April 14, 2014

Amy and Rocky’s wedding was elegance personified. Their day began in the enchanting rooms under the Mountain Winery’s Banquet Hall. The girls got ready in different colored kimono robes while the guys had clips of their favorite comedies projecting on the wall. There were libations, traditions, flowers and tons of laughter. The family and wedding party congregated in the Mountain Winery’s amphitheater for portraits – the same place where great musicians such as Ella Fitzgerald, Ringo Starr, Stevie Wonder, ZZ Top, and so many other famous artists have performed through the decades. As the day progressed and the couple said their vows, the light slowly receded behind the Saratoga hills. It made for incredible ambiance as the couple strolled through the winter grapevines. Even with all the excitement from the day, photographing the couple’s first moments as husband and wife had a quiet peace to it. I felt grateful to be witness to this sacred time, because soon after they were rushed into their reception with the kind of wild crowd that only a rock-n-roll venue can inspire.” – Evan Chung Photography

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“After having spent so many months planning and preparing for our wedding, it’s difficult to chose just one memory to call my favorite! There were so many special moments in the day that I cherished, which included the anticipation of walking down the aisle with my father as all of our guests were seated, watching, and waiting. Among some other cherished memories was seeing how happy my mother was, my soon to be husband and I exchanging our vows with each other, watching our precious flower girl, who was too young to understand her task, picking up the flower petals instead of dropping them, or my very soon to be husband accidentally saying “I do” before the officiate finished his speech. Other fond memories included, feeling so beautiful in my wedding gown and Chinese dress, taking pictures with my soon to be husband was another favorite one as it was one of the few times as we were able to have time alone as husband and wife.  Also, my dance with my father and my first dance with my husband. Lastly, one of my fondest wedding day memory was the end of the night when my husband and I could finally take our shoes off to relax and reflect over the day that had passed, while feeling overjoyed with contentment that we are now married to each other!

ST_DIY_wedding_projects

..We DIY-ed many things, both in the interest of saving money and in adding a personal touch to the decorations for our wedding day. My sister and I actually spent 12 hours in the day before the wedding arranging all of the flowers that were used for the wedding. That and the weeks of work in buying and assembling the other decorations and components of the wedding gave us a great sense of accomplishment in knowing that I had a personal touch in creating a beautiful memory and environment for our guests!

We created the:

Table Center piece
Bouquets
Aisle flower arrangement
Boutonniere
Goodie bags for the kids
Name and table cards
Flower girl basket
Ring pillow
Garter
Bird cage for our wedding cards

ST_advice_for_current_brides

..Spend time with the wedding party and savor every moment of the wedding day as the day goes by so quickly.

Try to enjoy the planning phase and have fun with your fiancé as you two are in this together. It is an extremely stressful time involving ideas, deadlines, and budgets, so remember to take time out to enjoy each other and remember why you are getting married in the first place! Don’t be uptight and too rigid about the little things and embrace the unexpected and each other’s opinions – compromise!

Even after months of planning, something will go wrong as it always does, so roll with the punches and go with the flow.  Realize that everyone involved is eager to help, so be sure to ask for that help. Ultimately, realize that everyone who shows up will be so wowed and happy to be there, that fine details and missteps probably won’t even be noticed!

Remember that the day is about you and your fiancé or fiancée. Many friends and families will undoubtedly lend advice, opinions, and objections to your decisions, but go with what your heart tells you. The day is a celebration of your love and future together so the choices should be yours alone. 

Lastly, make sure you take some time to eat on the day of your wedding or request the waiters to pack your food to go. In the rush and excitement of the day, my husband did not have time to eat his much of the delicious meal or the beautiful cakes that we had planned for the evening!” – Amy, the bride

ST_event_credits

photography: Evan Chung Photography // venue: Mountain Winery // wedding dress and alterations: Novella Bridal, Casablanca 2072 // men’s attire: Tuxedo Fashions // wedding coordinator: Kendra Stapp // hair & makeup: Chau Nguyen of A-list Makeup // invitations: Wedding Paper Divas // cake: Satura // photobooth: Say Ya! Photo Booth // DJ: Blaze Wave Entertainment

January 2, 2014

“Nestled between Lake Michigan on one side, and Lower Herring Lake on the other, The Watervale Inn truly is a gorgeous venue for a wedding. It is also a place that has been special to Alex’s side of the family for many years. I had always heard how gorgeous northern Michigan is, but I’d never been; it does not disappoint. The woods and lakes surrounding this quaint bed and breakfast, make for incredible photographic opportunities. Abby had the most beautiful bouquet I’ve ever seen, and all the details fit perfectly with the rustic vibe of Watervale. The tall trees, the sand dunes, the cottages; all of it so unique to Watervale, and in turn, helped make Abby & Alex’s day so special and unique. I was so thrilled to be a part of this one.” -Ben Elsass Photography

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” It’s so difficult to choose, but my favorite part of the weekend was reading each other our vows. We wrote our own and kept them secret from each other – this was a big deal because we’re both pretty bad at keeping secrets! I’m known to be a cry baby but my husband was actually the one who became so emotional that he struggled to get through his vows. It was such a special moment and a great reminder of what a wedding is really about – celebrating your love in front of the most important people in your life…

ST_DIY_wedding_projects

..I actually didn’t DIY anything. I’m literally the opposite of a crafty person, but I did have a handmade vision so Etsy was definitely my best friend! So lots of handmade items – but not by me! 

ST_advice_for_current_brides

..Don’t lose sight of what the day is about! I got caught up in the details a bit too much, trying to make sure everything was perfect. Ultimately, everything was beautiful and I’m glad I put the work in and found the vendors I did, but I definitely made myself a bit crazy. Just remember that what everyone (and you) will remember most about your wedding is the love, laughs and fun times.” – Abby, the bride

ST_event_credits

photography: Ben Elsass Photography // second shooter: Melissa of Lux Light Photography // dress: Demetrios // bridesmaid dresses: Amsale // DJ: Harbor View Entertainment // strings: Jasper Snow // hair stylist: Pam Tayer of The Styling Company // flowers: Victorias Floral Design, Inc. // invitations: VO Handmade // venue: Watervale Inn // men’s attire: Ted Baker // calligrapher: Stacey Shapiro // Officiant – The Reverend Dr. Ned Edwards // chalkboards: Shugabee Lane // signs + card holder: Sweet Carolina Collective // ties: Tie Obsessed // birch table number holders: The Vermont Branch Company // ring bearer pillows: Platinum Bridal

November 20, 2013

I am SO happy to finally be sharing this unbelievably gorgeous DIY wedding of David + Tiffany!!! You see, this wedding is very dear to my heart because me and the hubs met this darling couple the night they got engaged! Let me tell you the story… it was my birthday weekend and we were in Catalina celebrating, at this point we were at our favorite hotel – relaxing and drinking by the fire with other guests. We had already been told to keep it down by the management so clearly we were all having a good time… when Tiffany and David walked up. She said “I told him, I just have to go tell the fire pit people! …we just got engaged!!!!!” …and so of course we all screamed with joy for this complete stranger! Again, we got told to pipe down but how could we be quiet with such wonderful news! So the night went on and we got to know each other.. the next day, the hubs took a few shots of them to celebrate their weekend – and the rest is history. It was meant to be that this lovely couple met their wedding photographer, the night they got engaged! Tiffany and her ‘dream team’ did such a gorgeous job with all the DIY elements of the wedding… she’s a crafting rock star!
And how about that dress, breathtaking right?! Enjoy… xoxo, Jen

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“I can’t imagine trying to narrow down just one favorite memory from what we reference as the BEST DAY EVER, however our theme was ‘love sweet love’ and oh boy was the love felt all day long!!! My groom and I found so much joy in knowing all of our closet friends and family members were all together celebrating us and very excited to be apart of such an epic day. The atmosphere was just lovely…

ST_DIY_wedding_projects

..Yes, yes, & yes again! :) My wonderful bridesmaids, family, and friends helped us every step of the way. I truly had a “Dream Team”, we crafted throughout the entire planning process. Which made this experience extra special and memorable!! The DIY projects started right from the beginning with sweet wooden boxes that I created for the lovely ladies in my bridal party which were filled with memorable photos and a love letter & homemade vintage postcards made for the groomsman created to let them know it would be an honor to have them apart of our big day! From the invites to the decor, from the favors to the flowers. Our “Dream Team” of family & friends did it all. Everything had a touch of DIY-love! It was epic. We wouldn’t have changed a thing…

ST_advice_for_current_brides

..To remember that it all goes SO fast. It truly does, especially one your dress is on. Slow down and as impossible as it may seem… relax. Enjoy your planing time, your family, your friends, and your handsome groom! The sweet gatherings and the support you have from the wonderful people who surround you and your fiancé. It is such a lovely season of life that is truly magical. David and myself find ourselves amazed looking back on it all.” – Tiffany, the bride

ST_event_credits

photography: Studio Eleven Weddings // venue: The Casino in San Clemente, CA. // dress: Enzoani, ‘Grace’ from Blush Bridal Couture in Tustin // bridesmaid dresses: handpicked from different stores; 2 strapless dusty gold dresses were from Nordstroms, the 2 blush dresses were from Macys, & the 4 gold and rose gold sequined dresses were found on Asos.com // cake and catering: Jay’s Catering // invitations, programs, ceremony, flowers, favors, guest book, seating chart, backdrops, decor, signs, pom-poms, flags, the entire event was DIY-ed by the bride and Adrie Gregg – cheers girls, you did a fabulous job!

October 23, 2013

“I absolutely loved photographing this beautiful bride with the bright gorgeous colors that she chose for her outdoor arboretum wedding! The beautiful pinks and navy’s just popped against the rich greens of the grass and trees. And the bright pink parasols were so much fun! This wedding took place in a lush arboretum in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia where the flowers and trees were in full bloom and just breathtaking at this time of year.” – Gayle Driver Photography

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“Oh my, this is tough! There were so many wonderful memories! It’s difficult to choose just one. One of my many favorite memories from the day was when Scott and I were introduced at our reception. As we walked down a flight of stairs and made our way to the dance floor, we were able to see all of our wonderful friends and family who were there to help us celebrate our love for each other. The support and love we felt at that moment was definitely unforgettable…

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Yes, I truly enjoyed working on projects for the wedding. I am a teacher and had the summer off, so I had time to be crafty. I printed and put together the program fans for the ceremony. I also made the escort cards, table numbers, and multiple signs for decoration. These projects required a little extra time, but I decided that I was willing to devote this extra time rather than paying more for things that I could simply do myself.  I, however, cannot imagine working full-time and trying to complete all of these projects. I’m fortunate that I had all summer to work on them!

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My Grandma loved to crochet but sadly, she cannot remember how to anymore. The last piece she was able to complete was given to me as a bridal shower gift. I used this piece as my ‘something old’. It was wrapped around my bouquet on my wedding day. My ‘something new’ was my wedding dress and shoes. My ‘something borrowed’ was the lipstick my friend, Anne, gave me to use after she did my makeup for the day. My ’something blue’ well, that was under the dress :)

ST_advice_for_current_brides

Enjoy it! This is the one day in your life that you get to make completely yours! It does get a little overwhelming at times, but try to keep in mind that all of the work you are putting in will be completely worth it in the end. When your wedding day arrives, it is amazing to see how everything that you have been working on during the planning process comes together to create a truly unforgettable day. A good friend of mine gave me some wonderful advice that Scott and I are so glad we took. Make sure during your reception, you and your husband take a minute or two to step back and watch all of your friends and family celebrating your love for each other. It is a wonderful memory to share together and makes all of the time you spent planning your day, well worth it!” -Amy, the bride

ST_event_credits

photography: Gayle Driver Photography // dress: Casablanca from Bridal Impressions // bridesmaid dresses: Allure from Bridal Impressions // men’s attire: Classic Tuxedo // DJ: National DJ Connection // bakery: Buttercream Dreams, LLC // ceremony flowers: Blakemore’s Flowers // reception flowers: Flowers Galore // venue: Edith J. Carrier Arboretum and Botanical Gardens @ James Madison University // Event Coordinator: Maureen McKenna // hair: Aly Lemasters, Verde Salon // makeup: Anne Whitney Driver // transportation: Custom Transportation // favors: Beau-coup.com

May 29, 2013

“Luke and Ashley were married on September 15, 2012 at a lovely, quaint, wooden chapel in the Hamptons. The sky was a perfect blue and the slight breeze from the sandy beach filled the air. The couple ventured into the heart of the Hamptons and posed for photos under one of the village’s windmills. The reception took place at the historic Conklin House (which so happens to be Ashley’s great aunt’s home) in the large hedged-in back yard complete with a swimming pool and long tables decorated with vintage china, old silverware, french bread, and fruit bowls. The newly married couple served their guests a fabulous brunch. With dancing until mid afternoon and a finale with a stroll on the beach with the large bridal party, this event was nothing short of romantic and refreshing.” – Tirzah Photography

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The bride actually DIY-ed this amazing veil herself!!! Read her fabulous feedback below for the details. AMAZING job Ashley… it looks stunning!

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“The ceremony was my favorite. I loved the anticipation, the 100 yard march from my cottage to the church, my sister and best friend in tow, the nervous beaming smiles, the warmth of prayer from all my bridesmaids and family. Our huge bridal party; in their fluttery pink and stately navy, the huge flock I called my nearest and dearest  (I had a moment of “Did I make a mistake, this is so over the top”) the bridal party was a mile long and 4 wide like a train coming into the back of the church…. then I realized, NO, I’m sooo glad I choose this; these are the people Luke and I love the most. My dads face at the end of the isle waiting for my entrance, the shaking and weeping I could barely walk, my journey down the isle towards a circle of pink dresses & Luke’s silhouette getting clearer and less fuzzy as I got closer… the smell of the church, the weight of my gown, the tears in my moms eyes…

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..We made vanilla extract with raw beans and vodka 6 months before the wedding. It was an extremely messy and frustrating project. My sister, my mom and I were all at each others throats covered in black extract and vanilla seeds by the time we finished! But it was delicious and everyone is still raving about them and asking for more!

I fell in love with a $200 angel over your face and head style veil with rhinestones in the fabric… so we made our own with $30 of fabric and $6 of little white glass stones, plus some bobby pins. We simply just cut the fabric in a half circle at the back and pinned it togther the night before the wedding.. easy! Three hours! Mom and my sister, and Molly, helped me ~ it was longer and in my opinion much better!

For the china, I spent a good 8 months scouring thrift, consignment, yard sales, estate sales and antique shops for 150 place settings. I had a few rules to keep me under control, and a lot of doubters to fend off… but I actually really enjoyed this project! I only spent up to 2$ on a dish and kept the patterns to florals or dishes with gold or silver trimmings… I gave them away as gifts in mitch-match sets to my bridesmaids and family following the wedding. I collected dinner, appetizer, and cake dishes, silver for each setting and small glass monkey bowls for yogurt parfaits … I also collected the silver basins and pedestals used for the floral arrangements…

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..I’m not really a classical old, new, blue kind of girl but I did wear my mothers jewelry, the simple garment earrings and bracelet I had loved since I was a kid. Luke’s grandmother Gaga sent a prayer hankie covered in tears, love and prayers for me to pin under my dress, since she could be there, which I wrapped my bouquet in instead…

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..Let go, just let go… trust the most creative people in your life, and communicate your desires well and then let the details go…

For me this was my sister, Molly, co-owner of The Stem – Kansas City. She runs a small business but packs a big punch. She could work with anything and make it beautiful! Her and my mother double teamed and pulled off a wonderful, memorable, beautiful day. It took me a while to let go of everything and trust them in their creativity and ability to build what I was imagining. On the day of the wedding I was blown away, it was far from the picture in my head, but it had all the things I’d hoped for and more, all the details were sorted out and even the one little disaster I ended up loving: I wanted white single layer cakes on pedestals with lush fresh flowers on the center or side of each cake. The cakes arrived in techni-color from the well meaning scrumptious Italian bakery who definitely had skimmed the details… At least they tasted delicious! And everything else was so beautiful who cared! It was kind of funny to me ..

And… save room in your budget for a great photographer! :)

ST_event_credits

photography:  Tirzah Photography // ceremony: St Thomas Episcapal Church // dress: Bridal Extraordinare // reception: Historic Conklin House // Floral Designer: The Stem // tux and men’s attire: J.Crew // cinema: Adam Hanly Photo/Video // Caterer: DG Catering // Bakery: Frank and Son Bakery

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