VENUE: Carleen Bright Arboretum gazebo (ceremony); The Pavilion (reception)
TIME OF DAY: 5:00 PM
COLORS: Navy, blush and gold
GOWN: Kenneth Winston – Private Label by G., Bryan
JEWELRY: Tacori, Di’Amore Fine Jewelers
PHOTOGRAPHER: Ashley Munn Photography
HAIRSTYLIST: Jessica Alexander and Tabitha Nodine, Spritz Hair Studio
MAKEUP: Joy Lay Makeup Artistry, Austin
OFFICIANT: Gary Garrison, Second Baptist Church, Huntsville
WEDDING DAY CONSULTANT: Lois Ferguson
CATERER: Blanek’s Custom Catering
CAKE: Simply Delicious Bakery
DECOR: RSVP Event Equipment Rental
FLORIST: Wolfe Florist
MUSICIANS: Grazioso String Quartet (ceremony)
DJ: Diamond Productions (reception)
FIRST SONG: “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran
REHEARSAL DINNER: The Baylor Club
HOTEL: Hotel Indigo
HONEYMOON: Sandals Ochi, Ocho Rios, Jamaica
(KEY: $ = 15,000 or less | $$ = 15,001-30,000 | $$$ = 30,001-50,000 | $$$$= 50,001-75,000)
Brittany and Michael Foreman have a Baylor love story. They met in an Italian class at Baylor University and after taking a photo at Baylor’s Diadeloso, they went on their first date. Michael proposed on Baylor campus in front of Pat Neff Hall. A group of freshman girls watched the proposal and congratulated the couple with a Sic ’em.
“It was the perfect Baylor moment,” Brittany said.
Brittany and Michael exchanged vows on September 19 at Carleen Bright Arboretum. The couple describes their wedding day as joyful and intimate, or as intimate as it could be with more than 200 guests.
WACOAN: How did you two meet?
Brittany: We initially met my sophomore year and his freshman year at Baylor in Italian class. We had class together for one semester, and then Michael studied abroad to finish his Italian credit requirements. We never saw each other after that class. My senior year, I had a class with his big in his fraternity.
Michael: In Pi Kappa Phi.
Brittany: His big invited me to his house on Diadeloso [Baylor’s annual holiday], and Michael was there. My roommate and I took a picture with Michael. The next day, after getting his phone number from a mutual friend, I sent Michael the picture of us and said that it was great to see him. He agreed in Italian. He wasn’t sure if it was me or my roommate who sent the text because we were both in the photo. He thought if he sent his response in Italian, I’d reply similarly, and he could determine which one of us was texting him. I responded in English because I reached out to him first. I wasn’t going to do all the work. So he didn’t know who would show up to our first date — my roommate or me.
WACOAN: Where was your first date?
Brittany: Gratziano’s Restaurant. It’s not in Waco anymore. It’s where The Hall at River Square Center is now.
WACOAN: Michael, what did you think when you saw Brittany on your first date?
Michael: At the time I didn’t have a car, so she picked me up for our first date. I already knew she was beautiful. It was a great first date.
WACOAN: How did you know you would continue dating?
Brittany: I thought, ‘I really like this guy,’ when he started talking about his little sisters. He’s a proud big brother. He talked about how beautiful they are and how successful they are. I thought that was the sweetest thing.
Michael: Just how easy the conversation was. We were immediately comfortable. The banter was there.
WACOAN: How long did you date before you got engaged?
Michael: It was three-and-a-half years.
Brittany: Two and a half.
Michael: You’re right. Always.
WACOAN: Tell me about the proposal.
Michael: For the proposal, I knew Brittany had stipulations. I knew she wanted to have her nails done.
WACOAN: How did you know that?
Michael: I know her. She said she wanted to have her nails done, wear a cute outfit and have photos of the proposal.
Brittany: I didn’t want to wear Nike shorts and a T-shirt.
Michael: I asked two of her best friends to make sure her nails were done. I decided to propose on a Friday because Brittany normally wears a cute dress on casual Fridays at work. At the time Brittany was still working at Baylor [as digital marketing manager for Hankamer School of Business]. [Editor’s note: Brittany now works as the director of marketing at 3d Health, Inc.] I asked Brittany if she would want to go to the Baylor Bookstore with me, knowing that she would. I met her at the business school, and we started walking toward the bookstore. Brittany always wants to walk around Baylor campus.
Brittany: Because it’s beautiful.
Michael: So this time I finally said, ‘OK, let’s walk around campus.’ We walked by Fountain Mall with Pat Neff behind us. I proposed there.
Brittany: It was during the summer, so orientation was going on. There were a bunch of freshman girls cheering when he got down on one knee. After I said yes, the girls did a Sic ’em. It was a perfect Baylor moment.
Michael: Two of Brittany’s friends took pictures. Then we went to 135 Prime to celebrate.
WACOAN: Brittany, were you surprised when Michael proposed?
Brittany: I didn’t know exactly when it was coming, but I knew it was coming soon. I figured it out because my friends were acting weird. My friend told me to get my nails done again even though I had them done. I was planning on going to a movie with another friend. She gave me detailed plans of each day of the week, and then she said, ‘On Friday I just can’t.’ I put the pieces together and figured out something was going on that Friday.
WACOAN: Michael, how did you choose Brittany’s engagement ring?
Michael: I knew exactly what she wanted. She told me exactly what she wanted.
WACOAN: How long were you engaged?
Brittany: A little more than a year. I was stressed that I wasn’t going to have enough time to plan. I wanted an outdoor wedding and for everything to be green — not in the dead of summer or in the winter. When he proposed in June, I wasn’t sure how the timing would work. I decided it would be over a year engagement, and then I had everything planned in two months.
I had ideas from Pinterest. I asked around to see who the best vendors in town were. We got a lot of reviews from people we knew at work and the law school. We looked at [Wacoan] Magazine, the Bridal Issue. We asked my hairdresser [Jessica Alexander with Spritz Hair Studio]. Generally, we went with people with the best recommendations, as long as they were in our budget.
WACOAN: Were you both involved in the planning process?
Michael: I was at Baylor Law School, and we have a two-quarter period called practice court. That is the most difficult time at Baylor Law School. I started practice court in August, and our wedding was in September.
Brittany: But we picked our wedding date so he would be in practice court after the wedding. Then he started practice court early. I was stressed he wasn’t even going to be able to come to our wedding. I thought he would be at law school — he wasn’t going to show up!
Michael: I was not overly helpful immediately before the wedding. We went and looked at the venues together, and talked to the caterers together. As far as the day-to-day planning I didn’t have a huge input.
Brittany: I would bounce ideas off of him. Sometimes he said he didn’t care. Sometimes he would say he didn’t want to do something. I appreciated when he had an opinion because I didn’t have to make all the decisions.
WACOAN: Did you get overwhelmed during the wedding planning process?
Brittany: I had a to-do list. I’m very list- and goal-oriented. By the time the wedding came I could make wedding decisions, but I couldn’t decide what outfit to wear or what to eat for dinner.
Michael: Day to day, I made those types of decisions.
WACOAN: While planning the wedding, what was most important to you?
Brittany: I really wanted it to be as low stress as possible for our whole family and us. I wanted it to be a big celebration. Our families get along well, so we wanted them to enjoy each other’s company and have fun. I wanted there to be a ton of dancing at the reception.
Michael: And good food.
WACOAN: What food did you serve at the reception?
Brittany: Italian because we met in Italian class.
Michael: Blanek’s [Custom Catering] catered. They did lasagna —
Brittany: No. Ravioli.
Michael: Pasta is all the same.
Brittany: And Alfredo. Michael’s family has a lot of vegetarians, so we served chicken Alfredo with chicken on the side and eggplant Parmesan. And we had beef ravioli for the other guests.
WACOAN: Michael, was there anything that was important to you in the planning process?
Michael: I told Brittany that since she got to buy a dress, I got to buy a tux.
Brittany: He’s gotten to wear his tux again. I can’t wear my dress again.
Michael: I’ve gotten more use out of my tux.
WACOAN: Brittany, how did you find your wedding dress?
Brittany: I found it on Pinterest the day after he proposed, I think. I fell in love immediately. I felt like it was made for me. But I couldn’t find it, and I couldn’t find anything else like it. I contacted the designer and told him I wanted to buy this dress. The company said it wasn’t for sale because it was in the fall line, and it was summer. But they shipped it to a place in Bryan for me to try it on. I bought it that same day.
WACOAN: What drew you to the dress?
Brittany: I just loved it. I think it’s because I haven’t seen anything like it before. When I was in college, my roommate and I watched TLC’s Friday Bride Day. We watched ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ on repeat. Michael had to watch it too. [Laughs.] I loved this dress because it wasn’t something I’d seen on TLC a million times.
WACOAN: Was your family involved in planning the wedding?
Brittany: My mom went with us to the venues and asked questions we never would have thought to ask. She asked if a venue had ice, which was a huge deal for the caterer to know. This was the biggest event we’d ever thrown, so we didn’t know what questions to ask.
WACOAN: How big was the wedding?
Brittany: It was bigger than we initially expected. When we started making our invite lists, I thought we would have 150 people. But we had 150 people that were just family.
Michael: We ended up inviting 225 to 250 people. We had 205 to 210 show up.
Brittany: That was something that was unexpected. A lot of people didn’t RSVP, but they still showed up.
Michael: About 15 to 20 friends didn’t RSVP but still came.
Brittany: We ran out of chairs. We left room for more people —
Michael: But not for the ceremony. We didn’t have the chairs pulled out. We had two minutes to pull out the chairs.
Brittany: A lot of our friends aren’t married, so they didn’t know how important it is to RSVP. I will never go to a wedding without sending an RSVP now.
Michael: Luckily, Blanek’s cooked for 25 extra people.
WACOAN: Was there anything else about the wedding preparation that surprised you?
Brittany: We had so much time to plan. There was another wedding on the same day as Michael and I. That couple was a few weeks behind us in planning. Each time we went to a vendor, they would tell us a couple tried to book them after we called.
Michael: They were at a venue the same day we were. We didn’t end up choosing that venue, but they booked it.
WACOAN: How did you decide to have your wedding in Waco?
Brittany: It just made sense. We’re both here, so planning was easier. It’s also where we met.
WACOAN: Did you have a big wedding party?
Brittany: Our whole wedding was bigger than we expected. I had all stages of life represented in my bridesmaids, which was really cool.
WACOAN: How did you pick out your bridesmaids’ dresses?
Brittany: I found a dress online that I absolutely adored. My bridesmaids loved it, so I tried to reach out to the person who made the dress, but that designer lives in Brazil and only speaks Portuguese. One of my bridesmaids is married to a Brazilian who speaks Portuguese. He read my email to the designer and edited it. But they don’t ship their dresses to the United States. So we went back to the drawing board.
I spent my lunch break at Georgio’s for one or two days. I found a dress I thought would look good on everyone. I wanted to make sure it was something they wanted to wear. I’m not going to be naive and say it’s something they’ll wear again.
Michael: I had already bought my tux. I bought that a year before the wedding.
Brittany: Without consulting me.
Michael: Right. I saw a tux I really wanted, so I bought it. Fast forward seven months. Brittany and I were talking about groomsmen’s tuxes. She said she thought the tuxes should be gray because our colors were navy and a pink color.
Michael: Right, blush. But I already had my black tux.
Brittany: I knew he wouldn’t be able to find the exact shade of black for his groomsmen’s tuxes. I didn’t want it to look like we couldn’t match black.
Brittany: Since I was the groom, I could wear a different color. They wore gray tuxes.
WACOAN: Describe the day of your wedding.
Michael: Our days were very different. The morning of the wedding I went dove hunting with Brittany’s dad and my cousin. After that we went back to my house and hung out with all my groomsmen, my dad, Brittany’s dad and stepdad. All of the guys hung out and watched sports and went to the wedding.
Brittany: There were a million boxes of Raising Cane’s at the house.
Michael: It was a good day.
Brittany: My day started early as well. We started getting ready really early. My little sister, my maid of honor, stayed at my house. We woke up excited and giddy. We met all of the girls and the hair and makeup artists at the [Carleen Bright] Arboretum. There were mimosas. We told old stories. I felt very celebrated. All of my girls wrote me a letter describing our friendship and why I was special to them. I was sitting on the couch crying the entire time. It was an emotional day. I was worried my face would look puffy, but my makeup artist [Joy Lay] was awesome.
WACOAN: If each of you had three words to describe your wedding, what words would you choose?
Michael: Short. The ceremony was short because it was so hot.
Brittany: It felt intimate. It was bigger than I had planned, but it was all of our closest friends and family.
Michael: I have one more word. [To Brittany.] You stole all the good words. Lively.
WACOAN: Were you able to step back and take everything in during the wedding?
Brittany: That was one of my goals. Everything was planned, and whatever was going to happen would happen. There was no reason to stress. I tried to appreciate every moment as it happened. I’ve talked to my friends who have gotten married, and they’ll say they don’t remember the ceremony. I feel like I remember everything that Michael and I were talking about during the ceremony.
Michael wore different shoes than he’d planned because I did not like the shoes he picked out when he bought his tux. I showed up and looked down at his shoes. When I looked up, he said, ‘I called an audible.’ He was wearing something I would appreciate.
I looked over and saw his dad tearing up. I wanted to remember the things that made it special. I was trying my hardest to take it all in.
Michael: A lot of things had happened since Brittany and I had last seen each other [the previous day]. We’d spent a lot of time with each other’s families. So we were standing up in front of more than 200 of our closest friends and family and whispering to each other. We were trying to pay attention, but we were excited to see each other. I remember most of what Gary [Garrison], our pastor, said.
Brittany: He’s the pastor who married my parents in Huntsville.
WACOAN: Did you follow any traditions during your wedding?
Michael: We may have made some. Brittany’s dad wants to go dove hunting every year.
Brittany: I can’t tell if my dad is joking. I think he really wants to go dove hunting with my husband on our anniversary.
Michael: One thing that was unique was that we made our aisle runner.
Brittany: Michael sews.
Michael: I do some work with leather, and through that I’ve learned how to sew. Brittany showed me a picture of the aisle runner she wanted. So I made it for her.
WACOAN: Do you still have the aisle runner?
Michael: I do. Well, now we do.
WACOAN: Tell me about the reception.
Michael: Immediately after the ceremony we took pictures. My dad wanted to make sure everyone had a good time. So it was a very fun reception. We started dancing as soon as everyone ate.
Brittany: Everyone was on the dance floor. My grandpa grabbed one of my bridesmaids and did the jitterbug with her.
WACOAN: Were you able to greet your guests during the reception?
Michael: I forced Brittany to. Brittany immediately wanted to go dance because she loves to dance. I made sure we at least went to all of our tables and thanked our guests for coming.
Brittany: If our guests wanted to talk to us, they had to come to the dance floor.
WACOAN: Where did you go for your honeymoon?
Brittany: We went to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. But we didn’t go until December because Michael was in practice court.
WACOAN: Did you go anywhere after the wedding?
Brittany: Michael found the cottages at The Spa at Canyon Oaks. At first I thought, ‘It’s just an extra expense, and I don’t know if it’s necessary.’ But I’m glad he convinced us to go because it would have been lame to go home after this amazing wedding.
Michael: I’ll never forget that when we got in the limo — we used Limousines Limited — and we got to The Spa at Canyon Oaks, it was closed. We had the key, but we didn’t know where the cottages were.
Brittany: Neither of us had been out there.
Michael: We told the limo driver to leave. We said we could figure it out.
Brittany: I was still wearing my wedding dress.
Michael: I’m still in my tux.
Brittany: It’s pitch black dark.
Michael: We used our phone flashlights to try and find this random cottage. It took us 15 or 20 minutes.
Brittany: We were just wandering the property.
WACOAN: After the wedding did you feel relieved to be done with the planning?
Michael: I didn’t get much of a break. I started back at law school the following Monday. I’d told my practice court professors that I had to miss that Friday because I was getting married. When I got to class on Monday, I got called on. I had to stand in front of the class to recite facts from cases I hadn’t had any time to read.
Brittany: He was preoccupied that weekend.
Michael: So Professor [Gerald] Powell kicked me out of class. He told me I was excused. I went and played pingpong for a while.
Brittany: He didn’t have to write a memo.
Michael: It didn’t count as an absence. But that was my experience after the wedding.
Brittany: I was in the Baylor MBA program while I was working at Baylor. I had a final the Tuesday after our wedding. We had a spectacular weekend and then real life hit. But I was still on the high of marrying my best friend. It was fun to start saying ‘my husband.’
Michael: For us, it was nice to wait to go on the honeymoon. Weddings are joyous, but they take a lot out of you. If we had done a honeymoon right away, I would have wanted to sleep during our entire honeymoon. When we took our honeymoon, it was a vacation.
Brittany: Not a recovery.
WACOAN: Tell me more about your trip to Jamaica.
Brittany: Sandals [Resorts] has this cool feature that you can register for excursions for the honeymoon.
Michael: As wedding gifts.
Brittany: I read that you should register for more excursions than you plan to do because they won’t all be purchased. Everything on our registry was purchased. So we had an excursion planned every day during our honeymoon. It was a blast.
Michael: We went horseback riding.
Brittany: We swam with the horses. I was on the women’s equestrian team at Baylor. I’ve always wanted to ride into the ocean on a horse.
Michael: We had a deal that I would do the horseback ride with her if we went on a deep-sea fishing trip on the honeymoon. I’ve always wanted to catch a marlin. We did a deep-sea fishing excursion the day after the horseback ride, and I caught a 6 1/2-foot marlin.
Brittany: Then we immediately got seasick.
Michael: We did a zip lining excursion and swam with dolphins. The second to last night we had a private dinner on the beach.
Brittany: That was so much fun.
WACOAN: What’s something you’ve learned about each other since getting married?
Michael: I’m not good at everything. Brittany keeps me organized. She complements me. I’m about to be a lawyer, but she helps me keep my head on straight.
WACOAN: Keeps you grounded. What about you, Brittany?
Brittany: I am learning not everything is as big of a deal as I think it is. He’s keeping me grounded but in a different way. I can get caught up in things that are going on and crossing things off my to-do list. Michael tells me it’s OK to take a break.
What have I learned about Michael? I’ve learned he’s grouchy when he wakes up. I’m still learning things.
Michael: I’ve learned to wake up early.
Brittany: I’m an early riser. I wake up at 5:30 a.m. without an alarm.
WACOAN: Michael, what do you love about Brittany?
Michael: There are too many things. Her energy, her view of life, how she makes me enjoy every day of my life, just getting to be with her. She helps me enjoy the little things that really matter versus what we think matters.
WACOAN: Brittany, what do you love about Michael?
Brittany: The thing I love about being with Michael is he appreciates the goofy side of me. He makes me proud of that side. Those little things are the big things in life.
WACOAN: Do you have any advice for couples planning a wedding?
Brittany: Do a ton of research about the vendors. As soon as you make the decision, trust your decision and trust that vendor to do what they say they’ll do. It’s fine to check in with them the week before. I would recommend that. Don’t try to micromanage everything because there’s no way you’re going to get everything done and those vendors are the experts on what you’ve hired them to do.
Michael: Help make a decision when you actually have an opinion. Don’t hide an opinion, but don’t give an opinion when you don’t have one. Enjoy the process. A lot of people think it’s, ‘We have to go take care of this.’ Brittany and I enjoyed going to see venues. We got to spend time together and have a new experience. I would say think of it as a new activity to do together.
Brittany: We’d make a date out of it. We’d have an adventure.