From the bride:
When I was a child I had always imagined being married with kids by the time I turned 30, but when 31 rolled around and I was still swiping through Tinder profiles, marriage seemed like an improbability. I wasn’t at all convinced that a casual dating app was going to reveal my soulmate, but just as I was about to hit delete, I met Pete.
Two years later as I clutched my Dad’s arm and stepped through the doors of our wedding venue to see Pete standing at the end of the aisle, I started to cry. Our best friends Darah and Jimmy had just finished singing the second verse of our favorite Chris Stapleton song and a sea of people with tears in their eyes smiled back at me. I will never forget that overwhelming feeling of love – the love I had for the man who stood before me (who also couldn’t hold back his tears) and the love I felt from the people surrounding me, who despite all my cynicism, had truly believed that this day would come. I can’t imagine there will be another day in my lifetime where all the most important people in our lives will be together in one place to celebrate, and that will be a moment I will cherish forever.
When it came to planning our wedding our approach was a bit unconventional. We hadn’t imagined a specific theme – we just knew that we wanted our wedding to be a reflection of our personalities and our relationship – laid back, loving, approachable and, of course, filled with ridiculous dancing, an inflatable flamingo, and a whole lot of laughter. When it came to our aesthetic, we never really had a specific color palate. Pete’s favorite color is blue and I love patterns and textures so we just started from there. I was scrolling through GreenWeddingShoe’s instagram and saw these awesome bohemian floral patterned bridesmaid dresses by ShowMeYourMumu and instantly feel in love. From there we layered on complimenting textures and colors. I designed my own wedding invitations, save the date cards and menus. One of my favorite personal touches were the table numbers. We absolutely LOVED our engagement photos and wanted to find a creative way to incorporate them into our wedding. Each table number featured a different picture from our engagement session along with a correlating fact about our relationship. We painted crates white to match the beachy vibe of our venue and had our florist fill them with vibrant colors and textures.
If I had give advice to future brides, I would suggest to find small ways to make your wedding feel personal, even if it goes against the grain of wedding norms. For us, it made each part of the wedding feel that much more special. We started with planning our ceremony. One of my closest childhood friends, Jen had been diagnosed with a rare illness a few years prior and watching her and her husband battle through it together, all while raising three young children, was a real testament to a strong and loving marriage. I knew this was the kind of marriage I wanted to emulate, so we asked Jen to do the honor of marrying us. Jen had never done anything like this before so we gave her some ideas of what kind of things we wanted her to talk about during the ceremony and then let her take it from there. Pete and I had also decided we wanted to write our own vows and keep them a secret. It was all a bit of risk, not knowing what Jen would say or what we would say to each other, but the surprise of it all made it that much more beautiful. Jen had asked our parents and bridal party to describe our relationship in one word and she incorporated that in to her ceremony. She read excerpts from a Bob Marley quote, shared her own perspective on marriage, and even surprised Pete and I by recounting our feelings from our first date and a few one liners from Pete’s tinder profile. Pete’s sister, Lauren also came up for a reading, which she barely could get through without sobbing, but the imperfections of it all, and the words we each stumbled over made the whole ceremony that much more endearing. Some of my other favorite personal touches from the wedding was having our best friends Jimmy and Darah play and sing one of our favorite songs as we walked down the aisle. My friends Meghan and Jimmy had been married a few years prior under their grandparents chuppah and, having always admired their relationship, we asked if we could incorporate it into our ceremony. We also asked one of Pete’s sisters if she could make a macrame that we could hang from it so that we had something special from each of our families to begin our marriage under. Pete’s brother-in-law even offered to make our favorite cupcakes (carrot cake, dulce de leche and oreo) in leu of a traditional cake. Pete, of course, wanted his favorite cinnamon roll on top.
Another one of my favorite moments from the wedding was having my dad sing the first verse of our father/daughter dance to "My Girl". I have such fond memories of my Dad singing and playing guitar to me as a child, so it was extra special to see him grab the mic and jump in with the band. Later in the night he jumped back on stage with my maid of honor for a song and we all crowded around the stage like a bunch of squealing teenage groupies.
My first dance with Pete was also a unique moment based on our relationship (wait… how many favorites can I have?!?). My Tinder profile picture had been a picture of me dancing with a sparkler at a 4th of July party and Pete says he always remembers swiping right because I looked so genuinely happy and carefree dancing with a sparkler in my hand. So we decided we wanted to do our first dance outside with sparklers and, of course, to the same Thomas Rhett song Pete had proposed to me to. It wasn’t as dark as we had hoped for, so the sparklers weren’t incredibly visible, but the magic of the moment overshadowed all of that. There were honestly so many “favorite” moments throughout the night that felt that much more magical because of the sentiment behind them. Overall our wedding was an absolute blast! We laughed, we cried, we belted out lyrics to our favorite songs and we ran in and out of the PfotoBooth to photo bomb our friends’ and families photos. I think those are two wedding must-haves (aside from an awesome photographer) – a kick-ass band and an adequately propped photo booth. Some of my favorite pictures from our wedding involve a crab hat, a sombrero and a blow up flamingo :) AND, of course, all the candid pictures where are just being our silly selves and laughing hysterically :) So, thank you, Jackie and team for taking pictures that truly captured the real, raw, loving and funny moments of our wedding day. We wish we could do it all over again!
Venue: Coveleigh Club
Flowers: Waverly & Grove
Entertainment: Silver Arrow Band
Cinematography: Preston Films
Bridesmaid Dresses: Show Me Your Mumu
Brides Dress: Sukran’s Bridal
Hair/Makeup: Candice Bertolini and Tonya Valentin