Every wedding vendor team is created a little differently. In this series we explore how and why each couple selected the right wedding vendor team for their wedding day.
Josh and Tucker both wanted to experience the feeling of being proposed to and getting to propose, and discussed Tucker proposing first. But Josh really wanted to surprise him, so he curated a beach picnic and lured him to the sand by telling him that they should have a little photo shoot at sunrise. Upon arrival, Tucker was shocked to find a more elaborate setup, and doubled over when he realized Josh was on one knee.
After a month or so, it was Tucker’s turn. He created a series of paintings that represented significant moments in their relationship—hanging them up on the bridge where he first told Josh he loved him.
The wedding planning began in between the proposals, with most of their vendors selected before Tucker actually popped the question. As it was clear the pandemic would throw some curveballs in their planning, and Josh had the summer off from his job as an educator, he spent much of his June looking for inspiration, assembling the dream team, and talking with Tucker about how they could “dream a new dream for a wedding that did not have to fit the mold of any tradition.” Their organic, whimsical, and romantic celebration designed with love and intention evolved from there.
After the engagement, Abbie Cole Hillis of ACH Events reached out to Josh to offer congratulations as well as her services. She had coordinated a few of his friends’ weddings, and he had worked with her on a wedding himself.
“We knew that we would be able to seamlessly create a magical evening together. Tucker and I did a lot of planning, and Abbie and Mikayla [Springer, of ACH Events] were really good about telling us what was good and what we could pass on. They helped us secure vendors who were affordable, as we were paying for the wedding on our own. They really helped us with the logistics of things.” —Josh, groom
“I knew whatever they designed and created was going to be uniquely perfect. And what was special was that they truly planned the wedding together. They enjoyed the process and made sure to just be fully invested and intentional about who they hired, the role they played in the day, and why they were important. Wedding planning isn’t always 50/50 with clients and with them they were both all in.” —Abbie Cole Hillis, planner
Wedding Floral Designer
Floral Designer Elizabeth Miller of The Petaler Floral & Events Co. also knew the couple already, and was the next to sign on for the wedding.
“Given that Josh and Tucker chose a location in the iconic Texas Hill Country, everyone agreed that the floral designs should feel as if they were a part of the natural terrain, which is rocky and somewhat untamed. One of the things that stood out to me the most in their vision, was their goal of creating an ambiance akin to a cozy dinner party with a wild dance party. I felt that was the perfect representation of them as a couple and who they are as individuals. To help them achieve that look and feel, we suggested using hundreds of pillar candles on the chilly, January evening to set the mood while guests enjoyed dinner, so that we could really prioritize the ceremony space for big moments.” —Elizabeth Miller, floral designer
The fashion of the day was a big part of the design inspiration, in everything from the flowers to the couple’s very intentional twists on tradition. The wardrobe selections were integral to Josh and Tucker’s vision, their personal style, and their desire to celebrate their loved ones.
“Fashion played a pivotal role in the overall day, and Josh and Tucker went back and forth on whether they wanted to carry bouquets. I was so happy that they ultimately decided to do so. Each one was a reflection of their individual styles and personalities, and were also color-coordinated to complement each outfit. Josh is not a huge fan of roses, but over time he has come around, so I incorporated a combination of golden mustard and honey dijon roses into his bouquet. His inspiration was simply a monochrome piece, and I chose ochre to pop against his green corduroy suit. In addition to the roses, we used sweet peas and a lot of textural pieces, such as kiwi vine and scabiosa pods, to tie in the local terrain. It was finished with silk and velvet ribbons that we sewed into cascading loops for a super chic finish. In contrast, Tucker had this gorgeous blue-gray tweed suit that we wanted to enhance with a cool-toned palette. One really important feature for Tucker was that he wanted to pay homage to his grandmother by incorporating bittersweet into his bouquet, as she had it in hers. So, his mother brought us several twigs from her garden and removed the red berries, leaving the yellow shells behind and we tucked those into a bouquet of Koko Loko roses, blackberry, thistle, scabiosa pods, and lisianthus. Everything was finished off with long, trailing silk ribbons that draped the floor.” —Elizabeth Miller, floral designer
“All of our entourage members were in head-to-toe cream. We chose that because we wanted to flip the script on tradition with us in color and our closest friends in off-white. Everyone was able to choose the pieces that would work for their bodies and their own gender expression. We didn’t want anyone to feel pressured to wear something that didn’t match their vibe. Elizabeth did a fabulous job of continuing this concept by giving each entourage member the choice of floral element that they wanted, whether that be a hairpiece, a corsage, a boutonnière, or a posey. It was really important that our wedding party was gender neutral. It started with calling them our ‘entourage’ instead of a ‘bridal party,’ and we carried out that intention with each detail.” —Josh, groom
The grooms visited two venues, but couldn’t pass on The Cedars Ranch, just outside of Austin, where most of their friends in Texas live. They had fallen in love with the natural landscape of the Hill Country with its rolling hills covered in tall grasses and dotted with live oaks. When they began planning they were living in Houston, but by the time the wedding rolled around they’d relocated to Austin (which made the last stages of planning even easier).
“Owners Marilyn and Bill both made us feel at home as soon as we stepped foot on their property. They’ve really carved out a special place that feels extremely serene and beautiful.” —Josh, groom
The floorplan was a big part of it all, as the ceremony took place with guests seated at tables and the reception incorporated an art gallery.
"The art gallery was another pie in the sky idea that became reality. Tucker and I had the world’s longest first date. It lasted from 8 a.m. until about midnight. Toward the end of our day-long date, we went to several art festivals that were happening in Houston. From the beginning, art has been a central part of our relationship. We have curated a collection of art from artists around the country that we connect to. So, we wanted the art gallery to help tell our love story in a really tangible way. Each piece was accompanied by a description card so guests could learn about the artist, when we acquired/made it, and what it meant to the both of us. ” —Josh, groom
Another move they made swiftly was booking DJ Brian Weber. Closer to the wedding date, the trio finalized the set list in line with the event’s vibe.
“I attended a wedding for my really good friend that [Brian] was a part of. He has an ability to seamlessly transition between the different parts of the evening while keeping everyone on their feet dancing. We had a 3-hour dance party with no lulls in dancing! It was spectacular.” —Josh, groom
Patricia Perez of Patricia Perez Photography documented both of the proposals, so it was a no-brainer that she’d also photograph the wedding. She knew Josh and Tucker quite well at this point, and was able to capture their joy like no one else.
Wedding Rentals & Caterer
Abbie pitched Festoon for rentals because the couple really wanted a warm feeling with wood tables and chairs. She also recommended Lily Grace Catering & Event Services to handle the groom’s unique wishlist for food—including specific items from various restaurants around Austin, and the serving of a curated selection of beverages including Topo Chico, Long Drink, and East Ciders.
“Ever since I first allowed myself to think about the possibility that marriage was for me, I had a vision of having my wedding ceremony around a table instead of having guests sit in rows. The table is central to my life—it not only reminds me of my faith, but it also reminds me of the countless hours I spent playing cards around my grandma’s table growing up. I was raised around the table. I’ve made my deepest connections over gumbo and wine. I’d never quite seen someone situate a wedding quite like that, and after some dreaming, Tucker came on board with the idea. There is also one scene in the opening credits of a TV show called ‘Parenthood’ where all of the family is gathered around a table with mismatched chairs and candles, and I deeply wanted our wedding to reflect that feeling of community, care, and connection.” —Josh, groom
“One thing I think people undervalue in wedding design are chairs. Chairs can transform a space and the mismatched chairs created that genuine ‘come have a seat at our table’ vibe that you would want to genuinely create in your own home. The chairs that started as just an idea, ended up being one of the most important pieces of the design!” —Abbie Cole Hollis, planner
“After looking for days and days, I could not find a vendor who had these mismatched chairs until Abbie recommended Festoon. When I told Tucker, I was a little apprehensive and I thought he might think mismatched chairs were a little 2010 and barn-chic, haha. But, we really shared my vision that the chairs would add an element of warmth to the modern venue and add to the dinner party aesthetic. They ended up being one of our most favorite details that we both had kind of always wanted but were too afraid to talk about until we found them and could make the dream into a reality!” —Josh, groom
As for dessert, just one large cake was the initial thought. But Josh and Tucker wanted everyone to feel special and cared for, so they decided that each person getting their own cake was a way they could do that. One of Josh’s former coworkers bakes, and she agreed to make the petite sweets for the occasion. Caramel cakes with a brown-butter-and cream-cheese frosting were decorated with thistle and scabiosa and set on a table with a larger cake (for cutting) designed to look like a meadow of flowers.
“It was so fun to see guests running back to the reception from the art gallery, where they got their cake, to each enjoy their sweet treat.” —Josh, groom
Wedding Stationery & Signage
Josh and Tucker collaborated on making all of the wedding stationery—which was centered around a bespoke crest. For day-of pieces it was a hands-on affair. Friends and family rolled up their sleeves—with Josh’s cousins cutting the wood for the arch backdrop and his childhood best friend, artist Alexa Vecchio, lettering all the signage. Josh hand-stamped each of the 90 guests’ names onto leather to create one-of-a-kind place cards at each seat that also tied into a lot of the leather artwork Josh likes to do. And he and Tucker penned notes to each and every guest as well.
“The coat of arms came from a trip that Tucker and I took to the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. At the museum, Tucker saw an exhibit of family crests and told me that he thought it would be really cool to have one for ourselves. After researching our families’ coats of arms, we quickly realized that they did not embody our spirits. So, as my one year anniversary present to Tucker, I had a graphic designer named Hailie Durrett create our coat of arms using symbols that mean a lot to us. The image was one of the unifying elements of our wedding day—it appeared in the notes we wrote to guests, on our signage, on our wax seals for our invitations, and on the cookies we gave out at our Sunday brunch. We have a print of our crest on display in our home along with the explanation of the elements so that our guests can learn more about us through that piece of art.” —Josh, groom
“Both Josh and Tucker, being artists themselves, have a natural eye for aesthetics, which was clear in so many of their choices, but especially when choosing the arch shape as a fundamental element in their decor. From their invitations to their crest, signage, and even the ceremony backdrop, it was a key piece of the event that really stood out. The details of the day were what really took the entire event over the top!” Elizabeth Miller, floral designer
The final addition to their team of collaborators (and another artist) was Lanecia Rouse Tinsley, an abstract expressionist painter who was the artist in residence at the church the couple attended in Houston. Her unparalleled ability to convey deep meaning when she speaks and the Josh and Tucker’s connection to her drove them to ask her to officiate their ceremony. While not something she normally does, the grooms couldn’t imagine anyone else performing their ceremony.
“Even though the ceremony seems a bit hazy to me, I remember her describing love as the million different mundane rhythms of life, and it made me incredibly emotional. It made me think back to when i was closeted and full of shame. Back then, I would have done almost anything to experience the ordinary moments of a relationship like holding hands while watching a movie, cooking dinner together, or even having someone to sleep next to. Lanecia’s art and words both have the ability to bring people back home to themselves, and she did just that on our special day.” —Josh, groom