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Amy • Austin


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Photography by E. Sullivan Photography

The love story of Amy Barker and Austin Richards was complicated by timing, personal loss and a few surprises. Their poignant journey began at Taylor High School and eventually led to a dazzling wedding featured by the Houston Bridal Extravaganza. A deep commitment to family, faith and one another has led them to a milestone — a third anniversary celebration observed on July 17.

First Date

Although they attended the same high school, Amy and Austin didn’t connect until they enrolled at Texas A&M, which just happened to be the alma mater of Amy’s parents. They became friends but didn’t date until after graduation, when fate and mutual friends intervened. “Austin’s best friend married my best friend and college roommate,” says Amy. She and Austin were attendants in the wedding, which generated a bit of matchmaking. When friends suggested they go out on a date, Austin jumped at the opportunity. “Thankfully, he was persistent,” Amy says. Her calendar was full — not with social events, but with family obligations. At the time, both of her parents were battling cancer and Amy, an only child, set everything aside to care for them.

After Amy had to cancel eight dates — yes, eight — she and Austin finally met at Cyclone Anaya’s, a Mexican restaurant that was supposedly at a midpoint location easily accessed by them both. Amy recalls, “After we left, I saw him pull in to his apartment only a few blocks down the street, which meant our ‘mutually convenient’  meeting involved me commuting 30 minutes, and him only five!” She forgave him, and Austin was smitten. He embraced her family and stepped up as a support system for them all. “During that trying time, Amy really showed how caring and selfless she is,” says Austin. “She may think I saw her at her worst, but I think I saw her at her best, and I knew God put her in my life for a reason.”

Courtship & Proposal

Amy and Austin dated for two years while witnessing the remarkable 28-year bond between her parents. Austin supported Amy after the loss of her father, Dan Barker, to brain cancer and together they rejoiced as her mother Debbie overcame breast cancer. “It was far from a normal courtship,” says Amy, who wasn’t able to spend a lot of “alone time” with Austin. But he always managed to bring her cupcakes, a favorite treat, and the couple also spent family time with Austin’s parents, Jamie and Francis Richards.

With the phrase “through sickness and in health” as their example, Amy and Austin became inseparable. Austin arranged a special proposal complete with a romantic dinner and a surprise knee-drop. When he presented the ring, Amy burst into tears. Over the next year and a half she excitedly planned her dream wedding.

The Wedding

Amy envisioned a meaningful, heart-tugging ceremony followed by a reception filled with food and fun for family and friends. Most importantly, their vows meant a lifetime commitment between herself, Austin and God. Austin surprised her with an exquisite pearl ring, presented just before the ceremony. Tears nearly ruined her makeup, and Austin was equally moved by a gift from his bride-to-be. He always wanted to buy a nice watch “once he made something of himself and achieved some goals.” He wore his pre-nuptial gift down the aisle to commemorate their biggest goal: a life together.

Style: Amy’s favorite hot colors, including orange, purple and yellow, were set against the rich brown and cream hues of her Texas rustic chic theme, which complemented her personality and perfectly captured the warmth of a July wedding at Briscoe Manor in Richmond. The couple designed a wedding monogram, which lit a wall and also appeared in an ice sculpture, at each place setting, as well as other strategic locations.

Attire: Amy wore a Royal Duchess Satin gown by New York designer Kenneth Pool featuring crystal beading at the sweetheart neckline and hipline. The full ballgown skirt and chapel-length train fell softly beneath a low dropped waist. A custom-made veil completed the ensemble. “Lover” shoes by Stuart Weitzman featured big bows on the back, and according to Amy, nearly gave her mother a heart attack when she dyed them hot pink — Amy’s signature color. During the reception, Amy replaced her veil with a vintage headpiece, which served as her “something borrowed.”

Her matrons of honor and bridesmaids wore Dessy Collection by Vivian Diamond dresses in a driftwood color. The A-line tea-length dresses featured box pleats and raw silk sashes tied into bows. The dress pockets came in very handy when reapplying lipstick. Each bridesmaid wore her choice of shoes that matched the dress.

The groom wore a Calvin Klein tuxedo with an all-white vest and tie. The best men and groomsmen wore traditional Calvin Klein tuxedos with black ties and vests.

Floral Décor: The bridal bouquet, overflowing with the brightest colors, was modeled after a special flower arrangement Amy’s father frequently sent to her over the years. “I wanted it to appear that I had just walked out into a summer field and gathered flowers,” says the bride, who carried her father’s picture and his Aggie ring tied to her bouquet. Flower arrangements and bridesmaids bouquets included hot pink Mokara orchids, purple hydrangea, hot deep pink peonies, orange spray roses, orange pin cushions, blue delphinium, fern curls, mango-colored mini calla lilies, yellow fresia, green berries and lime green cymbidium orchids with root and bear grass to tie in the brown hues of her wedding colors. The flower girl carried a composite rose.

Magnolia leaves and garlands were interspersed throughout the decor as a tribute to
her father who referred to Amy as his “Steel Magnolia.”

The Cake: The four-tiered wedding cake was flavored in butter raspberry and a raspberry torte filling with amaretto butter cream icing. Each layer had a different theme: the first in a scrolled pattern matching the bride’s dress; the second adorned with the bridal monogram; the third quilted and accented with pearls; and the fourth embossed with lace with pearls, topped by a large bow. The groom’s cake was chocolate with chocolate icing, and had a caramel pecan filling. Chocolate-covered strawberries surrounded an A&M logo.

The Bridal Party: Matrons of honor included Rebekah Elliott and Hollie Bowen, whose wedding originally brought Amy and Austin together. Bridemaids included Courtney Plank, Lesley Philipp and Jessica Dostal. Justin Richards and John Paul Meijer served as best men and stood with groomsmen Rhett Bowen, Chad Owens and Matt Hoelsher. Flower girl Emma Barker and ring bearer Caden Pogue were adorable and performed their duties flawlessly.

Amy’s two uncles, Tommy Barker and David Barker, walked her down the aisle. The ceremony was officiated by Adam Jungeblut, the son of family friends.

Special Touches: From the time she was a little girl, Amy dreamed of her father giving her away. They frequently talked about her big day, and in his honor she incorporated those memories. As guests entered the chapel, they were greeted with pictures of her father, grandmother and cousin arranged on an armoire amidst flowers, candles and a special pillow embroidered with the words, “When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”

Behind the Scenes: Amy’s main goal was to provide great food and music for her guests, plus lively entertainment on the dance floor. She jokingly told the sound technician to keep the festivities going even if the power went off. As luck would have it, about 10 minutes into the reception a two-minute power outage dimmed the lights and music. “Our turntable DJ was fabulous and didn’t miss a beat,” says Amy.

Houston Bridal Extravaganza: The wedding planning, romantic ceremony and reception was chronicled by Bridal Extravaganza, which included footage of the couple sampling and selecting their cakes, choosing attire, and attending to the details. Separate bride and groom interviews showed two people head over heels in love. Beautiful videography of the ceremony and reception captured the joy and showcased the emotional and physical effort put into their exquisite wedding experience. “When I looked into Austin’s eyes as we danced for the first time as husband and wife, it was a moment I’ll remember forever — just perfect,” says Amy. Austin agrees and adds, “I told her from the start, this is forever. I will always be here to listen. Or just to love her.”

The Honeymoon: They honeymooned for a week in Cabo San Lucas, choosing the relaxing destination for its warmth and beautiful scenery.

The couple bought a home and now live in Katy with their Labrador Retriever, Matten.

Amy looks stunning in a Kenneth Pool gown set off by a bouquet of flowers in her favorite bright colors

Amy looks stunning in a Kenneth Pool gown set off by a bouquet of flowers in her favorite bright colors

Bridesmaids Jessica Dostal, Lesley Philipp, Hollie Bowen, Courtney Plank and Rebekah Elliott stand by Amy's side.

Bridesmaids Jessica Dostal, Lesley Philipp, Hollie Bowen, Courtney Plank and Rebekah Elliott stand by Amy’s side.

 The couple poses for an engagement photo.

The couple poses for an engagement photo.

The groom's attendants enjoyed a game of pool before the ceremony.

The groom’s attendants enjoyed a game of pool before the ceremony.

 The bride-to-be spends a quiet moment with her mother before her walk down the aisle.

The bride-to-be spends a quiet moment with her mother before her walk down the aisle.

Amy tied her father’s A&M ring and picture into her bouquet.

Amy tied her father’s A&M ring and picture into her bouquet.

Amy poses in the sun-drenched splendor of Paraiso Maravilla for her bridal shoot.

Amy poses in the sun-drenched splendor of Paraiso Maravilla for her bridal shoot.

An imprinted stone displays the couple's wedding invitation and wedding rings.

An imprinted stone displays the couple’s wedding invitation and wedding rings.

 The bride-to-be eagerly opens a pre-wedding gift from her groom.

The bride-to-be eagerly opens a pre-wedding gift from her groom.

Austin was surprised by his gift from Amy — a cherished watch.

Austin was surprised by his gift from Amy — a cherished watch

Amy prepares for the big moment.

Amy prepares for the big moment.

Amy dyed her shoes a signature pink.

Amy dyed her shoes a signature pink.

Flower girl Emma walks with ring bearer Caden.

Flower girl Emma walks with ring bearer Caden.

The couple adds to their “sweet” love with a midnight candy bar for their guests.

The couple adds to their “sweet” love with a midnight candy bar for their guests.

Mr. and Mrs. Richards are beaming as they head into the reception.

Mr. and Mrs. Richards are beaming as they head into the reception.

The four-tiered wedding cake features four themed layers and a bow.

The four-tiered wedding cake features four themed layers and a bow.

The groom’s cake demonstrates Austin’s true Aggie Spirit.

The groom’s cake demonstrates Austin’s true Aggie Spirit.

Amy’s Uncle Tommy and Uncle David walk her down the aisle.

Amy’s Uncle Tommy and Uncle David walk her down the aisle.

The bride and groom dance to When You Got a Good Thing by Lady Antebellum.

The bride and groom dance to When You Got a Good Thing by Lady Antebellum.

Amy and Austin seal their vows with a kiss

Amy and Austin seal their vows with a kiss

The couple’s custom monogram lit the back wall of the reception venue at Briscoe Manor.

The couple’s custom monogram lit the back wall of the reception venue at Briscoe Manor.

Wedding Resources

City Centre at Quail Valley

city centre at quail valley

The City Centre at Quail Valley is elegant and first class for 50 to 350 guests. Our Nationally experienced wedding professionals will provide you with all of your wedding wishes including our beautiful Bridal Suite and unique custom choices.

Prices vary. Please call 281-403-8517.

golfquailvalley.com

2880 La Quinta Drive, Missouri City

 

George Ranch Historical Park

George-Ranch-Historical-Park-Weddings-Events-Sugar-Land-TX-0113

“Begin your life together wrapped in more than 180 years of Texas tradition. Established in 1824, the George Ranch Historical Park invites you to make your own history at one of Texas’ oldest ranches. Charming facilities available for indoor and outdoor events, including the Beasley Chapel, Post Office, Guy Lodge Hall and their beautiful South Yard. Whether you prefer a sit-down dinner, an elaborate buffet, food stations or an hors d’oeuvres reception, their venue is a versatile and elegant space to host your dream wedding.” Contact Kristi Farquar. 281-343-0218 ext. 267  kfarquar@georgeranch.org  10215 FM 762, Richmond


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