Real Weddings Austin
Real Weddings

Historic Austin hotel provides perfect backdrop for this romantic wedding

Historic Austin hotel provides perfect backdrop for romantic wedding

Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Rachel and David wed in front of 125 guests on the Hotel Ella lawn. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Finishing touches as the bride, Rachel, gets ready. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
The couple shares a sweet moment during their "first look." Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Rachel's bridesmaids, dressed in red gowns, helped her Moulin Rouge wedding theme come to life.  Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Tea light lanterns and red florals were incorporated into the ceremony and reception.  Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Rachel and David's dog, Jack, dressed for the occasion. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Guests drink and dine underneath bistro lights before the sun sets. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details at the reception, which was held in the Hotel Ella ballroom. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
At the end of the evening, the couple jumped into the pool while their friends and family cheered. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
The Royal Dukes kept guests dancing all night long. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
The bride and groom get down on the dance floor. Photo by Tyler Schmitt
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding
Details of Rachel + David's Hotel Ella Wedding

Rachel and David Hicks met at one of the least sexy places: a work conference. A Texas School Public Relations Association conference, to be exact, three years ago in Austin.

“I was hosting a conference session,” remembers David, “and a gorgeous young woman walked in the room and asked for directions to another session. Instead of providing her directions, I convinced her to stay in the session I was hosting.”

The two quickly became friends, enjoying Salt Lick barbecue together and winning the best dressed costume award at the conference banquet. After going on their first date in Dallas a month later, David knew “immediately that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her,” he says.

After a proposal during a trip to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, the couple decided to wed where it all began: Austin. Rachel and David chose to hold the weekend at Hotel Ella.

“We were able to reserve all of the rooms for our guests in addition to having all of the wedding activities right there,” explains Rachel. “It was beyond convenient.” Plus, since Hotel Ella is dog friendly, the couple's dog, Jack, was able to spend the whole weekend there too, and he even snuck his way into a few photos.

The couple was married on the lawn of the hotel in front of 125 close friends and family on April 2, 2016. “For as long as I can remember I have joked about having a Moulin Rouge-themed wedding,” says Rachel. “I knew the chance of me and David entering the ceremony on a glittering swing lowered down from the ceiling was slim to none, so we decided on red bridesmaid dresses and flowers, antique lantern centerpieces, and a wall of twinkling lights behind the dance floor.”

At the reception in the hotel’s ballroom, guests enjoyed catering by Hotel Ella, tunes by the Royal Dukes, and a three-tiered classic white wedding cake from Michelle's Patisserie. Red flower petals added to the romantic feel, and Polaroid cameras in lieu of a guest book kept things light-hearted.

At the end of the evening (after changing into a different dress!) Rachel and David jumped into the Hotel Ella pool for one more memorable moment — and photo opp — before the night ended.

Ceremony venue: Hotel Ella front lawn
Reception venue: Hotel Ella ballroom
Wedding planner: Devon Arent, Southern Charm Weddings & Events 
Floral: Zuzu Petals 
Photographer: Tyler Schmitt/The Mill Photography Studio
Rentals: Ilios Lighting
Invitations and paper products: Vistaprint
Cake: Michelle's Patisserie 
Band: The Royal Dukes
Catering: Hotel Ella
Bridal gown retailer: Winnie Couture 
Bridesmaid dresses designer: Alfred Sung 
Hair and makeup: Zoraima Pelaez