Maria and Jason were married at their own home in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. on June 14. “Our engagement party was actually a surprise wedding to all of our guests,” Jason said. “For the first hour and a half of the event, we were dressed casual. We made an announcement over the microphone thanking everyone for coming to share in our special day. We then dropped the bomb that no one was supposed to leave because the party was really our ‘surprise wedding!’ We said were going upstairs to change, and we were to be married in 30 minutes. And that is exactly what happened. People’s faces were in complete shock, and one person even yelled out, ‘Are they for real?’ Once reality settled in, everyone started clapping and congratulating us.” The bride wore a strapless lace wedding gown, accessorized with a her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls with a jeweled headband, while the groom wore a khaki vest and pants, accessorized with a pale blue tie and pair of Vans slip-ons. Her bouquet featured cymbidium orchids. The very important extra was Piglet, the flower pup. Following the outdoor ceremony, dinner and dancing began underneath a tent. To beat the heat, refreshing drinks in beverage dispensers, such as pink lemonande, were served. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Not everything is going to come out perfect,” he said. “Just roll with the punches and enjoy your day.” Almost everything was handmade! Tables included burlap runners, mason jar centerpieces, lanterns, and lots of candles. “They were full throttle on making something beautiful from scratch,” Stephanie Rawcliffe, the photographer, said. “What an amazing job she did!”
Natalie and Ian were married at Carondelet House in Los Angeles, Calif. on March 23. “We went to countless venues and loved them all, but when I walked into Carondelet House, I had the same feeling I had when I found my dress,” Natalie said. “This place is so beautifully decorated down to the last detail. It had so much character and charm from the chandeliers to the vintage art. It didn’t need additional decor to fill the space. It spoke for itself.” The bride wore a tulle fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down, while the groom wore a gray suit, accessorized with a mint tie. Floral arrangements featured roses, plenty of succulents, and hydrangeas. After the newlyweds were pronounced husband and wife, guests were asked to toss confetti and shout hooray! Our favorite portraits, you may ask? The ones above with their pup Baxter. Mixologists created signature whiskey ginger drinks especially for their cocktail style menu, and almost every detail was handmade from the signs, glitter dipped mason jars, and feather trimmed stirrers.
1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
Quality of food and service were very important to us. Steve and I really wanted our guests to enjoy themselves and have a good meal and celebrate our day with us. When we met with La Bella Vista, we were impressed with their desire to accommodate our needs and wants in a party.
2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorites?
We really wanted our wedding to represent us as a couple. We love nothing more than hanging out at our home entertaining our friends and family, so we wanted to incorporate that into our wedding. Our first favorite detail includes our high-fiving cake toppers with our dog Bella (she was hand made by our cake baker out of icing!). High fiving simply began as a playful joke and soon after become a staple in our relationship as a sign of any accomplishment. Our second favorite detail was our wedding flowers. Agnew Florist beautifully interpreted our desire for color, especially in my bouquet. We wanted our vibrant wedding colors to pop in our photos, and our photographer Candace was able to capture our day beautifully! Our last favorite detail was our modern wedding invitations. Stacie from By Invitation Only helped us choose our all-in-one invitations from PaperSnaps and designed them to incorporate photos from our engagement session. They were the first impression for our guests, and we were thrilled with how they came out.
3. Give us the one moment in your wedding day you can’t stop thinking about.
The one moment Steve and I vividly remember is when we sat at our sweetheart table after dinner was served and our cake was cut. We sat together holding hands as our guests cut loose out on the dance floor. It was amazing to watch all of our friends and family really enjoy the party we had spent the last 18 months planning. We both agree that our day was flawless from start to finish. We both wouldn’t change a thing about our wedding day, and we couldn’t be happier with each and every vendor we worked with!
1. What was the one thing about your venue that made you know it was the one?
We wanted a unique space for both our ceremony and reception. The Depot Minneapolis is actually part of the original Milwaukee Railroad Depot that was built in 1899. It was historic and classy and fit our formal wedding perfectly.
The space is so beautiful that it really didn’t require much transformation. We were able to have our guests escorted out of the ceremony space after the ceremony with butler-passed champagne, and 15 minutes later, cocktail hour began in the flipped space. An hour later, our guests walked through the three sets of double doors that led to the Great Hall where we had our reception. The fact that the reception space opened up to our ceremony space sealed the deal for us, as we knew it would be a seamless transition for all of our guests (especially convenient for all of our out-of-town guests, staying at the adjoining hotels).
Oh, and The Depot staff allowed our boxer (and my maid of honor), Mali, to be a part of our ceremony. We weren’t saying “I do” without our fur baby there!
2. Which three details from your wedding were your favorite?
1. Food-It’s a passion we share, so we wanted to incorporate that theme throughout our day.
2. Wine ceremony-We placed notes to each other in a box, alongside a bottle of wine to be opened on our first anniversary.
3. Father-daughter dance to “Hang on Sloopy,” a true, Buckeye tradition, that is sung at all Ohio State sporting events. My parents are alumni.
3. Give us the one moment from your wedding you can’t stop thinking about.
Because of the way we timed the reception, our entire band had not yet arrived in time for our first dance, so we couldn’t dance to the live version of “You Are The Best Thing,” by Ray LaMontagne. I was fine with that, as we wanted to get everyone on the dance floor as soon as dinner and the speeches were over. Much to our surprise, toward the end of the night, our band asked all of our guests to make a giant circle around us. They began playing our first dance song. We were overwhelmed by being surrounded by all of the people that brought us to that day. We felt so incredibly loved at that moment (even though be broke into the sprinkler during the song to make everyone laugh). It was such a special moment, and we have no pictures of it, so the memory is all we’ve got!
Adding a little canine influence to your wedding day is getting more and more popular, and while I’ve discussed alternatives to attending the nuptials for your pooch, I didn’t take the time to go over assessing your dog’s ring bearer potential in the first place. So, how can you be sure that your dog has what it takes to spend close to an hour sitting patiently (and adorably) by your side without ripping his bow tie to shreds or wetting the aisle oh-so-inappropriately? And what can you do (if anything) to get your dog wedding ready? Read on:
1. Get him comfortable with wedding wear
Even if you are blessed with the most well-behaved dog on the planet, don’t just assume that he’ll be too hot about the collared shirt and pillow you’re going to try and strap on him hours before he’s supposed to trot down the aisle. Some dogs are very particular and sensitive about what gets strapped to them, especially if it’s supposed to fit around their feet or ears. Practice a few times before the big show to be sure that your dog won’t freak out or try to rip anything off on the day-of. I suggest getting a cheap t-shirt or neckerchief substitute (before trying the expensive ones) and letting Fido lounge around the house in it for a few days. If he still isn’t having it, scrap the idea and let him run naked on your wedding day. He’s a dog – no one will mind.
2. Attend a doggie day camp
Naturally obedient dogs make complacent pet parents. Even if your pup is well-behaved at home and doesn’t lunge at passing cars with frequency, you should invest in a quick trip to a doggie day camp for a little re-training. Familiarize the both of you with simple commands and strengthen the bond you share before trotting his behavior in front of friends and family. You might even learn something new! Seasoned dog parents shouldn’t ignore this request either – everyone can benefit from a fresh perspective on doggie behavior.
3. Designate a dog sitter
You might be a little busy on your big day. While I would never recommend designating the task of dog baby sitter to anyone against their will, it might be pertinent to make sure you aren’t the only one watching your puppy during the nuptials. Ask one of your parents, or your generous and kind maid of honor, to keep one hand on the leash at all times (and be sure to schedule a few pre-nuptial potty breaks).
4. Be content with a stay-at-home ending
Not every dog is cut out to be a ring bearer. My dog is one of these animals. If all else fails, don’t blame yourself – just be content with a few cute getting-ready photos with your puppy and enjoy a stress-free day sans-doggie.