A Glamorous, Black-Tie Wedding at Home in Houston
â€śWe chose our homeâ€™s backyard because we love to entertain and host dinner parties throughout the year,â€ť says Lillian Henny, a family law attorney, of choosing to use their own green grass as the reception venue for her wedding celebration with Edwin Alexander, an expert medical research associate. â€śI lived in my wedding venue so every afternoon I would go in the backyard and try to imagine the guest experience.â€ť
The pair said â€śI doâ€ť at the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research not far from their home in Houston, Texas. They then invited their 213 guests to their mid-century-style house for a tented reception, filled with a meal of spiced lamb and French 75s. The entire celebration was black tie, with guests showing up in their best formal attire and the couple themselves in a beaded caped gown and an ivory double-breasted dinner jacket. â€śI wanted the wedding to feel like a vintage dinner party under the stars,â€ť Lillian says of the party, which called to mind Golden Age films like â€śSabrina.â€ť
To help her pull it off, she worked with event planner Daryl Wilson of D Concierge Events who made her visions a reality. This included decorating the ceiling of the dinner tent with thousands of warm amber twinkle lights and wrapping a large tree in the backyard with even more. The end-result exuded sophistication yet also felt at home for the couple, who say that they loved that their guests filled their house with well-wishes for the future.
Lillian designed her cascading bouquet of ivory orchids and roses.
Lillianâ€™s mother spent a few private moments with her daughter before the day's celebrations began.
Since the wedding took place in November, Lillian opted for emerald-hued dresses for her eight bridesmaids. The dresses all came from Jenny Yoo but had slight variations to reflect each womanâ€™s personality.
Lillian paired her gown with a cathedral length veil that she borrowed from a dear college friend.
â€śMake sure the overall vision is personal and a reflection of your personality,â€ť Lillian says of the day, including involving your close friends and family.
The flower girl wore a traditional white dress with a matching headband and carried a white basket filled with petals.
The bridesmaids each carried a handful of sand and peach-colored long-stem roses.
His groomsmen also wore bespoke suits from Well Groomed Man, matching in all black so that the groomâ€™s look would stand out.
Both Lillian and Edwinâ€™s wedding bands were designed by Wolf Diamonds, a local jewelry store in Houston.
Edwin gifted each of his seven groomsmen monogrammed cufflinks as a "thank you" for standing by his side.
Our first look was fun! We even snuck and ate at Wing Stop. It was fun to laugh and try to eat wings without getting it on our white wedding attire.
â€śOur first look was fun,â€ť Lillian says. â€śWe even snuck and ate at Wing Stop. It was fun to laugh and try to eat wings without getting it on our white wedding attire.â€ť
â€śWe were able to laugh and look forward to the day and really get excited,â€ť Lillian says of spending time together before the ceremony.
It was no surprise the couple would exchange vows in Houston. Not only do they live there, but they met there five years earlier through a mutual friend. Edwin also proposed at a local rooftop bar where they had shared their first kiss.
The couple loved the character of the Clayton Library Center for Genealogical Research but picked it as a nod to Edwinâ€™s love of research. Plus, Lillian says, it was close to home, meaning they could include another festive tradition after the ceremony.
Large arrangements flanked the venue's main door, which served as the backdrop for the ceremony. Guests sat on mahogany chairs facing the stately building.
Edwin made his own grand entrance at the start of the ceremony, followed by the flower girl, their grandparents, and parents.
Lillian arrived at the ceremony in a vintage car alongside her father, who wore a top hat and formal white gloves.
He escorted her down the aisle to Frank Oceanâ€™s cover of â€śMoon River,â€ť continuing to evoke the vintage vibe.
â€śThe ceremony had a beautiful red brick facade and the columns at the front door were perfectly Southern and regal,â€ť Lillian says of the venue.
The couple exchanged their own vows during the ceremony.
Of course, the newlyweds sealed the ceremony with a celebratory first kiss.
Immediately after the recessional, a brass band kicked off the coupleâ€™s second line parade to honor the Southern tradition.
The newlyweds and their guests paraded down the sidewalk with plenty of fanfare and cheers.
In 20 years, I want our children to look at the pictures and know that the wedding day was a picture of how we love our family.
â€śIn 20 years, I want our children to look at the pictures and know that the wedding day was a picture of how we love our family and the details of a fun time,â€ť Lillian says.
Guests entered the reception through the coupleâ€™s house, which included a guest book and amenities like a basket of blankets for the chilly fall air at the entrance.
The reception took place under a tent in the coupleâ€™s backyard. Lillian really wanted the decor to feel sophisticated and classic, so her planning team lined long tables with sand-colored taper candles in vintage holders and low arrangements of roses. Each table included amber acrylic chairs to echo the amber-hued twinkle lights hanging from the ceiling of the clear tent. â€śIt made the tent so romantic,â€ť Lillian says.
The place settings featured vintage-inspired china and mauve glassware as well as gold flatware and menus topped with a customized wax seal. Interspersed between arrangements were loose pears, a last-minute DIY project by the bride to "add more fall flair."
While guests enjoyed cocktails, Lillian and Edwin took a sneak peek of the reception tent. Lillian was particularly excited about the black-and-white dance floor accented with crystal chandeliers, another nod to vintage dinner parties.
The newlyweds made their grand entrance into the tent full of their hundreds of guests and went straight into their first dance. The song was â€śLadyâ€ť by Teddy Pendergrass.
During our first dance, it felt like the world stopped. It was as if we were all alone, just dancing in our backyard.
â€śDuring our first dance, it felt like the world stopped,â€ť Lillian says. â€śIt was as if we were all alone, just dancing in our backyard.â€ť
Lillian also grooved with her father to Earth Wind and Fireâ€™s â€śWay of the World,â€ť and although itâ€™s not pictured here, Edwin and his mother danced to Kayne Westâ€™s â€śHey Momma.â€ť
The couple also rolled in a bar cart filled with couple glasses for a champagne tower.
Inside, the couple cut into a French vanilla cake.
â€śWe loved the lights, the sunset, and the transformation of our backyard,â€ť Lillian says of the day.
After plenty of dancing thanks to DJ ShantĂ¨, the couple set off on a 30-day honeymoon with various stops around the world. They began in Thailand, with a few days in Phuket, and ended in Amsterdam, with stays in Milan, Paris, and Marrakesh along the way. â€śWe planned the honeymoon with as much vigor as we did the wedding,â€ť Lillian says.