Photos by Korina Mariem Photography
Javan and Natalie Vermillion Porter met as freshmen at Ole Miss, and dated off-and-on through their college years. After graduation, Javan returned to his hometown of Columbia, Miss., to teach. Natalie moved back to her native Texas for a teaching position in Dallas. The couple kept up a long-distance relationship for two years before getting engaged in December of 2015. They immediately began planning a summer wedding in Austin, Texas.
“I grew up in Austin, so we went with the tradition of getting married in the bride’s hometown,” said Natalie.
As if wedding planning was not stressful enough, Javan and Natalie planned their wedding not only separated from one another, but from their wedding vendors in Austin as well.
“We were back-and-forth visiting every weekend,” said Natalie. “There’s no telling how many flights we’ve taken.”
True to her city style, Natalie chose a downtown venue called Brazos Hall. They said their vows on the rooftop, surrounded by family, friends and the urban cityscape. The indoor space downstairs, where they held their reception, is a bit more rustic. Natalie said the hardwood floors and exposed brick felt more representative of Javan’s style and deep south roots.
“I knew with it being in Texas, it was going to be difficult for a lot of people to come, so we picked Austin for a lot of reasons,” said Javan. “It was a fun place that all of our friends could come to and enjoy.”
A pre-wedding party had been thrown in Columbia in Javan and Natalie’s honor for those who could not attend. The only regret Javan has about the Texas wedding is that his grandparents were not there.
According to Natalie, they were able to pull of the long-distance wedding because of help from the venue and arriving in Austin a few days prior to the wedding to finalize details.
They relied entirely on local vendors for food, rentals and décor, with the exception of a cross that was handmade by Javan’s uncle and had been used in Javan’s sister’s ceremony.
“The venue was a blank slate, so we had to have a chandelier brought in, chairs, dance floor—it all came from different people, which was hard,” said Natalie.
For food, Javan and Natalie had a his-and-hers set up—Southern comfort food for him, and local tex-mex for her.
“I mostly went off what I knew from growing up here in choosing vendors, but we also found some vendors online using sites like the Knot,” she said.
One of her favorite finds was a bakery that made a Yeti groom’s cake for Javan.
The planning nearly went off without a hitch, but two weeks before the ceremony, the photographer had to cancel. Luckily, she was able to refer another photographer that the Porters were pleased with. All in all, the Porters have no regrets.
“When it comes to weddings, it’s going to be stressful and there will be times when you wonder if it’s worth it,” said Javan. “But, in the end, it is when you have everyone you love there and it’s a big event, and it’s so special.”