We go to a lot of weddings—I am Southern, after all—but there’s nothing remotely comparable to seeing your best friend marry her absolute perfect match in a wedding that is just so…them.
Lemon and I met when we were randomly paired as suitemates at Sewanee in 2002. She has been my confidante, travel partner, happy hour buddy, bedmate (hey, it was New York and I was victim of a Craigslist scam; don’t judge) and even wedding officiant. She’s the most loyal, thoughtful and kind best friend that any girl could ask for, and in 2009, she met the only guy I’ve ever known who was deserving of her wealth of character.
While playing touch football in 2009, she found Chris. As I told her guests during my
maid matron of honor speech, their first date was kinda sorta maybe the fault of my mom, who turned 60 around the time they were starting to get friendly and decided to send out an inspirational group text about making time for things that are important the very day Lemon had denied Chris a happy hour at a local wine bar. She took what my mom texted to heart (bless her) and changed her plans. The rest is history: He popped the question in December 2012, they had a 16-month engagement during which they made sure to do every facet of this wedding right, then they tied the knot at Stonehouse Villa in Austin on Saturday.
My mom and I made the easy hour-and-40-minute flight on Thursday afternoon, checked into our room at the Omni (they gave us the option to upgrade to a two-bedroom suite for $75 a night so we did), then went out for Tex-Mex with Lemon and her family. SVV would be joining us the next day (the tail end of tax season means no rest for those who work at accountant firms).
On Friday morning, the bride, a couple friends and I had a little brunch (on South Congress), did a little shopping (you know I had to stop at Allen’s), got our nails did then headed to 219 West on iconic 6th Street for the rehearsal dinner and welcome drinks.
This was such a great venue for a casual dinner; it was walking distance from our hotel, the rooftop was beautiful, the food was tasty and the bartenders knew how to pour a strong drink.
Saturday started early with hair and makeup beginning at the Omni Austin Downtown at 9am. I’m so glad we opted for that suite upgrade as we needed that space for all these ladies and our stuff. Lemon had hired LoLa Beauty, a mobile hair and makeup salon in Austin, to come to us, and man were they great. Personable, professional and produced great results—can’t be that!
I loved my hair, but I really loved Lemon’s hair.
Isn’t she pretty?
We had five hours to kill while getting all prettied up (which didn’t take long in this gorgeous group, of course), so we drained quite a few bottles of champagne in the process. It’s not a pre-wedding party without mimosas!
Then, it was off via swank party bus to the venue: Stonehouse Villa in Driftwood, about half an hour outside of Austin and right next door to the famed Salt Lick. It was a hazy, brisk today, but that didn’t detract a bit from the mood or the fun had by all.
In true Lemon and Chris fashion, there were already games set up on the lawn, including the custom cornhole boards SVV had made them and shipped from Tennessee. Niners for him, Cowboys for her.
We had a lot of time to kill as we were already dressed and raring to go but the groomsmen wouldn’t be there for nearly an hour and a half. So I explored the expansive grounds.
This place is a design-lover’s dream, and I want to decorate my entire house to mimic its style. Little Yellow Flower Design did all the floral arrangements and lighting, and I was obsessed with the finished aesthetic.
Upstairs, the bridal suite was quite comfortable so we lounged, ate and drank some more.
Then, the guys finally arrived and it was time for the first look and group photos.
And before you say it, I’m well aware of what you’re thinking: That Hayley Paige is a dream and easily the most stunning wedding dress you’ve ever seen. And it has stripes! So fitting for the preppiest bride I’ve ever known.
I seriously can’t wait to see the professional images from the wedding photographer as my iPhone photos don’t do this whole day justice (and also we did some Vanity Fair-style mugging with the bridesmaids/groomsmen shoot).
My escort Tim—Chris’ brother with whom I’ve been Instagram friends for years now—and I had to take a moment to selfie it up. It only seemed right.
After what seemed like forever—we started getting ready at 9am, mind you—it was finally 6pm and time to get ready to walk down the aisle.
The ceremony was cute and quirky and funny, just like the two of them. It was also very quick, no doubt because Lemon and Chris were ready to get to the bar after 16 long months of anticipation.
After the cocktail hour, we all sought out our assigned tables and chowed down on Southern food served family style. The reception was a sweet lover’s paradise. There was a s’mores station. There were sugary featured cocktails (strawberry jalapeno and spicy fig). There was even a Rice Krispies treat cake (!). And, at the end of the night, doughnuts to go. I tried them all, Paleo be damned. (I paid for it dearly the next day.)
There are so many other things to say, but you know when something is just so surreal and magical and you can’t find the words to convey the emotion? Well, that’s how I feel. The whole weekend was absolutely perfect, and while I’m sad it’s already over, I’m so excited for my best friend and her new husband and the lifetime of happiness ahead. Now the only thing left for them to do is add a six-pound Maltese to their NYC posse (*hint, hint, guys, hint, hint*)…
And because SVV and I took approximately a bazillion photos, here a few more outtakes from the weekend: