Wedding Guide

Houston Couple Dustin and Keith Tie the Knot in a Dream Wedding

A love story that began on Facebook and led to a romantic wedding at Boxwood Manor.

Dustin (l) and Keith Harwell were married at Boxwood Manor. (Photos by Always Us Studios)

Dustin Harwell, 38, of Brookshire, Texas, and Houston native Keith Harwell, 35, became Facebook friends before meeting in person. In October 2018, they bumped into each other at Eagle Houston and the conversation instantly flowed easily between them.

“When I first saw Dustin, I noticed his great smile. He had a little country twang in his accent, and he was pretty charming,” says Keith. “I couldn’t stop looking at him throughout the night.”

“Keith was well-dressed. You can tell a lot about a man when he’s well-dressed,” adds Dustin.

After that chance meeting, Dustin made the first move by asking Keith out on a date and letting him decide the location. “One of my favorite places is Federal American Grill,” Keith says. “They have this awesome drink called the Socialite. It’s gin-based with cucumber, and it is a really refreshing drink.”

On that date, they both enjoyed Socialites and the restaurant’s signature crab cake. “We were there around 6:00, although he was five minutes late—I will never forget that,” remembers Dustin. “And we closed the place down. We were the last couple standing in that bar.”


That first date spawned many more dates. “I would say I knew Dustin was the one when we were constantly moving forward with wanting to get to know each other and see each other more often,” states Keith. “When some people date, it can be one-sided. But this one has had forward momentum since the beginning.”

“I knew Keith was the one because I can sometimes be a little bit more hyped on energy, maybe a little bit OCD sometimes,” admits Dustin. “He balanced my energy, always made time for me, and that was important. That showed me the partner and husband he would be for the future.”

As a couple, Dustin and Keith have a tradition of visiting Destin, Florida, around Labor Day. On one of these vacations, Dustin shocked his best friend when he told her that he was thinking of proposing to Keith. “I literally got back from our Labor Day trip and planned the entire engagement with flowers and the ring,” Dustin recalls. He reserved space at Federal American Grill, invited 30 guests, planned a menu that featured the Socialite cocktail, and had Keith convinced he was simply throwing a professional networking event.

“I did not get the idea that he would be proposing until we arrived in front of the restaurant,” reveals Keith. “Every time we go there, there’s always parking. This time there wasn’t. Then, I saw one of my good friends walking in, looking all nice and dressed up. That’s when I started thinking, ‘This person normally does not dress up.’” Then, seeing the photographer and all the family and friends when they entered the restaurant, he says, “My nerves shot up. I just thought, ‘I think this is something else.’”

The couple’s first dance

“He knew at that point what was going on,” admits Dustin. “But he was ecstatic and a little bit surprised, too, even though he knew.”

Dustin and Keith got married on April 20, 2024, at Boxwood Manor. “They have a beautiful reception hall separate from the chapel, and each of us got our own cottages to get ready with our individual wedding party,” explains Dustin. “From the first moment we saw that venue, I said, ‘This is the one.’”

“It was unanimous, right off the bat,” Keith adds.

The couple’s wedding exceeded their expectations, thanks to the rock stars who helped them pull off the event. “Our photographer, David Truong, who did our engagement, introduced us to our wedding coordinator, who is now a personal friend of ours. She is amazing as a person, but also as a coordinator,” says Dustin. “We walked into that reception hall and tears crept up really quickly because it was like we were in this dream wonderland.”

Their wedding coordinator was Karissa Neville of Karissa Joy Weddings & Events. “She only does so many weddings a year,” Dustin notes. “She does that because she wants to make sure she fine-tunes everything for her clients and doesn’t let anything slip. She truly did that for us.”

With the help of Karissa, their wedding day featured many personal touches, including their nephew riding down the aisle in a white toy Mercedes G-Wagon. It also featured their two Australian shepherds, Tucker and Cooper, as part of the ceremony.

“I think something unique that we brought to the reception was our love for the Houston Astros. That’s what we’ve connected with through our entire relationship,” Dustin mentions. “One of our cakes was in the shape of Minute Maid Park. On the scoreboard, it said 4-20 for our wedding date, and on the actual teletron was one of our engagement photos with our custom jerseys.”

The couple also offers praise for their wedding officiant Luke Oaks of Officially Oaks, Mychelle Bang of Blush Floral Company, and Houston’s own Miss Gay America Dessie Love-Blake, who performed a Taylor Swift medley and a P!nk medley, complete with backup dancers, during the reception.

Additional reception entertainment was provided by Doppelganger, one of Houston’s premier wedding bands. In full transparency, Dustin admitted that one of the co-owners of Doppelganger is his father—who, when given the opportunity to get out of performing at their wedding, enthusiastically declined that idea, saying “Absolutely not. I want to work. I want to play until my heart’s content.”

Likewise, Keith’s cousin, Tracy Perez, shared her vocal talents at the reception as well. The Tracy Perez band also performed and included Keith’s nephews, Desi and Matthew, on trumpet and saxophone. “They have played at a few gay weddings that I know of, and they’re amazing,” says Keith. “They’re definitely a hidden gem in Houston.”

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David Clarke

David Clarke is a freelance writer contributing arts, entertainment, and culture stories to OutSmart.
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