Austin couple transforms workplace romance into sparkling Hill Country wedding
When Katie Naranjo met Jonathan Stanich, he was only supposed to be in Austin for six months. Her aunt Catherine Mauzy had arranged an internship for Jona at Katie’s company. After a few weeks in her employ, it became clear something romantic was developing, so Katie gave Jona a choice: he could either work for her or date her.
He chose the latter.
Katie has a very vivid memory of the moment she understood she was in love with Jonathan. “We were headed to City Hall to support our friends who were being recognized as the first gay couple to be married in Texas," she remembers. "Standing there next to Jona, listening to the mayor talk about love, I realized that I was in love.”
After three and a half years, Jonathan pulled off an incredible proposal during a trip his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden. Though the couple had previously discussed getting married, they had yet to make any firm plans.
To her surprise, as they were picking flowers for a midsommar dinner (a Swedish celebration of the summer solstice), both sets of parents appeared. Jonathan then proposed to her in a field of flowers in front of their families and amid a profusion of happy tears. After the proposal, the couple celebrated with friends and family at a traditional midsommar party.
For their wedding, the couple wanted a melding of cultures — Swedish and Texan — and they wanted to do it in true Austin-style. "We love the culture, people, and lifestyle of Austin," says Katie. "We frequently walk around Town Lake, enjoy live music, and indulge in the incomparable food scene and we wanted to share that.”
They chose Villa Del Lago as their wedding venue, a gorgeous property nestled among the hills. Drawing on their love of food, Katie and Jona asked friends to build themed food stations. El Chilito was served off an ofrenda populated with family pictures, a real boat was turned into a serving station for Pappadeaux cajun, and La Barbecue was dished out from behind a wraparound wooden fence weathered especially for the wedding.
Katie's dress was a glorious confection by Berta that she found online. “I’d gravitated towards Berta to begin with [and] I fell in love with a sparkly dress from the Summer 2018 collection,” the bride jokes. “I can safely say my favorite color is sparkle.” Her bridesmaids wore varying shades of purple (wisteria, lavender, lilac) inspired by her amethyst engagement ring.
The wedding guests and ceremony were a reflection of the time Katie spent working in politics. “Judge Amy Meachum officiated the wedding — her campaign was the first I managed,” she says.
Mayor Steve Adler, Senator Kirk Watson, and Congressman Lloyd Doggett each toasted the happy couple, each presenting gifts like so many wise men. The mayor declared September 29th the official “swede hearts” day while Senator Watson gifted them a flag flown over the United States Capitol.
After dinner, Matchmaker Band wowed the crowd and packed the dance floor with a high-energy performance. Dessert was an elaborate affair. Sheriff Sally Hernandez made a gorgeous wedding cake and guests were treated to a Bananas Foster bar.
Since the Swedes are renown for their candy, Katie and Jonathan imported 200 pounds of the sweet stuff which they used to craft a candy wall stacked with every kind of Swedish candy imaginable. After the wedding, the bride and groom hosted a party until the wee hours and spent the rest of the week sharing Austin with their Swedish relatives.
Venue:Villa Del Lago
Hair + Makeup:LoLa Beauty
Planner:Something To Celebrate
Cake: Hon. Sally Hernandez
Lighting:ILIOS Lighting Design
Photobooth:Oh Happy Day Booth