VENUE: First Presbyterian Church of Waco
RECEPTION: The Pavilion at the Carleen Bright Arboretum
TIME OF DAY: 5:30 p.m.
LENGTH OF SERVICE: 30 minutes
COLORS: Ivory, black, blush, greenery and touches of gold
PHOTOGRAPHER: Kathryn Krueger Photography
HAIRSTYLIST: Lisa Ashley
MAKEUP: Angela Karr Magill
OFFICIANT: Dee Dee Carson
COORDINATOR: Kindred Event
INVITATIONS: Cedar Gandy
CATERER & CAKE: JD’s Catering
DECOR: Pendley Party Productions and Rentals
FLORIST: Laura Stafford of Kindred Florals
MUSICIANS: The Royal Dukes Band
FIRST SONG: “If It’s the Beaches” by Avett Brothers
WEDDING PREPARATION: Migel House
REHEARSAL DINNER: Ridgewood Country Club
HOTEL: Hotel Indigo, Springhill Suites, Hampton Suites
BUDGET: $$$ (KEY: $ = 15,000 or less | $$ = 15,001-30,000 | $$$ = 30,001-50,000 | $$$$= 50,001-75,000)
Alexandria and Connor Schrotel got married at the same church where Connor’s parents exchanged vows 30 years before. It was an elegant evening with an English garden theme that continued from First Presbyterian Church to The Pavilion at the Carleen Bright Arboretum. While the wedding was a traditional one in most aspects, special details like balloons, pies and Dr Pepper bottles were added to celebrate the couple, as well as to honor the bride’s mother, who had passed away.
Growing up a big-city girl, Alex wasn’t sure what to expect when she began planning her Waco wedding. She ended up discovering what we try to showcase every year in our Bridal & Beauty issue: Waco has a lot to offer. From delicious food to beautiful venues, all the pieces came together for the wedding of her dreams.
WACOAN: Where do you live?
Alexandria: We live in Houston.
WACOAN: What was your connection to Waco that you had your wedding here?
Alexandria: We actually got married in the church where his parents were married. He’s from Waco, and we both went to Baylor [University]. So we wanted to get married where his parents had gotten married. It was really special to his family.
WACOAN: Was this where you two went to church when you were at Baylor, or was it mainly significant because that’s where your parents got married?
Connor: Well, it was where I was christened as a baby. I grew up in First Baptist [Church] Woodway, and Alex and I really fell in love with First Presbyterian together.
WACOAN: Where did you go to high school, Connor?
Connor: I went to Midway High School.
WACOAN: Where are you from, Alexandria?
Alexandria: I am from The Woodlands.
WACOAN: How long have you two been together?
Alexandria: About six years. We started dating our sophomore year of college, so that was around 2009.
WACOAN: How did you meet?
Alexandria: My best friend was actually good friends with him and [members of] his fraternity. We just kind of ended up being in the same place a lot. We were talking, and he asked me out on a date. So we went on a date, and I don’t know. I guess we just really liked each other.
WACOAN: Where was your first date?
Alexandria: At The Elite.
WACOAN: What made you realize this was the person you wanted to marry?
Alexandria: Honestly, I really love his heart. He has such a big heart. Connor has stuck with me through some of the hardest times of my life. Just how he supported me and loved me through all that was incredible to see. He’s really funny. He can always make me laugh. I’m a little more uptight, so I really need that. He’s just a wonderful person, and I love everything about him.
Connor: Alex is so supportive and kind of like my backbone. I don’t know where I would be without her. Her in my life has amplified everything about me and just made me a better person, a more caring person and a more loving person. She has that effect on people in general, and I think it’s rubbed off on me to the point where I couldn’t let it go.
WACOAN: How did you propose?
Connor: I proposed to her at the Mayborn Museum. It was a rainy day.
Alexandria: Yeah, I’m a science dork. I was a biology major. So it was really fitting, actually. I loved it.
WACOAN: What was the most difficult part about planning the wedding?
Alexandria: I think it was trying to not be a perfectionist and trying to learn to let go on certain things. I didn’t realize how expensive everything was. I’m a details person, and so it was hard to let go of the details. I did a pretty good job. I think that was the hardest part.
We had our wedding planners. They were just incredible. They took everything I said and made such an amazing night.
WACOAN: Were you in Waco at the time, or had you already moved to Houston?
Alexandria: Connor was living in Houston. I was finishing up my master’s at Baylor, so I was in Waco up until the last few months. Then I moved down to Houston for my job.
WACOAN: What do you do?
Alexandria: I’m a teacher. I teach ninth grade biology.
WACOAN: What about you, Connor?
Connor: I work in finance. I’m an analyst.
WACOAN: Can you describe the feel of the wedding?
Alexandria: We definitely had a classic and traditional wedding, but I also wanted to have whimsical aspects. I really loved the idea of English garden and that kind of thing. So the color palette was really neutral with a very light blush but also light touches of gold and a lot of dark greenery to tie in the garden feel.
WACOAN: Where did the ceremony take place?
Alexandria: The ceremony was at First Presbyterian.
WACOAN: Where did you get ready?
Alexandria: I got ready at the Migel House. It’s a new bed-and-breakfast that they just opened off of Austin [Avenue on Columbus Avenue]. Actually I don’t even know if it was open when we got ready there.
Connor: Yeah, it’s a beautiful historic home that was restored, and it’s now opened as a bed-and-breakfast. I think they are going to be doing public events there later, but because they are still in their preparation stage, we had a lot of time to explore that place. I know Alex got ready there, and that’s where we stayed [after the wedding]. It’s a really beautiful place.
WACOAN: How did you know about the Migel House if it wasn’t open yet?
Alexandria: [Laughs.] He got lucky. Yeah.
Connor: I’ll tell [the story].
One of my jobs was to plan the wedding night, and I kind of, well, let’s just say it slipped my mind. As we were scrambling to find a place, I began to look at bed-and-breakfasts, and we came across the Migel House. Really, when I saw the pictures online, I fell in love with the place. Alex and I toured it, and honestly, we couldn’t have found a more perfect place to spend our wedding weekend. It’s elegant, it’s updated, but it also has those traditional charms and all those classic staples that you can’t recreate in a modern home. It’s a really beautiful place, and I got extremely lucky in finding it.
WACOAN: How far in advance before the wedding did you find it?
Connor: Three months?
Connor: Let’s just say three months.
Alexandria: That’s a lie. It was probably a month before.
Connor: It was two months. I’m pretty sure. I can check my emails.
WACOAN: How long were you engaged?
Alexandria: I think 11 months. It was just under a year. Yeah, 11 months.
WACOAN: Did you find that was a good amount of time?
Alexandria: I think so. It was a stressful year because I was doing my first year of teaching and I was a grad student at the same time, while planning a wedding. It was stressful, but it’s definitely doable.
WACOAN: Where did you find inspiration for planning the ceremony and reception and decorations?
Alexandria: I’ve always really wanted a traditional type of wedding. I love anything that’s classic and clean looking. I really love neutral colors. I feel like I’ve always wanted a wedding with that type of color scheme and vision.
I would go on Pinterest sometimes. I picked up a few wedding magazines, but I also got a lot of inspiration from my wedding planners just because when we would sit down and have conversations about what I like, they were really able to figure out my taste and suggest different things that would really match what I was wanting.
WACOAN: Who did you use for your wedding planner?
Alexandria: I used Kindred Event [Studio].
WACOAN: Were there any elements of the ceremony or reception you added or personalized specifically for you two?
Alexandria: Yeah. My mother passed away about three years ago. She was really, really special to both of us. She loved Connor. So we honored her in the ceremony. Her favorite color was red, so we had a red bouquet of roses and ranunculus and peonies, and that was sitting by the altar.
And then also, something Connor and I have done together ever since she passed away, on her birthday or events like that, we’ll release balloons for her. So instead of doing a really fancy send-off after the reception, we decided after the ceremony everyone would line up outside of the church, and they would all have balloons. We would have balloons, too, and we would go outside and all release the balloons to her.
We had a pretty traditional ceremony otherwise. We just included aspects like that.
WACOAN: I can only imagine how emotional that was to see that many balloons going up. Was it hard to get back in the moment after that?
Alexandria: Yeah, but I think we were both really happy. I was surprised. I thought I was going to cry the entire time when we released the balloons. But we had just gotten married, and it was a happy moment. It was breathtaking to see and to experience. It was kind of powerful.
WACOAN: What was your dress like?
Alexandria: It was a strapless, and it was a semi-sweetheart. It wasn’t a big sweetheart, more straight. It was an A-line. It had I guess chiffon, but it had really pretty lace all over it. Then I had a ribbon tied around.
One of the other things I incorporated, my mom, on her dress, she had little flower appliques. I had a tailor take those off [her dress] and instead of having buttons go down the back of my dress, we added some of those flowers to put her dress onto mine.
WACOAN: What did the bridesmaids and groomsmen wear?
Alexandria: The bridesmaids wore floor-length blush gowns. It was a really light pink. Then the groomsmen, they just wore tuxedos.
Connor: Black bow tie.
WACOAN: And you were in a tux, too, Connor?
Connor: Yes, I was in a tux. Cummerbund. Black bow tie. That’s about all the details. And I had cufflinks.
Alexandria: About as fancy as you get. Just really classic and simple.
WACOAN: Connor, did you have any specific things you wanted for the wedding?
Connor: No. Honestly, I fell back on Alex because she has tremendous taste, which made everything easy for me. Every time she would include me, which is all the time —
Alexandria: The kolaches, Connor.
Connor: The kolaches. Oh yeah, I forget all these insane details. It’s amazing what those girls did, both my wife and the wedding planners. They incorporated kolaches from West and Dr Pepper as a send-off treat.
Alexandria: As a late-night snack. Very Waco, very Baylor, because we’d always go down to Czech Stop and get kolaches. So that was one of our little treats.
But whenever we came up with that idea, Connor said, ‘Absolutely. I don’t really care about anything else. I’ll let you decide, but we have to do that.’
Connor: It was great because every time Alex brought me something, I was like, ‘Oh wow, that’s a great idea.’ It was always very elegant and classic, which is what I liked. So it really wasn’t difficult for me because Alex has great taste, so I just kind of let her go with it.
Alexandria: And you’re easygoing.
WACOAN: Did you have a groom’s cake?
Connor: We had groom’s pies.
Alexandria: Connor’s not a big cake person.
Connor: I am not a huge cake person. I love pies.
WACOAN: What kind of pies did you have?
Alexandria: Apple, pecan. Maybe blueberry. I think that’s it. Toward the end, when it was these kind of details, I don’t really remember.
Connor: I know for a fact pecan was there. There was a third, but I didn’t get to eat it. I was too full.
WACOAN: When was your wedding?
Alexandria: October 18, 2014.
WACOAN: How did you choose vendors for the food, flowers, etc.?
Alexandria: They were recommendations from our wedding planners. For the food tasting, we went to a couple. I think the second one we went to was JD’s Catering [and Coffee]. We got to go to their house and sample the food they would make for us, and it was all delicious. We also used them for the cake because his wife bakes cakes. They were some of the best cakes I’ve ever had.
For flowers we used Laura Stafford. She was part of the Kindred team as well. She also works for Magnolia. I didn’t even really tell her specific details; she listened to what I liked, and I just trusted her. She did such an amazing job.
WACOAN: Where did you have the reception?
Alexandria: We had it at The Pavilion at the [Carleen Bright] Arboretum.
WACOAN: What made you choose The Pavilion?
Alexandria: I always kind of wanted an outdoor reception, but I didn’t want the stress of it raining. Also I have some medical problems, so it was best for us to have it indoors. I love all of the open windows that kind of made it feel like we were outside.
And when you look out at the trees, it kind of reminded us of North Carolina, which that’s another special place for his family that we went to. It just kind of felt right for Connor and I to incorporate different aspects that we both enjoy.
WACOAN: What kind of music did you have at the reception?
Alexandria: We had a band. They played a little bit of everything. They played some oldies, and they played some fun dance music and just mixed it up.
WACOAN: What was the band?
Alexandria: They were called the Royal Dukes Band.
WACOAN: What were your emotions after the wedding was done, when you were leaving to go on to the honeymoon?
Alexandria: I think we were very happy. We were excited to go on our honeymoon. There was a little bit of relief that it was over just because it can be stressful. We were also sad that it was over. It was sad to say goodbye to all our friends and our family who traveled [to Waco] just to go back so quickly. It feels like it goes by in seconds.
Connor: For me, it was just the whole buildup — you spend 11 months waiting for that day to come, and it finally does. I wouldn’t say I felt relieved, but it’s taking that plunge that’s so exciting. I remember how fast the ceremony and reception flew by even though it was hours and hours. It built up to that, especially the day of was building up, building up. It just all came together, and it just felt right.
WACOAN: Was the bed-and-breakfast your honeymoon?
Alexandria: No, we just stayed there the night of the wedding. We didn’t want to try to drive anywhere else that night. The next morning we drove from Houston to go to the airport to go to Belize.
WACOAN: How did you choose Belize for a honeymoon spot?
Connor: Well, we looked at a couple of options, and Belize just seemed to be the best one for us because not only was it the ocean and a tropical place, but also there was a community aspect of it that we really enjoyed. It was a smaller island.
Alexandria: They also had the Mayan ruins and things like that, that you were interested in.
Connor: Yeah, so Alex is a scuba diver. We got to spend a day with her scuba diving as I snorkeled from above, just checking on my new wife.
Alexandria: He was the shark bait, basically.
Connor: I was there to distract them.
I like history. I’m a bit of a history nerd, so we got to go to some Mayan ruins — I thoroughly enjoyed going through the canals of Belize to the mainland. All in all, it was a great trip. And it’s pretty close to Texas in general.
Alexandria: It was a short flight. That was another key thing.
Connor: Yeah, it was a short flight. We didn’t want to exhaust ourselves with a day and a half of traveling. It was very mellow. It was perfect for us. We got to mingle with the locals, with the community of people on the island. We just really liked it.
WACOAN: Any advice for couples who are planning a wedding in Waco?
Alexandria: I would say don’t stress out about the minor details. Everything will fall into place. On the actual day of the wedding, it’s about the marriage between you and your husband, so try to have faith in that and relax.
Also Waco has so many different options. Coming from Houston, to me, I thought I wasn’t going to have a lot of choices because it was a smaller city compared to Houston. But they really did have a wide variety of things to choose from. I was able to have the wedding of my dreams in a smaller town. Just interview a bunch of people and see what you really like.
Connor: My advice is, you know, honestly, I just trusted Alex throughout the whole process. We had a great minister, Dee Dee Carson. So, a pastor that you enjoy, a wife who has way better taste than you and a family to lean on. Those were the three things I think were the most important aspects of the wedding.
It was flawless for me because Alex and her planning team did such a great job.
WACOAN: Any final comments you’d like to add?
Connor: I just want to say that I want to thank my beautiful wife and her team for planning a wonderful wedding and especially my now father-in-law and family and First Presbyterian Waco for taking us in and becoming Alex and I’s home church. Everything seemed to be kind of put together. I wanted to thank everyone and Alex especially.