Some brides insist on overseeing every wedding detail, from napkin hue to floral combination to cocktail garnish. Laine Sowell is not one of those brides. In fact, for her summer nuptials to Layne Deutscher at The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, she didn’t even peer inside the massive, multilevel tent designed by Nathan Johnson of GRO Floral & Event Design until she entered for the reception. “I was really laid-back about it,” Laine says.
Perhaps her easygoing attitude can be credited to her relationship with the groom, whom she’d known since they became friends at age 11 while attending McCulloch Intermediate School in Highland Park. Over the years, they developed a long-lasting, trusting relationship that endured through high school. The Dallas natives parted ways for college—she to the University of Texas at Austin, he to the University of Georgia—and reconnected several years post-graduation while living and working in New York City. “Everything was easy because we were friends and there was no awkwardness,” Laine says. “It just flowed.”
Two years later, they knew they wanted to wed—and to return to their Dallas hometown for good. Both outdoor enthusiasts, Layne planned a spontaneous trip to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose and popped the question during a trail hike. Laine wasn’t entirely surprised. “He had researched a good, easy trail with a beautiful view, and when he couldn’t find the entrance, he was persistent,” she says. “He’d never been that persistent about anything.” (She even jokingly muttered to him that he was stuck with her, right before he got down on one knee.)
True to their relationship, Laine wanted a summer wedding that was equally effortless. “We wanted to enjoy our engagement,” she says. “So, we trusted our planners and let them go with it.” She’d long envisioned an all-white wedding with a tent, greenery, and an abundance of candlelight—a scene that “when you walk in, it takes your breath away,” she says. Those were the extent of her requests; the rest was left for event wizard Johnson to create.
Devising a tent to hold 400 guests on the hotel’s sloping front lawn was his biggest challenge. He tiered four separate levels: one for the entrance and cake table; one for the bar and dance floor; another for dinner seating; and finally one for the band. He supported the tent, filled with glittering chandeliers, to rise 30 feet tall on the sloped side. “It was intentionally designed so everyone could have a front-row seat,” Johnson says. His team removed (and later, rewelded) hotel staircase railings for a seamless transition from the indoor cocktail party to the patio deck and reception tent, and deliberately planned lighting—embedded in a coordinating floral grid behind the band—for a full concert effect. The floral chandelier over the dance floor was layered with greenery and white orchids to resemble ethereal wisteria, and the 10-foot escort wall—which held mirrors imprinted with seating assignments—held hundreds of garden roses and hydrangeas. Little wonder the couple had a magical night.
“My mouth was completely wide open when I walked in,” Laine says. “I remember the day being so laid-back, and I never felt stressed—just joy, happiness, and fun.”
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