An impressive oil painting of Tori Pate and Travis Howard’s wedding day hangs above the fireplace in their new home. “We hired an artist to paint our celebration,” explains Travis. “It is unique and will be dear to us forever.” The image captures the bride, groom, and their guests dancing the night away during their reception, and serves as a priceless memento of a flawless day that neither of them will soon forget.

The couple, who met at church when they were just 15 and began dating a few years later, hosted their nuptials in their hometown of Houston. The bride desired a classic and timeless ambiance for her day and enlisted the aid of a professional to help her fulfill her vision. “I couldn’t imagine not having the help of our wedding planner,” she says. “She did so much for us that I never would have thought to do.”

Both the ceremony and reception were held in the magnificent hall of a historical building located in the heart of the city. Towering columns, crystal chandeliers, and stylish architectural detail set the stage for the refined service. Snowy buds in glass vases lined either side of the ceremony aisle, while lengthy vines of ivory flowers were suspended over the altar. Two majestic staircases flanked either side of the altar, and graceful white drapery creating a stunning backdrop for the exchange of vows.

The bride glided towards her groom on her father’s arm wearing a fitted mermaid gown that featured a bodice embellished with a floral appliqué and a layered ruffle skirt. Long, wavy locks paired with the cathedral veil completed the stunning vision. “My most memorable moment was watching Tori walk down the aisle,” says Travis. “Her dress was gorgeous.” The groom, an officer in the United States Army, donned his Dress Blues uniform while his groomsmen wore traditional tuxedos. Bridesmaids appeared in various black floor-length gowns of their choosing. “I wanted them to be comfortable and feel beautiful,” says the bride. “Everyone ended up looking amazing.”

The ceremony music, which featured a 20-piece orchestra and 16-piece bell choir, was a spectacular production in and of itself. In addition, a gospel choir sang “Oh Happy Day” as the bride and groom exited the service as husband and wife. “It really put everyone in a good mood for the reception,” states the bride.

But despite the musical spectacle and the gorgeous décor, the most important aspect of the ceremony for the couple was the personalized vows they exchanged. “Listening to Tori’s and being able to write my own was really special,” says the groom. “Instead of the typical cliché vows, ours reflected our personalities.”

To transform the space for the reception, splashes of purple were added to the décor thanks to lavender flora and violet lighting. A head table topped with a mirrored surface ran the length of the room. In its center, a hole was cut in the table to display an oversized vase cast out of ice and bursting with blooms. Crystal candelabra twined with flowers, rows of glowing candles, and plum charger plates completed the ornate tablescape. The remainder of attendees enjoyed their dinners at circular tables that were placed on the perimeter of the room, each featuring a centerpiece of either a crystal or mercury glass vase filled with frosty white flowers and emphasized with candlelight.

The towering wedding cake was designed to replicate the lace and flowers on the bride’s gown and featured alternating layers of traditional white cake and Italian crème. “Not only was it beautiful, but it was also extremely delicious,” says the bride. In addition, each guest received a miniature confectionary that was an exact replica of the stunning dessert as a favor.

Reflecting on their day, both bride and groom report being thrilled with every aspect of their glamorous affair, though one detail stands out in particular. “My favorite thing from our wedding is the painting we had made,” beams Tori. As the years go by, simply staring at the colorful canvas hanging above their fireplace will instantly transport the couple to the happy day when they first became husband and wife.