Their story: We met at work, but our paths had crossed long before that! After a few conversations about our backgrounds, we quickly realized that I had previously interviewed and rejected him in a past life, while at another employer. On top of that, I had turned down an offer with our company once before, but somehow was swayed to join the second time around. Had I joined the first time I would have come and gone long before he arrived. It was fate that our stars re-aligned at just the right time in our lives!
Will you marry me? Michael is a huge planner. The running joke is that he has a backup plan to the backup plan, for EVERYTHING! That is, until his father accidentally slipped and told me about the upcoming engagement on Christmas Eve. Michael was so devastated that he not only went back and changed the ring for a new one, but every plan he had had gone out the window. He tried to do it spontaneously a few days later and called me downstairs to have our dogs involved with it…but I told him I was too busy getting ready and never went down. He couldn’t wait any longer and came upstairs and proposed right in the middle of our bedroom. What he didn’t realize was that this made it even more special to me that it was an intimate moment between just the two of us, and that the story would be one we would laugh at for years to come.
Our theme was soft and romantic, with navy, dusty purple, champagne and gold as our colors. I ordered the invites through Wedding Paper Divas and then created my own custom set. I added gold trim and put them in purple folded envelopes to create the final product. Details of the day:
Our flowers had lots of eucalyptus and greenery with touches of purple flowers. The bride’s bouquet and groom’s boutonniere were the only ones with purple tinted succulents in them.
Our main signs were mirrors, to reflect the light and beauty of the lake and landscaping around us.
The cake had gold-trimmed ribbon with matching flowers to the bouquets. We also included custom-made fondant figurines of our dogs on the cake, so that they could be a part of the day as well!
I created a card box out of an Ikea greenhouse by putting gold lettering on it and surrounding it with live matching flowers. For table numbers, there were pictures of the two of us at each corresponding age— for example, table two was each of us at age 2. It brought a fun twist to a seemingly boring part of the décor. It got a lot of people laughing!
We also used lots of gold lanterns with hanging eucalyptus and matching flowers on them. The Mill did an amazing job of lighting them and surrounding our head table with it to create a soft, romantic vibe. The outside gazebo was also covered in flower garland, with hydrangeas (my favorite flower!) lining the rows. And we had matching purple rose petals for guests to toss as we came down the aisle.
To go with the mirror theme, I created “Love you more” and “Love you most” signs for the bride and groom’s chairs. We say this to each other all of the time so I wanted to incorporate something that was special to us in the décor.
We fell in love with The Mill the second that we walked into the place…and it was under construction down to the studs! I had always wanted a very small, intimate wedding on the beach and Michael wanted a huge party at a formal venue. We had been to several weddings the summer before and loved the experience that Clark’s Landing had provided. We found out The Mill had been bought out by the same owners so we knew it would for sure be top-notch service.
They catered to an intimate experience that was unique to each couple and the venue provided a blend of both of our worlds. It was the all-windows, on-the-water vibe that I wanted—with a secluded ceremony area—but had a huge ballroom and dance floor that Michael wanted. We also loved the outdoor space both upstairs and downstairs for our guests to enjoy during the evening. Not to mention the resident swans that live on the lake and come back year after year—there’s something special about that. We did not even hesitate and booked the venue before the construction was even done, just off of the feeling we got by being there. It was one of the best decisions we made throughout the planning process and Liz, Ryan, and the team were absolutely amazing from start to finish.
We had food, food and more food! The cocktail hour had every option that you could imagine with several different stations, served apps, and even a pizza station and ice luge. Our menu included lobster ravioli to start with their signature chicken, beef, and fish options..along with a vegetable lasagna. Dessert trays were placed on each table in addition to our cake. We had an ice cream bar filled with tons of toppings! Each guest had the option of taking home a pork roll egg & cheese sandwich, candy, or zeppoli at the end of the evening…in true Jersey-style.
This was actually my second gown. The first one was super simple and classic but I felt like I was missing out on that “special” dress that you wouldn’t wear for any other occasion. I went back to the bridal shop to try on my dress after I had gotten my hair trial done and the floor model of the dress had been sold. It just so happened that this other dress was on the end of the rack and was calling my name. I begged to try it on and never looked back. It still gave me the form-fitting feel that I was looking for, but the see-through back and detailed straps added the character that the first one was missing.
My favorite moment of the day was our first look. I am not a nervous person but I was shaking and anxious to see my groom. He was waiting on the end of the dock turned around and I began crying before I even took a step toward him. Once he saw me, he pulled me close and we just held one another. It was a quiet moment amongst the chaos of the day and one that only he and I shared. I am a more of a private person so this moment was by far the most special part of the day to me. It wasn’t about the show, it was about the raw emotions of love—the same ones that brought us together and got us to that day.
One detail you couldn’t live without? I had a custom patch sewn on the inside of Mike’s jacket, that he didn’t see until the morning of the wedding. Both my father and his father also had secret patches inside their jackets, with personalized messages for each. I wanted something special close to their hearts, from my heart, on that day.
Did anything go wrong? The limo shuttle left the venue at the end of the evening with all of our guests and forgot the two of us! We ended up taking an Uber, yes an Uber, back to the hotel with both of his parents. A tiny car pulled up to pick us up and we just laughed hysterically. My dress was up to my face in the front seat of this Uber for a solid 20 minutes up the GSP. We had paid all of this money for a fancy limo service and ended up with a stranger in an Uber. Although not ideal, it was one of the funniest moments of the day.
First dance song? “Nothing Else Matters” by Metallica. Michael’s favorite band of all time is Metallica and he had dreams of using “Nothing Else Matters” as his wedding song for years. He played the song on his guitar for me throughout our entire relationship and it became sentimental to us. I agreed to use a “metal” song as our first dance ,and in turn, he sang the song to me throughout that entire first dance.
Any advice for future brides? Everyone always asked me what my “vision” was growing up and I realized that I never had one. I had a vision of what my marriage would be like, not my wedding. You don’t need a set vision – just think about how you want to feel on that day and it will all fall into place.Go with the flow, truly take the time to take in each and every moment throughout the day. Don’t worry about pleasing every person around you—your happiness will radiate throughout the room.
Have FUN. It’s a very important day but it’s also one that you should enjoy. If you are going to be set on having any specific details make sure it’s ones that bring out your personalities and your relationship.
Honeymoon: St. Lucia. We spent half of the trip in an open-air villa on the edge of the Pitons and the other half at an all-inclusive resort on the beach.