Initially, timing was not on the side of Emily Huskinson and Ryne Heath. While attending Texas A&M University, Ryne ran an organization for Christian men that held a party on a barge, and Emily attended as part of a blind date. “Ironically, Ryne was not my date. He was there with his girlfriend, but it was truly love at first sight for me!” she admits. In time, he became available, but the road to love still wasn’t easy. Both hailing from Dallas, Emily and Ryne’s respective families coincidentally had season tickets to the local basketball team that were rows apart. During the 2014 playoffs, “I texted Ryne asking if he was at the game, and that was when I found out he moved to San Francisco. Dreams crushed,” laughs Emily. However, that text sparked conversations back and forth, and it wasn’t long before the pair was in a long-distance relationship.
After about a year, Ryne returned to Texas to be with his beloved. Within months, he was ready to propose, so he took Emily’s family out to dinner to secure their blessing. “I believe strongly that you are marrying the family just as much as the girl!” he proclaims. The elaborate proposal reflected their journey as a couple: Under the guise of a Christmas party with Emily’s friends, the soon-to-be groom arranged dozens of their loved ones to line up on a dock. As Emily walked past, they each handed her a white rose until finally she reached her beau, holding a red bloom. Following her acceptance, the newly affianced couple boarded a barge – similar to the one where they met – and celebrated the engagement with their nearest and dearest.
The bride chose the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, partially because she wanted a destination wedding and knew the picturesque site was an excellent way to get her parents to agree. “My mom is an extremely talented interior designer and the Biltmore reminds me of her style,” she confides. Her plan worked and the next six months were spent planning the outdoor ceremony and tented reception. “The look of the wedding was inspired by the venue, which is reminiscent of the Gilded Age,” Emily shares. A custom black lacquer aisle was built to mirror the motif of the invitations designed by Ceci New York, who also created the couple’s intricate golden crest that adorned the aisle and was incorporated throughout the celebration. The bride and her father arrived by horse-drawn carriage before they entered through the obsidian, wrought-iron gate covered in ivory roses. At last she met her groom before a lush arbor of orchids and greenery. “I’ve never seen that many flowers in my life,” Ryne asserts.
Once the couple entered the reception tent, they could hardly believe their eyes. “It was like being in a luxury five-star hotel,” the bride divulges. In addition to the enthusiastic dancing as a result of the live band, the groom provided entertainment himself, having written a romantic song for Emily. “I don’t really play in front of people, but I wanted to give her a gift that would last forever,” he muses.
Following the reception, the event designers had something special in store for the newlyweds. They arranged a private space under the stars complete with luxurious chairs so Emily and Ryne could enjoy 10 minutes to reflect on their new marriage. The couple was not ready for their night to end, so they invited everyone to their suite for an impromptu after-party. But first, surprising favors were distributed: fast food meals. “Ryne and I loved the juxtaposition of the lavish wedding followed by late-night McDonald’s,” Emily reveals. Yet even with an after-party, the night would eventually come to an end. “I wish I could have figured out a way to stop time so we could live in that moment forever,” Ryne reflects.