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1997 BRIDAL GUIDE The Perfect Wedding

You can be creative and still be traditional-if you want. These three Dallas couples show there’s more than one path to "I do."
By COURTNEY DENBY |

Tammy Cotton & Will Hartnett:

THE BUCK-TIE AFFAIR

BETWEEN THE TWO OF THEM THEY SPEAK six languages and share a passion for travel and politics. Tammy Cotton, deputy director of Texas Citizens for a Sound Economy, sat next to state Rep. Will Hartnett at a political fund-raising breakfast for George W. Bush two years ago. She had no idea that she’d later find herself atop a volcano in Costa Rica as Will, on one knee, proposed marriage. But Will knew the minute he saw Tammy, he’d met someone special. “I was 1.000 percent impressed with her from the beginning,” he says.

What started out as a small, family-only ceremony in Paris eventually turned into a black-tie wedding at Christ the King Church, followed by a seated dinner for 400 at the Dallas Country Club. Tammy, who typically puts in 60-hour work weeks, planned her wedding in her spare time and without the help of a consultant. “I’m so particular when it comes to details.” she says. “I don’t know if a consultant would have been comfortable with my hands-on approach.”

After a cancellation at Christ the King opened Dec. 7 as a date, Tammy set about finding a place for the reception. By February of last year, the Dallas Museum of Art, The Crescent Club and the Dallas Petroleum Club were already booked. The Dallas Country Club was a natural choice because of its proximity to Christ the King and its capacity to accommodate their400 guests. Tammy decided against a cocktail party-type reception in favor of a seated dinner. “Sharing a meal is the most intimate situation in entertaining.” she says.

Finding the perfect wedding gown was, says Tammy, “by far the hardest part” of planning the traditional yet non traditional wedding. Tammy is a petite size 2 so the samples, typically size 8 or 10, hung on her figure. Over the course of 10 months, she tried on 30 or 40 gowns at Neiman Marcus, Patsy’s and Stanley Korshak. At one point, she decided to have the Bridal Salon at Stanley Korshak design a dress that looked like the Givenchy worn by Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, Korshak had completed the first round of sketches when Tammy saw a mass-produced Victor Costa dress at Nordstrom that looked exactly like the dress she was having custom-made. Frustrated, she canceled her order at Korshak and hopped on a plane to New York to try Kleinfeld, the chi-chi bridal boutique of the East Coast. After trying on 30 more dresses without any luck. Tammy flew home empty-handed.

The dress she finally selected-a strapless gown with a full, box-pleated skirt and matching jacket covered in iridescent gardenias-wasn’t in a bridal salon, but at the couture department at Saks Fifth Avenue. Because the dress wasn’t exactly traditional. Tammy broke tradition by showing it to Will. “I was worried that it wasn’t white and fluffy and big, but Will told me, ’Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.” ” Despite Will’s reassurance and the fact that she had bought her wedding dress. Tammy admitted she was still looking for the perfect gown just two weeks before her wedding.

A week before the wedding. Tammy went into Mockingbird Bridal to buy a veil and saw the wedding gown she’d envisioned but never found. It was a very traditional white dress, with long sleeves, a full skirt, a chapel-length train and a lace bodice. “I was just going to try it on for fun,” Tammy said at the reception. “’But I knew it was perfect. 1 knew he would love it.” He did.

The night of the wedding, guests filled the sanctuary to the sounds of the Chenoweth Chamber Music and the Collegium Cantorum, a 40-member a cappella choir from the University of Dallas, performing 16th-century sacred music of the Renaissance.

Instead of walking down the aisle to “The Wedding March” or “Trumpet Voluntary,” the Colleguim Cantorum sang “Jubilate Deo” by Di Lasso as Tammy’s father escorted her to the front of the church. Tammy looked radiant, but she wasn’t wearing the dress it took 10 months to find.

HARTNETT/COTTON CHECKLIST:

Florist: Terry Inman’s Flowers: 214-526-0912

Cakes: Taste of Europe: (metro) 817-654-9494

Invitations: Merrie Ann King, fine papers consultant: 214-526-4857

Vocalists: Collegium Cantorum: 972-721-5079

Strings: Chenoweth Chamber Music: (metro) 817-461-3629

Janice Garner & Tory Syvrud:A COCKTAIL-PARTY WEDDING

AT HIS FIRST WEDDING, ADVERTISING executive Tory Syvrud felt like an “extra” on the set of a lavish Gone With the Wind-like production. When he wed a second time, he and his bride, Janice Garner, decided to break all the rules and make it fun. For starters, their invitation read “Please join us for an intimate evening of champagne, wedding vows…and then, by God, a lot more champagne.”

The first question Tory and Janice asked themselves when they began planning the wedding was. “Why do we have to wait until after the ceremony to have a glass of champagne?” Their answer: “We don’t.”

“We wanted to throw a really cool cocktail party with a wedding in the middle,” says Tory.

To keep it fun and spontaneous, Janice, a professional make-up artist and songwriter, purposely left many of the details to the last minute. The morning of the wedding, she stopped by the Fanners Market, filled her car with flowers and went home to arrange them herself. For her bridal bouquet, she made a quick trip to her neighborhood florist and returned with a handful of orchids.

Her dress, of course, could not wait until the last minute. It was, she says, the only headache of her entire engagement. She set out to find a classic cream-colored silk suit, but after several unsuccessful trips she decided to make another break with tradition and enlist the help of her future husband. It was Tory who spotted the Carmen Marc Valvo pantsuit-in metallic chocolate brown with cutaway shoulders and palazzo pants-that Janice ended up wearing on their wedding day. It was completely different from what she had envisioned, but the perfect outfit for the intimacy of their backyard wedding.

The night of their Indian summer wedding, 70 guests arrived at their Bluffview home and were immediately served champagne and hors d’oeuvres. One friend remembers sensing “impending chaos because the champagne was flowing and no one was in any hurry to go outside and sit through the ceremony- including the bride and groom who were having as much fun as the guests.”

Finally, a few of Tory’s friends broke into a rendition of “Going to the Chapel” changing “chapel” to “back yard.” Everyone got the idea. The flutes were refilled. And the guests made their way to the poolside ceremony, lit only by tiki torches. The chairs, arranged in an intimate semicircle, created what Tory describes as a “Y’all gather ’round” feeling.

A harpist played “The Wedding March,” and everyone stood as Janice made her way on the arm of her father to the makeshift altar. The guests, waiting for a cue from the minister, continued standing. After several minutes of uneasy shifting on their feet, a deep voice from the back took the initiative and said, “You may be seated.”

And they were.

True to the invitation, the ceremony was followed by more champagne. The celebration continued inside with a cocktail buffet, jazz harpist and two wedding cakes from Ida Mae’s-the premiere cake designer of Texas-decorated with marzipan leaves in autumn hues.

Tory and Janice spent their wedding night at The Mansion on Turtle Creek, then left for their honeymoon the next day. They actually spent more time planning their honeymoon than they did their wedding. She had been to Australia and wanted to honeymoon in Paris. He had already been to Paris and wanted to honeymoon in Australia.

Obviously, they settled on Bali.

SYVRUD/GARNER CHECKLIST:

Caterer The Catering Company, Greg Rankin: 214-696-1070

Cakes: Ida Mae’s Cakes of Distinction: 817-567-3439

Rings: DeBoulle Jewelry: 214-522-2400

Photographer: Krishna Bowman: 214-526-9683

Music: Cindy Horstman. jazz. harpist: 714-596-2104



Chevie Valentine & Mickey Holden:

PLANNING ON THE FLY

IF YOU HAD A NAME LIKE CHEVIE Valentine would you change it when you married?

“1 will,” she says with a smile and a wink that suggest it was not an easy decision. After all, she had been Chevie Valentine for 31 years when she married sports television producer Mickey Holden on Jan. 25.

Chevie and Mickey met almost two years ago on a blind date arranged by Jeanne Tower Cox and Penny Tower Cook. They saw French Kiss and then had dinner at Nero’s Italian Restaurant on Lower Greenville. But what had all the markings of a typical movie date turned into something more. Nero’s was closing for the night and they were still talking. As the waiters started cleaning, someone turned on Frank Sinatra and the happy twosome danced between tables.

Last October, Mickey and Chevie were on their way to dinner one night when he asked if she’d mind stopping by Reunion Arena so he could check on the lighting for an upcoming project. Inside, Mickey escorted her through the empty, pitch-black arena, leading her to what she thought were random seats. Within seconds, the center screen lit up with a video of larger-than-life shots of Mickey and Chevie and clips from their favorite romantic movies (including French Kiss).

On bended knee. Mickey proposed, then cracked a bottle of champagne he had stashed beneath the seats along with two champagne glasses and a bouquet of roses for Chevie. The couple was in the elevator on their way out when Mickey remembered one small detail: the ring. He slipped his grandmother’s engagement ring onto Chevie’s finger and it lit perfectly. Meanwhile, their friends waited in the back room of Nero’s to surprise Chevie with an engagement party.

The availability of Perkins Chapel determined the date and the time of their wedding. They could marry at 8 p.m, on Jan. 25 or sometime in August. With only three months to plan a black-tie wedding for 400 guests followed by a cocktails-and-heavy-hors-d’oeuvres reception at Brookhollow Goif Club, the pressure was on.

Finding the perfect dress, Chevie says, sent her “over the edge.” She spotted the dress she wanted in Elegant Bride magazine, but rinding it proved difficult. “Every dress I tried on had stuff (lace and beading) all over it.” she says. “I wanted something very simple, yet traditional and elegant.” She finally found her dress-a straight, fitted design in a two-tone ivory satin with a chapel-length train-at Stanley Korshak. Because she needed the dress within two months, she had to pay a $300 rush charge.

“1 have very definite ideas about what I want.” says Chevie. “It has to be perfect.”

HOLDEN/VALENTINE CHECKLIST:

Photographer: Cheryl Masterson

Photography: 214-522-5364

Invitations: Carolyn Friedman with Paper Moods: 972-385-7974 Bridal Salon: Stanley Korshak: 214-871-3634

Bridesmaid Dresses: Lasting Impressions: 972-991-7498

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