Real Weddings: A Sentimental Journey
Embracing the classic but giving it a twist, Amy Tolleson took her wedding guests on an unforgettable trip.
Amy Tolleson stood at the bathroom mirror and gave herself an anti-pep talk. She’d been hinting to her boyfriend Peter Baldwin for a while that she wanted to get married, and her anticipation had begun to cloud her reasoning. She had a date with Peter and didn’t want her growing impatience to ruin their meal; she told herself that it was enough to be going to a nice restaurant with the man she loved. “Yes,” she recalls, “it was an attempt to convince myself that [the night] was dinner, not diamonds.”
But Peter had other ideas, and at Hibiscus that evening he got down on one knee beside their table and slipped a ring on her finger. Amy, of course, said yes—and then asked her boyfriend to pinch her.
The couple met at a party in 2006, and a few months later Peter escorted Amy to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s Presentation Ball, where the then-21-year-old blonde made her debut in a Carolina Herrera dress that she would later have Michael Faircloth rework for her wedding day. After they were engaged, Amy wasted no time planning: six months later the couple married at her parents’ University Park home.
To pull off her Moulin Rouge-meets-Great Gatsby-meets-Old Hollywood vision, Amy enlisted Mary-Frances Hurt and Nelson Robinson of DFW Events. “Amy drove the look of the wedding,” Mary-Frances says. “She was really involved in the process.” And the wedding designers “remained open to trying new ideas,” Amy says, and exhibited “extreme patience when dealing with my bend-the-rules attitude.”
Amy wanted her wedding night to be a story that unfolded as the evening went on. To accommodate the 500-plus guests for the ceremony, dinner, and dancing, as well as provide shelter in case of a spring storm (it did rain that day), DFW Events built a massive tent in the Tollesons’ backyard. The structure incorporated an existing pavilion and greenhouse and had different sections for the ceremony and reception.
Guests arrived on the front lawn and passed through the house to the festivities. Therefore, it was important that the tent feel like an extension of the home. The key was to include some of the traditional stylings from the house into the tent, so for the ceremony and dinner areas, the designers brought in antique furnishings and Aubusson rugs and hand-painted Italianate designs on the tent ceiling.
Initially nervous to make an entrance in front of 500 people, the bride introduced a last-minute change: she would walk down the aisle to the familiar tune of “Stand by Me.” It made all the difference, and there were no butterflies on the big day.
The sexiness of Moulin Rouge played out in the reception side of the tent. The floor was oversize black and white squares, walls were draped with jewel-toned fabric, and banquettes provided a place to rest between dances. Amy calls her wedding “incredible,” saying, “I still have trouble believing it was real.”