*NEW* Blakely & Chris: Country Charm at Old Glory Ranch

"Oh, I guess we should do the card thing," Chris Koutouzakis said "romantically," when Blakely Braniff passed along her business card at a New York airport. Chris rang one month later to invite Blakely to his Super Bowl party in New Jersey. She declined. Two and a half years later, though, Blakely found herself in New Jersey for Chris' surprise Cape May proposal.

THE BRIDE Blakely Braniff, 30, theater production supervisor
THE GROOM Chris Koutouzakis, 33, environmental scientist
THE SCENE The wedding took place on Old Glory Ranch. The ceremony was originally to take place out doors, but was moved into the antique filled country chapel on the ranch, which also housed the reception.

TRADITIONAL WITH A TWIST We tried to mix nature with country styles," says Blakely, who chose an ethereal burnt-sienna and sage color scheme for their festive wedding at Old Glory Ranch. Impending thunderstorms altered plans for an outdoor ceremony along the Blanco River. "The river was rushing so strongly, I don't think anyone would've heard the intricacies of the Greek ceremony," Blakely says. Instead, the couple wed in the ranch's antique-filled country chapel with a wrought-iron cross woven with wildflowers.

BEAUTIFULLY BALANCED The traditional ceremony "provided a great balance to our rockin' reception!" Blakely says. A bluegrass band livened up the cocktail hour, while the ceremony space was transformed with round dinner tables covered in sand-color tablecloths with burnt-sienna organza overlays and topped with wrought-iron candlesticks and wildflowers. Incorporating "the country lace and nature theme," a lace pattern was imprinted on the five-tier sage-color fondant cake.

FUN FOR ALL Rain never fell, but the temperature dropped to a record spring low. Guests warmed themselves under heaters in three huge tents -- complete with stations for make-your-own sundaes, a photo booth, and fittings for customized straw cowboy hats. Midway through the reception, Blakely stepped into bright turquoise cowboy boots and kicked up her spurs to the band's golden oldies. At one point, Chris' brother was up on stage to teach the group traditional Greek dances. "Within minutes, we had a room full of Texans and Greeks in cowboy hats bouncing around in a circle, trying to do the dance!" Blakely says. Later, the lively couple had to be dragged off the dance floor before leaving for a wild Hawaiian honeymoon.

--Kathleen Murray
Photography © Stella Alesi

For the ingredients that make up this wedding, see the right-hand column of this page.

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