Luck of the Scottish: A Camp Sacajawea Wedding

Even before Pantone announced that the color of 2017 would be “greenery”, we were ahead of the trend. Carolyn and I spoke at length about how she wanted her wedding to be full of shades of green and I couldn’t have been happier with that choice. There is something so beautiful and organic about lush greenery and it makes the design feel crisp and clean. They also picked the perfect backdrop to be surrounded by the colors of nature at every turn in Camp Sacajawea, a nostalgic Girl Scout camp located in Farmingdale, New Jersey. Flora + Fauna was there to capture every verdant moment.

Camp Sacajawea is not your typical wedding venue and there were definitely some quirks with bringing the vision to life. We were absolutely up for the challenge and consider it what we do best! I knew with an amazing team of professionals that we could create the day Carolyn and Bryan dreamed of. I immediately thought of Dorian at Wallflowers and she nailed it with gorgeous bouquets of white and blushes and lots of lush green garland and ferns. Oh how I love ferns!

The ceremony space is typically used by the campers and was filled with picnic tables for outdoor arts and crafts, however we cleared the area and brought in crossback chairs and a vintage rug from Dovetail Vintage Rentals. Wallflowers created an altar with an asymetrical garland of mixed greens, and touches of greens on the chairs. It was transformed and it provided the perfect intimate space to say “I Do.”

Mary Kate Moon brought our paper dreams to life with lots of gorgeous calligraphy on wooden signs and greenery-filled stationary. Carolyn and Bryan’s invitation suite was the perfect way to set the stage for what was to come. One of our favorite details was this watercolor map that gave guests suggestions of places to visit in between the ceremony and reception.

I should also mention that this wedding is near and dear to my heart since Carolyn’s oldest sister, Ellen, is one of my best friends and we grew up together- taking trips to Florida and sharing countless inside jokes with all three sisters. This photo is particularly special to me to see their family grow!

Jen of Flora + Fauna captured some of my favorite portraits. It’s not every day you just come across a canoe or the cutest mustard yellow tent.  I will just let you see for yourself!

What you can not tell in these photos is that this day started out unseasonably hot but we weren’t complaining because the rain stayed away. Luckily by the time cocktail hour started, it was one of the most beautiful nights in September we could have asked for.

Bryan’s mom surprised the newlyweds with an ode to their Scottish heritage when a bagpiper showed up to serenade the guests. As another surprise, the Cocktail Caravan was on hand to serve up ice cold drinks. We absolutely love our friends at the Cocktail Caravan and really recommend them for an unexpected twist on a bar that your guests will not stop talking about! And of course, any good Scotsman knows how to belly up to the bar.

Bryan and Carolyn share a love of beer and wanted to do something clever for their guests to represent them. They came up with the genius idea of pairing a beer with a Girl Scout cookie (an ode to the camp) for a tasting during cocktail hour that the servers passed on wooden trays. I love these little details that make your wedding personal!

Carolyn and Bryan worked closely with Cardinal Provisions to create a menu that reflected the fun yet just plain good food feeling they wanted to portray. I think they nailed it and no guest left hungry.  Thanks again to Mary Kate Moon for these artistic menus.

The reception room featured a mix of  farm tables from Dovetail Vintage Rentals for a communal feel with traditional rounds with navy linens incorporate throughout. Wallflowers provided garland of greens and gorgeous compotes of white, blush and green with gold accents. The space was almost unrecognizable from its utilitarian purpose- plus bistro lights can transform just about anything in my opinion!

It was truly a night to remember as the newlyweds and their family and friends danced the night away to ENJOY! and only left the dance floor to take in the perfect September night sky.  I wish Carolyn and Bryan nothing but the best and remember how happy you were this day as you walk this path of marriage together hand in hand.


How to Enjoy Stress-Free Wedding Planning

It is estimated that millions of people got engaged on Valentine’s Day. Were you one of them? I hope so and I also hope that it was one of the most joy filled, exciting moments of your life! It should be because you are agreeing to spend the rest of your life with the one that you love and all that entails.

Now once champagne has been popped, the shiny ring photos have been sent and the rose petals cleaned up, the reality sets in. “I HAVE to plan a wedding! Where do I start? I have never planned anything before!” Here is where I do not want you to panic. Keep some things in perspective as you begin the journey for the next year  or two years to throw this personal celebration. Take a deep breath. You can do this!

Deep Breath #1: Set a realistic time frame for when your TO DO list items will be checked off. Nicole, one of our May brides says, “The entire wedding planning process was an absolute dream, I never made too many decisions at once and everything just fell into place.”  At Gilded Lily Events, I use a program that has a very comprehensive checklist that is broken up by month. We use this to stay on track and make sure items that are prerequisites are completed first. I also never recommend trying to make too many decisions at once. For starters, your wedding will not feel as thoughtful and many people change their mind over the course of the year. Divide & conquer so you feel confident about your decisions. It will save you time, heartbreak and money in the process.

Deep Breath #2: Delegate and involve your fiancé. Lauren and Jamie were married in April and she wisely states, “Remember this is your fiancé’s wedding day too so try to include him in the process”.  It is so very easy for brides to-be to take the reins and not ask for assistance, but you can very easily get overwhelmed that way. Delegate the tasks such as creating the play list for the band, making the final decision on the photographer, choosing his signature drink to name a few. It will be more enjoyable and a great lesson in compromise and working together.


Deep Breath #3: Celebrate little victories! I love Laura’s tip, “When we sent our save the dates, we popped champagne! We did it again when we sent our invites. And I most certainly did it when I found the dress with my mom and sisters. That keeps the process fun too”. Try not to take wedding planning TOO seriously! After all, it is a big party with your best friends and closest family. They want you to enjoy the process and much as the result.

Deep Breath #4: Focus on the details that make you happy.  Erin’s September wedding came together beautifully and she enjoyed it because she kept things in perspective. Erin says, “There were so many parts of my process I really enjoyed, especially when it came to my bridesmaids. I loved making them ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’ boxes and creating really cute custom denim patch shirts to get ready in. I enjoyed the hunt of getting each girl the perfect statement earrings getting to try out my creative side.” When the big picture gets overwhelming, take some time out to do something fun and creative. When you are doing something for someone else, you are usually the happiest so spreading some love for your girlfriends or parents will make you feel lighter.

Deep Breath #5: Stay true to yourself. Pinterest and Instagram are great tools but many people get bogged down by the daily inspiration streaming in on all of their devices. I always recommend using these social media platforms as a jumping off point but keep in mind that all of the images you see may not be realistic. Do not be discouraged. A good designer with be able unearth what inspired you about those photos and propose something that will work for you. Our wise bride, Laura shares with us that “In order to enjoy the wedding planning process, I stayed true to myself. It’s hard to do that with Pinterest and Instagram, as well as the opinions of friends and family; but, in order for your wedding to reflect you (& your groom!), it’s crucial to stay true to yourself. Plus, the more guests are able to see you – the couple they’re there to celebrate – in your special day, the more unique it is!” I couldn’t agree more!

Deep Breath #6: Hire a wedding planner. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that hiring a wedding planner couldn’t hurt to ensure a more stress-free experience.  If it is not in your budget or personality to hire a wedding planner for the entire process, I recommend considering an event day coordinator who can help ease all of the stress that will inevitably come the month before the wedding when looming due dates, decisions and details abound. Here are some sweet comments from our past brides that I can not help but share! I loved working with them just as much and feel so lucky that I was able to make this process memorable and enjoyable!

“TRUST Paige. Her warm disposition and willingness to go above and beyond are remarkable. Her vision and style are impeccable.  So just remember to relax and enjoy the experience because if you have Paige there is no doubt that your wedding will be truly exceptional”. – Lauren 

“I also admittedly was more able to get to that relaxed place because I knew I had the best wedding planner around and I was in good hands. It may seem counter-intuitive but letting her have more creative room to do things without being so involved in every exact detail was blissful to me. I know we technically threw the party but on the day of it felt like a party thrown for us, it was perfect.” – Erin

“Being a person who pays way too much attention to detail, I knew I needed someone who shares that same passion to help plan our wedding. The minute I met Paige, she put my mind at ease that no detail would go unseen.  She also helped me create my wedding dream team and from there, I knew we were in good hands!”- Nicole

“It doesn’t hurt to hire an AMAZING wedding planner who’s able to interpret your vision and make it a reality.  There’s a reason wedding planners exist and do this full-time, just as there’s a reason you do what you do full-time. Take advantage of their knowledge and expertise!” – Laura
It is my goal as a wedding planner to help all of our couples-to-be to enjoy this journey. For most, it only comes along once in your lifetime and you want to look back at the time from saying “yes” to “I do” as a time that you were true to yourself and the love that you have for one another.
All of these gorgeous photos are from Jessa at Love & Light Photographs. I can not wait to share the stunning photos of Nicole and Mike’s May wedding.  How cute are these two during their engagement session?! I can confirm that these smiles never left their faces the entire time!

calligraphy by Mary Kate Moon