Hyde Park Photography
You may have seen her in the pages of the Victoria’s Secret swimsuit catalogue or your favorite fashion magazines, but here’s something you probably didn’t know about model (and newlywed) Britt Maren: She planned her wedding all by herself! When Britt got engaged to chef Derek Orrell in the fall of 2013, she was ready to tackle every aspect of planning a beautiful Southern affair. But when you’re a proud foodie and baker with an eye for style, and your other half is the head chef of The Heyward in Brooklyn, New York, knowing how you want your wedding to be comes second nature.
“We got engaged on November 10, 2013,” Britt tells us. “I couldn’t be a spring bride, since I got engaged in November. And I didn’t want to wait until the next spring, so I started looking at venues in Texas Hill Country. There are so many pretty vineyards and ranches there. I grew up in Texas, and my husband grew up in Albuquerque. Our wedding date was October 4, 2014, at the Escondido Golf and Lake Club in Horseshoe Bay. It’s about 45 minutes outside Austin. The venue is partially outdoors with lots of space. The ceremony was indoors in a room in the main dining area that has a chapel feel. And there’s a beautiful terrace area with oak trees, so we had dinner on the lawn area.”
Read more about Britt and Derek’s wedding below, and keep scrolling to see their gorgeous photos.
The Knot: Why did you plan everything yourself as opposed to hiring a planner?
Britt Maren: I love all things planning and organizing, so it never crossed my mind. Why would I pay someone to take that job? My wedding wasn’t something I started planning before I was engaged; I just knew I wanted it to be near Austin or somewhere surrounding it. It wasn’t easy, but with online research from wedding blogs and The Knot, I started to get the hang of it. I was lucky that the venue we used had an event coordinator for the day-of. Even if you plan your own wedding, have a day-of coordinator to oversee all of the vendors!
TK: Did any friends or family members help you?
BM: I had a small wedding party, with one matron of honor, one maid of honor and one bridesmaid. Two of my ladies live in Houston, so they checked things out if I needed them to. My mom was also super-helpful. She was my main person on the ground. We also planned a weekend trip to come and knock out a bunch of things two months before the wedding, and had a couple’s shower and a food, cake, floral and venue walk-through.
TK: What inspired your color palette?
BM: I wanted a classic, gorgeous look. Our wedding was black tie optional, and Derek wore a Lanvin tuxedo. In terms of colors and flowers, I wanted a clean look, with champagne, ivory and nude colors with pops of gold. The Chiavari chairs were gold, and the florals were white, but the Sahara roses were more champagne-colored. As for flowers, I chose calla lilies, hydrangeas, Sahara roses, garden roses, oriental lilies, cymbidium orchids, dahlias and peonies in white, ivory and champagne hues.
TK: What’s a unique touch you put on your wedding?
BM: I loved the idea of bringing in a New York City aspect, since we live in Brooklyn. For favors, one of our favorite pastry chefs, Jen Yee of Lafayette Grand Café and Bakery, did something special for guests. She made two options: caramel corn and pretzel brittle. We had them shipped overnight, and we set them in big baskets for guests. It didn’t take long until they were empty! People loved them.
TK: Did you write your own vows?
BM: We did say vows in front of our guests, but our super-personal vows were kept private. We wrote our own vows and gave them to each other in a letter before the ceremony. I could just see myself losing it in front of everyone otherwise!
Engagement PhotoKristen Kilpatrick Photography
“We used Hyde Park Photography for our wedding,” Britt says. “We also had Kristen Kilpatrick do my bridal portraits and engagement photos. She’s based in Austin and is a family friend.”
White Wedding InvitationsHyde Park Photography
Chalkboard Welcome SignBritt Maren
Monique Lhuillier Wedding DressKristen Kilpatrick Photography
“I didn’t want to change into a new dress between the ceremony and the reception, I just wanted to be able to switch things up on one dress,” Britt says. “I wore a beautiful Monique Lhuillier gown called ‘Treasure’ with a strapless A-line silhouette and an illusion skirt. The dress has a lace jacket that goes on from the front with a deep V-neck in the back. It was a little restricting for dancing, so I just wore it for the ceremony.”
Monique Lhuillier Wedding DressHyde Park Photography
Signature CocktailsBritt Maren
TK: Given that your husband is a chef and you’re a serious foodie, how did you plan the menu?
BM: I liked the idea of having a Texas feel to the menu, but not necessarily heavy Texas food, like barbecue. We like eating what’s available in season, so we had vegetables like butternut squash, parsnips and Brussels sprouts, and a choice of salmon and/or prime rib. We like knowing where the food is coming from and knowing it’s fresh. When we cook at home, we always use seasonal and local ingredients – it tastes much better.
Carrot and Italian Cream Wedding CakeHyde Park Photography
TK: How important was the cake to you?
BM: Like, extremely (laughs). Simon Lee Bakery did our cakes. I didn’t think I wanted a traditional white cake, since my favorite thing in the world is carrot cake. But I loved their Italian cream cake, so we had layers of both with cream-cheese filling and buttercream frosting on the outside. The top tier is in our freezer in Austin. It’s taking willpower and strength not to eat it!
Chocolate Groom’s CakeHyde Park Photography
“Simon Lee Bakery did our groom’s cake too,” Britt says. “We both love chocolate, so we wanted a little rich decadence. It was a dark chocolate cake, with hazelnut-praline filling and chocolate ganache on the outside. It showed different cuts of pork on a pig — perfect for a chef!”
All photos by Hyde Park Photography and Kristen Kilpatrick Photography
How Victoria’s Secret Model Britt Maren Planned Her Wedding