Wednesday, August 6, 2014

{wedding wednesday} volume 2: the big picture

why june 28th?  how did we choose a venue?  how did we pick our officiant?  what made us choose our d.j. or florist?  this post is all about planning...and how we ended up with all of our amazing vendors and how my inspiration board turned into a reality.


getting started

i'm that girl.  you know the one...she's got her wedding all figured out before she even meets mr. right?  yeah, that's sorta how i was.  not 100%, but sorta.  there were lots of ideas floating around my brain...i just had to fine-tune all those ideas to make them actually happen.

where did everything start?  crystal lake.

i grew up spending summers at our family cottage on crystal lake in enfield, new hampshire.  every day was a new adventure -- swimming, boating, building sand castles, picking flowers, skipping rocks, playing games...and through the years it kinda became my favorite place.  you know, that special place stored in the back of your mind where you hope to get married someday.

when mike and i got together, it was clear he was a "lake person" too.  he had grown up on a pond for several years and we visited his dad in maine and spent several days out on his boat soaking up all that summertime goodness.

we'd spend time on crystal lake too...mostly with my parents on their party barge out for evening cruises or to throw a line in or hit up the sand bar.  but dad always drove because mike and i didn't have our boaters' license, despite me knowing how to drive a boat the majority of my life.  after four years together, my dad finally convinced mike and i to get our boaters' license so we could take my their boat out whenever we wanted.  well, twist my arm, whydontcha?

being legal boat drivers sure got us behind the wheel a lot....and got mike's wheels turning.  august 3, 2013, mike proposed in the most perfect way for us -- right on crystal lake.  (click through to read the proposal story!)

as soon as i said "yes" my mind was flooded with ideas and thoughts about planning our wedding.  we waited a couple weeks to formally pick a date, so while everyone was asking me questions about our plans, i was just trying to sort through my thoughts.  i already had a pinterest board (obviously, despite having it for a couple years before being engaged) so i had a good idea of where to go, it was just a little overwhelming to start.  

so i just started.  mike and i set a date, talked about what was most important to us, decided on a venue (but had to get permission from the owner first), and i got to work.

i created this inspiration sheet and slid it in the front of a plain white binder.

i carried that binder e.v.e.r.y.w.h.e.r.e.  for real.  partially because people were always curious as to what i was planning (knowing i'm a creative fool with a flair for crafty personalization) and i wanted to have a place to stash all the goodies -- pamphlets and info sheets from prospective vendors, to-do lists, dress ideas, timeline, etc.  i'm a pen-and-paper kind of planner, so having a physical binder with me was like a lifeline, especially when my brain was on overload.

as you can see from my sheet, the ball was already rolling.  colorful?  check!  lawn games?  check!  touches of nature?  check!

but how did we decide on all of this? was easy.  we had plenty of time to get the details right because i started planning and booking vendors right away...and all the details fell right into place.

the date

you know what's weird?  picking one random saturday sometime next summer, hoping people haven't already planned their vacations, and praying the weather will cooperate with an outdoor wedding.  it's the weirdest daunting feeling.

so, why did we pick june 28th?  honestly, we just picked it.  we knew we wanted a summer wedding, but not in july (too hot and humid).  we thought about august, but i've always said i wanted a june that helped narrow it down.  i also wanted to be sure it would be summer and not a lingering spring we went for the last weekend of the month.

and six, twenty eight, and fourteen are all even numbers. #whichmeansnothing

i'm really glad we picked the date we did.  we've had the rest of the summer to enjoy our wedded bliss, rather than spending our spare moments planning and getting last minute stuff completed.  

so, don't sweat it...but picking your date can be hard.  but once you pick a date, you get to start the real planning!  #wherethefunbegins


this was the first thing i took care of (other than setting the date).  why?  because if your day is perfect, but your photos aren't, that really sucks.  photos last forever -- they're what we will show our grandchildren, so i wanted to make sure we got the photos we wanted taken by the photographers that we wanted.  

bethany and dan photography.  

i met bethany at a young house love book signing in november of 2012.  i thought she was sweet, took her card, checked out the website for her and her husband's business, followed their blog, stayed in touch, and that pretty much sums it up.

after seeing images like these....(all from bethany and dan's facebook page...which you should go 'like' immediately!)...i didn't want anyone else to capture our special day. we booked bethany and dan with a package that included our engagement session, wedding session, and a hold-in-your-hands photo album.  check out these lovelies...

check out our engagement session here and here.

and see some of our favorite photos from our day in volume 1: our faves of {wedding wednesday}.  but don't you worry -- there are plenty more pictures from our wedding to share!


our venue is not really a wedding venue, but we had to schedule it nonetheless.  it's private property owned by friends of my parents...and it's located across the lake from where my parents live.  

the property was originally purchased in 1938 and turned into a boys camp.  young boys from the new york city area would be sent up to the mountains of new hampshire to enjoy a few weeks at mascoma camp for boys.  they would learn how to swim, play tennis and baseball, shoot archery, and many other things like manners and clean-up.  the camp closed around 40 years ago, but the property is still amazing.  it makes me feel nostalgic and really helped set the "campy" vibe.

the property has a big field with a brook running through it, the old lodge building, the beautiful waterfront, and many acres of un-touched woods.  it's quiet, green, and just the perfect place to get married.  at least mike and i thought so. =)

we sat down with the owner shortly after our engagement to tell him our idea of getting married on the lake and having a reception under a tent in the old baseball field and ask permission to host our event at the boys camp.  to say he was delighted would be an understatement.  he was thrilled we loved his beloved property so much and was honored to share it with us for our special day.

so that's how we decided on our venue.  on crystal lake with room for a tent and a bunch of parking?  and it's beautiful?  no brainer!  we were sold.

save the dates and invitations

once we had our date chosen and our venue "booked", it was time to share the news.  i knew i wanted to make my own save the dates, so here are some of the images i was inspired by...

{image via oh so beautiful paper}

{image via etsy}

{image via more design please}

{image via etsy}

with our whimsical/campy/fun/casual vibe, we also included rustic touches of birch and rocks.  i can't wait to share what i came up with for our save the dates.  

for our formal invitations, i needed a little more guidance, but knew i was in good hands with laura from gus and ruby letterpress (check them out on facebook!).  you may remember her from her blog you stir me.  she's been a little light in posting since putting her creative skills to work at g&r as well as with her adorable baby girl.

while i wanted the whole "formal suite" for invitations, i wanted them to reflect the style of the wedding...and the only thing i knew i wanted was letterpress, where the print is pressed right into the paper.  laura sat down with me and my mom and my best girls for a little brainstorming session to go through the countless binders of invitations from vendors all around the world.  then she said, "i'm gonna change gears a little bit and start with a suite i don't usually start with, but i think you'll really like it."

i looked through the printerette press binder and was immediately sold!  what amazing and beautiful creations!  check out the designs behind the cute printerette name...(all images from printerette press.  check out her facebook page here to see all of her glorious creations!)

pretty cute, right?  laura was spot on starting with printerette.  i glanced at a couple other invitation suites, but kept going back to these sweet, custom letterpress invitations.  i mean really, how could i not?  i even had a "song request" section put on the reply card, which was awesome!  we got a great variety of requests!  

hang tight, you'll get a more complete post all about the paper goods for our wedding soon!

color + flowers

orange is my favorite color...and it's mike's too!  so, we decided on a dark orange that felt summer-y (not autumn-y).  knowing that would be a primary color of our wedding theme really got the ball rolling...guys' ties, girls' dresses, accents, etc.  

but, i love all color.  (i don't discriminate!)  i knew i wanted lots of color, but i didn't want to achieve a rainbow effect.  so when i saw this image that inspired jacin from lovely little details, i knew arrangements like this would really set the tone for the entire event.

{image via ella bella}

and then i kept pinning more beautiful flower images...

{image via ella bella}

{image via ella bella}

{image via brooklyn bride}

{image via decoration de mariage}

{image via brides}

{image via pinterest}

{image via pinterest}

{image via shine your light}

and then i made an appointment with morgan at valley flower company.  she's a local gal whose creativity with flowers is unmatched.  i've always known she would do the flowers for my wedding because i absolutely love her style.  she loves simple, she loves bold...and working with morgan was a dream.  i showed her all my inspiration images and all i can say is this:  she nailed it.  her excitement for my creative, out-of-the-box (but actually inside a box), colorful flower plan was awesome.  she made me feel right at home in her cute shop, gave me advice, and got to work herself.  

all of these images really helped mike and i create a theme and vibe for our day that morgan could execute perfectly.  we wanted a fun, whimsical theme with the colorful variety of flowers and succulents and a casual vibe with wooden boxes of larger arrangements on the tables paired with collected bottles of single blooms.

here are a few sneak peeks!


luckily for us, getting an officiant would be easy.  (i mean, i do work at a church.  and a close family friend is a federal judge.)  but with our casual/whimsical/campy vibe, we wanted to make sure the ceremony would be casual and fun and "us".

just a few weeks before mike proposed, a girl i know got married, and the ceremony was officiated by her sister's longtime love, ben dearman, the owner of kdr fitness, where i work out.  hmmmm....i thought to myself.  i like ben.  i like his sense of humor.  he likes public speaking.  maybe we could ask him to marry us?  it turns out he wasn't officially a j.o.p. or ordained minister, he just performed the ceremony for his sister-in-law and her hubby and someone else signed the marriage certificate.  

mike agreed he would be a great candidate, but we wanted him to be official.  so one day i asked, ben said yes, and the rest is history.  (ha!)  and ben got ordained online.  

we were excited to have a personal friend officiate our ceremony...but we weren't sure how ben felt.

ha, just kidding.  he was a little excited. =)

we chatted one day over lunch to get a feel for how the ceremony would go and ben sent us a questionnaire to get some personal answers that we wouldn't share with each other.  mike and i came up with our own vows (that ben would read and we would repeat), so it added our personal touch to the ceremony too.

i can't wait to tell you more about the ceremony in its own post!  stay tuned.  spoiler alert:  it was perfectly casual, fun, and "us".


it's no secret that i love food.  i love to eat it, i love to prepare it, i love to share it.  so, if there was something important about the food that would be served at our wedding, it was that it needed to be delicious.

good plan, no?

so with a local caterer in the back of my mind as the first place i wanted to contact, i decided to just throw it out on facebook.  

after being engaged for 19 days, i posted:  "caterers...recommendations?  i need to start thinking about this stuff.  fo realz."

within 19 minutes i had 10 recommendations for the caterer i was considering. #winning 

maple street catering.  done and done.  (yeah, the decision really was that easy.)

i had been to one wedding they catered right after the business opened in 2003, but hadn't experienced it since.  i had been impressed by their tasty offerings, as well as their creative displays and figured that if they are still in business 10 years later, it was because they are good at what they do.  (photos from maple street catering's facebook page...go on and 'like' them, too!)

so I emailed brandon fox at maple street catering and got the ball rolling.  after realizing we had about 49 friends in common, brandon and i wondered how we had never met before.  but i had enjoyed his delicious food and received many glowing recommendations, and that's all that mattered.  

mike and i spent time reviewing their options -- theme menus, buffets, plated many choices.  we decided we wanted hors d'oeuvres for cocktail hour and a buffet for dinner.  we highlighted a bunch of options that sounded good and set up a time to go over our ideas and make a plan and set up a tasting.  #yum

i'll be sharing the rest of our catering details in a separate post...but let me tell you -- the food was spectacular.  the service was impeccable.  i absolutely cannot wait to experience maple street catering again.  if you're local to NH/VT, you should check them out for your next event!  or visit their bbq restaurant in white river junction, vt -- big fatty's!  (don't forget to follow them on facebook!  maple street catering here and big fatty's here!)


choosing a cake baker was just about as easy as choosing maple street catering.  a to z cakes is run by abbi and her husband dan and all i knew was that if their cakes tasted as good as they looked, i wouldn't have to look any further.

check out some of the masterpieces they have put together!  (photos from a to z cakes facebook page)

and we didn't look any further.  i (again) received many glowing recommendations for a to z cakes, and i trusted my gut.  

mike and i decided we wanted a birch-look cake with sugar flowers all over.  we had originally planned to purchase a pair of wooden bird cake-toppers, but ultimately chose to have abbi create the birds out of sugar.  to say she did an amazing job would the understatement of the century.

i'll have to tease you until my post on the cake to tell you the flavors we chose, but let me tell you this:  scrumptious doesn't even begin to cover it.  


picking a d.j. was only slightly more challenging, as entertainment is needed less than photographers, caterers, and cake bakers.  but, i had a friend that had just gotten married, and while i did not attend her wedding, i trusted her judgement enough to look into her recommendation:  top hat entertainment.

one visit to the website and i was squealing.  not only do they offer d.j. services for weddings, but they also rent photobooths!  having a photobooth was on my "i'd-love-to-have-it-but-it's-not-pertinent" list.  luckily, i had my mom and my side who was beyond thrilled at the idea of a photobooth.

and the best part of the photobooth?  keeping all of the photos!!!  here are a few good ones...

everyone loved (LOVED) the photobooth!  it was so awesome getting to go through all the photos!  such a great choice for our day.

but enough about the photobooth...

the music was so awesome.  our d.j. had a list of songs i had sent ahead of time -- compiling the list from the song requests on the reply cards was fun -- and he kept the party going while checking in with mike and i to always make sure we were happy.  

top hat was so professional and easy to work with.  check them out on facebook here.  and since booking them last fall, they've added to their repertoire: inflatables -- bounce castles and obstacle courses!

d.i.y. and crafts

you know i couldn't get married without putting my personal touch on a few things, but this section is going to need it's own post!  between the save-the-dates and all the little details at the reception (not to mention the amazing creations from my best girls for the bridal shower)...i've got plenty of d.i.y. stuff to share! 


i'll be back next week, and the week after, and the week after....for awhile.  i want to dive right in and share all the details of what made our day perfect.  today i wanted you to see where we were coming from, how we made decisions, and introduce you to our amazing vendors.  if any of you are brides-to-be and have any questions or want advice -- email me!  i'm more than happy to spread the love! =)

all i can say is that i would absolutely do my wedding over again just the way it was.  all of our friends and family had the most amazing time...seeing everyone smiling, laughing, dancing, and enjoying our celebration made it feel even more special.  

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