Melissa and Richard

August 2, 2020

Tell us your love story!

I love our “how we met” story. I’m a firm believer that things don’t happen randomly. I met up with friends from high school that I hadn’t seen in years. Later that night the sister to one of my friends joined us and brought along her date and their “third wheel,” Richard. Richard and I started talking and hit it off. We went on our first date that very next day. It was truly God’s divine intervention! 


How did you know he was “The One”?

We have so much in common but also have totally different personality types. We truly are the best of friends. We are blessed to be so in love with each other. We’ve grown with each other as individuals and through life’s ups and downs. We have been each other’s constant. At a very early stage in our relationship, we knew that we were “it” for each other. 

How long did you date? 

We have been together for 11 years and got married in April on our 11 year dating anniversary. We met each other at a young age and didn’t feel rushed to marry. We discussed marriage early on, and we knew we planned to get married to each other one day, and that was all that mattered.  We just enjoyed our lives together and wanted that time to come naturally and never set a timeline. 

How did he propose?

His proposal didn’t go like he expected. He originally planned to take me to the famous graffiti wall in Austin where local artists and tourists can go to admire the artwork and also spray paint their own masterpieces. He bought spray paint that he was going to use to spell out “Will You Marry Me?” We arrived at the graffiti wall, but as it turned out, it had been fenced off and closed down. Needless to say, I was a bit frustrated that he hadn’t researched the location beforehand. I feel bad for giving him a hard time about it that day not knowing he was about to propose to me. However, Richard managed to save the day and took me to an early dinner at The Oasis. We had never been there before and had always wanted to have dinner on their patio during sunset. We enjoyed dinner overlooking Lake Travis. After dinner we went to the gift shop and purchased a “Love Lock” and wrote our names and the date on the back of it. We picked a spot on their patio and secured our lock among the others. He wanted to take a picture of me next to it, and that’s when I began to see him become more fidgety. He then put down the camera and got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! It was so sweet to see him so nervous. 

Tell us about your wedding planning process.

What planning tools did you use?

I only used my trusty spiral notebook and binder to keep track of what I needed to accomplish: payment deadlines for each vendor, contracts, etc. This allowed me to keep a careful eye on our wedding budget.

What did you expect it to be like?

I knew planning a wedding was going to be a huge task to take on. The fact that we planned our wedding date for less than a year away brought on even more pressure. I was already mentally prepared for the stress that would come along with it; however, I vowed to enjoy the process as best as I could. 

What was the easiest part?

The easiest part was picking my venue. I had always dreamt of getting married at Gruene Estate and ringing the chapel bell after our “I Do’s.” 


What was the most difficult part?

The most difficult part was postponing our big wedding celebration due to Covid-19. We planned to get married April 10th since that is our dating anniversary. It was three weeks before the wedding and the day I had my final dress fitting that we had to decide to postpone. However, Richard and I legally married on April 10th with our pastor and parents by our side in an outdoor private ceremony. My mom arranged a car parade with our bridal party to drive by after we exchanged vows. It was the sweetest thing. Our big celebration in my dress and with our family and friends was delayed until August 2nd. 

Who helped with the planning?

I managed most of the planning and requested assistance from time to time from my mom. Carey was the on-site coordinator, and she was helpful when it came to timelines and helping me stay on track with what needed to be done. 

Did you hire a planner or day-of coordinator?

When booking an event at Gruene Estate a day-of coordinator is provided. I loved this! It was so incredibly helpful to have someone handling the details and making sure we kept with our timeline. It was also nice that my parents were able to enjoy the day with us instead of running around in the background. 

Did you DIY any aspect of your wedding?

The small flower arrangements on the tables were a DIY project. I bought the flowers from Micheals along with the lace. Some of my family collected tin cans and together with my mom, sister, and brother we spent an afternoon putting the arrangements together. I also purchased the eucalyptus garland and votive candle holders to add to the table decor. I decided to put together my own photo backdrop. I rented the wooden backdrop but purchased the scripture saying from Etsy along with some outdoor lights. 

Did you have a specific theme?

I wanted the theme to be romantic and slightly rustic. 

How did you bring it to life?

The venue itself is gorgeous, rustic, and romantic on its own, so I didn’t feel like I needed to add too much more. I added simple floral arrangements on the wooden farm-style tables, lots of votive candles, and utilized their lanterns to create the look I wanted. 


How many guests were invited? 

Originally our guest list was 450 people, but as it turned out, we ended with only 170 due to COVID-19.

Where did you save the most? 

We saved the most on catering. Since we had to change our original wedding date and didn’t have as many people RSVP for the new date, we were able to save at least $1,000 on catering. 

Where did you splurge?

We splurged on having an open bar. I’ve always been to weddings that had a cash bar. I wanted to go all out and have an open bar for our guests to enjoy.

Why did you choose your venue?

I discovered Gruene Estate many years ago when it was the only open-air chapel in New Braunfels. I fell in love with the vintage chapel and the gorgeous Gruene homestead.  I envisioned myself getting married there and ringing the chapel bell. My dream came true! 

Did you incorporate any special traditions or sentimental details in your ceremony or reception?

Neither of our grandparents are alive, so we made sure to acknowledge them at the beginning of our ceremony. Richard and I also decided to incorporate a beautiful unity cross instead of a unity candle. The unity cross signifies the wedding covenant. It is a lasting reminder of the bride and groom coming together with their faith in Christ, beginning their journey as one. It now sits in our home as a beautiful reminder of this covenant and our wedding day. 

What was your most stressful decision?

Hands down the most stressful decision was whether or not to postpone our wedding due to Covid-19. At the time I didn’t know much about Covid-19, and the country was in the very early stages of closing businesses and limiting gatherings. Ultimately, the safety and well-being of our family and friends was a priority, so we decided to postpone. However, that decision didn’t make it hurt any less or make it less stressful. 

What turned out to be your best decision surrounding the big day?

My best decision was the vendors I chose. After having to reschedule our wedding, each and every one of them was very understanding and accommodating. Changing the dates with each of them was a smooth process. I’m so thankful for these vendors, who despite going through an abrupt halt in their work due to the pandemic, they were so kind and gracious to reschedule to the new date in August. 

Is there anything you would have done differently?

If I could redo our wedding day and the planning process, I would not spend so much time stressing over our guest list

Tell Us About

Your Dress:

My dress was a fit and flare mermaid style with gorgeous lace detail throughout. It had a deep sweetheart neckline, detachable swag sleeves and chapel length train. It was truly the perfect balance between vintage, romantic and sexy. I want to wear it again and again!

Your Flowers:

My bridal bouquet, bridesmaids’ flowers and the boutonnieres were all made of hand-dyed wooden flowers. They came out so incredibly beautiful. The best part is that I get to display my bridal bouquet in my home for years to come. Dixie Luxe did an amazing job bringing my vision to life.  The other flower arrangements on the tables I did myself. 

The Food:

Besides the venue, the majority of compliments we received months after the wedding was the food! Heavenly Gourmet catered our wedding and did a phenomenal job. From our tasting all the way through our wedding day, their customer service was fantastic. We served their heavenly baby salad with raspberry vinaigrette along with their heavenly stuffed chicken with poblano sauce, yukon gold smashed potatoes, and garlic asparagus. It was delicious! 

The Cake:

Our wedding cake was three tiers. The top and bottom tier had a naked style white frosting while the middle tier was mauve with gold floral details. All three tiers were strawberry cake with a chocolate mousse filling. 



Recap your big day for us!

What made you laugh?

Oh, my gosh! It was my hubby giving me a mini lap dance before the garter toss. He does not dance and is shy, so him doing a quick little dance on me caught me by surprise and made me laugh. I loved it! 

What made you cry?

I did really well most of the day not shedding a tear. When it came to dancing with my momma during our mother/daughter dance, I had to hold back the almost uncontrollable tears. 

What were the most memorable moments?

The moment I was most looking forward to was walking down the aisle to Richard. I chose the song, “I Get To Love You” by Ruelle. I made sure the chapel doors opened at a certain point in the song. Once those doors opened, our eyes locked, and I truly didn’t notice anything else but him in that moment. As cliche as that sounds, it’s true. It was one of my most favorite moments. Our private last dance under the chandeliers was also truly magical!! 

Did anything unexpected happen? 

I don’t think anything unexpected happened. If so, then our day-of coordinator did a fantastic job of making sure it was taken care of without us noticing. 

What’s the best advice you can give a bride and groom planning their wedding?  

When things become stressful, just remember that this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Cherish it, and let that refocus you to enjoy the planning process. As cheesy as it may sound, it’s truly all about you professing your love for each other before God and to one another. Relish in that idea, and make the most of your special day whatever that may look like for you.

What did you look forward to most as Mr. & Mrs.?

Richard and I simply looked forward to making new memories as now husband and wife. I love saying my new last name, and he loves saying it, too. We’ve been enjoying all our “firsts” as husband and wife especially during this holiday season.

What surprised you most during the first few months of marriage?

People have been asking us if things have changed. Maybe we feel like we’re in the honeymoon phase again like when we first started dating years ago. Other than that, nothing has been surprising or has changed.


Local Vendors used






Venue Gruene Estate
Photographer Harper Blankenship Photography
Officiant Pastor Royce Smith


Bridal: Naegelin’s Bakery

Cookies: Sugar Sweets By Gracie

Hair and Makeup  Southern Tease
Bar Service Southern Tapsters
Rental Kinsfather Kreations 
Day of Wedding Coordinator Carey Millington -Director of Events at Gruene Estate



The soundtrack for our wedding day


Processional A Thousand Years Viodance
Presentation of the Bride I Get to Love You
Recessional You Make My Dreams Come True Hall and Oates
First Dance When You Say Nothing at All Keith Whitley & Alison Krause
Father/Daughter Dance Always Be Your Baby Natalie Grant
Mother/Son Dance Momma’s The Swan Brothers
Mother/Daughter Dance Because You Loved Me Lauryn Evans
Private Last Dance Who I Am Wade Bowen


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