Texas Wedding by Rachel Whyte Photography
We can't get enough of backyard weddings. Seeing brides and grooms celebrate their new chapter of life together in the place they were raised or hold dear, well, we can't think of a more special venue. From a rap concert first date to sunset proposal to their beautiful, thoughtful wedding - we are so excited to share Cari and Steele's special day. Here is what Cari had to share with us about their experience:
How did you and your husband meet?
After graduating from Oklahoma State University I moved to Dallas with my best friend in 2008. Mutual friends from Oklahoma State (Cari's alma mater) and Baylor (Steele’s alma mater) brought Steele and I together to meet and frequently catch up in group outings. It wasn’t until an inadvertent reunion on Cinco De Mayo 2012 that led us to smitten.
Tell us about your interesting first date...
Our first date was a local dive bar for pizza and domestics followed by a rap concert at Granada Theater, a Dallas Historic Live Music Venue. The main act was a Brooklyn rapper named Mr. MFNExquire (Also known by a much more explicit name). Certainly not the predictable, “show boat” characterized first date one would expect.
We laughed throughout the show, appreciated what aspects we could, but undoubtedly had so much fun. During a break we perused the lobby where Steele purchased a concert tee. Little did I know Steele collected concert t-shirts from every show he attends. T-shirts in which he’s saving for his unborn children. This fun fact not only made me laugh it made me appreciate Steele’s heart and eagerness to share his compassion for music with his children one day. For him to put so much effort and resources into something so far away was not only endearingly sweet, it intrigued me for more.
Our passion for adventure and knowledge for culture only grew together from there. In the first two years of dating we went to 64 concerts together (2-3 day festivals count as “1” concert) all across the United States. Being in the kitchen cooking with one another is by far our favorite thing to do together though. Wherever our travels take us we enjoy exploring new restaurants and innovative dishes.
How did your husband propose?
At sunset on the beach during a family trip to Grand Cayman Steele proposed to me, offering his namesakes diamond.
Steele and I walk down to the waters edge to catch the best view of the coming sunset. Steele wanted to see if I would witness my first Cayman “kissed” sunset (meaning the sun touches the water in the horizon and is not obstructed by clouds). As I pull out my phone to capture a sunset selfie I notice Steele becoming tripped up for words. He simply lost any sense of how to act naturally. My husband is the most laid back, easygoing person so I naturally raised an eyebrow yet remained too clueless to raise questions. We remain in that spot as the sun falls closer and closer to the water edge in the horizon: Steele was about to get his perfect sunset. Standing side-by-side, arm in arm, he drops his arm to grab my hand and turn towards me. He smiles and pulls out the most incredibly stunning ring from his pocket. Next, although not verbatim due to nerves, Steele said the following to me:
"Cari, I’ve been watching these brilliant sunsets for years wondering when the time would come for me to share with the love of my life. You are the answer to the most important prayers. The Lord has rewarded me beyond my wildest expectations in bringing you into my life and revealing the immeasurable support unconditional love offers. I’m committed to living in such a way that makes you a better woman each day just as you do the same to make me a better man. <drops to one knee> Cari, Will you marry me?
This moment is a culmination of what I hold dearest to my heart. Sunset is a beautiful evolving canvas The Lord provides which signifies the end of each day. Although this moment is the beginning of the most rewarding journey ahead, it’s important to embark with the end in mind. This requires a plan. Your specialty. There will be situations that are as unstable as the white sand beneath our toes, but with you we’ll be able to see the beauty in them whenever we look back on our footsteps in the sand."
Thankfully I was able to succumb to my emotions and collect my focus long enough to say yes. We embrace, rejoice and relish in the moment while the sun sets beyond the horizon. My in-laws captured the entire engagement from three different angles. We toasted with the family, departed for a celebratory dinner that evening, then basked in bliss and sunshine for the remainder of the week. The sunset on the evening of our engagement ended up actually being the best of the trip!
Tell us how Steele 'picked out' the ring...
Steele, actually being my husband’s middle name, is a fourth generation. Using the inset diamond from his inherited grandfather’s wedding band Steele designed my ring over a course of 6 weeks, wax mock-ups and all. He wanted to incorporate sunset proposal symbolism by including a rose gold infinity diamond halo under the main setting (inset with his namesakes diamond).
Tell us about planning your wedding. What elements were most meaningful to you?
Simple, less is more, texture, clean lines, traditional, rustic all come to mind when describing our wedding.
Our wedding was at Steele’s childhood home in Nacogdoches, Texas. After his parents offered their home, and a period of discussing our variety of options, Steele and I always seemed to come back to the idea of Nacogdoches. Although our home is Dallas, we are both from small towns and appreciate the simplicity and personable aesthetic that can solely add to the charm of a wedding.
The bridesmaid’s dresses were honestly majority of inspiration for our wedding décor. The color palette was navy blue, charcoal, champagne and blush. The ideal goal of this was to not only have each bridesmaid choose a dress that she truly likes and can wear again, but also provide texture and dimension.
Any advice for other brides?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! It is impossible to do everything yourself even if you’re willing to.
Focus on the marriage, not the event.
We could not agree more! Click here to see full gallery of photographs!