An Intimate Bohemian Desert Wedding at Willow House in Terlingua, Texas
The first time Nicole Reber and Michael Martin set out to plan their wedding, a large affair in Iowa, the vibe didn’t feel right—so much so, they called it off and jetted away to Bali for some R & R. Out of all that, one thing was clear: The wedding they wanted would need to be small and intimate. They settled on a secluded venue called Willow House, about five hours away from an airport in southwest Texas, which gave them the opportunity to focus on the people that meant the most to them. “My grandmother was born in Texas,” Nicole says. “She adopted my mother from Mexico. The venue is located right near the border, which gave even more meaning to our ceremony.” For the intimate nuptials, guests sat on wooden chairs and benches outside, and the aisle was lined with rugs, lanterns and succulents. The couple's kids, Landon and Luna, walked them down the aisle, and Nicole and Michael also participated in a handfasting ritual with family members. “We gave each guest a fan, a vintage handkerchief and a desert bell to ring at the ceremony,” Nicole says. “We asked our guests to find little objects to contribute to our nature mandala. The mandala symbolized how we are all connected to each other and the earth.” Nicole stood out against the desert background in a casual A-line dress with short sleeves. It matched the white dresses of the flower girls, who also carried shallow woven baskets. The groom donned black pants with a light gray suit jacket. For dinner, all 17 guests appropriately dined under the stars. The couple took a less-is-more approach to design to avoid competing with the surrounding natural beauty. “The main focus was the backdrop of the Chisos Mountains behind us,” Nicole says. They laid out ivory table runners and napkins, woven placemats and mismatched glassware at the table, while tres leches and a simple white cake rounded out the reception sweets menu. “Having Landon and Luna (our kids) participate in the wedding made the day feel complete,” Nicole says. “They look through our wedding album weekly and talk about ‘our wedding.’ It brings us so much joy."