Tammy and Chris 

April 6, 2019

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There’s a lot that goes on in Brenham, Texas. New restaurants and music venues to explore or sometimes a visit to the comfort of a trusted venue is what is needed. My choice one summer night was the hometown comfort of Home Sweet Farms, an eclectic joint featuring beer, wine, a variety of cheese and other fresh treats with live music in the garden. Standing in line to get a drink, the man in front of me turned around, smiled, and said, ‘Hello.’ My world had just collided with Chris’s. When I’m asked, “When did you know?” I respond,  “He had me at hello.”

It was the Fourth of July holiday, and Chris was going from New Braunfels to Lake Livingston to help a friend (our caterer) rebuild a burned-out lake house. I planned to travel in the morning to New Braunfels for my big brother’s annual Fourth of July party on the banks of the Guadalupe River in New Braunfels. More than a few phone calls and texts later, Chris was on his way to a Fourth of July party on River Road. 

We actually slept together that night. It wasn’t the first night together one might dream of in a budding romance.  We slept under the stars on a small air mattress in the back of my pickup under the watchful eyes of my brother, my nephews, and all their kids. It was 90 degrees at midnight. and Chris held my battery powered fan on me until I fell asleep.

This was good, I could feel it down to my core like never before. By Thanksgiving that year, I had relocated to New Braunfels and a new life.  I really jumped into the community, joined non-profits and networking groups and started to put my commercial photography business together.

Over the next two years my business grew, and Chris and I grew closer. “I love you’s” became constant and marriage was discussed. The families got together and got along. The future was looking good. Then one day out of nowhere Chris asked, “Some friends are renting a 50-foot monohulled sailboat and cruising the British Virgin Islands for a week. Do you want to go?”  

I considered the old adage, “If you can survive a trip together, you can live a life together.” We had traveled all over the country in the past two years: Chicago, New York, Santa Fe, Nashville, Grand Rapids to mention a few. Usually we stayed three to five days depending on Chris’s work, but this trip would be different. It would be seven days with seven people in a space half the size of our garage with no way to escape!.

The trip was perfect in terms of airlines, ferries, hotels and romance. Once on the boat, it was like a dream. Just perfect! On the fourth day of our trip, Chris nudged me awake early, and we sat on the deck, drank coffee, took pictures and watched the most beautiful sunrise. Then it was time to pull up the anchor and sail for three hours to Jost Van Dyke Island. After arriving we got a mooring ball, loaded the dingy and headed to the island. Before long we were all taking in the view from the Soggy Dollar Bar as the sun began to set. 

We were all mingling, having a beverage when Chris suggested we take a walk. We strolled down the beach a bit when Chris stopped and turned me around to face the most beautiful sunset. In that magical moment he went to one knee, professed his love and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes!”

I had no idea it was coming or that Chris had gotten permission from my brothers and kids. All our shipmates knew the plan. From sunrise to sunset, it was the most perfect day. Sigh!!!


In that magical moment he went to one knee, professed his love and asked me to marry him. I said, “Yes!”

Fill us in on some of your wedding planning process:

The original plan was to have a modest wedding with a small ceremony perhaps at the gazebo in the round-a-bout on the circle in New Braunfels, then a tour across the US to visit friends and family and celebrate with everyone along the way. BUT the river called! Not the river so much as friends and family. “When is the wedding? Where is the wedding? May I come to the wedding?” were heard frequently. A new plan was needed. Chris and I set about planning a wedding, a simple affair.

Chris has 30 years in association management that includes a lot of meeting, trade show and event planning. Chris told me one night early in the planning, “Whether you’re looking out at 900 booths at a Navy Pier trade show in Chicago or 50 engineers in an auditorium in Houston, barring an explosion or death, only you and those responsible know something is not right. Keep quiet and the event is perfect to all attending.” So, our attitude going in was don’t sweat the small stuff or even the big stuff for that matter. The day would be a reflection of us, and we are not perfect.

Picking a wedding date was problematic. Long range planning gives the most options, so a year out was decided. It was January, so perhaps we could marry in early December and go back to the BVI’s for the honeymoon. Work was in the way. How about November? Everyone’s got holiday traditions. October? Work. September? School starts. And working backwards further we were into April. Late April, right? Nope, April 6. Less than three months, ninety days!

We decided, “You make your guest list, I’ll make mine.” Chris’s first list had ten, mine had twenty. A simple affair. We ordered 100 invitations from Wishmade, an online paper supplier. We selected a sand colored, laser cut, lace adorned cover containing a matching and traditional invitation.

Who and when determined, it was time to tackle where and how? Even though the original list of 30 had grown to 50, venue size was not an issue in New Braunfels. When the list grew to 65 with lodging a consideration, and the call of the river, I relied on my networking experience and the Chuckwagon Food Truck rally! We partnered with Brian Keeth at Gruene Outpost River Lodge. It was off season and rates were good. With the wet spring we had experienced, the river was flowing. The place offered a nice tree canopy allowing flicks of sunlight and a soft breeze. Added to the fact that it was less than a mile from the house made it perfect. A simple affair!

Pulling it off proved to be quite simple for us. We visualized the weekend, the reception, the ceremony, and made a list. I learned that if you want a neat list, it is best to leave a few spaces between items!

Food was important to us, and we knew New Braunfels had many outstanding caterers. The difficult choice was avoided when we called a good friend, Randy Goshorn at BBQ Champion, to tell him we were marrying. Randy volunteered to BBQ! Six briskets, ten chickens and twenty-two pounds of sausage went on the pit! A call to Coopers BBQ secured the sides and the food was done. Well, almost. We still needed a cake! And entertainment! And a dress!

I admit to an advantage over a lot of brides because of all the people I meet in my job as a commercial photographer. I had met Becky Gobernatz, B Sweet Cupcakery, at my Polka Dot Powerhouse networking group. I’d had her confections before but wasn’t going to pass up the chance for a tasting. We went, we tasted we ordered. Yummm! Cake done!

During the planning, Susie Vybiral, a local officiant, approached me and said she wanted to marry Chris and me. Vows would be traditional in a brief ceremony. Officiant, done. Bonus, Susie and her son Michael had a band, Salubrious Fox!

We met Michael at a local coffee house and chatted about New Braunfels and music. Chris really likes his music and put together a list of songs and bands. Michael and Chris clicked on their eclectic tastes and concert experiences. Music, done.

With everything coming together nicely, it was probably time to concentrate on the dress. I had been looking for a dress since Jost Van Dyke but wasn’t finding anything. My girlfriends and I finally made a trip to David’s Bridal in Austin. All that looking, and it was at David’s Bridal the whole time. Two fittings and picked up a week out. Dress, done!

I had no hesitation when it came to a photographer. I’m not a wedding photographer, but I knew what I wanted and who could deliver. I chose Lisa Blatschke with Lisa on Location and was pleased with the outcome.

As the date approached and rain seemed inevitable, a tent was suggested. It’s not always easy to find a tent on short notice, but we found Peerless Tents and Events out of Austin. Even with adjustments to the layout, and up until they set it up, they performed perfectly. Brauntex Rental provided the tables; chairs and linens came from Comal Rentals. The atmosphere was brightened when girlfriends and I made up the table decorations and brought the “Wave on Wave” theme to life with candles, stones, and tapestries.

Fill us in on some of your favorite wedding day details:

When the day arrived, there were forty people from out of town, family and friends who all stepped up to throw the party. Friends and family set up tables, arranged chairs, and decorated. My daughter-in-law, Ashly, did my nails, while friends helped with hair. My makeup was done by Adriana Espinoza. A team effort for a simple affair!

The ceremony was scheduled for five. At 3:30 it began to pour rain as it only can in New Braunfels. At 4:15 the clouds gave way to sunshine. At 4:45 Michael wandered around those gathered playing his rendition of Pat Green’s Wave on Wave on his violin shifting to the traditional wedding march at five o’clock. My three sons, Nicholas, Benjamin and Colton, walked me down the aisle on the banks of the Guadalupe River with the full approval from the 70 guests.

Susie got Chris and me through the ceremony in twelve minutes. Lisa rolled through her photo shoot list, and twenty minutes later the music started. BBQ was served, beverages flowed, and the dancing started. Michael played our favorite songs, even one he wrote inspired by his meeting with us at the coffee shop.

Marriage is not new to us. We both know what to do and more importantly, we both know what not to do. What makes our relationship special? I think it’s respect, communication and priority. We are both pragmatic and have no problem expressing our thoughts, discussing our options, and making decisions best for us. While we don’t agree all the time, we do understand and respect the other’s feelings because Chris’s priority is me and mine is him.

When I was a little girl, I dreamed of a husband and the wedding that would marry us. I finally lived the dream, and it was perfect.

            …and it was perfect!

Local Vendors used

Venue:                          Gruene Outpost River Lodge
Photography:              Lisa on Location
Officiant:                      Susie Vybiral
Cake/Cupcakes:        B Sweet Cupcakery
Makeup:                       Adriana Espinoza Artistry
Tanning:                       Bronze My Assets
Signage:                       Lina Lina Custom Wood Signs
Bridal Gown:                David’s Bridal
Music/Band:                 Salubrious Fox

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