Real Weddings: Marie Elena Ely & Fred Stitz

Real Weddings: Marie Elena Ely & Fred Stitz

You are cordially invited to our favorite weddings of the year.

Marie Elena Ely & Fred Stitz
Married November 8, 2011

Fred Stitz was playing guitar and singing lead vocals for his band, Smokey Angle Shades, at SXSW 2010 when he met Marie Ely, the daughter of Texas country legend Joe Ely. After a nine-month whirlwind romance, Marie and her parents planned a big winter solstice party in December for Fred to meet all the friends and some family, which then turned into an engagement party. “I picked him up at the airport the eve of the party, and that’s the night he asked me to be his ‘wifey’ and we told everybody at the party! That’s how it all happened,” Marie says.

She wed her beau on November 8, 2011, under the 200-year-old oak tree rooted in her parents’ country land, wearing a white buckskin wedding dress and looking exactly like a Native American princess. Talented friend Leslie Crow, owner of Heyoka Leather, made the dress in two parts: a poncho and a long fringed skirt adorned with white barn owl and red-tailed hawk feathers. Marie wove her hair into two braids, just like Fred, who wore a bright red velvet Sir Tom Baker suit (“Which my grandma thought was funny,” laughs Marie). After the ceremony, guests enjoyed Stubb’s BBQ and Mrs. Ely’s famous Holy Posole, while Joe Ely, the Flatlanders and Ian McLagan broke out into foot-stomping song — the first of many musicians to take their turn serenading the newlyweds. Marie says, “We planned everything up to a certain point, then let it just run its course…I was more in the moment.” By the time most guests would have left a wedding, most of Marie and Fred’s friends were still hanging around a large celebratory bonfire, and indeed, the couple’s closest friends camped around the fire for a night under the stars. Some slept in RVs, tents or mere sleeping bags, and some slept not at all. That night, Marie and her new husband slumbered under the 500-year-old oak tree rooted in her parents’ country land, the same tree her mother had married under, and the same tree that heard their wedding vows that held the promises of a long and happy marriage.