All photos by Servidone Studios.
On July 14th, I woke up at about 6:30AM (after the best rehearsal dinner ever). At this point the butterflies in my stomach were a constant. I opened the shades in our suite at the Mountain Top Inn, just a little as to not wake Dan, to see the sun rising over the mountains through the clouds. I sat at the hightop table in our room and wrote.
I had had my vows written for months at this point. I hadn’t put too much thought into them at the time, I always assumed I would rewrite them but then never did. They felt right every time I would re-read them. But that morning, it suddenly occurred to me that I had to tweak them. The words just flowed that morning, it came easy. After my hand was cramping from writing my vows down in my notebook, I headed downstairs to breakfast.
Honestly, I can’t even remember breakfast. This is where the day already starts to blur in a bundle of nerves and excitement. I know my focus was trying to remember everything that I needed to bring to the house where we were getting ready, but my brain was gone at this point. I brought Dan up some breakfast and said bye, he sleepily kissed me and fell back asleep before I had left even left the room.
Up at my family’s rental house (“The Jewel”), I was the first to arrive of my bridesmaids. My brother stumbled up stairs to the kitchen looking for water, he’s always providing some comic relief when I need it! I started steaming the girl’s robes that I bought from Plum Pretty Sugar as the rest of the girls began to arrive. I laid out all the thank you cards I had for our vendors, packed my clutch with bandaids, extra bobby pins, my phone and a lipstick (spoiler alert: I didn’t need any of these things). Things were certainly feeling real now!
I loved how my details came together. I had such a random vision for it all and some amazing vendors came through for me! Hand-painted mountains by my friend, Lydia Marie Elizabeth, calligraphy by Dancing Ink Calligraphy, paper from Silk & Willow. Gauze fabric, wax seals, and ribbon all from Etsy shops.
Hair and makeup went SO quickly. Christy, Renee and Betsy from Christy & Co. were such a great team. We got our hair and makeup done on the big front porch of the house looking out over the mountains, watching as rain storms came and went every few minutes. The girls all talked and laughed and did a no rain dance at one point (lol) as we listened to the playlist my friend had made us.
Before I knew it, my hair and makeup was done! We were popping the champagne and taking pictures in our robes. As the rain was falling down, my coordinator (the amazing, Caitlin) came to check in on us and told me the ceremony was a go for outside! I was kind of in shock seeing as it was pouring rain outside but I didn’t question it!
My dad showing me the weather forecast and how he thinks it’s going to stop raining! haha : )
I made the last minute decision that I wanted to put my dress on with just my sister and my mom. Honestly, I think this was one of my better decisions I made that day. Putting on my dress was such a relaxing part of the day! I didn’t feel pressure, or that all eyes were on me. It was just us. It was fun. Dress by Monique Lhuillier via L’elite Boston. Earrings and bracelet borrowed from Turco Brothers Jewelers. Shoes by Jimmy Choo.
Meanwhile, the guys…
Leading up to the wedding day, Dan had been working really hard at the gym and wanted to dress to impress! Lol. His suit was custom from J.Hilburn, tie by Armani, shoes by Allen Edmonds, mountain cufflinks were from Etsy!
When I left the house to head to the first look with Andrea it was raining pretty hard so we decided to move our first look spot to just outside the house where Dan was getting ready (I had originally planned to do it on a dirt side road that had lots of shade coverage (important for a 3pm first look in the middle of the summer!). I knew the view there so I was excited, but I overlooked the part that this would mean our first look was not at all private haha. I always encourage couples to make their first look super private so it can be a really genuine, intimate moment. Looking back, I think we both (mainly Dan) felt some pressure here to have a certain reaction! But anyways… We thought the rain might pass, so I waited in the shuttle van for about 5 minutes starring at the back of Dan, holding an umbrella. These clear umbrellas are amazing (I have like 10 of them!) and I was totally fine with doing our first look in the rain with them.
Finally, the rain lightened up a bit and it was time for me to walk over to him! I don’t remember much.. I remember complimenting his butt lol and him sweating a lot (or was it rain drops?). But overall, I felt a lot less anxious and a lot more excited now that I was with Dan. It was really happening! Yay!
Dan is sticking his butt out at me.. he doesn’t normally stand like this. I swear lol
Then, we went back to the main house to take family formals and bridal party photos. Since the rain delayed us (and a missing shuttle..), this felt a little stressful trying to squeeze everything in. Family is so important to both of us so I didn’t want to skimp on the family photos! But it all worked out in the end! I think if there was a time where I wasn’t being a good job being a “bride” and instead found myself in “photographer” mode.. it was during bridal party & family formals! Oops!
My poor little nephew, Max, had a bit of a breakdown with all of the people and attention (I feel you, kid!) so sadly we didn’t get any pictures of him during this time (other than him hiding under a table here lol). However, to my pleasant surprise, he pulls it together later! So stay tuned for that!!
The Ceremony was by far my favorite part of the entire day! My sister had told me she loved her ceremony most, too, but I didn’t realize how much that would be true. For me personally, most of the day was a blur of excitement, nerves, stress, laughter, anxiety, and dancing.. but the ceremony was the one part of the day where time stood still and I remember every bit of it. Here’s how it went down:
Leading up to the ceremony was a bit chaotic, as I mentioned before, with the rush of finishing family photos and fixing my frizzy hair (sigh), and as a result, I forgot my veil. I’m a little bummed about this looking back, but I knew something was going to go wrong that day and if this was it, I’d consider it a success!
By ceremony time, the SUN WAS OUT and it was hot! What?! I had checked the weather forecast constantly on like three different apps the week leading up to Saturday and NO ONE predicted sun. Everyone said rain. Scattered showers. Thunderstorms. Never was sun an option! I couldn’t believe it. Everyone kept saying that someone “up there” must have been looking out for me and I knew exactly who that was : )
Florals by A Schoolhouse Garden, crates stained on our own, water dispensers from Pottery Barn. Our card box (which you can kind of see in the back) is from Etsy. Ceremony programs (not pictured) by Dancing Ink Calligraphy.
We decided to walk straight from the house down the aisle, which was a bit of a dramatically long walk but it was fun and different. I grouped my bridesmaids up (cousins, high school friends, etc.) so they didn’t have to walk alone and to help things move along. Before I knew it, it was my turn to walk down! I remember my Dad and I laughing about something, I remember trying not to trip on my dress or sink my heels into the grass. I remember saying hi to a few guests on the end of the aisle. But most of all, I remember Dan’s face.
We asked my youngest Uncle, Michael, to be the officiate for our wedding. When Michael got married when I was little (8 years old?), he had all 15+ of his nieces and nephews who were born at the time in his wedding. I still remember the dress I wore and walking down the aisle on his wedding day. It only made sense to come full circle and have him in my own wedding. Plus, he’s the best uncle ever!
I gave him free reign for his introduction and he did an AMAZING job. He told a story about when he knew Dan was a great match for me. Lots of laughs and sweet moments.
We had two readers, my friend and Dan’s aunt. My friend (above) read Your Personal Penguin and Dan’s aunt (below) read a John Muir quote about nature and love (Muir is my Nana’s maiden name).
Then it was time to exchange vows! Dan was so worried that mine were going to be longer than his and then he blew me out of the water with like 8 pages of vows (LOL) that he had written that morning. I knew that was going to happen. The vows were easily the best part and I’m so glad I didn’t let my fear that they would make me cry or that I’d be super nervous stop me from doing them! I wasn’t nervous or crying at all, I was just so so happy!
One of my favorite parts of the ceremony was when Jack decided to come up to me and give me one of his gummy bears. But then when I reached for it and said ‘thank you!’ he pulls it away and puts it in his mouth and laughs! Haha! What a fake out. I think Kelly & Eric have a class clown in training on their hands : )
Then we exchanged rings, did that first kiss thing and Michael pronounced us husband and wife! He made a joke how he’s still not sure how he’s qualified to do this, which made everyone laugh : )
After the ceremony, we walked down the hill with our bridal party to cocktail hour, with our guests following behind us. The cocktail hour was around the pool deck looking out over the mountains and lake. We opted to do a receiving line into our cocktail hour. I know how fast a reception goes and I didn’t want to have to feel obligated to go to each table (there were 20 of them!!) during dinner so a receiving line made the most sense. Boy was it overwhelming though!! Luckily, Kelly was bringing me wine haha. It was so great to see everyone though!
Once the receiving line was done and we were free to wander around, I found it a little overwhelming to decide who to talk to and where to go first. I’ve never known literally EVERYONE at a cocktail hour before! I said hi to a few of my cousins quickly before Dan grabbed my hand and pulled me away again. I was actually relieved!
We escaped into our reception room, which was AWESOME because I got to see how the barn looked before anyone else did!! All my hard work coming together!! Dan wanted to practice our first dance because he was worried about my poofy dress haha. We did a few steps and decided it would be fine! This little time with just Dan and I was honestly another favorite part of the day for me!
Back to cocktail hour, I said hi to a few more friends before one of the photographers pulled me out for pictures with my nephews (Max was happy again!). And that was pretty much all I got of cocktail hour haha. But I am SO glad I have these pictures of the boys!
Me and Max’s “thing” is a running tackle… hehe : )
But anyways, reception details…
The reception details were something I thought long and hard about last winter. Although the reception was technically in a “barn”, it was more of a modern barn and I really didn’t want the details to have a barn feel. I was going more for a classic, modern, high end vibe with a rustic twist. Kelsey of Back Bay Bride helped me pull all my ideas together and I’m so thankful for her vision board pointing me in the right direction! (Reception assembled by MTI Coordinator: Caitlin, and Florist: Nancy of A Schoolhouse Garden)
Dan sanded, stained & built this big board for me! Making all my escort card dreams come true! (Wood & grey stain from Home Depot, escort cards from Silk & Willow, calligraphy by Dancing Ink Calligraphy). Sign below by Quinn Luu.
Acrylic table numbers from Etsy, Donation signs printed by Dancing Ink Calligraphy and deckled edged by ME! (Soo easy, I need to write a how to post soon!) Wooden holders from Etsy and stained grey by me.
Bar items: Straws from Party City, crates from Michael’s and stained by Dan, C&D letters from Home Goods. Cocktail Napkins (not pictured but adorable), matches and coasters by the Fete Collection.
If you listen to the podcast, we’ve heard us joke a little about how I really wanted a love seat for the sweetheart table (so extra lol). I searched high and low for some place to rent one but then found a suuuper cheap one from Amazon! I’m looking to sell it to another bride, email me if you’re interested!!
Once all our guests were seated, it was time for introductions! My main goal when planning the reception was to get to the open dance floor portion of the evening as quickly as possible. (Note: sharing these “priorities” with your coordinator is super helpful!) Since we had such a big bridal party, we opted for just Dan and I to be introduced. We went right into our first dance, to a song by Brett Eldredge, Mean to Me. This was actually a tough decision for us because “our song” is Gotta Have You by the Weepies but Dan thought it was a little too slow. Before I met Dan, I’d always wanted Mean to Me to be my first dance song haha and Dan liked it so Mean to Me it was!
I don’t even think I heard the band singing, in the end. I was so focused on Dan. It was like the final minutes in a playoff hockey game, you don’t hear the crowd or the coach or anyone really- you’re so in the moment! We didn’t have a choreographed dance but we did take dance lessons and we had a few moves we wanted to do. We only messed up a few times, I’m not sure if anyone could tell.
Look at Max in the bottom right corner haha he’s so cute!
Then, we went right into salads and speeches. My Dad gave a short welcome toast to kick things off. My sister, Kelly, gave the most amazing MOH speech I could have asked for. She may have even shown me up on the one I gave at her wedding 8 years ago! Hehe 🙂 Then Dan’s brother, Kevin, gave his Best Man speech. He may have poked fun at Dan, but said great things about me! Lol. Dan and I said a quick thank you at one point. I forgot my piece of paper that had what we were going to say on it so we just winged it! I started by making fun of Dan saying I wasn’t going to give him the microphone because if he could he would thank every single person individually (no one has time for that! haha).
One of my favorite stories Kelly told was how when Dan picked me up for our first date (at my sister’s house, which he thought was my parent’s house), we introduced Eric (my BIL) as my Dad. Lol! Dan took it all in stride 🙂
Then dinner, was also SO delicious. I was so hungry at this point I chowed down on my salmon and mashed potatoes. Yum. The portions were huge, too. Towards the end of dinner, we cut the cake quickly (I had my own gluten free cupcake haha) and then went outside for some sunset portraits!
Lol this pic is Dan’s personality in a nutshell. Guess the cake was good. (I had my own little gluten free muffin! haha)
It’s crazy because I had definitely tossed out the idea of having any kind of sunset/sunset photos earlier in the week. But here we are! I got some photos with my veil since I had forgotten it at the ceremony.
And the last “formality” of the night was parent dances! It wasn’t planned, but the dance with my Dad and I turned into a dance with my whole immediately family! Haha. It was kind of awesome. I feel like we’re never a group of 5 anymore (because we’ve added so many awesome people to the group!) so it was cool for a “just us” moment. This makes me happy.
The dancing portion of the night truly flew by thanks to our band, Do I Do (Dan’s friend from childhood!)
Towards the end of the night, Dan and I put on our softball tees from the team where we first met on for a few songs. The team was called “sleeveless” so everyone ripped their sleeves off their shirts before the season began.
September 7, 2018