Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by Nikki Guest with Neha Patel
With a mutual interest in food and fitness, two Houston professionals met, fell in love and eventually married in a beautiful, sunny outdoor ceremony that warmed the hearts of family and friends.
Erin DeLong attended Brazoswood High School in Clute and graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in biology. She is currently in her fourth year of medical school at University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center as an Emergency Medicine resident who will graduate in May. Adriel De La Cruz attended PSJA High School in San Juan, Texas and graduated from Sam Houston State University with a degree in criminal justice. He is currently a loan analyst for Integrity Bank in Houston.
First Date And Courtship
They first met at the gym, where Adriel, a former high school power lifter, offered Erin some much appreciated workout advice. After exchanging numbers and texting, they discovered a shared fondness for sushi. Their first date at a sushi restaurant led to a six-month courtship – and their “sushi” preference even played a part in their honeymoon!
Medical school consumes much of Erin’s schedule, but both she and Adriel value family ties and spent as much free time as possible with relatives while dating. They also enjoyed special moments out on the town. “We’re both foodies, so a lot of our dates involved trying new restaurants,” says Erin. They also enjoyed working out at the gym together, visiting new exhibits at the museum district, and seeing musicals in downtown Houston. Two of Erin’s favorite dates were spent taking in a Houston Dynamo soccer game for the first time and attending the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. “We rode rides all night like little kids,” she says.
Adriel surprised Erin one evening at dinner with a beautiful ring from Tiffany & Co. However, he wanted to “make it official” by honoring the tradition of asking her father’s permission. The couple had lunch with Erin’s parents that weekend and received her father’s blessing. Adriel proposed right after lunch, and Erin said, “Yes!” This new phase in their love story led to months of wedding preparations.
During an engagement that spanned just over a year, the couple coordinated their schedules to accommodate work and medical school. They chose a date that would allow time for honeymoon travels. The bride envisioned a simple and classic wedding with a modern flair. Fondness of the outdoors and nature helped narrow the couple’s choice of venue to Agave Real in Katy – the perfect setting for their October 4, 2014 nuptials.
Attire: Both the bride and groom decided to wait until the ceremony to see each other in their wedding attire. In fact, the groom had no idea what his bride would wear, and the bride had no idea what her groom would wear!
Fortunately, the strapless white bridal gown by Alfred Angelo stunned everyone. It had a beaded bodice, drop waist, full skirt and beautiful lace train, complemented by a simple white tulle veil by the same designer. Ivory lace kitten heels by Nine West completed the ensemble. Bridesmaids wore one-shoulder cocktail length Alfred Sung dresses of dark purple.
The groom surprised his bride by opting against traditional black, and instead wore a steel grey tuxedo and royal purple vest and tie from one of the more modern Jos. A. Bank collections. This perfectly complemented the purple hues of the wedding theme. His groomsmen wore the same tux.
Bridal Party: Joshua DeLong, a minister from Georgia and the bride’s cousin, arrived to officiate the ceremony. It felt very special having a family member unite the couple. Parents of the bride, Bradley and Nikki DeLong, joined the groom’s parents, Felix and Elizabeth De La Cruz and stepmother Irma De La Cruz, as they witnessed the exchange of vows.
The bride’s best friend since second grade, Valerie Stevens, served as maid of honor. High school friend Julie Richards served as bridesmaid. Aaron De La Cruz, the groom’s brother, served as best man. College roommate Jose Ramiro Hernandez served as groomsman.
Bouquets: The bride’s festive bouquet included ivory hydrangeas, purple stock, lavender ocean song roses, purple freesia and ivory roses with ivory satin wrap and lace overlay. The maid of honor and bridesmaid carried bouquets of ivory hydrangea, lavender ocean song roses, and purple freesia with silver satin ribbon wrap.
The Walk Down the Aisle: The bride recalls her walk down the aisle as a happy and sunny moment. “It was a beautiful day and I felt so lucky that the weather cooperated!” she says. The sunshine kept her spirits up and she didn’t feel nervous at all. She doesn’t remember looking at her guests, because she was focused on the first glimpse of her groom in his “mystery tuxedo.” He was as mesmerized by her as she was by him. As they walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, the first thing he told her was how beautiful she was.
One of the bride’s favorite moments occurred as a love bug landed in her hair. Her groom gently brushed it away. “Most brides would probably have been upset about a bug landing on them, but for me, it was a sign of good luck for our life together!” she says. Interestingly, these insects are also known as “honeymoon flies” or “kissingbugs” – aptly named for a wedding celebration.
When it came time for the first dance, the newlyweds were a bit nervous because neither likes being the center of attention. Thanks to several dance lessons, they made it through their rendition of, “Latch,” by Sam Smith. The bride danced with her father to “I Loved Her First” by Heartland. “My dad used to take me to father-daughter dances when I was little, so it was like I was still his little girl!” she says. The groom and his mother danced to “Landslide” by Fleetwood Mac.
Floral and Décor: Favorite hues of royal purple and silver were woven throughout the venue and juxtaposed against the natural stone, wrought iron, and aged wood of the enchanted environment. Taupe linens with ivory napkins and silver chargers adorned the tables. Short lantern arrangements included wide three candle centerpieces with curly willow tip wrap, ruskus and lemon leaf greens, purple stock and lavender ocean song roses. Tall lantern centerpieces included an arrangement of mixed greens, ivory hydrangeas, purple stock and lavender ocean song roses. The bride and groom sat at their own sweetheart table with ivory linens.
Wedding Cake: The three-tiered white wedding cake was frosted in buttercream and embellished with lovely ivory and purple piping. It was topped with the couple’s initials and sat amidst lilac tabletop flower petals. As a twist on the traditional groom’s cake, the couple served cheesecake.
Special Touches: Guests signed a special plate rather than a guestbook to commemorate their presence. They also enjoyed clever favors, which were small bottles of water and ibuprofen as a little joke, since one of the best amenities of the wedding was the open bar!
Top Reception Moment: The couple enjoyed hearing speeches from friends and family, including the maid of honor, the best man, the bride’s father, and the groom’s mother. It felt heartwarming for the bride and groom to be welcomed by each side of their families and experience the outpouring of love and support – something they look forward to throughout their marriage.
Departure: The couple changed into comfortable clothing and exited the festivities amidst cascades of bubbles. Their “escape” took place in the groom’s mother’s brand new white Cadillac, a classic but modern car!
A resort vacation in Cancun during the offseason offered uncrowded beaches and pools. “It felt that much more personal for us,” says the bride. They enjoyed a room with a balcony, a gorgeous beach view, and sushi (of course) with wine under the moonlight. They returned to Houston after a week in paradise to resume careers and coursework.
MEMORABLE WEDDINGS </br>Erin & Adriel
Category: Memorable Weddings