I’ll admit it… I’m a sucker for proposal stories. No matter what, they almost always bring a little tear to my eye. Luckily for me, bride Rivkah was more than happy to share hers! She and fiancé Alex planned an intimate garden wedding in Austin, Texas from New York City, and everything came together absolutely breathtakingly — as shown by Heather Curiel and Ezra Gregg‘s images! Rivkah has a bevy of insightful advice and experience to share, so keep on reading (and don’t miss the tearjerker proposal story at the end!).
From the bride, Rivkah: I love design and crafting, so when I got engaged I was very excited to get to work and make as much as possible. As I started researching all the inspiration out there, I became a little overwhelmed! At the time, we were still living in New York and planning a wedding in Austin. It was when I decided on a venue that everything started falling into place. The venue is so beautiful and specific, so my theme became clear: European Garden Party. Everything stayed relatively simple so that the beauty of the venue could be appreciated. My colors were based on a Texas sunset in the spring: Gold, Pink, Copper and Peach. I also wanted the wedding style to really represent my own personal style which is feminine and vintage.
My next big decision was to buy a dress. I thought this would be a really amazing experience because I lived in New York City and had every shop at my fingertips. Then, after a day of trying on $2,000 dresses, I went with a few friends into a thrift store on the way home. In the back I saw a rack of wedding dresses and found the dress of my dreams for only $50! I took it home in a garbage bag. When I moved to Austin, I found a wonderful seamstress and we worked on the dress together for about 6 months. It was everything I had dreamed of and more… it was comfortable! It was paired with my husband’s grandmother’s earrings, a vintage bracelet from my father and a hankie passed down through the generations from my grandmother. I am a very sentimental person, but I truly felt all wrapped up (literally) in love and good vibes on my wedding day.
I decided to make a lot myself. Knowing that, I tried to get as much done as early on as possible. For example, the boutonnieres and head pieces for the flower girls. I bought beautiful paper flowers and mixed them with dried babies breath, wrapped in a simple linen and tied with baker’s twine. I think when you decide to do an event in a vintage/DIY style, it’s important to keep a through line to everything you do. That way, all these mixed up elements look more polished and cohesive. For example, I used baker’s twine in my invitations and place settings as well. And for everything you can’t do (or don’t have time to do), there’s Etsy! I was going to hand sew all the napkins for the dinner, but then I got a reality check and realized I could have them made for about the same cost as renting. The result were beautiful vintage napkins that gave a pop of color and personality to the table setting. Also, they were a favor and the guys were wearing them as pocket squares by the end of the night.
For my wedding cake, I bought a small cake at the local market and had my sister in-laws decorate it. I think it turned out beautifully! Also, all of my girlfriends brought homemade desserts and we set up a dessert buffet on vintage plates my sister-in-law had been collecting. It really added to the homemade/vintage aesthetic of the wedding, with a very personal touch.
The most important lesson I learned about weddings (especially when they’re DIY) is to allow people to help you. I didn’t have a wedding planner, but my friends and family really came through. I put so much work into every piece of my wedding, yet they were the ones that made it all happen.
My best advice would be to let things go on the actual day. It was incredibly windy the day of my wedding, so a lot of things I made weren’t able to be set out. However, I didn’t even notice! I was too busy having the best day of my life.
Our proposal story: We walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain; a trek that takes you across the north of Spain. It’s all done on foot and you must carry everything you own in a backpack. Literally. It was an incredibly beautiful experience, but wasn’t the most romantic or glamorous vacation (sleeping in rooms with 10 other snoring people, bedbugs, blisters, etc.). The walk came to an end a month later in a tiny fishing town on the coast called Finisterre (“end of the Earth”). When we arrived, I was exhausted, but Alex was insistent on walking to the lighthouse where it was tradition to burn your walking shoes. I was very hesitant as it was foggy and getting dark. However, I agreed and we began the dismal walk to the lighthouse. A trip full of car dodging and cursing. Finally there, we sat on this big rock behind the lighthouse. Then, suddenly (and I swear this is all true) the clouds clear, a soft pink light appears, flocks of birds fly off in the distance, a trumpet begins to play and Alex pulls out a ring, which I don’t even notice because he says: “I walked to the end of the world with you and I’d like to keep going. Will you marry me?” Pure magic. We traveled to Morocco afterward and told no one of our engagement. It was just us. I hope our wedding was an 1/8th as romantic as that!
I’m so glad we wrote our own vows. It really helped me reconnect with my feelings towards marriage and my love for Alex. It brought me back to his proposal and why I said ‘Yes.’ Also, Alex has a way with words and he brought the house down — everyone was in tears! We now have our vows framed and they are one of our most precious possessions.
Processional: “Country,” Empire of the Sun
Recessional: “You Send Me,” Sam Cooke
First Dance: “God Blessed Our Love,” Al Green
Father-Daughter/Mother-Son: “Brown-Eyed Girl,” Van Morrison
Wedding vendors (Buda, TX):
Wedding venue: Le San Michele / Wedding photographer: Heather Curiel and Ezra Gregg / Wedding dress: vintage / Dress seamstress: Carter Creations / Groom’s suit: Zara / Wedding catering: Blue Trout Catering / Wedding cake: Central Market, Austin / Wedding desserts: made by friends / Cake topper: The Small Object / Handmade napkins: OnceAgain / Wedding flowers: arranged by sister of the bride and friend’s parents / Wedding music: Rumbullion / DJ: Soul Happening / Wedding hair and makeup: Alexis and Erin of Innu Salon / Transportation: Austin Charter Services / Small paper flowers: The Gilded Bee / Large paper flowers: Paper Source
Heather Curiel is a member of Blue Label