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Fashion / Weddings

River Oaks’ Wonder Wedding

A Legendary Oil Family Granddaughter Raises the Bar on Bridal Bliss

BY // 03.10.17
photography Chris Bailey

Flowers. Bushels of colorful flowers. That was the one mandate for Jennifer McCord’s wedding reception at River Oaks Country Club, set forth by the bride; her mother, Kathy Cullen McCord; and grandmother Rose Cullen. And flowers there were — a kaleidoscopic profusion of close to 200,000 blossoms.

“Everybody was doing white weddings at the time,” Jennifer says. “I love white, but I wanted color to make it lively and happy.” Her soon-to-be husband, Landon Anderson, agreed.

The families had more in common than a love of brilliant blossoms; the wedding had an undercurrent of tradition. The three scions of the Cullen oil fortune had each planned their wedding receptions at “the club,” although Rose Saragusa Cullen’s reception was moved to the family home after her husband Harry Cullen’s grandfather, oilman Hugh Roy Cullen, known as the King of Wildcatters, suffered a stroke.

Hearkening back to that first wedding, Jennifer accessorized her Oscar de la Renta gown with the veil that had been worn by her mother and grandmother before her. Her bridesmaids’ gowns were designed by Victor Costa, just as her mother’s had been, and both women were married at St. Michael Catholic Church. Coincidentally, Rose Cullen’s birthday — August 29 — is the date when Jennifer and Landon first met.

Bridesmaids in Victor Costa

The place was a rehearsal dinner at a mutual friend’s wedding in Maine, and the entire Cullen family was there. “It was love at first sight,” Rose recalls. “We all loved him, and he loved us.”

Fast forward to August 29, 2015: The couple was celebrating Rose’s birthday with family at the Cullens’ Buena Vista ranch in South Texas when Landon, a production foreman for EOG Resources, proposed. She said yes, and the wedding planning began.

When it came to blanketing River Oaks Country Club in flowers, Jennifer and her mother, Rose, called on a longtime family friend, Richard Flowers of The Events Company. He had designed mother Kathy’s wedding to Jody McCord years earlier and was their chosen designer when Kathy and Rose chaired the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, gala in 1990. (They were the first mother-daughter team, and the first chairs to raise $1 million for the vaunted museum.)

“We gave Richard carte blanche,” Jennifer says. “We just let him do what he does best.”

Deep-hued roses, hydrangeas, and orchids were flown in from across the globe, with magnificent flower arches leading into the ballroom foyer (“My favorite part of the wedding was walking through that hallway of flowers,” Jennifer says); a wall of roses framed the couple’s mirrored monogram; urns overflowing with massive bouquets; orchids (some 3,000 in all) draping from the patio ceiling; and lavish bouquets dotting every table. Even the seven-tier wedding cake, created by Who Made the Cake, was coated in sugar flowers.

The night was also filled with music — cocktail music by Divisi Strings, dinner music by Sharon Montgomery, and dance music by A-Town A-List. The party went on until the wee morning hours, with the bride and groom departing in a gleaming Rolls- Royce Silver Cloud, their exit lit by synchronized sparklers and fireworks.

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