I’m Kelly Nolan, née Berry, and I consider myself so blessed to have found this beautiful venue, The Chandelier of Gruene. My husband, Brendan Nolan, and I can’t wait to celebrate our love and commitment to each other with our family and friends! Yes, I meant to write “husband”… But let me go back to where it all began. Brendan and I met on a blind date two and a half years ago, which was arranged by Brendan’s mother, Peggy Collins Nolan, and her Baylor University sorority sister, Cindy Rexilius Starr. The idea occurred to them that we should meet and the pressuring began. Brendan recalls asking his mom where she met me…..“Are you asking women in the grocery store to date your son?” Now however, he says his mom is batting 1,000 because this is the one and only date that she has ever set Brendan up on!
We truly believe that God had a hand in our relationship from the start and that He brought us together in His perfect timing. On our first date, I was pretty quiet and reserved; Brendan even went home and told his roommates that he wasn’t sure if he could date me if I didn’t start talking more. But after our second date, we couldn’t stop talking and didn’t want the date to end. We both felt the potential of our relationship and thought we very well could have found “the one”.
On our two year anniversary, Brendan proposed via an awesome scavenger hunt throughout my house complete with photos, letters and 200 balloons! Four days later, March 1st, we were married in a civil ceremony. Four days you may ask?! Yes, our marriage plans were accelerated due to his impending deployment to Afghanistan. (Brendan is a captain in the Texas National Guard.)
Our civil ceremony took place in front of the fountain at the Bexar County courthouse. We exchanged vows in the presence of God and our immediate families. We were so excited to commit our lives to each other and vow to keep Christ as the focal point of our marriage. The next day it was back to teaching for me and Brendan continued preparing to deploy. Brendan and I made the most of the next twenty or so days we had together before his deployment. I’m so proud of his desire to serve our country and also can’t wait for him to return home and to exchange vows and wedding bands in the presence of our whole family and friends. A date was set for October 2017 and because it’s a popular month, we decided we should start the search for a venue.
The search for a venue, a story in itself…
It seemed as though my mother, Kristine, and I had visited every wedding venue in New Braunfels and the surrounding area. Although many were beautiful and attractive, none of them felt just right. Meanwhile, my mother talked to a friend of the owner, who suggested we check out a venue that was still in the planning stages. When mom told me that she wanted to take me to yet another venue and this one hadn’t even been built yet, I was just about at my wits end. I reached out to my father, George, who imparted his wisdom to continue the search.
I, as well as Brendan, prayed that God would lead us to the right venue to celebrate our marriage and glorify Him for bringing us together and reached out to my discipleship group at Community Bible Church to pray as well.
As soon as we turned down the oak tree canopied driveway, I got quite interested in the property. The landscape was gorgeous. We met Myra, the owner, who was so friendly and welcoming, and told us we were the first bride to meet with her. She rolled out the blueprints onto the hood of her car and proceeded to explain the layout and helped us to see her vision. I felt the presence of the Holy Spirit and a peace overwhelmed me and I instantly knew that this was our venue. Soon after, I Skyped Brendan and excitedly told him about the venue. I only had photos of the landscape to share with him and asked him to trust me on this one. He saw my face on skype and listened to the excitement in my voice as I explained the venue to him. He jokingly says that after he heard me say, “This is the one!”, there was no way he could say “no” even if he didn’t like it. But, in all seriousness, he was very impressed with the venue and Myra’s vision. A few days later, on his own initiative, he wrote an email to Myra explaining our story and his excitement about the venue as well.
The revealing of the renditions at the ground breaking ceremony was very exciting and I was honored to be introduced as the first bride to book. We are overjoyed that our very special day will be held at this beautiful venue, making dreams come true for ourselves and for the incredible owners, Myra and Tim. God is good!