From Bridget & Dylan….
Bridget: I guess you could call my inspiration for the wedding Hampton-chic. I wanted it to be super classy and sophisticated but not stuffy or overly formal – just a simple, classic beauty. For the colors, I chose soft pinks and whites in order to keep that feel. We had peonies and white roses with chevron on the table numbers. The chevron actually tied everything together because we also used it on our save-the-dates and invitations.
Dylan and I did pretty much everything ourselves. It was pretty hectic! We’re both teachers and were in the middle of wrapping up the school year at the same time as we were trying to get everything done for the wedding.
Dylan: There were a lot of late nights. It would be 2am and we would just look at each other, sort of shrug and keep pushing through.
Bridget: Even though it was stressful doing everything ourselves, we did get lucky with the invitations. Dylan’s sister has a print studio here and she did all our invitations as a wedding gift.
The whole week before our wedding it poured and when I woke up that morning it was still raining. I was sure it wouldn’t stop but by the time I was getting ready it cleared up and turned into an absolutely beautiful day. I got ready at the Del Monte and it was super low key. I only had three bridesmaids and we just took our time and relaxed.
Dylan: My morning was spent at Lake Ontario with my three boys and one of their friends. The five of us had stayed overnight and then got ready there before heading to the church. It was really nice to have that time together – just the boys.
Bridget: We got married at Christ Episcopal Church in Pittsford. The whole day feels like such a blur! It went by so fast but it was perfect.
Dylan: Bridget and I decided not to do a first look – we really wanted the first time we saw each other to be when Bridget walked down the aisle – and the mystery behind the design of the dress had become a sort of running joke.
Bridget: I bought my dress in New York and even though Dylan traveled there with me he wasn’t allowed to actually see it. My mother came with us on one of the trips and when we met Dylan afterwards she told him, ‘Oh it’s so pretty. It has huge tulle sleeves and lots of glitter!’ That’s when it began.
Dylan: I knew it was going to be beautiful but when she came into the church, it took my breath away.
Bridget: Dylan and I hand-picked all of our readings. We chose a traditional Irish blessing and a passage from 1 Corinthians. We also included Dylan’s three boys in the ceremony, which was incredibly special. We decided to do traditional vows but we also wanted to say something personal to each other and the boys, so we each wrote a letter to each other and the boys and then read them during the ceremony.
From the moment we got engaged, we really tried to incorporate the boys into the whole process. They even came to our cake tasting with us! We wanted them to feel like they really helped bring the day to life. It was wonderful to see them become such a big part of the day.
Dylan: There is a great image of Bridget and the boys while she is giving her speech to them. Seeing that moment captured in time is just truly amazing.
Bridget: During the recessional we chose the song ‘Home’ by Phillip Phillips, which we love. A girl from the church played it on the piano and it was really pretty and happy – everyone was clapping. It was also the song we were introduced to at our reception, so it was a special way to tie it all together.
Dylan has a huge family, so most of the guests at the wedding were family and only a small group were friends. It was incredibly special to celebrate with all the people who we are so close to. The man who married us is actually Dylan’s cousin’s husband. He said a prayer during the toasts and two of Dylan’s cousins did a comical skit about love – they do it at all the family weddings – and it was very funny and sweet.
Dylan did his mother/son dance at the same time I did my father/daughter dance. Then, we had our first dance afterwards to ‘All this Time’ by One Republic. We spent so much time in our kitchen practicing and every time we’d get so emotional. All we kept saying was, ‘How are we going to do this at the wedding without losing it?!’ But we ended up being totally fine, which was a relief.
Dylan: My family loves celebrations – especially dancing and singing – so after a few hours, as people began to clear out, my family pretty much took over and it became a gigantic dancing, sing-along party. We were so loud! But at the end of the night, when we were all singing and dancing together, that was my favorite part. I loved that part.
Bridget: For both of us, having the kids incorporated was a hugely special part of the day. Doing our portraits during cocktail hour was also really nice – it gave us time to just be on our own and away from everything for a little bit. And I loved the speech that my maid of honor gave. It completely blew me away.
There isn’t anything about the day itself that I would change but getting everything done and perfect beforehand was incredibly stressful. In hindsight I would definitely have given away some of the responsibility to friends and family.
As far as advice goes, the biggest thing I would say is delegate, delegate, delegate! Take full advantage of all of the resources you have and don’t be afraid to ask for help. And, don’t stress out over all the little details. At the end of the day, no one’s going to remember their place card or the centerpieces or the linens. Even if something goes wrong, no one knows it was supposed to be different. They won’t even notice. The only other thing is to spend your money thoughtfully – make sure to think about the things that are most important to you and build you budget around those items. We spent our money on the photographer, the band, and an open bar. If nothing else, that’s what made the party. And the amazing images we have from our day will be with us forever, even if the memories fade.
As always, here are the wonderful vendors who helped make this beautiful day come together!
Photography: Tammy Swales Studio. Ceremony: Christ Episcopal Church. Reception: Oak Hill Country Club. Save-the-Dates/Invitations: French Press. Catering/Cake: Oak Hill Country Club. Additional Desserts: Village Bakery and Cafe. Flowers: The Topiary. Band: Orient Express. Wedding Dress/Veil: Vera Wang New York. Bridal Shoes: Badgley Mischka. Earrings: Kendra Scott. Groom/Groomsmen: Tommy Hilfiger. Groom’s Sons: J. Crew Crewcuts. Bridesmaid Dresses: Dessy After Six. Linens: Simply Beautiful Events. Hair/Makeup: Scott Miller.
Destination wedding….That’s something of a loaded term. Too often, we think of a gigantic production – massive resort settings, hundreds of guests, and everything staged to perfection. But after spending ten days in Maui with a family of seven (three couples and one young daughter) for one, WOW did I have to rethink what it means to have a destination wedding! Tu & Vuong got married but that wasn’t all that this incredible adventure was about. Taho & Guy renewed their vows and Thep & Bao had their engagement session. These ten days weren’t about a singular celebration of one couple or one experience – it was about the love in this family and the new, if varied, bonds they were creating and my time there was definitely one of the most AMAZING experiences of my life.
We began with a trip on the Road to Hana – (which took a total of TWELVE hours!!) – but was an absolutely beautiful (if death defying LOL) experience. The modern road follows the same path that sugar plantation workers took from Pa’ai to Hana centuries ago and it twists and turns like nobody’s business. But – despite the switchbacks, single car stretches, cliff edges (with no guard rail!) and car-sick passengers – it was an incredible adventure. We drove past (and stopped and saw) some gorgeous waterfalls, ocean views, and an endless stretch of tropical rainforest.
Tu & Vuong were married (and Taho & Guy renewed their vows in a separate ceremony) on the beach with the sun glistening off the ocean and the sound of waves lapping against the shore. Both ceremonies were traditional Hawaiian wedding ceremonies. To signal the start of the wedding, a conch shell (and I mean, a HUGE conch shell) was blown towards all four points of the compass to call the diving presence to the ceremony. The couples wore stunning leis – the men’s made from woven maile leaves and the women’s from multiple strands of white ginger blossoms – connecting the couple as husband and wife and each couple’s hands were bound together with multiple strands of small, colorful shells signifying the same. It was a truly special moment as the they said, ‘I do,’ surrounded only by their closest loved ones and the spectacular landscape.
The next morning we drove to the top of Mount Haleakala where we watched the most MAGNIFICENT sunrise I’ve ever seen. It was a completely different world up above the clouds. Traditionally, the summit of Haleakala was a sacred site and in Hawaiian it means House of Sun. It actually looks like the sun is rising up from the depths of the mountain’s volcanic crater! As the sun rose a hush settled over the mountain and an unexplained reverence filled us. I can’t even begin to describe what it felt like looking out above the clouds – just light and color and endless sky – there truly aren’t words.
I shot Tu & Voung’s day after session and parts of Thep & Bao’s engagement as we traveled back down the mountain. I didn’t think much could impress me after witnessing that spectacular sunrise – nothing else could be THAT beautiful….I was SO wrong. It was dark when we made our assent and driving back down was like entering a new world. The sights and smells were overpowering as the land literally opened up below us.
The whole experience was like something out of a fantasy – you just couldn’t believe a landscape this beautiful and a culture this rich really exists – I felt like I’d won a lottery ticket! My time in Maui opened my eyes to some of the most awe-inspiring sights and moments of my life. You don’t need to have a large or extravagant destination wedding – Hell, you don’t even have to have a ‘wedding’ – you can make your day anything you want! The intimacy of this experience was amazing. It wasn’t overwhelming or outrageous. It was touching and special and personal and filled with rich culture. It was better than anything I could have imagined and WAY more than any expected destination wedding could be.
“Our secret to a happy and blissful relationship is a cocktail of the following: respect, patience, and humor. You know so much about your partner. Be gentle with that knowledge and always respect them. Have patience, you won’t always agree or get along, even though you know each really well, you’re not one person! And nothing is more important than making each other laugh – intentionally or otherwise!”
“1. Talk until you’re blue in the face! We all get frustrated and experience communication breakdowns but we always try to talk through it.
2. Make each other laugh. No matter what challenges we face, if we can laugh at the end of them it’s all good!
3. Spontaneous Sunday! Wake up Sunday morning with no plans (even better, if you do have plans and don’t do them) and just get in the car or start walking. It’s amazing the places you will end up.”
“Our secret to a blissful relationship is respect, humor, and humility. By listening, laughing, and letting go of the small stuff we have learned to accept one another and have become each other’s favorite person.”
“1. Sing instead of talking whenever possible. Seriously, try to stay mad and not laugh – it is impossible!
2. Day dream together! One of our favorite activities is to talk about the things we want to do, the places we want to visit, and the goals we want to accomplish together in the future. It brings us closer and always leaves us with something new to talk about.”
“Never go to bed angry and always kiss each other goodnight, even if you’re having a disagreement! Continue to love each other every day, even more then you did yesterday, and never stop dating – always make time at least once a week for date night!”
From Amy and Evan….
Evan asked me to marry him in July of 2012. Earlier that the summer, I had made an off-hand comment to my riding instructor and close friends, Carrie, that Evan is such bad liar there was no way he would be able to actually surprise me when he decided to propose. Little did I know, she took that information and made it her mission to be sure Evan managed to surprise me. She and Evan then proceeded to hatch a crazy, elaborate plan to ask me to marry him.
The plan was for Carrie to take me out on a trail ride and wind our way around to the spot where Evan would propose. They chose a lone tree way out in one of the fields (the farm is about 365 acres!) where Evan would wait for us. The morning of the proposal Evan went out to the farm super early to make sure he would be completely ready by the time we got there. I was supposed to meet Carrie for a morning ride but didn’t wake up until noon so poor Evan, who had taken the entire day off from work, ended up just sitting around for nearly four hours.
Carrie and I rode out on our normal route so I definitely wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary to happen. When we came around a bend and into the clearing, I saw someone sitting out under the tree with what looked like a suitcase. I have terrible eyesight and I had no idea it was Evan! I was convinced he was some sort of vagabond about to kidnap and murder both Carrie and me. Evan had to actually get up and come over to us before I realized it was him. I was so confused – I just kept repeating, over and over, ‘What are you doing here?!’
Evan brought me over to the tree where he had set up the most elaborate picnic I’ve ever seen. There was champagne and chocolate covered strawberries – it was beautiful. Then, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was definitely the easiest, ‘Yes,’ I’ve ever had to say. The ring was beyond amazing – he had had my grandmother’s stone reset – and even though I knew what it would look like, I was still stunned when I actually saw it for the first time. So, mission accomplished – Evan completely surprised me!
Carrie’s farm is gorgeous – just endless rolling fields – and we’ve shared so many memories there (some of the most important ones!) I always worried about how my love of horses would affect the relationships in my life – it’s such a huge commitment of time and money – but Evan is so supportive and invested in my riding. The sport has come to mean a lot to him as well – really, it’s a lifestyle – and Evan loves being a part of that world with me. Evan has always admired my passion for horses and he’s always in my corner. He is so incredibly patient and caring. I can’t begin to describe how phenomenal it is to have him in my life. We balance each other perfectly.
Being able to be photographed at my favorite place in the whole world was amazing. It was great practice for the wedding – we learned how to relax and just be ourselves in front of the camera – which was invaluable. We didn’t realize how well a photograph can show the love between two people. We look back at the pictures and see our relationship captured perfectly. The images show so many different sides of us – as individuals and as a couple. I love the series of photos where I am dressed all in white, barefoot and crazy-haired, with a tank that reads, ‘This one’s a keeper,’ and Evan is decked out like a GQ model. It’s the best reflection of our personalities and how perfectly we fit together.
I wouldn’t trade those images or the time we spent together having them taken for anything! We’re so thankful we did an engagement session. It gave us the best opportunity ever to just have some time together. It allowed us reconnect and have fun together, just being ourselves and enjoying each other, during the chaos of bringing our wedding together. That was one of the best things about the experience. The time we spent together and the memories we made – all at this incredibly special location – are definitely some of the best of our lives!
David and I were married on the Cornell University campus in Ithaca. Cornell holds such a special place in our hearts for so many reasons – I grew up there, we both went to school there, David played baseball there – but most importantly, it’s where we met. I think we knew we wanted to get married there before we were even engaged. Our main focus when we began planning was to share this special place and day with all our family and friends and to have an awesome time doing it! David and I both have small families that are spread out across the country so we knew this day would be one of the only times we could have everyone we love all in the same place. We just wanted everyone to come together and have fun, so in terms of a typical planning process ours was pretty laid back. We were definitely less worried about how things looked and more worried if there would be enough drinking and dancing!
We are incredibly blessed to be surrounded by talented and artistic friends and family, so there were a lot of things we did ourselves for the wedding. Throughout our engagement David and I would get together with our family and friends to work on projects which made them even more special. It got everyone together and excited for the wedding and we all had a hand in making it come together. Probably my favorite DIY was our desserts! I’ve never had a wedding cake I’ve liked and desserts are my thing, so I really wanted them to be amazing. My family is from the south and baking is in our blood, so my mom (with help of course) handmade all of our desserts from old family recipes (some generations old) and it was great getting to share that with everyone. I also loved my something old, new, borrowed, and blue. My mother’s pearl headband from her own wedding was wrapped around my bouquet, I borrowed a beautiful gold heart bracelet from my mother-in-law, and I wore an LA Dodgers garter as my something blue (David’s favorite baseball team!).
One of the best parts of the day was our first look – I’m SO happy we did that. After our ‘official’ first look and wedding party portraits, David and I snuck off with Ali to take pictures at some of our favorite places. That part of our day really stands out in my mind. We were able to just be together – taking everything in and revisiting these places that were the foundations of our history together. It was incredibly comforting to have that time together – all those intimate moments between the two of us before things got crazy!
Our ceremony was in the Cornell University chapel and it was absolutely beautiful. We gave our officiant pretty much free rein when it came to what he would say and that created another incredibly special moment. His speech was so meaningful and it was such a beautiful message. It was incredible that it not only touched us, but so many of our guests as well. We definitely wanted the one traditional part of our day to be our ceremony. Our faith is very important to us and marriage is not something that we entered into lightly, so we wanted to keep the tradition and sanctity of the ceremony very present.
We had our reception in the student union which has a large outdoor terrace that overlooks Ithaca and the rest of campus. It was nice because it kept everyone up and out there mingling and enjoying each other rather than stuck inside at a table. David and I made sure that we could be present for the whole thing, even the cocktail hour. It was so important to us to have a lot of time to spend with our family and friends rather than having to rush around trying to get to everyone. The time we got to spend with them was priceless!
I wouldn’t change a single thing about our day. I woke up that morning and thought to myself, ‘OK. Holy crap! This is my wedding day. This is only going to happen once!’ Every time things started to get a little wild I sort of took a deep breath and just grounded myself. I kept reminding myself that this really was a singular occurrence and I wanted to keep soaking it in. Just being able to stop and pay attention, really internalize every moment, was the best thing I did. I also loved how much time we were able to spend with our friends and family. We knew that having all these people together like this, in the same place at the same time, would probably never happen again, so we made the choice to spend as much time as we could with everyone, even outside of the reception. We went out Friday night after the rehearsal dinner and went to two after-parties on Saturday, so we definitely sacrificed a few hours of sleep here and there but it was totally worth the amazing memories we made.
The best advice David and I can give is to have fun! There is a saying, ‘A wedding is a party – not a performance,’ and that is so true. No matter what your style – whether you’re just having a casual picnic or having an ornate ballroom celebration – don’t lose sight of what the importance of this day really is. The whole point is to celebrate and share this momentous part of your life with everyone. Enjoy every second and don’t get caught up worrying over little details that no one will remember anyway. Our wedding was the most wonderful day of our lives and there is nothing that could have changed that! And of course we owe a great debt to everyone who helped make sure our day ran smoothly and made it even more wonderful for everyone!
I have to thank all of the vendors who helped put everything together!
Ceremony & Reception: Cornell University Photography: Tammy Swales Studio Cutting Cake: Wegmans Desserts: Bride’s family Flowers: Plenty of Posies Makeup&Hair: Miel Beauty Invitations: Bride’s brother/Standard Art Supply Music Cocktail Hour: Bobby Walpole and Dee Specker Music Reception: Bride’s brother Catering: Premier Catering/Cornell Catering Wedding Planner: Terra Rosa (Tara Reimer) Dress: New York Bride