After being introduced by his high school history teacher and her family friend, established attorney Brian Evan Schartz offered advice to Leah Kristina Charlesworth as she was starting law school. A year later, they met in person for dinner, immediately realizing how much they had in common. It wasn’t long before Brian proposed to Leah on the beach in Miami after she had finished her last law school final. 

Though they reside in New York City, the pair chose to wed in Houston, Texas, as they had lived there for nearly two years and wanted a centralized location for their friends and family traveling from both coasts. “We wanted our wedding to be timeless, as well as look like a wedding,” shares Leah, confirming their 125 guests received classic black-and-white invitations that set the tone for the fête to come. 

Desiring a venue with a touch of New York style, Leah and Brian selected The Astorian, a landmark property in Downtown Houston featuring floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the city. To complement the setting, the couple and their planner, Piper Hatfield of Piper and Muse Events, created a design scheme featuring plenty of ambient candlelight and lush white florals by Floral Events. 

The ceremony space was lined with modern acrylic elements, and the spot for the vow exchange was marked by a bookcase filled with florals and candles. “Our ceremony was most unique because we had written our own wedding program, which shared our story – including moving from New York to Houston, as well as aspects of our marriage that are important to us,” shares Leah. “We each wrote our own vows, and they exemplified traditions that we each live our lives by.” 

To further add a personalized element to the big day, Leah and Brian got ready with their two dogs, Templeton Rye and Bulleit Rye. “They are such a big part of our lives, and we knew we wanted them to be part of our wedding,” smiles Leah. “They were present for our first look, wedding ceremony, and photos. Having them be part of our wedding was a no-brainer… Nobody was surprised that we would bring them from New York to Houston.” 

As friends and family entered the reception space, they were in awe of the beautiful décor. Layering modern furniture rentals from Johanna Terry Events and rich, textural pieces from House of Hough created the timeless, romantic ambience the pair envisioned. The newlyweds and their nearest and dearest were seated at the head table, showcasing a long runner of flowers including orchids, roses, tulips, calla lilies, and hydrangeas in vases interspersed with candles, while attendees were seated at tables draped with midnight-toned linens topped with towering centerpieces of similar blooms. 

In addition to a sit-down dinner service and slices of a seven-layer wedding cake designed by Sugary & Chic, loved ones enjoyed tasty hors d’oeuvres and late-night snacks. “Cordua did the most amazing job catering the wedding,” affirms Leah. “We wanted to make sure that the food was excellent and equivalent to eating at a restaurant, which we love to do.” To offer reenergizing fare for their loved ones dancing to the sounds of Royal Dukes Band, late-night bites included sweets such as key lime push pops, tequila bread pudding, and dark chocolate chiffon, as well as savory treats including pork Cuban sandwiches and miniature chicken-and-waffle bites.