Micah and Karri got married at the desert oasis of Willow House in Terlingua, Texas. Micah is a Kenyan born and raised safari guide of the Maasai Mara, and Karri is a Texan sweetheart NICU nurse. Their two worlds are so different but their vision and values for life could not be more aligned. Their wedding truly represented a perfect amalgamation of where they each came from and where they’re going together!
Their photographer Safeena Noah shares that Micah’s family brought pieces of their Kenyan home and safari guide background to the harsh Texan desert. This included Samburu beaded bracelets that Micah and Karri wore, Maasai blankets for all, and a spear tunnel grand entrance as an homage to Maasai tradition. The spears showing up were a surprise that Micah’s brother/best man prepared for him. Now how someone transports multiple spears from Kenya to Texas… we may never know!!
TR Floral helped incorporate lighter and brighter colors with the floral decor, while planner Karissa Sander ensured the entire day ran smoothly! There were beautiful pops of surprising color to the understated boho vibe and neutral elegance curated so gorgeously against the desert landscape at Willow House. Throw in some classic Texan style, like Micah’s cowboy boots and Karri’s hat, and you’ve got a full-blown cross-cultural marriage! Let’s see how it all went down!
Love in the Desert
Willow House itself is a statement. It’s a series of modern, minimalist structures that lay across the desolate landscape of Terlingua, with the mountains of Big Bend National Park rising behind as a natural backdrop.
The Fashionable Bride and Groom
Choosing a comfy pair of bridal booties was a great choice… especially for a desert landscape wedding!
The bride knew the dress she wanted when she first laid eyes on it! We asked Karri to share how she found her wedding gown:
“I had seen a dress on Pinterest I loved by the designer Made With Love and instantly fell in love with the dress’ side, front and back deep plunges as well as its timeless look. I found one bridal shop in Dallas who carried the designer and went in the store to try it on as well as a few of their other dresses more in my price range. Being a little over my budget for what I had hoped to spend on a dress, I had hoped that trying on the dress would strictly give me inspiration/ direction on what kind of dress to buy…however, much to my dismay, it was love at first sight with the dress I initially came in to try. I had “the moment” in which I walked out and felt an overwhelming sense of “this is the one” but held back all true feelings knowing it was still out of my budget.
I left the bridal shop discouraged but also determined to make it all work somehow. After doing my research trying to find the dress off the rack or from a bridal shop for less money, I stumbled upon a website called “Still White”. Still White is a website for brides trying to sell dresses they bought which were the wrong size or for brides who simply changed their minds about the dress that they bought. I typed in the dress I fell in love with “Made With Love-Ryder Dress” and I FOUND IT. My size. Mint condition. Literally perfect. The bride was unfortunately a bride from Australia who had to cancel her wedding due to COVID and who was so excited to be able to make my dreams come true. It fit me perfectly and it felt like it was absolutely meant to be.”
These ladies nailed the mismatched bridesmaid look! Each got to choose a dress that fit their personal style while sticking close to the color palette!
These guys look like they’re having a blast… and the wedding hasn’t even started yet!
Micah looks so dapper in his suit from Bonobos!
K + M chose to exchange a first touch leading up to the ceremony. The sweetest way to share an intimate moment without spoiling their looks!
Where the Magic Takes Place
This view is absolutely breathtaking! The couple originally planned on getting married in Yosemite, but ultimately decided to have a “destination at home” so that family could be there. It looks like this space worked out beautifully!
Processional: Alps by Novo Amor
Recessional: Good Day for Marrying You by Dave Barnes
First Dance: Lady May by Tyler Childers and sung by two groomsmen Barrett Brown and Mason Smith
A Walk to Remember
This photo says it all. There is so much love surrounding this couple, and it shows!
Love is in the air! These two are husband and wife!
The Start of Forever
Having come from two completely different worlds, Micah from Kenya and Karri from Texas, they knew they wanted to capitalize on their wedding day as being an intentional and uninterrupted time for their families and friends. They specifically desired for all their favorite people to be stuck in the middle of nowhere for an extended weekend of getting to know each other.
“We both felt like a big city wedding with 300 people was not what we envisioned for our special day and therefore immediately sought potential “micro-wedding” destinations.”
Having visited many times in college, Micah couldn’t think of a more raw and naturally beautiful place than Big Bend Texas and after showing Karri his vision they instantly agreed it was exactly what they were dreaming of!
After doing some research and finding Willow House online, they instantly booked an entire property buy-out before ever seeing it in person but felt instant peace after the first visit out to the magical and tucked away boutique hotel. Terlingua was just *barely* large enough to accommodate a small 100 person wedding while still being extremely small enough to feel like they spent the entire weekend with our favorite people.
If you’re anything like us, this wedding probably has you itching for a desert road trip. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the coolest desert houses you can rent for your next getaway!
The couple shares how essential it was to have pieces that are representative of who each person is for the wedding, and pieces they’re excited to share together in marriage. A wedding, like a marriage, shouldn’t be all one person’s preferences and style. There are obviously more “obvious” ways to do this when cultures are coming together, but even things as simple as perfumes chosen by each person (Micah and Karri each chose a Le Labo perfume as their wedding-day scent) can bring really special meaning to the day. We love this idea!!
From the looks on these people’s faces…I think everyone here is ready to party!
The Windy Reception
One notable thing about this desert landscape is how wild the wind gets. Everyone agreed it was some of the biggest gusts they’d ever experienced in their lives, so the reception table settings didn’t entirely behave.
Fortunately, Micah and Karri took everything in stride and considered it all part of the adventure and truth of living. They danced hard in the wind, Topo Chico in hand, to a playlist they made, on a dusty desert dance-floor made of borrowed rugs…
While the wind may have caused a commotion, it didn’t take away from how beautiful this reception space was! The pops of burnt orange against a neutral color palette is absolutely stunning for this desert party.
Now this is a cool cake! This triple-tiered cube shaped cake was expertly crafted by Olive and Aries!
Although there are many to choose from, we both have to agree that our favorite moment came as a complete surprise to both of us, which is hard to do when you've spent months planning out every moment of your special day, but as we finished taking our couple portraits our photographers led us around a building so we could begin our first dance and have our entrance. Little did we know what awaited, and to our shock and awe, the groom's family had flown out dozens of traditional Maasai spears, shuka's (beautiful colored blankets) and walking sticks and had incorporated a welcome ceremony. For a brief moment we thought we had been transported back to Kenya and in that teleportation felt that we were able to celebrate our day with so many close friends that were not able to make it across the world for our Texas wedding.
A rule that a friend shared with us shortly after engagement was simple but crucial - no wedding planning after 9:00 p.m. In the early parts it is so easy to get lost in the research and stress of finding the perfect venue, picking a wedding date and hiring an army of people to make it all happen that you forget to enjoy just being engaged. We would set an alarm on our phones and no matter how unaccomplished we felt or maybe close to FINALLY figuring it all out we were convinced we possibly we were- 9:00 p.m sharp the laptops went away, the scrolling discontinued from our tired fingers and we simply enjoyed each other through either a good netflix show, a celebratory glass of wine or just talking about ANYTHING other than wedding. It took discipline but we wouldn't recommend it any other way.
One other important piece of advice is to remember that the day is about the two of you...no one else. Place boundaries, have those hard conversations about place settings and be okay in saying no to guest requests from family and friends that don't make you both feel comfortable. Finally, and most importantly remember the most important factor to consider is not the venue, the flowers, the dress or any of the details, rather it is the people you chose to witness the two of you vowing yourselves to each other. Choose wisely and you will be blessed with a support system that last long after the "I do".
Congratulations to Karri and Micah on your amazing wedding! We wish you a lifetime of love and happiness!
photography: Safeena Noah // venue name: Willow House Terlingua, Terlingua, Texas, USA // planning: Karissa Sander // florals: TR Floral // wedding dress: Made With Love // hair stylist: HD Skin // makeup artist: HD Skin // groom attire: Bonobos // cake: Olive & Aries - Olivia Vickers // tabletop rentals: Big D Rentals // furniture rentals: Big D Rentals // linen rentals: Big D Rentals // Perfume: Le Labo