Ellie Leeper And Dan Morrison Wed In San Antonio
By Lance Avery Morgan Photography by David Sixt
They met over music and the rest, as they say, is history. When Ellie Leeper of San Antonio, the daughter of Rossana and Harry Leeper, and Dan Morrison of Chicago, the son of Judy and David Morrison, started their married life in front of family and friends, their love of the performing arts also joined them in their new lives together.
Set up on a blind date by Claudia Zapata Elliott and her San Antonio Spur player legend husband Sean Elliott, surprise would be a theme for the couple. In fact, Dan asked Ellie to marry him at his sister Jennifer Morrison’s home in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve as he played the piano and sang John Legend’s love ballad, All of Me.
The couple’s love of tradition inspired the 1940s Old Hollywood-meets-New York glamour-filled wedding weekend with the coloration theme of abundant hues of gold, pink and white. The rehearsal dinner and welcome party was held for family and close friends from out of town at the Hotel Emma, where the warm toasts all around set the tone of the festivities.
At the wedding, the bride was escorted down the aisle by her father. Dressed in her grandmother Maria Sollitto’s wedding gown worn initially in 1954, and subsequently by the women of their family, the white silk taffeta and tulle hoop-skirted dress with lace, pearl and crystal accents was refurbished by Angelina Mata in San Antonio.
The St. Anthony Hotel, the city’s fabled grand dame hotel reminiscent of The Plaza in Manhattan, provided a resplendent backdrop for the nuptials that were exchanged in front of the fireplace in the venue’s famed Peacock Alley. The bride was accompanied by her attendants, maid of honor Satchie Seidlits and man of honor Brandon Mills, along with bridesmaids Jennifer Morrison, Julia Morrison Summers, Allison Reyes, Ashley Lindsey and Sage Blount. Bridesmaid Julia Morrison Summers, the groom’s sister, also sang the aria of The Lord’s Prayer during the ceremony. The groom was attired in black tie, as was his best man Kyle Schwarz and groomsmen Nate Evett, Zach Evett, Zach Summers, Anthony Pagano and Michael Dacres, along with his ushers, the bride’s brothers, Hank Leeper and Charles Leeper and the groom’s cousins, Brandon Bilbrey and Ryan Brettmann. Guests included the couple’s extended families and friends from across Texas, Los Angeles, Chicago, Connecticut and New York City.
Fittingly, the evening’s music was a prominent theme throughout the ceremony and reception. Guests arrived as the couple’s friend and world-touring Spanish classical guitarist Taso Comanescu from Los Angeles set the mood. The ceremony, officiated by family friend Reverend Arden Dorn, began with a regal processional by a brass quintet that played throughout, and was followed during cocktail hour by both a violinist and a pianist who graced the keys of The St. Anthony’s famous antique Steinway. Then the Mariachis Azteca de America heralded the newlywed’s arrival into the reception in the Anacacho Ballroom, while the Austin Nines led by David Young played the evening’s dinner and dancing music. The couple and their parents worked closely with Young to create the mood of a bygone supper club complete with white dinner jacket-clad band members and branded bandstands.
The stunning wedding and reception for the 225 guests was created and coordinated by event planner extraordinaire Richard Gallaway, while Danny Cuellar of Trinity Flowers expertly executed the floral inspiration. The fireplace in Peacock Alley where the vows were exchanged was enveloped in a fresh white ginestra floral garland accented with large caramel Antike garden roses. The guest tables in the ballroom were peppered with gilded Italian columns and topped with a variety of pink-hued roses, while a canopy of white and pink cherry blossom branches hovered over the head wedding table, creating a soft and romantic garden atmosphere.
The 40-feet garland of Isreali Ruscus and variegated tropical leaves dotted with pink-hued roses draped the entire length of the head wedding table to incorporate the Hollywood glamour and Manhattan sophistication into the mix of the ballroom. The band’s stage was flanked by towering five-feet-tall urns that housed imported Costa Rican banana leaves crafted into tropical trees, to compliment the banana leaf table linens provided by the Illusions/RK Group. The dessert after dinner was a multi-tiered wedding cake created locally by Cakes by Cathy. After dinner and dancing, the party continued into the wee hours at the hotel’s rooftop terrace overlooking the city.
The bride, a graduate of Trinity University in San Antonio, is the public relations manager at the Children’s Rehabilitation Institute, and the groom, a graduate of the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign, is employed as the director of bands at Ronald Reagan High School. They spent their tropical honeymoon at Excellence Resort Playa Mujeres in Cancun, Mexico and continue to reside in San Antonio.