There were too many things to list in just one blog post, so I separated this into two! Check out Part 1 for all the other amazing things that made our wedding so special.
The Ceremony - We are not religious, and only a little spiritual, so we were having trouble finding a Justice of the Peace in our budget. Thankfully, my friend Erin saved the day by revealing she is an ordained Minister! She put together such a touching ceremony script. I came down the aisle to "Can't Help Falling in Love With You," as sung by my friends Reggie and Kim, who did live music for the ceremony on a uke, bongos, flute, and tin whistle. We had a prayer read by my Nana, to honor the sides of the family who were a bit more religious, and my friends Allie and Christina read "i carry your heart" by ee cummings and an excerpt from The Little Prince respectively. Our moms led a blessing for our rings. Finally, we wrote our own vows and slipped in a few butt jokes because that's how we roll. I loved how wonderfully all the pieces of our history were honored in this ceremony, and it is one I'll never forget.
The Flowers - I had no idea how many flowers you need for a wedding. None. And no idea about budget! I figured bouquets, boutonnieres, done. Nope... I was so overwhelmed with this piece of the day. After a little shopping around, we found Nuttlemen's Florist in Northampton. So many friends and family have used this florist, and Mary was just amazing. Not only were her flower arrangements absolutely gorgeous, but she was just a joy to interact with. My mom was so taken with her, that we actually invited her to stay for the wedding--and she and her daughter ended up helping with so much more than just flowers. The fact they go above and beyond for their customers, and have been doing so in the valley for years, is why they come so highly recommended. My bouquet was a beautiful blend of pink and purple roses with white wax flowers, and my bridesmaids had slightly smaller bouquets that were the opposite. Cory's boutonnieres were actually fly fishing lures that had been hand made by an Etsy shop--a nod to his love of fishing. For the tables we had small roses and some wax flowers, and the ceremony was adorned with sunflowers. All my favorite flowers and colors just made me so happy.
The Details - Our centerpieces were, what I referred to as, "a mish-mash of rustic things." So we had mason jars with fairy lights, milk jugs with flowers, a birch candle holder with candles, a little wooden "Love" sign, a frame with the table numbers lovingly hand-numbered by my Nana, and some butterflies floating above it all atop a slice of tree trunk. We had burlap table runners, gorgeous letters "C&A," a special memorial to my dad (a handmade white vase with his favorite flowers, white roses, inside and his old handkerchief around it. Plus lots of butterflies and pink roses all around. Big thanks to my mom who, among a million other things, spent the year leading up to the wedding collecting these all bit by bit. It turned out even more perfect than I could have imagined!
The Food - Hands down, the best wedding food I've ever had. (If you saw my last post, the food was provided by the venue, The Salem Cross Inn). And, as a food blogger, you know I'm picky! I'm pretty sure I'm not just being biased to my own wedding, either. Multiple friends and family echoed this same praise. We went with prime rib for the beef option, and a feta stuffed chicken for the chicken option. The vegetarian offering was stuffed summer squash with quinoa. Even the sides were top notch--the mashed potatoes were to diiiie for and the veggies were so fresh and tasty. There were a few different types of rolls pre-dinner, including a sweet roll, and those were perfect and freshly baked as well. Everything came out PIPING hot, which we appreciated since it was such a big crowd and we've definitely been to weddings where temperature was not taken into consideration. The venue was extremely considerate of food allergies, and made the appropriate accommodations. We wanted the prime rib to come with a side of au jus, but they did provide it when requested on an as-needed basis. Dinner service was quick and efficient and the waitstaff was lovely. I'm dreaming of going back and having more of those potatoes and prime rib now...
The Cake - My family always got their cakes from Gregory's Pastry Shop for as long as I can remember. So, despite a pretty steep plating fee that my venue put on alternative cakes, we knew we had to make it work. The cake was three layers--two of them with chocolate cake and chocolate mousse, and one with white cake with strawberries and cream filling. Both layers were delicious, though I only know this because I remember the samples we got beforehand. Sadly, I missed out on eating more than just the traditional "first slice" bite. I bought the sugar butterflies on Amazon and the bakery placed them on the finished cake. I kind of wanted more butterflies on it (they didn't use them all) but otherwise the cake was perfect.
The Photographer - Carly Weekley Photography of Arizona did our photos. Why did I pick a photographer who lived so far away? Because she's an old college friend and I've been a fan of her work for years. I remember the first time I saw a wedding shoot of hers I was so impressed--it really looked straight out of a magazine! And, regardless of bias, I think that the pictures turned out beautifully. She had so many fun poses for us, and really got all of the details down. I half-considered hiring a second photog since she works without an assistant, but turns out I definitely didn't need one. It was like she was in a million places at once all by herself! Carly was creative, supportive, and helped make my day truly amazing. I love the shots she got and would recommend her to anyone!
The DJ/music - Cory's second cousin is a DJ, but unfortunately he wasn't available for our event. Thankfully, his colleague at Milestone Entertainment of New England was! Gabe was great--he had the energy we were looking for and kept our reception moving along. His voice was like a wacky radio announcer and I loved it. The song list was extensive but the only parameters we gave were the songs we needed to have and Gabe did the rest--our first dance was Frank Sinatra's "I Got You Under My Skin," my stepfather-daughter dance was "Hero" by Mariah Carey, and Cory's mother-son dance was "My Wish" by Rascal Flats. I wanted to honor by dad, who passed away in 2007, by playing "Butterfly Kisses" and my uncles (both family and family friends) surprised me by dancing with me so I didn't have to be alone. After all the tears--my own included!--dried, we welcomed everyone to the dance floor to dance to "Footloose," a favorite of my theater friends since that was our senior year musical. The DJ did a great job with upbeat dancing the night away.
The Photobooth - We rented this as a package deal with our DJ. A photobooth was my must-have silly wedding thing. And it was a HUGE hit! The only place we could fit it all was the upstairs area of the reception, so I worried that people wouldn't use it. But they did, and the results were hilarious. There was a booth attendant who took care of the printing and passing out of props. The booth would print two strips of each set of photos, one for the guest and one was put into a scrapbook for the guests to sign. It's a fun keepsake and we got digital downloads of all the photos in case anyone wanted extra prints.
The Favors - We practically had swag bags. I was so worried about the unpredictable July weather in Massachusetts that I wanted to make sure if it was balls-hot outside our guests would be okay. I may have overdone it. So, on each chair we had a bag that included the following: our program (designed by Cory), sunglasses and a koozie with our names and a hidden water bottle inside, a paper fan, glow sticks for the reception, and bubbles for our recession. On each table we had a little box that contained a pot and seed starter for everyone to grow their own Texas Bluebonnets, and as guests left we handed them a bag of Italian cookies from La Fiorentina, a tradition in Cory's family.
My wedding was incredible, and such a wonderful and happy day. Planning a wedding from 2000 miles away is a feat, and we couldn't have done it without help. Huge thanks to my mom and stepdad, as well as Cory's family, for all their help. We are so lucky to have you guys as parents! And thank you to all our guests who came out to share this day with us--we hope you had as much fun as we did!
|One final thing--this is Cory's reenactment unit, giving us a sword arch as we walked back down the aisle! A fun touch and shout out to Cory's family's traditions.