christina and matt – love story – perkins chapel wedding by carter

A bike ride across the Golden Gate Bridge, a solo trek to a lookout point in a windy drizzle – and then the proposal. That was the romantic moment that kicked off a 13-month engagement for Southern Methodist University sweethearts Christina Denissen and Matt Hale.
She, a McKinney-raised nuclear plant inspector, and Matt, a Tulsa, Oklahoma native who works at a private equity firm, had been dating a little more than three years at the time of the proposal. It was perfect timing – Christina was in San Fransisco for a three-month work stint. What makes them click so well? “We are both very much doers,” Christina says.
The two got right to work on the big-day details. The must-include list was minimal for both – they had no plans, other than keeping the guest list to 200 friends and family members. “We didn’t want a circus wedding, we wanted one with personal touches,” Christina says. “And we had a lot of fun planning it together.”
The couple hired wedding planner Holly Tripp (“engineer and finance majors are not your more creative planners,” Christina says with a laugh), and got to work. In came the personality: a beanbag toss and slider appetizers during a garden cocktail hour – tributes to SMU tailgating — and baklava favors for guests as a nod to their Mediterranean cruise honeymoon. The groom’s cake was a “huge” airplane — Matt has his pilot’s license.
Family and friends pitched in on the details, too – Christina’s grandmother made the cone flower-petal holders and friends helped craft “C” and “M” embossed straws over a few glasses of wine. “Our theme was including all of our family,” Christina says. “My mother-in-law’s bracelet was something borrowed – even Matt’s brother caught the garter.”
Christina loved her mother’s lace gown, though it was too short (she’s nine inches taller). But she found the perfect dress – the third she tried on – an Elizabeth Fillmore gown from Warren Barrón Bridal. It’s rumored that hers was one of the last to include hand-sewn lace crafted by one of the label’s renowned lace maker, who recently passed away. “I wanted something really flowing, not poofy,” Christina says.
Bridesmaids in navy and an all-natural floral scheme kept to the garden-party setting; The Wildflower brought in lots of fresh flowers, including one of Christina’s favorites, Bells of Ireland. “We did an array of green and white,” she says.
But the night’s highlight: A big surprise from Matt. After Christina had expressed some pre-first-dance jitters – she was concerned about keeping the beat to a band – Matt flew in singer Michelle Featherstone who sang “We are Man and Wife,” for the couple. “I was so surprised,” Christina says.
Back to the magic proposal: It was fortuitous. The couple is moving to California in September, where Matt will pursue his M.B.A. “We had no idea at the time he proposed, but it was meant to be,” Christina says.




Dress: Elizabeth Fillmore from Warren Barrón Bridal

Photographer: Carter Rose of f8 Studio

Wedding Planner: Holly Tripp of Holly Tripp Event Design

Flowers: The Wildflower

Makeup: My Fabulous Faces

Ceremony: Perkins Chapel

Reception: Brookhollow Country Club

Words: Jessica Elliott