We grew up literally around the corner from each another and attended the same school from kindergarten until senior year. Our paths crossed many time and Gary quickly developed a crush, but was too shy to tell me. It resorted to him teasing me relentlessly. Finally, he worked up the courage to knee me in the back, repeatedly, at a high school football game until I finally turned around and snapped “what do you want!”. He smiled and asked for my phone number and we have been inseparable since. So romantic, right?
Our theme was loosely based on Beauty and the Beast(it is my favorite fairytale). Since we dated over a decade before getting engaged, we always joke that we are the “Tale as Old As Time.” We found lots of ways to romantically weave the theme throughout the day from pale pink and cappuccino roses, lots of candle light and French-inspired decor. The color scheme was neutral tans, ivory, blush and gold with subtle grey additions. We had signage warning guests that our open bar and photography meant their transformation from “Beauty to Beast” would be fully documented and the enchanted rose was our signature drink. Our favors were a donation made in our guest’s honor to the rescue we got our best buddy from!
Fun story! Gary and I actually attended prom together two times at the original venue. During a slow dance he told me, “one day we will dance at our wedding here”. While that sounded so cheesy coming from a 17-year-old, I believed him. Our venue was completely demolished and re-done with a stunning chateau! Also the Park Chateau fit our Beauty and the Beast vibe so well. It was like the place was made me and my Belle bride dreams. The moment we stepped in the front doors the staff was so welcoming and incredible helpful, we knew this venue was like no other.
The cocktail hour served everything from classic Italian comfort foods to sushi and carving stations. For dinner, there was a burrata salad and guests had a choice between chateaubriand, chicken chateau which featured a delicious mushroom stuffing and truffle sauce, or oven-baked salmon. We wanted there to be a little something for everyone! The cake was another one of those “I just knew it” things! Growing up, my grammy baked all of our birthday and special occasion cakes from scratch; she is unfortunately no longer with us so I knew I wouldn’t be able to have “grammy cake” on our big day. Until, we tasted Conca D’ Oro’s cake. I legitimately burst into tears upon first bite. We chose a marble cake with layers of cannoli cream and italian cherries with a cool-whip-esque frosting. I have dreams about that cake.
My gown was a custom made Hayley Paige design. I saw a bodice she has called “Pascal” and fell in love with the dreamy colored rose and vine beading throughout, but, wanted a big bold skirt to fit my “princess for the day” ambitions. So, I met with Hayley during one of her trunk shows at Kleinfeld and she did her sparkly, bridal magic and POOF! My dreamy, twirly-swirly, rose covered gown was born. I felt incredible and could not get over how perfectly the beading fit into our theme.
That “first-look” feeling. I have seen Gary almost every single day of my life for the past 13 years and he never fails to make me nervous or take my breath away. Walking up to him and tapping him on the shoulder brought out so many feelings and when he turned and teared up. I was on top of the world! It’s a strange thing to want to see someone you love cry, but, he was absolutely speechless and I will remember that look and those feelings for the rest of my life. He has seen me at my best, my worst, my silliest, and every moment in between but that first look as his “bride” was unforgettable.
Surprising my dad with the “T-Rex” first look. My dad and I are very close, I am his youngest daughter and I knew how emotional he would be. We love to laugh and he has always called me the T-Rex of the family because of my big head and little arms, so, I wanted to play into our silliness and break the “first look” nerves with a prehistoric decoy bride. It worked wonderfully, he was so surprised and able to let loose a bit but still emotional when he saw me.
I am sure there was a drunken groomsmen, flower out of place somewhere, or some detail that went askew because nothing is perfect. I don’t remember any of it, though, I married the guy I had a crush on in the third grade. All sorts of thing in life go wrong, but, I just remember it was the start of our forever and it was perfect.
“Stand By Me” Ben E. King
You’ve done the hard part! You’ve found someone to share your happily ever after with, don’t ruin the process of wedding planning by freaking out over every detail (easier said than done). Biggest weight off of our shoulders was having an incredibly organized, detail-oriented venue, it helped so much knowing we were in the best of hands!
My groom surprised me with a Disney trip the morning of the wedding! We left a few days after the wedding and stayed at the Polynesian.