Susan+Rick’s Old Hollywood Wedding

December 15, 2012
Port Lavaca, TX

From right: Susan, cousin Sheila, and me.

From right: Susan, cousin Sheila, and me.

The cardinal rule of wedding planning is to never, ever, ever stand in a wedding that you’re coordinating because it will darn near kill you.

But when my older sister, “Suz”, announced her engagement and started making plans, I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything less than go “all out” for her Old Hollywood-style wedding on the Texas coast where we grew up.   Susan loves all things Old Hollywood, and, growing up, we had a vast collection of old black and white movies to prove it.   She’s the only person I know who can name all of the Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Doris Day and Audrey Heburn classics–and quotes from them daily.   Although a feat to have the “near destination” wedding in such a remote coastal town (and near Christmas, no less), it ended up paying off as we laughed and danced the night away in our slinky, Rita Hayworth-inspired gowns, feather dusted everything, and classic black tuxedos.

The chapel was our very own childhood church, founded and pastored for 27 years by our dad, Nathan Smalley.   We covered it with candlelight, twinkle lights and white rose petals, per Susan’s request.   The church needed a little TLC after years of wear and tear, but we hung white and crystal over-sized chandeliers from the ceilings (thanks to our sister, Sarah, who happened to own a few), made gold fabric drapes for the beams, and covered the place in candlelight to give it some love.

The reception and dance was held at The Shellfish Grille, rented out for the occasion.   It was the perfect size and the perfect setting.  Table tops–although not pictured with candles lit, a big “no no” for me–were named after old movies, if you couldn’t tell, and decorated in hues of white and ivory….a tribute to the winter wedding AND the coastal surroundings.   Guests were given old movie “tickets” as escort cards, and dined on pecan-crusted, Gulf redfish until the cheesecake–Susan’s favorite and a “must” in lieu of traditional wedding cake–was served.    The happy couple said farewell by parting a small sea of sparklers down the boardwalk to their getaway vehicle to enjoy their Mexican honeymoon in Cozumel.

You can see Garrett, my adorable husband and business partner-in-crime, in the background, assisting with bow ties on our junior ushers–my nephews–Gregory, Dylan and Nathan Lee.   And then there’s me, mostly crying, mostly prepping and planning, and at the end, enjoying sending my bride off more than any other wedding I’ve done until now.   Hopefully her Old Hollywood happily-ever-after will inspire yours.