About a year after graduating college together in December of 2013, Emily White and Erik Gromacki moved to Dallas, Texas. The couple loved exploring their new city together, and that’s exactly what Emily thought they were doing when Erik planned a picnic at the Dallas Arboretum‘s Poetry Garden.

Emily had no idea that her best friend Maddie was at the Poetry Garden, ready to capture the moment that would change her life forever. Soon after their engagement, the couple started planning their May 24, 2015, wedding, and invited 100 guests to watch them become husband and wife at the Aristide Event Center in Mansfield, Texas. They wanted their day to be intimate and personal, but since nearly everyone was traveling for the big day, it was important to Emily and Erik that the party still felt like a destination wedding. Read on to see how their vision came together, as photographed by Ben Q. Photography.

The couple chose the Aristide Event Center as their venue because of its rustic and romantic feel. “I saw it in a magazine and just knew I had to get married there,” the bride says. “It reminded me of a photo out of a storybook.” Although the bride originally hails from Ohio, she now calls Dallas home — but even with her close proximity to the locale, Emily admits she struggled with not being entirely familiar with the area. Luckily, her professional prowess (she works as a wedding and event producer at Bella Flora!) and industry friends made pulling of the wedding a breeze.

Emily admits she found it sometimes difficult to juggle her own wedding prep with her work schedule, but she still managed to design and plan the big day herself, while Erik was left in charge of the travel plans to St. Lucia for their honeymoon.

Emily was a bride who knew exactly what she wanted. After choosing a handful of wedding dresses to try on, the bride found “the one” in the second gown, an ivory lace trumpet by Paloma Blanca. On her big day, she paired her wedding dress with rose gold earrings and embellished booties, perfect for hitting the dance floor.

She held a hand tied bouquet of peonies, lily of the valley, white roses, and various other white flowers, complete with a pearl embellishment detail on the handle.

Erik wore a timeless black Calvin Klein tuxedo paired with a Citizen watch, chosen specifically for his wedding day.

The groomsmen matched Erik in classic black tuxedos and black suspenders, but the groom stood out as the only man wearing a bow tie.

Emily’s bridesmaids wore floor-length Bill Levkoff gowns in a powder blue tone that inspired the blue in the couple’s white, gold, blue, and blush color palette. They held white and ivory bouquets that were finished with a champagne colored satin ribbon, matching the groomsmen’s boutonnieres.

While a string quartet played Pachabel’s Canon in D, Emily’s father, Lawrence, walked her down the aisle toward her soon-to-be husband. Along with traditional vows, the couple chose “Blessing of Hands,” a classic wedding poem, to be read during the ceremony. “It was very meaningful to Erik and I and really communicated who we are as a couple,” the bride says.

Being pronounced husband and wife was Emily’s favorite memory from her big day — and then some. “It was the happiest moment of my life!”

At the reception, the couple offered guests a choice of three signature cocktails called “His,” “Hers,” and “Ours”. “His” drink was an Old Fashioned topped with a Maraschino cherry, “Hers” contained champagne, Grand Marnier, cranberry juice, and sugared rum, while “Ours” was a play on a mojito, made with white rum, mint, lime juice, soda, and simple syrup.

In a touching toast, the father of the bride officially welcomed Erik to the family and offered words of advice for the newlyweds. Once it was time for dinner, guests found their seats at round tables topped with ivory linens, candles, and tall white and blush floral centerpieces.

Following a three course meal, attendants were served slices of the couple’s four-tiered lemon-lavender wedding cake, which was decorated with ruffled buttercream frosting.

The bride and groom had known what song they would dance to as husband and wife for several years before their big day: Mick McAuley and Winfred Horan’s rendition of “To Make You Feel My Love.” Emily and her father also shared a special dance to “I Loved Her First” by Heartland, and Erik and his mother danced to “You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban.

For couples who are planning a wedding of their own, Emily suggests that they communicate their top four priorities for the wedding day before they start planning. “The whole process is about give and take,” she says.

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Aristide Event Center || Wedding Planner & Florist: Bella Flora of Dallas || Bride’s Wedding Dress: Paloma Blanca || Veil: Erica Koesler || Hair & Makeup: Anita Brown of Elan Makeup Studio || Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Bill Levkoff || Groom’s Attire: Calvin Klein || Groomsmen’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse || Engagement Ring & Wedding Bands: Diamond Doctor || Music: European Ensemble Strings; It’s Your Night Entertainment || Catering: Oliver’s Fine Foods || Cake: Frosted Art Bakery & Studio || Rentals: Bella Acento; La Tavola Fine Linens || Photographer: Ben Q. Photography

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Planning your own Texas wedding? Then watch another couple say “I do” in Austin in the video below for more great ideas.

Source: Bride