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MEMORABLE WEDDINGS
Liz and Sean


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Text by Melanie Saxton  | Photography by Nikki Guest

Frontier Fiesta, a University of Houston (UH) tradition, brought sweethearts Elizabeth Ann Butts and Sean O’Day Piper together. Their journey eventually took them from college to the Julia Ideson Library for a spectacular wedding and reception with plenty of custom flair.

Liz graduated from Cinco Ranch High School and earned a Bachelors of Business Administration-Finance at UH. By day she’s a Treasury Manager at Par Petroleum Cor­por­ation and its subsidiaries. By night, she pursues her creative passion — a cake decorating business called Liz Bakes Cakes (lizbakescakes.com).

Sean graduated from the Health Careers High School in San Antonio and earned a Bachelors of Science-Biology at UH. He later graduated from Rice University with a master’s in Bioengineering and is a Regional Sales Associate for Affymetrix.

First Date

Liz was a senior when she met Sean at Frontier Fiesta. Sean was a UH alum. Her sorority and his fraternity had paired up to put on a variety show. “I thought he was quite attractive and connected on Facebook that night,” says Liz. They went on an official first date at the Chocolate Bar a week later and indulged in delicious treats. They talked until the restaurant closed. Not quite ready to part, Sean took Liz to a pub, The Harp, and chatted some more.

Courtship

Shortly afterwards Sean and his roommate moved to Liz’s apartment complex in the same building, one floor up. “I think that’s what the sealed the deal for us,” says Liz. “We were constantly together. It was easy!” The pair dated over five years and attended many UH football games, where Sean still runs the tailgates for his alumnae chapter.

The couple adopted Maverick, their male border collie puppy. “This was the start of our little family,” says Liz. Their second border
collie, Kinsey, was adopted from Border Collie Rescue Texas.

In 2010 Liz auditioned for the Aeros’ Hockey dance and cheer team – the Aero Dynamics. Sean was beyond supportive as she practiced and
performed at games. “He LOVES to cook, and I never had to cook at all!” she says. Both found time to volunteer with All Border Collie Rescue in Houston and to this day frequently foster puppies. “It’s just a joy. Often on weekends we take the dogs to my parents’ house in Katy to play in their yard and pool,” Liz says.

The Proposal

After 4.5 years of dating, Liz thought Sean might never propose. But one special day he took her to the Museum of Fine Arts, found a private spot, got down on one knee, and explained that he didn’t want to call Liz “his beautiful girlfriend” anymore… but rather his beautiful wife.

Next came a stealth engagement party at the Federal Grill, where Sean surprised her with friends, family, and his parents and brother who flew in to attend. “It was simply the perfect evening!” she exclaims.

Engagement

A week after the proposal Liz and Sean and their dogs vacationed at her parents’ beach house in Gulf Shores, Ala., just soaking up sun in between bursts of rain and processing the fact that they were heading down the aisle soon. It was time to focus on wedding planning!

The Wedding

With August 9, 2014 fast approaching, Liz envisioned a classic, vintage venue. The historic Spanish Renaissance-style Julia Ideson Library in downtown Houston was ideal. She incorporated favorite hues of pale pink and gold in an evening ceremony and cocktail reception, complete with valet parking.

Attire: Her light gold satin Maggie Sotero gown was overlaid with white lace and beads. The dress boasted a modest bust line with a gem-encrusted brooch and keyhole back with a button closure and moderate train. The cathedral length white veil was adorned with dainty lace. Badgley Mischka shoes in light vanilla gold had peep toes embellished with jewels matching the broach on the bust of the gown.

Custom-made bridesmaids dresses in champagne chiffon were intricately beaded with modest sweetheart bustlines and sheer backs.

The groom wore a jet-black Hugo Boss suit with a white shirt and pale pink paisley tie. Groomsmen wore jet-black suits with mismatched pink ties provided by the groom.

Floral and Décor: The bride carefully selected every decoration to complement the beautiful library. A tall 27-inch by 8.5-inch floor vase was decorated in a floral topper of white hydrangeas, faith roses, charming unique roses, blush pink stock and Esther roses. Candles descended the staircase. “When I finally saw the room fully put together, I couldn’t have been happier!” says the bride.

Her cascading bouquet consisted of white hydrangeas, Esther roses, pale pink faith roses, Tibet white roses, pale pink lisianthus and pale pink stock. Bridesmaids carried faith pale pink roses and baby’s breath.

The Bridal Party: The bride’s uncle William Voelker officiated. Parents of the bride Stephen and Lee Anne Butts joined parents of the groom Danny and Joan Piper to witness their children exchanging vows.

Best friend of the bride Kayla Agudo served as the matron of honor. Bridesmaids included sister-in-law Kathryn Butts and friends Sarah Baker, Heather Jacobson, Samantha Kinsman, along with former Aero Dynamics teammate Taylor Palmer.

The groom’s brother, Danny Piper, served as best man. Groomsmen were the bride’s twin brother Patrick Butts, along with fraternity brothers Paul Viscontini, Scott Zamir and Ryan Lloyd, as well as longtime friend Hill Ojeda.

Top Wedding Moments: The bride remembers how sweet, yet agonizing, it was to walk so slowly down the aisle with her father. “It fights every instinct you have!” she says. The groom wrote their vows, and reading them to each other amidst so many familiar faces made the ceremony extra special — especially Sean’s quip about opening their home to family and friends, and not just homeless dogs!

The Reception

Fan-folded escort cards and gold doilies wrapped on vases added custom touches, along with white hydrangeas, charming faith pale pink roses and blush pink stock centerpieces. White linens accented the long tables with sheer pink runners and a matching overlay for the round tables.

The Cakes: As a professional baker, the bride knew exactly how to create her four-tiered cake covered in off-white marshmallow fondant. The bottom white cake layer was filled with raspberry preserves and almond pastry cream. It was iced in her very popular vanilla Swiss meringue buttercream. The next two tiers of decadent dark chocolate cake had a hint of coffee and were filled with dark chocolate truffle ganache. The top tier was a special pineapple cake filled with preserves. She finished her masterpiece with a clean, simple piped beaded border and cascading pale pink fantasy flowers with gilded edges.

The groom’s cake was made of his favorite buttery yellow cake and dense milk chocolate buttercream frosting.
The bottom hexagonal tier was paneled with either a UH or a San Antonio Spurs logo — his two favorite sports teams.
The second tier was round and wrapped in the Houston skyline. Two custom-made figurines of Maverick and Kinsey perched on top.

Top Reception Moments: When the band walked through the reception hall and entered the stage, the best part was the bride’s mother’s reaction. “She didn’t feel they were an appropriate band for a formal event, so the look on her face was PRICELESS when the level of excitement went over the top!” says the bride.

Liz fondly recalls that her husband sang along during their first dance to “Give It All We Got Tonight” by George Strait. They opted against dance lessons and just “winged it” as a carefree way to kick off the evening.

Liz had not danced with her father since the father/daughter dance of her senior year in high school, but he was light on his feet as they danced to “The Way You Look Tonight” by Frank Sinatra.

She’ll also never forget how Sean and his fraternity brothers serenaded her in the middle of the dance floor right after the garter toss.

The Honeymoon

The couple hit the major tourist destinations in Seattle for two days, then took the Amtrak Cascades train up the coast to Vancouver for a four-day visit. They saw the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, whale watched, hiked to the waterfall in Squamish, and took a gondola ride to the top of a mountain. Their last day was spent in Seattle amidst wine and beer tastings, plus dinner and a cabaret performance at The Pink Door.

The couple capped off a day of engagement photos in front of a beautiful sunset at Rice University.

The couple capped off a day of engagement photos in front of a beautiful sunset at Rice University.

The wedding and reception were held at the historic Julia Ideson Library.

The wedding and reception were held at the historic Julia Ideson Library.

Engagement photos included furry family members, of course!

Engagement photos included furry family members, of course!

The groomsmen pose behind the groom.

The groomsmen pose behind the groom.

The bridal bouquet featured the bride’s favorite hues.

The bridal bouquet featured the bride’s favorite hues.

A beautiful lineup: The bride and her maids.

A beautiful lineup: The bride and her maids.

The Julia Ideson Library offered a spectacular venue.

The Julia Ideson Library offered a spectacular venue.

The groom escorts the ladies to their suite after the ceremony.

The groom escorts the ladies to their suite after the ceremony.

The bride’s beautiful shoes perch on a library table.

The bride’s beautiful shoes perch on a library table.

The photographer posed the wedding rings on an appropriate library title.

The photographer posed the wedding rings on an appropriate library title.

The bride and her father begin their walk down the aisle.

The bride and her father begin their walk down the aisle.

A cellist entertained guests during the ceremony and cocktail hour.

A cellist entertained guests during the ceremony and cocktail hour.

The bride’s father about to give his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The bride’s father about to give his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The bride’s father about to give his daughter’s hand in marriage.

The beaming newlyweds head back down the aisle.

A stunning view of the regal room during the ceremony.

A stunning view of the regal room during the ceremony.

The baker bride’s hand-made cake was a work of art.

The baker bride’s hand-made cake was a work of art.

The couple shared a private moment among the library’s extensive book collection.

The couple shared a private moment among the library’s extensive book collection.

The groom’s cake (also made by the bride) featured sports ... and border collies!

The groom’s cake (also made by the bride) featured sports … and border collies!

A fun glamour pose for the glamorous couple.

A fun glamour pose for the glamorous couple.

The groom shares a dance with his mother.

The groom shares a dance with his mother.

The Spazmatics put on a spectacular show at the reception.

The Spazmatics put on a spectacular show at the reception.

A special father/daughter dance.

A special father/daughter dance.

Everyone had a great time on the dance floor.

Everyone had a great time on the dance floor.

Mr. and Mrs. Piper take their leave from their most wonderfull day.

Mr. and Mrs. Piper take their leave from their most wonderfull day.

Memorable Weddings – Liz and Sean


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