She’s Like Texas and She Likes Me

AKA: My Love Letter to West Texas

Dear West Texas,

“I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion… Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. … Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.” John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Before I go into some stories and pictures of some of my ROOTIN’ TOOTIN’ West Texas girls, I need to first explain one thing.

West Texas is not merely a place. It’s a feeling.

It’s a feeling like, no matter if you go to the grocery store, gas station, or the annual German Food Festival in Ballinger, TX, you are LOVED by someone – if not by everyone – you see. When people ask, “How are you doing?”, or, “Is your grandma feeling better?” they are not asking to be polite. They are GENUINLY interested in you and your family’s well-being. You feel IMPORTANT.

It’s a feeling like, you are lost in world of people you don’t know, but when you encounter someone from West Texas, you feel like you’ve found your soul. For example: you could be in the middle of the Caribbean, on a cruise boat, with over 5,000 people, and a random person swims over to you in the pool. Quickly y’all discover that not only are you both from surrounding West Texas towns, but also that he has been working with your best friend’s dad for over 20 years! (This one is an actual REAL event that just happened, seriously.) You feel like you are FOUND.

It’s that feeling when your phone rings while you’re in your office and you see it’s an area code 325. Immediately you know that it’s going to take you only ten seconds to realize the six degrees of separation and come to find out they are your best friend’s, cousin’s, sister’s twice-removed daughter. You feel CONNECTED.

It’s that feeling you get, when you walk into a room full of your boyfriend’s ENTIRE FAMILY – NONE of which you have ever met and before – and before you can even say, “Hi, My name is…” his grandmother is hugging you like a long lost relative! (And lemme tell you- just because she looks delicate and petite – that woman can throw a bale of hay, straight over her shoulder and load it into the trailer, while simultaneously driving the John Deer down the wheat field. So, you better hold on and hug TIGHT!) You feel LOVED.

It doesn’t matter if you’re from Lubbock, Midland, San Angelo, Snyder, Ballinger, Winters, or IF you just went to school at Texas Tech for less than 3 years. Doesn’t matter, you are West Texas through and through. And, honey, once you go West Texas, well you ain’t ever comin’ back!

 

Wall, TX

“It takes a village to raise a child.” – African Proverb

So it should come as NO surprise to you that when I met this next bride, I successfully completed my six degrees of separation tasks – and then some!

Well, first things first. Our bride Little Miss Sally, is now officially a DOCTOR!! Miss Smarty Pants has added TWO new titles to her name this spring!! Beyond being a doctor and embodying all of her other enduring qualities, what I found most impressive about Sally was the PRIDE her grandmother had when speaking about her. It’s true, you learn the quality of a person not by how they described themselves, but how others do. Five minutes and you better bet she was going to brag your ear off about little Miss Sally and her whole family. (And RIGHTFULLY SO! She was a certified triple threat!) But, her grandmother didn’t stop there. She spent the next 20 minutes exuding SOOO much PRIDE about her town and the masterful weddings they produce, as a VILLAGE, she could have made the Pope, himself, blush.

Sally got married in the German community of Wall, TX. Remember that little old saying, “It takes a village to raise a child,” – Wall is the modern day village through and through. In preparation for a wedding the bride will enlist her guests and friends to fulfill “duties” for the big day’s festivities. For example: Preparing food, serving food, decorating, and setting up, and so on. The bigger the job – the bigger the honor! DISBELIEF– After hearing this I proceeded to find my jaw; it was lying somewhere on the ground about ten feet away. In a world that has become so selfish and judgmental, I was both refreshed and RELIEVED to find that if you went west, you were going to find some loving, caring, humble cowboys AND cowgirls! (DISCLAIMER: My boyfriend has requested that I explain two things. 1. “NO, everyone in West Texas does not ride a horse to town”…**just a few**. 2. “Not everyone dresses like a cowboy”… he said while standing there in fully starched Cinch Jeans, starched Cinch button down and his George Straight cowboy hat…)

Sally’s wedding went off without a hitch! But, NOT without the WHOLE village, to support a wedding that traditionally accommodates anywhere from 500 to over 700 people!! A. VILLAGE. If y’all think I’m kidding, check out these fabulous pictures!!!

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Lulu’s Bridal Boutique

Designer: Allure Bridals Style: ALB9152

Veil: Toni Federici Style: Pageant

Heandband: Erica Koesler

Photo Credit: www.kristinbednarz.com

Ok, I could write a novel – NO, a series of novels – about ALL of the FABULOUS west Texas brides but instead I’ll just let you see all of the FABULOUS pictures!!

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Stardust Celebrations

Designer: Hayley Paige

Veil: Toni Federici Style: Marigold

Photo Credit: www.nbarrettphotography.com

 

Miss Amy Henderson and her Handsome Hubby. Amy also reigns from the great town of Wall, TX. Amy is a firecracker—lots of sass, style and charm! I had a great time getting to meet Amy and discover we had at least 20 mutual FB Friends. (Hey now – that’s impressive for my not-so West Texas upbringing. I felt #FAMOUS!)

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Stardust Celebrations

Designer: Augusta Jones Style: Ali

Belt: James Clifford

Photo Credit: LLC.www.photographybyrachelelaine.com

Kristen has become a very dear friend of mine and it all started with the preparation for her wedding, which was last November. Her good old-fashioned farmer boy, Cody, happens to be my boyfriend’s best friend. (Boyfriend promised I could discuss him throughout this blog as long as I didn’t use his real name. So we will call him Brett. THANKS JUSTIN!—OOPS!) Kristen is from here in the DFW area and the wedding was in Grapevine. However, the two now live out in Winters, TX and are both alumni of Texas Tech. So Kristen, if I get to play the West Texas card then you, my dear, MOST certainly do too!

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Lulu’s Bridal Boutique

Designer: Allure Bridals Style: 8634

Veil: Edward E. Berger

Photo Credit: www.photobybetsy.com

Alexandra was a fellow Pi Phi at Texas Tech with me and resides in Lubbock, TX. Not only is Alexandra and AMAZING photographer, she did my senior pics for graduation, she is also one of the sweetest, God-fearing, most humble woman you will EVER have the honor of meeting. She takes pride in her craft, and also time and care to get to know who is on the other side of her camera. We had a pleasure helping Alex fit her PERFECT gown for HER big day and we are always THRILLED when she gets an opportunity to photograph our clients! If you are in the Lubbock area in need of photography, whether it be for a wedding, engagement, bridal portrait, senior photos, or family photos, I HIGHLY – HIGHLY – recommend calling Alexandra. I promise you two things with this: 1. You will have AMAZING photos and 2. You will leave with a new friend for a lifetime.

ALSO, huge shout out to this BEAUTIFUL bride, it is her THREE YEARS Anniversary today!! CONGRATS!!

 

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Lulu’s Bridal Boutique

Designer: Maggie Sottero Style: Vienna

Photo Credit: Allee J. Photography

 

Melissa was ALSO a fellow Pi Phi at Texas Tech with me! Not only have we had the pleasure of altering Melissa’s gown, but Ruth was also able to help her sister years ago as well! Melissa was one of Alexandra’s FIRST weddings to shoot back when she was still in school! –I told you, once you go West Texas… well y’all know the rest by now! Anyways, I have stayed friends with Melissa and I absolutely love her unwavering positive outlook on life. Melissa now resides in Lubbock, TX with her hubby and is a personal trainer!  Brides-to-Be in the LBK, I highly recommend calling Melissa if you are wanting to look extra good for your wedding day!! Melissa is an AMAZING trainer but more importantly, very much like Alexandra, she takes the MOST pride in the relationship she has with her clients!! She uses every workout to uplift and motivate through Scripture! For more details check out Steadfast Fitness!

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Gown & Accessories Purchased From: Lulu’s Bridal Boutique

Designer: Allure Bridal Style: C207

Veil: Bel Aire

PHOTO CREDIT: www.alleej.com Allee J. Photography… too many AMAZING pictures!– Not just because I happen to Love Alexandra dearly as a friend, but I am AMAZED at the beautiful work she creates!!

Isn’t this little gem is just the cutest little friend you ever did meet! Paige is a contagious the seconds she walks in the door, she explodes with love and laughter! I mean just look at her in these pictures?!—You’re smiling already, I can see it! Paige was just as sweet to work with, as she is ABSOLUTLY ADORABLE in these photos.

These beauties have captured the heart of some pretty awesome men. And what can I say? West Texas has definitely stolen my heart. These girls make me feel, CONNECTED, FOUND, IMPORTANT and abundantly LOVED.

I could go on for a lifetime. The serene feeling I get when pulling up to a wheat field overlooking the West Texas sunset, that feeling is PRICELESS.

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www.alleej.com

 

Adios,

Niña Esclava

 

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