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Nothing beats a sweet and simple corona wedding full of so much love and happiness! Out of all the things that were changed, cancelled or restricted because of COVID-19, everything still seemed to align to give Casey and Efrain the corona wedding day of their dreams. With beautifully elegant chandeliers, tons of natural light and the perfect balcony area to celebrate on, it’s no wonder why The Dunlavy was the couple’s favorite Houston wedding venue, and the only one they were going to settle on for having their day. Through it all, Mustard Seed Photography was there to capture all the simple details of this perfectly intimate, sweet day! Having to move virtual didn’t seem to pose a problem, as they were able to have friends and family from near and far tune into their virtual ceremony, making it truly a blessing in disguise. As Casey said, “The intimacy reminded us it was just the two of us getting married, and we were able to experience each moment intensely. While it was unconventional, we are grateful to have done it that way.” Scroll to read Casey and Efrain’s story, with a happy ending you do NOT want to miss. Cheers to this corona couple!

Photo: Mustard Seed Photography

From the bride: “On June 1st of 2011, we walked into a classroom in Florence, Italy, for our law school study abroad program. Neither of us could have known that it would take a study abroad program and a trip halfway around the world for us to meet, nor that the trip would change our lives forever. After dinner one night, as we hand-washed dishes together in the 400 year old Florence apartment Efrain and his friends were staying in, we found ourselves laughing non-stop and taking longer than necessary just to continue spending time together. As we grew in friendship on the trip, we both felt a connection that went beyond what we had ever expected. On the last day of our Florence trip, as we stood on the Ponte Vecchio Bridge watching the fireworks overhead, we both knew our friendship was blossoming into so much more. No more than a few months later, we moved in together.

Fast forward through law school, bar exams, and legal careers, I am Assistant District Attorney for Harris County and Efrain operating his own litigation practice, we finally get engaged. On April 19th of 2019, on a beach in Cabo San Lucas, Efrain got down on one knee and nervously asked me the question I had been waiting for him to ask for eight years.

Finally, our wedding celebration was set for May 24, 2020, in Houston, Texas, at our favorite venue — The Dunlavy. As the wedding date neared, the bachelorette and bachelor parties, honeymoon back to Italy, and wedding details were finalized, then came the virus in March. The Dunlavy gave the bad news that the wedding would not be able to move forward as planned, and we were devastated. The following month, Efrain’s mother was diagnosed with acute cancer. It seemed 2020 would not be our year as we had once so happily proclaimed.

As the news seemed to only get worse, we received a call from The Dunlavy — the wedding could go on! The only snag… the wedding had to be virtual because of the social distancing rules in place and the date was a week away.

Lucky for us, our great friends, Jenna and Jonathan Sneed, would step up to the plate and exquisitely handle the virtual aspect of the wedding by mastering Zoom and all camera work. Everything seemed to align, from the wedding dress alterations to Mustard Seed photography being available, and the wedding would move forward.

The wedding was initially supposed to be small by design, but the scramble to have a virtual wedding, with all of its constraints, proved be a blessing in disguise. The intimacy reminded us it was just the two of us getting married, and we were able to experience each moment intensely. While it was unconventional, we are grateful to have done it that way. From the ceremony by Efrain’s dad, an ordained minister who was quarantining with Efrain’s mother, to the speech by my dad from Canada, to the first dance and champagne toast — it was all such a dream.

After the wedding, we headed over to The Post Oak where we were staying, and had reservations for dinner at Maestro’s. Unfortunately, we had missed our reservations and the restaurant was closing. Not to be deterred, in all of my wedding dress glory, I had a polite conversation with one of the managers, and they opened up the kitchen for us at the swanky H Bar onsite. To our surprise, University of Houston head football coach Dana Holgorsen was at H Bar, and after hearing that we are season ticket holders, he came over and visited with us and wished us many great years of marriage. Efrain likes to jokingly say Coach Holgorsen was trying to recruit me on our wedding day. We spent the night laughing and celebrating with plenty of champagne (much of which The Post Oak thankfully provided as a wedding gift). Needless to say, it was a wonderful experience.

As we adjusted to married life during the pandemic, we learned that Efrain’s mother was to be hospitalized as her cancer had become more aggressive, and she sadly passed away on June 18th. As we grieved, we still knew there was a purpose for everything and we are grateful that she was able to experience our wedding, as she made it known it was one of her great wishes to see us married. We are happy to say that one month after her passing we found out we are pregnant.

As many have experienced during this pandemic, focusing on the good is important. We are so grateful we were able to be married the way we were, with our loved ones watching along. In many ways it seems like it happened in the manner in which it should have.”

See Casey and Efrain’s wedding, along with more corona weddings in the new Fall/Winter 2020 issue of the Brides of Houston!

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Mustard Seed Photography, The Dunlavy