Mutual friends introduced Austin couple Brooke Simmons, a consultant, and Andrew Grabato, a private wealth management executive, at a Rainey Street hot spot in summer 2015.
Although the pair hit it off right away, busy work schedules made for a slow start. “Our first date was great, but the second date didn’t happen until nearly three weeks later," says Simmons. "I was traveling for work a lot.”
The first few months went at a similar pace, but by that fall, the tempo was in full swing. “We wanted to make it work, and by September, we were inseparable,” she notes.
Simmons and Grabato, who took their first trip together to New York City in 2015, returned to the Big Apple one year later in December 2016.
During their trip, Simmons, dressed in cocktail attire, was preparing to attend a holiday party with Grabato. Little did she know, Grabato had other plans. “He said if we got dressed a little early, we could go see the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree," Simmons explains. "Christmas is my favorite holiday.”
Afterwards, Grabato took Simmons to the roof of the condo where they were staying for sweeping views of Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall. “It was just the two of us and he was nervous," says Simmons. "He kept walking around the rooftop. Then he got down on one knee and proposed. There were tears of joy."
Back at the condo, the newly engaged couple were greeted by friends and a photographer, who snapped photos of the betrothed. But the night didn’t end there — the entire group, including the photographer, headed to the the Champagne Bar at The Plaza for a bubbly toast.
“He still acted like we were going to the holiday party. After an hour at The Plaza, we walked across the street to the “party” and walked into a private room at a restaurant. Both of our families were waiting along with more of our friends. It was the best night!” Simmons recalls.
Simmons and Grabato were married at Austin’s Saint Mary Cathedral on Saturday, November 18, 2017, in front of 340 guests. “The wedding was very traditional and classic. My main focus was to hire the best band, Blind Date, because I wanted to make sure everyone had fun. I locked them in before doing anything else,” says Simmons.
The bridesmaids wore long chiffon black dresses, choosing their own style. All-white flowers, metallic hues, and mirrors made for simple yet elegant decor.
The reception, held at the Bullock Texas State History Museum, included a seated dinner, an artist who created a painting of the newlyweds during the event, four flavors of Amy’s Ice Cream, and an exit including sparklers and a horse-drawn carriage.
Adding a personal touch to the evening was Simmons' wedding gift from Grabato, a framed Texas flag that flew over the State Capitol the day the couple got engaged, that served as the guest book.
Rounding out the personal touches was a Champagne tower that served as the groom’s cake. “We both love Champagne — we drank it on all of our dates,” Simmons explains. “We are Champagne people!”
Ceremony: Saint Mary's Cathedral
Reception: The Bullock Texas State History Museum
Cummerbunds: Smathers and Branson
Wedding planner: Alicia Collins
Hotel: Hotel Van Zandt
Cake: Michelle's Patisserie
Bridesmaids dresses: Bella Bridesmaids
Flowers: The Event Company
Catering: Rosemary's Catering
Rentals/Drapes: Townsley Designs
Lighting: Ilios Lighting
Band: Blind Date
Live painter: Renata Sharman
Music: Barton Strings
Photographer: Arol Horkavy with AJH Photography
Videographer: Crescent Video
Photo booth: Say Cheese Photo Booths
Jazz band: Jon Klekman Quartet