A Colorful, Classic Wedding at Hotel Galvez & Spa in Galveston, Texas

Annie Bates (25 and a prenatal fitness trainer) and Carson Tinker (25 and a professional football player) met at a fraternity party during their freshman year at the University of Alabama, when they “awkwardly danced,” Annie says. They reunited their senior year through a common friend. This time, they were at Gallettes bar. Carson approached Annie and told her she was the most beautiful girl he had ever seen and that one day he was going to marry her. Annie agreed to go out with him, and—as she says—the "date never ended." They planned their Texas wedding from Florida, leaning heavily on wedding planner Kathy Glass of KG Events to help with local details. Annie, who grew up in Houston, Texas, and frequently vacationed in the beach town of Galveston, on the Gulf of Mexico, was intrigued by Hotel Galvez & Spa. “I always thought the Galvez was so pretty and historic,” she says. When Carson saw Hotel Galvez & Spa for the first time—with its opulent 1911-era charm—he loved it too. (It has hosted Howard Hughes, Frank Sinatra and several US presidents.) Wanting the day to be "fun all around," the couple selected a bright, cheery color scheme of teal, gold and coral. "Everything should be bright and colorful," Annie says. They added nontraditional elements to their ceremony by decorating the Music Hall at the Galvez with two walls of greenery, a floral arch and a cross made of white roses; asking their friend Kevin Elko to be their officiant; and hiring the Salvation Army’s Harbor Light Choir to sing during the ceremony (including “Oh Happy Day” during the processional). Annie's dad and stepdad walked her down the aisle to “Sweet Annie” by the Zac Brown Band, and instead of vows, the couple read love letters to each other. At the reception, the meal was “Southern food for days,” Annie says, with specialty dishes from special women in their families: fried chicken biscuits, a mashed potato bar, a mac-and-cheese bar and Carson's mother's “tinker tradition” strawberry-pretzel salad. Signature drinks were Arnold Palmers and Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammers, with pineapple juice, orange juice, rum, vodka and amaretto (in honor of ‘Bama, Annie says) served in plastic yellow Gallettes cups. The cups doubled as favors, customized with the Annie's and Carson's names and wedding logo. Other favors were tiny Texas-shaped pies and doughnuts and kolaches (a semisweet wedding dessert originating in central Europe) from Shipley Do-Nuts. Annie's advice to other couples: Relax. "No matter what happens, you're going to end up with the person God made for you, and that's all that matters." —Chrissy Sorenson