A Giant Floral Arch Set the Tone at This Nature-Inspired Wedding in Ponder, Texas
In 2017, one of Courtney Wood's friends introduced her to Jon Pendergrass, a friend from church. The two began dating, and on their one-year anniversary, at the Kimble Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas, Jon surprised Courtney with a diamond ring—followed by an engagement party with all their friends and family waited to celebrate. "It was one of the most romantic days of my life!" says Courtney.
Courtney and Jon had no trouble picking The Nest at Ruth Farms in Ponder, Texas, for their 200-guest wedding on November 9, 2019: "My parents own the wedding venue, and my mom and I designed it together a few years ago," shares the bride. High ceilings and an all-white interior in the barn the couple used for their ceremony and reception offered a blank canvas that accommodated Courtney's vision: an indoor garden with oversized floral installations, trailing green foliage, and accents in mauve and dark purple colorways. Though she frequently assists with events at the venue, she and Jon brought in Elizabeth Ise of Chancey Charm Weddings to oversee the details of their big day. "I had a good idea of what I wanted when I first met with my planner, and she designed the wedding around my dream!" notes Courtney. "It was a beautiful moment to be married in a place I built with my mom. I'll cherish The Nest forever for the legacy it will leave not only for our family, but every couple who gets married there."
The deep green envelopes and custom floral garland crest on the couple's handmade torn-edge paper invitation suite from Sugared Fig Paperie previewed the wedding's color palette and theme, while a custom liner showed off a sketch of the venue.
Love at First Sight
After she spotted her ivory lace Milla Nova wedding dress on Instagram, Courtney ordered it immediately—without even trying it on. "It was a newly-released dress and no one had it in stores yet," she says. "But when you know, you just know! I felt like a princess and the dress had just enough elegance and drama in it."
She added her favorite pair of nude flats—"I knew no one would see my shoes and wanted to be able to dance by the end of the evening, one of the best decisions!" she says—and borrowed a pair of "simple but stunning" drop earrings from her mother.
Pretty in Pinks
Courtney's bridesmaids each chose their own gown with no restrictions on designer or style, creating a cohesive but colorful combination of pink, blush, and beige shades that set off their individual bouquets. "I gave them the mauve color palette and they all looked gorgeous!" says Courtney. "It was very stress-free in regard to the bridesmaids' dresses because they all got to pick something they loved."
Jon and his groomsmen wore matching dark blue tuxedos from The Black Tux. "He wanted to wear a navy tux because it's his favorite color!" says Courtney.
A Memorable Moment
Before the ceremony, Courtney and Jon met on an upstairs balcony overlooking the space for an unforgettable first look. "The wedding day and reception is a blur, but our first look is engraved in my mind," says Courtney. "When I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around he immediately started crying and told me how beautiful I was. I felt so cherished in that moment and I couldn't wait to marry the man of my prayers and dreams."
Courtney's oversized bouquet from Haute Poppies Floral Design mixed ivory-and-pale purple blooms with deep mauve-and-emerald accents for a dramatic statement piece—though Courtney required a little convincing before she committed to the size. "I scaled it down during my bridals, and then I knew my planner was right and I should have trusted her vision," says Courtney, "so it was much bigger for the wedding!"
A sleek pedestal table held the couple's gold-rimmed card box and elegant guest book, while trailing floral installations from The Botanical Mix wrapped around the table and up the staircase. "I wanted the venue to feel like nature had taken over inside," says Courtney.
"Wild, flowing, and lush," a climbing floral installation anchored the ceremony. Along the aisle, low arrangements with richly-colored accent blooms brightened up the minimalist space.
Before the ceremony, Courtney and Jon set aside a few quiet moments to pray and with their respective families and bridal parties. "Both Courtney and Jon are very spiritual and they incorporated their faith into every aspect of the day," says their planner Elizabeth Ise of Chancey Charm Weddings. "Their ceremony was a true testament of their faith and showcased how important it is to their relationship and family."
Courtney and Jon invited three flower girls and two ring bearers to participate in their ceremony; the girls wore shorter versions of the bride's gown and crowns of baby's breath. "They didn't wear shoes because they were hurting their feet, but I think it looked so darling to be barefoot walking down the aisle," says Courtney. "They truly looked like angels."
The bride's father walked her down the aisle as a string quartet played a custom arrangement of the instrumental score from A Little Chaos, a tune Courtney had dreamed of incorporating in her wedding since she'd seen the film. "I wanted a string trio to play the score, but the music was not offered to the public and it was arranged for a 47-piece orchestra," says Courtney. "I decided to email the composer, Peter Gregson, and he was so honored that I wanted to use his music. He rewrote the score to fit a string quartet just for my wedding. It truly is my favorite wedding gift from a complete stranger who just believes in the power of love."
Words of Love
Courtney and Jon tied the knot in a traditional Christian ceremony, though they read their own hand-written vows to each other before the big day. "I have never cried so much listening to the sweetest vows my soon-to-be husband wrote for me," she says.
Setting the Bar
In addition to signature cocktails named after Courtney's dogs, the couple offered two personalized non-alcoholic drink stations at their cocktail hour: A hot chocolate bar with peppermint sticks, mini sweets, and whipped cream as a nod to Courtney's nickname, Coco; and a table with three varieties of flavored sweet tea—Jon's favorite beverage—that included herbal and fruit mix-ins.
Calligraphed escort cards with custom wax seals hung on a freestanding boxwood wall under metallic lettering that read "Our Favorite People," while a row of blooms in varying heights added texture and color from the ground up.
A Room with a View
For the reception, the couple defined the dance floor with plush, Victorian-inspired lounge furniture. Delicate garlands of foliage framed the band's stage and climbed up tall pillars toward the vaulted ceiling. Round tables held five-foot-tall trees built from branches and greenery that accented the soaring height of the space.
Courtney wanted the smaller centerpieces to look like they had grown there naturally—with no visible vessels—so her team repurposed the arrangements that had lined the ceremony aisle, placing them down the length of wooden tables dressed in pale pink cloths.
On the Menu
On the smaller round tables, the couple layered blush-colored leather cloths from La Tavola—custom laser-cut with a floral pattern—over matching floor-length linens. Metallic-edged plates and ornate flatware added a traditional element.
The steakhouse menu from Reata Restaurant was a nod to their Texas roots.
So Happy Together
For their first dance, the newlyweds chose the foolproof Etta James classic, "At Last." "Jon and I both feel like we waited for each other to come along and this song was so representative of our waiting," says Courtney. After playing a selection of jazz standards during dinner, the Royal Dukes Band switched to "fun music for dancing."
Buttercream frosting on a two-tier almond and coconut cake from XO Cakery "was layered and applied to look like a painted masterpiece," says Courtney. "Deep navy, cranberry, mauve, sunset blush, ivory, and cream were all combined into a beautiful cake that was almost too good to eat!"
A Bright Farewell
Photography, Amanda Lane
Venue, The Nest at Ruth Farms
Event Planning, Elizabeth Ise, Chancey Charm Weddings
Catering, Reata Restaurant
Flowers, The Botanical Mix (floral installations); Haute Poppies Floral Design (florist)
Videography, KET Photography
Stationery, Sugared Fig Paperie
Calligraphy, Letter E Designs
Cake, XO Cakery
Music, The Royal Dukes Band
Rentals, Bella Acento; La Tavola Fine Linen Rental; May I Serve U
Bride's Gown, Alamour (reception); Milla Nova (ceremony)
Bride's Cape, BHLDN
Hair, Jessica Cannon
Menswear, The Black Tux
Bar Service, HD Liquid Catering
Photo Booth, The Josephine