Even though they both knew that marriage was on the horizon, Phillip still found a way to catch Rachel off guard with a proposal during a Labor Day trip to visit his family in Ohio. She had no idea that a simple walk in the park would turn into a romantic proposal of marriage when Phillip knelt down and held out an engagement ring to her. "I wanted to say something more profound, but all I could get out was 'Of course!' " described Rachel of her surprised reaction.
A whirlwind of wedding planning in the midst of their already full schedules immediately began. For the next seven months, the engaged couple and their families made arrangements for the hill country event that was to take place in April. Although Rachel had several locations in mind for the big day, one trip to Memory Lane Event Center in Dripping Springs sealed the deal for her. "They made me feel like my wedding was the only wedding that would be going on there," Rachel said as she described the individual treatment she encountered at the venue.
With only a few weeks to go before the outdoor ceremony would take place, Rachel and Phillip continually monitored the weather forecast their chosen wedding day. Stress levels fluctuated as the forecast for the date switched back and forth from rainy to sunny and back again. "We had so many people praying about it," said Rachel. Unfortunately, the morning of the wedding day began with a gloomy sky that turned into hours of heavy rain. The prospects for moving forward with their outdoor plans looked bleak. Miraculously, however, the weather turned at the last moment and blessed them with a pocket of sunshine for the event.
Rachel and Phillip exchanged vows in the early evening. Their pastor led the ceremony with the same family Bible that Rachel's mother and grandmother carried in their weddings. Nine bridesmaids showcased the wedding colors in their deep purple strapless gowns with bouquets of light green flowers, while the men looked dapper in black tuxedos. Rachel was radiant in her strapless Casablanca gown lightly detailed with lace, beading, and ribbon accents. A single flower in her hair complemented the romantic look, while her elegant bouquet of Picasso calla lilies with purple centers corresponded with the colors of the day.
During the ceremony, the couple chose to display their newly established unity by pouring white and red wine together to share in communion. A few of their friends, who happen to be local musicians, provided live music throughout the evening. The songs were anything but traditional and included "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" as well as an original song written and performed by the couple's friend Sara Overall from the band Dandelion.
Almost as soon as the ceremony was over, the wedding party and guests hustled indoors as the clouds returned with more rain. Once inside, however, everyone was treated to a delicious pasta bar catered by Dagar's. "They were amazing and took care of us bringing us food and drinks all night," gushed Rachel. Dessert was a four-layer, ivory-colored cake detailed with Swiss dots and swirls and topped with purple and green hydrangeas.
The couple chose a mix of live music and a DJ for entertainment at the reception. Even Phillip joined in by serenading his new bride with "She's Every Woman" by Garth Brooks sweetly explaining that he had "finally met a woman who fit all of the lyrics of the song."
The dining and dancing continued well into the night until the couple's grand exit full of bubbles and well-wishes. Guests were given favors of personalized Hershey's kisses to take home. The following week, Rachel and Phillip honeymooned at Couples Negril in Jamaica where they enjoyed snorkeling, parasailing, and relaxing massages.
The blissful newlyweds continue to reside in Austin where Rachel is a Director of Volunteer Programs at International Studies Abroad and Phillip works as the Global Visual Arts Director for Gateway Church while continuing to pursue his acting career on the side. In their free time, the two of them enjoy weekly date nights, activities at their church, and the local live music scene and have plans to travel together in the near future.
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