A Whimsical, Rustic Wedding at Elmwood Gardens in Palestine, Texas

Wendy Shu (30 and a pharmacist) and Anthony McCarthy (26 and also a pharmacist) stepped into a whimiscal world when they discovered the beauty of Elmwood Gardens in Palestine, Texas. This backcountry venue provided a rustic yet elegant backdrop for the couple's American ceremony. But Wendy's family is from China—some of her guests traveled from there for the wedding—so she incorporated certain Chinese traditions into the day. The Chinese symbol for "double happiness" decorated small favor boxes for their guests, and the symbol for "longevity" adorned Wendy's bouquet. The blush, gold and ivory-dusted wedding sprawled over open fields, lush gardens and even a horse ranch. Chandeliers dangled overhead as the couple walked down the foxglove- and wisteria-lined aisle at Elmwood Gardens's outdoor chapel. Over the beams, linens were draped like curtains. A friend married them. "Our wedding was personal and extraspecial," Wendy says. The newlyweds kneeled before their respective parents, served them tea and thanked them, which is a way to express gratitude to one's parents in Chinese weddings. Cocktail hour served up specialty drinks, including the Blushing Bride (whipped cream vodka, orange juice and ginger ale) and the Dashing Groom (whiskey, lemon and simple syrup). The menu at the reception, also held at Elmwood Gardens, was stuffed with Wendy's and Anthony's favorite foods, from smoked brisket to chicken and waffles. An elegant Viennese hour rounded out the meal, which included macarons, tarts and cheesecake. The couple waltzed the night away under the stars on Elmwood's outdoor dance floor, and capped a memorable evening with a dazzling sparkler send-off. —Alexa Wybraniec