Stefanie Seminara & Brad Rakes

Couples often wonder how, out of all the people in the world, they managed to find each other. But for Stefanie Seminara and Brad Rakes, the answer is simple: “We found each other by sitting at our desks and turning our heads slightly,” Brad says, kind of joking, but really not.

The two met at work in 2006, when Brad moved into Stefanie’s group at Johnson & Johnson. Their desks were side by side. Over the next couple of years, they bonded over databases and restaurant lunches, growing close like co-workers sometimes do. And at some point, at the urging of a mutual friend, they crossed the line into romance.
On their first date, they went to see the Michael Jackson documentary. For their second date, they saw a Michael Jackson tribute band. And one of Stefanie’s favorite date-night memories? It involves a Friday at home and Lionel Richie on the stereo.

When the two decided to get married, they knew the band they chose would be a big deal. They also knew they wanted something fresh and modern, with a touch of a nautical theme. Instead of enlisting a wedding planner, the bride and her mother decided to take on everything themselves.

“The moment I walked out onto the porch of the [Alex] Camp House, I had a ‘This Is It’ moment,” Stefanie says. “The lush lawn overlooking the water—it was exactly what I had in my head.” Once they settled on the location, they moved on to the bridal gown (a strapless, asymmetrical number), shoes (cobalt blue Manolo Blahniks), and jewelry (a blue-sapphire-and-diamond cocktail ring for her right hand, cushion-cut diamond drops for her ears).

Stefanie says the flowers were one of her favorite parts of the wedding decor. She and Maxine Owens, of The Southern Table, have been friends for years. With instructions to do a “bright, white, classic mix, with pops of blue and green,” Maxine wrapped bouquets of white garden roses and peonies, white anemones with navy centers, Texas thistle, and succulents in blue-and-white-striped ribbon. For the tables, she arranged a variety of flowers in cut crystal, silver, and milk-glass vases.
For the food, Stefanie and Brad brought in chef Kent Rathbun to work his culinary magic with outdoor stations heaped with treats, including his famed lobster shooters.

And then, of course, there was that band.

Brad is a music lover who once played in a band with his groomsmen, so not just any group would do. The Revolvers opened with Lionel Richie’s “Say You, Say Me,” for the first dance, and called it quits only when the Arboretum’s curfew kicked in.
“It was everything we wanted,” Stefanie says.

Photography: Thisbe Grace Photography
Ceremony Site: Lay Ornamental Garden (Mimi’s Garden), Dallas Arboretum
Bridal Gown Designer: Reem Acra
Bridal Gown Retailer: Stanley Korshak
Hair & Makeup: Elan Makeup Studio
Groom’s Attire: Jos. A. Bank
Bridesmaids Dresses Retailer: Saks Fifth Avenue
Flowers: Maxine Owens, The Southern Table
Stationery: Southern Fried Paper
Reception Site: Alex Camp House, Dallas Arboretum
Cake: Tart Bakery
Caterer: Kent Rathbun
Band and/or DJ: Serenata Strings; The Revolvers
Videographer: Golden Arm Video Productions, Austin