Two years before she even attended Yale with Thomas Forster, Rebecca Reza had developed a crush on her brother’s freshman-year hallmate. Though she didn’t expect it to go anywhere, their love story was set in motion two years later when Thomas’ a cappella group visited her brother at their family home in Houston. “We ended up spending the whole evening talking and dancing the night away at a country-western dancehall,” remembers Rebecca, adding that they both find it special that their first real meeting was organized by her brother and at her family home. 

Six years later, another special moment occurred at Rebecca’s family home – this time, their lake house in Austin. With the help of Rebecca’s future maid of honor, Thomas set up a beautiful proposal site with photos and notes from their relationship, as well as rose petals, which led to a floral arch on the back porch that overlooks the water. He asked, she said yes, and as an additional surprise, Thomas had arranged for their families and closest friends – some who flew in for the occasion – to come out and congratulate Rebecca. “It was the perfect day,” she smiles. 

The bride and groom searched for an outdoor ceremony venue in Houston, Texas, as well as a reception space that would provide a blank canvas that could be transformed into their vision. “We wanted our wedding to be elegant and timeless, but also feel unique to us and not ‘cookie cutter,’” shares the bride. They decided upon a design scheme inspired by swanky hotel lobbies and restaurant bars that leaned into navy velvet details with golden accents “to provide a moody, lounge-y vibe,” Rebecca adds. The theme was carried throughout all elements of the day, from the invitation to the bar menus, drink stirrers, matchbooks, and the neon sign at the reception. 

“We wanted great music, great food, and great drinks – in short, for our family and friends to have a great time!”

As they arrived to the alfresco ceremony, guests were welcomed with champagne before sitting atop oval-back Ghost chairs. The bride was stunning in an elegant gown featuring a short-sleeve, high-neck lace topper, and a pearl-dotted veil was affixed to her low coiffure. Bridesmaids donned sleek black gowns in varying styles, and groomsmen wore traditional black-and-white tuxedos to contrast the groom’s ivory jacket. The couple exchanged vows beneath a lush floral arch comprised of greenery along with ivory roses, hydrangeas, and baby’s breath during the ceremony led by Judge Lee Rosenthal, who Thomas interned for while attending law school. 

When guests entered the reception space, which was lined with navy velvet drapery and illuminated with sconce lighting around the perimeter, they were transported to what felt like a high-end hotel lounge and restaurant. “Instead of standard wedding seating, tables were arranged like a restaurant,” describes Rebecca of the four-tops that lined the edges of the room – with a mix of banquette-style seating and typical chairs – and larger tables were placed in the center of the room. In lieu of classic floral centerpieces, more contemporary arrangements and table lamps decorated tablescapes. The head table showcased a floral runner that cascaded over the edges, and the acrylic oval bar served as the pièce de résistance to add to the lounge aesthetic. 

After the pair’s first dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley on the black-and-white checkerboard dance floor, the bride changed into a sleek jumpsuit with a pearl-embellished bodice and ostrich-feather details at the shoulders and the groom slipped into a navy velvet tuxedo jacket. A tiered vanilla cake with flowers cascading down the side was savored by loved ones, and in lieu of a traditional groom’s cake, Thomas opted for three individual cakes that honored his love for French bakeries. 

A DJ entertained everyone for hours, and attendees enjoyed breakfast tacos and Rebecca’s beloved truffle fries as late-night bites to keep their energy up. “We wanted great music, great food, and great drinks – in short, for our family and friends to have a great time!” affirms the bride of the day that reflected both of their styles beautifully.

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