How to get the venue of your choice?  Jennifer is our guest blogger today and she has some great insight on getting that venue you really want.  Read on after the pictures!

Our wedding at Camp Lucy was a dream that we didn’t expect.  

We are both from Dallas and before we became engaged, we started the conversation of where we would get married.  I dreamed of a destination wedding with our closest family and friends (on the beach) and Tito wanted a large wedding that was accessible for all of his family and friends (very little obstacles).  We ended up compromising and agreed to look at the Austin area and Hill Country…not too far, but not too close.  With huge families, being a Pastor’s kid, and being in sales, I knew if we had the wedding in Dallas, we could easily have 700 people show up.

We began our venue search in February 2015.  During my search, I was honestly surprised by the lack of customer service, returning calls, etc. that exists in the wedding industry.  But with every vendor we ended up hiring and our venue, we were VERY happy with the level of customer service we received.  We visited Camp Lucy first and all I can say is- They Have It Together!  We were treated kindly, all questions were answered quickly, the beauty of their venue blows you away, and they go in for the kill with their Cowboy Cookies when viewing the onsite guest cottages.  The remaining venues were nice but didn’t compare in our opinion to Camp Lucy.  And choosing Sacred Oaks over Ian’s Chapel?  Well, the one word I can use to describe Sacred Oaks is Enchanting.  Even with zero decorations, Sacred Oaks could make you cry during a ceremony.  It won my heart.

Have you ever heard the joke—How do you make God laugh?  Tell him your life plans.  Well, the same goes for wedding venues.  How do you make the desired wedding venue laugh?  Tell them your wedding date.  If you really want a wedding venue, DON’T announce your wedding date until you meet with them and book the date.  Also, be open to the dates they have available, and choose the venue as quickly as you can because the good ones book up fast!  My desire was March 2016—well 13 months early was not enough time to obtain this desired month (neither was April, May, June, etc.), so I went with what they had-Valentines Weekend.  I wasn’t thrilled with the timing because A) I thought it would be cheesy and B) I was terrified of ice/snow in either Austin or Dallas.  Turns out, that everything worked out perfectly.  Because I wanted Camp Lucy more than my envisioned wedding date, I began working with my best friend who is also a creative genius when it comes to event planning and styling (I was VERY lucky to have her on our team).  We played up our Valentines Weekend with an XOXO theme and the weather turned out perfect.

One of the biggest factors I took into consideration while planning was that our guests would be traveling 4 hours for our wedding.  I wanted the wedding to be magical and worth it for the travel time.  I know many will disagree with this and say “It’s your wedding” “don’t worry about anyone else”  “do what you want to do”—but what I wanted, was to make a special Valentines weekend for everyone we loved who would come so far to see us say “I do.”  If we didn’t want to factor everyone else, we would have honestly been married at the courthouse.  I wanted everyone to have a blast—and they did!  The food, the drinks, the music, and the location, was a wedding experience everyone will remember forever.  We added additional touches such as Pashminas for the women when they arrived at the ceremony (just in case it was a cold day), Flip flops for the women to kick off their heels during dancing, a flip book booth, fireworks at the end, and breakfast tacos for a late night snack.  I would not argue that we went over the top, but I don’t regret a moment of it.  I am thrilled that our guests had a wonderful time on our special day.

As a quick brag—Choosing Mike Reed as our photographer was the right decision.  I initially chose him because of how vibrant his photos are, and the accolades he received from The Knot—that’s all I really had to go off of.  But developing a friendship with him over the next year was important for our big day.  By the time our big day came, I was nervous, anxious and Mike was a calming force.  He wasn’t new to me because he had been with us during our engagement and bridal pictures and many emails, so it was natural to have him around.  He was completely patient and kind during my Crazy before the ceremony.  I made the best choice.  Oh, and have you seen the pictures?  WOW!

Lastly, I wanted to share my experience of picking a wedding gown as a plus sized bride.  I honestly waited longer than I should have to pick my gown because I was terrified.  I felt that when I would go into a bridal shop, nothing would fit, noses would be turned up to me, and I would end up crying at a time that should be special (all in front of my best friends, sister, and mom).  This sounded pretty horrible, so I just didn’t do it for months.  Knowing that I needed to do this, I searched and found a shop in Dallas called A Curvy Bride.  I went in by myself for my first visit.  I didn’t want to have any of my fears come up in front of anyone.  I spoke with their Sales Rep and she asked me my vision and I explained it to her, I told her my fears, the part of my body that I was most self-conscious about and I told her I needed to set a time to try the gowns on in front of my nearest & dearest women.  She calmed my fear by explaining that every sample gown in their location would fit me and she began to come up with a solution that would allow me to feel comfortable and beautiful on our wedding day.  She NAILED IT.  I loved my dress.  I comfortable and beautiful the entire night.  The dress I found was sleeveless and I DID NOT want to show my arms, so they simply added sleeves.  I had no idea how easy and fun this process would be for me.  The dress was beautiful, timely, and conservative-everything I desired.  If you’re a plus size bride and interested check out A Curvy Bride in Dallas.

I loved our wedding and I love being married.  If interested, below is a list of the vendors we used.  

XOXO Jennifer



Wedding Stylist/Designer:  Stephanie Hain Torres

Wedding Invitations and all Paper Designs:  Stephanie Hair Torres

Month of Wedding Coordinator:  Kim Hunt

Venue:  Sacred Oaks at Camp Lucy

Photographer:  Mike Reed Photo

Florals:  Whim Florals

Catering:  Whim Hospitality

Live Music:  Goga Music

String Quartet:  Terra Vista Strings

DJ and Lighting:  Altared DJ (Christian)

Mariachis:  Mariachi Suroeste

Fireworks:  Illumination Fireworks

Flipbook Booth:  The Flipside Experience

Rentals:  Whim Hospitality

Rentals:  Bee Lavish

Wedding Cake:  Brides Table

Rehearsal Dinner:  The County Line