Sometimes, it rains on your wedding day. And sometimes, it pours…all week leading up to your wedding, with the forecast for the wedding day being just the same. For Holly and Austin’s Texas wedding, the rain managed to hold out until the ceremony was underway, with the first boom of thunder reverberating right when she started walking down the aisle.
Needing a serious rain plan for what was intended to be an outdoor wedding, a tent was brought in. Bows & Arrows flowers still managed to create a beautiful, out-of-doors experience, however, with garden-inspired floral arrangements gracing tables and fresh vines draped from the light fixtures.
We love the decision to hold the ceremony outside of the church. Many old churches are much too small to fit your entire guest list, so choosing to use the church exterior as the backdrop to your vows is the perfect way to comfortably provide for your guests, at the same time as maintaining the presence of your church. Of course, the stone exterior of this authentic 15th-century French chapel also creates a romantic feel, and with the floral arch created by Bows & Arrows, along with that incredible aisle composed of white larkspur, you really can’t go wrong.
Read on for more about the crazy rainstorms and all the backup plans, from the event planner, Keely Thorne Events:
“Holly came to me with a desire for a unique one-of-a-kind wedding for 300 guests at the country club her fiancé’s family owned – a homey setting where they often spent weekends during their relationship. I knew quickly that her wedding style was an outdoor California wedding in Texas. Meaning, create a style that mixes the effortlessly chic outdoor California vibe with Southern charm in the setting of an unpredictable Texas summer.
Exactly one year out from the big day, as I began pondering plans for my new bride, I sat in a restaurant for an early dinner watching the streets of the Historic Heights District flood, and I just had a gut feeling. Holly, 40 min north of me at that very moment, says she sat on the club’s patio under a clear sky toasting to one year out with her fiancé because as she always says, “it never rains out here!” But as every planner should, from the beginning I had the conversations and logistics moving along for a Plan A, and an efficient Plan B. Though, little did I know, Holly had other plans.
Now it should be noted that the Spring 2015 wedding season, as it turns out, was one of the rainiest years in Texas to date, especially on weekends. Thanks, El Nino!
Fast forward to wedding week: Monday brought Houston historic mass flooding (as in, our city made national news…). Thankfully, the club and roads leading to it were ok. We were thinking, ‘it can’t possibly rain again so soon after all of that!’ But the rain was still in the forecast. So we had to listen to my trusty unbiased tent guy, Derek Widis owner of SPF Event Resources, whose gut was telling him it was going to rain. Thus, the lounge and dance floor area would now be under a clear tent instead of exposed to the oak trees above. So after getting an additional décor budget approval, I made a call to Alicia at Bows & Arrows and said, “We have to make this clear tent look like a Plan A; let’s bring ‘that under-the-oak trees feeling’ back!” and Alicia, plus her team, happily worked long into the final nights of set up to get it all done to perfection.
Now for the ceremony, Plan B was a private ceremony inside the club for only family and wedding party to attend at the original ceremony time of 6:30pm. Guests knew about this in advance as we included a details card in the invitation set that stated: “If it rains on our wedding day, please join us for cocktail hour at 7 pm instead and we will see you there as Mr. and Mrs.! – check our wedding website for updates!” Well… as I mentioned, Holly had different plans.
Day of I still didn’t know which ceremony plan to call. I constantly checked my trusted Weather Underground app for updates. Rain chance= 30%; now 80%; then 40%; now 80%; then 30%… total gamble. It would not make up its mind…and neither could I! But Holly could. Maria at the club came outside to tell me, “Holly wants to get married outside and said you won’t let her.” I laughed and said I hadn’t decided but hey, it’s a gamble no matter what plan, so if she wants to decide instead of me, that’s fine! and went to tell Holly the good news. After all, it was her wedding, so ultimately, her choice. But of course, that didn’t mean I stopped checking the weather…
Holly and Austin had their beautiful first look under the club’s oak trees and the sunny sky above them followed by all of their group pictures before guests arrived. At 5:45pm, ushers began escorting guests down the long path under the trees.
But once I saw a giant yellow storm cell caving in around our location on the radar, I knew we had to start early; we had to start now! In my mind, I knew I just had to get the bride and groom to the altar before the sky opened up. Once at the altar, it would be out of my hands. So I radioed my assistants inside with the wedding party to line them up and send them out. It was 2.5 min walk from their location to the altar, clock ticking, storm-a-brewin’.
Family lined up next to me, but our quartet had to stop playing and cover their antique instruments as the raindrops lightly began. As soon as the wedding party line was approaching, I cued family to walk down the sprinkled aisle. Next wedding party: No time to pace them out, couples in single file line filtered down the aisle to their place. I turn back around expecting Holly and her dad to be approaching me and sweet Holly was a minute’s walk away waiting for me to give her Plan A’s cue to walk once Austin was turned around (a calming feeling for me knowing that in her happy mindset, all was going to plan). I motioned her with discretely speedy hand movements and as she passed me and then through the ceremony gates she had a huge smile on her face, here was their big moment…And sure enough, as her strappy flats hit the aisle, thunder boomed for the first time that day.
During the very brief ceremony, the rain got harder and harder as the smiles and laughter got bigger and louder. As I stood, literally in the aisle holding and umbrella over Kelli and her camera, I thought (and think I even said out loud with a chuckle), “huh, it’s only water…it’s only water!” I then realized that when Holly decided to get married outside that day, she accepted that she might just get rained on in doing so and that it was ok because it was all about getting married to Austin, in front of that chapel with however many guests were willing to get rained on too.
As the officiant quickly got to their vows, the rain drops were fast and large, and as he announced them husband and wife, the sky completely opened into a complete downpour. The newlyweds ran down the aisle laughing to the awaiting a golf cart to whisk them back inside. The club staff was ready for the wet guests with towels, hair dryers, and hot food inside as they ran for cover. The strings, now protected under the tent, played during cocktail hour, followed by Jason Allen, a friend and country musician, on his acoustic guitar while the rain continued to pour around the tents.
After getting the couple dried off and fed dinner in the club’s beautiful, well-equipped locker room, they were off into the reception to joyfully celebrate alongside their guests. They enjoyed their first dance and dances with parents before they got on the mic to thank everyone for sticking it out with them on this oh-so-special day. The band came on for a 3-hour continuous set and all danced the night away. At the very end, the band’s horn section led guests out to the front of the club to clear the tent of all guests, band, and staff so the couple could dance one private last dance before making their formal exit through sparklers. The bride later told me the wedding party stayed up with them until the wee hours continuing to celebrate and even had a fireworks show lit by the groom’s brother as a surprise.”
Photography: Kelli Durham Photography | Cinematography: 31FILMS | Event Planning: Keely Thorne Events | Floral Design: Bows and Arrows | Wedding Dresses: Casa de Novia Bridal Couture | Cake: Who Made The Cake!| Bride’s Shoes: Louboutin | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bella Bridesmaids | Catering: Uchi | Catering:Houston Oaks Country Club | Makeup: Kristin Daniell | Hair: Therapy Hair Studio | Band: Jessie’s Girls | Venue: Houston Oaks Country Club | Beverage Services: The Grand Bevy | Ceremony + Cocktail Hour Music: Divisi Strings | First Dances + Dinner Music: Jason Allen Band | Floral Ribbon: Frou Frou Chic | Groom, Groomsmen + Usher’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank | Lighting + Sound: Pro Sound | Photo Booth: Brooke Courtney Photography | Rentals, Linens, & Drapings: Events In Bloom | Stationery, Branding + Signage: Papellerie | Tent Rentals: Marquee Tents