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