HOW WE MET: Nate and I met through work. I started working for a dental distributor after college and he had been there for a few years prior. Initially, we started out as just really great friends. Looking back, I think that was the best foundation for our relationship. After months went by, we began to date and the relationship evolved. Eventually, I ended up leaving my job and started my own swim and resort wear company, Lee Merritt. I got the name from Nate’s middle name Lee and mine, Merritt. Nate is now the director of business development for a dental firm. Together, we live in Austin, Texas with our two French Bulldogs, Vincent & Jules.
LOCATION: Many people know right away where they would want to get married but for us, that wasn’t the case. We had friends and family coming from all over the globe so we were up for anything. Nate is half Colombian and his family primarily lives in Bogota so we had originally considered hosting the celebration in Colombia. We visited several venues in Cartagena but ended up deciding that as much as we loved the romantic city, we wanted something one, a little more centrally located for our guests and two, a little cooler. Since neither of us were keen on a beach wedding, the search continued. I ended up coming across a historic mansion called The Mount located in the heart of The Berkshires by chance. As I scrolled through photos of the beautiful mansion that once was novelist’s Edith Wharton’s residence, I instantly fell in love. We went to visit the Berkshires in early October just in time to catch the fall foliage. The area is filled with so much history you can just feel it. While we were there we came across another historic site called Chesterwood. This was the old summer home and studio of Daniel Chester French, the sculptor best known for the Lincoln Memorial. Behind his studio lies a garden with a blooming aisle of the most amazing hydrangea trees in late summer and gorgeous pink and white peonies in the spring. Both locations were so magical that we decided to have the ceremony at Chesterwood and the reception at The Mount. What I loved most about this location was that it was a place most guests would never have experienced otherwise. We rented out the charming Kemble Inn to host our Bridal Party for the weekend. Having us all under one roof was so much fun. Nate and his family hosted our rehearsal dinner at the incredible Wheatleigh Hotel just a few miles away in Stockbridge.
PLANNING: We visited the Berkshires once more before the big day in early spring to meet with vendors and have our tastings. We laughed about how the scenery looked completely different each time we visited and weren’t entirely sure what it would look like come June – “We’re not in Texas anymore!” Once I had the location picked out, making decisions became a lot easier. I’m proud to say I planned the wedding myself with lots of help from my mother. (Cheers to all the wedding planners out there, wow!) None of the venues were turn key so it was a lot of work but seeing it all come to fruition was the ultimate reward. I remember sitting at dinner and looking down the 130 foot dinner table at all of our friends and family enjoying themselves and just taking it all in. Nate and I know how rare and special it is to get all of our loved ones in the same place at the same time and are so grateful to have had such a magical night. With the entire weekend being planned outside, we were so happy to have gotten such beautiful weather!
DRESS: Per my usual, the attire was of highest priority. After trying on countless gowns, I had nearly lost hope when I stumbled upon Nardos, a custom couture bridal designer from Dallas, Texas. Nardos and I clicked immediately and she was able to help me achieve the perfect style for our big day by taking certain elements from a few of my favorite dresses I had tried on previously and combining them into one cohesive look. She nailed it. One of my favorite features was the detachable train. This allowed for a more dramatic look for the ceremony that turned into a slimming silhouette for the reception.