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Simple Farm Wedding Absolutely Filled with Love

Our gorgeous weddings this week have something amazing in common: they are all about the love story, not the details. Our lovely bride Sara says “the whole day felt very intimate – due in no small part to the fact that some of our very talented friends helped put it all together. A childhood friend of mine was the DJ, another our officiant, and my officemate turned dear friend Dorothée Brand of Belathée was our photographer. Our friends Matt and Emily of The Corson Building curated a wonderful assortment of food and beverages, and the save the dates, invitations and menus were created by another friend, Danielle Bellert of BDR-studio. We are so lucky to be surrounded by such gifted and generous people.” It is seriously inspiring that this couple didn’t get caught up in ‘all things wedding’, but kept it totally authentic to them, and it really shows in every aspect of their day. Which reminds me – be sure to read on for what Sara says she would do differently if she had to do it all again – it is so honest and one of my all time favorites answers!

Sara tells us the sweet story of finding what she calls her “not-so-expensive-dress”: “I was visiting my parents at home in Anchorage, Alaska the winter before our wedding and my mom and I went to a small wedding dress shop which featured many consignment pieces. I was not expecting to find my wedding dress in Alaska, but ended up falling in love with a piece that had been handmade by a local woman. She had originally made it for her daughter. Because Anchorage is a small town I contacted her and we began corresponding with each other – we’ve since shared many cards and phone calls and my connection to her made the dress feel that much more special.”
Sara paired her beautiful gown with her great grandmother’s veil, which has also been worn by her mom, aunt and cousin!

If you had to do it all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Probably! Ha! It’s all kind of a blur now, but of course no process is perfect and there were a lot of growing pains during the planning. Honestly it was probably the most difficult year of our relationship and I’m sure wedding planning had something to do with that. I think it was important for us to forgo the illusion that the planning would be romantic and magical. And it is amazing how any quarrels leading up to the wedding didn’t really seem to matter on the big day or after.

One of them was definitely walking down the aisle with our families. We opted not to have a wedding party but had our parents and siblings walk us down the aisle instead.

We didn’t want anything overtly religious, and we knew we wanted to write our own vows. We wanted it to feel sentimental but also a little light hearted. And nothing too long! We took cues from a lot of friends’ and siblings’ weddings, but pretty much wrote the script on our own. We tried to combine many of our favorite features from past weddings into our day.

We wrote our own! We wanted it to be a surprise for each other. The only thing we agreed on beforehand was that we would keep our vows around one minute. Hearing each other’s vows in the moment was by far the most special part of our entire wedding.

The wedding budget is definitely a slippery slope and it’s really easy to get carried away. This isn’t revelatory advice, but I would just recommend picking the things that matter most to you and spending your money on those and not worrying about making everything “perfect”. For example, I chose not to spend a lot of money on a dress but really cared about having beautiful photographs and flowers. And think of the guests’ perspective – guests will notice if you run out of booze, but they won’t notice if you didn’t put hand carved name tags at each seat!

Byadmins

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.

 

Byadmins

Modern Interfaith Wedding at The Bowery

We’re so excited to share this beautiful wedding with you today, in conjunction with our longtime friends at Maharani Weddings! Gabrielle & Samir tied the knot in a modern celebration that combined the best of both Indian and Italian cultures, that should inspire all brides-to-be.

Just wait until you see the fireplace where they said their vows – glittering with candlelight, it is dripping in wild florals that look like they’re growing right out of the walls!

Says bride Gabrielle, “we felt surrounded by family and friends who were really happy for us, in a beautiful, intimate setting with lots of flowers and candles.”

Our pastor who married us helped. He is a family friend, and wanted to make both families feel included and involved, so his warm and inviting presence was perfect.

We wanted an intimate, romantic, warm environment for celebrating with family and friends.

The bride and groom took their first spin on the dance floor to Ed Sheeran’s Thinking Out Loud.

 

Byadmins

Glamorous Winter Wedding at The Battery

Seriously, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a winter wedding as cool as this one! Rachel & Dave married on their fifth anniversary at super cool members-only club The Battery in San Francisco. They incorporated romantic florals, fun nods to Dave’s Scottish heritage, and some bold, modern elements (like their acrylic stationery… and that dress!) which fit perfectly with the vibe of their luxe urban setting.

Dave wrote a cute poem on the bottom of my shoe, which was a total surprise and I loved it! Also, as one of Dave’s wedding gifts I made him a video highlighting all of our vacations together – it was something I had been putting off forever, so I think he enjoyed reliving those moments.

We wanted everything to feel comfortable and not forced, so we chose to forego a lot of the typical wedding traditions because they just weren’t us. The Scottish elements we incorporated (groom and groomsman wearing kilts, our bagpiper) were the most ‘traditional’ things we included. I did have something borrowed, something blue, a six pence, and a tartan garter from Dave.

We chose The Battery for our wedding and reception because the building and décor are stunning. Dave and I both work in construction and love history, architecture and design – The Battery has it all! The building was built after the earthquake in 1907 and sits in the middle of the city near the iconic Transamerica pyramid. The interior is modern and luxurious with rich colors, patterns and textures in each space. We were able to use three different spaces within the building for the ceremony, cocktails, dinner and reception, which gave our guests a change of scenery for each part of the day, without the hassle of traveling across the city.

Our wedding cake was one tier Lemon Zing and one tier Banana Bread Heath Bar. Dessert was included with the meal, so we didn’t find it necessary to have piece of cake for every guest. We had a small cake for cutting that served twenty-four – so those who wanted additional dessert were given a piece of cake.

 

 

Byadmins

Relaxed Summer Wedding in the Colorado Mountains

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!

Surround yourself with people who will accept your style and uniqueness as a couple throughout the planning process! It’s so much more fun that way. Also, invest in a day-of coordinator! She was amazing and the day ran so smoothly.

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.

We really felt at peace during our ceremony. The venue was so amazing – cliffs, a flowing river, light, mountain air. I had been very nervous throughout the morning and, during the ceremony, I finally felt at peace. We were surrounded by the people that we love the most and God’s beautiful background!

We searched in vintage stores for our brass candlesticks that we used on our dinner tables. We also had a family friend make our napkins for our dinner!

lWe really wanted to try some non-traditional ideas during our reception. We found the most adorable dessert food truck through the Lyons Farmette vendors. When we saw The Bumblebee Truck for the first time, we knew it would be the perfect treat for our wedding desserts! We had several options for our guests. Each one was fantastic and The Bumblebee Truck looked picturesque during our whimsical night. The menu included vanilla sugar doughnut holes, malt shop cookies, apple pie, and ’62 Chevy Cake (vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream, mocha crumble, and toffee crunch).

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.

 

 

Byadmins

Elegant English Countryside Wedding with Two Ceremonies

This English interfaith wedding is so stunning that it’s easy to get lost in its beautiful details (the bride’s incredible, ornate outfit! The historic mansion! That light!) What we love most about it, though, isn’t in the details at all – it’s the way combined their different faiths, cultures and backgrounds into an effortlessly stylish day. Get ready to be seriously inspired!

Invest the time in finding a great photographer. When we started planning our wedding we knew the things that were important to us – one of them being a photographer with a great eye and a natural approach.

We decided to get married at Wrest Park after we visited the site a year before in a torrential downpour. We knew in an instant we would book it! It was the first and last place we looked at and a big tick off the list. Also, it was halfway between both our family’s homes, and an easy train ride from London for our friends.

We decided to fuse both my Hindu Gujarati heritage with the Groom’s English background and began the day with a civil ceremony. This was followed by Indian street food canapés on the library terrace, and then a traditional Hindu ceremony, with a sitar player.

Our second ceremony was a traditional Hindu Mandap. Both families participate and it features promises among the parents to care for both children, secret advice for the bride and offerings to the gods.

After their ceremony, Matt changed back into his sharp blue suit and Taylor & Porter captured some sunset portraits inside the beautiful house and grounds of West Park.

The pastel color scheme of the property worked so well with our fusion of Regal Indian and classic English style, and ran through to the stationery, flowers, boutonnieres (the guests wore lavender and rosemary) and favors (potted succulents.)

Byadmins

Sonoma Wedding at Annadel Estate Winery

Today’s bride describes her elegant and family-focused Sonoma wedding as a “resplendent gathering of family and friends on a magical summer day in the Valley of the Moon.” With families coming from all over the world, the couple beautifully blended their two cultures, Greek and Swedish, to create a stunning, musical and magical Midsummer night wedding.

In the Greek tradition, on the day of the wedding, it is customary to give the bride a gold lira (coin) for prosperity and this was given to me by my father before I left for the church. Another special moment was when we (the bridal party) danced a traditional Greek dance before entering the limousine for the church. In the limousine, traditional wedding songs, both Swedish and Greek, were sung by my mother-in-law and sisters-in-law and by my stepmother and sister.

“My religious background is Greek Orthodox and my husband’s is Lutheran but we decided to marry in the Orthodox church. In the Orthodox faith, the marriage ceremony must be performed in a church. I loved the location of the Nativity of Christ Church in Novato because it is up on a hill with rolling views of Sonoma county in the distance. It has beautiful tall Mediterranean cypress trees as you enter and this reminded me of the Orthodox churches seen in Greece. It also has an impressive bell tower that is built in the tradition of the Catholic mission churches in California so the church represents a unique blend of architecture in the California wine country.”

There was not much planning involved because the marriage ceremony in the Greek Orthodox Church has remained more or less unchanged through the centuries. It was important for us to have a small wedding party comprised of our siblings, our “koumbaroi”, and our flower girls, to have live music being played while guests waited for the ceremony to start, and to make an exit to greet our guests before heading to the reception.

While the guests mingled in the courtyard of the church and later as they entered the church from the courtyard, we had a string quartet playing classical compositions. With the help of our landlord in NYC, who had trained as a violinist at the Juilliard School, we selected songs that we enjoyed and that had meaning for us as a couple. These included a quartet by Dvořák called “Cypresses” which was a reflection of the Mediterranean Cypress trees in front of the church, a piece by Edvard Grieg, a Scandinavian composer, called “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen”, and a classical rendition of The Beatles “In My Life”, which is one my favorite songs from childhood.

We did not have improvisational vows because the Orthodox rite presupposes the couple’s commitment. The exchange of rings at the beginning of the ceremony is a silent representation of this commitment. I really liked that the vows were implicit to the act of marriage; it felt more profound that way.

We had two signature cocktails: a cucumber & basil gimlet that was inspired by a summer cocktail recipe from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson who is Swedish, and the Stockholm 75, which is a cocktail recipe from the Absinthe Brasserie & Bar in San Francisco—one of our favorite cocktail bars.

Try to plan for multiple days for time with family and friends because it is the only time in your life when so many special people will gather together to celebrate with you. It is a fleeting moment. Because we had so many guests from out of town (national and international), we planned for events leading up to and after the wedding and deferred our mini-moon to a few days later. It was the best thing we did because one or two days to soak it all in is not enough.

Our favorite part of the reception was the dinner—it was the culmination of all of our planning and was one of the most intimate moments we will ever feel in our lives. As we sat outdoors at Annadel surrounded by our family and friends, in the golden hour of sunset, amidst the glowing flower arrangements, with the lightest breeze warming our skin, enjoying the unparalleled wine and food of the wine country, we knew that we were experiencing something unforgettably magical.

 

Byadmins

Botanical Wedding at Cheekwood Gardens & Museum of Art

every part of their wedding day deeply personal, from the stationery suite’s hand drawn botanical details designed by one of the bride’s best friends, to the palette of white, green and gold – and wow, greenery has never looked so glamorous as at their reception! What a great fit against the backdrop of their beautiful venue, Cheekwood – and even that choice was quietly personal (its red brick is a nod to the red brick university campus were they met).

Despite their careful planning, they could still roll with the punches – when it started pouring rain and their dream outdoor reception fast became an indoor one, they say it “made the night even better than we planned!”

Before we got engaged, we loved going to Cheekwood each season (they always have something fun going on!) so we had a lot of personal memories there. It honestly had the perfect mix of everything we wanted – formal without being stuffy, beautiful without trying too hard, unique but not too off the wall.

Sarah’s grandfather passed away a few months before our wedding so she had a piece from one of his blue handkerchiefs sewn into her dress. Colin wore his father’s gold cufflinks and had his grandfather’s gold bracelet in his pocket.

Don’t Sarah’s bridesmaids look pretty in dreamy, flowing pastels? Keeping their dresses within a similar palette and having them all wear simple crowns of greenery keeps it cohesive, and suits the garden venue beautifully.

No one other than us and our officiant stood during the ceremony – that way all guests could easily see, hear and not be distracted by a fidgeting bridal party. We served popsicles and made our programs thick so people could discreetly use them as a fan since it was so hot out.

I could feel everyone’s smiles and tears, waiting for Colin and I’s big moment to start, and when I took hold of his hands there was a wash of calm. How happy and present and full I felt in that precise moment is something I will keep with me forever.

Elements that looked or felt DIY weren’t really part of the look we were after, but we used one of my best friend’s calligraphy for our invitations, ceremony programs and dinner menus – she created an original of each and then we had them printed.

Byadmins

Romantic Fall Wedding in Colorado

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.

 

 

 

Byadmins

Best Real Weddings of 2017 : Dramatic Forest Wedding in Oregon

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.

We knew right away that we wanted to have our wedding in Oregon. No question. Not only because it is where Cameron was born and raised but also because we love the Pacific Northwest. Being born in the Philippines and growing up in Florida, I have always been around tropical places all my life, so when Cameron first took me to Oregon I just fell in love with the place. The tall trees, mountains and all the greenery! It’s just a totally different scenery from what I’ve always been around. Horning’s Hideout provided all that without being too far removed from the city of Portland where most of our guests were staying.

I’ve always imagined having a small intimate ceremony within tall trees. Birds chirping, a babbling brook – a very organic yet elegant feel. I wanted to stick to a classic and elegant look that was in a somewhat unconventional environment.

One day, about six years ago, Clair de Lune by Debussy came on. I’ve heard this piece before but never the solo piano version. It was very unlikely of me, however, I started envisioning it as the song to walk down the aisle to! Yes, I have been dating Cameron already for some time by then, and yes, I may or may not have turned into ‘that girlfriend’ that also envisioned him at the end of said aisle. Haha!

We went for the traditional vows. We feel these vows encompass all the things one should say when committing themselves to one another. Also, for us, nothing is more meaningful than reciting the same words that have been used by our parents and even other couples from history’s past to bond their marriage for years and years.

We chose this spot overall because of the tall trees, greenery and landscape. It was just all breathtaking. We also wanted to give our guests who have not been to the Pacific Northwest a chance to enjoy what we love so much, however this time, in black tie style, of course!

Everything will turn out amazingly regardless of any imperfections that may happen that only you would be able to see. But really… you won’t notice it on the actual day. Also, think of a rain plan from the start for outdoor weddings (including the ceremony portion!) Your plan B should be just as aesthetically pleasing to you as your original plan. It will help prevent from feeling you had to settle on something you didn’t absolutely love just because of the rain.

Don’t stress over things you can’t control. Thoroughly enjoy the couple of days leading up to the wedding with family and friends. Especially the ones you don’t see often!

It truly was a magical day that we want to relive at least a few more times! (Thank goodness for our amazing photographer and videography team; because of them, we will be able to!)