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This Wedding Day Started With a Solar Eclipse and Ended With a Late-Night Dip in Lake Austin

By Shayna Seid | Photography by 

Franny Pullin Photography

|Planning by 

Westcott Weddings

Eliza Howe, a marketing director at American Express, and Julian Rodriguez, who works corporate finance, were assigned to the same “cohort” on the first day of business school at the University of Texas and were soon drawn to each other. After four-and-a-half years together, Julian proposed on their porch at home in Austin, Texas, and they began planning their wedding at the nearby Laguna Gloria Museum.

The museum was the only venue the newly-engaged couple considered for their local wedding. “It has beautiful gardens, sits on the lake, and is meaningful to Austin’s history,” Eliza explains. “Plus, my sister works at The Met in New York, so it felt like a nice tie to her.”

Design-wise, Eliza wanted the autumn day to be “colorful, timeless, and fun” with an emphasis on Texas’s desert colors and citrus. “We really just wanted our guests to experience all the things that we love most about Austin” the bride explains. “We were so lucky to work with designer-calligrapher Emily J. Snyder of Gem Tones, who helped pull our aesthetic through into every design element.” Planner Nicolet LaVeau of Westcott Weddings  brought Eliza and Julian’s vision to life flawlessly, while Franny Pullin Photography and Lona Weddings captured all the special moments.

For the bride’s wedding wardrobe, she wanted looks that felt fun yet classic. The weekend kicked off with a Western welcome party, where Eliza wore Markarian’s Annette dress from Over The Moon with a Fanm Mon purse and Reformation cowboy boots.

On October 14, 2023, Eliza and her bridesmaids took a break from getting ready with makeup artist and hairstylist Makenzi Laine to peek outside and catch the rare solar eclipse—a cosmic good omen. Then, the bride put on her Gloria dress from House of Flora. Eliza completed her ceremony look with simple Stuart Weitzman heels, Shashi pearl earrings, and a pearl bracelet, gifted to her by her mother. Later that night, she changed into an Elliatt mini dress for dancing. Julian donned a custom navy suit from Todd Snyder.

In a grove by the lake, Eliza walked down the aisle to a harpist’s rendition of “As It Was” by Harry Styles. The couple’s friend, JP, officiated the warm, heartfelt, and joyous ceremony under a floral and citrus installation arch Gypsy Floral. Julian’s sister read a beautiful poem in Spanish. “My family is Mexican-American, so it was important to us to include different moments throughout the day that honored this” Julian shares.

Once the pair was announced as officially married, guests walked through the gardens to the terrace overlooking Lake Austin. Oysters were freshly shucked, as a nod to the bride’s family’s New England roots. And as the sun set, everyone took their seats at a communal table overlooking the water for a Texas-inspired dinner of elote corn, biscuits, skirt steak, salsa verde chicken, and more from Contigo Catering.

After the delicious meal, Morgan Pearl Cakes’s Mexican chocolate layer cake was paired with espresso martinis and churros. The mezcal and tequila-loving newlyweds also had a dedicated bar for their two favorite spirits. “One of the tequilas we offered was Lalo Tequila, a local Austin brand, and a nice homage to my grandfather whose nickname was Lalo,” Julian shares.

On the dance floor with Matchmaker Band, the couple swayed to “Texas Sun” by Leon Bridges for their first dance. “We listened to that song so many times on a road trip from Austin to Marfa,” Eliza recalls. “It makes us nostalgic for when we were falling in love, driving together under the Texas sun.”

For their grand exit, Eliza and Julian drove off in a vintage white Bronco, as their loved ones waved their sparklers. Moments later, the after-party commenced at popular outdoor bar Hula Hut. “At the end of the night a group of us jumped into the lake to celebrate such a fun weekend,” the bride remembers. “It wasn’t hard to find a group willing to jump in with us, even in their wedding best!”