Whether it’s a Texas theme or a beach scene, local culture makes wedding planning easy
Carla Smith vividly remembers her wedding day in 2014 and how it made her feel, she said. Working closely with her wedding planner made her want to make other brides feel the same way, so she started her own business to do just that.
“I wanted to get into weddings after feeling how special the day is from the perspective of the client,” Smith said. “I want all of my clients to feel those same overwhelming emotions — a day they’ll never forget.”
Smith for the past five years has been planning and decorating weddings and events on the upper Texas coast, turning her clients’ dreams into reality, she said.
Owner of Memorable Moments Event Lounge in La Marque, and Carter 7 Grand Events, Smith has designed weddings from the very intimate to grand ones featuring huge budgets for which she provides linens, flowers and whatever else the client desires, she said.
Decorating is easy when the theme is focused on local designs, food and fun, Smith said.
“I absolutely love Texas coastal weddings,” Smith said. “Outdoor venues during spring and fall, beachside venues on a cool summer evening with a Texas rustic twist are my favorites.”
Pam Durham has planned more than 100 weddings on the Texas Gulf Coast and beyond as an event planner and owner of Moments Event Planning and Design in Galveston. Durham agrees with Smith that Texas-themed weddings never get old and are the most popular among her clients, she said.
“Who doesn’t love Texas, and specifically, Galveston and its sandy beaches?” Durham said. “I always say that when you grew up seeing the beach, it takes an outsider to show you its worth.”
The pandemic has inspired many brides to seek serene, secluded and rustic weddings, said Amanda Slivinski, who with her husband, Steve, own The Barn at Willowynn, 16603 Cowan Road in Santa Fe.
“I feel like brides are circling back to kind of 15 years ago, which is really nice,” Slivinski said. “They want traditional, simple, rustic weddings, especially with COVID.”
It isn’t so much about how many people are attending, as it is who is attending, Slivinski said.
“Family and close friends are really what matters now,” she said. “It’s super important to brides now, having small, intimate weddings and really enjoying their day.”
When building The Barn at Willowynn, the Slivinskis sought to create an intimate setting that made couples feel like they were “sitting in their grandparents’ backyard,” Amanda Slivinski said. After building venues for others, they built the The Barn at Willowynn for themselves on their cattle farm. The venue features farmhouse tables and cross back chairs. But perhaps what makes everyone feel most at home and relaxed is Willie, the couple’s beloved donkey, who helps serve shots or distribute party gifts.
“Willie is our pride and joy,” Slivinski said. “He’s amazing. Our main objective is that people sit back and relax and enjoy their day.”
As it relates to Texas-themed weddings, Durham said it’s important to listen to clients’ wishes to help bring their vision to light and to make sure the client is happy as well.
“Since I’m from Texas, it helps me to be able to utilize my knowledge base of all things ‘Texan’ and we meet there,” Durham said. “I love every detail, their stories, and beautiful room designs showcasing Texas beauty. It’s just magic when it all comes together.”
Like Durham, Smith has honed her skills to create various wedding themes during the pandemic by keeping up with the latest “smaller-scale” events, Smith said.
“My job is to help them enjoy their wedding without all of the stress associated with it,” Smith said. “And, living on the Gulf Coast in Texas makes it easy to make their dreams come true.”