Sometimes, love comes at you from the least expected place. In Caroline and Kevin’s case, our sweet bride didn’t see it coming! “We had always had a fun friendship, but never did I think we would date, let alone get married. Kevin took me by complete surprise, but once we hit it off as more than friends, I knew almost right away that this was something different, and I fell fast and hard!” Their relationship spanned several years, during which they took a break, only to discover they weren’t able to go long without being in contact. Says Caroline, “We never stopped being each other’s best friends and go to people.” And that, friends, was that!
These two set about planning a gorgeous Santa Fe wedding at La Posada, which was everything they’d imagined (and more). There was a tequila donkey! Caroline’s dad made the tablecloths! Gold stars hung from the tent ceiling! Everything was beautiful and 100% full of love, but it wasn’t easy—they’d rescheduled and changed the guest list, and because of the stress and uncertainty, Caroline became convinced their wedding was not going to happen. We know so many of you can relate!
Find out how they met and got engaged, how Caroline chose and created her custom Lea-Ann Belter gown, and why “Lifetime” by Justin Bieber was their first dance song from Caroline below!
How did you guys meet?
“We’d known each other since high school and were always friendly, but it wasn’t our sophomore year of college during Easter break when we were both back home that we reunited at a friend’s house party. We stayed up until 7 am talking! We had always had a fun friendship, but never did I think we would date, let alone get married. Kevin took me by complete surprise, but once we hit it off as more than friends, I knew almost right away that this was something different, and I fell fast and hard! Kevin claims he always had an eye on me, whether that’s true or not- it worked! I always think that relationships built on the foundation of friendship helps to make them last, and without a doubt Kevin and I are each other’s best friends above all else.”
How did you know Kevin was “the one”?
“I knew I was in love pretty much right off the bat- my friends thought I was nuts! We dated for four years and then took a “pause” or a “break” -whatever you want to call it- for about 2.5 years. During that time, we never were able to go more than a month without being in contact, no matter how hard we tried. Neither of us could shake the other and move on — that was a clear indication to us both that there was probably a reason. We never stopped being each other’s best friends and go to people. So ultimately, we got back together officially in January of 2018, and we both knew that we were in it for the long haul at that point!”
How did you and Kevin get engaged?
“October 5th, 2019, Kevin completely surprised me- which is almost impossible to do! I knew something was in the works, but I had no clue when, where or what that looked like.
I had just flown home from my cousin’s wedding, so I had been traveling all morning, no makeup, leggings, hungover, the whole unattractive nine yards. When we pulled up to my parents’ house, there was a sign on the front door to meet Kevin around back. When I did, he was surrounded by a spread of my favorite flowers and popped the question. Inside awaited my best friend who had helped coordinate with Kevin and decorate my parents’ house for the surprise celebration that was to follow. Thankfully, they gave me a few moments to gather myself, slap some makeup on, and change clothes. Then all my closest friends and family came over to celebrate together with champagne and snacks that Kevin and my best friends organized and set up.
It was such a sweet and special day. I never really cared what my future proposal would look like as long as I was surprised, and I can say, mission accomplished! Although I do wish I had had a tiny heads up, so I could’ve looked a tad bit more presentable, ha-ha! My best friend’s sister (who is a photographer) was hiding inside, snapping the sweet moment while it happened, but I’m so thankful to have those memories!”
How did you choose your gown?
“I had a day of bridal appointments set up and at the last stop is where I said, “yes to the dress!”. By that time, I had pretty much narrowed the silhouette down that I was after. On one of my previous appointments, I was drawn to a gown with a rose print silk organza skirt— I had never seen anything like it before, which is exactly what I was going for! When I found the Lea-Ann Belter dress at my last stop, their skirt was just 1000x prettier than the other I had seen as far as material, pattern, how it filled out, just everything (Those remain the only two skirts I’ve ever seen with that print/material). At the time, the only issue I had with the dress was how the top fit me personally, so we had a strapless top custom-made for me instead. I was so impressed with how accommodating the designer was to alter the dress to my liking and how quickly it was done! I loved that my dress was so classic and elegant, yet the skirt’s fabric was something that I had never seen before in all the weddings to which I’d been! That is what won me over. Not to mention how lightweight and easy to wear it was- huge bonus!”
Tell us about your day!
“The pandemic totally affected our plans! Our original wedding date was August 8th, 2020, and we decided to postpone until May of 2020. We picked the next available date that was within our desired window of the following year, thinking that there was no way the pandemic would still be an issue at that point- we were mistaken! We just held on tight and learned a lot about patience! Thankfully all our vendors were able to transition to the new date, which was huge, and everyone was so easy and understanding to work with, so we were very blessed in that capacity. Going forth with the wedding was honestly a huge question mark up until the beginning of March- at that point, I was fully convinced that it was not going to happen, but then the state of New Mexico opened to their “Turquoise Level.” We felt confident that we could move forward with an outdoor gathering of 150 people. Of course, this meant that we had to slash our guest list by over 100 people, which was probably one of the hardest parts of the entire planning process—even though everyone was so gracious and understanding. It was hard enough to have to narrow down the original list to what it was! We decided to move forward with the July wedding by mid-March, and I just was not mentally/emotionally/physically ready. I had fully convinced myself that this thing was not going to happen, so the last few months of planning were probably more stressful than the norm, but it was all worth it in the end!
We chose Santa Fe as our destination because we loved the small-town atmosphere and the whole feel of the city. We loved that where everyone would be together and that everything was within walking distance. In addition, we knew we wanted to get married in the summer with an outside reception, which ruled out our hometown of Midland, Texas, because it is so hot. So, once we nailed down Santa Fe, we made a trip to scout out venue locations, and after we visited La Posada, it was a done deal. The grounds were so beautiful, and we just loved the idea of everything being on site. Some special touches that we incorporated throughout the wedding was our wedding crest which a local artist in our hometown, Pearly Gates Design, created. The crest appeared on our invitations, we made stickers out of it for our welcome bags for all the guests, and then we also had the crest engraved on acrylic stir sticks used to decorate our signature drinks passed at cocktail hour.
We really dug into the blue/white Mexican tile theme by using Talavera vases, painted tiles for the seating arrangements on the head table, etc. Still, our primary use was custom blue and white tile table linens and tent draping that my dad cut and sewed himself for the event. We sourced the fabric, and he made it all come to life! It was such a special touch to have his labor of love as a part of our day. For the overall aesthetic, we wanted to keep it classic and tailored but with a fun twist. So, we did tons of white florals with spots of light blues and gold accents throughout the tent (things like chargers and candlesticks). To that, we added the hanging brass stars for an unexpected pop along with sprinkles of hot pink to break up the sea of blue and white. One of my favorite decor elements was our hedge wall seating chart. We rented the hedge wall from A Beautiful Theme, and Darling Details made the painted acrylic seating chart. I think it made a fun yet sophisticated statement and doubled as a fun photo backdrop! One thing that we could not go without having a Santa Fe wedding was the tequila donkey! She made for such a fun photo op and a great way to kick off the festivities during cocktail hour!”
What was your first dance song?
“Our first dance was to Lifetime by Justin Bieber because if you know me at all, you know I am obsessed with him, and the lyrics of that song were very sweet. I kept telling people that, of course I wanted to dance with the love of my life to a song sung by the other love of my life – ha!”
Describe your wedding day in 5 words or fewer:
“Better than I could’ve imagined.”
What was your something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue?
“Old: My mom gave me a tiny pin of a kitty cat that got when she was eight years old that I pinned inside of my dress (I am a crazy cat lady)
New: Custom wedding dress by Lea-Ann Belter!
Borrowed: Fred Leighton Earrings from Cathy Eastham Fine Jewelry
Blue: My shoes! Randall Loeffler”
Three words that best describe your partner:
“Kevin’s answers about me: Loyal, funny, beautiful.”
My answers about him: Charming, thoughtful, silly.”
Where did you go on your honeymoon?
“Our original plan was St Lucia, but that did not pan out, so to keep it simple and stress-free, we went to Vegas!”
Any advice for future brides/grooms?
“Just enjoy it all! Which I know that’s easier said than during the planning process. We definitely had ups and downs, especially with trying to plan during covid, but we just stayed focused on our main goal, which was to get married and that having the wedding came second and at the end of the day, no matter what details do or don’t come together big or small, as long as we are still getting married it’s okay if our wedding doesn’t look like how we might have originally imagined- but honestly, it turned out even better”
Caroline + Kevin’s Santa Fe Wedding Vendors
wedding dress: custom Lea-Ann Belter Bridal gown | photographer: Alicia Lucia Photos | planner: Ashley Sargent- A Beautiful Theme | venue + catering: La Posada de Santa Fe | hair: Madi Noel | makeup: Betty Rose by Alanna | invitations: Pearly Gates Designs | florals: A Beautiful Theme | cake: Chocolate Maven | signage: Darling Details Rentals | videography: Alicia Lucia Photos | rentals: American Tent Rental | stir sticks: Acrylic Sticks | earrings: Fred Leighton | rings: Cathy Eastham Fine Jewelry | groom + groomsman attire: Black Tux | bridesmaid dresses: Brideside | ceremony music: Absolute Entertainment | reception music: Diamond Empire