2024 March Featured Bride

"Stay true to what represents you as bride and groom! Everything about our day perfectly exemplified our personalities from the venue to the number of guests, the decorations, the food, and the music. My advice to help brides remain calm on the wedding day is to trust your planning and trust the vendors to do what you hired them to do."

Ryan and Christa Kunkel


How did you meet?

It’s amusing to see the look on people’s faces when you tell them that you met your significant other in daycare. I attended the same daycare that Ryan’s grandparents owned in Knoxville, Tennessee, but our paths never truly crossed until May 2017. We spent the summer together working at the daycare as camp counselors and having fun with the kids while exploring East Tennessee.

How did you know he was “The One”?

We took a Labor Day trip to Captiva, Florida with Ryan’s grandparents a few months after we started dating. While there, we danced to George Strait’s I Just Want to Dance With You. Almost 6 years later that became our song that we first danced to as husband and wife!

How did he propose?

Ryan proposed at the very same spot where we first met in front of the little daycare with our family watching from inside.

Describe your wedding planning process

Did you hire a planner or day-of coordinator?

We hired a day-of (more like month-of) coordinator and are so thankful that we did! She was phenomenal and definitely made our big day seamless. It was so nice to have our family freed of any day-of tasks so they could fully enjoy our wedding with us.

Did you DIY any aspect of your wedding?

My mom turned our wedding programs into handheld fans for our guests. A MUST for a summer wedding in Texas! We also DIY’ed our table chart and used the names of our favorite places (e.g., the Great Smoky Mountains, Big Bend National Park, Captiva Island) instead of table numbers.

Where did you save the most?

We saved a lot with the venue by choosing to get married on a Sunday instead of Friday or Saturday!

Where did you splurge?

We originally were not going to pay for a videographer, but we decided to splurge on one so that we could always rewatch highlights from our special day.

Why did you choose your venue?

The Chandelier of Gruene was the first venue we visited and really set the bar high for us. We wanted a venue that had an indoor chapel and an indoor reception area since our wedding was in the summer. The Chandelier of Gruene has a beautiful open air chapel and the option to be enclosed with A/C, a large reception area with easy vendor set-ups, bride and groom suites, and large oak trees to create the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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

Something old (my Oma’s sapphire ring), something new (my wedding dress), something borrowed (my mom’s pearl earrings), and something blue (my bridesmaids)! At the reception, we had an Anniversary Dance in which the couple who had been married the longest were the last ones on the dance floor. The last couple dancing had been married for 60 years!

What was your most stressful decision?

The most stressful decision was deciding whether to do a seating/table chart. We ultimately decided to do a table chart which turned out great for the guests despite being very stressful to coordinate.

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

We loved all of the decisions made surrounding the big day, but the best decision we made were all the guests we invited! We were able to share the most meaningful day with our closest friends and family!

Is there anything you would have done differently?

We would not change anything! All of our planning and decisions played out perfectly and the day was exactly what we hoped it would be. Our family told us that everything about the wedding was “so us.”

Tell Us About...

Your dress:

I wore a super soft crepe dress that was simple, clean, and timeless in the front with a subtle mermaid silhouette. The back had an illusion lace racerback with buttons and a lace train. I wore a medium-length plain veil to accentuate the back. I was adamant that I did not want any lace before I tried on dresses! I ended up getting exactly what I wanted in the front with something unexpected in the back. I absolutely love my dress!

Your flowers:

All flower arrangements and bouquets had variations of white anemones, white garden roses, blue lisianthus, light blue delphnium, blue thistle, and free flowing greens. We also had white calla lilies as power markers along the aisle.

The food:

River City Catering provided a buffet with the option of cornbread stuffed with chicken rosemary butter sauce or smoked prime rib with an au jus sauce. Our sides were mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and a vegetable medley. We got so many compliments from our guests on the food!

The cake:

The cake was three tiers with a white cream icing all around. The bottom was chocolate cake mousse, the middle was champagne with Ghirardelli Godiva white chocolate filling, and the top was Italian cream with amaretto cream filling. We’re saving the top for our 1st anniversary per tradition!

Recap your big day for us

What made you laugh?

We had the best time laughing and dancing with everyone on the dance floor. Our DJ matched the beat and kept the fun going!

What made you cry?

The father-daughter dance and the father-of-the-bride speech were sweet and tender moments for everyone.

What were the most memorable moments?

It’s hard to only pick a few. We really treasured the beautiful homily our pastor delivered at our ceremony, the dinner toasts, and Ryan’s grandpa dancing to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars!

Did anything unexpected happen?

The one part of the wedding that I did not help plan whatsoever was the getaway transportation. I honestly thought we were casually leaving in my family’s car. Ryan coordinated with ATX Classic Car to have a brown 1962 Rolls Royce Silver Cloud II whisk us away. I had no idea until we made our grand exit out of the reception hall, so all of our guests saw my surprise!

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

Stay true to what represents you as bride and groom! Everything about our day perfectly exemplified our personalities from the venue to the number of guests, the decorations, the food, and the music. My advice to help brides remain calm on the wedding day is to trust your planning and trust the vendors to do what you hired them to do.

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

We most looked forward to pacing life together, buying a home, and starting our family.

Anything else you’d like to share?

We absolutely loved all of our vendors and cannot speak highly enough of their services!

Local Vendors:

Wedding Venue: The Chandelier of Gruene

Reception Venue: The Chandelier of Gruene

Photographer: Firefly Photography

Caterer: River City Catering

Makeup Artist: Prim and Powder

Hair Stylist: Prim and Powder

Bartending/Beverage Service: Margarita Madness

Transportation: ATX Classic Cars

Videographer: Dynamic Films

Wedding Music:

Processional: Married Life = Michael Giaccino (Theme from Up)

Bride’s Entrance: Canon -Pachelbel

Recessional: You’re the Best Thing – Ray Montague

First Dance: I Just Want to Dance with You – George Strait

Father/Daughter Dance: The Way You Look Tonight – Frank Sinatra

Mother/Son Dance: Humble and Kind – Tim McGraw

Last Dance: Celebration – Kool & The Gang