In Focus

February 5, 2014

Real Weddings: Sarah Fulton & Leland Smith

Sarah Fulton and Leland Smith’s ranch wedding shined a spotlight on chic Southern style and good food and drink. The June nuptials took place at the bride’s parents’ private estate in Paradise.

“I’m a seventh-generation Texan on both sides of the family,” says Sarah, whose parents owned The Covey brewpub and restaurant in Fort Worth, where her brother, Jamie, brewed beer. “We wanted to be outside and have a relaxed feeling.”

Sarah grew up riding equestrian horses since before she can remember, she says, and her family started breeding the beauties when she was a teenager. For the day of her wedding, the horses’ expansive arena was dressed up to fit the occasion and served as the ceremony and reception site.

A barbecue dinner seemed only appropriate given the wedding’s location, look and feel, but Sarah and Leland didn’t want any old plate of brisket. At the recommendation of wedding planner Tara Wilson, they chose Smoke, the popular Dallas restaurant that incorporates smoke into dishes using time-honored techniques, to cater the reception. Chef Tim Byres spit-roasted an entire hog on-site in a pit made of cinder blocks. Starters included roasted oysters and pimento cheese croquettes, and standout sides were blue cheese coleslaw and mac and cheese. The meal was served family-style at one long dinner table.

“I feel like food is one of the things that brought Leland and me together,” she says. “We’re both big foodies. We cook all the time. We love to splurge on nice meals. Having a really good meal is really important to me, and I wanted to make sure that we sat down and ate. I know so many people who go through their wedding and totally miss out on dinner. We were going to enjoy every bite.”

Instead of cake, guests dug forks into scratch-made pecan, coconut cream and German chocolate pies from Oak Street Pie & Candy Co. in Roanoke.

“I just wanted a traditional, old-fashioned pie instead of something fancy,” says Sarah, an avid baker herself. “Wedding cakes always look beautiful, but they don’t always taste amazing. I wanted a dessert that tasted really good more than looked pretty. It looked gorgeous anyway, but it was also rustic and fun to go with everything else.”

To wash everything down, Sarah’s brother, Jamie, now the owner of Community Beer Company in Dallas, brewed a custom, Belgian-style pale strong ale especially for the wedding. It is for sale now under the name Trinity Tripel.

Also a food lover, Sarah’s mother usually grows a vegetable garden each spring, but she changed her plans last year and grew flowers for the wedding instead. Brightly colored zinnias, blue cornflowers and black-eyed Susans were used to make flower arrangements put together by Sarah’s mother and aunts. Sarah’s dress, by designer Claire Pettibone, featured simple cotton lace over light satin, which added a bit of shine without the heavy weight.

“I kept thinking, ‘I’m getting married in June in Texas and it’s going to be 105 degrees,’ ” Sarah says. “I didn’t want a big, billowy gown.”

Guests danced to DJ-spun music into the evening on an elevated dance floor in the horse arena, which was lit by paper lantern globes.

“There’s something about my parents’ place that makes everybody feel at home,” Sarah says.

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