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Emily Van Raay Weds Grayson Ridge | Organic Winter Wedding by Bespoke Events

Emily and Grayson’s organic winter wedding planned and styled by Bespoke Events is oh-so-romantic! Their gorgeous celebration took place in a historic loft dressed up like a winter garden party with florals from Clementine Botanical Art and rentals from Marquee Event Group and Loot Rentals. Sweet Treets Bakery crafted the most delicious wedding cake adorned with organic florals, and we adore all the little touches like calligraphy from Averi with an Eye! Thanks to Texas wedding photography team Feather & Twine for capturing all the seasonal prettiness. Cheers!

Photos // Feather & Twine

Written by Abby Broyles

Elegance poured through the room just as smoothly as the wine flowed. Guests mingled in the industrial space dressed up like a winter garden party. Garnet red roses popped against vast emerald green floral arrangements spread across mahogany wooden tables in the historic building. Creamy exposed brick walls and floor-to-ceiling windows created the romantic, organic feel to a day so special to the bride and groom. “Our wedding day went perfectly; not only was the day full of love, but it went so smoothly and effortlessly,” the couple remembers. The bride, from Canada, and the groom, from Texas, were thankful a shared passion had made their unlikely paths intersect.

Emily and Grayson met in February 2015 over a love for ice hockey. They were both students at Texas A&M, where Grayson was a hockey player on the university’s team, and Emily was a member of the women’s organization, the Aggie Icers. Glancing over the photos of the team and scanning names on the roster, one caught Emily’s eye: Grayson. “This may sound insane, but it was love at first sight, and I knew from the roster picture alone Gray was ‘The One,’” Emily remembers. Throughout the hockey season, Emily cheered on Grayson at games, who had been admiring her as well. “If not for hockey, we never would have met,” Grayson says. Emily eventually invited Grayson to a “singles party” on Valentine’s Day, and the pair stayed up talking into the early hours of the morning. The following week, they had their official first date.

After a two-year relationship, Grayson started putting the wheels in motion for a romantic proposal. It was February 2017, and he planned a date night in downtown Bryan, minutes away from their college campus. It was a meaningful place to them where they had their first date at a restaurant and art gallery. When they arrived downtown, Grayson parked and started leading Emily in a different direction from the restaurant. Emily’s curiosity was building as they entered an old concrete building with brick walls and a vintage tile ceiling. It was illuminated in candlelight and splashed with roses and photos of the couple over their two years together. As she took in the memories of each memento, Emily remembers thinking, “It would be cool if I got engaged here tonight.” They sat down on a couch with a box waiting for Emily to open, a tradition Grayson started to capture all of their memories together. Like the box she received the year before with a number “1” on it, this one had a number “2” for their second anniversary. She anxiously opened the box, and a beaming smile spread across her face as she thoughtfully sifted through cards, old ticket stubs, and photos. When she got to the last card at the very bottom of the box, it was dated “February 17, 2017.” She opened it, and her heart skipped a beat. It said, “Today is the day I ask you to marry me.” “When I looked up, Gray was on one knee, and of course I said ‘yes!’” Emily remembers. They kissed and hugged and shared pizza together surrounded by candlelight. That intimate moment was followed by Grayson’s parents showing up to surprise them in person and a celebration with several close friends at the restaurant where they had their first date. “I was so happy we got to have an intimate proposal followed by seeing the people we love the most,” Emily says.

The couple had a specific ambiance in mind when it came to planning their big day. They wanted a classic setting filled with flowers and plenty of decadent food. “People love eating!” the couple joked when discussing their wedding day priorities. One Eleven East in Hutto was the perfect timeless yet modern and urban backdrop. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, its location was ideal tucked just enough away from bustling Austin and oozing with warm Texas charm. Having debated whether to elope at one point, the couple couldn’t have been happier with their decision to host 100 of their closest friends and relatives in the Austin area.

On December 2, 2017, One Eleven East was transformed by noon for the romantic celebration. Emily and her bridesmaids enjoyed sushi and Starbucks coffee in the bridal suite, while Grayson had breakfast with his dad and spent time with his groomsmen and ushers. When they all arrived at the venue, nerves were beginning to set in for the bride and groom. “We would recommend a first look to everyone,” the couple says. In a sweet and oh-so-memorable moment, Emily and Grayson saw each other for the first time that day, and their nerves melted away. They shared personal vows they wrote for each other and savored that private time before heading inside for the ceremony.

Under an ethereal skylight, Emily and Grayson were married in a traditional ceremony officiated by their brother-in-law. They had emailed him pages about their relationship, and those personal details flowed through the whole ceremony. The bride, in an elegant lace gown, and the groom, in a classic blue suit, took communion and exchanged traditional vows and rings. “I was finally able to kiss my handsome husband and walk down the aisle with him!”

As guests made their way down to the reception, Emily and Grayson stopped by the bridal suite to soak in the moment. They also took a few photos with their families while loved ones sipped the “his and hers cocktails” – vodka lavender lemonade and whisky and Cokes. To the energetic tune of “My House” by Flo Rida, the newly named Mr. and Mrs. Grayson Ridge made their grand entrance to the reception. The room was full of lively conversation as guests enjoyed dinner and speeches were made with plenty of stories about ice hockey mixed in. Then, Emily and Grayson kept the momentum going on the dance floor. They shared their first dance as husband and wife to “Northern Wind” by City and Colour. “While it was four minutes long, it was seriously not long enough!” Emily remembers. She danced with her dad to “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns ‘N Roses, and Grayson and his mom danced to “Blue Skies” by Frank Sinatra. From that moment on, the dance floor was packed. “We couldn’t help but feel like everyone was having a genuinely good time; the energy in the room was never low, and we just had a blast dancing with all of our friends,” Emily says. There was an especially spirited gathering for “Sweet Caroline,” the last song of the reception. Looking back at the night, Grayson says the photos showing pure joy tell it all. “Our wedding memories stem from those photos,” he says.

To wrap up the night, everyone stepped outside in the crisp December air, lighting sparklers along the path to the bride and groom’s getaway car. Emily and Grayson waved goodbye to people who had traveled near and far to be part of their special day. “Everyone there had made an impact on our lives,” they say. Surrounded by the warm glow, Grayson dipped his bride and gave her a kiss, capping off a night full of new memories for another “keepsake box” to open on their next anniversary.

Other Local Vendors: Clementine Botanical Art, Elegant Worldwide Transportation, La Tavola Fine Linen, Contigo Catering, One Eleven East, Averi With An Eye, The Westin Austin at The Domain, Lili's Bespoke Events, Makenzi Laine Professional Makeup Artist, 10th Collection, a&bé bridal shop Austin, DJ Aaron Ward