“Once in a while in the middle of an ordinary life, love brings us a fairy tale”, read a quote from a sign that was a wedding gift from the bride's family. The sign turned out to be absolutely fitting for a wedding that was truly a picture perfect fairy tale for the bride and groom. Jeremy Fowler and Stephanie Sharp started dating in Junior High when they were 15 years old. 12 wonderful years later, a patient Stephanie came home to flowers, candles, and Jeremy finally on bended knee. Through tears, she ecstatically said yes and the planning began.
Stephanie was lucky enough to have witnessed the marriage of her sister Shannon only a year earlier and knew that she wanted to follow in Shannon 's non-traditional footsteps. For their love of outdoors and water, Stephanie and Jeremy knew they had to get married outside by some body of water, whether it be ocean, lake, or river. They also knew from Shannon 's wedding, they wanted a location where family and friends would be near by all weekend long. Stephanie and Jeremy found the ideal location in a camp called Waldemar in the beautiful hill country of Hunt, Texas . The hills, the trees, the stonework buildings, and the Guadalupe River that run through the camp took Stephanie and her family's breath away at every visit. Stephanie said, “Waldemar was a perfect choice for Jeremy and I because it could accommodate all of our family and friends, allowing us a weekend of quality time and fun activities in a beautiful setting.” The bride's family was able to reserve the entire Waldemar property for the weekend, which allowed their friends and family to stay in elegant stone, rustic cabins nestled in the hills. Stephanie was extremely blessed to have her very creative, loving, detailed, and great planning family help her. Shannon, her artistic and creative sister, designed amazing “save the dates”, provided beautiful invitations, created a perfect monogram, many tags, as well as added brilliant ideas. Her mother and father assisted in finding the ideal location, many of the vendors, planned all the fun activities, helped tie, cut, and fold, as well as kept the bride sane.
After much detailed planning by Stephanie's family, the extended weekend began with a Texas-style Thursday night, a short distance from the wedding location, in the Cowboy capital of the world, Bandera , Texas . Close friends and family joined Stephanie and Jeremy for a relaxed evening of drinking and dancing in the small town. As the men went golfing on Friday morning, the ladies drove to Waldemar to set up for the weekend. Cookies, hand written notes, and welcome tags were placed in each of the charming cabins. As guests arrived, Stephanie was overwhelmed with happiness, “it's such an amazing feeling to have everyone that you hold so close come so far to witness you marry the love of your life. I couldn't wait to share the location with everyone, but more importantly have them share in our dream come true”.
Throughout the afternoon, the guests settled into their cabins, relaxed under the trees, swam in the river, and caught up with old friends. Friday night's rehearsal dinner was a casual Texas-style barbecue dinner in Waldemar's pavilion that lies in the middle of the property. After dinner, all the guests joined Stephanie and Jeremy for toasting s'mores around the campfire and a good ol fashioned sing-along and hoe-down. The musical instruments ranged from guitars to drums, and kazoos to washers. Although it wasn't pleasing to the ears, it was a perfect way for the bride and groom to celebrate the night before their wedding. The rehearsal dinner lasted until the wee hours of the morning as the bride headed off to bed at 2am and the groom much later after a late night poker game.
Saturday began with a buffet breakfast provided by Waldemar and then an elaborate Olympics planned by Stephanie's father. The guests enjoyed hours of volleyball, wiffleball, croquet, bocce ball, among other activities. The ceremony began just before sunset on a riverside dock between two beautiful huge cypress trees. The guests sat on stone steps looking out to the river underneath huge Chinese lanterns. As Stephanie's favorite song, “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay”, played in the background, lanterns lining the aisle were lit by two of the bride and grooms girl friends. Jeremy then walked, hand in hand, his mother and the mother of the bride to their seats. The groom then joined a close family friend of the bride who had been ordained in order to perform the very personal wedding ceremony. A very fitting “Old Friends” by Willie Nelson, was then played as Stephanie and Jeremy's oldest and closest friends walked from opposite ends of a long driveway, meeting in the middle and walking hand in hand down the aisle to join Jeremy by the river. The first to come down the aisle were the groom's sister and her daughter, an adorable 2 year old flower girl, and the bride's brother-in-law and nephew, a precious 4 month old “ring-bearer”. As another old family friend of Stephanie's sang “Longer” and one of the groomsmen backed him with his guitar, Stephanie and her dad, Mike, walked down the grass under overhanging trees. With tears, the bride finally joined her tearful groom and the officiant began to recite what Stephanie and Jeremy had personally put together. Three of the bride's “second moms” also spoke on behalf of Stephanie and Jeremy. After a very beautiful and personal ceremony, the party began.
The reception took place in Waldemar's main lodge, only a few steps from the ceremony. With a stone fireplace, beautiful wood floors, wooden accents, open doors all around, the gorgeous lodge did not need much decoration. For centerpieces, gerber daisy filled intricate glass bottles with tags reading laughter, love, friendship, family among others. Wooden letters of the couple's monogram, handmade by Stephanie's father, hung from a tree outside of the reception lodge.
After pictures, the couple kicked off the dancing with an emotion filled dance to “Who I Am” by Wade Bowen. Jeremy brought his mom to the dance floor with “IOU” a beautiful song by Lee Greenwood and Stephanie then surprised her father with his favorite song “Duke of Earl”. The food was delicious, but the dessert table with a beautiful Texas flag created by a good friend of the couple, a chocolate fountain, rice krispie treats, snickers, and m&m's was the big hit. The new husband and wife danced the night away with friends and family, while guests took a break for silly pictures at the photo booth that was set up. A favorite moment of the bride and grooms came with the last song of the night. As “The Moon” played, Stephanie and Jeremy's friends linked arms and formed a huge circle as they swayed back and forth belting out the words to a song written and played by close friends. The guests then sent the new Mr. and Mrs. Fowler off in style with sparklers that lit up the night.
The celebration didn't end there though, the couple was joined by everyone for a pajama party in one of the bigger cabins where they drank, laughed, and watched a slideshow created by the bride's sister. Another highlight of the weekend came on Sunday morning with giggle filled canoe races down the Guadalupe. The guests took home cups and koozies with the couples monogram, cd's filled with the Stephanie and Jeremy's favorite songs and their meanings, as well as many great memories of a beautiful weekend in the hill country.
“Many hours of planning came together beautifully. I couldn't have dreamed of a better way to marry my longtime love. It was truly a fairy tale, beautiful weather, an amazing setting, a weekend filled with so many personal touches, a lot of fun, and all of our closest family and friends…who could ask for more?”