, but let them choose their own dresses to match the wedding's theme. "I gave the ladies some guidance, but ultimately they picked their own dresses," she says. "I love how it all came together. I can totally see each girl's personalities in the gown that they chose for themselves."
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Florist Amanda Ferguson from We Plus You designed unfussy bouquets of white flowers, including hydrangeas and roses, for the bride and her bridesmaids. "Amanda was so great about keeping the floral simple and clean-looking," says Shakira.
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Travis's daugher, Takiyah, joined the wedding party as a junior bridesmaid, wearing a white tulle and lace ankle-length dress from LightintheBox.com. Though Travis and Shakira saved their first look for the ceremony, he and Takiyah shared an emotional first look earlier in the day. "The photographer had me turn around and counted me down from three to see Takiyah in her dress," says Travis, who was overcome with emotion when he saw his little girl.
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Down the Aisle
Shakira walked down the aisle as her cousin sang "Yours Forever." For Travis, it was another emotional moment: "I couldn't take my eyes off her during her whole walk," he says. "She was stunning." The groom's pastor traveled from Wisconsin to officiate the ceremony.
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A Personalized Ceremony
Travis and Shakira incorporated a foot washing ceremony inspired by the Bible into their ceremony. The pastor introduced the story of Jesus washing the disciples' feet, using it as an example of the selfless love that the couple should show each other throughout their marriage, and then paused to let the couple wash each other's feet, so that they were beginning their life together with humility and service. "It was the most memorable moment not only for me, but for the majority of the people in the room," says Travis. "We received a lot of positive feedback about this portion of the ceremony."
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After the ceremony, the couple posed for portraits alone and with their families around the grounds of the barn before joining the rest of their guests for brunch. While waiting, guests sipped Arnold Palmers and mimosas—specialty drinks the couple chose because of their midday timeframe—on the barn's covered patio.
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Inside, the staff quickly turned the room from a ceremony space into a dining area. White linens worked with the white walls and floors to create a crisp canvas for the couple's reception décor. Wooden X-back chairs provided warmth and natural contrast, while the high ceilings, metal chandeliers, and sunny windows made the barn feel elegant but cozy.
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With Family and Friends
The bride and groom sat with their parents and the wedding party at a long family-style table, while the rest of the guests took their places at round tables. "Seeing all our family being so supportive of our union was special," says Travis.
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The florist worked with a limited color palette of white and bright green, creating centerpieces and table accents centered around white hydrangeas, roses, and lush greenery.
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Each guest's place setting included a white napkin and printed menu, accented by a sprig of leaves in the same fresh green as the centerpieces. Shakira and Travis chose a lavish brunch menu from Lucky's Café in Dallas that included an omelette bar and fried chicken served with Belgian waffles and cinnamon brown sugar butter.
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On the Lighter Side
Instead of an elaborate tiered cake that could feel too heavy after a midday meal, the couple offered several Chantilly cakes decorated with fresh berries, instead.
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Shakira and Travis opened the party with a spin around the dance floor, but a dance later in the day was even more memorable for the bride. "All the guests had been dismissed, so we had the whole barn to ourselves," says Shakira. "We held each other, laughed, cried, and danced to Isley Brothers' 'Don't Say Goodnight.' It was so romantic."
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Photography, Charla Storey
Location, The White Sparrow Barn
Event planning, The Creative Touch, Events by Lauren
Catering, Lucky's Cafe
Flowers, We Plus You
Stationery, August and White
Music, Poizon Ivy the DJ
Bride's wedding dress, Inbal Dror
Bride's accessories, Nordstrom (earrings), Badgley Mischka (shoes)
Makeup, Natalia Issa
Flower girl dresses, LightintheBox.com
Groom's suit, Perry Ellis
Groom's shoes, Cole Haan
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