Kellee and Dave both attended The University of Houston and missed meeting each other on campus because of Kellee’s transfer out. But love always finds its way. The two eventually met through social media and clicked over time. But it wasn’t until Kellee was in town visiting a friend, that she finally met Dave, where he resided in Atlanta, Georgia. However, before the two could take their relationship to the next level, Dave began teaching in China and communication became limited. Time and distance may have kept them apart, but like a magnet, they reunited when he returned and a courtship began.
Soon, work relocated Dave to Houston, TX, much closer to Kellee who called Dallas home. God’s favor was over this couple from the very beginning. Towards the end of the year, the two sought pre-engagement counseling through Dave’s church and set a date to decide if they wanted to pursue marriage.
A year later, Dave proposed on the day before Thanksgiving. He drove Kellee to an art gallery to introduce her to an out of town friend. Kellee recalls, “It finally clicked when I realized the friend’s name he mentioned was that of a widely acclaimed and very much dead author.”
With a photographer hidden in the shadows, Dave explained that he’d asked their close friends, relatives, and missionaries, both stateside and abroad, to write down the question, “Will you fight for joy with him?” and take a photo holding the sign in front of a historical or cultural landmark. Kellee says, “He took to one knee and posed the question once more, ‘Will you fight for joy with me?’ to which I exclaimed, ‘Yes, I absolutely will!’”
With their mothers and siblings on hand, Kellee and Dave wed in a different local art gallery, in a private 1950s varsity inspired elopement ceremony on New Year’s Eve of that same year. Kellee, a wedding and event planner, and Dave spent the first few months as newlyweds planning a larger wedding celebration for all of their loved ones.
Dave, a graphic designer, designed gold digital save-the-dates and paper invitation suites. Kellee tried on her wedding dress simply because it was blush. Simple yet modern, the dress was tailored to add pockets. Kellee also opted for a non-traditional look by wearing a floral crown instead of a veil. White orchids were added to the crown to represent the grace and beauty of her late grandmothers, effortlessly matching the orchids tattooed on Kellee’s shoulder in their memory. Kellee describes the final look in one word. Magic.
Keeping up with the non-traditional, the couple opted for wine popsicles in a garden instead of a cocktail bar and four cakes, including the bride’s request for a Kentucky Butter Cake with caramel icing. The couple did pay homage to Dave’s New Orleans birth place by incorporating a Creole-inspired dinner, including delicious dishes from the groom’s mother.
Come time for photos, Kellee did the impossible by climbing a ladder in her wedding dress. She exclaims, “We couldn’t pass up a chance to get some special moments with the downtown skyline behind us.” A true testament to appreciating and fighting for the simple yet extraordinary things in life, in love.
Their non-traditional day was planned by Coterie member Fight for Joy Events + Design. Take a look at Kellee and Dave’s charming garden wedding in Texas, photos by Jessica Gold Photography. This lovely wedding is also featured in our Fall/Winter 2015 issue, available on select newsstands now! You can also grab your copy here.
Favorite item on menu: Red beans & rice made by dave’s mother.
First dance song: “Stand by Me” by Ben E. King
Advice for brides:
The day should be a representation of you both. consider one another’s tastes and preferences. Be willing to compromise, apologize, and be quick to forgive. The planning process (even for a wedding planner) can prove to be pretty stressful at times. Remember, it is a very special day but it is only one day in what will hopefully be a lifetime together. Focus on what matters.
Bride’s dress: Coco Anais
Salon: White Gown Workroom
Bride’s shoes: Badgley Mischka
Cakes/desserts: Lauren Rodgers of Sweet Thangs by Lo
Catering: Si Bon Chef
Wine Popsicles: Social Ice
Ceremony: Artspace 111 Gallery & Gardens
Event decor: Kellee dawkins of Fight For Joy Events + Design /
Celebration Event Rental
Event planner: Kellee Dawkins of Fight For Joy Events + Design
Flowers: Kristen Wolchik of Haute Floral
Groom’s attire: H&M
Groom’s shoes: Cole Haan
Hair: Paulette of Loc Star Salon & Spa
Makeup: Chamonique Short of Glam by Cham
Photography: Jessica Gold Photography
Reception venue: Artspace 111 Gallery & Gardens
Rentals: Celebration Event Rental
Stationery: Dave Dawkins of the Svelte Group