It seemed to be a typical September day when Emily Williams and Ben Wickman first bumped into one another in uptown Dallas, Texas. “We were at a popular spot – okay fine, it’s a bar – where University of Kansas alumni gather to watch our football team lose and our basketball team win,” jokes Emily. Sparks flew between the two instantly, and they became an item. Exactly two years later, Ben decided to pop the question. “He proposed at my family lake house in September 2014 on the weekend of our two-year anniversary,” she explains. “Before I could get my bag out of the car or realize what was going on, Ben was on one knee. Both of our families were hiding inside, watching the whole thing through the window!” Once she accepted, their relatives rushed outside to celebrate with the newly engaged pair. 

As a professional in the wedding industry herself, Emily had a good idea of what to expect when beginning the process, and began the hunt for a wedding planner. After hiring the expert services of Mary Wright Shah of Diamond Affairs Weddings & Special Events, Inc., Emily and Ben got busy planning their nuptials. Knowing they wanted to host their ceremony in their Catholic church, the pair selected a nearby, grand hotel venue as their reception location. While organizing her big day, Emily received some simple advice to help keep everything in perspective: “The wedding to-do list can be very overwhelming, so take it one day – and one to-do – at a time,” she reveals.

The bride and groom’s 325 guests filed into the chapel on a warm October day, ready to support the new Mr. and Mrs. into this new life chapter. Emily’s eight bridesmaids helped her into a crisp and classic strapless A-line gown, accented by a flowing cathedral-length veil. The ‘maids themselves donned an assortment of trendy metallic dresses in varying styles; all of the women carried traditional blush-and-ivory clusters of blossoms. Meanwhile, the men readied themselves by stepping into stylish black tuxedos with simple white boutonnieres. 

Following their traditional religious ceremony, revelers departed for the reception destination. Upon arrival, each attendee found escort cards placed around a clear table stand with a large floral “W” as the focal point in the middle. The ballroom itself had a pink tint throughout and housed an array of table designs, including extended, square, and round. Each tablescape displayed textured or embellished linens, gilt-rimmed charger plates, and either low or tall centerpieces consisting of the same classic blooms featured in the ladies’ bouquets. “The carpet in the ballroom is very, very red!” Emily says. “So, I wanted to keep the color scheme a bit more neutral with lots of pops of gold.” Suspended over the dance floor was the star of the day’s décor: a custom fixture featuring cascading perennials. “Bella Flora of Dallas did an amazing job with the flowers,” the bride muses. “My favorite was the fabulous chandelier they installed and the “W” at the escort card table.”

Friends and family danced into the night to the couple’s lively reception band. In addition to the delicious dinner fare, each guest was treated to a slice of Emily and Ben’s five-tier wedding cake. “Delicious and beautiful!” the bride exclaims. “It was alternating layers of gold and ivory – it tasted as good as it looked!” As an added treat, the women of the celebration had the opportunity to sip on bubbly in the ladies’ lounge – a special treat for the gals in the newlyweds’ lives. As for advice for future marrying couples, Emily has a specific request: “If at all possible, arrange for a private dinner, just the two of you, while your guests are at cocktail hour.” What a lovely way to begin married life!