While visiting Texas A&M University as a high-school senior, Mary Elise met her older brother Connor’s best friend Kolby Keller. When Mary Elise was a sophomore at the university and Kolby was one year into law school, they ran into each other at a party and immediately hit it off – talking every day since then. It wasn’t long before Kolby called Connor to discuss the seriousness of their affection, and they started their relationship. Two years later, Kolby proposed to Mary Elise the day after Valentine’s Day at their favorite winery, followed by a surprise engagement party with friends and family. 

The pair initially planned to wed in August 2020 in Chicago; however, while visiting the city two months prior, Mary Elise realized that the wedding they envisioned would not be possible due to Covid and decided to move the celebration to Texas. “I got on a plane to Texas, found the church, toured eight hotels, and booked a reception venue in less than two days,” remembers Mary Elise of the whirlwind planning process. “We found a florist, cake designer, hair and makeup artist, and sent our new save the dates – completely re-planning our wedding in approximately 48 hours.” 

Friends and family received classic invitations by William Arthur from Paper Source for the exquisite nuptials to come. “We wanted to emphasize three themes: classic, elegant, and timeless,” notes the bride of their design vision featuring white, gold, and ivory décor. “It was extremely sophisticated… Our wedding was classy and elegant, with a twist of Texas.”

On the day of the ceremony, friends and family gathered at Saint Mary Cathedral Austin for a formal Catholic mass – a detail that was very important to the couple. The bride was stunning in a three-quarter-sleeve gown with a low back by Rita Vinieris from Bella Bianca. Her hair was worn in a low coiffure styled by Lux Beauty and Bridal and accessorized with a striking lace-trim veil. As she walked down the aisle to meet her groom, who was dapper in a tuxedo from The Black Tux, Mary Elise carried a classic ivory bouquet from Bouquets of Austin down the aisle. 

“We wanted to emphasize three themes: classic, elegant, and timeless... Our wedding was classy and elegant, with a twist of Texas.”

Following their traditional “I dos,” a trolley transported friends and family to the nearby reception at the Stephen F Austin Royal Sonesta Hotel. Before they joined their guests, the newlyweds enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres just the two of them – a moment they’ll always cherish. Once everyone entered the reception space, they were welcomed with a beautiful design that fit the couple’s vision perfectly. “We decided on a no foliage, clean, and sophisticated look,” confirms the bride of the décor. A variety of low, medium, and tall centerpieces in gold and clear vases decorated tablescapes, along with gilt elements and pops of ebony to create a timeless feel. 

After an elevated surf-and-turf dinner, attendees enjoyed slices of a tall wedding cake by Simon Lee Bakery featuring a choice of two flavors: decadent chocolate cake with a chocolate mousse filling or vanilla cake with a vanilla cream filling. When the dance floor opened to start the revelry, cowboy hats and glow sticks were offered to guests as Infinity Sound Lab kept everyone energized all night long. “A fun mix between classic and party, which describes Kolby and me quite well!” smiles Mary Elise. 

Thrilled that she and her mother were able to plan the entire day in just 48 hours, Mary Elise would not change a single thing about September 12, 2020. Though it wasn’t initially the Chicago celebration they imaged, their Austin wedding was better than they could have ever envisioned.