On a cool, gray January day, underneath a rustic wooden open-air chapel surrounded by trees in the East Texas country, two of our dear friends got married.
Paul and Brooke were made for each other in every sense of the phrase - one of those couples that makes you feel like all is right with the world because they are together. They both grew up in Athens, TX, where Paul's family is known for their restaurant/catering business, The Cherry Laurel.
There were chandeliers hanging from trees. The bouquets and boutonnieres were made of buttons, and the programs were printed on vintage handkerchiefs. It was classy and casual, sophisticated yet understated.
My husband and Paul met over 10 years ago when they served in orphanages in Romania together. Their team formed a lifelong bond, spending entire summers holding babies and changing diapers. Steven and Paul still call each other several times a week to talk about manly things like Paul's new chainsaw or beekeeping supplies, or how to weld a fence. Brooke is a stunning beauty and a creative, kindred soul - when we first met her, it was like she'd been with us all the while.
On her wedding day, Brooke's style resembled June Carter Cash or Loretta Lynn - a down-home but classy Southern beauty. Her sense of style permeated everything...
The barn where the reception was held was pretty much a dream. Yes, it's exactly how the barn will be on my farm one day.
My favorite thing about the wedding, though? The people. They didn't have agendas, weren't trying to be cool or trendy. They were just true, friendly, unpretentious folks. Young boys opened doors for me without hesitation. People smiled as my toddler walked up to their table trying to steal their food.
I got to talk with Brooke's dad during the reception - he was as "Long Tall Texan" as it gets, with a cowboy swagger, wearing Wranglers and a cowboy hat that looked like it was his everyday attire. I told him how much we've loved getting to know Brooke, how the two of them together felt so perfect. He nodded and replied, "Paul is a good man. When he asked me if he could marry m'daughter, I told him I'd had him picked out for her all along."
I wanted to stay all night, drinking red wine out of plastic cups and dancing to old Country music. It made me miss Nashville; it made me love Texas. It made me love love.