Story By: Shelbi LeMeilleur
Photos by The Bird & The Bear Photography and Films
During their wedding reception on March 19, Rachel and Michael Baird took a moment to stand in a corner and just take in everything. Rachel says it was one of the most amazing feelings in the world. This was the one moment in both of their lives that 200 people would gather together to celebrate their love and relationship. It was a special and humbling moment for the couple.
Rachel McCarty and Michael Baird met through mutual friends in December of 2012. They dated a little over two years before their engagement. Throughout their relationship, they would go on little adventures. One adventure in particular became a sort of tradition for the couple.
“We have the tradition of going to Brenham,” Rachel explains. “We went to Brenham one weekend to get away. They were having this citywide festival called Maifest.”
Rachel and Michael have gone back every year since, and in 2015, Rachel had a feeling he might propose during Maifest. Michael spent all evening trying to throw her off so, by the end of the festival, she thought there was no way a proposal was going to happen. However, when they got back to the room that evening, he had flowers, champagne, and chocolate waiting. It was more than Rachel could have hoped for.
The Ant Street Inn seemed like the perfect choice for the wedding venue, given their history with it, and since the wedding was close to St. Patrick’s Day, they chose green and gold as their colors, which also happened to correspond with their alma mater, Baylor University. However, one of the most surprising – and by far the most unique – aspects of their wedding was the addition of two alpacas.
“One day, I was having a bad day … so Michael planned a day of adventures,” says Rachel. “He found out there was an alpaca farm in Bryan, so we went there and spent a couple of hours.”
Alpacas had long before been a favorite animal of Rachel, and her visit to the Royal Oak Alpaca Farm gave her an idea – alpacas in the wedding. “I asked the venue thinking they would probably say no, but when they said they could make it work, I knew we had found the right venue,” she says.
The alpacas were so popular that they had to send them home early. Everyone was spending more time outside with the alpacas instead of dancing in the ballroom! However, Rachel still thinks it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
Aside from the alpacas, Rachel tried to add some personal touches to her wedding. One way she did this was through her table decorations. She works for a non-profit in Houston called Writers in Schools. WITS teaches creative writing to kids and she found quotes about love and relationships written by children who had gone through the program. She framed the quotes and put them on the tables at the reception. “I loved being able to incorporate what I do for a living into my wedding and share the organization with people,” she says.
Rachel’s advice to future brides is to learn how to respectfully say no. “A lot of people are going to give advice on how they think the day should look and what it should entail, but it really should be a reflection of who you are as a couple,” she explains. “I had to learn to say ‘Thank you for the idea, I’ll think about it.’” Further, she says in the end, it’s important for your wedding to reflect you, not what everyone else wants you to do.
Most importantly, take time to stand back and enjoy the wedding. As Rachel and Michael stood in the corner, watching their guests, they realized just how lucky they were to have such a supportive group of friends and family. “This is a day that is a celebration. It’s the beginning of the rest of your lives.”
The Bird & The Bear Photography and Films
Ashley & Co.
Ant Street Inn
Gatlin’s BBQ and Catering
Cocktail Hour Catering
Funky Art Café
Jonny Black Productions
Royal Oak Alpaca Farm
Makeup and Hair
Kathy Smith Makeup Artist
Nothing bundt cakes
Gown Rue de Seine – Ivy (from Unbridaled in Austin)
“Tricks of the Trade” forest green maxi dresses from LuLu’s
Black suits, white button downs and green ties. Michael wore a Baylor plaid tie from Dapper Bear Clothiers
Dubins Fine Jewelry in Houston
Belize Ocean Club near Placencia, Belize
To see more pictures from Michael & Rachel’s wedding, visit the Insite Pinterest page.