Fully prepared to make a good impression with the new front office staff member, Kendall Johnson, assistant front office manager, Michael Kelly, confidently reached out to shake hands. “She stood up from the desk and the first thing I said to her was, ‘Hi-I’m Michael-damn-you-are-tall’ with almost no pause between each word,” he shares of the awkward moment that the couple laugh about in retrospect.
Later, Kendall discovered that the manager wearing the neon-yellow-highlighter golf shirt with matching running shoes is the son of her parents’ longtime friends. “It’s so crazy to think that we both knew our in-laws practically our entire lives!” exclaims Kendall. Not many years later, Michael proposed to Kendall with a dazzling engagement ring. “He dropped to bended knee and immediately started to tear up; he’s a big crier,” describes Kendall of the surprising moment.
As Kendall is a corporate event planner, not much was shocking or challenging to the bride as the wedding-planning process began. She was well-versed in regard to checklists and time frames – until the pandemic hit and plans were forced to shift. Though the couple knew they wanted to wed in Dallas, they had not yet settled on a venue. “We were originally going to host 500 people, but only a handful of hotels could accommodate such a lengthy list of guests.”
Deciding on The Statler due to its historic beauty and unparalleled hospitality team, the bride, her mother, sisters, and wedding planner began to work on a remarkable, timeless event. The groom was barely involved in the decisions. “We both preferred it that way,” smiles Kendall. “However, Michael was promoted to director of sales at The Statler. In a nutshell, any event that goes on in the ballroom, he and his team oversee – he quickly became very involved!”
“I wanted our photos to look like they could have been taken 50 years ago, in the present day, or 50 years in the future.”
“I wanted our photos to look like they could have been taken 50 years ago, in the present day, or 50 years in the future,” illustrates Kendall. “With that being said, the church we chose was already lovely on its own and we didn’t have to add much beyond the two large white floral arrangements at the altar.” As the bride and her father readied themselves to make their way down the aisle, Kendall unexpectedly felt emotional at the beauty of it all.
Michael’s assignment: not to cry so much that he ruined the pictures. “Then, of course, she told me I did not cry enough!” he laughs, though he admits that the moment she made her grand entrance was one of the most memorable parts of the day for him. Kendall wore an elegant satin ball gown with a deep V-neck, and she carried a lush bouquet of hydrangeas, peonies, ranunculus blossoms, and open-cut roses. Guests witnessed an incredibly heartfelt service before making their way to a cocktail hour at the luxurious hotel property.
The site – originally built in 1956 – had been renovated only a few years prior, so Kendall opted for an Old Hollywood-glam vibe to complement the hotel, which had maintained the integrity of the original design. The color scheme for the big day was primarily white, with touches of black and gold.
Tablescapes varied amongst five different designs including ebony linen-covered round tables with ghost chairs decorated with traditional white florals sitting atop cylinder vases, as well as square tables featuring glossy gilt chairs and oversized uniquely shaped flowers surrounded by floating candles. The head table showcased its own dreamy style: modern crystal candelabras complemented with additional vanilla blooms.
Equally impressive was the dance floor, which highlighted the bride and groom’s monogram motif that was first introduced to loved ones in the sophisticated black-and-gold invitation suite. Thousands of blooms and ribbons were suspended from above, directly over the center of the dance floor, to add jaw-dropping detail to the area. “The music was bonkers! It was completely electric,” remembers the groom of the live entertainment.
For the last song of the night, the newlyweds planned for an impactful moment where Michael lifted Kendall and swung her around while attendees tossed colorful confetti in their direction. “It was unreal and such a feeling of accomplishment… We had been through two years of planning this wedding, a global pandemic, multiple friends and family unable to attend, and oh yeah, did I mention this was 24 hours before an awful snowstorm hit Texas?” says Kendall. “That last dance was an awesome feeling as a wife and a bride,” she adds. “Enjoy the evening and live in the moment because it goes by in a blink!"