The duo celebrated their marriage with friends old and new in a lavish ballroom filled with next-level floral displays.
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Most junior high crushes don't last, but for Stephanie Hill, who was smitten with Joe Collier from the day they met as 13-year-olds in an eighth grade algebra class, those feelings never faded—but it took Joe a little while to reciprocate. "I had the biggest crush on him, but the feeling was not mutual," she says. "We were still friends throughout middle school and high school, and eventually started dating the beginning of our senior year." She expected a proposal after they graduated college, but as the weeks ticked by with no sign of a ring, she started to let her guard down. That's when Joe surprised her by popping the question during an intimate dinner at an upscale seafood restaurant on July 4th, followed by Champagne toasts and a mini-celebration with his family.
The Dallas-based couple hired The Wildflowers for planning help, stationery, and floral design, and decided on the elegant Adolphus Hotel for their 130-guest ceremony and reception, which took place on March 8, 2019. "My three words were whimsical, airy, and soft," says Stephanie, who decided on a heavy floral theme that imitated an English garden; her team brought that to life using flowers in bright and pastel shades, deep green foliage accents, and gold touches that reflected the opulent Adolphus ballroom.
The couple even used a floral-themed coffee table book, Wildflowers of Texas, as their guest book. "We had our guests go through the book and find a photo they loved and write us a note," says Stephanie. "That way, we have a beautiful book of florals that also means so much to us, with our loved ones' notes to look back on."
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The wedding invitation's most prominent feature was a border of delicate vines; Rebecca Marín Shepherd of The Wildflowers designed them to mimic the shape of the gold-framed mirrors in the ceremony and reception space. Pale purple, blue, and pink flowers introduced the wedding's cheerful, spring-inspired palette.
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Stephanie's search for her dream wedding dress started and ended with one designer. "I knew going into the process I wanted a Berta gown," she says. "The Israeli lace is unlike anything else out there. The intricate detail and floral appliqué was something I was immediately drawn to."
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"Timeless, Yet Modern"
She found her open-back gown at the first boutique she tried, but the shopping experience still had a few surprises in store: "I never thought I would want a long-sleeve gown, but the mesh and belt reminded me of that vintage elegance I am always drawn to," she says. "It seemed timeless, yet modern."
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Along with her engagement ring—an oval diamond in a halo setting that Joe designed himself—Stephanie wore two rings that had belonged to her late grandmother. "When I was little, I used to admire her jewelry so much and always imagined having rings like hers," she says. "It only seemed right to wear my two favorites to feel like she was there with me."
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Stephanie carried an oversized bouquet of cascading blooms that included clematis, daffodils, sweet peas, peonies, and garden roses. "The color palette was inspired by the colors you would find in a classic English garden," says Stephanie: "Pastels with accents of forest green and golds."
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The sunny hues of the bridesmaids' bouquets stood out against dresses in a collection of coordinating blue-gray shades (the two maids of honor wore champagne for contrast). "I really wanted my bridesmaids to feel and look like themselves on the day," says Stephanie. "Each one found their own dress and got to choose exactly what they thought would suit them best."
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Men in Black
Joe and his groomsmen wore classic black tuxedos from The Black Tux; Joe paired his with a black satin bow tie.
The couple asked their siblings, high school friends, sorority sisters, and fraternity brothers to join their bridal party. "Since Joe and I grew up together, our friend groups are the exact same," says Stephanie. "Our high school friends have seen our relationship grow and our college friends grew to know us as a couple. Since we are the first of our friend groups to get married, there was even more excitement from our friends to celebrate!"
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After a night on the town post-rehearsal dinner, Stephanie and Joe didn't see each other until their portrait session before the ceremony. "We were both so calm after seeing each other, and everything was perfect," says Stephanie. "We could hardly keep a serious face when taking photos. We were just laughing so much talking to each other about various things—like our dogs!"
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The couple chose to hold their wedding and reception in the 19th floor ballroom at The Adolphus Hotel, which they loved for its historical importance and architectural details. "The curved vaulted ceiling, intricate molding, large loft window, antique gold mirrors, and lighting make it the perfect mix of modern and vintage," says Stephanie. A striking floral arch from The Wildflowers created a focal point for the ceremony, while intricate arrangements placed along the aisle gave the ceremony space a garden atmosphere. "I knew I wanted the florals to be the main décor for the venue—nothing else," says Stephanie.
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Stephanie and Joe asked Mike Banas, a pastor from the church that Joe's parents attend, to officiate their Baptist ceremony, which began with Stephanie's father escorting her down the aisle to Henry Mancini's "Moon River" and culminated with the couple exchanging traditional vows. "We did not write our own vows—we would have been way too emotional to get them out!" says Stephanie.
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After the ceremony, the event team rearranged the space to accommodate dinner and dancing. The floral arrangements were moved from the aisle to the head table, where deep green foliage and bright flowers—that included sweet peas, peonies, and clematis—stood out against simple white linens.
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The couple relied on the team at The Wildflowers for many of their planning decisions—a choice Stephanie never regretted. "With both of us working full time jobs, having two puppies, and trying to keep up with our social lives, we needed help planning and executing our vision," she says. "Finding someone who has the same aesthetic and taste as your own makes it even simpler."
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A long head table and smaller rounds were dressed in matching white tablecloths, which offered a minimalist backdrop for bud vases of bright pink roses and purple sweet peas. Small tealights cast a warm glow as the light from the setting sun sliced in through the space's large windows.
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Hand-written escort cards from The Left-Handed Calligrapher helped guests find their seats, while floral menus incorporated the frame design from the invitation in a slightly different style. White favor boxes with green silk ribbons were placed at every seat; they held pretty chocolates that let guests end the evening on a sweet note.
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The hotel provided a dinner menu that included corn and crab soup, filet mignon, and cedar plank salmon. For dessert, the couple offered guests a choice of lemon cake with raspberry preserves and buttercream icing or red velvet cake with cream cheese icing—but cut a traditional white cake displayed under the ceremony's floral arch.
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A Musical Compromise
For their first dance as husband and wife, Stephanie and Joe chose a traditional tune with a contemporary twist: Christian Leave's cover of "Can't Help Falling in Love." "I wanted to do a classic love song, and Elvis' version has always been a favorite of mine," she says. "We chose a cover that combined our musical tastes."
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On a day full of memorable moments, Stephanie and Joe have one favorite: "I think the most special thing we did was, during our reception dinner, we walked to each table to greet each person and thank them for coming," says Stephanie. Along with the unforgettable candid shots their photographer got during these one-on-one visits, the couple appreciated the time they had with their friends and family. "It was so nice being able to see everyone we invited," Stephanie says, "and give everyone the chance to feel special and part of our day."
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Photography, Charla Storey
Location and catering, The Adolphus Hotel
Event planning, flowers, and stationery, The Wildflowers
Videography, Peyton Anne Frank
Calligraphy, The Left-Handed Calligrapher
Music, Le Force Entertainment
Rentals, Top Tier Event Rentals
Bride's gown, Berta
Hair and makeup, The Adolphus Hotel
Groom's suit and menswear, The Black Tux