Fashion / Weddings

Two Storied Texas Families Merge in the Ultimate Ranch Wedding: High School Sweethearts Find Love in the Country

BY // 05.31.17
photography Ashley Garmon Photographers

A storied family’s Texas ranch was the setting for the marriage of the great granddaughter of Rutherford Oil Company founder – Mattie Bell Rutherford and her San Antonio fiancé, Brian Craig Thompson Jr.  The mother of the bride, Nancy Rutherford, shares all the details and inside stories.

The Couple: Mattie Bell Rutherford + Brian Craig Thompson Jr.

The Big Day: Saturday, October 8, 2016, at the Rutherford Ranch, established 1948, Buda, Texas.

The Romance: As the couple’s hashtag proclaimed, theirs was a #MatchMadeinMcQueeney. The bride and groom met 11 years ago while both were in high school, during summer vacation at Lake McQueeney. She’s from a Houston oil and ranching family and is the great granddaughter of wildcatter Pat Rutherford Sr., who once entertained Lyndon B. Johnson and had an airstrip built for the presidential plane to land on ranch property. The groom hails from equally patrician Alamo Heights, San Antonio, stock.

The couple dated through college — she went to Vanderbilt; he attended Texas A&M — and despite beginning careers in finance in different cities (the bride in New York City, the groom in San Antonio), the pull of the heart won out. With both back living and working in Houston — she with Barclay’s, he with South Texas Money Management — they committed to a life together.

Popping the Question: At the Rutherford Ranch, a year prior. The bride-to-be was not expecting it, as evidenced by her attire — snake-protection working boots, shorts, and a tee, hair in a ponytail knot. The groom, also in ranch casual, found a favorite spot from their nature hikes and plopped down on one knee.


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The respective families, who had been let in on the upcoming proposal, were waiting at the big house to toast the newly engaged pair.

Details of the Day

The Bride Wore: Anna Maier from Joan Pillow, Houston.

The Groom Wore: Tux from J. Hilburn, with a Mexican artisan-made suspenders ordered from El Rey Apparel, Houston.

Wardrobe Warning to Guests: “Outdoor cocktail — stilettos and grass don’t mix!”

Wedding Party: The 14 bridesmaids included two maids of honor, Caitlin Bailey and cousin Holly Wilson, and one matron of honor, cousin Amanda Rutherford Lodge. The 12 groomsmen included the groom’s brother, William Thompson, as best man and the bride’s brother, Houston Rutherford. The bride’s other brother, Michael Rutherford III, served as an usher.

Rehearsal Dinner: The down-home Salt Lick in nearby Driftwood served up barbecue the night before. “The air was crisp and the toasts glowed,” recalls mother of the bribe Nancy Rutherford, “the narratives hilarious and heartwarming.”

Special Gifts: The brides bestowed to the bridesmaids custom Mexican dresses with embroidered yokes, from Mi Golondrina, Dallas.

Clever Signage: The road from ranch entrance to the ceremony was four miles. Along the way, markers confirmed the distance to the nuptials — “3 miles until Mattie becomes Mrs. Thompson!”

The Ceremony: Three hundred guests including members of Houston and San Antonio old-guard families and a cast of friends, first grade through college, gathered for the al fresco ceremony and tented reception. The newlyweds were trucked from field to reception in a vintage, bright red pickup.

The Wedding Planner: Gina Whittington, The Whitt Experience, Austin.

Flowers: Botanical No. 9, Austin.

Caterer: Word of Mouth, Austin. The menu nodded to Texas tradition (vegetarians need not apply), from chicken-fried venison bite appetizers, to salt-and-pepper seared beef tenderloin with Chianti demi-glace, a mashed potato bar, and late night breakfast tacos.

Libations: Cocktails fueled by Texas craft distillers included a Tito’s Vodka and soda with a splash of prickly pear, lime, and fresh jalapeños; and a Deep Eddy Ruby Red Vodka and soda.

Who Made the Cake: The Cake Plate, Austin. The groom’s cake stole the thunder: It depicted the couple’s Brittany spaniel, Dos, complete with quail in the dog’s mouth.

Musicians: Austin-based Mariachi Relámpago performed during cocktail hour; Pure Party Band, in from Atlanta, took to the stage right after dinner.

Happily Ever After: The couple was whisked off by a ’50s Chevy to their wedding night at the Granduca, Austin. The newlyweds left the next day to honeymoon in Hawaii and now reside in Houston.

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