A Retrospective for our Anniversary: Our Wedding

Today is my 7 year wedding anniversary and thought it would be a perfect time to share the day that started this wedding planning journey of mine.  Real talk here: Sometimes I feel silly telling people that my career as a wedding planner came from “planning my own wedding” because for some reason it doesn’t feel as legitimate as getting a degree or doing an internship, however I knew during those six months of planning (really? yes! so do-able) that it was something that I was good at and could actually give it a go. Luckily I had some trusting people in the beginning that knew that a formal education didn’t give you the skills to be successful as a wedding planner but I digress and share with you the highlights of planning my own backyard wedding today and what I would do differently. All photos by our photographer, Jen Causey.

Invitation designed by my friend Maie at Noon Designs. I always admired her artistry and knew that I had to have her design our wedding invitations when the time came.

First and foremost, I knew that I wanted to get married in my parent’s backyard. We do not have a huge backyard but it was the perfect size and just intimate enough for our 100 guests. I wanted it to feel like a dinner party with lots of candlelight, good food, drinks and conversation. I am pretty sure we achieved that. When I look at these pictures, they are filled with so much love with all of our favorite people under one tent something that I realize is once in a lifetime. And yes this was also the day that began my love affair with Sperry sailcloth tents.

My day began unlike most brides that I have the pleasure of working with because I wasn’t at the salon or sipping champagne with my bridesmaids. Yet I couldn’t wait to get up that morning, get outside and start arranging flowers, laying out our custom floral runner, playing with the floorplan and setting up our DIY photobooth. The weather was a bit cloudy and it was my first time experiencing the stress that I would go through as a planner deciding on whether or not our processional from the church to the house would need to go to Plan B or if we would get lucky and the sun would peek out! The exhilaration of it all was almost as exciting as saying “I Do” and I think that this was my first sign that it was meant to be.

Trust me that I was ahead of the trend here. Again, this was 7 years ago and mustaches and polaroid photo booths were cutting edge. :)  P.S. These are my parents. How cute are they?!

For my wedding day, I also had the pleasure of meeting and working with Dorian at Wallflowers and since then she and I have had the pleasure of collaborating on many weddings together. During these seven years, I have cultivated and cherished my relationships with so many wedding vendors. It is truly one of the best parts of the job!

My flower girl, Ivy and ring bearer, Beau (playing on the foosball table that we painstakingly hand-painted to resemble brides and grooms) are now all grown up and still as cute as ever!

In all the weddings that I plan, I like to include a detail that is a nod to the couple.   In our case, Lucas and I met in Spain so our ceremony programs had artwork of a Madrid map on them. Romantic and personal.

Quick story of us (in case you are interested): We both studied abroad in Madrid in 2001. Met, dated, went back to our respective colleges, stayed friends. Fast forward to 2005, and we moved back independently to Madrid to teach English. Rekindled our relationship, dated long distance for a year (super long distance with him still in Madrid and me in New Jersey), moved to Boston, lived together, broke up, got back together, got engaged and then got married! Quite the adventure! We have known each other now for sixteen years and our courtship was pretty awesome experiencing and traveling together in Europe. For our 10th anniversary, we plan to go back to Madrid and I am already dreaming of the tapas and wine.

We were married in a Presbyterian church near my house by Lucas’s dad, a minister. It was so special to be married by someone who knows us so well.  I still remember the feeling of turning the corner, arm in arm with my dad, as our guests stood up and I just kept my eyes on Lucas because it was so overwhelming and humbling. It is so easy to get wrapped up in all of the details of the wedding decor and of course I love all the details as much, if not more, than the next girl. But this moment is what it is all about!

I am so incredibly lucky to have some of the most steadfast girlfriends a girl could as for. I wish I could have had ALL of them by my side that day but we decided to keep our bridal party small so I chose four. Meaghan, my college roommate for all 4 years and Carrie, Alex and Ellen, childhood friends and still the most loyal friends to this day all these years later.

I chose J.Crew bridesmaids dresses in “fatigue” silk taffeta. I still love the style of having the girls in the same color and fabric but letting them choose the style that fits their body. Every one wins.

my “bride moment”

Now for the “what would I do differently?”. To be honest, not much. Wedding blogs were just hitting the scene, I didn’t have a Pinterest account or gorgeous calligraphy signage, or styled invitation suite photos,  nor an intricately displayed escort card set up, and I drove myself to the salon but it was exactly the day that I wanted. As a wedding planner and designer, OF COURSE I love those details and can not wait to brainstorm the next elaborate design, however it is so important to remember the intention behind those details and the reasons for why you are getting married in the first place. So that you can dance to “We are Family” in a circle or shed a tear to a funny and heartfelt speech, and to awkwardly and earnestly dance with your spouse for the first time in front of everyone you hold dear. It is truly why I became a wedding planner so that I can help you experience and live in the moment when your time comes.

In conclusion, I am sharing one of my favorite photos of our day because I think that it pretty much sums it up. Me, upstairs in my parents room, before stepping into my wedding dress observing the caterers scurrying around (no doubt making sure they didn’t mess anything up) in anticipation of  the day and our life to come.

Fun Fact! My first feature on Style Me Pretty was my wedding. See more here!

Happy Anniversary Lucas!! I love the life we have created. Thank you for supporting my dream.

Colorful August Tented Wedding

Next up in our Summer Series is Maggie and Kevin’s colorful, fun tented backyard wedding on the water. Maggie contacted me in early June and they were hoping to get married in mid-August. We had just two months to plan EVERYTHING and I was very excited to get started.  We met right away in Kevin’s parents’ house and thought “This could work!”. Just kidding! It was a stunning property and right on the water.  Since we did not have much time to waste, I got working immediately to reach out to some of my favorite people and luckily everyone was available for the date.  Our first meeting was with Sperry Tents to make sure that the tents for dinner and dancing would fit. We figured out a plan to have lighting over the pool, a circular tent for dancing and a large tent for the dinner and drinks. The flow was perfect and really utilized the space nicely. My next call was to Christina Lilly Photography and so glad she was there to capture all of the pretty on a day where the sky matched our color palette.

Maggie and Kevin decided on a bright & colorful day that really highlighted the season and capitalized on the wildflowers that are so abundant in August. We knew that Anne and Blade Floral would be the perfect fit.  Anne and I were both excited to tackle a wedding that wasn’t afraid of color! Don’t miss Maggie’s vintage dress- stunning!

Maggie loved the look of indigo and we hand-dyed runners and round linens to bring the vision to life. I love the indigo against the water and the sky and how each one was unique.

Their ceremony was intimate and officiated by their good friend. I love how personal each couple can make their ceremony. After all, that is what the day is about. Anne created carnation garlands as vibrant as a rainbow and of course we knew that this spectacular tree had to be in the background.

The dinner was very important to Maggie and Kevin. Maggie, being of Greek heritage, knew that she wanted to make sure her guests were well fed. Those Greeks know hospitality and she wanted to create a unique menu that catered to meat eaters and vegans alike. Cue Cardinal. They did an amazing job and the food was spectacular and seasonal. Since the menu was so important, so needed to be the tables they dined upon. We used farm tables for the head table, and rounds for the guests with assorted amber goblets, sunny menus from Gubba Gumma, agate table numbers, calligraphy by Mary Kate Moon, candles galore and vibrant centerpieces by Blade.

Since this is the Summer Series after all, I will end with these quintessential summer portraits by Christina Lilly. Maggie and Kevin wanted the morning of their wedding to be relaxed and fun so they opted for no bridal party and to get ready together complete with room service and ocean views. Christina has such an eye! She always gets the most artistic photos.

Thank you Maggie & Kevin for trusting me to bring your vision to life in just a few short months. It was truly a pleasure to work with you! I wish you a lifetime of blue skies,

Vendor Credits: Photography Christina Lilly Photography //Floral Blade Floral & Design //Calligraphy MaryKate Moon // DJ Sounds to Go// Catering Cardinal //Tent and Lighting Sperry Tents NJ // Specialty Rentals Dovetail Vintage Rentals// Standard Rentals Party Rental Ltd.// Paper Goods  Gubba Gumma