While Cortney Robinson and Garrison Jones grew up knowing of one another, their love story didn’t begin until the wedding of Garrison’s brother and Cortney’s friend. “Cortney introduced my brother Jordan to his now wife Margaux in college,” explains Garrison, who was the best man while Cortney was a bridesmaid. “I secretly switched our seating arrangements to sit next to Cortney during dinner,” he smiles, admitting that he told himself he would marry her if he ever had the chance. 

“I think I knew that I always wanted to propose to Cortney,” says Garrison; however, the idea was reinforced after dating long-distance for three years. Cortney and Garrison’s love story spanned continents, with Garrison living in Mexico, the Netherlands, and Singapore before heading back home, only for Cortney to move to Hong Kong. “This constant communication allowed us to really get to know each other and build a stronger foundation,” he adds. Just over three years after the wedding that started it all, Garrison proposed at the Jardin du Palais Royal in Paris. 

The couple knew they wanted to get married in Houston, Texas, and hired Alexia McWhinney of The Savvy Consultants to orchestrate their dream wedding. “Given our guest count and the time of year, finding the perfect venue was hard!” expresses Cortney of their 280-person guest list and the unpredictable fall weather. “I really wanted a garden element, and I was worried that having everything indoors would take away from that theme… I was so happy that with a little imagination, we were able to bring the garden theme indoors.” 

A stunning sanctuary served as the site for the pair’s traditional Catholic ceremony. Inspired by the Netflix series Bridgerton, instrumental versions of modern songs were performed by a string quartet – the same musicians that performed at the wedding of the bride’s parents. Cortney was gorgeous in a sleek gown featuring off-the-shoulder straps and a pearl-embellished veil as she walked down the aisle. “It was as if time stood still, and I was overcome with emotion,” Garrison remembers. To acknowledge their ancestors and illustrate a powerful element of tradition, the new Mr. and Mrs. incorporated the jumping of the broom at the conclusion of their ceremony. 

“I really wanted a garden element… I was so happy that with a little imagination, we were able to bring the garden theme indoors.”

Friends and family then made their way to the reception venue, which was transformed into the “secret garden” the bride envisioned. “I wanted guests to feel transported to a space that had somehow been overgrown by a beautiful garden,” explains Cortney. The site’s towering columns were adorned with greenery, floral-embellished lanterns were suspended from overhead beams, and warm candlelight filled the room. Square tables in the center of the space were adorned with tree-style arrangements and vibrant florals at the base, and round tables on either side showcased low centerpieces in tones of aubergine and bordeaux. “It was absolutely breathtaking,” the groom confirms. 

Loved ones enjoyed a sit-down dinner service and listened to heartfelt toasts throughout the evening. “Each speech was incredibly personal, intimate, hilarious, and slightly embarrassing,” smiles Garrison. “After we received a letter of recognition from Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Cortney’s father surprised us with the keys to their family-heirloom 1976 Chevrolet Stingray Corvette that originally belonged to Cortney’s grandmother,” he shares of the memorable moment. 

Later in the evening, Cortney changed into a sparkling dress for dancing and the band-led second line. “The second line dance – a West African traditional dance that was subsequently brought to New Orleans – was another cultural tradition for both of our families,” she explains. Toward the end of the festivities, a late-night snack was brought in to satiate revelers. “Frenchy’s is a small but beloved Southern food chain in Houston, best known for their fried chicken,” says the bride. “This was a way to surprise guests and a tasty introduction to our city since we had so many guests from out of town.” 

Cortney and Garrison cherished the love they felt and the traditions they incorporated. The bride encourages other pairs to define their wedding expectations at the start, so they don’t go off course. “Write it down. This way, you always have a mission statement of sorts to go back to,” she shares. When the big day arrives, the groom advises: “Set aside 10 minutes during the reception for you and your now wife to take it all in. This will likely be the last time all the important people in your life will be in one room together. Taking time to acknowledge this and give thanks will make all the difference.”

This real wedding was originally published in the Winter 2023 issue of Inside Weddings magazine. 

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