This Romantic, Bold Wedding in Austin Will Get You Ready for Fall
Ennovy Vester and Ernest Chamberlain first crossed paths in 2003 at Texas A&M, a college she ultimately didn't attend; she, a high school senior at the time, was taking a psychology class for extra credit when one of her classmates (Ernest, who was in his last year of his undergraduate studies) struck up a lively conversation. "Even though I knew I was attending another school in the fall, Ernest and I chatted often during class," says Ennovy, adding that Ernest, who knew this, didn't ask for her contact information. "Seven years would go by before we crossed paths again."
Five years later, while studying medicine in Mexico, Ernest, who went by the nickname "Doc" at the time, unknowingly befriended Ennovy's brother, Sam—two years after that, they were finally in the same place at the same time, with Ennovy home visiting her parents during the holidays and Ernest visiting Sam. Ennovy had heard all about her brother's friend "Doc," but she didn't put it together until her future husband shared his name and reminded her of the nickname. A week into the new year, they bumped into each other in Las Vegas. "Like they say, the rest is history," says Ernest.
After getting engaged in the Bahamas in February of 2018, the couple began planning their 170-guest wedding in Austin, Texas, where they live; the city is dear to their hearts. "Many of our guests were visiting Texas from other states and from Mexico; many had never been to Austin," explains the groom. "In order to showcase our great love for the city where Ennovy and I have made our home, we wanted to pick venues that showcased all of its natural beauty." They opted for the magnificent Saint Mary's Cathedral—a historic church nestled into the downtown's sea of skyscrapers—for their traditional Catholic ceremony and hosted a lavish, romantic reception at Villa Del Lago. They took their chances with the weather and designed an entirely outdoor party, treating their loved ones to views of their surroundings.
The event itself—which was coordinated by Lindsay at Highland Avenue Events—was timeless from start to finish and honored the season in nearly every way. "We wanted the wedding to reflect the autumn season through its rich colors, palettes, and flavors," says Ennovy. Most importantly, their "Texas roots" and dedication to hospitality shined through: "We wanted all our guests to truly feel like family."
Welcome to Austin
The couple's rich, autumnal color palette inspired the bulk of the invitation suite, which was crafted by Ceci Johnson of Ceci New York. The main card's front featured emerald letterpress and gold foil stamping; the back was awash with watercolor florals, hand-painted by Ceci herself (the colorful flowers carried across the suite's insert cards). A deep burgundy velvet ribbon and antique gold wax seal—emblazoned with their monogram—served as the polished finishing touch.
On the morning of the wedding, Ennovy spent some time with her mother, who played an integral role in one key part of the planning process: the wedding-dress search.
The bride's mother kept her company throughout the multiple trips to Los Angeles, where Ennovy's Monique Lhuillier wedding dress was being perfected at the flagship atelier. "I really got to enjoy some mother-daughter time throughout the process," the bride reflects, adding that her mother was so impressed with the Monique staff that she chose the label for her own ensemble, as well.
"My bouquet was truly the bouquet of my dreams," says Ennovy of the larger-than-life organic arrangement—composed of dahlias, ranunculus, and a myriad of garden rose cultivars—Tiffany Larson of Stems Floral Design & Event Styling crafted for her big day.
Ladies in Green
The bridesmaids wore dresses of their choosing in shades of emerald, furthering the jewel-toned palette of the event. "I thought they looked quite elegant and I was so thankful to have each of them with me on our wedding day," shares Ennovy.
Ernest, dressed in a Brioni tuxedo, got a little help from his handsome nephew, Aquiles, before he posed for portraits. The groom completed his look with a watch—a previous gift from his father, who passed away a little over a year before the ceremony. "I wanted to wear this piece in remembrance of my father, who was so special to me," he says.
The Tuxedos Have It
"I am definitely partial to the classics," says Ernest, "so I asked my groomsmen to rock a traditional tuxedo of their choosing. You just can't go wrong with classic."
Back to Back
Ennovy and Ernest stuck with tradition, opting to share a first touch ahead of the ceremony and save their first look for the aisle. "Ernest and I stood back to back, hand in hand, and recited our own written promises to each other," says the bride. "It was the only time throughout the day that I truly felt nervous! But it was so reassuring to feel his hand in mind and hear his voice."
Large white urn arrangements framed the entrance to Saint Mary's Cathedral, previewing the timeless decorations inside. "The design continued into the cathedral with lush white-and-green aisle markers on each and every pew," adds Ennovy.
A Church Ceremony
Ahead of the traditional Roman Catholic ceremony, Ennovy's brother, Sam, walked escorted her towards the altar. "Our father passed almost five years ago at the time of our wedding," explains the bride. "I know my dad would have been so proud. It was a touching moment for my brother and me—I wasn't the slight bit nervous to walk down the aisle, having my best friend by my side."
Tying the Knot
The couple recited traditional vows, per Catholic custom. "We learned that these vows, recited by every couple before us, are to remind us that we are now part of something much larger than ourselves," says Ennovy. Before exchanging their promises, they listened to a reading from Corinthians, which was delivered by their niece and goddaughter, Miranda.
"Looking back on the day, I am glad we saved the time after the ceremony for just us," says the bride. "Those moments following the ceremony were some of the most intimate we experienced all weekend long. The feeling of riding off into the sunset as husband and wife, in a blue vintage car (which also served as my something blue!), to celebrate with our family and friends was truly indescribable."
What a View
While the newlyweds made their way to Villa Del Lago, their guests congregated on the balcony—which had been sectioned with vintage baroque-inspired lounge vignettes for comfort—for the cocktail hour. Terra Vista Strings treated guests to instrumental versions of contemporary hits "to get the party started," says Ennovy, as the sun over the adjacent lake.
Find Your Seat
The event's signature floral motifs and the duo's monogram—first seen on the invitation suite—were repeated on the seating chart, which was executed in full by Ceci New York.
Raising the Bar
Along with a full bar selection of wine, beer, and spirits, the couple spotlighted several of their favorite beverages. "Silver Oak was the first vineyard we visited together years ago, and it was a must for us include their Cabernet Sauvignon," explains Ernest. "Another personal favorite was a mezcal made at my Uncle Jose's agave farm in Mexico. It was imported especially for us to serve at our wedding. We are very partial to tequila and mezcal and had a great selection for our guests to enjoy."
The personalized bar menu didn't stop there: Ennovy and Ernest were meticulous when working with Sourced Craft Cocktails, who ultimately crafted their signature drinks. "Because Ennovy and I enjoy take great pride in hosting guests, this was one of the planning aspects I was very involved in," explains Ernest. One of the sips, the "Can't Silencio the Passion," was a crowd favorite, he says, and was composed of El Silencio Mezcal, cold pressed pineapple juice, fresh squeeze lime juice, homemade jalapeño tincture, and passion fruit syrup; the other, named the "Starry Night," was made from Grey Goose vodka, homemade blackberry syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, and was topped with soda water. "They hit it out of the park," says the groom.
Ennovy and Ernest skipped the cocktail hour entirely—they posed for portraits around the venue when they arrived there, taking advantage of golden hour before rejoining their guests during the party.
The couple worked with Whim Hospitality and their florist, Tiffany, to transform their clear tent ("Ernest and I wanted to see the stars as we ate by candlelight," shares Ennovy) into a romantic oasis for dinner. Guests were seated at a communal farm table, which ran the length of the garden's lawn; smilax vines and crystal chandeliers were hung overhead. Tables were covered in ivory velvet cloths and then dressed with mauve runners.
"Our floral team created lush garden-style arrangements in gold compotes that ran the length of our family-style table," explains Ennovy of the centerpieces, which included many of the blooms seen in her bouquet. Florals were alternated with sandstone taper candles in gold holders and clear glass hurricanes at varied heights for texture.
Food is one of Ernest's biggest passions—naturally, it was one of the most integral parts of their celebration, he shares. Pink Avocado provided elevated seasonal cuisine, beginning with an autumn salad with butternut squash and dried berries. Guests had their choice of bronzed seabass with shrimp scampi, gnocchi with wild mushrooms, or a surf-and-turf option, which consisted of a New York strip steak topped with prawns. "We heard the best reviews from our guests. Everything was just delicious," says the groom.
On the Dance Floor
"The dance floor inside was created to match our invitation suite, complete with our initial monogram," says Ennovy. "It was one of our favorite features that really set the tone for the space."
To one side of the dance floor, the couple placed their five-tier marbled wedding cake, created by Sweet Treats Bakery. Tiffany embellished the confection with a lush floral sash that "dripped right off the table," says Ennovy. "The florals from the base extended organically up the cake and adorned the top."
A stately fireplace hugged the frontmost side of the dance floor, which Tiffany transformed into a focal point; the mantel was dressed in a massive garland and anchored with pillar candles in hurricanes.
Ennovy (who changed into a champagne-hued, beaded Monique Lhuillier number) and Ernest (he stepped into a Gucci suit with unique embroidery) managed to surprise their guests with an epic firework display at the end of the evening. "Our band strategically led our guests—who were still dancing on the dance floor—over to the balcony," explains Ennovy. Suddenly, the most amazing firework show began. The beautiful colors painted onto the clear night sky were unbelievable. It made for a fantastic end to the celebration!"
A mobile Champagne cart—courtesy of Champagne Supply Company—served up plenty of bubbly; eucalyptus, pampas grass, and roses adorned the top.
The couple managed to pull off their second surprise of their wedding weekend during brunch: They celebrated Ernest's great-aunt's 93rd birthday, which happened to coincide with the postnuptial party. "She had made the trip from Monterey, Mexico, to celebrate with us and we had the best idea," says Ennovy. They hired a traditional mariachi band, who then serenaded her while Ernest brought out her birthday cake, courtesy of Sweet Treats Bakery. "It was a beautiful way to end our wedding weekend," notes the bride.