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Your Award-Winning Team Jeff Schmidt 817.681.7897

Terry Wooten 214.949.9285

Tom Ker 972.365.7022

NMLS 91368

NMLS 224831

NMLS 356892



Matt Authier 903.654.0145

Lance Wallace 903.571.9869

NMLS 1527367

NMLS 1146461




Adrian Sanchez 469.628.3868



Visit us online:

Office: 972.937.2200 | 1332 W. Hwy 287 Bypass, Suite-1 | Waxahachie, TX 75165 Gateway Mortgage Group is a registered service mark of Gateway Mortgage Group, LLC. NMLS 7233


Contact Us Today to Make Your Special Day Even More Glamorous Jennifer Hunt, Owner 214-267-8356 •



CALL US FOR A FREE CONSULTATION 972-298-8515 WILLIAM A. BROWN, D.D.S. F.A.G.D. General Dentistry 226 N. Cedar Ridge Rd. Duncanville, TX 75116

The Ultimate in Outdoor Living

As seen on GAC Channel’s “Cool Pools”, episode “a river runs through it”


Pools • Spas • Cabanas • Cottages • Lazy Rivers • Outdoor Kitchens

Lazy River Pool Company

Unique One-of-a-Kind Pools Our website will show you our custom-designed pools. No two pools are alike. We customize a pool to your home, style and budget.

Call for an appointment to see our showroom design center: 214.883.2779

1525 W. 287 BYPASS • WAXAHACHIE • WWW.LAZYRIVERPOOLS.COM Architectural Designs (Copyright 2019) Engineering Construction




volume 15


issue 4



Downtown Waxahachie provided the sweetest backdrop for fall fashion looks from Copper Rose!








Will it be a marriage made in design heaven? Courtney talks you through merging households (and beer fridges!) without losing your love. 42-44 ELLIS COUNTY MASTER GARDENERS Fall is here and ECMG has all the tips for moving into the most bountiful time of year.




46 BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE - WAXAHACHIE What to expect in sickness - helpful tips for newlyweds when the unexpected happens.

32 DIANE JOHNSON COLLARD Diane reflects on the loss of love and her iconic wedding dress. 34-35 WEDDING WANDERLUST Travel and vintage touches are the inspiration for this standout wedding decor inspired by the exotic Moroccan colors and splashes of color. 36 SARAH BRIGGS ON WEARABLE WEDDING JEWELRY Local jewelry designer and Instagram tastemaker Sarah Briggs gives you advice on choosing the right pieces for your big day and everyday thereafter. 38-40 WEDDING FEATURES We asked and the brides - and their mothers - responded! This wedding issue we featured two weddings that incorporated memories, sweet touches and family every step down the aisle.

48 Cindy Burch,

P lanning a P erfect Honeymoon

On the Cover...



Caves Jewelry was founded in November 1985 by Jerry Caves. Jerry had previously worked in the jewelry industry for 6 years prior to opening Caves Jewelry. Caves Jewelry started in a small office inside of a bank building with a single diamond in a suitcase and steadily evolved into the store it is today. Jerry, the store owner, is a GIA certified Gemologist and Caves Jewelry is accredited by the American Gem Society. Jerry and his son, Chris, are experts in diamond grading and buying. In their annual diamond buying trip to Antwerp, Belgium, Jerry and Chris sort through thousands of diamonds to hand-pick the most spectacular ones for their customers. This experience offers a unique memory to every Caves Jewelry customer! At Caves Jewelry, we strive to provide outstanding customer service and the highest quality of diamonds to all of our customers. We excel in creating custom jewelry and delivering quality repairs. We have skilled in-house jewelers that do our repairs and custom designs.


We will be moving our store to Midlothian the last week of October 2019. Our decision to move our store from Desoto, after 32 years, to Midlothian has been thoughtfully considered. We truly believe moving locations will start a new chapter in the town we have deeply rooted our family and called home for many years. Our new store will be located at 1020 Main St. in the heart of Midlothian. We will be adding more up-todate amenities to bring our customers, both old and new, an even greater jewelry-buying experience. It will feature a larger, beautiful bridal section full of new and flawless rings as well as a bigger custom design center where you can work with a custom jewelry expert on designing your dream ring. If handling your business in front of others isn’t for you, we are adding a semiprivate consultation room to meet with an experienced staff member about your jewelry needs. We will have many other special amenities that we cannot wait to reveal to everyone! In the meantime, we can still meet all of your jewelry needs at our current location at 220 E Pleasant Run Rd. Desoto, TX 75115.


220 E Pleasant Run Rd. Desoto, TX 75115 (972) 230-0950 |

EDITOR’S NOTE It’s Wedding Issue time!





This is our 15th wedding issue and the cover says it all. Vintage, glamour, memories, and sweet moments with friends and family define every trend we came across while researching this issue. If you are lucky enough to be planning a wedding in Ellis County soon, you are in luck. Vendors, creators, photographers, DJs, cake mavens and caterers here are some of the best in the state. Please look local and support these fantastic small businesses who will do more and give more to make your day the way you dreamed. Lastly, for a laugh and a reality check, flip to page 28 and read Courtney Warren’s advice for couples designing their new space.



- Meagan

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We are proud members of the Waxahachie, Ennis, Midlothian and Red Oak Chambers of Commerce. No portion of Ellis County Living Magazine shall be reprinted in any other publication without permission. The views expressed herein should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult your physician.





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A special thanks to all of our contributing writers.

Ellis County Living Magazine is published bi-monthly by ECL Media, Inc.© using only environmentally-friendly ink. Copyright 2019, ECL Media, Inc.© All rights reserved. For advertising information, please contact Ellis County Living Magazine at 972.935.0938 or

Fresh Fall FINDS Boy Smells For uniquely beautiful candle scents, check out Boy Smells. We especially love Dynasty, Ambrosia and Anjelica for that pop of color.

Machete Machete offers afforable statement jewelry with a modern flare. Check out their wide variety online!

w&p The Porter collection provides sustainable solutions for your busy lifestyle with their ceramic reusable bowl. It is microwave safe, dishwasher safe, and BPA free!

Wildflower We love this trendy and ultra fabulous phone case brand! Wildflower constantly has new designs to choose from to perfectly fit your personal style while standing out from the crowd.


Sunday Forever Shop simple and serene at Sunday Forever. Visit their website to see their wide variety of candles, home goods, sage + incense, perfume, jewelry, patches, crystals, kimonos, apparel and more!


August ENNIS FARMERS MARKET Every Saturday 8-noon 104 N McKinney

SATURDAY MORNINGS AT MINNIE Every Saturday 10am Free Family Friendly Programming Minnie McDowal Park

MIDLOTHIAN MIDLOTHIAN MARKET Heritage Park 8am-1pm Aug; 3, 17, 24, 31 Sept; 7, 17, 21, 28 Oct; 5, 12

WAXAHACHIE 2ND THURSDAY LADIES NIGHT OUT Every Month in Downtown Waxahachie with Participating Merchants from 5 pm-8 pm Aug 8 Sept 12 Oct 10 BOGO 2ND SATURDAY Participating Downtown Merchants Aug 10 Sept 14 Oct 12


// FALL 2019


WAXAHACHIE August 29; 8:30 - 10am COMMUNITY COFFEE @ WAXAHACHIE CIVIC CENTER The Waxhachie Chamber of Commerce is extremely excited to partner with the City of Waxahachie, Ellis County, and WISD to provide our citizens with a comprehensive annual update. This complimentary event will feature updates from Bonny Cain, Superintendent of WISD, Sandy King, President of Waxahachie Chamber of Commerce, Waxahachie Mayor David Hill, County Judge Todd Little, and Congressman Ron Wright.



August 23; 7am-7pm MIDLO MUTT HUT SUMMER BASH 1240 EASTGATE RD. UNIT C Midlo Mutt Hut will be hosting its first ever end of summer bash! it will be $35.00 to participate the proceeds will go towards new play equipment and kennels for Mutt Hut. We will have lots of pools and sprinklers set up. Your pup will also get a frozen treat and a printed photo from the party!

WAXAHACHIE September 2 WAXAHACHIE LABOR DAY TRIATHALON Lake Waxahachie September 7; 9 am-1 pm JUNK IN THE TRUNK Downtown Waxahachie   September 15; 12 pm-4 pm WAXAHACHIE BRIDAL EXTRAVAGANZA MARKET Waxahachie Civic Center For more information:  www.waxahachieciviccenter. org or 469-309-4000   September 21 C10S IN THE PARK TRUCK SHOW & PARTY ON THE SQUARE Getzendaner Park   September 27; Noon BROWN BAG & HISTORY AT ELLIS COUNTY MUSEUM Ellis County Museum For more information: 972-937-0681

September 28-29 WAXAHACHIE GUN & KNIFE SHOW Waxahachie Civic Center September 28 CHAUTAUQUA ASSEMBLY Chautauqua Auditorium in Getzendaner Park For more information:   September 28 LAST SATURDAY STROLL Participating Downtown Boutiques


September 14 41ST ANNUAL FOUNDER’S DAY Watkins Park Local vendors and food, history, music, fun and games for the whole family

MIDLOTHIAN September 7; 5-8 pm NATIONAL NIGHT OUT KICK OFF Community Park Midlothian Police Department will be hosting a National Night Out Kick-Off event at Midlothian Community Park on Saturday, September 7th from 530pm to 8pm. This is a family friendly event geared toward creating a spirit of unity in our City. In other words, “Putting the Unity in Community”. Food at the event is free! But, you must be registered in order to receive a ticket for the meals. In and Out Burger is providing 800 burger meals for this event - on a first come, first served basis. Learn more and register at September 21; 9am WILDFLOWER WALK Mockingbird Park Come be a nature nerd on a one hour walk covering a 1/2 mile trail identifying wildflowers September 21; 10a-2p ELLIS COUNTY PREPAREDNESS FAIR MISD Football Stadium



October 4-5, October 11-12, October 18-19, October 25-26 Fridays & Saturdays only SCREAMS HALLOWEEN THEME PARK For more information: or 972-938-3247   October 5 WAXAHACHIE CHAMBER AUCTION Waxahachie Civic Center For more information: or 972-935-0539   October 5 – 9 am-6 pm 5TH ANNUAL IOOF ODDFEST Singleton Plaza For more information:   October 12; 11 am 4TH ANNUAL FAMILY FESTIVAL HOSTED BY OUR SUNFLOWER FRIENDS Ellis County Expo Center An incredible day filled with games and entertainment.  All families and children are welcome and encouraged to attend. For more information:    October 17-20 AAA TEXAS NHRA FALL NATIONALS Texas Motorplex For more information:

ENNIS October 5th; 7-9p

JAZZ UNDER THE STARS Desctipion October 17th 5-10p PRE STAGE FAN FEST October 26th ENNIS AUTUMN DAZE Farmers Market Finale Monster Mash 5k Dash

October 25; Noon BROWN BAG & HISTORY AT ELLIS COUNTY MUSEUM Ellis County Museum For more information: 972-937-0681 October 25-27 BEAUTY AND THE BEAST – PRESENTED BY WAXAHACHIE COMMUNITY THEATRE Chautauqua Auditorium For tickets:  www.waxahachiecommunitytheatre. com   October 26; 9 am-7 pm TEXAS COUNTRY REPORTER FESTIVAL Historic Downtown Waxahachie For more information on the festival, call the Waxahachie Convention & Visitors Bureau at 469-309-4040 or visit    October 31; 3 pm-5 pm TRICK OR TREAT ON THE SQUARE Downtown Waxahachie


On Saturday, November 2, 2019 the community and beyond are invited to dine under the stars on the Historic Square of Downtown Waxahachie as Waxahachie High School Culinary Educator and Chef, Joel Skipper, and the high school culinary students prepare a five-course dinner, on-site, for all attendees. The harvest themed dinner will include produce, meats, greens and other ingredients provided by local farmers from the Waxahachie Downtown Farmers Market and other local resources. The Waxahachie Downtown Farmers Market, local civic, city, business, and other supporters are committed to supporting the Waxahachie High School Culinary Arts, Fine Arts and various other WHS students and educators. Under the guidance of the culinary teachers, the students will plan, prepare, create and serve, opening up the opportunity for each to grow their skills and interest. A portion of the proceeds will be presented to qualifying culinary students as scholarships for their future education. TICKETS ARE $100 PER PERSON AND WILL BE AVAILABLE AFTER SEPTEMBER 1 AT WWW. DOWNTOWNWAXAHACHIE.COM. SEATING IS LIMITED. FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT ARLENE HAMILTON, A.P.HAMILTON@ATT.NET OR CHEF SKIPPER, JSKIPPER@WISD.ORG.

October 1; 6-8pm NATIONAL NIGHT OUT Participating Neighborhoods Get your neighborhood involved by visiting the National Night Out Kick Off September 7. Then, on National Night Out, have an officer in your Neighborhood while you celebrate. October 19; 8a-3p FALL FESTIVAL & 5K MISD Football Stadium October 31 ; 4-6p DOWNTOWN TRICK OR TREAT Hertiage Park Visit Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Hall LIVING-MAGAZINE.COM // FALL 2019



“Fall in Texas doesn’t have to be a challenge! Pair a neutral, flattering sweater with white skinny jeans and open-toe booties, or take a neutral long-sleeve top and pair it with classic jeans and boots. Fringe leather purses and jewelry are a must!”


// FALL SUMMER 20192019

WITH COPPER ROSE How to look professional and cute for casual Friday at work: it’s easy! Pair a breezy white top with ultra-dark skinny jeans and open toe heels. Subtle leopard details in your structured leather handbag and shoes will show your personality too!

Copper Rose carries amazing lines of bags - our favorite for Fall are the layered leather designs, and whats not to love with pops of Louis Vuitton or tassles? Looking for that back-to-school look? A good sneaker is perfect! We love the camo sneaker paired with high-waisted boyfriend jeans and a crop sweater. Tie a scarf on your belt-loop for an easy statement.


Classic mules elevate any look! Pair a neutral dress with a denim jacket and mules to achieve that perfect Fall transitional look. Tie a scarf in your hair for an easy statement piece, and carry a trendy backpack!

Going out doesn’t always mean a dress. Grab a pair of high-waisted trend shorts and pair with a fitted top or bodysuit. A denim jacket is great to layer over this look, with mules to elevate it all! Pick up a leather clutch and you’re ready to go out on the town.

We’re always looking for an equally cute and casual outfit for strolling the town. Grab a pair of flattering boyfriend jeans and pair them with an off-theshoulder top and heels to pull your look together.

Photographer & Graphic Designer


// FALL 2019






Get inspired this fall with delicate & warm neutrals, pops of sparkle and self care essentials! Let the change of season spark new beauty explorations with these luxurious and functional products.

Moody Beauty


Don’t Sweat It

Prep & Protect




// FALL 2019




Smell Serene






You want beaches, he wants mountains, Puerto Vallarta has both. Tucked into a rocky bay on the Bahia de Banderas at the base of the Sierra Madre mountain range, this Mexican getaway has the best of both worlds. Has anyone every asked why most North Texans always opt for the Yucatan instead of venturing across the country? I hopped on a Friday morning flight out of DFW and two hours later I touched down in the beautiful city of Puerto Vallarta and felt transported from the touristy, spring break-ified, duty free shopping of Cancun and Cozumel. Puerto Vallarta has its heart set on showing you amazing views and delicious food. Puerto Vallarta became the place to be after Richard Burton filmed “The Night of the Iguana” in 1964 and brought his new fiancé Elizabeth Taylor to the small fishing village for the filming. The gossip was widespread during filming about the pair taking over the town that by the time the film’s Oscar nominations were announced, American tourists were flocking to see the lush wildlife featured. Burton liked it so much he bought a large estate nearby. Mexico built a well-appointed international airport that is quick to navigate and has routes from all over the US. Added bonus, there’s no time change for us Texans! The city of Puerto Vallarta stretches along the coastline so check where you are staying in relation to the airport to prepare yourself for the length of the taxi ride or your trip to dinner, it can take a little longer



than expected if you are staying further south. That said, we stayed at the fantastically convenient Velas Vallarta which is less than five minutes from the airport and the kind of all-inclusive resort you will actually enjoy. There is an adults only property across the way that may be preferable for couples, but the Velas Vallarta was so comfortable that both families and couples have plenty of room to eat, swim, sleep and repeat. Nestled along the bay, Velas Vallarta has an 18-hole championship golf course, three pools interconnected by canals and walkways and several restaurants for getting dressed up or staying in your bikini. I slipped on my all-inclusive bracelet and immediately found my new favorite drink, a tamarind margarita. Zingy, rich and ice cold, that margarita had a chili rim I’ve tried to replicate but can’t seem to swing. Maybe I just need a beach front view to make it perfect?




Velas Vallarta’s guest rooms are where you find the real value. We stayed in a suite with a full kitchen and long terrace perfect for cooking breakfast after a trip to the morning market or for building the perfect happy hour before dinner out. If you are a family looking for a resort that offers more than a buffet, Velas Vallarta’s suites can be connected with shared doors to share spaces between families and to share amenities. The property has several options for entertaining kids during the day including the Kids Club and nightly entertainment. My present to myself this trip was the gift of silence, a massage on the beach. It was serene and everything one needs for a real recharge. The Velas Vallarta Spa offers thse decadent beach front massages as well as full esthetician and nail services next to their fitness center.

It would be so easy to discount the cantina by the beach at Velas Vallarta, but the fresh seafood available in Puerto Vallarta is too good to pass up when its served in a fresh tortilla or an ice cold ceviche. We started our trip with unctuous tamales, a shrimp quesadilla and street-style corn tortilla tacos that were perfectly executed. Did I mention the margaritas are on point? They are also served all over the property at the swim up bar and in the beach side eatery.

It definitely caught me off guard when a friend recommended Café des Artistes “isn’t that in New York?” I asked. It may be, but this location is stunning compared to the concrete jungle. Stepping out of the taxi on to a small street outside of the main city square, Café des Artistes is almost built into the hillside. A majority of the dining is outdoors with tables tucked in between tree trunks, water features and modern art. The white tablecloth service is exceptional and welcoming. We experienced a special menu of regional Mexican specialties that included a pumpkin soup, deep fried zucchini blossoms and whole fish sautéed and served with beurre blanc. It was a beautiful fusion of French classics and Mexican flavors. Absolutely don’t skip dessert which is a spectacle of chocolate work, macarons and cakes served in flower pots.



Puerto Vallarta is definitely a city to explore if you are interested in different cuisines. Dining experiences are not limited to traditional Mexican food. The city has a fantastic food reputation and boasts good Thai, seafood, European cuisines that elevates this food destination to a new level.





When planning an event many details go into the preparations. One of the most, if not the most, important element for any party is the food. Some may say the music or the people, but really it is all about the food. I have a list of questions I always ask the customer when they inquire about catering • When is the party? Not the date or day (this is important too when booking, however it does not determine the types of food) • When? Means time of day, is this a morning, brunch, lunch, early afternoon, late afternoon, evening or night? • Where will the event be held? Inside/outside? In a home/public location? Seating and Tables? • How long will the food be out? • What is the age group for the majority of guest? • What is the occasion? Birthday/Wedding/Shower/Date Night? Fancy/Casual?

As a chef, I have customers that call and want something that they scrolled across on Pinterest or saw at an event and wish for me to duplicate. This can be difficult because the photo they are looking at is inside and their party is outside, or it is fall in the photo was taken in the summer. The season and the time of the day will impact the heat that is projected onto the food. The amount of time the food is going to be out for guest is the number one thing I consider when choosing what to put out on a tasting platter. There are cheeses that you would not want on a board that is going to be out for 2 or more hours; some melt others dry out. I love finding great cheeses that taste great and hold up well. My favorite is a Drunken Goat and Home Grown Market’s Pimiento Cheese. Charcuterie Boards have made a significant impact on party platters with their sustainability. The demographics of the party will determine what is out for the party too. The old, young, adventurous palate, meat, and potatoes kind of people? Often the age group of the party determines seating and table set up.

If the party has limited seating, it is not ideal for serving foods that require a plate and a fork. It is difficult to balance your drink and eat at the same time. If there are Tall Boys (the small tall tables you stand at), your guest can set down their drink while they eat. This setup makes it not so difficult to eat off a plate with a fork. Many occasions I have seen (mostly couples) do team eating; one holds both drinks while the other eats and feeds the one holding the drinks. To eliminate this issue, keep in mind foods that do not require utensils or items that are only one bite. Lastly, the occasion will contribute to what you are placing on your buffet or passing around to your guest if the event is low key…keep the food low key. I know you are saying, duh…. but most people try and “show off” or go overboard. Keep things simple. Sometimes, this will be better than going over the top. Of course, weddings fall into a separate category all their own!

Side Note- Also sauces and dips… one wants to use a squirt bottle that has air holes in them…. they go to squeeze it onto their plate and it either squirts out and splashes back on you or a piece of onion or parsley gets stuck at the top blows off causing the contents to pour onto you, the table and the floor. So now a guest’s clothes are stained and you have to clean up the mess. Chef Lucy Braddock was born and raised in Ennis Texas. After graduating from Ennis High in 2004 she left her home town to attend college. She graduated from Blinn with an Associates in Science December of 2006. In August of 2007 she began her studies at the Art Institute of Dallas for Culinary Arts. December 2008, she received her chef certification and a degree in Applied Science. Since graduating she has worked various jobs in the culinary field in Dallas. She has worked as a cook in kitchens that include Dallas Country Club, Oak Restaurant, Two Sisters Catering, as a private residential chef and most recently as the Purchasing Manager for Northwood Club. Lucy moved back to Ennis in 2018, with her son, to open Home Grown Market where she is the chef and owner.





Recently I gave an informal poll on the @CourtneyWarrenHome Instagram page, posing this question What two things do men care about most in a room? The hilarious feedback ranged widely. The answers varied from beer fridge and poker table, to whiskey and black out shades (in order to better see the TV, of course). These comical answers are further evidence that men and women do not have the same priorities when it comes to home design. I cannot imagine an instance in which a woman would tell me, “No matter what this room looks like, the beer fridge is the



centerpiece of the space. Create the entire room around it.’! Obviously, men and women are different in the best ways. Which means merging households and belongings can be tricky— but only if you enter it unprepared. It is crucial to ask the right questions that will help you keep the peace as you enter your new home and your life together.

1. What is the deal breaker? Some items we have in our home just because we have never gotten rid of them, and some actually that bring us joy. When merging households, find out what the top three-five favorite items are for your spouse. Then decide that no matter what, those are off limits. Once you decide what you must keep, you can figure out what you don’t need. Unless it is a singing plastic fish. You should always discard a plastic singing fish. 2. What do you need? Now that you know what you cannot get rid of, everything else is fair game. Keep this in mind as you pair through duplicates, broken items and outdated accessories. Do this quickly - don’t linger on things that don’t really matter to each of you.


3. What is the look you want to create? Creating a new home is not only about what you don’t want. It is also about looking together towards the future. Is there a look you both love? Can you mix your favorite styles? Next evaluate the current items you have- do the items you are keeping move you toward the new style you are moving toward? If not, they don’t make the cut. If you are not sure of your own style, I can send you a free quiz that will help you determine it. See the box below! 4. Who is more invested in the outcome? Often in my experience in working with couples, there is someone in the home that really cares about the look. The other person might want things to be nice, but not have a huge interest in carrying it out. This can vary from couple to couple. If this is the case in your home, give the more interested party authority to make 85% of decisions. As long as that person doesn’t touch the deal breakers, you can trust that he or she will be happiest in the place she has invested in and create a lovely outcome for both of you. Of course, make sure you communicate the things you DO care about, and leave the rest to the discretion of your spouse. After all, you now share everything. This includes the design of your home!

Does all this talk leave you feeling like you are not sure how to create that dream space? Let me answer some of those common questions for you. Give me a holler on facebook, instagram, or email and I would love to help.

“Often when I assist couples in designing their dream space, the design plan morphs to a bit of marriage counseling, sometimes with me playing referee. After all, people feel quite passionate about their space and belongings. The great news is that our home is a reflection of the people in it, which means that there is room enough for a bit of all our styles!” -Courtney

You can find me @courtneywarrenhome

Need help figuring out your signature style? Take the free quiz! Just text HAPPY HOME To 245874 on your phone.

meet courtney

Courtney is an an award-winning interior designer who specializes in decorating, renovation & home staging to help stuck people adore their home. She loves her Waxahachie historic cottage and have been published 3 times in National magazines for Better Homes and Garden’s Special Publications. She lives in her 5th renovated historic home in Waxahachie with her 2 boys & husband, who is a local pastor. Her and Joel love creating beauty so much that they launched Screen Door Home Company, where they renovate to restore beauty to historic homes around Ellis County. You will find her wearing flip flops rather than heels and drinking a Sonic Diet Dr. Pepper. She loves to make new friends so come say hi around town! Follow her daily projects on Instagram at @courtneywarrenhome & @ screendoorhomeco and see her work at







After writing an article in every issue of Living since the very first one, I have felt the absence of writing for several issues. Every time an issue came out, I was saddened, as I did not have a contribution. However, life has a way of bringing surprises that are not always pleasant. After five months of being in ICU, my precious husband, Les Collard, went to be with the Lord. Obviously my life since the fall of last year has been turned upside down. However, this wedding issue gives me the opportunity to both honor him and get back in the saddle with the magazine. When asked to write for the wedding issue, I was really stumped. I don’t feel particularly creative right now, so design was out. I, also, was totally blank about any topic related to a wedding. This morning the light came on — what better thing to talk about than my own wedding dress. Wedding dresses are so personal. They have to be just exactly right. They have to reflect our personality, our lifestyle, and our hopes for the future. Whether you are having a $100,000 country club wedding or a small family wedding in a barn, the dress is most important of all. Other than photos, it is probably the only thing you will keep forever. I got divorced in 1987. Shortly after that, I saw a dress in Frivolous Kates, a popular

boutique here in Waxahachie at the time that I fell in love with. Kate’s was the most fun place to shop. Everything was out of the ordinary.

This dress was ivory crochet with a jagged hemline. It reeked of Victorian elegance, which was all the rage at the time, but it also looked like it was hand made by someone’s grandmother in the 1920s. It was me. I decided to buy that dress. I had no place to wear it, but I said that I would wear it at my next wedding if I ever had one. There were absolutely no prospects at the time, but I had my wedding dress hanging in the closet, just in case. In 2003 I married Les Collard. I was going to wear my favorite dress, finally. It was exactly what I wanted all those years later. I love looking at our wedding pictures. My older brother gave me away, which was such a special thing for me, as he has since past. My sister in law, who has been like my sister since I was 20, was my bridesmaid. We each had a grandchild standing with us as ring bearer and flower girl. My dear friends Barbara Hill and Leslie Bruce both sang at my wedding. Barbara wore my wedding dress to one of her grandchildren’s weddings a couple of years ago. She needed a dress and didn’t want to

buy anything, so I took several things for her to try. It was a slam dunk. No question, she had to wear my wedding dress. Here it was, thirty years later and my dress was still perfect for my dear friend to repurpose at someone else’s wedding. And why not? A wedding dress is forever, just like our love is supposed to be. For 16 years, my sweet husband was the father my girls never had. A precious grandfather to our blended thirteen grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. A dear friend to so, so many. And, most of all, what I thought he would be, my loving companion for the rest of my life. Life is full of surprises, but the memories we have are forever, just like our wedding dresses. Repurposed or not, a woman never forgets what she looked like on her wedding day. I never felt more beautiful. Have a wonderful fall. Enjoy the weddings you attend, whether they are yours or that of someone you love. You are helping to make memories. I miss you, Sweetheart. Diane

meet diane

Diane Johnson Collard has been decorating Ellis Country since 1983. She has designed and built homes as well as completing scores of remodeling projects. Her great love is restoring the old homes of Waxahachie. She has written articles for every edition of Living Magazine since the first edition was published. Diane had a five year run with Good Morning Texas as their design consultant and completed many projects for the cameras. Contact Diane at 972-935-8899






wedding wanderlust


We all know that weddings are the ultimate reflection of the tastes and interests of the couple celebrating. Here is a beautiful take on adding vintage touches and Moroccan wanderlust influences at the popular venue Firefly Gardens in Midlothian.

Blending textures, prints and lots of color to bring this room to life, especially when creating alternative seating arrangements! This Moroccan tea service is adorned with traditional poufs brought back from Morocco by Mary Baskin, owner of The English Merchant’s Inn and the new English Merchant’s Parlour on the square in downtown Waxahachie.



Why rent basic place settings when you can bring “something old” to the table. Patterned china is having a moment in the wedding industry. It adds interest, colors and a little whimsy to a tablescape. Add in real vintage silver to add a touch of luxury to the sit down dinner. Don’t be afraid to mix and match throughout your wedding. The different glassware, textured table covers and palm leaves will draw in your guests, creating a memorable event they will adore.

contributors VENUE Firefly Gardens

FLOWERS Fresh Flowers and Gatherings CHINA & MOROCCAN DECOR English Merchant’s Parlour, Mary Baskin

The all-white backdrop of Firefly Gardens allows the vivid colors of the flower arrangements to pop! The addition of fresh fruit around the cake adds to the exotic elements of the decor.

CAKE It’s Gonna Be Sweet Bakeshop PHOTOGRAPHY Jason and Laurie Ruiz Photography MODEL Sarah Paige Kennedy LIVING-MAGAZINE.COM // FALL 2019




Local artisan styles modern brides with any taste STORY BY ERICA TODD PHOTOS COURTESY OF SARAH BRIGGS

ear cuffs

Herkimer Diamond

SARAH BRIGGS With 15 years of jewelry designing under her belt, Sarah Briggs knows exactly what any bride needs to complete her look on that special day. Aesthetically pleasing to the eye, you can see her passion for stability and long-term wear in each piece. Whether it be a classic hoop or a trendy ear cuff you will be delighted with how you feel when wearing Sarah Briggs jewelry. Located along Hwy 77 you can find her 3500 sq. ft. showroom where locally hired artisans are working to showcase Sarah’s designs. Each artisan plays an integral part in the growth of Sarah Briggs Jewelry. In our world that is ever-changing with the rapid growth of e-commerce, the women of Ellis County and surrounding areas are so lucky to be able to support Sarah locally.




Each piece Sarah Briggs manufactures comes from a place of sustainability and expression. “I want her jewelry to go with her”, Sarah expresses. Meaning that she does not want the woman wearing her jewelry to feel weighed down by her pieces and be worn in layers or individually based on your goal look. Light on the touch yet completely unique, you will not have to worry about any tarnishing or dangling weight on your big day. Being locally manufactured is one unique component of Sarah Briggs, but the other is that all of her pieces are gold filled or sterling silver. This enables you to have timeless pieces that can succumb any amount of years and can be passed down from one generation to the other.


When asked what advice she would give a bride when picking out Sarah Briggs Jewelry for her wedding day she recommends mixing rose and gold, “Rose really adds that femininity and romantic touch to your special day”. Sarah also says to go for that trendy ear cuff as it can add to the unique bridal statement you want to make. You can find all of Sarah’s suggestions under the “Sarah’s Faves” tabs on her website.







n recent years, wedding planning has gone to a whole new level. The bar has been raised, and couples are trying to keep up. The expectations associated with creating the “best day ever” can bring couples to the point of exhaustion as well as stretch financial capacity to the max. But what if a few pointers could help guide the process? And keep expenses within budget? In the end, I think we can all agree that the most beautiful of weddings are those with a lot of heart. Those that remind us of our connections to loved ones past and present. The wedding of Julia & Galen was just that. As their wedding photographer, I was impressed with how thoughtful and resourceful this couple was. Their special day left an imprint on my heart. Maybe it was the nonstop grinning grandmothers who posed as their flower girls? Perhaps it was Julia’s cherished family home as the ceremony backdrop? The saying “it takes a village to raise a child” could be applied to wedding planning. It took a village of Julia and Galen’s family and friends to lovingly put this wedding together. Who You Know All of us have loved ones that are skilled at one thing or another. Baking? Handwriting? Thrifting? Gardening? Julia recruited family and friends to help in areas of the wedding. An aunt baked the cakes, several friends with great handwriting did the signs, program, menu sign, drink menu, etc. Galen’s grandfather allowed the couple to use his vintage 1955 Bel Air for their transportation. The mismatched vintage dinner plates belonged to a family member. And the list goes on! Don’t be afraid to ask family and friends to be active participants. You’ll be surprised at how much they want to help, and it makes for richer memories. Just be sure to thank them personally for all their hard work. Heirlooms The diamonds on Julia’s wedding ring were a combination of stones of other wedding rings belonging to strong marriages in the family. She also incorporated a late family member’s pin onto her bouquet. The couple ate their first meal as a married couple on Galen’s parents’ china. These details only enriched the couple’s love story. These are items of no cost and only bring more meaning to already cherished heirlooms.



Traditions Traditions serve a purpose of connection and familiarity. But, one should never feel limited by them. Julia and Galen asked their grandmothers to be their flower girls. And it was such a hit! The bridesmaids also wore a beautiful floral print that complimented Julia’s bouquet. They were not your typical matching bridesmaid dresses. Don’t be afraid to take old traditions and give them a twist!

Personality It was important to Julia and Galen that the wedding reflect who they are and the things they enjoy. Both like gardening, the outdoors, and books. They incorporated some of their favorite herbs and plants such as lavender, mint, and rosemary for their confetti bar. Julia purchased an old gardener’s encyclopedia (which she thrifted) and used the pages for several décor items, such as the for the seating assignments, table numbers, and cones that held the confetti. The table centerpieces consisted of terracotta pots and plants that were collected over several months. All of these items added to the garden feel of the wedding- organic and earthy. And let me not forget the love Julia and Galen have for their adorable Irish Wolfhound fur baby. He lazily hung around the bridal party as they got dressed and later made an appearance for several photos. Weddings are a time of celebration, not stress! To future brides, I say, let your heart be your guide. Guests will remember how you made them feel. Things won’t go perfectly (they never do), so embrace the day and make it a celebration of love.

Photography: Rebecca Chesney Photo & Film Day of Coordinator & Florals: Fresh Flowers and Gatherings Make Up: Phoenix Beauty Team Hair: Top Knot Hair Studio Rentals: Lone Star Jewelry: Megan Thorne Invitations: Kristin Hess Venue: Private Home LIVING-MAGAZINE.COM // FALL 2019





always thought the perfect day did not exist until March 30, 2019. My husband, Erik and I had the pleasure of saying “I do” in front of all our family and friends. Me being from the Czech heritage, big weddings are the usual way to go (partly due to family size), but when I saw Old Bison Ranch, I knew that was the place where we were to be married. With that being said, we did keep some traditions going. A great benefit of being from a large Czech family is knowing some of the best cooks. Our guests enjoyed brisket, klobase, parsley potatoes, green beans, and last but not least, sauerkraut!  Our cakes were made by Pour Some Sugar Cake Shop. I loved that I was able to pick a different flavor for each tier for the bride and groom’s cake because I had a hard time choosing my favorite.   The beautiful landscaping and outdoors area with the large oak tree cascading over the alter made the location a no brainer (even though it decided to be a colder than normal day).  Our  well known and amazing photographer, Jina Armstrong, was able to capture the beauty of the venue well.   When it came to the dress, I had a vision of an off the shoulder dress. Finding that dress was not an easy task. My search ended with the last dress I tried on at Circle Park Bridal Boutique. The stylist asked me to trust her with putting lace straps on a strapless dress and my perfect dress was born.   To further complete the look, my hair was fixed by my best friend while the bridesmaids and mothers were fixed by  Bree  Carpenter.  Sage Campbell did a phenomenal job of doing 13 peoples make up in time for pictures before the ceremony!    Another part of the Czech tradition is performing the Grand March after dinner to kick off  the dancing festivities. Victor Cerda from Sassy Red Photography was so easy to work with when it came to the song list and when each song was to be played. He did a great job choosing songs the rest of the evening that kept people on the dance floor and enjoying our day. For weeks after the wedding, we had guests telling us that he Grand March was the favorite part. The flowers for the bouquets, boutonnieres, and cake table were designed and made by Apple  Annie’s Garden  Gate in Ennis. Along with beautiful decorations, and endless amounts of help decorating, the day would not have gone as smoothly without our wedding coordinator Suzie Betik. Our day was perfect!


// FALL 2019

our vendors

Photography: Jina Armstrong Ceremony + Reception: Old Bison Ranch Day of Coordinator: Suzie Betik Florals: Apple Annie’s Garden Gate Cake: Pour Some Sugar Cake Shop DJ: Victor Cerda from Sassy Red Photography Make Up: Sage Campbell Hair: Top Knot Hair Studio Dress: Gown: Circle Park Bridal Boutique










Plant these fall vegetables early in the month: beans, cucumbers and squash. Follow up late in the month with transplants of broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage and cauliflower. Acclimate transplants to full sun before planting. Water immediately after planting. Plant bluebonnet and other spring wildflowers starting this month. Select a sunny, well-drained area with minimal vegetation. If planting into existing vegetation, mow area as short as possible; then lightly disturb with a disk or rake. Drag seeded area to ensure good seed-soil contact. Plant fall-flowering bulbs such as spider lily, naked lady lily, rain lily, oxblood lily and fall crocus. Place in the ground twice as deep as the diameter of the bulb. Dig and divide daffodils, daylilies, iris, liriope, oxalis, and other spring-flowering perennials.

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Extreme Chemical Usage – In 2001 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Americans used around 888 million pounds of conventional pesticides. These include: insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and rodenticides. An IPM or Integrated Pest Management system can help reduce the amount of pesticides we use. The goal of IPM is not to eradicate pests, but to eliminate pest problems by strengthening and stabilizing the landscape so that conditions are more favorable for plants than pests. This balance is achieved by employing a combination of practices to prevent or avoid pest problems rather than treating them once they occur. For more information go to







Caladiums require plenty of water if they are to remain lush and active until fall. Fertilize with 21-0-0 at the rate of 1/3 to 1/2 pound per 100 square feet of bed area and water thoroughly. Plants with yellowed leaves and dark green veins may be suffering from iron deficiency. Apply an iron/sulfur product. Prune bush roses by removing dead canes and weak, spindly growth. Cut back tall, vigorous bushes to about 30 inches. Then apply a complete fertilizer and water in for beautiful fall blooms. Pinch flowers from coleus, basil, mint, caladiums and other plants where flower buds and flowers stop production of new foliage.

By now you know the real winners and losers in your landscape. Replace the “losers” with a Texas Superstar®. These plants have been tested and proven to be outstanding performers under our growing conditions. Visit for a list of these amazing stars. Control fire ants in your lawn with mound treatments, as opposed to baits, since ants are foraging less now. Organic insecticides such as pyrethrins and spinosad can be sprinkled on or drenched into the mound. Continue to follow the “Homeowners Fruit and Nut Spray Schedule” to protect pecan trees against pecan weevils and hickory shuckworms, and to control peach tree borers on peach and plum trees. Order spring-flowering bulbs for planting in November and December. Remember 'biggest is best' in regard to bulb size. Be aware of "bargain" bulbs as they may be small or of inferior quality.

13th Annual Ellis County Master Gardener's 2019 Gardening Calendar PICK ONE UP TODAY!




Learn more from Ellis County Master Gardeners Association at:




blanket, Indian paintbrush, Mexican hat, plains coreopsis, purple coneflower and evening primrose. Sow seeds in areas that are free of grasses and lightly tilled. Lightly rake area to get good seed-soil contact before watering.


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Plant these fall vegetables now: beets, carrots, “greens” (mustard, collard, turnip), kale, lettuce, radishes and spinach. Lawn establishment using warm-season grasses such as Bermudagrass, St. Augustine, zoysia and buffalograss should be completed early in the month. Overseed established Bermudagrass lawns with perennial ryegrass this month, if desired. Plant these fall-blooming annuals from bedding plants before buds have opened: marigolds, petunias, asters, pinks, snapdragons and mums. Wait until cooler weather to plant pansies, violas and ornamental cabbages and kale. Complete sowing bluebonnets to ensure spring flowers. For season-long color, purchase a wildflower mix that contains annuals and perennials, as well as coolseason and warm-season plants such as bluebonnets, black-eyed Susan, Indian




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Plant cool-season annuals such as pinks, snapdragons and ornamental cabbages and kale early in the month. Wait until temperatures have cooled to plant pansies and violas. Complete planting these fall vegetables early in the month: radishes, spinach and turnips. Last chance to sow wildflowers in order to have blooms next spring. Always purchase “fresh” seed. Purchase spring-flowering bulbs while selection is good. Chill tulip and Dutch hyacinth at 45°F for 60 days prior to planting. Daffodil and grape hyacinth require no special handling but should be stored in a cool location until planting (soil temperature below 55° F). Recommended daffodil varieties include Ice Follies, Fortune, Carlton, Cheerfulness and Tahiti. Fall is a great time to set out perennial herbs, including thyme, oregano, rosemary,




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Apply high-nitrogen fertilizer (4-1-2 ratio) on lawns and shrubs to prepare plants for fall and winter. Container plants will benefit from using high-nitrogen, water-soluble fertilizers. Tidy up summer perennials by removing dead and faded flower stems and seed stalks. Continue through fall. Root-prune trees and shrubs to be transplanted this winter. Cutting the roots around the plant with a spade will stimulate new root growth in what will become the soil ball when plant is moved.

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Extreme Invasion - Cricket outbreaks are one of the most predictable pest events of the year in most areas of Texas. Known as black field crickets, or just field crickets, outbreaks occur when large numbers of nymphs complete their development and embark on nighttime mating flights.


Watch for cutworms and looper caterpillars on young leafy vegetables. Products containing Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) are safe to control these pests. Control aphids with a strong spray of water or insecticidal soap. Attention, Christmas cactus owners! To initiate flower buds, give the plants bright light each day followed by 12-14 hours of total darkness at night, for 30 days starting mid-month. And keep night temperatures under 65° F.



Apply a pre-emergent herbicide to lawns early in the month to control winter weeds. Depending on the type of weed targeted, it may be necessary to apply two products

parsley, lemon balm, pineapple sage and Mexican mint marigold. Work a few inches of compost into soil prior to planting and mulch the plants after planting.





Remove annuals that have completed their life cycle. Leave seed pods to self-seed next year (cleome, cosmos, four o’clock). Continue to feed tropical plants in containers and hanging baskets with a water-soluble fertilizer. Cut back or repot overgrown houseplants and fertilize with same fertilizer. Spring and summer-flowering shrubs and vines (including climbing roses, wisteria, etc.) should not be pruned at this time because they have already established their buds for next year’s bloom. Prune these plants immediately after they stop blooming next year.



Watch for brown-patch fungus on St. Augustine lawns. Water only in the mornings and apply turf fungicide at first sign of fungus.

– one for grassy weeds (annual bluegrass, ryegrass, etc.) and another for broadleafed weeds (chickweed, clover, dandelions, henbit, etc.). Make final application of Image® or SedgeHammer® before mid-month to control nutsedge in warm-season lawns. Remove webworms from pecan trees. Cut off the ends of branches as soon as the webs appear. Tear open large webs to expose worms for the birds. Spraying is not practical. Spray roses suffering from black spot and powdery mildew with labeled fungicide. Prepare beds for spring-flowering bulbs. Add organic matter to improve water drainage.




Extreme Trees – Mesquite trees are considered one of the toughest, most invasive species of brush in the world. This thorny and extremely drought tolerant native is considered a weed species by farmers and ranchers.




BY BAYLOR SCOTT & WHITE MEDICAL CENTER - WAXAHACHIE It’s a time-honored tradition. Couples entering marriage take vows to stick by their spouse, “for richer or poorer,” and, “in sickness and in health.” While not every married couple will experience post-nuptial times of poverty or wealth, every family is certain to face health challenges during a marriage. Hopefully, those challenges will be relatively minor and can be treated at home or in a doctor’s office. But in the event of something possibly more serious, it’s important to understand when to go to and what to expect at a hospital Emergency Department (ED). THE RIGHT VENUE Should a medical issue that needs care by a professional arise, the first step is determining whether it needs to be addressed in a hospital ED or another care setting. A trip to the ED or call to 911 is appropriate for any potentially lifethreatening condition and these symptoms: »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »» »»


chest pain sudden loss of balance, vision change, facial droop, arm or leg weakness difficulty breathing severe stomach pain coughing/vomiting blood deep cuts/wounds severe burns severe head injury poisoning, overdoses and suicidal behavior


“We’re always willing to treat anyone, and we want to do so as quickly as possible. But serious, life-threatening cases are always going to get priority,” says Todd Aspegren, MD, who serves as medical director of the Baylor Scott & White Medical Center – Waxahachie ED. That may mean a longer wait for certain patients as EDs do not typically operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. It’s part of the reason why symptoms such as allergies, earaches, back pain, flu, sprains, and minor cuts and burns should usually be seen in other care settings such as the doctor’s office or walk-in clinic if possible. WHY THE WAIT? The waiting room of hospital EDs may not always be full. However, that doesn’t mean the ED is not busy. Some EDs–like Baylor Scott & White – Waxahachie have patients wait in treatment rooms if available, rather than in the waiting room. Additionally, the types of patients receiving treatment can impact wait times. “If we have a critically ill patient, it takes a provider – or multiple providers – a long time because they have to devote all their time to staying with that patient rather than rotating between patients,” Dr. Aspegren explains. Typically, caregivers rotate between patients in the ED. But serious cases, including those

patients who arrive by ambulance, often demand more time from more providers. This can cause a bottleneck in the care process, creating delays for patients with less serious medical issues. While it may be frustrating for patients who must wait, the dedicated attention and resources are probably what most people would expect from an ED team if it was their spouse or loved one facing a potentially lifethreatening medical issue. Dr. Aspegren also notes that the time of day frequently plays a role in ED wait times. “From 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. is an extremely busy time, where we often see surges of patients all checking in at once.” All these factors not only explain why wait times in EDs can be long, but underscore the importance of families establishing a relationship with a primary care physician. A primary care physician can both provide regular check-ups and address less serious medical issues as they arise often without the wait. Physicians provide clinical services as members of the medical staff at one of Baylor Scott & White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliated medical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of those medical centers or Baylor Scott & White Health.




I HAVE LISTED A FEW STEPS TO HELP MAKE IT A SUCCESSFUL AND ROMANTIC ADVENTURE: A honeymoon is a special time and should be a memorable experience. However, planning for a honeymoon can be a daunting task with everything else swirling around in the life of a soon to be bride and groom. There are so many options to consider, from worldly destinations to realistic budgets. Every couple is different. Some couples want to be dropped on a beach and not have to move for 7 days. Other couples are looking for a more adventurous honeymoon filled with hiking to waterfalls or skiing the Swiss Alps. Some couples are looking to cross something off their bucket list – like a safari in Africa, or a riverboat through the Amazon. And some couples imagine themselves roaming around Europe with gelatos in hand and seeing everything there is to see. One of my favorite recommendations for a honeymoon destination is Portugal. This unsung European country has finally solidified its place on the honeymoon hot list—and deservedly so. It is home to adorable coastal cities like Porto, top-producing wine regions in the Douro River Valley, hippie-chic beach towns like Comporta, and the spectacular Azores archipelago. Most young people in Portugal speak English and go out of their way to be friendly and helpful. The food and lodging is much more affordable than most European destinations and there are so many amazing things to see and do. If you don’t have time to apply for passports and want nothing but sun, sea and sand, then the US Virgin Islands or Hawaii are great choices. For winter wonderlands with snow I would recommend Jackson Hole for an upscale rustic lodge vibe or Santa Fe for a romantic casita with the smell of pinion wood wafting in the cool crisp air. Although I am a big fan of private villas or vacation home rentals, if you plan to travel from one place to another every few days it makes more sense to book hotel rooms. I like small boutique hotels that have the flavor of the country you are visiting, rather than large hotel

chains with rooms that all look alike. I usually search on for the top-rated hotels and then cross reference them with a site called Small Luxury Hotels of the World. Once I find a few hotels that interest me I start checking online rates. However, if you call the hotel directly you can usually get a better price. I also learned a little trick from an expat owner of a boutique hotel in Istanbul who contracts with online booking sites. She is required to save a percentage of her rooms for those contracted companies, so if a hotel shows they have no vacancy you might find rooms left through sites such as Expedia and I was recently trying to book a hotel in Spain and was told they were full so I jumped online and was able to grab two rooms through If you don’t mind paying up front there is a great site called that offers exclusive deals on the world’s greatest properties. All of the resorts and hotels they feature are hand-selected by their globe-trotting correspondents with special deals lasting just a few days. I was able to book a premium room at a five star hotel in Madrid for $167/night that normally goes for $682/night. If all the research and time isn’t your thing in finding the perfect place to stay then booking a cruise is a good option. Just make sure you are not planning a cruise during spring break or holidays where you are sure to have numerous children on board. If you want to do something truly unique, I recommend Lindblad Expeditions. Operating a fleet of small ships, Lindblad can nose into ports where large cruise ships cannot go. Lindblad’s emphasis is on active exploration, learning and sustainable tourism in places like Alaska, Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands. Remember your honeymoon is a much-needed respite after months of wedding prep. For many couples, it’s also the trip of a lifetime, but it does take planning.

Cindy Burch and her husband, Andrew, own and operate The Doves Nest in historic downtown Waxahachie. Cindy is also a freelance writer, caterer and consultant. Her award-winning cookbook, “The Doves Nest Restaurant: New American Recipes From A Historic Texas Town,” is in its fifth printing.



Cindy Burch

* Start Early to Get the Best Rooms and Prices

The ideal time to book your honeymoon is six to eight months prior, especially if you're planning to go to a specialized or popular resort, as premium rooms will book up early. Upon check- in, don’t be afraid to ask for another room if you don’t like the one a hotel has assigned you.

* Don't Rely Entirely on Web Research

Post to social media and crowd-source your friends for recommendations. Talk to friends and family who have been to the destinations you are considering and get their opinion.

* Consider Using a Travel Agent

If you want extra guidance planning your honeymoon, a travel agent can come in handy. They can save you endless research time and can offer first-hand destination knowledge and be a good resource in case of emergencies. Highly consider purchasing travel insurance as well.

* Set Aside an Appropriate Budget

Make sure you understand what is included in the cost of your bookings — for example, does your hotel rate include breakfast and transportation to and from the airport? If you are flying to Asia or Africa have you budgeted for vaccines and visas, which can be costly.

* Balance Adventure with Relaxation

Explore new lands and take part in exciting activities together, but also take time to recharge before getting back to reality. Many couples will get so excited to finally get to go on their dream trip together, that they try to cover too many things in a limited amount of time, which can be exhausting, and not the point of a honeymoon! Take time for each other, and make sure to schedule some resort days to soak up some R&R&R (rest, romance, and relaxation).

* Don't Wing It

It may be tempting to choose a destination and just figure out accommodations and dinner as you go, but remember, your honeymoon isn't like any other vacation. Give yourself a break by planning an itinerary and making sure you have confirmed reservations for everywhere you want to stay. It’s a good idea to have special dinner reservations and any activities secured as well, especially if you are traveling to a destination during peak tourist months.

* Let the Airline and Hotel Know it’s your Honeymoon

If your flight isn’t full most flight attendants will try to upgrade a couple on their honeymoon and many hotels offer honeymoon packages that include couples massages and other perks that you would have to pay for otherwise.

Profile for Ellis County Living Magazine

Fall 2019 Ellis County Living Magazine  

Fall 2019 Ellis County Living Magazine