Inspiration

If you ever read American wedding blogs, then you may have seen the incredible town of Marfa pop up before and I've always wanted to blog a wedding from there, so today's festival style affair is a real treat for me. If you've never come across Marfa before, according to the El Cosmico website (the fabulous venue where guests camped) the town 'sits at a unique crossroads of rural Southwest culture and international art Mecca. The town is equally influenced by its cattle ranching legacy, its proximity to Mexico and the vibrant migration of artists from big cities who have been drawn to Marfa since the early 1970's for its serenity and mystic quality of light. Here you will see a real cowboy and a major work of art in the same afternoon. What is now desert was once ocean, dinosaur homeland and Apache territory.' Doesn't it sound like a magical and mystical place? We can see why Elizabeth and Harry chose to host their wedding there, what a fabulous place for guests to travel to. Definitely a trip to remember for a lifetime. As well as the fabulous location and venue choices, guests were treated to some truly original decor, Elizabeth let her creative juices flow and the end result is nothing short of spectacular. Enjoy this one lovelies, there's just so much to look at!

The Bride

Elizabeth The Bride: I had a very difficult time finding a dress that suited my aesthetic and would wear well in the Texas desert. I was looking for something that was simple and elegant, but not too over the top. I ultimately ended up having mine custom made. I met the designer through a good friend at 40 Winks hotel one evening and I knew immediately that CJ would the perfect person to make the dress. We worked together designing something 1960’s inspired, yes still modern. Using a Balenciaga trapeze gown for inspiration, we decided on a strapless silk sheath underneath with an trapeze net overlay dress that CJ then spent 6 months hand appliquéing pieces of lace to (chris.jayne.mckay@gmail.com)

The Wedding Party

True to theme with our wedding, our attendants were of the non-traditional variety. My maid of honour was one of my closest friends, Ashleigh, and my bride’s man was one of my oldest friends and adventure companions, Lee. Having a male and female attendant worked out perfectly because Harry chose his oldest friend, James, as his best man and his groom’s lady was his sister, Emily. Coordinating wardrobes from all over the globe was a bit of a challenge, but Emily was a total hero when she found the perfect peach dresses at H&M, and on sale no less! She was worried that Ashleigh might not find the same dress in Texas, so she bought one for her and as it turned out, Ashleigh had found the same dress and ended up with two! Lastly, our flower girl, Aurora, was the cutest! She took her petal duties very seriously, meticulously dropping them down the aisle. She is the daughter of my good friend, and was very keen to take on the job when I told her that we would be traveling to Marfa.

The Venues

Since I am from Texas, it was important for me to get married there. As Harry’s family was traveling all the way from the UK, we wanted to make the weekend an adventure for everyone, so we choose one of my favourite places, the small west Texas town of Marfa to celebrate our union. We stayed at the 21 acre nomadic campground, El Cosmico, which has been a family favourite for several summers. Harry and I stayed in the yurt while other guests slept in tee pees and boutique caravans. We began the evening with a welcome dinner for everyone following our rehearsal of the wedding. The next morning we had our ceremony and post-wedding brunch. It was wonderful to have everyone staying together because the celebrations never really stopped and made sure that every moment was filled with good friends, good food, and good fun. Our reception was at a fantastic, minimal space called the Capri Lounge owned by the Thunderbird Hotel. It has an incredible garden where we had beautiful meal and saved the large enclosed space for people to dance, snap photos in the Photo Booth, take polaroids for the guest book, and or get competitive over a board game.

The Decor

As styling and design are a huge part of my livelihood, the aesthetic aspect of the weekend was very important to me. As the location itself already provided a visually stunning background, I felt it was essential to get all of the little details just right which included incorporating bits of Harry’s English heritage into out west Texas celebration. Harry helped me collect rocks on the beach in Brighton that his sister and I painted with chalk paint and gold leaf to use as paper weights to hold down the placemats at our welcome dinner. My dad helped me sand and stain blocks of wood that we used for the table signage during the reception. My maid of honour had tote bags made featuring our wedding logo. Our families were so helpful in assisting us as we finished all of the last minute details the day before. Harry’s best man was spray painting geometric hanging objects, his parents were helping to fill our welcome tote bags with mugs, cookies, and tea. It was truly a collaborative effort and we could not have done it without them!

The Flowers

My favourite part of the weekend were the gorgeous flowers from Rosehip Flora. I truly can not praise Erin enough! She is incredibly talented. As she is based in Austin, Texas we were only able to meet a couple of times before the wedding, but she was great at listening to my ideas and mixing in her own style. She created a Pinterest board to ensure that everyone was on the same page and I would email mood boards with colours, flowers, and ideas that I wanted to incorporate into the big day. Using Mark Rothko and Cy Twombly paintings as the inspiration for the colour palette, we decided on coral, peach, and soft pink with touches of eucalyptus green, and copper and Erin used king proteas, succulents, and my favourite cafe au last dahlias through out the decor. All of the florals were absolutely incredible and looked as if they were just naturally part of the desert scenery. Besides my bouquet, which weighed close to 20lbs, my favorite florals were the table runners from the welcome dinner. These were truly spectacular as she used agave leaves that she filled with sand, pebbles, and desert carnations with ferns to create the centre pieces. Additionally, we had discussed mounting air plants onto the concrete walls at our reception space, but as that was more complicated than we imagined, we made a greenery wall with plywood, vintage copper nails, and air plants that we set as the back drop to our guestbook table. Finally, we had a great logo that marked everything from the save the dates to the vintage hotel sign outside of the reception. Based on one of my sketches of the yucca plant, my friend and graphic designer, Camille Domange, created the perfect, geometric graphic that served as the signature for our event.

The Ceremony

David Beebee, the mayor of Marfa and owner of one of the town’s prominent food trucks, officiated our ceremony. Harry and crew walked into "Philomenia" by the Decemberists, and my Dad and I chose “Dance Tonight” by Paul McCartney to accompany us down the aisle. As my mother is no longer with us, we wanted to pay tribute to her as I missed her a great deal on the day. We had planned to release a wish lantern, but as it was a windy day, my brother, Ryan, was quick to come up with a lovely alternative and we lit a massive oversized candle and Ryan said a few words about her and my good friend, Catharine, selected a poem to read. Harry and I decided to write our own vows which turned out to be more emotional than we anticipated. There wasn’t a dry eye in the desert and a fair amount of ugly crying on my part. After which, we took our first walk as husband and wife to “Road to No Where” by the Talking Heads.

The Food

Food was one of the most important things to us in planning the wedding. One of our favourite things to do as a couple is enjoying food. Whether it is shopping at Borough market and preparing meals together or exploring new restaurants, food is important to us and we wanted it to be a major portion of the weekend. As several of our guests were coming from overseas, we wanted to showcase Texas’ exciting culinary scene and took every opportunity to do so. Starting with our welcome dinner on Friday evening, guests enjoyed a variety of tacos from the Food Shark food truck. We also had a variety of locally brewed beers and ice cream from my favourite store in Houston, Fat Cat Creamery. The Cats made specially flavoured earl grey soft serve push pops along with peach and vanilla cups, just for us! The next morning, following our ceremony, we had a bunch of sweet and savoury waffles from Marfa table. Our personal favourite was the sweet waffle with lavender and honey whipped chèvre. The culinary triumph of the occasion though was our reception. The food can only be described as stunning. Chef, Rocky Barnett, worked for several weeks to develop the menu that featured ingredients indigenous to the region and some even grown in his own garden. We started with cocktails and canapés that included Orange Prickly Pear Sorbet with Salt Cured Cactus Pad, Mini Tostada with Peach Salsa, Guacamole, Yellow Pear Tomato and Smoked BBQ Brisket on Smouldering Fig Leaves with Chiles and Plum Jam that was served on smoking coal. He paired the canapés with Pimms Cup cocktails, to pay homage to our English guests, that he made with cucumbers picked from the garden. For the actual meal we enjoyed Mesquite Dusted Marfa Sourdough accompanied by Texas Olive oil Scented with Mesquite Ember and Chili Pequin, Chilled Garden Sorrel Soup with Rosemary Flowers and Scape Blossoms, Shiso, Nasturtium, Sunflower and Rose Petal Salad with Poached Farm Egg, Lime, Epazote Oil and Black Salt, Texas Grass-Fed Beef Tenderloin Dusted in Nopal Ash with Wild Purslane, Prickly Pear reduction, Parmigiano Reggiano and Aged Balsamico and a Succotash of Corn, Potatoes, Tepary Beans, Nopales and Crispy Masa. The beef was so delicious that it might have converted some not so serious vegetarians, but the star of the evening was Rocky’s Elderberry Margarita!

The Dessert Table

The one thing I knew for certain after Harry proposed is that no matter where in the world we got married, our cake had to come from my favourite bakery in Houston, Sweet. The owners, Anne and Sandy, are the simply the best and their cakes are delicious! Anne brought a small baking crew with her and drove 11 hours across Texas to make our cake on-site in Marfa. Together they created our orange blossom wedding cake with cream cheese icing, mini key lime pies with home made marshmallow fluff, and macaroons in chili mango, pistachio, and earl grey. In southern weddings in America, the groom is traditionally honoured with a cake of their own. As Harry loves the Avengers, the team created Avenger’s themed red velvet cupcakes, just for Harry.

Written by Fern Godfrey

Bride's Shoes: Loeffler Randall | Headpiece & Clutch: BHLDN | Groom: Hackett London | Shirt: J.Crew | Flower Girl: J.Crew | Venues: El Cosmico | Thunderbird Hotel | Catering: Food Shark | Fat Cat Creamery | Marfa Table | Florist: Rose Hip Flora | DJ: Marfa Recording Studio | Cake & Treats: Sweet | Stationery: Camido Design | Printing: KMS Litho

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