Karee Kolitz was living in Washington, D.C. when Loren Jones came to town to visit their mutual friend. Admittedly, Karee and Loren did not hit it off right away, but by the end of the night, they were deep in conversation. Loren returned to medical school in Illinois, and the two began an email flirtation, which developed into a long distance relationship after Loren spent the summer in DC. As he recalls, “After getting to know her a little bit better, I knew very quickly that this was the girl I was going to marry.”

Karee moved to Illinois to be with Loren while he finished school, but was spending every other week in Dallas to be with a family member who was ill. Her parents had also temporarily relocated there, and on one of those weekends when they were all together, Loren asked Karee to be his wife. “Loren knows how important my family is to me, and because he asked me in Dallas, I was not only able to share the moment with my family and friends, but I could also share the news with my uncle whose health was rapidly declining.”

They continued to make the celebration a family affair by holding the wedding in Karee’s hometown of San Antonio, Texas. The traditional Jewish ceremony was celebrated in the synagogue Karee attended as a child, and the reception was set on the expansive grounds of her parents’ new home. A series of tents was erected to accommodate the 500-person gala that combined sincere Texas hospitality with the glamour and elegance of Hollywood. They kicked off the long weekend of festivities with a BBQ at the oldest dance hall in Texas. Everyone got into the mood – some by dressing in Western clothes – but Karee’s parents’ enthusiasm stole the show. “We have a saying that ‘Everything is bigger in Texas,’” explains Karee. “Well, my parents had a huge surprise for Loren and me.” Karee’s parents hired their favorite singer, country legend Pat Green, to perform all evening long, dedicating a special song to the bride and groom. “It was amazing,” remembers Karee.

The wedding itself did not have a theme, but rather a specific color scheme that paired chocolate brown with shades of Karee’s favorite color: purple. Lush and towering “trees” of flowers graced the tables and were surrounded by smaller arrangements set on gold leaf trays. Candles of different sizes wrapped in gold and brown fabrics glimmered on each table, enhancing the surprising level of warmth inside the vast tent. Also adding to the level of intimacy was the format Karee and Loren chose for the dinner service. Instead of a traditional sit-down meal, the catering staff pulled off an impressive buffet for the considerable group, featuring stations of Peking duck, carved venison, whole dry-rubbed fish, and steamed lobsters served with drawn butter, to name a few. The buffet-style atmosphere was successful in allowing everyone to mingle, and was due, in part, to the numerous stations being manned by almost twice the customary number of servers.

The importance of music at the wedding was established early on by the San Antonio Symphony Orchestra, which accompanied the ceremony by performing instrumental versions of contemporary songs like “You’re Nobody ‘Til Somebody Loves You” as Loren entered, and “Happy Together” as he and Karee recessed as husband and wife. A Rat Pack-esque group serenaded the gathering during the cocktail hour, and dinner was set to a twenty-one-piece band, which featured acoustic performances of June Carter and Johnny Cash duets. But the biggest crowd pleaser of all was the very convincing Rolling Stones cover band that brought the entire party to its feet with an opening number of “Start Me Up.” “To this day, some of the older people think The Stones actually played at our wedding,” laughs Karee.

The newlyweds would not allow a single guest to leave the celebration empty-handed. Upon departure, each person received either a bottle of perfume or cologne (depending on gender) that was donated by the couple’s dear friend and Beverly Hills clothing designer, Bijan. He attached a note to each bottle that read “Together Forever!” on the front, and included warm wishes for the bride and groom on the back.

Karee and Loren’s wedding was steeped in moments to remember, but when asked a year later which memory she still cherishes most, Karee answers: “When we first saw each other and took pictures together alone. There are a couple of pictures where we are laughing, and it reminds me of how truly happy we both were to see one another – and how all the other tension of the day melted away.”