A Garth Brooks concert on the Fourth of July seems like the perfect place for a Texas couple to fall in love. Unfortunately, Catherine Blair Paterson – who goes by her middle name – and Barry Kessler don’t actually remember meeting each other there. Luckily, their mutual friends threw a party several months later, where parks flew naturally, and Blair and Barry were soon an amorous item.
It wasn’t long until Barry was house hunting – ostensibly for him to live in alone. He met with his beloved’s father to make his intentions clear: he wanted to share the new home with Blair, and he was ready to marry her. Armed with a blessing and a ring, Barry planned his surprise proposal. He asked his sweetheart to come over to the new house to review the inspection report. “I was so excited that he finally had it under contract that I didn’t notice the backyard was arranged with flowers and lanterns,” Blair reveals. After he asked her to marry him and she excitedly accepted, the parents of both the bride and groom were waiting to celebrate with Champagne inside their new residence.
With just six months to plan their Houston celebration, the couple elected to hire esteemed event planner Ann Whittington to help organize their nuptials. On the big day, Blair looked stunning as she walked down the aisle donning a Belgian heirloom cathedral veil – which she was the sixth in her family to wear – as well as an elegant wedding gown. “My face hurt from smiling so much,” the groom notes regarding the moment his bride reached him at the altar. Due to the ornate paintings and the deep blue ceiling of the church, the aisle was lined with simple white hydrangeas so as not to overpower the beauty of the sanctuary.
Before the guests entered the room for dinner, the newlyweds were seated at their sweetheart table, giving them a brief moment to reflect on their new married life. Soon, 324 attendees joined to see the lovely space filled with varied centerpiece designs. “I really envisioned a mixture – I didn’t want everything to look the same,” Blair explains. Six rectangular tables had floral runners with candles along the center, while the remaining round tables featured both high and low arrangements. “I wanted it to feel like winter, but also to include creams and blushes,” she illustrates. A large wreath appeared to float just below the ceiling, encircling the dance floor. A matching piece was suspended above the live band.
Though the newlyweds and most of the family of the bride reside in Houston, the reception included nods to another famous Southern site. “My family originated in New Orleans, so we wanted to have an ode to the city,” Blair notes. “We had a New Orleans brass band in the pre-function area, we walked out of the reception to a second line parade, and we served beignets and café au lait on the way out.” The pastries were a particular hit after guests spent hours dancing to a Motown-style band. “So much so that wedding crashers posted with our Instagram hashtag about how good they were,” laughs Barry. In addition to the delicious treats, revelers were offered slices of a five-layer white cake earlier in the evening. The tasty confection was adorned with sugar flowers and a monogram that showcased the shared initial of the lovebirds. A groom’s cake covered with chocolate-covered strawberries provided even more options to those guests with a sweet tooth.
Though the big day was a dream otherwise, Blair does note there is one thing she would have done differently (which doubles as a useful piece of advice for future brides). “I would have practiced the bustle more,” she confirms. “It took about 30 minutes, which hindered us from visiting with our guests while they were seated.” Barry on the other hand, aside from revealing that he did not experience the pre-wedding jitters he heard so much about, has a simple suggestion for soon-to-be grooms: “Enjoy it and be thankful!”