Things about the wedding


Monthly Archive 三月 2018


Brooklyn Winery Wedding with A Beautiful Love Story

I am simply in love with this couple, and you’re about to be. I’m not even going to tell you about them myself, because I could never convey to you the love these two share better than the groom can. So settle in, because it’s not every day we have the groom to introduce his wedding with a love story. (And, I just have to add, while some brides choose to change up their look for the reception, it’s not every day it is the groom who does it – marrying his beautiful bride Virginia in his dashing Australian Army dress uniform, and then celebrating in a still-pretty-dapper tux).

I left breakfast and returned to Observation Post 72 in Syria that Monday via New York and Tel Aviv. My home was a tennis court-sized United Nations post near Quneitra in Syria where, with two other soldiers, I bore witness to the failure of humanity that is the Syrian conflict. In that place I had immediate occasion to reflect on the pretty blonde girl with pink lips and blue eyes that I had met – and how valuable a moment that was. Wanting to pass on only a compliment, I sent her a dozen pink roses and a Cormac McCarthy novel. At best she would have cause to feel good, at worst reject the ostensibly sentimental impulse of a stranger.

We started to write to each other, my weeks punctuated by her letters. We met again months later when I had some more leave, this time in Vietnam. Our first date was on a humid night in a dark bar in Hanoi. She wore a long flowing blue print dress. She laughed a lot. After that, it was an easy decision to send her flowers each week, easier still to start flying to New York every month or so to become part of her life. Harder when I finished secondment with the United Nations and moved back to Australia in December 2014 to continue my career as an infantry officer.

I was born and raised in Brooklyn and it is my favorite place on earth. James is Australian, and we have been living here in Australia for the past two years. We decided that we wanted to get married in Brooklyn, because it mattered to both of us that both of our families were there. We are both very family-oriented and our families are extremely important to us.

I have a very large family (18 immediate family members!) and they all live in Brooklyn. James’ immediate family is smaller (his parents, one sister who lives in Canada, plus a close aunt and uncle and two cousins) and they would pretty easily be able to come to Brooklyn. His parents were going to be visiting his sister in Canada for a week in May, which lined up with his pre-deployment leave from the Army, before he left for seven months in Iraq. So we decided to get married in Brooklyn with my family, his parents and sister down from Canada, and his aunt, uncle, and cousins from Australia.

I walked down the aisle to From Little Things Big Things Grow by Paul Kelly, an Australian Folk singer. We exchanged rings to The Stable Song by Gregory Alan Isakov. We walked back up the aisle together to Sweet Virginia by The Rolling Stones.

People underestimate the importance of the ceremony. There’s a tendency to rush through it because it’s perceived as boring or trite. But don’t rush through it and spend time thinking about and planning for the kind of ceremony you want. Because it’s likely going to be the only time the two of you get together – close enough to touch and hear one another at a whisper – and that’s what the day is all about. Really, the whole ceremony was my favorite part of the day, because it was the only part of the day where James and I were standing next to each other, holding hands, looking at one another and speaking to one another. The rest of the day was hectic – getting ready, partying with everyone, etc. Weddings are supposed to be ways to share and celebrate with all of your loved ones, which is great. But the ceremony really felt like it was just for James and me.

Army cake! I’m not particularly creative, but I guess my contribution was the cute camo cake with the green Army men crawling up it, like they were storming the beaches of Normandy!

We love Virginia’s honesty about what she would do differently if she had their wedding again. Even though she looks so lovely, she tells us “I would’ve kept my hair straight, as it is naturally. I made a last-minute, impulsive decision to do the Hollywood glam 1920s curls (because I hadn’t given any thought to how I was going to do it until the day-of and my hair stylist said it looked good!) and – even though he did a great job and the hair was beautiful – I wish I looked more like myself.”

The speeches. They were all short and sweet (as we instructed everyone – James and I had recently gone to a wedding where speeches went for almost 2 hours!) and hilarious! Everyone made the whole party laugh, which was awesome. But specifically my brother Ben’s speech was perfect.

Ray La Montagne’s You Are The Best Thing. James and I danced to this for a minute, then I grabbed my dad and he grabbed his mom. Then everyone started dancing. It was really fun. The DJ was great, so almost everyone was on the dance floor throughout the night.


Emotional Wedding in Lake Tahoe With A Rainstorm

Settle in, because we have a seriously special story for you today. Jeanette battled cancer from just eighteen months into her relationship with Michael, and their wedding day was an absolutely joy-filled (and yes, totally tear-filled!) celebration of what Jeanette calls their “shared triumph”. This is a couple who know all too well how very lucky they are, and they were so excited to throw a huge party celebrating just that – with 250 loved ones! Though the day started with their heartbreakingly beautiful vows, ultimately there were plenty more laughs than tears – especially with an unexpected half hour rainstorm right in the middle of their (completely uncovered) outdoor reception! And be sure to read on to the end for their seriously beautiful advice we can all take to heart.

We knew we had to have a first look so that the ceremony wouldn’t be all about the ugly crying. During the tough times of cancer, there were a lot of fears that we wouldn’t get to our wedding in a healthy place. Seeing each other all done up in our attire on the day of the event was the sign that we had made it, survived the tough times and were there to enjoy our triumph together. In many ways, this was an intimate moment we wanted to share just with each other, and then with our guests later.

We had been searching for a venue for over six months and nothing was a perfect fit. Every time we fell in love with a venue, there was some factor that worked against us (price, accommodation, reception space, curfew, etc.). We knew we wanted two things: a place where our closest friends could stay the night with us and a venue that had no strict timelines for finishing up the night. During the process, we heard about a friend’s wedding where everyone camped out afterwards under the stars and we were hooked on the idea. Michael’s parents’ home in Truckee brought all of those things together. Our goal was to keep the party going for as long as we could!

It was a tear fest. Michael was crying the entire time and I think many of our guests took part in the waterworks as well.

Our good friend Josiah officiated our wedding. We wanted to make sure the person that married us was someone who knew each of us individually and our story together. Josiah fit that bill perfectly and he gave a nice little speech at the beginning that was perfectly personal and reflective of our combined friendships.

We had a relatively short and tradition-free ceremony, as we were more concerned with getting to the party! The most important part to us were our vows, which we wrote on our own but worked through together before the big day. We felt that would be the most appropriate way to demonstrate our love to our guests.

Our vows were the most important part of the ceremony for us. Given that we’d been through some significant hurdles in our short time together, we felt like there was a lot to say. Each of us wrote our vows by ourselves, and showed them to each other in the days prior to the wedding so that we could prepare for the waterworks. Jeannette finished hers the night before, and read them to me around 1am before I left her cabin. We were sitting on the floor crying together and holding each other tightly. It was a sign of things to come for the big day…

There was a lot of genuine and heartfelt emotion that came out in our vows. A lot of people know our story from afar, but we were able to share a very close glimpse into what makes us so madly in love.

Raucous. We had a two hour cocktail ‘hour’ prior to the reception so people were very lively by the time the festivities started. To add to the fun, we made sure each guest had a little bottle of tequila waiting for them at their seat.

We built a campsite right next to our dance floor, which featured five large tents rented from Shelter Co. Having the tents nearby allowed our closest friends to stay with us until late, and we ended up building a campfire down in the center at the end of the night. It was a perfect way to maximize the moments with each other until we passed out around 4am.

We started with the usual Pinterest boarding of all things cute and beautiful, haha. After compiling a large mood board for inspiration, we began to draw connections between what each of us liked. Thankfully, we had similar tastes in most of the categories. Michael is a designer so he was a lot more particular than most grooms might be with the details. While all of that seems foolish now, we felt that our wedding had to be a clear and thoughtful representation of our personalities and aesthetic. Once we had set our hearts on Truckee, we contacted Ashley Smith at Buzzworthy Events who helped us create the spitting image of the wedding we wanted.

We looked at a lot of different inspiration when planning our wedding, but it wasn’t until we hung out at Outside Lands that we realized we wanted to capture the feeling of a majestic forest for our special day. Thankfully, we had Ashley Smith to help us execute on our ideas. She looked through all of our mood boards and was able to create a vision for us. It is a very big relief to hand over the aesthetic to a planner who has a history of doing great work. We felt it was silly to think we could know everything about creating a wedding as first-timers. Trusting someone who can take your thoughts and run with them further than you could is really nice.

We wanted to break out of the traditional mold of salad, meat, veggies. Michael was very adamant about the food representing our cultures and backgrounds. We both also thought it would be amazing to have Mexican food for our reception. Our cocktail hour featured sushi delivered on plates and we had a caterer on site who delivered a wonderful Mexican dinner for our guests. We also had a late-night taco bar to help our guests keep a good food/alcohol balance!

I’d encourage other couples to focus on the experience rather than the appearance. It’s very easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of wanting perfect details and “the look”, but most important is how you and your guests enjoy the day. We looked at many gorgeous venues that had such strict rules around guests and curfew. In order to make these work, we had begun to sacrifice more important details in the process. You are not going to look back and obsess over the details, but rather see photos that remind you of memories that you had with your favorite people.

Jeanette’s diagnosis impacted (and still) impacts how we view the future. It is very easy to live your life and take certain plans as a given (a long life, perfectly healthy children and professional success). Sometimes, we even tie up the idea of happiness in the realization of those expectations. What cancer has shown us is that nothing is definite and that happiness should be pursued in the present. No one truly knows what the future will bring, so we must seize each moment now. When I leave work tonight, I’m not going to think about our 10-year plan, but how I can make this Tuesday evening remarkable.


Lora & Grant, Part Two | Last Minute Napa Valley Elopement

Last September, my sister’s wedding was cancelled due to the catastrophic flooding in Colorado. Instead of postponing their nuptials, she and her fiance ran off to the wine country to get hitched that very weekend. This is the story of their elopement, with beautiful photos from Select vendor, Christina McNeill. And if you missed it earlier, you can see Part One of Lora and Grant’s wedding story right here, where my sister talks about planning a wedding that didn’t happen.  

On Friday morning, the day before their Colorado wedding would have happened, my sister says, “I woke up in our beautiful hotel room in Napa and prepared to exchange vows with my husband-to-be. Our wedding photographer lives in the Bay Area, so she was able to pick up some things from local loved ones: champagne and a few good luck trinkets from my sister, and gold bows for my shoes (and a glue gun to attach them with) and a beautiful bouquet from my godmother. I had my dress, which was just as I had imagined it. I had my veil to make me feel like a true bride. I did my makeup and hair. And I was so sure in what I was about to do, that I knew the day would be just as it should be, and I embraced it with both arms.”

Lora’s dress was a simple white chiffon bridesmaid dress from J.Crew to which she added a polka dotted illusion top and sleeves.

Lora and Grant walked up the steps of the Napa Valley courthouse, only to be told that they were in the wrong place… instead they needed to go around the corner, down a little alley, to the county clerk recorder’s office…

The best advice Lora received as a bride? “Just go with it. The county offices where we got married weren’t exactly beautiful. They looked a little like a DMV. And the special room for weddings was particularly interesting. There was a large old 70’s photo of a vineyard, faded and yellowed, plastered on one whole wall, and it was framed by two polyester maroon curtains. Not exactly what I had been expecting or would have chosen. When we walked into the room our photographer didn’t skip a beat. “Just go with it.” She said. “This is amazing, I can see some great cheesy prom pose pictures happening in here.” I wouldn’t say that it was her words so much as how she delivered them. She wasn’t just telling me to go with it; she wasn’t going to allow anything else. It was such a relief and immediately took all of the pressure off! Grant and I were able to have fun with the space and our photographer and neither of us worried about the curtains or the poster. It became a fun part of the day instead.” (See some of the cheesy prom pose photos in the gallery.)

In addition to her something old, new, borrow, and blue, Lora’s earrings were a gift from the groom’s mother. They were custom made drop pearls, accented with diamonds that had once been part of her own engagement ring.

The newlyweds celebrated with a post-wedding lunch from Bouchon Bakery, including a raspberry eclair (especially fitting since the bride is a pastry chef!).

The gold and cream bouquet included cafe au lait dahlias, parrot tulips, lace cap hydrangea, ranunculus, passion vine, hellebores, blushing bride protea, wild grasses, and miniature pomegranate, accented with a gold brocade ribbon.

After enjoying treats at Bouchon Bakery and R + D Kitchen, the bride and groom headed to the vineyards for some wine country portraits.


Barn Wedding at Osborn Farm in Colorado

What better place for a fall wedding than on the groom’s family’s 150-year old pumpkin farm!
From the red barn ceremony backdrop, to the dahlias grown by a friend, Jessica and Wallis’s Colorado wedding is rustic and sweet and we know you’re going to love it!

“We wanted to highlight the natural ease and warmth that people feel when they come to the farm,” share the couple. “We wanted to accentuate that in our wedding and celebration.”

“Our wedding was held on our family farm. The Osborn family has been on the farm for over 150 years, and the farm’s main crop is pumpkins and Wallis grew up selling pumpkins. The farm opens the last weekend in September or first weekend in October, so a fall wedding was really important. We wanted the ceremony to be personal and informal and not too over-thought, and we wanted our friends and family to feel like they too were at home.”

Processional music was performed by like acoustic guitars and local characters. We had them dress as they felt comfortable, blue jeans and flannel. We chose “If Not For You” by Bob Dylan for the Processional (which Wallis’s parents played at their own wedding), and “Everybody’s Talkin’” by Harry Nilsson for the Recessional (because Jess grew up listening to it with her parents).

“From start to finish, our wedding was about celebrating our lives together. With Jess’s family coming from Boston, our shared lives in Chicago in advertising, and Wallis’s family from Colorado, this, for many, was the first time meeting everyone, and we wanted it all to feel like one big party.”

We served local beer from local breweries and our friends’ winery: Loveland Aleworks, Crow Hop and Sweetheart City Wine, respectively.

In addition to the invitations and signs that Wallis designed, and the flowers that a friend grew, we also created a beer garden and we pulled hops from the farm to decorate the tables.

It’s the imperfections that will make the day perfect. Jess’s uncle who performed the ceremony told us that. It couldn’t have been more true. Our families bonded together setting up the tables and tent decorations and while we were getting dressed, they put their own special touch on the table settings and decorations.


Heartfelt Wedding in The Redwoods

We have such a sweet wedding to share with you today! After a heartfelt ceremony held in the ‘fairy ring’ of ancient redwoods, these two treated guests to a fun summer camp vibe, but with an elegant, grown up twist (Archery? Live band? Champagne bar? Yes, please!) My favorite detail has to be the heart-and-arrow escort card displays, which not only look oh so cute, but were a sweet recognition of the couple’s new shared surname… Pierce!

Jen told us she and Skyler first met when she was just 15! “We apparently circled in and out of each other’s lives at several different points before it stuck. We met each other at a high school dance, and I used to go to the coffee shop he worked at. We dated in our twenties before going our separate ways after about six months, before finally getting together nine years later!”

I did have something old and borrowed – I wore my mom’s veil, which we had altered to be more modern. We replaced the puffy headpiece so popular back then (!) with a comb, and used only one of the longest pieces. It happened to be edged in the exact same kind of lace as my wedding gown that I had already purchased without knowing they were the same lace! I also had something new (white sapphire earrings), and something blue (garter.)

We both thought of marrying in the redwoods right after Skyler proposed, because of the spiritual energy that’s palpable there. Earlier that year we had driven through bigger redwoods on a roadtrip from a friend’s wedding, and loved them. We realized the redwoods north of the Bay area (Eureka/Humboldt) were too far from an airport for guests, and other areas of redwoods we liked, like those in Big Sur, were in parks where we’d have to do everything from scratch (bringing generators/chairs etc.). So that narrowed it down to a handful of venues that are already set up for weddings south of the Bay area, and closer to airports.

The laughter and the tears, and the amazing flowers! The flower circle at the alter was even more spectacular than anything I had seen, and even better than what I had given our florist, Nancy Liu Chin, reference to. Several of our guests posed for their own pictures there after the ceremony, because it was so gorgeous!

For some reason, perhaps stemming from the rehearsal, I thought our officiant was going to ask Skyler to say his vows first. So on the day when she turned first to me and said, “Jen, do you take Skyler to be your lawfully wedded husband?” I just stared blankly at her. She gently prompted me with “you’re supposed to say yes” – and then everyone (including me) cracked up. Of course I said yes, and the ceremony continued! Our whole ceremony was quite emotional; we were both a little teary at times, and then in moments like this there were was all-around laughter, too.

My mom was amazing and took care of getting all the candles that were a big part of the ceremony and reception, (some LED of course because of the woods but they looked so real and added the extra twinkle to the fairy-like venue!) Skyler and my sister Amanda made two incredible escort signs to look like archery targets, with each name on wooden dowels with fletching like an arrow. It took her weeks and she never wants to do anything remotely DIY ever again, haha!

Nobody Does It Better by Carly Simon was our first dance, and Beyond the Sea by Robbie Williams was our joint parent dance. Skyler and I only took two lessons the week before the wedding (my parents too) and we were trying to get the steps just right with the dip at the right time in the music that I wasn’t soaking it in as much as I would have liked. So that I’d advise against. Either take dance lessons long before so you really know it, or just go with the flow and do what comes naturally to you as a couple.


Preppy Wedding at Drayton Hall

When Adrienne Page sent me these photos, I could not wait to share them with you!
Not only did Sallie Gray and Jason’s September wedding take place in a gorgeous location, but it was designed by Tara Guerard of Soiree. It was a day full of Southern tradition and special details – many of them inspired by the bride’s eyelet dress – and Adrienne captured them all beautifully.

Guests received pails of goodies, including bottled water and cookies, in their hotel rooms. The guests favors, delicate hand-blown drinking glasses, were also packaged in these personalized pails.

Sallie Gray wore an eyelet dress by Carolina Herrera, her bouquet was wrapped in eyelet, and even her shoes echoed the eyelet motif.

For the ceremony, Sallie Gray wore her sister’s veil – something borrowed. Umbrellas were made available for guests in case of rain – or shine!

In lieu of a guest book, guests could write on notecards that matched the rest of the wedding stationery, and pin them onto a white bulletin board. Each tier of the cake was a different flavor: butter cake with raspberry filling, lemon cake with lemon curd, orange cake with triple sec, and butter cake with pistachio.