A Dream Come True- a.k.a Alyssa and Trey’s Wedding

   So hopefully, you have gotten to read the back story behind how Trey and Alyssa won the Crystal Occasions Ultimate Wedding Giveaway. If you missed it, you can find it here: https://crystaloccasions.wordpress.com/2011/10/28/the-beginning-…way-came-to-be/

   Alyssa was so much fun to work with.  Her planning process was entirely different than anyone else’s.  Since she had won our Ultimate Wedding Giveaway all of her vendors had already been chosen, so it was just a matter of sitting down with each of them and finalizing details.  I sat down with her first and we ran through some ideas she had but other than possible colors, she was not really sure what she wanted. 

   Our first vendor meeting was with Texas Party Rental.   We met at their show room to play with table designs and linen colors.   Alyssa ended up choosing gold, ivory and coral for her colors.   We chose Ivory table cloths with gold embedded runners and gold chargers.  They were so easy to work with, it took us less than an hour to figure it all out.

Next we met with Crazy Cakes.  Brian talked to Trey about things he enjoyed to get some design ideas.  Trey told him that he enjoyed fishing, painting cars, and Call of Duty, but he wanted Brian to surprise him with the design on the wedding day.  So after he chose strawberry lemonade for his cake flavor, they were left to wonder what Brian had in store for them.  Crazy Cakes did not disappoint!  They don’t call themselves Crazy Cakes for nothing.  Brian brought the most awesome grooms cake ever!

   Then we met with Lauren, owner of  Cedar Park Florist to design her bouquet and the grooms boutannier.  Lauren had the perfect shade of coral roses for Alyssa’s bouquet.  Alyssa was wanting to add a little something extra to her bouquet so Lauren suggested albino peacock feathers. Alyssa loved that idea, so much so it kind of became a theme for the ceremony. Lauren did such an amazing job putting the bouquet and boutannier together. 

After that, we met with Visual Lyrics who donated the centerpieces.  After sitting down with us and showing Alyssa some ideas, they came up with the perfect centerpieces for them.  Alyssa wanted to use a mixture of different designs and items on her tables and Visual Lyrics did a fantastic job of combining everything she wanted onto each table.

Next, we met with Erin’s Custom Cakes to choose her flavor of cake and her design.  Alyssa wanted something a little different so she chose a topsy turvy style cake and accentuated it with gold ribbon, different piping designs and coral roses.  She chose chocolate fudge and raspberry almond for her flavors. She also chose a monogram (M for Matos) to top her cake.

   Then they got to meet Ed Kelley Photography at McMurtrie Farms to do their engagement session.   Ed and Denys are so amazing and got some fantastic shots of the couple! An engagement session is a great way for the couple to really get to know their photographers before the wedding. 

   Alyssa and Trey then met with Chaplain Larry Todd who preformed their ceremony.  He sat down with them and gave them some “homework”.  They were each to email him 5 words that they would use to describe the other.  Alyssa quickly got hers done, Trey…. well he got them in before the wedding.  It took him some time to come up with some really good ones 🙂

   Alyssa and I then went to Hudsons Jewlers where Max graciously lent Alyssa anything in the store she wanted to wear on her wedding day.  In fact, he even ordered a diamond bracelet for her to wear.   He was so helpful in our decision-making process of pearls vs. diamonds,  tough choice! In the end she chose diamonds! She picked a beautiful pendant, earrings and of course, the diamond bracelet.

Life got a little busy and as the wedding day crept closer we still had a few details to finalize but too many scheduling conflicts to meet with the rest of the vendors.  Luckily they hold amazing phone meetings!  Alyssa and I met to choose her ceremony music provided by Angelic Strings.  They have a large majority of their music on their website.  Alyssa wanted a few non traditional songs for her ceremony.  She wanted “Hey There Delilah” along with a few other classical songs played for her guests while they were seated.  Then she chose “Marry You” by Bruno Mars for Trey and his parents to enter to.  After that they played “Better Together” by Jack Johnson for the bridesmaids and groomsmen’s entrance.  She chose to do the traditional wedding march for her entrance.   One of the things I most enjoy about working with Angelic Strings is their ability to play more contemporary selections.  And if you request a song they don’t know (good luck finding one), Michael and Belinda will learn to play it if you request it in enough time before the wedding.

   After that we held another phone conference with Blake from 1st Class Entertainment to help Alyssa choose some songs for the evening.   He helped us with suggestions for dinner ( Norah Jones, Michael Buble, Jack Johnson), their entrance, first dance, and everything up to the last song of the night (“Lucky”).  He did a great job getting everyone up and dancing.

   The day before the wedding the bride was treated to a pedicure by Peace Love Nails.  One of the many great things about this salon is that they do parties.  Bridal Showers, Baby Showers, girls nights, anything you can think of.  You get to get your friends together hang out and get mani’s and pedi’s and drink mimosas and wine. You can even bring a few snacks along if you like.  It’s a great place to get together with your bridal party and hang out before the wedding. So that’s exactly what Alyssa did. All of her bridesmaids got to come along and everyone got their nails done. 

    After their rehearsal we spent the night assembling programs……  and then came the big day!

   Alyssa was treated to a massage from Roy with Austin Beauty On The Go, and then hair and makeup by Lecia.  She looked so beautiful! Ofcourse she’s naturally beautiful so Lecia did a great job of accentuating her natural beauty.

    Vintique Rentals, who works alongside Visual Lyrics brought a lovely sweetheart table for the couple to use during the reception, and an amazing chair and lamp to use for photos.

   Alyssa spent a lot of time working on some very important details.  She chose coral shoes with crystals to add a little color- they were awesome shoes-

  To bring the peacock feathers in, she had a feather on the ringbearer pillow, made a small clip with a peacock feather for her daughter and flower girl to wear, and made herself a super cute clip out of feathers too. It looked amazing!!!!

  Alyssa had lost both of her parents, and wanted to acknowledge them and have a little piece of them close to her.  So she made sure that a rose was placed in each of her parents seats, and also had a garter made from her mothers wedding dress and had a button from her dad’s favorite shirt sewn on. 

Their ceremony was held in the Meadows area at McMurtrie Farms.  They chose the iron arbor that sits in front of the creek and small waterfall.  It is an amazing place for a ceremony.

After the ceremony, it was time to party! Kennys Catering provided the amazing buffet.  They chose a pasta bar, so they had two types of pasta, two types of sauce and meatballs! Along with salad with 2 types of dressing and bread, tea and water.  The food was fantastic and fun too since guests got a chance to customize their meal. 

Once the sun went down, the pink up lighting from IES Lighting really made the venue shine! It added such a nice touch of color and ambiance. They set up lights in the Pecan Pavilion where the reception was held and next to the gazebo where the dance floor was.

  Seeking Sitters came to McMurtrie Farms to watch all of the children during the reception in the Lodge.  The couple had ordered pizza for them to eat, and seeking sitters kept them busy doing crafts and playing games until the dancing began.  Then it was hard to keep the  kids off the dance floor!

   A great source of entertainment during the reception was the photo booth from Fun Fun Foto.  They set up and had a ton of props that everyone had a good time with.

                   All in all it was an amazing night for an amazing couple! I wish them all the best!

Participating Vendors:

McMurtrie Farms www.mcmurtriefarms.com

Crystal Occasions www.crystaloccasionsevents.com

Ed Kelley Photography www.edkelleyphotography.com

Texas Party Rental www.partyrentaltx.com

Erins Custom Cakes www.erinscustomcakes.com

Crazy Cakes www.crazycakes.com

Cedar Park Florist

Visual Lyrics Floral Artistry www.visuallyrics.com

Peace Love Nails www.peacelovenailsaustin.com

Hudsons Jewlers

1st Class Entertainment www.my1stclassentertainment.com

Fun Fun Foto www.funfunfoto.com

Kenny’s Catering www.kennyscateringco.com

IES Lighting www.interactiveesystems.com

Chaplain Larry Todd www.austinweddingchaplains.com

Angelic Strings www.angelicstrings.com

Seeking Sitters www.seekingsitters.com

Beauty on the go www.austinbeautyonthego.com

Thanks so much to everyone who participated!!!!!

The Beginning of a Dream- How The Ultimate Wedding Giveaway Came To Be.

  Every once in a while I come up with some pretty good ideas.  Once a year I choose to help a bride plan their wedding for free. It’s kind of my little way of giving back.  I usually hold some kind of drawing or contest in order to choose the lucky bride.  So earlier this year as I was contemplating what I wanted to do to choose the bride I remembered speaking to Denys of Ed Kelley Photography and remembered her mentioning Ed wanting to figure out a way to give away a wedding.  So after calling her again and bouncing ideas off of each other, as we so often do, we came up with a pretty good plan.  We wanted our couples to write in and tell us their love story. How they met, where, how they proposed, and anything else they wanted to share. After working out a few more details Denys said, “Ok, you are the planner, you make it happen!”  Ok, I have planned plenty of weddings, this should be a breeze! Ha!

   This was by far the most challenging wedding I have ever planned! The first step was to recruit other vendors.  McMurtrie Farms is one of my favorite venues.  If you have not been out there, whether you are another vendor reading this or a bride, you must go check it out.  It is so beautiful and versatile.  So I spoke with the owner, Chelsea, and she was totally onboard and super excited about it.  Next I contacted my other go to vendors.  Erin of Erin’s Custom Cakes, Texas Party Rental, Cedar Park Florist and 1st Class Entertainment, Crazy Cakes, Visual Lyrics, Angelic Strings, Chaplain Larry Todd, Peace Love Nails, Beauty on The Go, Fun Fun Foto, Kenny’s Catering, Hudsons Jewlers, Vintique Rentals and IES Lighting all agreed to pitch in and donate to their time, services, and products to give a fantastic couple the wedding of their dreams.  The best part was no one even knew who this couple would be yet, they just all believed in helping someone who deserved to have their dream wedding. 

   We had so many submissions from couples who wanted a chance at winning the wedding.   There were so many great stories that it was extremely difficult for us to narrow them down to the top 3.   Once we had chosen the top 3 I emailed them to let them know that they had made it to the finals.   They were all thrilled!  We then asked each couple to put together a short video so we could get to know them a little better. We also let them know that their family members and friends were welcome to cast a vote just incase we needed a tie breaker. This is where I am glad my part in this was done.  After watching the videos, reading the stories and the votes from their families and friends, I could not have chosen a winner.  As our deadline for the judges to return their score cards neared, I started counting the votes.  I almost had to use them too! Luckily though Chief  Acevedo got his vote in just in time, and actually whether he had gotten his in or we used the votes, this couple would have won either way.  We had told all 3 of our couples to meet us at McMurtrie Farms so we could announce the winner there.  After all of the couples arrived and had gotten a tour of the venue, we lead them to the pecan pavilion where we made our announcement. Story Number 2- Trey and Alyssa. Here is the video from their entry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mdTueUYdqU . Trey pointed out that all of our top 3 stories were written by the men.  I think thats also what makes this contest so amazing.  Normally the girls have been thinking about this day since they were old enough to play dress up.  These men took it upon themselves to write amazing stories and enter the contest. 

   Here is the video of our announcement of the winner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E-6EwaSV0oI&feature=share

      Well at this point we are kind of at the end, well the end of how this whole thing began anyways, and the insanity of planning began.  

   I cannot say thank you enough to all of the vendors who participated! You gave so much to such a great couple and I know they will cherish it for a lifetime.

Why You Need A Day Of Coordinator!

I always love to share with brides reasons I know why they need at least a day of coordinator….. but I am just selling myself right?  Well trust me, your vendors appreciate day of coordinators too! So if you can’t just take my word for it, here’s a great blog written by some fantastic photographers.  J Mark Photography does an amazing job capturing your wedding, but sometimes a little help from a coordinator is nice!


Heather and Mark’s Mercury Hall Wedding

Heather was a smart, organized bride.  She was lucky enough to have the time to plan everything herself and just needed me for “day of coordination” so that she could relax and enjoy her day. Heather and I met twice before her wedding.  As our second meeting concluded you could see Heather’s shoulders relax as if a huge weight has been removed. She was very particular about the vendors she choose and did a lot of research to find the best that would fit her style.

 Heather was so gracious to let her future mother-in-law help with the planning. Because of Heather’s giving and graciously accepting attitude her family and friends wanted to help. She had a team of as least 30 people show up to help with decorating and they were all smiling the entire time.  Heather colors, blue and yellow, accented Mercury Hall’s stained glass windows, and rustic white walls. All the decorations were simple, inviting and tied the whole room together beautifully.


Mercury Hall is a great venue. Their indoor facility has beautiful bathrooms and large area that comfortably fit over 150 guests. They have a separate small room with thick curtains over the large doors which makes the room perfect for catering because the curtains can be easily hide the set up. Outdoors they have a large open field surrounded by trees in which chairs can be arranged in several different layouts. Heather and Mark choose to have the aisle end right under a beautiful array of oak trees that form the perfect setting and were easy to decorate with paper lanterns. The staff of Mercury hall was very easy to work with.

The night was really made perfect by Pok-e-Jo’s BBQ. They did a very classy twist on BBQ. The elegant decoration of their buffet table made it feel like a sit down dinner. Their staff was very accommodating, professional and easy to work with. They went above and beyond helping me, serving guest, serving champagne, cutting the cake, and cleaning up. The bartender they provided was also very nice and professional and served a Mexican Martini that kept guest coming back.

 Heather choose Studio 563 Photography. Eric was great to work with and took amazing crisp, clear pictures. His shots really magnified all the details that Heather had put into the design of her wedding. Eric gave the couple personal time together before the reception and photographed them from afar talking and holding hands; photos that I’m sure Mark and Heather will cherish.


Humble Pie Desserts made the beautiful wedding cake and the irresistible groom’s cake. The stained glass window looked like a picture frame around the wedding cake which was outlined with a bold blue ribbon and accented with bright yellow gerber daisy. It photographed so well and of course was delicious.

The party kept moving with Dexter from DJ for Hire behind the mic. He covered both the ceremony and the reception and played exactly what Heather and Mark wanted.  When the guest looked lost at the start of the Cupid Shuffle he quickly grabbed the mic and gave them instructions on what move came next. When Dexter did that, even more guest joined the dance floor.

The wedding was truly spectacular and I understood why all the guest were so accommodating after I heard the toasts. There was a line of wedding party, fathers and guests anxious to toast this couple. This couple was so giving and willing to help others that everyone wanted to bless them and thank them. Heather’s work to find fantastic vendors really paid off on her wedding day. Everyone worked together to make the evening run smoothly. From the coordinator’s point of view, this wedding was a 10. I hope for many more brides just like Heather.

Meet Ed Kelley Photography!

   Ed Kelley Photography is one of my personal favorites to work with.  They are amazing at what they do and capture all of the perfect moments as they happen.  Our Crystal Occasions Ultimate Wedding Giveaway winners, Alyssa and Trey, will get to see the outcome of Ed Kelley Photography’s magic first hand.  Keep reading to find out more about Ed Kelley Photography and what they can do for you!

                                        Meet Ed and Denys Kelley

We are the talented romantic duo of Ed Kelley Photography!

Or as one of our brides put it- the strong silent type with the fun and perky- the perfect couple to cover your wedding!

Yep that’s us!

We’ve got you covered.  We have been doing weddings since you were knee high to a grasshopper and enjoy every minute of it. (Okay- maybe not that long, but I just enjoy saying knee high to a grasshopper!)

We know that your wedding day will go by so very fast for you and all you will have are your memories.  Our goal is to assistance your memory with beautiful, breath taking images from your wedding.

We love it when we hear- when did you take that?  Or that’s what that looked like. 

One of the most important things we do is to capture the emotion of your day.  We want you to look at your wedding images and feel that day all over again!  And of course it warms our heart when you get a little teary eye and smile!

Yes- we are award winning photographers.  Ed is even a Certified Professional Photographer – there are only 4% in the world that are Certified!  What’s in the camera bag?   We have a few cameras, lens, flashes, and batteries and breath mints!   Everything but the kitchen sink so we can cover your day and not miss a beat.

We love what we do.  We enjoy meeting new couples and welcoming them into the Ed Kelley Photography Family.

We believe life is too short – so enjoy it.
We believe there are more good people in the world than bad.
We believe that a picture is worth a thousand words and the memories from that picture will last for a lifetime.
We believe in being our best.
We believe.

Come on over to our Facebook Page- and like us (click here)

And visit our web site at www.edkelleyphotography.com

Angela and Patricks Beautiful Spring Wedding

    Ok, technically June 11 was spring, however I belive in Texas, that’s part of the 5 months of Summer…..anyways, on to their story : )

   I met Angela and her mother early in the beginning of the year.  They were both extremely nice and Angela had done her homework and knew what questions to ask during our consultation.  I was so happy they decided to book with us because I could tell she would be a lot of fun to work with.  Angela’s fiance, Patrick, is in the military and was stationed in North Carolina so she was planning the wedding entirely on her own.   We talked about her ideas, likes and dislikes, and everything in between.  I loved that she did know exactly what she liked and didn’t like, with the exception of the colors, but that’s another story : ) She had chosen Cathedral Oaks in Belton for her venue, which I loved because I had never been to that venue before.  I had heard it was a beautiful place and was looking forward to creating a fantastic event there. 

   So we began our vendor search, taking into account her budget was extremely important to her.  She had already chosen her venue, and her cake, but was looking for help with everything else. She was very happy with the budget she had set, and was very determined to stay within it.  We met with several vendors and she ended up with amazing ones!

   Angela chose Ed Kelley Photography to take her pictures. They did a super bridal shoot, an amazing job photographing the wedding, and I am sure they are doing an equally amazing job on her album….I am still waiting to see it : ) 

   She chose Creative Innovations in Salado to do her flowers. Jenny was so nice and personable and did a fantastic job bringing together everything Angela was looking for. 

   She chose Confetti Rentals for her linens, they were very nice to let us come in more than once to change colors, fabrics, and settings.  She also rented gorgeous columns that framed the ceremony outdoors perfectly.

   Catering With A Twist provided the fantastic food.  Angela was so impressed with them that after our tasting she had made up her mind and asked me to cancel the tastings with the other caterers.  They went above and beyond and made sure to incorporate her colors into their setup. 

   1st Class Entertainment provided the music. Blake did a great job of getting everyone on the dancefloor, and keeping them there. The customized monogram and uplighting he also provided added an extra special touch to the wedding.

   The one thing she really wanted to get her groom was a very special grooms cake.  He wanted an Air Jordan shoe- so where do you go for amazing sculpted cakes? Crazy Cakes of course.  Angela had watched Brian on TLC’s The Next Great Baker and was super happy to have them design the cake.  She chose the chocolate Guinness stout cake and provided pictures to Crazy Cakes for them to work from. The end result was amazing! One guest came into the reception after it had been set up and asked ” Who left their shoes on that table?!” Once I explained it to them, they were amazed.

   So, after many color changes- eggplant vs purple, satin vs. poly, overlay vs. runner….. trust me, if she hadn’t been the most darn pleasant person ever and so fun to work with, I may have become annoyed….. but I totally didn’t mind working with her to make sure everything was perfect.  Angela was so sweet I looked forward to our meetings, and was kind of sad when it was all over.   In the end, everything did turn out perfectly and so beautiful! I really enjoy being able to help brides actually plan their wedding. It’s so fulfilling for me to see everything come together!  I wish Captain and Mrs. Patrick Caruso a long and happy marriage, they deserve it!

Want to see more pictures of this wedding? Find them on our Facebook page!

All Photos provided by Ed Kelley Photography- www.Edkelleyphtography.com

1st Class Entertainment- www.1stclassaustindj.com

Catering With A Twist- www.cateringwithatwist.com

Crazy Cakes- www.crazycakes.com