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A Story of Love & Dogs

Katie + Brad

Photography by: Dawn Elizabeth Studios
She Found Her "Rock"
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wedding vendors

  • Bride's Dress: Bella Bride Boutique
  • Caterer: Heavenly Gourmet Catering
  • Hair & Makeup: JAX Studio
  • Photographer: Dawn Elizabeth Studios
  • Venue: Hayes Hollow at Hidden Falls
  • Bridesmaids' Dresses: Azazie
  • Cake: Cakes by Cathy Young
  • DJ: Professional Entertainment Services
  • Groom's Cake: French Gourmet Bakery and Kneader's
  • Men's: Men's Warehouse
  • Planner & Florals: Touch of Whimsy Design & Coordination
  • Rehearsal Dinner Venue: River Crossing Club
  • Second Shooter: Laurie Adalle Photography
  • Signs: Chicago Factory Gifts
  • Stationery & Signs: Bradley Huseman (The Groom)
  • Videographer: Bring Works

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    A Story of Love & Dogs

    Why did you choose a s’mores station? What did your guests think of it?

    We decided to have a s'mores station for two reasons. The first was because our awesome catering vendor, Heavenly Gourmet, offered a special for a free late night snack if we booked the same day. The food was AMAZING when we had the tasting, so that was such an easy choice! We also chose s'mores because we LOVE chocolate, so another easy choice! We actually didn't even get to try one because we were busy dancing and taking cool outdoor photos with Dawn, but we heard they were delicious and a nice surprise to end the night!

    Tell us the story behind the dogs on your wedding cake? Are those both of your dogs? What are their names? 

    Bradley and I actually met at PetsMart in San Angelo, Texas back in 2012 while we were both there for college. We were both there volunteering out time at an adoption event. The day we met, we bonded over our mutual love for dogs and the rest is history! I saw the idea for the cake dogs while browsing Pinterest and immediately knew we had to have our dogs on the cake! We were looking for fun and creative ways to include our dogs for our wedding and reception so we reached out to someone on Etsy who was able to create fondant versions of our dogs for us. The black dog is a labradoodle named Gus. He was also our ring bearer! The white and black one is named Brody. He didn't come to the wedding as he doesn't do as well with crowds and strangers. We wanted a way to incorporate our love for dogs, so that's where we started!

    Tell us more about your unique “guest gifts” in which you had a sign with the sweet quote about dogs and a basket of tennis balls next to it.

    As I mentioned, we are huge dog lovers and looked for fun and creative ways to incorporate our love for our dogs (affectionately known as "the boys") into our wedding day. My husband is a graphic designer (he actually designed all our wedding signage and stationery!). After he created our cute wedding logo, we decided having a favor with our logo on tennis balls would be a fun way to incorporate our dogs, and include our guest's dogs in the celebration as well! We also loved getting photos from our guests in the following days and weeks with their dogs next to, playing with and (sometimes ultimately) destroying our beloved tennis balls! Another guest gift we included was a small cellophane bag with a large chocolate chip cookie inside. Those who know us best know our obsession with delicious chocolate chip cookies! We wanted to be able to share that with our guests as well. We were even able to snag a few to take on our honeymoon - yum!

    Tell us about the dog in your pictures. What’s his/her name? How special was it to have them be a part of your wedding?

    The dog in the pictures is my (Katie's) dog, Gus. He is a 5 year old labradoodle. As soon as we got engaged, I knew immediately who would be my bridesmaids and I knew Gus would be my ring bearer. It was such an easy decision. I loved having him there! He kept us company while we were getting ready in the bridal suite. As someone who was highly anxious (especially on our wedding day), he definitely helped calm my nerves! We even have pictures of him giving me a pep talk before we headed out to the first look. Another personal favorite picture I have, that is now in a frame on my bedside table, is Gus lying down on my dress train while I put on my jewelry. He is always close by and is such a good boy. He even stayed in the bridal suite during the reception and helped with clean up afterwards! I couldn't imagine getting married without him there! Our dogs were also included in our engagement photos. While chaotic, Dawn turned them into beautiful pictures that we will forever cherish! If anyone is thinking about having their dog in their wedding, I would definitely recommend going for it! While we didn't need it, there are companies that will dog-sit on site, so I feel like it is hard to find a reason not to incorporate your furry best friend into your special day if it is important to you!

    Tell us about the games you had at your wedding and how you personalized them? (I.e. the giant crossword puzzle and the Jenga game)

    My husband is a talented graphic designer who created all our signage and stationery needs for the whole wedding. We wanted fun and creative ways to keep our guests entertained during cocktail hour. We also wanted interactive ways for them to feel included in our big day by creating their own memories and contributing to ours. Brad got a list of our RSVP'd guests and designed our word search with every person's first name! He included our wedding colors and logo, and made our names the focal point by criss-crossing them and solving them to start it off! Also, we love board games, so we found a large version of Jenga and had guests write their best marriage advice on the pieces! After we got settled at home, we pulled out the pieces and played a game. It was fun reading the responses while we played our first Jenga game as a married couple!

    Are there any other unique wedding details/elements I’m missing? If so, please share!

    There were a couple extra details that we would love to share with you!

    My father passed away from cancer in 2013 right before I started Physical Therapy school and Brad's mother passed away from cancer in 2007, so our wedding day was joy mixed with sadness that they couldn't be with us. We wanted a way to honor them during our special day, so we decided to have a memorial table with candles and our favorite photos of those that couldn't be with us that day, including grandparents that had recently passed. My bouquet also had small framed pictures attached to string that were tied to the handle, so those that in a small way, my father could still walk me down the aisle. I love the photos Dawn captured of the bouquet showing off this special detail. After the wedding, my mom surprised me by drying out my bouquet and arranging it in a beautiful glass case so I can treasure it forever. Another detail that I adored was actually a surprise from my mom. I had once mentioned to her how I would love to have a piece of my dad's shirt sewn into my wedding dress in the shape of a heart, so I could keep him close during our wedding day. She not only made this happen with a blue shirt (my "something blue"), but she had a matching heart placed in her dress! I love the pictures we have of the matching hearts and there was not a dry eye in the bridal suite when she revealed that special detail to us.

    Instead of a father/daughter and mother/son dance, we danced with our grandfather and grandmother, respectively. It was such a sweet twist on the classic dance and such a special moment to share with our grandparents. Dawn captured amazing photos during those dances and they are a big hit with our family already.

    Another wedding detail I loved was our table number holders - they were small plastic toy dogs that we spray painted silver! I found them on Etsy and my crafty, creative mom helped us to assemble them. It was a subtle but fun way to bring our obvious love for dogs to each table!

    We decided we didn't want to do a traditional guest book, so we asked my grandfather for a long piece of wood from a tree his ranch. We finished, engraved and sealed the wood so guests could sign it! It was special to have a piece of my grandfather's ranch as the guest book and something that is already hanging in our home! 

    We had a goal in mind to give personalized gifts to all of those who helped make our day special. Brad created logos for each of the groomsmen and included them on their gifts. Each of them were given a Yeti Tumbler engraved with two custom logos - one with their initials, and one with their last name or nicknames tied to their interests. So his best man had his own original JJC logo and Cejka made into a Cubs logo! He gave them wooden watches with their initial logos engraved, and his best man received a guitar pick engraved with the JJC logo and a vinyl slipmat for his record player printed with the Cejka-Cubs logo (see pictures). They all loved how much thought and time he put into their gifts and wore their watches (and socks!) the rest of the day. He had tons of fun designing the personalized gifts, stationery, and signage, and would be very interested in doing many more in the future! The bridesmaids were given yetis with their names engraved, personalized gifts for their children (or soon to be children) and matching jewelry to wear to the wedding! We made sure to write individualized notes to each of our bridesmaids so they would know how special we thought it was that they were a part of our special day. We also wanted our vendors to feel the love on our wedding day, so we got our (pregnant) photographer, Dawn, an adorable onesie with a camera on it. We also got our (pregnant) coordinator from A Touch of Whimsy (Katie) a cute bandana for her dog, celebrating that he was going to be a big brother!

    For extra inspiration, Brad created a cut-out print of Michael Crabtree scoring the iconic touchdown at the last second of the 2008 Texas vs. Texas Tech rivalry game! It was his most memorable moment of college, one that he shared with one of his groomsmen when they stormed the field afterward, and it served as a perfect way to pump him up!

    Finally, we decided to use sparklers for our grand exit, but my goofy husband decided that also having kazoos for our guests would be a fun addition to our grand exit, so you can see in our photos how funny we thought the kazoos were! It was a hilarious way to end the night and made for genuine smiles and laughs as we left such a magical night!

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