Austin & Bess

“Austin’s minor league baseball travel brought us to small towns all over the country full of character, history, and some of the kindest people we’ve met. Visiting Sonora and Union Hill brought us back to that challenging, but special time in our relationship, while at the same time offering us the perfect spot to start our exciting new chapter. While the decision to have a winter wedding was mainly to coincide with the baseball off-season so that our friends who play could be there, it is also our favorite time of year. We both come from families with moms who, combined, account for 96% of holiday decor sales annually. Austin’s family is seriously good at Christmas, and I grew up in a home where there was always a fire burning (real, not gas) and candles lit. I also went to high school at an all girls school where sweater weather was highly anticipated and hot chocolate was frequently consumed. We decided we wanted a wedding that harnessed the magic, spirit, coziness, and peace of the season, without being overtly holiday themed.”

“My favorite part of evening Christmas Eve church service growing up was the candle lighting ceremony. Everyone receives a candle as they walk in, which are later used to illuminate the church as the lights are turned off and music plays. We decided to re-create this at our wedding which ended up being quite the perfect solution to the power outage. Everyone kept their candles lit even after our guitarist Jason finished singing, then using them to light the way to cocktails! What an unforgettable view we had from the altar.”

“We decided to skip part of the cocktail hour to enjoy some private time, appetizers, and our signature drinks by the fireplace at the alter. As we lifted our glasses for a toast, we heard a thunderous roar from the barn chapel below as our guests celebrated the power coming back on. Right in time for the reception!”

“Our table assignments were done with vintage cowbells. Not only did I (unwillingly) receive the nickname ‘Bessy the Cow’ at summer camp, but my Mom Bambi was infamous for ringing a cowbell to corral my brothers and I in for dinner and to communicate her enthusiasm at all of our athletic events.”

Bess and Austin’s romance is straight out of a storybook fairytale. We love how she tells it!

“Austin and I have spent eight beautiful, and perfectly imperfect years growing up together and falling in love. A few of those years were spent at a distance (it CAN be done!) while we both pursued individual passions. When I first saw Austin one evening during freshman student-athlete orientation week at Stanford (he played baseball, and I lacrosse), I proclaimed he was ‘the one’ (Don’t worry, not to his face). After college, when the world suddenly felt big, the one thing I never questioned was our love. And when the long distance started to take its toll, it was the support of and energy from our family and friends that helped us through. From gifted airline tickets and points from our parents, to surprise romantic getaways planned by friends, to timely hugs, phone calls, jokes, and listening ears, our relationship has always been bigger than just us. It has been shaped and touched by so many others along the way, and we wanted everyone (present and not) to feel warm, loved, involved, and appreciated. For all of these reasons and more, we wanted our wedding to be intimate yet fun, emotional yet light, and deeply personal yet inclusive. We accomplished this by having a mini destination wedding in a small town where everyone would be together, having our close mutual friend (Stephen Brown) officiate with a ceremony we all worked together to design, writing and delivering our own vows, having a big bridal party yet just our siblings with us at the alter, and storytelling through decor wherever possible.”