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Entries in real weddings (5)


The Most Beautiful Wedding: Indian Bollywood Meets American Fairytale


On a beautiful September day last fall, in front of nearly 300 guests, Priyanka and Keith met at the end of a lush aisle on the greens of St Clemens Castle in Portland, Connecticut to join in marriage. We sat down with Priyanka to get a more in depth look into her big day.

JTW: What was your inspiration in terms of style & decor of the ceremony and reception area?

Priyanka: I was going for a hybrid between an Indian Bollywood-style wedding and an Old-fashioned American Fairytale wedding. I wanted the bright colors, the glittering dresses, the henna, the music, & the bhangra dancing of Bollywood as well as the beautiful, serene woods & river setting, the quaint castle, the old-style dark wood and large antique chandeliers reminiscent of an old-world fairytale.

Any pre-wedding jitters or concerns?

My husband and I designed our own unique ceremony and wrote our own personal vows so I was a little concerned as to whether the ceremony would go smoothly and a little nervous to share such intimate sentiments with such a large group of friends and family. Additionally, as our ceremony took place outside, I was hoping and praying for good weather!

Tell us about your dresses and your bridesmaid dresses.
I wore 3 dresses over the course of the wedding day. For the ceremony, I wore an elegant floor length champagne-colored sari designed and created in India. For the reception, I changed into a more glamorous gold & red lengha adorned in beautiful pearls and also designed and created in India. For the latter half of the reception, I changed into a shorter, more contemporary American dress from a boutique in New York City so that I could easily move around, dance and mingle. My mother and aunt went to India to design all the bridesmaids dresses in bright, colorful patterns and brought them back to the US along with my own just in time for the wedding. (Truth be told, I didn't see my dresses until the day before the wedding!)
Favorite ceremony moment? 
My favorite part of the ceremony was when my amazing husband shared his own beautiful and touching vows, confirming once and for all that we have always been meant to find & love one another.
Favorite part of the ceremony? 
My favorite part of the reception was the incredible toasts made in our honor and celebration. Our family members are truly extraordinary speakers and my love & appreciation for them grew tenfold in those moments. My second favorite part was the crazy dance party that ensued for the rest of the evening!
Anything you would've done differently?
The only thing I wish I could have done differently is known from the very beginning that the day would be absolutely magical no matter what happened as this would have saved my family and I a lot of worry and stress in the days and months leading up to the wedding.
What advice would you offer to brides currently planning their wedding? 
Even during the excitement and craziness of wedding reception, I would advise future brides to steal a moment or two alone with your husband so that you can acknowledge the true meaning of the day, enjoy looking out at the happy faces of everyone you love in the world in one room for one night and really take in the fact that this is one of the most special and unforgettable days of your life! One other thing – don’t sweat the small stuff because as long as you marry the person you’re meant to marry and celebrate with the people you love, the wedding day is a success!

Gorgeous wedding, right? There are many more pictures here.

Real Wedding: Dan & Tammy


Ok, break out the tissues- this love story and these gorgeous photos bring happy tears to our eyes! Ready? Tammy and Dan met in kindegarten class when they were both five. Twenty-six years later, they were wed in Portland, Connecticut, surrounded by 250 friends and family. Take a peek at these beautiful photos- We're drooling over the elegant purple place settings, the stunning dress and the intricate details of the cake. The photo above, a plane carrying a sweet message, was Dan's wedding gift to Tammy. Seriously?! Love!

Date of your wedding: August 20, 2011

Location of your wedding: Saint Clements Castle, Portland, Connecticut

With regards to ambiance and decor, what style were you going for?: Elegant and fun

What was your favorite wedding detail and why?: I had several favorite details. I made our table numbers using words and on each one we put a saying related to the people sitting at the table which the guests loved. I also loved the place settings and the details our florist put into making the room spectacular.

Any funny wedding mishaps?: Honestly, I'm embarrassed to answer this, but I forgot the marriage license at the hotel and 15 minutes before the ceremony when the JP showed up, she kindly reminded me. After a bridezilla moment and bribing her, she continued with the service and we had to drive all around the state the next day to deliver it to her house. It wasn't funny at the time, but I think it's pretty funny now. Otherwise, the day was perfect!

What was your favorite wedding moment?: By far and away doing the first look! We were able to spend some time together before the ceremony, get all the photos out of the way, and enjoy the cocktail hour with everyone!

What one piece of advice would you offer to brides-to-be now that you've been through the planning process?: Definitely do not procrastinate on completing the guest list and seating chart, that takes way more time than you would think! Be sure to stop a few times thoughout the wedding and reception and take everything in for a moment. Appreciate all of your hard work and watch people enjoy themselves- after all, you created the most perfect day!


Real Wedding: Leanne & Bryan

Oh, we have wedding fever all over again just looking at these pictures! We are loving every detail from Leanne and Bryan's big day. From the gorgeous bouquet to the vibrant blue bridesmaid dresses to the genius "Mailman" theme that celebrates the bride's new last name- this wedding has us wishing we could get married all over again! Read on to find out more about the big day, including what wedding day surprises Leanne's sister had in store for her, and what advice she would offer to all of you brides-to-be. 

Date of your wedding: 7/16/2011

Location of your wedding: Glastonbury, CT


With regards to ambiance and decor, what style or theme were you going for?  My favorite color is blue and since the bridesmaids dresses we picked were very vibrant, I decided not to bring any other color in and rather just go with blue and ivory for the color scheme with the men in black tuxes.  As for a theme, we tried to incorporate some subtle "Mailman" type touches since that is now my new last name.  This included letter openers as favors along with envelope placecards covered in stamps personalized to each couple.  Our cake was pure white with blue stamp garland, which we found on Etsy.  

What was your favorite wedding detail and why?  My favorite wedding detail that I worked on is the placecards.  It was fun to see and hear how much people liked them and how they appreciated the stamps personalized toward their interest (for example, for dog lovers, we put on some dog stamps, etc.) 


Did you have any funny wedding mishaps? As our limo pulled up from the church to the reception venue, Bryan and I noticed a funny surprise there waiting for us, along with a lot of our guests.  My sister and her husband had bought and fully restored an old mailtruck as a joke/wedding gift.  The entire vehicle is personalized from the "Leanne & Bryan" license plate to the chalk paint inside, which actually turned out to be like a guest book because many of our guests climbed inside and signed it.  The vehicle registration number was our wedding date and happy wedding streamers of "Just Married!" filled the inside and outside. The horn played the wedding march.  It was outrageous!  My sister's adopted son was also dressed up like a mailman waiting for us.  It was hysterical and so much fun.  Now, we just have to find a place to keep it!  

What was your favorite wedding moment?  My favorite wedding moment was when our Deacon read his homily.  We had been meeting with him over the course of about a year so we got to know each other very well.  Even though he knew us well, he decided to interview our bridal party on the night of our rehearsal dinner to see what they thought about us, etc.  He incorporated all of this into his homily, which was really beautiful.  It really made us realize how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends and family, as well as each other.  

 What one piece of advice would you offer to brides-to-be now that you've been through the planning process?  Everyone tells you to enjoy your wedding because it flies by and to take some time for just the 2 of you to enjoy.  Brides don't need to hear that anymore; they hear it enough.  The advice I'd offer in the planning process is to trust your vendors.  They are the experts and if you try to micromanage everything, you will make yourself crazy.  Tell them what you'd like and then let them handle it.  They also appreciate this!  Every small detail will come into place; it has to!  Now to contradict that just a bit ... the 1 thing I do wish I asked my photographer to do would be to take a photo of every table at the recpetion.  I don't think photographers do that unless you ask, which we didn't know going into it.  It's just a nice way to remember everyone who came out to support and celebrate with you!


Real Destination Weddings: Avery & Alex in Slovenia

Guess what?? We are launching a real destination wedding gallery section on our site that will inspire our readers and we couldn't think of a better way to start than with a glimpse into Avery and Alex's stunning May wedding in Slovenia! This wedding set is super romantic, complete with lush greenery, breathtaking views and a one thousand year old castle venue that makes our heart skip a beat. The castle even comes complete with a sweet tradition: in order to ensure a long and happy marriage, a groom must carry his bride up all 99 stairs of the castle. Now that's love! Check out the complete set of wedding photos here, and read on as the bride answers our burning questions about her big day:

Location of your wedding: Bled, Slovenia

With regards to ambiance and decor, what style or theme were you going for?

 Simple, classic, elegant. We used white, yellow and grey. We wanted the beauty of the place to be the focus, so we used decor as accents rather than big, focal pieces. And lots of candles!


What was one of your favorite wedding details and why?

In a fun, frivolous way: I (desperately!) loved my shoes! They matched my sapphire engagement ring and both our wedding bands have sapphires as well. They were my only real splurge (and my something blue!) for the day and they made me feel a little glam :) I wear them around the house on a regular basis...

 In a more serious way: I wore a vintage lace veil that my mother-in-law wore when she married my late father-in-law (whom I've never met), and that my sister-in-law wore at her wedding. My engagement ring was made from my grandmother's sapphire and my mother's diamonds and I was obviously wearing that too. I felt like I was wearing family history from my side and my husband's side and I found that really moving.

Did you have any funny wedding mishaps?

Ha! So we had our wedding at a thousand year old castle, there was bound to be some hiccups. My sister-in-law (who was the "best man") ended up getting locked in the bathroom for about a half hour....there were only thirty-five people at the wedding, so luckily it didn't take us long to figure out she was missing! After repeated attempts to unlock the door using a key (fail), an employee of the hotel had to break the window to get her out, to much cheering and a well-deserved cocktail! Perhaps this is why women always go to the bathroom in pairs?

What was your favorite wedding moment?

This is a mean question, there are too many to choose from! But I loved our ceremony--we wrote it to be a balance of humor and a very serious acknowledgement of what we were doing, so it was both fun and serious. We really wanted our guests to feel involved in the wedding, so at the end of the ceremony, instead of our officient pronouncing us married, we had all of our guests pronounce us husband and wife. There was so much love, support and enthusiasm in their collective words, it felt like the perfect way to end the ceremony, have a kiss, and start the party!


What is one piece of advice you would offer brides now that you've been through the process?

You can't control everything! It might rain, someone will definitely say something totally inappropriate, someone will bump into you and you will spill your drink (stay away from red wine!), someone will probably fall down, at least one of your guests will get too drunk, your table settings might not look exactly like you thought they would, your groom might try to put your ring on the wrong hand, someone might get locked in the bathroom, your sound system might break down... Those are the things that end up being funny, they become part of what makes the day unique and memorable. In the end, it doesn't matter. The important things will still happen (read: the man or woman you love will be standing there and you will be marrying each other.) As ridiculously cheesy as it sounds, the rest of it is just icing on the cake, so take a deep breath and try to remember what's really important- it's supposed to be a celebration of you and your partner!


Real Weddings: Lauren & Kevin

Recent San Francisco bride Lauren sat down with us to chat about her September wedding and give our readers a glimpse into her day. With stunning photos by Dubnoff Photography, Lauren shared her most favorite moments of the celebration, and told us a horror story about how her fiance almost walked down the aisle in a bright orange tux! Read on for more!

Date of your wedding: September 5, 2010

Location of your wedding: Both the cremony and reception were at the St. Francis Yacht Club On Marina Boulevard in San Francisco, California.

With regards to ambiance and decor, what style or theme were you going for?:

Since our wedding was in the fall and in the evening, we wanted a rich color scheme yet we wanted to set a romantic and timeless feel for decor. Being that our location was in San Francisco on the water with beautiful and picturesque views of the bay and the Golden Gate bridge, I wanted to make sure not to distract from and compete with the setting and location but rather compliment it with romantic decor such as floating votives and rich colorful flower petals to set a theme of romance meets old SF. I kept it simple and set a feel of old San Francisco by keeping the lighting dim, candles lit, and we played classic melodies such as Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennet. With my venue, I felt like less decor was more.

What was your favorite wedding detail and why?:

One of my favorites were the seating cards, table cards and invitations. I handmade every single one with the help of bridesmaids and some friends.  The stationary I selected was in our color scheme of our wedding: brown, rust and gold. I hand cut each one, printed them out, stenciled images and embossed them with gold powder. Overall, each piece took quite a bit of time but those are the little things that really saved me money while adding a personalized touch. Added bonus? I felt a great sense of accomplishment doing them all myself!

I also really enjoyed the flowers at my wedding. The bouquets were gorgeous and I loved my bouquet especially. I wanted the bridesmaid bouquets to be rich and colorful to go with their dresses and the fall colors. I wanted all white for my bouquet so as not to distract from my dress. I was on a budget so my florist and I worked together to create a look that was romantic and pocketbook-friendly. We dressed up the ceremony with simple, vivid hydrangea hanging flower bouquets on the chairs to compliemt the rich wooden chairs and terracotta tiles. And instead of large table centerpieces which can be costly, we used several floating votives of various heights and flower petals to decorate the tables. This worked perfectly for the romantic theme of dimmed lights with the gorgeous lit city and landscape in the background.

Did you have any funny wedding mishaps?:

I will never forget this funny mishap as long as I live. The bridesmaids dresses were a rust/red color and the groomsmen were supposed to wear black tuxedos with rust/red vests to match the bridesmaids. Since the tuxedos were rentals, my fiance and I went months before the wedding to select the colors. Pickup date for the tuxedos was two days prior to the wedding and I JUST HAPPENED to accompany my fiance to pick his up. So, the cashier handed him his tux which was hanging inside a cloth-covered zippered hanger. I asked my husband to try it on before we leave just to make sure it fit. He protested, but after begging him, he went into the dressing room and put it on. Anxiously waiting to see him, I asked him to come out and show me...but he wouldn't come out. I said "Where's the tux, I want to see it on you", he replies "no you don't". After a few minutes of coaxing him out of the dressing room, he comes out in a BRIGHT orange tuxedo. I almost fainted!  I say "What is that!!??" my husband who is laughing and I'm near tears says "It's my tux". He looked like a giant pumpkin. With steam coming out of my ears I ask the sales team what happened. Come to find out, the orange tuxedos are one digit off of the rust vests for ordering and so there was a typo made somwhere and upon further research, all of the tuxedos which were already picked up by groomsmen were orange. I could just picture my wedding photos with bright orange tuxedos!

What was your favorite wedding moment?:

We put together a slideshow with for dinner that displayed a timeline of our lives and growing up and milestones in our lives our relationship together. The slideshow had music that played with it and our guests actually started singing along and clapping rhythm with music, so much so they actually sang louder than music itself. People actualyy got out of their chairs, were dancing and clapping along to the slidewhow. When it was over, they clapped for what seemed like minutes. It was such a neat feeling to feel like everyone was clapping for us and wishing us well while still having a great time. I remember thinking I want to always remember this moment of seeing our loved ones smiling, proud of us and having such a great time.

What advice would you offer now that you've been through the planning process & experienced the wedding?:

I'm sure everyone says this but the greatest piece of advice I can offer is to enjoy the day and let go of the details. Your wedding day is only one day and try to spend it enjoying yourself rather than worrying. I was lucky enough that my family and bridesmaids helped me to relax and have fun becasue there were moments where I was so uptight I wasn't taking in the experience and enjoying myself. But for some reason I just let go and once I saw my husband I just smiled. I am so glad for that because I truly can say that I have no idea if anything went wrong at my wedding because I was too infatuated with the day and the exeperience. It was the best day of my life.