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Rebekah Hotze & Casey Gorder

The reception at twilight.

Invitation stamp from

Custom coverings.

Butler-served bubbly.

The Rivini gown and Posey Floral bouquet.

The wedding invitation.

The getaway Bentley from Jordan Limousines.

Bayou Pretty!

Rebekah Hotze & Casey Gorder | November 19, 2011

One couple celebrate their vows in a lush Houston garden rich with city history and grand Southern style.

Sometimes sisters do know best, especially when Houston native Bekah Hotze’s sister sensed a match between the former Bush administration staffer and investment banker Casey Gorder. After one date at Mockingbird Bistro, the couple was inseparable. A year later, Gorder planned a dinner to beat their first date—complete with a Zadok Jewelers’ round-cut ring with a halo of diamonds for dessert and an after-party for 25.

The pair envisioned an evening on the lawns of Bayou Bend, where a blooming green backdrop would set the stage for a magical night. “We wanted something different from the country clubs,” Hotze says. “We wanted to make it unique and special to us.”

Nine months out, they turned to Mary Beth Burrow of Mary Beth Events to handle the thousands of details and pull off an elegant affair for 600.

For her walk down the aisle, Hotze fell for a dress she could easily bustle and dance in—a strapless, camellia-detailed Rivini from Ivory Bridal Atelier. She paired it with a simple vintage diamond bracelet, borrowed from her mother, and a matching camellia in her hair.

After the ceremony, a trolley transported the bridal party from Christ the King Presbyterian Church to Bayou Bend Gardens. The newlyweds snuck off to the Hogg mansion for a private dinner and a Champagne toast while guests gathered for cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and jazz under blue and white taffeta-tucked tent coverings designed by Burrow. Lounge furniture and custom pillows (also made by Burrow) abounded—as did 20 roving bartenders who never let a glass go empty.

Never-ending drinks call for an endless bounty of food, and Tony’s rose to the occasion with elevated Southern fare like truffled mac-and-cheese, fried chicken and biscuits and barbecue shrimp and grits. The couple’s priority was a vast sweets station, complete with cajeta bread pudding and a myriad of mini desserts surrounding the bride’s and groom’s cakes—hers buttercream and raspberry-filled and his a chocolate San Antonio Spurs jersey and basketball in honor of his hometown team.

The couple had their first dance to Nat King Cole’s “Love,” which faded into “The Way You Look Tonight” for the father-daughter dance.

But that’s where the formality stopped. Guests hit a hidden party tent, revealed after cocktail hour, for rockin’ revelry. “We called it the ‘Bayou Bend Bungalow,’” Burrow says. “Everything was creamy white, and thankfully, it was air-conditioned!” As a surprise to the bride, who was distracted by her sister, the crowd donned boas, hats and beads for the Motown tunes by SoulSations. The dancing continued well into the night, until the couple stole away in a silver 1960 Bentley.

After such a whirlwind evening, the bride and groom cherished their honeymoon week in Kauai, where they sipped coffee on the beach every morning. “We would sit by the water for at least an hour, watch the sunrise and talk,” Hotze says. “It’s such a special memory.”