We met in high school, but it was definitely not love at first sight. I thought he was annoying the first three years of school and didn’t speak to him much at all. Senior year we were at a party together for a mutual friend and we wound up talking a lot that night. He asked if he could kiss me and I said no. So he asked again and I said yes, and we became an official couple a little bit after that. I always joke that I’m so glad he was so persistent about that first kiss!
Many, many years later! It was 10.5 years after we started dating. After I had graduated college in 2012, I started to have health problems that have really affected my quality of life. I was struggling through daily life and knew at that time I wouldn’t be able to have the wedding of my dreams so he patiently waited until I was ready. The fall of 2017 I had a few weeks where I was feeling better and he managed to pull together a ring and proposal within 10 days. Assisted by my sister and brother-in-law he took me apple picking (a favorite fall activity for me) and while going through the orchard he tossed an apple telling a story about how in Ancient Greece if you throw an apple to a woman, you are asking for her hand in marriage. I was barely even listening until he got down on one knee and popped the question. It was the most perfect proposal in every way.
Our venue is a working llama and alpaca farm so we went with the rustic barn theme and added a beach-y touch since we are from the shore. Our colors were dark teal with burnt orange accents. The flowers were a lot of pampas grass and roses, all neutral colors with some greenery. Our archway for the ceremony was a stunning half circle that also was moved over the sweetheart table for the reception. Our favors were soft pretzels from Mueller’s Bakery and were a big hit at the end of the night. We had games during cocktail hour like corn hole, Connect 4, and a word search for guests. The alpacas and llamas also came near the cocktail hour for photo ops. We had signs that truly represented us like “awkward but enthusiastic dancing” and “we waited 12 years for this, please party accordingly”. Our signature drinks were a bourbon infused with rosemary and fruit mixed with seltzer and cranberry juice (him), and gin mixed with seltzer and kombucha (her). I’m a big Harry Potter nerd so there were a few HP details that snuck in as well.
We knew we were looking for a barn and needed to accommodate more than 150 people, which was not the easiest to find. Most barn venues were suitable only for smaller events. We found WoodsEdge Farm online and as soon as we were there we knew it was the venue we dreamed of. Amy and Brett were so kind showing us around and it checked all of our boxes. An outdoor ceremony with an indoor option in case of bad weather, built in bathrooms, large enough for our guests to be comfortable without being on top of one another, we could bring our own alcohol, and the llamas and alpacas were a definite bonus that we thought would be so fun!
We had a little bit of everything! Cocktail hour had both passed hors d’ourves and stations. We had a flatbread station, shrimp station, charcuterie grazing station, skewer station with Thai peanut chicken and veggie skewers. For the passed hors d’ourves, we had assorted sushi rolls, and smoked brisket on mini biscuits. We opted for stations for dinner rather than plated, it just suited us as we are less formal. Our stations for dinner included BBQ pork on mini brioche buns, mashed potato bar (this was a hit!), two types of salads, tacos, sopa seca, grilled chili lime chicken, cilantro rice, balsamic-pomegranate glazed salmon, grilled local veggies, and carved beef loin with horseradish sauce. My favorite part was definitely the late night snacks though! We served sweet potato fries in cones and had miniature milkshakes to end the night! The food was all incredible and we were so happy to be able to have such a large variety. I made sure there were options for vegans, gluten free, and other allergies so all my guests could enjoy the night without worry. We had three cakes because we are a bakery family! All desserts were from Mueller’s Bakery. The first cake had layers of blue velvet with cream cheese filling and a layer of blueberry pound cake with lemon curd filling. Our second cake was gluten free and vegan and was an apple spiced cake with vegan cream cheese filling and icing and a caramel drip over the top. And our third cake was a tiered cookie cake with big chocolate chip cookies. We also served pastries and donuts along with the cakes for a full and delicious dessert table.
Schone Bride was fabulous to work with. They completely customized my dress for me, combining two dresses and altering a bit to make my dream dress. I had a strapless sweetheart top with a corset tie back. The top fabric was embroidered with beautiful flowers. The skirt was a-line tulle with differing layers for a more rustic look than a plain skirt. It was stunning and I felt so incredibly beautiful in it. I never wanted to take it off that night! I also wore custom converse sneakers as my shoes and I received so many compliments. Since the ceremony was outdoors, I opted not to wear heals so sneakers were the obvious choice! I customized the colors of teal to match our theme and had our “combo” last name embroidered “O’Guire” (O’Neill and McGuire). I was comfy the whole night and now have shoes I will definitely wear again.
So hard to choose! I think the ceremony was my favorite part of the day. Having my best friends with me and my dad walking me down the aisle to my husband was so incredibly exciting that day. We completely customized our ceremony so that it was a reflection of us and I loved every part. We wrote our own vows and saying them in front of our friends and family was so special and I’m so glad we have those promises to each other forever. We didn’t do a first look because we wanted the ceremony to be the first time we saw each other and it made it so special. Instead I did a first look with my bridesmaids and my dad and that was so fun too. My friends have an embroidered handkerchief that we have passed along to each bride, so having that and passing it along to the next bride was also a special part of the day.
Did anything go wrong?
The transportation for the guests was the biggest hiccup of the day. The second bus left early, leaving quite a few guests stranded and needing to figure out their own way back to the venue. The buses also took the wrong route and one got stuck at a low bridge. The guests on that bus had to get off and get back on the first bus that was able to fit under the bridge. It took a lot longer for my guests to arrive at cocktail hour, but luckily that was extended so they didn’t miss much. On the way back at the end of the night the first bus wouldn’t leave without the other so there was no “early” bus for my guests that wanted to get back to the hotel earlier and again they took a longer route than necessary. All in all, the only thing that went wrong that day.
First dance song?
“Absinthe Party at the Honey Fly Warehouse” (Acoustic) by Minus the Bear. We are non-traditional when it comes to music and this song was absolutely perfect for us.
Any advice for future brides?
Have someone making sure you are taking it all in. I had my mom poke me every so often to stop, breathe, and look around. I am so glad I did because I can really remember so many parts of the day. It still went by very quickly, but at the end of the day it didn’t feel like I blinked and it was over because I could remember so many details. Also things will go wrong, but don’t let it bother you. You only get this day once so let anything go and just enjoy yourself!
Didn’t go yet as with work, it made more sense to wait, but we are planning on Thailand and can’t wait!