How did you meet?
We met while we were grad students at Michigan in Ann Arbor. I had gone back to school being adamant about not dating while I was there so that I could focus on my career. Of course, we met on my first day of class. Little did I know that he would turn out to be my husband two and a half years later!
Details of your day
We knew from the start that we wanted to get married in Princeton. Brett was born there, I grew up in the area, and we had one of our first few dates in town, so it was a meaningful place for us. We had our ceremony at All Saints’ Church. We loved the natural light that filled the sanctuary and the trees that you could see through the church’s huge front windows. Having our reception at Nassau Inn was also an easy choice — there’s no better spot in the heart of Princeton, and its food and staff are excellent.
What was on your menu?
During the cocktail hour, we had hors d’oeuvres of black pepper crusted tuna carpaccio, bellini with caviar and creme fraiche, tomato and mozzarella crostini, cherry blossom tarts, coconut shrimp, and goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon. We also had the typical displays of fresh fruit, crudites, cheese, and hummus & pita. On the side, we had a carving station with five pepper crusted strip loin, as well as a station with ginger shrimp dumplings, kale & edamame dumplings, veggie spring rolls, and yakitori.
For dinner, we had an appetizer of shrimp & scallop ceviche topped with avocado sour cream; citrus salad with spinach and toasted pine nuts; and an intermezzo of lemon sorbet. Guests had four choices for their entree: herb-crusted chicken, filet mignon, grilled salmon, and vegetable strudel. Desserts were chocolate-covered strawberries and mini cannoli.
Our cake included three layers of dark chocolate cake layered between chocolate mousse and raspberry buttercream, topped with fresh berries. It was delicious!
For a late-night snack, we had pork roll, egg, and cheese sandwiches to go.
What was your favorite moment?
Seeing our guests as I walked down the aisle — our family and friends are relatively spread out geographically, and almost all were from out of town. They came from 3 continents, 7 countries, and 15 U.S. metro areas. I hadn’t seen some of them in person in almost a decade. Being able to celebrate with them was both humbling and surreal.
Something you couldn’t live without
The overwhelming love and support we received from family and friends. The typical stresses that come along with engagement and wedding planning were exacerbated by the fact that we were long-distance for most of our relationship. I was also finishing both of my grad programs, and Brett was in a demanding job — it was difficult enough to make time for each other, let alone wedding planning. We were so fortunate to have an amazing community from church, school, and home to support us every step of the way. My mother-in-law is also very creative and generously volunteered to share her talents with us through a lot of DIY decor projects. My parents were also extremely supportive, helping with everything from coordinating with local vendors to assembling decorations, and even making the sweetest slideshow for our reception — I really can’t take much credit for how beautifully the wedding turned out with all the help we received!
Did anything go wrong?
We had no working mics at the church on the day of our wedding. Fortunately, my dad came to the rescue and found an old portable sound system in our basement. Not sure why he still had that hanging around the house, but it came in handy for the wedding ceremony!
In lieu of a typical guest book, my mom suggested using advice and well-wishes cards. We loved the thoughtfulness that our guests put into them. We also got some of the wisest, most hilarious advice from our 7-year-old flower girl and 2-year-old ring boy (and their siblings)!
Advice for other brides
It’s easy to get swept up in the details of the wedding day, but remember to also build a healthy foundation for your marriage. Regardless of how well your relationship is going or how tight your schedules are, block out time for pre-marital (or pre-engagement) counseling so you can work toward a richer relationship with your best friend and teammate for life. Your wedding day will come and go (and it will be beautiful!), but your partner and the marriage you share are ultimately more important than the shade of your linens or the brand of china on your registry!
Where did you go for your honeymoon?
We stayed at El Dorado Royale in Riviera Maya, Mexico. Brett came across the resort through word-of-mouth, and knew I would appreciate its commitment to sustainability. We were so thankful for the chance to relax on the beach and get our adventure fix through zip lining, rappelling, and swimming in a cenote. We also enjoyed a romantic dinner on the beach during our last evening there, as well as lots of fresh fruit smoothies made with produce from our resort’s greenhouses throughout our stay!