Sarah Sherry and Christopher Johnson’s Spanish Garden Wedding by Grit + Gold
The garden oozed romance with all its natural beauty and Spanish flair. The long wooden tables invited guests to a family style dinner, and the greenery and pops of color in the floral arrangements created an organic feel. Since Sarah had spent so much time in Spain in the years leading up to her big day, she knew the Spanish colonial house, beautiful arches and breezeway at the women’s garden of the Dallas Arboretum would be the perfect place for her outdoor wedding. “The tree in the courtyard is just so beautiful, and the view down to the lake is fantastic,” Sarah says.
Sarah and Chris met in 2011 in Dallas. Sarah had been friends with Chris’s younger brother growing up, and reconnected with their family at a party while she was home on a holiday break. They hit it off, and Chris took her to his company Christmas party for their first official date. They dated for three years, enjoying birthdays, holidays, and their fantasy football leagues together even more each year.
In October 2014, Chris was ready to pop the question. However, he had the ring for a year! “It was absolutely awful!” Sarah jokes. Chris let Sarah design the ring when they had gone ring shopping at Robbins Brothers the year before. “Nobody liked my ‘I just want to pay the ring excuse.’ I would have to constantly change hiding spots because Sarah and others would tear the house up looking for it,” Chris says. An unsuspecting Sarah thought they were just having a relaxed Thursday night at home, when Chris finally decided to reveal the finished product of the ring Sarah had dreamed so much about. “He pulled it out of his pocket, got down on one knee and asked. Our dog was jumping all over him, and it was all just perfectly ‘us,’ right down to our comfy sweat pants,” Sarah says.
Sarah did what so many newly engaged women do. She scoured through magazines, folding down corners here and making notes there, giddy over the planning process, while teasing her groom over color schemes for invitations. She found inspiration in magazines and online for a wedding to fit her eclectic style. “As far as the décor, I really tried to keep it relatively simple with loose greenery and glooms, and lots of texture. I wanted to have a wedding that was beautiful but still felt like a family gathering,” Sarah says.
In her year of planning, Sarah enjoyed delving into all the details. She admits her wedding dress search was quite extensive! After trying on what seemed like 100 hundreds in every style, she finally found her perfect gown on an unplanned shopping trip. She was by herself at Nordstrom inside Northpark Mall, waiting on a friend to go to dinner, when she saw a light, soft gown she just had to try on. It was the one. “The light cotton lace and the neckline were amazing. It was so comfortable on and so unlike anything else I had seen,” Sarah remembers.
The wedding invitation is often the first peek guests have inside the wedding. Jayme and Allie of Yeti and the Beast helped Sarah take a basic idea and bring it to life, while blending her ideas with the more traditional tastes of her mom. The invitations had a floral and Spanish tile design with burgundy envelopes and rose gold calligraphy. “They really made everything more beautiful than I could have imagined,” Sarah says.
The weekend of the wedding was a family affair from beginning to end. Sarah’s parents hosted the rehearsal dinner the night before the ceremony at their beautiful Preston Hollow home. It was a southern affair with Babe’s fried chicken and sides, and popsicles from Steel City Pops for dessert.
The next morning, the couple spent the day apart with their attendants. Sarah enjoyed eating lunch and getting ready with her bridesmaids. While they got their hair and makeup done, the girls drank champagne and relived fun memories of their times together over the years. The couple did a first look before all the excitement began in the courtyard; a decision they were both glad that did as it helped calm their nerves.
The birch altar where Chris waited for his beautiful bride was quite a sight itself. Vines and flowers covered draped linen with big urns full of flowers at the base. Both of Sarah’s parents walked her down the aisle. “I was really excited and a bit nervous about having so many people looking at me,” Sarah remembers. She looked stunning in her Jesus Peiro gown. The cotton lace gown with a natural waist, high neckline, and cap sleeves was perfect for the setting. She finished her look with a gold and pearl bracelet, dangling gold pear-shaped earrings, and bright red lipstick. Sarah cried as soon as she saw her best friend, and even more when she saw her groom. Luckily, she says, he said his vows first and made everyone laugh! “Hearing him brought me back to reality. It was really such an amazing thing to me, walking down the aisle, it was hard to believe it was happening,” Sarah remembers. She couldn’t help but smile at the cufflinks she’d made Chris for their big day with a picture of their beloved golden doodle in them. One of the most special parts of the ceremony was having their good friend, Father Jim, there to bless their marriage. After the heartfelt vows came the rings, and Chris kissed his gorgeous wife.
Photographer Sarah Kate captured hundreds of photos of newly named Mr. and Mrs. Johnson while guests enjoyed sangria in the garden. Then they shared their first dance to “Just Breathe” by Pearl Jam. “The reception was just so beautiful and engaging that everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, and it was a great way to start two families coming together,” Chris says. Everyone enjoyed a family style, Spanish inspired dinner. With sangria as the signature drink, guests enjoyed the tapas bar, paella, roasted vegetables, garlic prawns, and chicken with pepper sauce. If guests weren’t too full, there were three decadent cakes for dessert: a bourbon and dark cherry cake, white cake with cheesecake mousse and fresh strawberries, and a dark chocolate frosted cake with ganache and mint buttercream.
The night was full of great food, laughter, and memorable toasts. “My favorite part of the reception was having a chance to sit back and watch everyone enjoying the party, and to see how beautiful the evening really turned out to be,” Sarah said. Her dad gave a touching speech, and so many others shared words of advice and congratulations. “I never imagined that something could be so perfect and just so well put together,” Chris remembers. Guests danced, mingled, and celebrated well into the evening. While the sun had gone down hours before, the scent of fresh flowers and the sultry Spanish details were still visible in the moonlight, as Sarah and Chris breathed in the first of many romantic nights together as husband and wife.
Catering | Kent Rathbun Catering
Wedding Planner | Grit + Gold
Venue | Dallas Arboretum
other local vendors: Nordstrom Bridal • Cakewalk Bake Shop • Astounding Sounds • Leccare Lollipops • Bows + Arrows • Pura Vida Salon • Yeti and the Beast • Makeup Santa Fe • Robbins Brothers • Sarah Kate, Photographer