A Warm, Boho-Inspired Wedding at a Private Lakefront Home in Austin, Texas
Annie and Josh were both Texas-born musicians living in New York City in 2010 when a mutual friend thought they might be a good match—if not romantically, then musically. But Annie returned to Texas shortly after, and it wasn't until her move back to the Big Apple in December 2016 that the two were finally able to connect. Almost three years later, in August of 2019, Josh asked Annie to marry him during a walk with their dog in Washington Square Park—a last-minute surprise he put together when Annie figured out his original proposal plan.
Annie and Josh set their wedding date for December 5, 2020, in Austin, Texas, but just before sending their save-the-dates in March, their plans were upended by the spread of the coronavirus. Though they first imagined pushing off their wedding to a later date, they soon decided to host a smaller ceremony, instead. "Spending the original budget we had planned on for a big wedding in a time where markets were unstable, people were losing jobs, and our own financial stability was unknown made us uneasy—it frankly just reprioritized things for us, as a pandemic does!" says the couple. "Ultimately when it came down to it, going through that wild New York City quarantine together with our pup made us just want to officially become a family unit sooner and prioritize safety and security first. At that point, we just wanted to be married."
They stuck to their original location—Austin, Texas—to make it possible for their families to join them, but rented a large lake house where they could tie the knot in the backyard. Though they resigned themselves to losing their vendors, their planners from Bird Dog Wedding had other ideas: "They said, 'Wait! We can still make this special for you, let's use your deposits you've already made and still find ways to pay homage to your original vision at your rental. Let's make this a celebration!'" says Annie. "They spent only six weeks pulling together our vendors, rallying them to dive into the vision, getting inspired and getting folks onboard. We were everyone's first COVID micro-wedding, so we were happy to play guinea pig for each other."
The end result was a blissful weekend spent safely with 10 of their closest loved ones, highlighted by their ceremony on June 20, 2020. Bright summer flowers in shades of orange, peach, and green; layers of texture and mixed materials; and a lavish meal under twinkling lights on the boat dock endowed the day with warmth, intimacy, and love. "What would have been a perfectly fine backyard DIY BBQ with a Zoom link on a laptop and a few lost deposits turned into our dream wedding on the lake," says Annie. "Knowing not everyone who was in our immediate circle could be there was hard. If I have any advice to brides today, capture it all and try to honor those moments you had planned. It can still be your dream wedding, even if it is smaller. This was everything we could've dreamt of and more."
Annie and Josh rented a large private home on Lake Austin through Above, which allowed their guests to stay together—safely—for the weekend. "We wanted to get married in Austin—where Josh is from and close to Annie's family—outside in nature like originally planned," says the couple. "We wanted Josh's grandparents to be there. They are in their 90s and helped raise him." Guests quarantined for two weeks before the wedding, and then spent the weekend enjoying food from local restaurants and boating on the lake. "It made this intimate experience that much more special—getting three nights of togetherness in an otherwise isolated time," they say.
To Have and to Hold
Though Annie and Josh opted to send a digital invitation on Paperless Post, they also worked with Jen Krause Paper Co. for the day-of paper goods—like place cards and schedules. Their event designer at Bird Dog Wedding surprised the couple with a keepsake invitation suite that referenced the ceremony livestream, included hand-lettered lyrics to their first dance song, and showed off the warm, casual color palette.
Just Her Style
Annie faced wedding-dress shopping with trepidation. "I never dreamt of being a bride or wearing a wedding dress," she says. "In fact, I typically avoid white because I'm so pale!" But when the lacy designs from Dreamers and Lovers caught her eye, she began to get excited. "Their dresses immediately made me feel like I wasn't compromising my more laid-back style, but still felt beautiful and bridal," says Annie. "There were multiple dresses there I would've walked away with but 'the one' fit like a glove and flattered my curves—and they allowed for different colored slips underneath so I was able to compliment my skin tone much better than most other dresses." Since her original gown arrived early, she wore it for the smaller ceremony—though it needed major alterations while she quarantined in Austin. "I had this incredible local woman, Olga Babichev, do three fittings within two weeks," she says. "I called so many places who told me my lead time would've been months and she truly saved the day in nearly rebuilding the entire dress to fit."
Her bouquet of seasonal flowers from Davy Gray included zinnias, lisianthus, amaranthus, coneflower, and grasses, all locally-sourced.
Near and Dear
"In my bouquet, I also had my dad's college ring with his initials engraved inside, alongside a piece of my maternal grandmother's garter, both of which I was able to put my finger through during the ceremony, which gave me great comfort," says Annie.
Josh's textured gray J. Crew suit and burgundy tie were complemented by a boutonnière of pink feather celosia, viburnum berries, and bunny tail grass.
The home's lakeside yard offered an open—but secluded—spot for the intimate ceremony. Davy Gray designed a semi-circle of flowers and plants—including curly willow, fountain grass, fan palms, dahlias, zinnias, and amaranthus—while an ornate rug anchored the space. The floral arc, says Annie, "frankly made the day—it really felt like a 'real' wedding."
Colorful custom signage honored the wedding ceremony's wide reach: More than 200 friends and family watched a livestream provided by Hereafter Films.
Love Is All Around
Annie walked down the aisle with her sister, Emily, to Frank Ocean's cover of "Moon River." The night before the wedding, Annie's sister and sister-in-law presented the couple with a priceless gift: "[They] collected toasts from all of the missing friends and family and showed them to us at our rehearsal dinner," says the couple. "We wept like babies watching it. The missing piece of the entire event—our community—had shown up and made us feel whole right before the big day."
The couple's dog, Cinco, joined the festivities in a handsome burgundy bow tie.
Words of Love
Annie's brother Elliot wrote the couple's ceremony, which included a glass-breaking that honored Annie's Jewish heritage, personalized vows written by the bride and groom, and Elliot donning their late father's heirloom boots.
"Elliot did an incredible job officiating," says the couple. "He ended up striking the perfect, most authentic chord. He acknowledged the past, present, and future in such a touching way. We wouldn't change a thing about our ceremony."
Their First Dance
The newlyweds shared their first dance immediately after the ceremony so guests livestreaming the celebration could share the moment. They chose "Whole Wide World" by Bahamas—a piece filled with special meaning for the now-married musicians. "Josh and I used to sing this song together ourselves as part of a warm up in singing and playing for other friends' weddings," says Annie.
Happily Ever After
Though they didn't have the wedding they originally planned, Annie and Josh agree that by following their instincts, they created a just-as-perfect day. "Each step of the way, find ways to incorporate meaning and celebration—this time in the world isn't easy, but it will feel like everything it's supposed to be if you choose to honor it in ways that feel like the real celebration that it is," says the couple. "There's nothing more powerful than people coming together to celebrate love in a time like this."
Dinner Al Fresco
Guests sat at a long, single table set up on the backyard's boat dock. String lights and candles generated a cozy glow as the sun set, while mismatched rugs, cane chairs, and sunny centerpieces added to the "relaxed and warm" atmosphere.
Pretty in Peach
The freshness and abundance of the summer season inspired Davy Gray to create "lush and bountiful tablescapes" made with seasonal flowers, stone fruits in small bowls, and candleholders in varied heights.
At each place setting, wooden chargers held ceramic plates topped with menus, place cards, and velvet-tied linen napkins.
Let It Burn
For favors, Annie and Josh handed out custom matches and wish papers—which the guests burned together—"for us to have some optimism and hope to look forward to for all," they say.
Under the Stars
The menu from Royal Fig included greens with grilled peaches, short ribs, organic chicken breast, and brown butter broccolini. "Everything lined up with the outdoor, artisan Texas vibe—as we sat on the boat dock, it was perfect," says the couple. "Because we waited for the sun to go down for the ceremony and it was the summer solstice, it was late by the time we ate and we ordered way too much food! It was delicious nonetheless."
A Sweet Ending
One of the couple's happiest surprises was that despite reworking their wedding, "We still had our dream cake from Polka Dots!" They chose a two-tiered red velvet confection with cream cheese frosting and fresh floral accents.
Another favorite moment came as Annie and Josh clinked glasses with their guests. "Watching the sun set over the lake with the twinkle lights, we all did a toast to the night—and it felt like magic," says the couple.
Photography, Feather and Twine
Venue, Private Lake Austin Rental Property
Event Planning and Design, Bird Dog Wedding
Catering, Royal Fig
Flowers, Davy Gray
Videography, Hereafter Films
Stationery, Jen Krause Paper Co.
Cake, Polka Dots Bakery
Rentals, Loot Rentals
Bride's Gown, Dreamers and Lovers
Bride's Accessories, No6 shoes; Opal Milk jewelry
Hair, Erica Rae, Third Space Salon
Makeup, Nisa Nicole Makeup Artistry
Groom's Suit, J. Crew
Engagement Ring, Digby and Iona
Wedding Bands, Herbert Goldberg Company