Nicole Brende and Jan-Oliver Schmidt are living proof that blind dates really do work. They were introduced by mutual friends during a “chaperoned” dinner at UP restaurant in Highland Village and have been together ever since.
Nicole studied broadcast journalism at Southern Methodist University and is active in the SMU Houston alumni chapter. Prior to her career in real estate, Nicole was a television host and producer for 10 years. Her programs included Hot On! Homes for KPRC Local 2, Designing America on HDNet and Designing Texas.
Jan-Oliver is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario and Huron University College in Canada, earning an Honors BA degree in philosophy/economics. He is senior vice president of Stahlschmidt Incorporated.
The happy couple tied the knot on Oct. 3, 2015 at The Country Club in Pepper Pike in Gates Mills, Ohio. They originally planned an outdoor wedding at Jan-Oliver’s brother’s historic Tudor estate, but hurricane Joachim swept through Ohio. Thank heavens they had a back-up plan!
First Solo Date
After a month of group get-togethers, Jan-Oliver invited Nicole on their first solo date at Kiran’s. He had no idea if she liked Indian cuisine, but the gamble paid off. They dined four hours, nearly ordering the whole menu! The restaurant became the future venue for their engagement party of 150 guests.
The couple, dubbed “The JaNic” by a close friend, love antiquing together and embarked on road trips to Brenham and San Antonio. They visited family in California and Ohio and enjoyed adventurous travels to Puerto Vallarta, Hawaii and Spain. They spent a week yachting to the British Virgin Islands with a captain, cook and plenty of the famous local “Pain Killer” tropical drinks.
Nicole and Jan-Oliver became officially engaged on Jan. 3, 2015 on Maui. Jan-Oliver had carefully pre-planned their last morning in paradise and opened one remaining bottle of Veuve Cliquot on the beach. As he popped the champagne, a rainbow, which he of course had ordered from Mother Nature, appeared over the water. Holding Nicole’s champagne flute, he asked her to take a photo of the rainbow while his remaining free hand attempted to extract an engagement ring from his backpack.
It took several tries, but finally Jan-Oliver was able to drop the ring into his beloved’s champagne flute. A surprisingly intense swell of bubbles camouflaged the diamonds, so Nicole noticed neither the sparkly addition to her glass nor the volcanic eruption taking place. To draw her attention to the ring, Jan-Oliver told his bride-to-be that a bug had just flown into her glass. At last he had her attention, but by now was somewhat flustered and forgot the words to his eloquent proposal. Improvising on bended knee, he asked, “Can you tolerate me for the rest of your life?” Luckily, Nicole answered in the affirmative.
The engagement lasted nine months to the day and involved to trips to Cleveland, Ohio for wedding planning. A bachelorette party weekend in San Francisco at The Ritz Carlton Hotel enabled the bride and her friends to spend one day in Napa and Russian River valleys for private wine tastings. The bachelor party took place over a week on board a 46-foot Catamaran sailboat in the British Virgin Islands hosted by the groom’s best man.
The aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin caused the wedding to be moved indoors at The Country Club, but the bride and groom were cheered by the saying “Rain brings good luck and fertility.”
A string trio and a singer performed a rendition of Just The Way You Are by Bruno Mars as the bride came down the aisle with her father. The couple customized their ceremony with help of their officiant and literally “tied the knot” with a fisherman’s knot of black and white satin cords. The exit song for the newly married couple was Marry You by Bruno Mars.
Bridal Party: Rev. Darwin L. Huartson officiated; he had previously married the bride’s father and stepmother, as well as the bride’s twin brother. Parents of the bride, Vicki and Al Brende and Ann Bayless, were in attendance with parents of the groom, Hans-Joachim Schmidt and Sigrid E. Schmidt.
Michelle Brende Evrard (the bride’s sister) and Lori Lemon-Geshay served as maids of honor. Bridesmaids included Lyndsey McCall Rice and Laura Elizabeth Cernock. Flower girls Hadden Charlotte Brinegarm, Shaylie Lynn Rice, and Chloe Chanel Elise Evrard (the bride’s niece) were absolutely adorable. The groom’s brothers Uwe Thomas Schmidt and Kai-Roger Schmidt served as best men. Groomsmen included Willard Chace Brinegar and Richard Alan Brende (the bride’s twin brother). Quentin Leo Evrard served as ring bearer.
Attire: The bride’s Pronovias Atelier ivory all-lace gown featured an open-back floating flower applique and train. Her custom extra length lace veil was crowned with a Swarovski crystal tiara. She wore emerald green Manolo Blahnik pumps with a crystal brooch, and a second pair of shoes by Joyce Echols of white snake skin and gold barbed wire stilettos. Bridesmaids wore Alvina Valenta strapless black dresses with peplum and trains, paired with Enzo Angiolini sandals in black satin with crystals.
The groom wore a custom tuxedo with bowtie, cummerbund and Mont Blanc cufflinks, as well as green socks to amuse his bride and maintain the color scheme of the wedding. Groomsmen wore tuxes in classic black and white and were gifted with Mont Blanc cufflinks.
Floral and Décor: Floral arrangements in all shades of white filled the venue. The altar was decorated with birch trees and pomanders hanging from the branches. The bridal bouquet featured a selection of roses, stephanotis and subtle crystals. The bridesmaids’ bouquets were arranged with white mini calla lilies interspersed with camellia foliage. The groom wore a cluster of white roses and stephanotis with silver brunia and grey foliage. The ring bearer’s sign heralded “Jan-Oliver, here comes the love of your life.” Wedding ceremony signs said “Pick a seat, not a side.”
Top Wedding Moments: A wardrobe mix-up occurred while the groom and groomsmen were getting ready in the locker room of The Country Club. The bride’s twin brother inadvertently wore the groom’s custom-fitted jacket, while the groom wore the groomsman’s tux jacket for all the festivities. Since the bride’s brother is 6’4” and the groom is shorter, his sleeves were too short and the groom’s were a bit too long. No one realized this until the bride and groom were packing at the Ritz-Carlton a few days later!
The classically elegant black tie affair was themed in black, white, gold and emerald green (the bride’s birthstone). A huge black and white umbrella sat center stage on the dance floor to symbolize a rainy wedding day. The dance floor was checkered in black and white in a nod to the bride’s mother’s love of MacKenzie-Childs designs. The couple performed a custom choreographed number to Michael Buble’s Feeling Good, thanks to dance lessons in Houston at Beginner’s Only. Father and daughter danced to Wonderful World by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.
Bridesmaids danced to Girls Just Want To Have Fun by Cindi Lauper; groomsmen to Who Let The Dogs Out by Baha Men. Music of the 1980s/90s entertained party-goers, as well as glo sticks, glo sunglasses, a smoke machine, and props such as frames and mustaches, lips and hats.
Floral and Décor: The exterior was lit with coach lamps and decorated with hydrangea, white roses, alegrian ivy and camelia. Tables were adorned with a floral palette of hydrangea, phalaenopsis, roses, dahlias and mini calla lilies, complete with candles, gold votives, gold chargers and black napkins. As a special touch, tables were named after the couple’s beloved pets (displayed in gold frames), including the sweetheart table with a gold sequin table topper and photo of the bride’s Persian cat, Chako. Custom lighting changed from blue to green to pink and amber to create the ultimate party atmosphere, and guests lounged on white couches.
A bar sign stated “No good story started with a salad.” The guest book was an ensemble of polaroid guest selfies. Favors of JaNic Bacon Habenero vodka were a huge hit, as well as mini bottles of bubbly with green ribbon holding black/white straws, JaNic Rocks chocolates and a popcorn bar.
Cake: A stunning four-tiered white cake included different flavors of butter cream, peanut butter cup with chocolate and hazelnut with raspberry swirl, all previously taste-tested and approved by the bride’s father!
Top Reception Moment: A speech by both of the couple’s fathers included such entertaining banter that the first dance didn’t occur until 11 p.m.!
The Exit: “The JaNic” exited to sparklers and a black Rolls Royce. The night ended in the concierge private level at the Ritz Carlton Cleveland hotel with friends and family celebrating over a night cap “recap” before the newlyweds retired to their suite.
Text by Melanie Saxton
Engagement photography by Moore Life Media, Garrett Moore
Wedding photography by New Image Photography, Jonathan Koslen
Shower photography by Angelique Cook Photography, Angelique Cook
Category: Memorable Weddings