Monday, January 4, 2010

Our Wedding - October 27th, 2007

It wasn't quite how it all began, but our wedding was definitely the largest event I had ever hosted, and I never lost the taste for planning events...
...I'd been in love with the beauty of weddings well before the first time I saw Father of the Bride. The traditions, the grandeur, the dresses, the flowers - oh how I loved it all! The first wedding I can really remember being a part of was that of Prince Andrew and Lady Sarah Ferguson. Of course, "being a part of" meant being glued to the television at six years old, and wondering what kind of strings I would need to pull in order to be married in Westminster Abbey.
21 years later, and I was living out my fantasy - walking down the aisle of my Westminster Abbey, the Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia. Walking down the aisle to meet my prince (my darling husband Jim), in my satin gown (Anne Barge), borrowed family jewels (from each grandmother), and shoes fit for a queen (Manolos)!
A 14 month engagement and a not-so-demanding job allowed me the time to plan the wedding and honeymoon of our dreams...
The Details:
Aside from the obvious favorite part of that day - marrying my true love - I was so thrilled to see all of the little details I had put so much effort into, all come together. I've heard past brides tell brides-to-be, "don't worry about the details, no-one notices them". I whole heartedly disagree. If you are someone who wants to put all those details into your wedding, by all means, do so! You will be happy with the results, and people will notice.
The wedding invitation sets the tone for the entire event. So much more
than merely an invitation and response card, it can represent the theme and color scheme, it demonstrates the formality of the occasion, and it can show the personalities of the hosts. I believe a wedding invitation should delight the guest that they have been invited, and excite them for the festivities to come. After all, why invite a guest if you don't want them to be there? Opening an invitation to a wedding can feel like an honor - a gift that you have been given the opportunity to attend such a happy occasion. It was for those reasons that I finally was able to convince Jim that our invitation could only be sent in a box! It took a lot of convincing, believe me! I worked with the wonderful staff at I Do Graphics to come up with the whole concept, and they provided beautiful papers and ribbons and wonderfully designed graphics to put the whole idea in the works. I was sent all the pieces, and got to work assembling the boxes, tying the bows, and scribing the calligraphy. I was thrilled with the end result, and guests enjoyed the little surprise in their mailboxes.

The most meaningful detail to me was my use of flowers. It was a fall wedding, so I wanted the colors to be in tune with the season. But I also didn't want our wedding to look like a thanksgiving feast. I love bright and bold colors, and I wanted every detail in our wedding to have a connection to our lives. That led me to link the theme and colors in the wedding to my "home" state of Florida, and bring in some citrus elements. So the colors represented the fall season - oranges, reds, yellows, and greens - but in a brighter, happier display. We used waxy greenery and tropical hues, and the centerpieces had sliced citrus lining the vases. But above all this, every flower in the wedding had to have a meaning. My grandmother was the one who taught me about the meaning of flowers, and how flowers were used in the 1800s to express emotion and sentiments between couples. I therefore integrated this idea into our wedding, and only used flowers that represented the meaning of the day. I carried this one step farther, giving each of my seven bridesmaids a bouquet of a single type of flower.They were flowers that represented each girl and the relationship I had with them, and then my bouquet was made up of each of those flowers.

This expression was explained in our program, and even our priest commented on the beauty of that notion in his homily.
Certainly a detail that was not overlooked by our guests, and one that held a special meaning to me and my family. My grandmother had passed away weeks after our engagement, but the detail of the flowers was my dedication to her, and I certainly felt her with me on that day.
Another favorite wedding detail was that of our favors. I am a big believer in edible favors - otherwise people are prone to forget them.
In a real wedding featured in a Martha Stewart wedding magazine, I fell in love with the idea of a cookie bar.
Of course the wedding featured had perhaps 50 guests, but I was set on that idea for our wedding. Months before the wedding, I sent a letter to each of the leading ladies in our families - Jim's grandmother, our mothers, our sisters, and each of our aunts (Jim has 13!) - and asked them for a favorite cookie recipe. Everyone responded - amazingly with no double recipes! - and I then invited some of the local teenage female cousins to come over and spend a day preparing the batters. We had a great time bonding and laughing, and prepped at least half of the cookie recipes to be frozen so that we could bake them the week before the wedding. That week finally came, and my mother and I spent the Wednesday before up to our eyeballs in flour, baking 18 different varieties of cookies - about 800 cookies in all! Each had its own glass cookie jar labeled with the name and contributor of the recipe, and guests were invited to pick their own sampling of cookies, collect them in a cellophane bag, and seal them with personalized stickers. The execution of the idea wasn't exactly to plan. Guests who had frequented the open bar reportedly ate straight from the jars, and younger cousins lined their pockets and filled the bags to capacity in order to pass them out to guests on the dance floor. Regardless, people loved the idea, the display was beautiful, the cookies were delicious, and I shared a connection with the women in the family to which I was entering.
It was important to me to have family connections to the
different elements in the wedding. For example, I wore jewelry belonging to both my grandmothers, and the bridal party wore McGrath tartan - the men with a swatch on their lapels, and the ladies a wrap over their shoulders. The ring pillow was made by my mother with extra satin from my gown, and a piece of what was an old tablecloth that was hand-crocheted by my great-great-grandmother. I hope to pass that ring pillow onto future generations.
For some reason I started collecting corks, and it grew into quite a collection.
When I told people that I was going to use them for
placecard holders, I got several donations from friends and family. A little tedious for the caterer to set up, but loved the end result.
Ceremony Site: Cathedral Basilica of Ss. Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, PA
Celebrant: Rev. Milton Jordan, Retired, Archdiocese of Washington, DC
Reception Site: College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
Catering: Culinary Concepts, Philadelphia, PA
Florist: Heidi Diskin, Peony Peach Floral Design, Philadelphia, PA
Reception Music: EBE Talent, Melanie Rice Band
After Party Music: Curtis Peoples, West Hollywood, CA
Photography: Dave Lakatos, Lakatos Photography, West Chester, PA
Invitations: I Do Graphics, Denver, CO
Calligraphy: Myself
Please click on my calligraphy post to see samples.
Videography: David Kibelstis, Center Stage Video, Lafayette Hill, PA
Wedding Gown: Anne Barge, Hannelore's Bridal Boutique, Alexandria, VA
Shoes: Manolo Blahnik
Jewelry: Bride's own (ring, bracelet, necklace); earrings: Homa Bridal, Hitched Bridal Couture, Washington, DC
Wedding bands and engagement ring: Berman Jewelers, Cherry Hill, NJ
Bridesmaids Gowns: Watters Bridesmaids, Ashley's Bridal Shoppe, Warminster, PA
Groom/Groomsmen's Attire: Calvin Klein, Varani Formal Wear, Frazer, PA
Transportation: Elegante Limousine, Philadelphia, PA
Makeup: Danielle Pfrommer, Philadelphia, PA
Hair Salon: Pierre & Carlo, Philadelphia, PA
Nail Salon: Rittenhouse Nails, 1742 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA
Bridal Luncheon: The Waterworks Restaurant and Lounge, Philadelphia, PA
Rehearsal Dinner: Ristorante Pesto, 1915 S. Broad St, Philadelphia, PA
Groom's Cake: Night Kitchen Bakery, Chestnut Hill, 7725 Germantown Ave, Philadelphia, PA
We spent three wonderful weeks in Australia and had the time of our lives! For anyone interested in visiting, these accommodations are highly recommended:
Bedarra Island Resort, Bedarra Island, Great Barrier Reef
(previously owned by Voyages)
Silky Oaks Lodge, Daintree Rainforest, QLD
Hunter Resort, Hunter Valley, Pokolbin, NSW
Fairmont Resort, Blue Mountains, Leura, NSW
(previously owned by Peppers)
Sydney Hilton, Sydney, NSW
Sydney Marriott, Sydney, NSW