Text by Melanie Saxton Photos by Ashley Gillen Photography
She’s a native Texan. He’s from Panama. A chance meeting at the office sparked a romance that led them down the aisle into “happily ever after.”
Kendall Harvey attended Magnolia High School and is the owner/operator of Distinguished Aromatics. Bernard Underwood attended Balboa Academy and the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy (USMMA). He earned a degree in marine engineering systems and design, graduated magna cum laude, and is a marine engineer at Patriot Contract Services.
The couple celebrated their nuptials on May 15, 2016 in a glorious ceremony and reception at a rustic venue north of Houston in Montgomery, Texas.
Meeting and First Date
Kendall was surprised one morning at work by Bernard, who showed up at 6:30 a.m. to inquire about a job opening for a friend. At the time both worked for ENSCO, an engineering firm, and Bernard had just arrived from offshore. He was more than delighted to spend two hours with Kendall until the rest of the HR staff arrived. They talked, laughed and told stories until Kendall mentioned that she needed to get back to work!
Kendall recalls that throughout the day she couldn’t stop thinking about the incredible guy she had just met. Bernard recalls being taken completely aback at how gorgeous Kendall was. Soon they were on a casual first date at Starbucks that turned into five hours of fun and laughter.
While dating, the couple made several trips to visit family and friends in Colorado, Panama, Georgia and South Carolina. They also enjoyed a family Caribbean cruise. During this time, Kendall started a new adventure and opened her own business, Distinguished Aromatics, specializing in diffusing fragrant and cleansing organic essential oils.
On a weekend getaway in March 2015 at a charming bed and breakfast in Fredericksburg, Bernard proposed under a twinkling gazebo overshadowed by a 400-year-old oak tree. To announce the engagement, the couple sent a picture to family and friends of them holding coffee mugs that read “I Put a Ring on It,” and “Does This Ring Make Me Look Engaged?”
Over the next year, they planned the wedding with family and friends who traveled from Georgia, Panama and Singapore. Kendall, her mother and her grandfather also worked on several projects that would add creative touches to the wedding and reception.
The bride envisioned an elegant southern wedding that incorporated vintage heirlooms and lavender aromatics.
Floral and Décor: The bride carried a southern-style, hand-tied bouquet of hydrangeas, blush roses and magnolia leaves with stems wrapped in Midori satin ribbon. Bridesmaids carried smaller versions of the bridal bouquet. The flower girl carried a tea-stained scroll banner that read “Here Comes Your Bride.” The groom’s and groomsmen’s boutonnieres included one blush rose with magnolia leaves wrapped in black ribbon to match their tuxedos.
A marriage braid cross was crafted from old reclaimed barn wood and old railroad spikes from the bride’s great-grandfather’s homestead. In lieu of paper wedding programs, the couple displayed the wedding program on a large chalkboard. The couple exchanged vows under a rustic wedding arch embellished with a vintage chandelier that was adorned with crystals and draped with a beautiful 20-foot southern magnolia leaf garland, white hydrangeas and cascading blush rose flower clusters. In fact, two days before the wedding, the groom helped to cut magnolia branches for the florist from the trees of neighbors and relatives. The couple’s German Shepherd puppy, Scout, picked up the branches and ran off to hide them!
Bridal Party: Dr. Jeff McDowell officiated. The bride’s parents and the groom’s family were in attendance, as well as maid-of-honor Amber Cook and bridesmaids Giselle Gonzalez and Meghan Harvey. Erika Schulz was the adorable flower girl. Best men Blake Underwood and Derek Underwood served with groomsmen Andrew Hotsko and Steven LeBrun. Ashton Schulz served as ring bearer.
Attire: The bride wore a Martina Liana sheath gown featuring a strapless sweetheart bodice and court train made of Moroccan silk. A flowing cathedral veil completed the ensemble and looked stunning photographed in the wind. Her “something old” were vintage 1940s items belonging to her late great-grandparents, including her great-grandmother’s hand-stitched quilt and a metal milk can that served as a flower vase. Her “something new” was a Swarovski crystal belt. Her “something borrowed” was her late aunt’s hand-carved olive wood cross from the Holy Land, which was tied with ribbon to her bridal bouquet. Her “something blue” were fabric squares, which were incorporated into a wedding quilt after being signed by guests.
The bridesmaids wore floor length illusion one-shoulder, corded-lace bodice dresses in blush with a satin ribbon belt at the waist and tan shoes of their choosing. The long mesh skirt featured an elegant side slit. The groom and groomsmen wore Vera Wang custom fitted black tuxedos with bowties, white shirts, and black shoes.
Cake: The beautiful Bavarian cheesecake rose four tiers and was decorated with ruffled and rosette icing, and topped a customized “Mr. and Mrs. Underwood” topper. The groom opted for a family favorite recipe — Momma Dot’s southern style deep dish chocolate pie with handmade thick crust. It was decorated with Adirondack chairs, raffia umbrella and a cooler to represent his love of the beach and sea.
Top Wedding Moments: The bride and groom elected not to glimpse each other prior to the ceremony, and when the groom saw his soon-to-be wife walk down the aisle he thought, “I’m the luckiest man in the universe!” He incorporated Panamanian tradition into the wedding by offering his bride 13 gold coins representing Jesus Christ and his 12 Apostles and the virtues of mutual love, fidelity and trust. The bride’s cousin and groom’s sister read scriptures that held special meaning. The bride and groom symbolized their love, commitment and strength with a “marriage braid,” which they hand-braided during the ceremony and later displayed in their home.
Guests were treated to a sensational time and were truly part of the celebration! During the pre-reception cocktail hour, they enjoyed His & Her signature drinks of Sweetheart Tea (sweet tea vodka and lemonade) and Sangria Margarita, along with beer, wine and appetizers. They also received heart-shaped cookies with the couple’s name imprinted on the icing as wedding favors. Guests were also invited to sign quilt squares that would later be made into a quilt for the couple to cherish. They also enjoyed a photo booth and lots of partying on the dance floor.
Floral and Décor: Guests were seated at tables adorned with vintage pink Depression glass plates and glasses, 100-plus tea stained napkins with crochet borders, bronze lanterns with candles and magnolia leaves and bridal flowers, and various silver mercury glass votives. The head table featured gorgeous southern magnolia leaf garland with clusters of white hydrangeas, blush roses and baby’s breath. Jeweled butterflies decorated the garland and table centerpieces to promote and bring awareness to organ donation. Coordinating centerpieces adorned tabletops, along with table markers featuring the couple’s favorite romantic movie quotes.
Linens consisted of lavender-scented ivory tablecloths with chocolate-brown dupioni silk table runners draped in blush tulle and tied at ends with Midori satin ribbon bow. Cedar planks and disks were made from trees located on the bride’s great-grandfather’s old homestead, then custom designed at an old lumber mill with a bandsaw in Crockett, Texas. After many days of sanding and painting, they became whimsical table centerpieces and decorations that family members took with them following the wedding.
Dancing the Night Away: The bride and groom danced to Michael Buble’s That’s All. Father and daughter danced to Darius Rucker’s It Won’t be Like This for Long. Mother and son danced to Celtic Woman’s When You Wish upon a Star. Guests joined in the Grand March, celebrating the new union of husband and wife, and their two families.
Top reception moment: Following a delicious meal of Texas barbeque, guests received an invigorating lavender-scented and chilled hand-towel to refresh their faces and hands before hitting the dance floor.
The Exit: The couple exited through an arch of heart-shaped sparklers and drove away in a black limousine.
The newlyweds honeymooned for a week at a private villa in Turks and Caicos and enjoyed the beautiful beaches and crystal-blue waters. They caught fresh conch that was prepared and cooked for them on the beach. They plan to live abroad with the first adventure being Panama.
Category: Memorable Weddings