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 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.
We’ve got a sweet summer mountain wedding to share today! What do I love the most? The wildflowers and fresh greenery everywhere you look, especially the bride’s colorful bouquet and flower crown (and mini babies’ breath versions on the adorable flower girls). Of course I also love that they included Snippet & Ink founder Kathryn’s sister Lora’s super cute dessert truck The Bumblebee.
Bride Courtney’s incredible wildflower bouquet is made entirely from florals grown right on the property!
The mountains have always been a place of solitude and peace for me. We visit Colorado at least once a year and thought it would be so special to have a mountain wedding. When we stumbled upon the Lyons Farmette and River Bend, we knew we had found our place! A family member officiated our ceremony. We wanted someone who knew both of us very well so this was an easy choice!
Our pastor is a family member and he was able to give us a template that he usually follows for weddings. From there, we were able to personalize our special time. We chose scripture readings for both of our mothers to read during the ceremony. We also had live, acoustic music for our ceremony and reception and they played a song while my grandmother sang.
Towards the end of the night, I found a quiet spot above the dance floor in a sweet, vintage chair with a warm cup of coffee. It was between both of my grandmothers which was very special. As I looked around, I saw our closest friends and family members laughing and dancing, some were playing lawn games, gathered around the fire pit in conversation, couples were walking along the river, all below the soft glow of the twinkle lights in the mountain trees. It was such a great moment that I will always remember.
I have to be totally honest – I am a little bit in love with this wedding, and especially with the bride and groom themselves. The Colorado mountain backdrop, the perfect blue sky, the fantastic chandeliers of candles and greenery at the reception? All the details are seriously beautiful, but none of them outshine sweet, fun Katie & Matt.
As something old, I wore a handkerchief that has been in Matt’s family for generations. In fact I was the twelfth Gordon woman to get to wear it! Unfortunately, it got lost between the ceremony and reception. I’m so sad about that, but also so grateful I got to be part of Matt’s family custom.
The deep red of Katie’s bridesmaids dresses is such an elegant option for fall and really stands out against the greens and browns of the stunning mountain scenery. Plus, they work beautifully with Katie’s stunning blush Monique Lhuillier tulle gown with floral appliqué, and the colors in the bouquets tie it all together!
Start out budgeting by deciding what you’d be willing to compromise on and what you wouldn’t. For example, I wasn’t willing to compromise on photography or videography because those are two things that last a lifetime, so I allowed a larger portion of the budget to be allocated towards that and made the rest work within amount that remained. Also, don’t be scared to DIY some things!
Remember to have fun, even when things get stressful, and remember why you’re planning your wedding. Sometimes in the midst of it all you can lose sight of the whole purpose, and it’s good to stay focused on that and to keep your sense of fun and positivity when things get hectic.
Fun and funky. As much as we cared about the decor and what we were wearing, we just as equally wanted to make sure our reception would be a kick a** party with funky music all night long, and a great bar to keep the party going!
The driving factor in every decision was to give a personal touch to every piece of the day. We wanted everyone to feel the love and celebration in every detail.
We had a three-tiered red velvet cake as well as an assorted dessert bar with fresh fruit tartlets, classic creme brulee with housemade biscotti and New York cheesecake.
Next up in Our Best Weddings of 2017 is this dramatic forest wedding in Oregon photographed by Christy Cassano-Meyer…
I have never seen anything like this wedding – it’s part fashion editorial, part glamorously dark fairytale – one with a happy ending, of course! Louise & Cameron had their hearts set on marrying in the Pacific Northwest, where Cameron is from, but didn’t let the practicalities of a forest setting sway them from the romantic, elegant day they envisaged. This is no exaggeration – who could not only dream of a black tie forest wedding but pull it off with such style.
Trust me when I tell you this is the ultimate modern take on the traditional dream wedding in your parents’ backyard. The bride’s parents’ Michigan property really did come with everything – including a gorgeous getting ready space in her parents’ light-filled home, a lush green backyard for their Jewish ceremony (officiated by the same rabbi who married her parents!), and a front yard with enough space for their stylish green and white reception… oh, and did I mention the lake, oh-so-right for sunset shots? Plus, it was the ideal backdrop for the bride’s chic look, in a Pronovias short sleeved gown with keyhole back and a tiny, elegant train. And it has to be said, we like a bride who knows good shoes (you had us at ‘white and spiked’, Mr Louboutin!)
A classic New England wedding at it’s best and there’s no wonder why this charming coastal wedding made our Best Weddings of 2017!
The ceremony was very intimate, largely because the chapel is best suited for about 150 guests. We crammed everyone in, even adding a few folding chairs. It really felt as though our wedding party and parents in the front pews were all up there getting married with us. That feeling was very special.
Menauhant, Ryan’s family neighborhood in Falmouth, is where he has spent his summers since childhood and has always been a huge part of our love story. For our wedding we wanted to strike a balance between formal and laidback elements, and the cape is the perfect place for that. We always knew we would get married there.
Color was second only to love on Megan and Evan’s wedding day! As the bride says, for her, color “exudes happiness” so there was plenty of it at their celebration. Bold colors, playful details (like paper airplane ceremony programs!), and a darling couple with mile-wide smiles make this charming wedding one you won’t want to miss.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? I wore my great grandmother’s diamond and sapphire bracelet – for something old and something blue. I also had small pieces of lace from my mom’s and mother-in-law’s wedding dresses sewn into the train of my gown as a silent tribute to both sets of parents.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Dawn Ranch Lodge was the perfect venue to celebrate our love for one another while sharing the weekend with our family and friends in wine country. All wedding guest stayed in charming cabins on site throughout the weekend and were invited to attend the Friday night rehearsal dinner “I Do BBQ” – an evening topped off with burgers and s’mores around the fire pit for dessert. The bright rustic flowers, handmade bow ties and vibrant bridesmaid dresses were a tribute to our playful and authentic love for one another and my passion for color.
Neither of us are very religious, and felt that it wouldn’t be appropriate to ask an unfamiliar minister to officiate. Instead, we chose a very close family friend, for a non-religious ceremony. We chose Eric because he grew up with Megan, and their families shared many celebrations together throughout the years. It felt like a perfect fit. In addition, we felt his genuine personality and light heartedness was a perfect tribute to our relationship.
The feeling that we were sharing the most intimate day of our lives with family and friends who have supported us both individually and as a couple throughout many stages in life. It was amazing to have the love and support from the most important people in our lives from all over the country together in one spot.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? When each guest took their seat, they found a single river rock on their chair. We asked each guest to make a wish for our future together on the rock, and then collected the rocks at the end of the ceremony. They will eventually be used in the garden of our first home.
We have such a relaxed, fun wedding to share with you today! With bridesmaids in stunning icy blue Amsale gowns and a fresh, all white floral palette featuring lush hydrangeas, the only other element Jennifer & Bart needed for the ideal summer beach wedding was perfect weather – and funnily enough, being in Malibu, they got just that!
Don’t Jennifer and her bridesmaids just look beautiful? Her white gown against the blue of theirs looks so fresh and clean, and ideal for a beach wedding. She told us really wanted a dress that was backless, but still strapless, and it was the perfect option. I loved it because it was simple and romantic.”
We went with the traditional vows, partly because my husband is deathly afraid of public speaking! After those, we each said the following: “N, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and with all that I have, I honor you, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
The reception was decorated simply and romantically. It was a celebration – lots of dancing, laughter, and celebratory cocktails!
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? I was inspired by the beautiful location, which didn’t require a whole lot of decorations. I wanted the wedding to have a rustic beach vibe, and to be a representation of us.
In photos of the Rocky Mountains, it’s hard to make an epic wedding photo of every wedding photo you have.
The air quality of the couple’s wedding photos was partly due to wildfire smoke, and the talented megan Robinson captured the day with her camera lens.
From the Bride: I always wanted a gold dress, and I only tried on three or four dresses before I found the one I wanted.
My bridesmaids all got their dresses from different places! I just gave them a color to look for, because I wanted them to get dresses that they felt good in and would wear again.
We want everyone to see the beauty and experience of Idaho. We just want the landscape to talk to ourselves. We also hope it will be fun for all of our guests. Our goal is to create a complete weekend experience for them so they can relax and let go as much as possible.
We don’t want to disturb the scenery too much, so we try to minimize the decorations. We also very much hope that our friends and family to feel our attention, because they played such an important role in our life, and give us so much support, so their comfort and happiness is our priority.
Precious things are very few in this world. That is the reason there is just one you.
When it comes to labor of love, we are really touched by their beauty. You can DIY your flowers, the bride from the box flowers, with the help of family and friends, they will see you will see each bouquet of flowers and central decorations are gathered together.
On this russet day, the bride wore a Spanish dress, especially next to the blue bridesmaid dresses.
We have a common love for the outdoors, so we get married outside, we just don’t know where. We designed for wedding design reflects our love of outdoor, also blended in a dark and moody colors, when we started looking for inspiration, I prefer outdoor woodland theme, and moody’s design. I also like the dark color, so I know I want our wedding, from all the flowers and flax, to the color of my nails and lips.
The flowers were our biggest DIY. My amazing bridesmaids, my mom, and a close family friend created the centerpieces, bouquets and everything else the flowers (from Blooms By The Box) went into.
We got married on Friday and had a rest at my parents’ house. The next day, most of the guests came back to eat, enjoying the happiness of the wedding weekend without any pressure. It’s good for my family and for us. It gives us time to spend with all of us, and let our excitement last for a day.
I fully understand that many couples can’t enjoy a full honeymoon after a wedding, but even after a few days in what I think is a super healthy place, both of you have experienced it. Like me, most brides (and perhaps the groom) spend most of their time planning the day.