Claire and Drew currently reside in Washington DC but chose to have a destination wedding in Claire’s hometown of San Antonio. The beautiful Witte Museum has a unique San Antonio feel, and when thinking of their vision of a outdoor, easy-going, romantic, fun, dance party, it was the perfect choice! With the setting being so marvelous, the couple could keep their decor clean and classic, with accents of greenery and crisp gold and white details. Claire’s mother designed all of the greenery arrangements, and the entire family helped to create adorable little dinosaur drink stirrers and table decorations to keep with the museum theme. Bridesmaids donned dresses and groomsmen suits of their own selection, while Claire chose a classic Pronovias gown with a gorgeous illusion bodice. Read on to hear more about their fabulous handmade wedding and swoon over the fabulous images from Lucille Photo!
In their own words
How did you meet?
Drew and Claire had each been living in Washington, DC for several years. DC is notoriously difficult in the dating department with it being such a transient city. As luck would have it, in the summer of 2013, Drew’s brother, John (the future best man), was at a dinner with friends and one of Claire’s best friends, Megan (a future bridesmaid), also happened to be there. John and Megan got to talking and he asked Megan if she knew of any girls to set up with her brother, Drew. Megan thought of Claire and then proceeded to set them up on their first date. The rest is history!
What is your proposal story?
Throughout the fall of 2016, Drew had been meeting with a jeweler, designing the perfect ring for Claire. Finally, it was ready, and Drew knew that to suprise Claire he was going to have to think creatively. It was December 10th and they were gearing up for their first Christmas living together. December 10th also happened to be Drew’s birthday. As a result, Drew was able to throw out all of these ideas of how he wanted to spend his Saturday birthday, and Claire went along with the plan not thinking anything of it. Claire had organized (or thought she had organized) to have a few close friends over on Saturday night in celebration of Drew’s birthday. That morning on Drew’s birthday, Drew proposed they go to their favorite spin class (FlyWheel). Afterwards, they wandered to a favorite local coffee shop (Wydown). In the spirit of the holidays, Drew had said he wanted to finally put up a Christmas tree. After coffee, they took their new pup (Leo) and went to pick out the perfect tree. They spent the remainder of the afternoon decorating the tree, hanging stockings, and listening to Christmas music. It was the perfect Saturday. Once they had gotten ready for the evening, Drew surprised Claire by proposing in front of their new tree. Claire was blown away and so excited. They are both pretty sure she yelled out “yes” before the question was even fully out of Drew’s mouth. Drew then went into their closet and pulled out some champagne that he had secretly been icing down during the day.They spent a few moments just taking it all in, and then started to call family. However, the surprises continued. Shortly after, two of Claire’s best friends (Christine – the future MOH – and Megan – who set them up to begin with) arrived with decorations and champagne. Drew had organized picking up their favorite pizza to eat. Pizza, champagne, and celebrations – they favorite things. Afterwards, friends started to arrive at their apartment to celebrate Drew’s “birthday.” It ended up turning into an impromptu engagement celebration, and they all celebrated late into the night. It was the most fun, perfect day, and Claire was completely blown away.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
Given our look, budget, and personal style, we didn’t want to go overboard with flowers, and our coordinator helped us think about ways to reuse ceremony flowers in the reception!
When we initially started planning a wedding we thought we would definitely have a band. However, once we started to listen to bands in our budget, crunch the numbers a bit more, and reexamined our outdoor space, we realized a DJ might be more practical for the space and a better use of our money. We are SO glad we did. Of course, we would have loved a killer band, but we were able to find a GREAT DJ and it worked better with our setup.
It’s so important to pick your few “things” that you care about and want to prioritize. It helps you avoid blowing through your budget and, importantly, losing sight of the bigger picture!
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Truly, the whole day was wonderful! My dad and I two-stepped to Lyle Lovett’s San Antonio Girl. It was a really special moment. He absolutely loves Lyle Lovett, and the song was truly perfect for us. I am not known for my dancing skills, and I will never forget practicing the night before after the Welcome Party as my mom and dad offer tips.
My bridesmaids and I got ready at the house I grew up in. It was so special to have everyone there in a home that means so much to me. My dad poured the champagne, a close family friend brought over food and treats for us as we got ready, and we all got to sit around and laugh and tell stories.
We decided to do a first look and I am SO glad we did. We really wanted to get the majority of the photos done before the ceremony so we (and our wedding party) could attend and enjoy the cocktail hour. What I didn’t realize at the time was how special that first look moment would be for us. We were able to remind ourselves what the day was all about. Having that moment with just the two of us was so special, and I will never forget it for the rest of our lives. Also, it helped ease any nerves about the ceremony. When it came time to walk down the aisle I was just excited and ready.
Did you include any family heirlooms, handmade items, or special traditions?
You won’t find a wedding in Pittsburgh without a cookie table, and our Pittsburgh guests were so excited that we kept the tradition even in Texas. Family members and friends made dozens upon dozens of cookies and helped display them in a unique way.
My mom was so wonderful and willing to help us think creatively. She spray-painted pedestal vases and photo frames, and went around town to find cookie trays for our cookie table. We bought mini dinosaurs and spray-painted them gold. My dad then glued every single one to a swizzle stick so they could be used in cocktails and table signs. Everyone played a part! Without everyone pitching in, I don’t think we could have (a) kept our budget or (b) achieved the same feel of our wedding. It really made it unique and made it US.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
Determine the “feel” of your wedding that you want and then pick the things that matter to you. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the minor details, and we certainly did at times. But having those main ideas of what you want are important so that each time you have to make a decision you can go back and think “OK, is this necessary for our overall feel and theme?”
Regardless of budget, have a coordinator (even if just day-of)!! Natalie respected our budget and helped us think creatively about where and how we should spend our money. She helped keep us sane AND we got to enjoy every minute of our wedding.
When picking your photographer, really think about the “feel” of your wedding you are going for and try to find a photographer that has a portfolio similar to that feel. Lucy was just that! She was absolutely wonderful. Another recommendation – engagement photos! We got to know Lucy and her us, see her incredible talent, and become so much more comfortable with her. Wedding photos can be awkward, but we got that all out of the way at the engagement shoot. Come wedding day we were laughing and joking. I knew I could trust her, and it made the wedding day that much more stress-free and comfortable.