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.

An Intimate Palm Springs Inspired Wedding

Inspired by the bright, poppy colors and endless summer days of Palm Springs, we dreamt up a color palette as beautiful as a sunset on the West coast. And yes you may recognize this couple from their stunningly romantic wedding & engagement session here and here even though they are gorgeous, they are a real life couple that I had the privilege of being a part of several events leading up to their May wedding. Luckily, Love & Light Photographs was on board as well to capture all of the sweet moments.

Nicole, Mike and I were in the planning process of their “black tie almost 300 people” wedding when they decided to also have a small intimate & traditional church ceremony with just their immediate family. When they asked me to be a part of this as well, of course I said yes!

We started brainstorming how to make this day stand apart from their soft, ethereal wedding the following weekend. A bright and colorful palette filled with coral charm peonies, flamingos and a white-on-white snakeskin linen fit the bill. We had fun to say the least! Mary Kate Moon set the stage with this bright watercolor beauty of an invitation suite. The cactus stamps we found were just so perfect- I love when that happens!

Their wedding dinner was held at Angelica’s in Sea Bright. Originally the plan was to host the dinner outside, but the weather didn’t cooperate but in my opinion was sweet to be nestled inside by the glow of candlelight.

One of my favorite little details were these wooden laser cut place cards from Ever Laser. I always recommend that for a head table at a wedding or a small dinner party to assign seating to take the guess work out of where to sit and encourage great conversation.

We also had some fun with a few details like the custom napkins and fun flamingo cake topper. The cake topper on a cake from The Vintage Cake was created by Ann Wood. You can shop the cake topper here.

Jessa of Love & Light always does an amazing job of scouting the best location for portraits. She spotted this bright teal door with striped awning and we knew we had to shoot the newlyweds here. These two are so in love and I felt so lucky to get to know them & witness their true partnership during this wedding planning journey.

For anyone wondering what it was like to have two ceremonies. I can guarantee you that it made it even that more special. From the bride Nicole, “Having two ceremonies is something we couldn’t be happier about.  They were both incredibly different and special in their own way.  The church was so intimate and romantic.  It was a day for us to spend such a sacred moment with our closest family members.  The large ceremony was just breathtaking and it truly felt like a wedding.  I wouldn’t change a thing!”  Not to mention, it goes by so fast so why not do it twice!

Vendor Credits: Photography Love & Light Photographs //Design and Florals Gilded Lily Events //Paper Goods MaryKate Moon // Cake The Vintage Cake //Place Cards Ever Laser Venue// Anjelica’s // Cake Topper Ann Wood // Bride’s Dress Anthropologie // Groom’s Suit Tommy Hilfiger // Vintage Stamps Gubba Gumma