Skyler Wheeler and Anna Cook might have transferred to Texas Christian University the same year—and first met at a mutual friend’s apartment back in 2013—but it would take seven years for them to spark a romantic connection. But, when the duo reconnected on Hinge in 2020, the couple wasted no time to make things official. In fact, Skyler got down on one knee four months after they started dating.
“Skyler surprised me at my parents’ house on Christmas Day in December of 2020,” Anna shares. “We got back from my brother’s house after dinner, and he was standing there with flowers in a suit by the Christmas tree. It was the sweetest surprise of my life!”
The couple searched high and low for the ultimate venue for their November 20, 2021 nuptials—looking at spots in Aspen, Chicago, and Dallas—but finally found the perfect match when their friends recommended Omni Barton Creek Resort and Spa in Austin, Texas.
“We actually booked the venue without having seen it in person,” the bride shares. “Everything was absolutely perfect. Our motto for everything in our relationship has just been jumping in when it feels right, so choosing our venue followed that precedent.”
Despite their 300-person guest list, Anna and Skyler wanted their special day to feel “intimate and romantic, yet very elegant and timeless.” So, they enlisted Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events to turn their dream into a reality, with the help of personal touches and plenty of quality time. Read on for an inside look at the couple’s nuptials, as photographed by Charla Storey.
Southern Fried Paper took the by creating a subtly chic invitation suite with the couple’s black, white, and green palette. Little did guests know that their invitation would clue them in on the decadent event to come. “Wendy designed a stage backdrop that mimicked the velvet backs of our invitations,” Anna shares. “Southern Fried Paper went above and beyond making this happen.”
I felt it was important to try not to be anyone else.
For the ceremony, the bride stunned in a high-necked lace number from Reem Acra, aptly called the “Heirloom” style. “There are so many options and potential styles, so I felt it was important to try not to be anyone else,” the bride shares. “My mom had a high-neck lace wedding dress as well so I love that it felt truly like an heirloom as it’s titled.”
Best friend and stylist Gabrielle Hurwitz pieced together each of the weekend’s outfits, completing Anna’s ceremony look with Manolo Blahnik heels, a Daphne Newman veil, and the mother of the bride’s diamond studs.
Meanwhile, the groom looked dapper in a custom tuxedo from Knot Standard. “His velvet jacket was perfect for the vibe and season of our November wedding and made it so unique,” Anna adds. As for accessories, he selected Gucci and a Brackish bow tie.
I felt so much more at peace after our first look.
“We mainly did a first look because we had a large bridal party and family, and therefore, lots of photos to get through,” the bride shares. “Looking back now, I’m so thankful we did. It took away all my anxiety to see him. I felt so much more at peace after our first look.”
The couple also exchanged handwritten notes before becoming husband and wife. “I write in cursive and Skyler can barely read my handwriting, so I ended up reading my letter to him which was really sweet,” Anna says. “We both were crying!
The bride carried a delicate bouquet of white snapdragon, garden roses, ranunculus, and lisianthus.
Prior to the ceremony, the couple had a few minutes alone to take some stunning photos with photographer Charla Storey.
Later, the entire wedding party joined in on the photo-op. Anna’s bridesmaids sported black dresses by Jenny Yoo, while Skyler’s groomsmen wore suits from Generation Tux. The bride’s nieces took on the role of flower girls—and donned Isabel Garreton dresses for the occasion.
“I wanted a huge display of white and green flowers at the altar and along the aisle,” Anna says. “My bridesmaids referred to the aisle as ‘the runway’ as it was raised. It honestly was! It was perfect. The flowers from Remi + Gold made the entire room smell absolutely amazing, in addition to being stunning.”
The bride glided down the aisle to “Canon in D” with her father in tow.
Though the couple stuck with traditional vows, their ceremony remained one of the most special moments of the entire day. “I’m introverted, so I was amazed that somehow all I was focusing on was Skyler and our commitment despite 300 people staring at me,” Anna says. The newlyweds sealed their love with a kiss and recessed down the aisle to “Stand by Me.”
My favorite compliment from the day was that people said they felt the love in the room.
“The most important thing about the day is your marriage,” the bride says. “My favorite compliment from the day was that people said they felt the love in the room. Without the right partner, none of it matters.”
Skyler and Anna knew they wanted an elegant-yet-cozy tent for their reception. Fortunately, Wendy Kay of Birds of a Feather Events delivered with a spacious sail tent flanked in flowers. “[She] did not miss a single detail, from the velvet ribbon tied around the napkins to the numerous elegant chandeliers in the tent,” the bride gushes. “I don’t know how it managed to feel so cozy even with 300 people. But, it did.”
When guests entered the tented pavilion, they were immediately greeted by a Champagne tower, a photo booth by MirMir, and a four-sided bar with custom paneling. “Wendy also came up with the idea to have high tables around the dance floor so those that didn’t want to dance could still feel involved in the party,” Anna adds. “The furniture was beautiful and inviting, and I loved our gold monogram on the dance floor.”
“Our first conversation ever back in 2013 brought up our mutual love for Harry Potter, so I love that Wendy helped bring elements of this into our wedding. We had a specialty cocktail bar titled ‘The Wheelers’ Potions & Elixir’ with a witch bartender, complete with a costume and decor fit for Borginand Burkes.” True to the theme, guests could order beverages like Espresso Patronum, The Golden Snitch, and Felix Felicis.
For dinner, Omni Barton Creek delivered with a dual-plated salmon and steak offering, as well as a vegetarian butternut-squash gnocchi.
As the guests enjoyed cocktail hour, Anna and Skyler enjoyed a private dinner. Not only was this a great opportunity to savor the special day—and practice their first dance—but it also allowed Anna to change into her second dress from Ines Di Santo.
Of course, no wedding is complete without dessert. The couple tapped Shannon Star Cakes to whip up a decadent vanilla and chocolate confection. “I knew I wanted a giant cake spilling over with flowers, and it was perfect and stunning,” Anna shares. A slice of cake was paired with banana pudding, which happens to be Skyler’s favorite dessert.
Before the party officially kicked off, Anna and Skyler listened to a few sweet speeches from their inner circle. “My dad’s speech was the most heartfelt, kind, yet hilarious speech I’ve ever heard,” she recalls. “It was absolutely amazing, and I’m so thankful to my parents for letting the day be as beautiful and wonderful as it was.”
The Wheelers shared a first dance to “Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” by Kia Grannis. From there, a live band called A Town A List kept everyone on their feet all night long. “They were amazing and so engaging with the crowd,” the bride shares. “The dance floor was absolutely packed the entire night and so much fun. Skyler loves early [aughts] rock, and we ended the night with everyone jumping and singing Blink 182 and The Killers at the top of their lungs.”
One last costume change was in store for the bride. Toward the end of the night, Anna slipped into a sparkly mini dress from Reem Acra and Jimmy Choo heels.
As the newlyweds left the venue, their guests waved them goodbye with Harry Potter-inspired wands from DH Gate. Looking back on the special day, the couple is filled with gratitude for their vendors—especially their planner, Wendy. “We truly could not have done any of it without her,” Anna says. “She is extremely talented, and made the planning painless and enjoyable for us while bringing creative ideas, beauty, and efficiency to the entire process and wedding weekend itself.” Someone who understands your vision and executes it to perfection? Now that is magic.