Though Raven Gates and Adam Gottschalk fell in love on Bachelor in Paradise, the couple who stole the hearts of Bachelor Nation were determined to continue their love story on their own terms. Instead of getting engaged on the show, the boutique owner from Arkansas and commercial real estate broker from Texas chose to grow their relationship in the real world before making that once-in-a-lifetime decision.
“We got to the point in our relationship when Raven moved her business and life to be with me in Dallas,” Adam explains. “That kind of commitment started to make me think about a lifelong commitment to her.” He asked her parents for their blessing, and instead of using the reality show’s go-to jeweler, Neil Lane, Adam worked with his uncle to design a custom diamond engagement ring featuring a sparkling halo setting and split-shank band. “Adam tricked me into thinking I was doing a photo shoot for my store, and during the last shot, he hopped in and proposed!” remembers Raven of the special moment.
Like many couples planning their nuptials during a time when Covid altered nearly every aspect of life, Raven and Adam had not one, but three postponed wedding dates. Amidst it all, Raven and Adam were thankful to be working with their wedding planner, who helped them to navigate all of the unexpected changes and also find a fairy-tale venue to host their intimate wedding for just 20 of their closest friends and family members. “My breath was taken away,” muses Raven of seeing the French-inspired mansion on a 40-acre estate just outside of Dallas. “I couldn’t believe such a beautiful place even existed!”
Taking a fairly laid-back approach to the wedding-planning process, the couple relied on the advice and expertise of their wedding team to create a magical celebration that honored their vision of an elegant, formal wedding. “I envisioned the wedding to be pretty, clean, and classic – oh, and romantic!” notes Raven of the desired design scheme. “I wanted to look back at our pictures and just think of it all as timeless.”
“My favorite moment was sharing our vows. The ceremony itself felt so spiritual; it was a feeling I wish I could bottle up and share.”
On the day of the spring ceremony, loved ones found their seats facing the façade of the stately mansion, which was built as an homage to Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte in Paris. Though the couple had a “first look” – one of Adam’s top wedding requests – the groom was surprised by how much emotion surrounded the moments leading up to the vow exchange. “I was not expecting to be so emotional that day!” he reveals.
Raven was glowing as she walked down the aisle in a fit-and-flare gown with beaded floral detailing. She carried an ivory bouquet of roses, ranunculuses, peonies, and sweet peas as she met Adam, who was handsome in a midnight blue tuxedo, beneath an acrylic chuppah decorated with white blooms including roses and orchids. As Raven is Christian and Adam is Jewish, they incorporated traditions from both of their faiths in the wedding ceremony, which was officiated by a pastor as well as a rabbi. “My favorite moment was sharing our vows,” smiles the bride of the sentimental exchange. “The ceremony itself felt so spiritual; it was a feeling I wish I could bottle up and share.”
As guests made their way inside for the wedding reception, they found their seating assignments on escort cards adorned with golden wax seals. The bright interior space showcased stately columns, stunning crystal chandeliers, arched windows, and mirrored elements. “We wanted the overall design to complement the style of the wedding venue,” affirms Raven. “The florals were classic and traditional with lots of whites and greenery.” Loved ones sat atop gilt chairs with alabaster upholstery that surrounded a single table strewn with lovely textured linens. The tablescape showcased gold-rimmed chargers and glassware, bullion-hued flatware, and lush arrangements of vanilla blossoms accented with greenery.
The bride surprised everyone by changing into a stunning strapless tulle ball gown for the grand entrance as newlyweds and their first dance to “U Move, I Move” by John Legend featuring Jhene Aiko. An intimate sit-down dinner service was enjoyed, along with slices of a petite three-tier fondant wedding cake decorated with ornate, French-inspired details. At the end of the night, loved ones exited the mansion as Raven changed once again into a beaded spaghetti-strap gown featuring a frothy skirt. She and Adam shared a “last dance” just the two of them and made their way out of the venue to find their friends and family waving sparklers in celebration.
With everything they were forced to change – including their list of attendees, both Raven and Adam agree that they wouldn’t do anything differently. “It was such a magical day,” the groom confirms. His bride adds: “At first I thought I would miss having the bigger guest count, but I didn’t miss that at all!” Although some aspects were not what they initially imagined, they planned a wedding that honored their love story and truly made a point to cherish the entire day. “The best advice we received was to enjoy the moment,” shares Raven. “I know that sounds like a pretty obvious thing to do, but to be actively, conscientiously aware of every moment made the night so memorable.”
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