Longhorn Collection Handbags

Cowhide lovers, we've got a treat for you today.  Today's featured collection comes from JulieBeth Handbags, a Texas-based designer based in Houston.  Owner Beth Younger Purpich was inspired by the legacy of her family's cattle ranch for her 2015 Rodeo Collection designs, with the "Longhorn" bag as the key piece.  This year, the ranch is celebrating its 100th year in the family as a cow/calf operation, so Beth paid tribute to the iconic longhorn silhouette in these beautiful, handmade pieces, teaming with Rhed Lucy Jewelry designer Julie D. Stevenson to collaborate on gorgeous leather and hide combinations.

The result is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind, statement piece of a bag.  These spacious totes are perfect for nights out on the town, as stylish rodeo accessory, and make perfect laptop carriers.  Whatever they're used for, the Longhorn Collection bags are sure to turn heads.  The craftsmanship is impeccable.  Each member of the team of artisans boasts more than 25 years of experience in leather crafting, and each handbag is cut by hand and stitched with precision. 

Beth explains the steps involved in creating each handbag: "The process for making a Longhorn bag starts from the inside out.  We cut the lining, fillers, and reinforcements for the bag, which will give the bag its structure.  Next, the leather is cut, followed by the hide.  We pay special attention to cutting the hide and selecting a great pattern for the bag, assuring that no two bags are ever the same.  We love this aspect and so do our customers.  Once all the cutting has been completed, we begin the assembling, stitching and hardware additions.  The very last step is placing the horns on the bag, which serve as the handles."

Julie, Beth's business partner, also owns Rhed Lucy, a high-end Western jewelry business where she creates custom pieces and also wholesales to boutiques around Texas.  Each of her pieces is made by hand - she uses no casts or molds when building these beautiful sterling silver, turquoise, and native stone works of art.

To see more of the Longhorn Collection and order a custom cowhide bag, visit their website.  Julie and Beth have offered The Big and Bright readers free shipping on any handbag order using the code BRIGHT.  For inquiries about carrying the JulieBeth and Rhed Lucy lines in your store, contact Julie here.

Clothes shown with the Rhed Lucy jewelry are from the Double D Ranchwear Spring/Summer 2015 Collection.

Don Strange Ranch Wedding - Sarah & Kolten

We're so glad to have Sarah and Kolten back to share about their beautiful wedding that took place in Boerne, Texas.  We previously featured their love story and incredible engagement session captured by Christine Sargologos, and just had to see more of these two from their big day!  They were married June 28, 2014, and as Sarah put it, "I could not have been more certain I have my partner in life."

TB&B: What led you to pick Don Strange Ranch as your venue, and what style were you going for with your decor?

Sarah: I knew from the very beginning I wanted to have a wedding ceremony outdoors under a big oak tree, and have a reception under a covered barn.  I wanted to portray a soft and pretty country feel.  I used a ton of burlap and lace!  I had first heard about the Don Strange Ranch from the media that followed my girl Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton's wedding back in 2011.  I attended a family friend's wedding out there in 2013, and just fell in love with everything about it!  I also loved that the venue had a small house that was accessible for my wedding party to use on the big day.

TB&B: What were the most special and meaningful parts of your big day?

Sarah: That's tough to say, because my perfect day was so abundantly filled with all kinds of meaningful moments that will forever be so special to me.  But I think the most special moment of my big day was during the ceremony - Kolten and I had just finished saying our vows to one another, when the preacher asked us to pray together before he declared us as one.  It was the last moment and prayer Kolten and I shared before we were pronounced husband and wife.  As a bride, it's so easy to get caught up in your big day that you forget what it's all about.  It's about making a promise and covenant before God and one another.  It's important to make time in your wedding to remind yourself of that, and remind others that love you of that as well.

(Wow.  Amen, Sarah!  What an important message to remember!)

TB&B: What are a few of your favorite things about Kolten, and what did you look forward to most going into marriage?

Sarah: My husband would tell you that he only possesses likable qualities (with a big fat grin on his face).  He's pretty great at being witty and charming.  Along with being romantic at times, he is my kind of goofy.  I knew marriage was going to be fun, living with Kolten, but I think what I looked forward to the most was finally making a place I could call home with him and that we could call our own.

Thank you again to Sarah and Kolten, and to Christine, for giving us a glimpse of the big day.

Venue/Caterer:

Don Strange Ranch

Bridal Gown:

Essence of Australia

Bridesmaid Dresses:

David's Bridal

DJ:

Future Sounds DJ Service - Chris Koval

Florist:

Flowers by Brenda Fry

Furniture and Props:

Revive Vintage Rentals

Downtown San Antonio Wedding - Anna & Mac

This may be the most quintessential San Antonio wedding there ever was... Riverwalk, San Fernando Cathedral, Mariachi, Mexican food, and of course, touches of Texas throughout.  Anna and Mac just celebrated their first anniversary yesterday (Happy Anniversary, you two!) so we are extra excited to feature their beautiful wedding this week! 

TB&B: Tell us how the love story began - where did you two meet?

Anna: We met at an Aggie ring dunk!  Mac came up to College Station for a friend's ring dunk and I remember thinking, "Who is that handsome guy?" because I hadn't ever seen him with that crowd before.  We flirted over a game of washers, exchanged numbers, went to Sodolaks for a date the next week and have been together ever since! 

TB&B: What made you pick this venue for your big day?

Anna: We definitely wanted to marry in a church; that was really important to us.  We also loved the idea of having the whole weekend of festivities in one fun central location, like the Riverwalk.  Mac's grandmother actually attended school in downtown San Antonio when she was a teenager and talks often of her memories there.  We weren't able to marry at the church she attended while in school there, St. Mary's, because they don't hold weddings during Lent.  So we looked at our other downtown options and San Fernando Cathedral was perfect!  It's full of Texas history (it was built in 1731 and is the oldest continually functioning church in the state) and it's absolutely gorgeous.  They also had a ballroom available that worked great with our plans.  All of their staff and clergy were wonderful to work with as well.

TB&B: Your dress is so stunningly beautiful and different - were you looking for something like that,

or was it one you just found and fell in love with?

Anna: Before dress shopping, I had picked out several dresses I specifically wanted to try on at each store that we were going to visit.  I saw the café colored dress online and it caught my eye, but I never dreamed it would actually be the one.  My friend Candice's mom, who is like a second mother to me, was with us on the dress shopping visit where I first tried this one on.  When I tried it on, I thought Charlotte (Candice's mom) was going to laugh me back into the dressing room.  Instead, she started crying when I walked out!  My mom, sister, and Candice all really loved it too!  I couldn't commit to it that day, because I felt it was SO untraditional and maybe a little too different.  But after giving it a lot of thought, I decided it was absolutely my dress.  I was so happy with my decision!

TB&B: What do you love most about San Antonio and how did those things inspire your wedding day style?

Anna: We wanted our wedding style to be beautiful yet rustic with a South Texas ranch hacienda feel.  We included lots of terracotta pottery, wrought iron and greenery to try and create that feeling in our reception space.  The City of San Antonio emblem, the Moroccan quatrefoil, is present all over town, even stamped into the concrete sidewalks along the Riverwalk.  This was the shape we decided to use to kind of "brand" our wedding and we tried to include this on everything we could, from save the dates and the cake, to the signs we made for photobooth props.  Mexican food, margaritas, and a Mariachi band were elements we had to include as well, since it was a San Antonio wedding and this city is famous for those things!  I think those things also made it a little less formal, more fun, Texas style party.

A special thank you to Kitty Sanchez Photography (based in Houston) for sharing these beautiful images.

Bridal Gown:

Alfred Angelo

Bridesmaid Dresses:

Julian Gold

Reception Venue:

San Fernando Hall

Catering:

Catering by Celebrations

Cakes:

Seventh Heaven Cakes by Michelle Brittain

Cookies: Kelsey Davis (family friend)

Flowers:

Barbie Foerster

Event Planner: Callie Langford

Music:

Mariachi Azul

and DJ Justin Wagner

Hair/Makeup:

Bombshell Beauty by Kelsie Asher Wood

(Anna highly recommends Kelsie's services to any bride!)

Boerne Engagement Feature - Lauren & Jacobs

For this couple, an leisurely afternoon not spent on the road is a rare occurrence.  When I called to chat with Lauren, she and Jacobs were making the haul from Scottsdale, Arizona, pausing for a pit stop in Stephenville, and then heading on to Fort Worth.  Long days on the road are just part of life for Jacobs, a professional saddle bronc rider on the PRCA circuit and four-time WNFR qualifier, and his bride-to-be.  For this engagement session, Amanda Ward and Amanda Cross of Mint To Be Photography spent an early spring afternoon with the future Crawleys at Lauren's family's ranch.

Growing up in Cotulla, Texas, halfway between San Antonio and Laredo, Lauren was raised on the same ranch where her great-grandfather was born.  Both of her parents participated in rodeo, so she came by the sport naturally, participating throughout high school and college.  After a year of rodeoing at a junior college, she transferred to Texas A&M to major in Agricultural Business and continue with collegiate rodeo.  She befriended a familiar face during her student orientation - Jacobs also happened to be transferring to A&M that year to study Industrial Systems Engineering.  Knowing of each other from their high school rodeo days, they began a deeper friendship while balancing their studies with traveling as members of the Aggie Rodeo Team and competing in other rodeos.  Jacobs qualified for his first National Finals Rodeo in 2011, the same year he and Lauren both earned their diplomas (he Skyped in from Vegas to give his final presentation for a class - whatever it takes!). 

During the summer of 2013, Lauren decided to travel to the Northwest for a rodeo, and lo and behold, ran into Jacobs between events.  After running into each other at several more rodeos, they decided they better keep in touch, and both knowing first-hand the crazy unpredictability of the rodeo schedule, it was nice to have a friend who understood their way of life.  Eventually, the two friends realized that they didn't want to be apart, and fell in love later that summer, quickly realizing that this was a forever thing.

Fast forward to a Saturday morning in November of 2014 - Lauren was complaining to Jacobs as they rode around checking cows on Jacobs' land in Stephenville that she was missing home and really wanted to go visit her family.  He had promised her that they would go down to south Texas that weekend, but he was stalling that day and didn't seem to be in any hurry.  There was a spot in the pasture where they frequently brought sandwiches or burgers out to enjoy a picnic, but on this particularly windy day when she just wanted to get on the road, Lauren was irritated at Jacobs' suggestion of stopping at their picnic table to eat.  She obliged, and as they finished lunch, he got down on one knee and asked her to marry him.  They immediately got on the road to go see Lauren's family and tell them the good news, which Jacobs swore he hadn't shared with anybody.  But when they got to her family's place, all of their close friends and family were there waiting for them to arrive to their surprise engagement party.

Lauren always thought she was Type A, but while dating Jacobs, she quickly realized that he might be the more organized of the two.  "He brought his planner to one of our first coffee dates - that's when I knew he was the one," she says.  For a professional rodeo cowboy who can travel 20,000 miles in a month, riding in dozens of rodeos all over the country, organization is pretty helpful.  Luckily, Lauren doesn't mind keeping him company on the road.  "I love traveling - seeing different things.  I'm along for the ride.  I just jump in and we go," she says. "But when you're on the road a lot, it's nice to just enjoy being at home with a glass of wine - you have to have that routine." 

Planning their May wedding around the hectic rodeo peak times, Lauren and Jacobs had to act fast to find vendors who were available on a short notice and could work with their schedule, but they didn't want to sacrifice quality in doing that.  "I found Mint To Be Photography on Wedding Wire.  I really wanted a photographer who was going to focus on us, and not the structures around us, " Lauren says.  "I wanted them to have a really natural, organic feel, and I immediately saw that in Mint To Be's style.  Plus, they were willing to work with us since we were kind of in a time crunch.  It really was meant to be!"

Lauren and Jacobs headed to the Tomolga Ranch in Boerne, a place Lauren's great-grandparents purchased in 1951, for their engagement session with Amanda Ward and Amanda Cross of Mint To Be, based in San Antonio.  For the soon-to-be Crawleys, it's back to the grind - every weekend between now and the big day will be filled with rough stock and road trips, criss crossing the map - and these two wouldn't have it any other way. 

Special thanks to Amanda Ward of Mint To Be Photography for helping coordinate this feature, and to Lauren and Jacobs for sharing their story.

Rockport Engagement Feature - Danna & Joey

Oh how excited I've been to share these photos.  Danna is a sweet friend I've known since we were babies in day care.  She and Joey are getting married next May and had Chelsea and Mack of McGowan Images take their engagement photos.  Gorgeous is an understatement.  These photos tell such a story, and when you know a little bit of Danna and Joey's story, they are even more special. 

TB&B: Why Rockport?

Danna: Joey grew up in Rockport.  Since we're getting married in the hill country, where I'm from, we really wanted to include all the time we have spent together on the coast.  We met the summer of 2004 and instantly became friends.  The pictures taken on the pier were at Joey's mom's house on Copano Bay.  It's where we spent the most time getting to know each other and also where he proposed.

TB&B: Tell us about the day of your shoot - the clouds make it look like a storm is looming, but you two are just having a blast!

Danna: The weather that morning was horrible.  I was so nervous we would have to cancel our session, but Chelsea was very assuring that all would be fine.  It definitely turned out better than I could have ever imagined.  I seriously can't say enough about Chelsea and Mack.  They made the whole session so fun.

TB&B: What are some of your favorites things about Joey?

Danna:  Joey is absolutely my best friend and my biggest supporter.  He's also the hardest working person I know.  His job in natural gas compression is very demanding, but we try to spend as much time in Rockport as possible.

What a beautiful, perfect backdrop for telling a Texas coast love story ten years in the making.

Special thanks to McGowan Images for graciously sharing these photos.