Photo courtesy of Shaun Menary Photography.

Emma Rodgers & Jonathan Hawley

Emma Rodgers and Jonathan Hawley were married on January 1, 2017 at Avalon Legacy Ranch.

For months, a mutual friend tried to set up Emma and Jonathan on a blind date. For months (six, to be exact), Jonathan refused. When they finally agreed, both had very low expectations. “I thought it was going to be a bust,” Emma said. But sometimes, the very best stories are the unexpected ones.

The two skeptics met at Trinity Hall Pub in Mockingbird Station for drinks. It turned into hours of talking, several drinks, and unexpectedly, a second location: dinner at Chicken Scratch. For these two lovebirds, a reluctant blind date turned into the rest of their lives. Lesson learned: never say never.

Both Emma and Jonathan attended Baylor University. She graduated in 2011, and Jonathan in 2007 and 2010. Though their years at school overlapped, they never met until living in Dallas post-graduation.

When Jonathan proposed, he went back to the origins of their relationship. He took her on their first date in reverse: dinner at Chicken Scratch and then drinks at Trinity Hall Pub, where a secret camera crew captured him popping the question. She, of course, said yes, and the new fiancés went to Emma’s parents’ house for cake and champagne with, of course, all twenty-seven of their immediate friends and family.

“I knew for a long time that I wanted my wedding somewhere rustic, romantic, and outdoors,” Emma gushed. That’s exactly what she got for her perfect day. When the pair came across Avalon Legacy Ranch, they instantly knew it was the place she had imagined. The outdoor ceremony site included a small number of pews and an altar nestled in a cozy grove of trees: raw simplicity surrounded by the beauty of nature. The reception was held under an historic wraparound porch. “Thank goodness it was covered,” Emma recalled. “It stormed nearly the entire day of our wedding.”

Emma had always preferred the color blue, which ended up dictating her design choices for the wedding. She chose navy for the bridesmaids’ dresses. Her flowers centered around the Blue Thistle with the addition of deep reds, seasonal berries, and draping-style flowers. Emma confessed that she found much of her inspiration on Pinterest (nothing to be ashamed of!) “My florist, I Do! Floral & Décor, did an outstanding job. She understood our vision and made my dreams come to life,” Emma said.

To the pair’s knowledge, everything went smoothly on the day of. “If it didn’t, we’ll never know,” they laughed. Emma recounts that the week leading up to the wedding was less stressful than she anticipated, because all the details had been double and triple-checked weeks ahead of time. “Organization is key,” Emma advised.

Although having family and friends there to celebrate her special day was hard to beat, the very best part of her wedding was her husband’s smile. “He is typically stoic and soft-spoken. I knew the moment the doors opened and I walked down the aisle that he was the most excited I’d ever seen,” she recounted. Now, she cherishes his smile each day. A dreaded first date turned into a lifetime of bliss.

Emma teaches first grade at Parish Episcopal School, while Jonathan is a dental student graduating in May 2017 and starting his specialty in Prosthodontics in June 2017.


Ceremony Site: Avalon Legacy Ranch
Photographer:  Shaun Menary Photography
Stationery: Paper Affair
Bridal Gown Designer: Essense of Australia
Bridal Gown Retailer: Patsy’s, A Bridal Boutique
Hair and Makeup: Maitee Miles
Groom’s Attire: Wranglers, tweed jacket, custom wedding boots by James Leddy Boots
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN
Flowers: I Do Floral and Decor
Reception Venue: Avalon Legacy Ranch
Wedding Cake: Wonderful Kakes
Caterer: Reata
Band/DJ: Simply Music
Rentals: Farm tables and fruit wood chairs – Reata; ceremony rentals – I Do Floral and Decor