Each fall, CultureMap spotlights some of the most fabulous real weddings of Dallas-area couples who recently tied the knot. From backyard barbecues to intimate dinner receptions and multimillion-dollar extravaganzas, each celebration we've featured this year has included swoon-worthy details as unique as the couples themselves. They raised the bar on fun and sentimentality, and in some cases, spared absolutely no expense.
Read on for 10 inspired ideas and memorable moments from some of our favorite wedding stories of 2019.
Grandmothers as flower girls
Julia Bunch Fearis and Galen Fearis
In one of the sweetest touches we’ve ever seen, the bride and groom’s grandmothers, who have been best friends for more than 30 years, served as flower girls. This whimsical backyard wedding was truly a family affair, with the father officiating and the couple’s beloved dogs playing important roles in both the proposal and wedding. The newly married couple celebrated with Babe’s Chicken served on family china, signature beers from local breweries, wedding cake made by the bride's aunt, and a messy, muddy dance party outdoors, under the stars.
Bubbles on tap
LeeAnne Locken and Rich Emberlin
It’s hard to know where to begin with this Real Housewives of Dallas star’s $4 million “over-the-top fabulous” celebration. Of all the covet-able details — cherry blossom trees flanking the altar, an Epicurean cyclist at the reception, their monogram in lights at the Omni — the idea we'd like to steal for our next party is the Bubble Tap Trailer. Reception guests were greeted at the valet drop by the trailer, which is a first-of-its-kind, fully renovated vintage camper that has been converted into a mobile bar. Now that's a sparkling way to get the party started.
Marlon Moore and Shonda Moore
When the groom makes a living getting people in the mood to party, his own wedding is sure to be an epic celebration. Dallas' DJ ASAP and his bride thought of their big day as a “three-part show.” During the second act, the bridal party took photos while guests enjoyed live music, cocktails, and entertainment courtesy of an aerialist from Soar Creative Studios. (Apparently, aerialists are trending. Locken also had an aerial saddle-rider at her reception.)
Weekend brunch wedding
Gina Ginsburg and Grant Farmer
There's no rule that says a wedding must be at night. Paying homage to how they first met — “Sunday Funday” brunch at The Rustic — the bride and groom hosted a glamorous brunch reception on the Terrace at The Joule hotel. After a ceremony on the “Eyeball” lawn, which as officiated by none other than famed photographer Tyler Shields, comfort-food favorites like chicken and waffles were served, along with signature cocktails and mocktails and libations from a mimosa bar.
A paradise of flowers
Rita Saynhalath and Derek Ngai
The bride’s sister/wedding planner Rivann Yu took floral to the next level, creating a “paradise of flowers” that featured a floral canopy and arrangements by Dream Weddings. The intimate wedding was held at The Pearl Restaurant in Grand Prairie and attended by only close friends and family members. But there was nothing understated about the oh-so-Instagrammy floral fantasy, which completely transformed the space and brought the bride’s vision of modern elegance to life.
An unconventional aesthetic
Derek Whitener and Victor Newman Brockwell
Wedding professionals predict dark color palettes will grow in popularity in coming years. Apparently, these grooms — well-known Dallas theater pros — were just ahead of the curve. Wanting “old Hollywood glamour mixed with slightly creepy elements,” the couple passed on traditional décor in favor of brass candelabras, neon signs, skulls, and romantic flower arrangements. Vintage fashion publications and pages from old fairytale books were also used in tablescapes.
Parting on a sweet note
Amanda and Matt Kundert
It’s a sad but true fact that all weddings must come to an end. When this couple’s spring wedding came to a close, they made sure guests parted on a sweet note by handing out cotton candy in custom monogrammed tubs. There are myriad options for party favors, but sweet treats guests can savor the next day — and in some cases, scarf down in the car on the way home — are surefire crowd-pleasers.
Slowing down for a sweetheart dance
Joey and Lindsay McGovern
Weddings can feel like a whirlwind, which is why the McGoverns highly recommend all couples schedule a private last dance — aka sweetheart dance — at the end of their reception. As guests gathered outside for the newlyweds’ grand exit, the bride and groom cleared the ballroom for one more dance as husband and wife, not a tipsy relative or rambunctious flower girl in sight.
Honoring culture and traditions
Sara Lavi and Brock Webberman
These college sweethearts wanted to set the bar high on fun at their wedding, but they also wanted to honor their own culture and traditions. In addition to Jewish traditions, like the signing of the ketubah and the celebratory hora dance, nods to the bride's Persian culture were incorporated throughout. During the ceremony, she wore her grandmother’s Persian wedding shawl, and the groom wore his grandfather’s tallit. Traditions of a different sort took place at the reception. Having fallen in love at the University of Texas, the couple's groom's cake was a stunning version of the famous campus tower (complete with a mini Bevo), and the bride and groom led the crowd in the singing of the UT fight song.
Editing down to what's most important
Chris Andersen and Korey Williams
Initially, these Dallas grooms envisioned a huge wedding with everyone from their social circles in attendance. But in the end, they went in the opposite direction, opting for an intimate celebration with 20 of their nearest and dearest. Following a small ceremony at Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden, the food-loving couple hosted a five-course dinner reception for their nearest and dearest at Local, a modern-American restaurant located in Boyd Hotel in Deep Ellum. They likened the vibe to that of being invited to an intimate dinner at a close friend’s TriBeCa loft — “simplistic city sophistication."