This Texas Wedding Took Place in a Stunning Church with Wooded Views

bride and groom share a kiss on a grassy lawn outdoors
RaeTay Photography

Kelly and Carlin met in 2007 at Louisiana State University through mutual friends—over the next eight years, they kept in touch. In 2015, Kelly found a Facebook message from Carlin letting her know that he had been trying to reach her, but her number had changed. He flew out to Houston to take her out on their first date in December 2015. "On our first date, he told me he was going to marry me," Kelly says. "I chuckled in disbelief, but he meant every single word!"

Three years into their relationship, Carlin was able to join Kelly in the Dominican Republic on her annual family vacation, where he set up a private sunset dinner for just the two of them. Just as they sat down to enjoy the view, Carlin asked Kelly if she remembered what he told her on their first date. When she said, "You mentioned that you wanted to marry me," Carlin took that as his cue to get down on one knee and pop the question. "I had absolutely no idea that this proposal was coming and of course my family knew," Kelly shares. "I cried so many happy tears!"

The happy couple spent just over a year preparing for their October 6, 2018, wedding at The Chapel in the Woods, a venue situated on the campus of Woodlands Church in The Woodlands, Texas. They invited 150 guests to join them for an elegant-meets-outdoorsy Southern wedding with a plum, champagne, and fuchsia color palette.

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Glittery Invitations

ivory wedding stationary suit with gold glitter border design and gold calligraphy
RaeTay Photography

Kelly and Carlin chose classic ivory invitations with a glitter border. The suite, which was created by Isabella Invitations, featured a crest of their initials for a Southern touch.

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The Dress

bride and groom smile holding hands on a grassy lawn outdoors
RaeTay Photography

Looking for a wedding dress with a lace back and high neckline, Kelly went to two stores in Houston and tried on at least eight different looks. In the end, she decided to customize the neckline of her Essense of Australia gown, creating a one-of-a-kind number that met her vision, had a dramatic train, and flattered her silhouette. She paired the garment with Badgley Mischka block heels, simple diamond stud earrings, and her mother's diamond bracelet. She also wore a cathedral length veil for the ceremony and changed into a headpiece comb for the reception (both were from Whittington Bridal).

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The Groom's Look

groom wearing traditional black tuxedo wedding look
RaeTay Photography

Carlin wanted to be able to look back on his wedding photos and feel good about his look no matter how much time has passed, so he went with a traditional black tuxedo from The Black Tux. He also wore a watch and cuff links from Kenneth Cole.

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The Bridal Party

bride with bridesmaids wearing long deep violet colored dresses
RaeTay Photography

Kelly's bridesmaids, a group comprised entirely of her best friends, wore satin "Belsoi" dresses from Jasmine Bridal in a pretty eggplant hue.

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The Groomsmen

groom standing with groomsmen wearing black tuxedos
RaeTay Photography

Carlin's groomsmen were a mix of cousins and friends; they each wore tuxedos from The Black Tux.

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The Mothers of Honor

bride with four mothers-of-honor wearing gold and champagne colored floor length dresses
RaeTay Photography

Kelly wanted to make sure to include her "Mothers of Honor," who she described as "four amazing, God-fearing, loving women who were instrumental in shaping me into the woman I am today." Marsha, Mollie, Knakita, and Cathy served as an extension to the wedding party during the ceremony and wore gold and champagne dresses.

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The Ceremony Location

The Chapel in The Woods wedding venue
RaeTay Photography

The couple's ceremony took place at The Chapel in the Woods, where floor-to-ceiling glass windows gave guests a view into the dense woods surrounding the chapel. "My husband loves the outdoors, so I thought this location was a beautiful blend of his love for the woods and my love for all things elegant!" Kelly says.

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The Ceremony Details

tall floral arrangements and candles lined wedding ceremony aisle
RaeTay Photography

Tall flower arrangements in footed gold vases were set up at the entrance of the chapel. The aisle was lined with tall candles in clear holders; lush greenery hung from the end of each church pew.

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The Walk Down the Aisle

father of the bride walking bride down wedding aisle
RaeTay Photography

Kelly's father, James, walked her down the aisle to "This Is Why I Love You" by Jack Freeman. The processional marked the first time the bride and groom saw each other on the big day.

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The Vows

bride and groom during wedding ceremony at the alter
RaeTay Photography

Kelly's pastor, Michael Pender of Fallbrook Church, officiated, and Carlin's cousin, Chenier, read a bible verse during the ceremony. Instead of writing their own vows for the ceremony, the couple chose to share private letters.

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It's Official

bride and groom showered with flower petals by guests
RaeTay Photography

Carlin's most memorable moment of the big day took place right after the ceremony when they were announced as husband and wife. "I witnessed the pure joy on the faces of our family members and friends," he says.

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A Cocktail Hour with Strings

The Club at Carlton Woods cocktail hour with violinist entertainment
RaeTay Photography

The cocktail hour took place at The Club at Carlton Woods, where Champagne drinks were served alongside appetizers including chicken skewers, spring rolls, and roma tomato and goat cheese bruschetta. Kelly and Carlin hired violinist Richmond Punch to perform popular songs from artists like Beyoncé while guests enjoyed their cocktails. "The guests could not stop ranting and raving about him—definitely a unique experience!" the bride says.

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The Seating Chart

large gold framed mirror gold calligraphy seating chart
RaeTay Photography

Guests found their seating assignments on a large gold mirror filled with gold calligraphy that listed their names and table numbers.

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The Tented Reception

white tent wedding reception filled with hanging floral displays, centerpiece arrangements, and white and dinning furniture
RaeTay Photography

The couple wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to personalize their wedding to make the day a memorable experience for their guests. Even so, Kelly says she had a hard time finding a reception venue that reflected both her and Carlin's vision. Her parents had the idea to build the reception venue of their dreams by using a tent attached to the country club. "It was the perfect idea because my husband's family loves a good outdoor party," Kelly says. "I wanted his Louisiana, Creole family to feel right at home in The Woodlands!" They made the space elegant with lush florals, a hanging flower arrangement, and large chandelier at the center of the tent.

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The Tabletop Details

eggplant, fuchsia, pink, and white floral arrangement decor
RaeTay Photography

Seven long mahogany tables were left bare and fourteen round tables were covered in gold linens. Some tables held low centerpieces with pops of eggplant and fuchsia while others held tall statement centerpieces featuring pink and white roses. The table settings included gold flatware and were topped with a personalized thank-you note to each guest from the happy couple.

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Wall Flowers

wall floral arrangement decor
RaeTay Photography

The reception's opulent floral arrangements, courtesy of Plants n' Petals, even appeared on the venue's walls. Their placement—on top of bas-relief urns—was particularly clever.

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The First Dance

bride and groom hold each other during first dance at wedding reception
RaeTay Photography

Kelly and Carlin chose Ed Sheeran's "Perfect" for their first dance, a song that they felt depicted the entire day and their relationship.

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The Buttercream Cake

ivory frosted five tiered wedding cake wth gold ribbon accent and fresh floral decor
RaeTay Photography

The couple designed a five-tiered buttercream cake that featured their monogrammed initials, gold ribbon embellishments, and fresh flowers.

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The Groom's Cake

crawfish boil pot design cake for groom
RaeTay Photography

Carlin had his own cookies-and-cream flavored cake, which paid tribute to a few of his favorite things, including LSU (his alma mater), crawfish, and hot sauce. The couple also offered guests fleur-di-lis cookies so they could take a piece of Louisiana (the place where their love story began) home with them.

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bride and groom exiting the church after wedding ceremony
RaeTay Photography

Photography, RaeTay Photography
The Location, Chapel in The Woods; The Club at Carlton Woods
Event plannin and design, The Savvy Consultants
Flowers, Plants n' Petals
Stationery and Calligraphy, Isabella Invitations
Catering, The Club at Carlton Woods
Bride's gown, Essense of Australia
Bride's shoes, Badgley Mischka
Bride's accessories, Whittington Bridal
Hair, She Hair Studio
Makeup, Moni Pradier Blending Beauty
Bridesmaid dresses, Jasmine Bridal
Groom's suit, The Black Tux
Groom's accessories, Kenneth Cole
Groomsmen's suits, The Black Tux
Music, Jack Freeman; Richmond Punch; DJ Big Reeks
Lighting, The Phoenix Design Group
Tent, SPF Event Resources
Groom's Cake, Good Gosh Ganache
Favors, aDoughable Cookies

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