This love started simply enough and culminated in an incredibly stylish downtown Austin wedding. Michaele Smith was working in the men’s department at Barney’s when Robby King walked in looking for a pair of jeans. A few months later, Michaele was required to send handwritten holiday cards to her 25 best customers, and while flipping through her client book she landed on the page with Robby’s information, covered with hearts she’d doodled after she met him. She’d written all but one note, so on a whim, she sent that 25th card to Robby instead. “About a month later, I received a handwritten thank you note from Robby at work,” Michaele says. “Clearly, the next thing to do was find him on Facebook. After a little bit of stalking, I discovered that we share the same birthday. I sent him a thank you message for the thank you note and signed it with my phone number. The rest is history!”
Fast forward to another simple day, several years later. Michaele and Robby were cleaning up their house, getting ready to have a few friends over. “Robby literally stopped me mid-vacuum to propose,” Michaele says. “I didn’t want an extravagant or over-the-top proposal, so this was perfect for me.” Michaele said yes, and they celebrated with their friends in their home right afterward. The next day, the pair flew to Paris for their friends’ wedding and spent the whole week in the city of love celebrating their engagement.
Michaele and Robby weren’t worried about tradition when planning their wedding. “I wanted things to be as easy and stress-free as possible,” Michaele says. “I wanted to pick a venue that required minimal to zero decoration. I wanted to serve delicious food, dance our asses off and to celebrate the union of our love with our closest friends and family.” Justine’s Secret House was the venue that absolutely fit the bill. The venue is tucked along a charming street in Austin, Texas, and if you aren’t paying attention you’d likely miss it. Once you enter the New Orleans-style front courtyard, it’s like you’ve been transported to another world. Palm trees and foliage cover the front of the property, and ducking through the gate reveals a pink Victorian home, complete with delicate white trim. The property is an experience itself, one that doesn’t require much adornment — exactly what Michaele had in mind as the backdrop for the day.
Michaele’s background in the fashion industry — she now works at Shaesby, a jewelry studio in Austin — didn’t make wedding dress shopping easier. “I went to a couple of local bridal shops and realized that wedding dresses in any shape or form just aren’t my thing,” Michaele says. “I needed to find something less traditional. I looked online for several months and ended up finding mine from Houghton. I knew it was the one when my sister took a video of me walking in the wind. I loved the movement in the skirt.” She paired the gown with gorgeous platform red velvet heels and wore a crown of baby’s breath in her hair. This bride is the definition of effortlessly chic.
Guests gathered in the front courtyard on an October evening in Austin. With her parents beside her, Michaele walked down the front steps of the house and toward her groom. About 90 guests were in attendance, some sitting in bistro chairs, some standing together on the porch of the house and along the edge of the courtyard to witness the bride and groom exchange vows. After a kiss and being pronounced husband and wife, Michaele and Robby headed back up the aisle under a shower of rice, their hearts light and their smiles luminous.
Long rows of tables filled the backyard, the centers adorned with sprigs of rosemary and eucalyptus and illuminated with tea-light candles. Strings of globe lights floated above the space and provided the light by which Michaele and Robby enjoyed an unparalleled meal with their guests. “We had an incredible French menu cooked and prepared by Justine’s,” Michaele says. “Gosh, I wish I could go back to that meal. My favorite part was the cheese boards spread throughout the tables.”
Beyond the delicious cheese, guests enjoyed braised chicken in a caramelized dijon and white wine sauce with crème fraîche, fresh fish fillet sautéed in butter and lemon, Brussels sprouts with mustard seed and bacon, and roasted heirloom carrots, just to name a few of the delectable dishes on the menu. After they’d enjoyed every bite of their meal, loved ones made toasts to the bride and groom, all of which elicited smiles and laughter, and then they hit the dance floor.
Cake was served, but the bride didn’t taste it — because she never left the dance floor. Michaele and Robby shared their first dance to “Spoonful” by Etta James and Harvey Fuqua, and then a full night of dancing commenced. “We danced to Motown, 90’s hip-hop and dirty rap music,” Michaele says. “The whole night was a blur, but dancing was definitely my favorite part. It felt so great to let loose when the dancing started after the formalities were over!”
Once their dancing feet were tired, guests sent the new Mr. and Mrs. off into the night with twinkling sparklers.
Thank you for giving us a peek into your gorgeous and intimate day, Michaele and Robby!
- Photography: Rick Cortez
- Day-of coordinator: Erika Stojeba from Justine’s
- Wedding dress: Houghton
- Bridesmaid dress: Vintage Oleg Cassini
- Groom’s and groomsman’s attire: Billy Reid, HELM Boots
- Cake: Justine’s
- Venue: Justine’s Secret House
- Catering: Justine’s
- Entertainment: DJ Mahealani
- Makeup: Laura Martinez
- Merchandise/stationery design: Mackenzie Smith
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