This Couple's Wedding at a Sculpture Garden in Texas Makes the Case for Lounge-Only Seating

wedding couple portrait on boardwalk under willow tree
Allen Tsai

Sparks flew when Emily and Andrew first met at a mutual friend's pool party in 2013. Five years later, in July 2018, the couple planned a trip to Cabo San Lucas, where they'd stay at Andrew's uncle's home—but ahead of their arrival, Andrew surprised Emily by booking a stay for their first night in Mexico at resort. The surprises continued: That evening, Andrew played Emily a video of all of their loved ones re-telling the story of their relationship. During a pause in the footage, Emily found Andrew down on one knee, asking her to marry him. The pair enjoyed their evening at the resort before celebrating with their friends and family, who were all waiting for them at Andrew's uncle's home.

Emily worked as an event coordinator at Nasher Sculpture Center for several years, so when the couple began planning their celebration, it was an easy choice in venue. "Not only is the museum and garden incredibly beautiful, but it also holds a very special place in my heart," the bride says. Emily wanted to take a step away from wedding traditions like escort cards and a seated or buffet dinner and encourage guests to mingle at their reception. "I truly just envisioned creating an atmosphere that spoke to our personal style but welcomed guests to dance the night away!" she says.

The pair worked with Karli Spangle from Ivory and Vine for month-of-coordination to help execute their modern-meets-boho vision. They invited 190 guests to their October 19, 2019, wedding—followed by an after-party at a speakeasy night club.

01 of 25

A Nod to the Venue

simple wedding invitations with orange and white flowers
Allen Tsai

The couple teamed up with Kelly at Pink Champagne Designs to completely customize their invitation suite, right down to the fonts. They went with letter pressed cards with a bespoke illustration of a sculpture at the venue—the one that ultimately served as their ceremony arch.

  • The Best Ways to Customize Your Wedding Invitations
02 of 25

On the First Shot

bride standing on boardwalk under willow tree
Allen Tsai

Emily had the rare experience of choosing the very first wedding dress she tried on. "It was the only dress I cried in," she says. The slender-fit Pronovias gown, purchased at Lovely Bride Dallas, featured intricate leaf beading and a low back. She paired the garment with a veil also found at Lovely Bride. She later changed into an ivory jumpsuit from BHLDN with tied straps, which was better suited for dancing.

On the big day, Emily also wore 18-carat white gold diamond flower earrings with pear and marquise shaped diamonds from Bachendorf's.

03 of 25

Block Heels

bride's simple cream colored wedding shoes
Allen Tsai

The bride went with ivory Stuart Weitzman sandals with a block heel to complete her look.

04 of 25

The Bride's Bouquet

bride holding simple white floral bouquet
Allen Tsai

Emily selected a round, lush organic bouquet that included white pom dahlias, peonies, panda anemone, double lisianthus, and garden spray roses, along with blush Clooney ranunculus, garden roses, and astilbe. The arrangement was hand-tied with a white organic silk ribbon.

05 of 25

The Groom's Look

groom in blue suit on boardwalk under willow tree
Allen Tsai

Andrew donned a custom blue suit from Q Clothier with a black bow tie and cuff links that were a gift from his father. He and his groomsmen wore matching boutonnières that were a mix of blush-and-white garden spray roses, Clooney ranunculus, and sprigs of Abelia and nandina.

06 of 25

All Together

bride and groom with wedding party in blue and red
Allen Tsai

As for their wedding party? Emily's bridesmaids wore knit crepe dresses from Jenny Yoo, which were purchased at Bella Bridesmaids. Each 'maid held a petite version of the bride's bouquet; they were tied off with blush silk ribbon.

Andrew, on the other hand, found an affordable navy suit from Suit Supply for his groomsmen to purchase and wear for the event, and hopefully many other occasions. They paired their ensembles with Brooks Brothers ties and black shoes.

07 of 25

The First Look

wedding couple first look on boardwalk under willow tree
Allen Tsai

They shared their first look at the venue—and Emily couldn't wait to show Andrew her dress. "I never keep anything from Andrew, so it was difficult not showing him what it looked like before our wedding day," she says. The bride also had a first look with her father, which ended up being a major highlight.

  • Pro Tips for Capturing That First Look Magic
08 of 25


outdoor ceremony space with gold chairs and central modern art sculpture
Allen Tsai

The ceremony aisle was lined with organic flowers: "We wanted it to appear as though the flowers were growing from the ground and Venus & Co. executed this flawlessly," Emily says.

09 of 25

The Sculpture

ground floral arch for ceremony under sculpture
Allen Tsai

Pivoting away from the traditional flower-embellished arch, Emily and Andrew decided to tie the knot underneath one of the unique sculptures at the Nasher Sculpture Center. The couple asked their florist to create a semi-circle of flowers to surround them at the altar.

10 of 25

Here Comes the Bride

bride and father processing down grass aisle
Allen Tsai

Emily walked down the aisle with her father, Jesse, to Elvis Presley's "Can't Help Falling in Love," played by a string quartet.

11 of 25

The Ceremony Details

groom dipping bride for kissing in aisle after ceremony
Allen Tsai

Their ceremony was officiated by Emily's uncle, Jeffrey, a Methodist preacher. Instead of writing their own vows, Emily and Andrew decided to pen letters to each other, which they shared during the service. On their way back down the aisle, Andrew dipped Emily and gave her a kiss as the string quartet broke out into "All You Need is Love."

12 of 25

Time to Mingle

wedding guests socializing during cocktail hour outdoors at sculpture center
Allen Tsai

The cocktail hour took place in the sculpture garden, where a few members of the reception band played to set the mood. Guests enjoyed passed appetizers like ponzu pork potstickers, truffle-infused grilled cheese with fig jam, and mini chicken and waffles with jalapeño honey.

13 of 25

Signature Sips

personalized cocktail napkins with golden dog
Allen Tsai

When it came to choose signature cocktails, the couple wanted to incorporate one drink with a Mexican twist as a nod to their engagement. Enter Emily's option, which was called the "Señora-Rita"; the drink included patron, topo chico, pineapple, muddled jalapeño, tahini, and lime. Andrew's signature cocktail, "A Something Old Fashioned," featured black walnut bitters.

The couple also offered a sip named after their pup, which they called "Cooper's Mule." Cooper also appeared on the custom napkins that dotted the bar during the interlude.

14 of 25

Fun Trays

white cocktail tray with wedding appetizers
Allen Tsai

Trays lined with the couple's engagement photos offered a personal moment as guests selected their hors d'oeuvres.

15 of 25

A Less Traditional Reception

small glass and gold reception lounge tables
Allen Tsai

The reception was thoughtfully set up in a way that encouraged guests to mingle and socialize throughout the evening. Emily and Andrew went with a mix of round and tall bar tables, plus lounge areas with couches and coffee tables. They decided to skip a seated dinner altogether, allowing their guests to head to the bar, grab a plate, or dance at any time. "Our guests said that it was an evening filled with vivacious energy that could be felt throughout the entire garden," Emily recalls.

16 of 25

In the Round

outdoor reception round tables with muted red table cloths
Allen Tsai

Round stations were dressed with thick velvet linens from La Tavola in a dusty rose shade. "With the color and fabric, the linens were perfect for a wedding in October," the bride says.

17 of 25

Bold and Lush

red and pink floral wedding bouquet centerpiece
Allen Tsai

Emily and Andrew hired Venus & Co to create a variety of beautiful centerpieces—including large arrangements of blush, white, and burgundy florals in gold vessels with gold tea candles scattered throughout—for the party.

18 of 25

Hey, Bud

red flowers in vase on reception table
Allen Tsai

Bud vases were placed on the communal and cocktail tables in tall delicate glass vases and accented with greenery garlands.

19 of 25

Lounging Around

wedding outdoor lounging area with white couches and leather chairs
Allen Tsai

Several lounge vignettes were set up near the dance floor; the couple went with a mix of wood and leather details to accomplish the subtle bohemian vibe they were going for.

20 of 25

Party Time

wedding band playing brass instruments outdoors at reception
Allen Tsai

Emily and Andrew hired the Jordan Kahn Orchestra to play during the reception. "We did have several special requests throughout the evening, including 'Blurred Lines' from Robin Thicke, which is the first song we danced to together back in 2013," Emily shares.

21 of 25

The First Dance

wedding couple embracing during first dance
Allen Tsai

The pair shared their first dance to "Fly Me to the Moon" by Frank Sinatra. "Andrew and I have always loved Frank Sinatra and any songs from the Rat Pack," the bride says, "We often listen to his music when cooking dinner together on weeknights." As they swayed, water vapor cannons were set off on stage for a romantic visual effect.

22 of 25

An Epic Performance

bride and groom performing at reception
Allen Tsai

One of the couple's favorite memories of the evening? They bravely got on stage with the band to sing Billy Joel's "Piano Man." "All of our friends and family locked arm-in-arm in a circle on the dance floor and every guest was singing the song in unison," Emily says. "I was overwhelmed with joy and love in this moment."

23 of 25

Watercolor Dream

elegant white and pink wedding cake
Allen Tsai

The newlyweds served a four-tier cake, complete with pink watercolor embellishments and floral decorations; the confection, which included both chocolate and vanilla flowers, was displayed on a translucent stand.

24 of 25

The Last Dance

bride and groom reception last dance
Allen Tsai

Emily and Andrew decided to end the evening with a private dance. "Having a quiet moment to dance in our love and reflect on the evening was the most perfect ending to our reception," Emily says.

The horn players then started playing The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love" as the couple and their guests walked to a nearby speakeasy for the after-party. "It felt very New Orleans and it was so fun parading down the street with all of our loved ones to keep the celebration going!" the bride says.

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bride and groom exiting wedding showered in confetti
Allen Tsai

Photography, Allen Tsai Photography
Venue, Nasher Sculpture Center
Month-of Coordination, Karli Spangler, Ivory & Vine Event Co.
Flowers, Venus & Co.
Invitations, Pink Champagne Designs
Paper Products, The Emerald Hound; Minted
Videography, Peyton Anne Frank
Bride's Gown, Pronovias; Lovely Bride
Bride's Veil, Lovely Bride
Bride's Jewelry, Bachendorf's
Bride's Shoes, Stuart Weitzman
Bride's Jumpsuit, BHLDN
Hair and Makeup, Brittany Jones Beauty
Bridesmaids' Dresses, Jenny Yoo; Bella Bridesmaids
Groom's Attire, Q Clothier
Groomsmen's Attire, Suit Supply; Brooks Brothers
Music, Jordan Kahn Orchestra
Catering, Wolfgang Puck Catering
Cake, Fancy Cakes by Lauren
Rentals, Perch Event Decor; Top Tier Event Rentals; La Tavola Linen
Lighting, BEYOND
Transportation, Premier Transportation

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