Our blue & brown beachy themed OLD FIELD CLUB wedding (Blue Daisy, Verbena, CosmoNY..)! LONG review, PROPICS, TYcard, HM review **UPDATES: ALBUM P.3, ANNIV PICS P.4, SALE ITEMS P.5**
Some items left for sale to page 5! FM me w/ interest or for more info!
Updated w/ my cousin's custom jewelry website- she made my BMs jewelry.
Added our 1st anniversary portraits to p.4!
I've replaced the poor quality screen captures I had up with high res pics (since we just finished our album and received all of them on disc), so the pics will be much clearer now, but the review may take a minute or two to fully load. Sorry!!
I added more pics too. Most are in hi-res now, but switching over the last few.
Also I added pics of our album and posted all of our layouts.
Apologies in advance for the length of this very detailed bio, but I'm hoping that it will really help some girls. Before I review all of my vendors, I would like to include the back-story of how Nate and I met and what led us to marry on Long Island, because it is all of that which influenced me to plan my wedding the way that I did! If you’re not interested in that, please feel free to scroll down and check out the rest of my review. Enjoy!
HOW WE MET…
Nate and I met through a Christian group for singles. I heard of Christian Cafe (A++++ of course) from my mother meeting my now step-dad that way as well. Miles in between us (ALASKA TO PA!), we were both just looking to meet and share fellowship with other Christians our age. That was a void in my life that I knew would change everything for me....and it did, in the most amazing way!
We started talking back in November of 2003 and it was the most wonderful feeling to talk to someone who understands where you are coming from, someone who is as excited about God as you are. We had no idea where it was going. In fact, neither of us had any expectations or plans for a relationship. We were just friends who had a great connection, shared such a similar sense of humor that it was almost frightening! We just enjoyed having fulfilling conversations about our life stories, our faith and hopes. We lost contact for a while and then started talking again a few months later. It's hard to explain how we became a couple. I think everything changed once we began to pray about it together.
All too often people think that they know exactly what type of person they want to be with or should be with. They have this plan and picture in their head and move through life and relationships accordingly. The truth is that there is no better match-maker than God! We opened ourselves up to His plan, and trusted whatever that entailed...being friends, devoting ourselves to each other, meeting other people and supporting each other in that. It turns out, God opened doors for us and revealed that we were destined to be with one and other.
Nate proposed to me during our Christmas celebration together on December 16, 2005. It was one of the most touching and memorable moments of my life. We started our celebration with a romantic dinner at La Locandas, an Italian restaurant. It is a special place, being that the owner knows my grandparents from their roots in Italy. Our table was nestled in front of the fireplace, beside the Christmas tree. We had an amazing dinner and talked about our life together. Since this was our first Christmas together, it was an especially meaningful occasion for us. The mood had been set for a perfect night.
After dinner, we returned home to exchange our gifts. We were so excited! The gifts were laid out under the tree (adorned with beautiful butterfly ornaments), and we sat down to open presents. We alternated giving our gifts. I had noticed that each of his presents for me had a card attached with sequential numbering, which piqued my interest! As I opened each envelope with the gift, I read romantic passages on paper with burnt edges that Nate had written about our love and relationship- past, present, and future. It was hard to keep my eyes from welling up.
At first, the gifts were lighthearted or practical, and then became more meaningful and personal. The poetic letters were more and more touching with each gift! Sneaky Nate had given me gifts encased in small boxes that all could of potentially held a ring, so I began to suspect that something was going on. As I continued to open gifts, I was never disappointed in the least! The gifts were meaningful and so beautiful! Each one touched me in such a personal way. The second to last gift was a beautiful Tiffany’s silver butterfly necklace that has a special meaning to me, as it represents the memory of my father. The last gift presented to me was a pair of beautiful diamond earrings, which I've never had. At this point, I was so excited and touched. I didn't think that it could get any better.
Once we had finished, I told Nate about one more gift for him that I had hidden. It was a silver promise ring with a portion of a biblical verse engraved on the inside. The full verse is: "Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity"~Colossians 3:12-14. The ring said "In perfect unity." It was my promise of devotion to Nate. (You will see below that we also chose this as one of our ceremony readings).
After receiving his gift, he pulled from the bottom of the Christmas tree one last envelope with no gift. He told me that he would instead like to read the last one to me. He also told me that he had one last gift to give me. He left the room and returned with a large ornamental box, which he sat down next to me. At this point, I was thrown! I thought "what could it be!" As he opened the last envelope, I could see that he was becoming serious and emotional. So was I! He then read the last words of his letter (I had not known that each of the passages that I had already read were sections of a beautiful proposal letter). As the words came out, "Jessica, to the world you are one person, but to me you are the world. Today I promise that I will love you always, and I get down on one knee to ask...," I could tell that he was trying not to cry, but we were too overwhelmed with emotion. He got down on his knee and finished, "Jessica Ann ____, will you marry me?" He opened up a box to reveal the most beautiful ring that I have ever seen. To which I replied, "Yes, of course!" We both began to cry and held each other. I was in shock!
It turns out, Nate had the proposal letter made into a message in a bottle so that we would have it as a keepsake. That was what was inside the ornamental box. You'll see how messages in a bottle became incorporated into our wedding too!
WHAT LED A JERSEY GIRL LIVING IN PENNSYLVANIA TO A LONG ISLAND WEDDING…
In the initial throws of wedding planning, I felt incredibly overwhelmed. I had absolutely no clue where to start. I lurked on “Knot” bios and found wonderful ideas. I knew that I wanted a blue/brown wedding and I started to fall in love with Asian touches (like blossom branches) and unique lighting ideas (like hanging lights and/or lanterns). The two things that I did know for sure were that I wanted a small wedding and to marry by the water, but Pennsylvania (where I live now) is not the ideal location for that.
That is when I started leaning towards a destination wedding. Initially, I had actually set my mind on Italy, where my grandmother was born and where I have family living today. We wanted to marry on the gorgeous Amalfi Coast, but once I started my planning, this wonderful hypothetical just did not work in reality. It was far too difficult to plan an entire wedding from so far away and it wasn’t worth it to us when we realized that only our immediate family would be able to attend. I shifted my focus to closer destinations, and found beautiful venues in Carolinas, Georgia, Virginia, etc., but we still dealt with issue of likely not having much of a turn out because of the travel.
I can not even remember exactly what it was that led me to Long Island, but it seemed that without me being fully conscious of it, everything was pulling me there! My father, who passed away from brain cancer in 2004, had lived on Long Island for about the ten years or so before he passed. We had a tumultuous relationship in earlier years after my parent’s divorce, but once we received the news of his illness, talk about putting everything in perspective!!! The Lord blessed me, my two sisters and my father by bringing us all back together, though it took something so incredibly heartbreaking to do it. We spent that last year visiting my father very often; it felt like we spent most of our time in New York. Fast forward to wedding planning, everything converged at one point to bring me to settling on a Long Island wedding. I don’t remember whether I had come across the Old Field Club online and then came across Bonnie’s (an LIW 08er- BeachBum05) bio on the knot because of that, or whether seeing pictures of the Old Field Club in her bio made me look it up. Anywho, huge thanks to Bonnie for her part in all of this and directing me to LIweddings.com I never looked back at the “knot” again!I emailed Bonnie to ask about the Old Field Club. It had the EXACT look that I was going for! It was a smaller venue on the water and the reception room had high wood-beamed ceilings with strands of lights wrapped around them (come to find out, they actually decided to take those down). It was that hidden gem that I had been searching so hard to find!! And I knew it was the place we would marry, before I even got a chance to see it in person. What really sealed the deal for me, I knew I was meant to marry there, when I realized that Port Jeff- one of my father’s favorite places and the place he took my sister and I to visit during that last year when he was sick- was only a few miles down the road from the Old Field Club! Needless to say, it was the one wedding venue I visited and I was SOLD!
Now…on with everything about our blue & brown, beachy-themed, sorta casual wedding!!!! One of the best days of my life.
A HUGE thank you to Ron, Liz, and the whole site crew for creating this incredibly helpful website!!! Without LIW and all of you very sweet ladies, there is absolutely no way that I would have been able to plan my dream wedding in LI.
Tiffany & Co. A+
Come on, what girl doesn’t love Tiffany? You know that smile that creeps up on you when you see that little blue pouch!!! DH has wonderful taste. I didn’t help him at all and I love my Tiffany’s solitaire with platinum band! It is perfect for me. Tiffany’s has great customer service and beautiful products!
Invitation Consultants A+
The save-the-date search wasn’t as drawn out and difficult as my invitation search, thankfully. I found the one that I loved fairly easily actually, called “wrapped blue.” It features a sheer wrap and printed card secured by a decorative striped ribbon. Invitation includes blank sheer wrap, printed sky blue card, 15 inch pre-cut striped blue and mocha ribbon, and bright white envelopes. Minimal assembly. I believe I ordered 100 and they were very reasonable (around only $170). I got many compliments on these!
With our wording
TIP: LADIES, THINK LONG AND HARD ABOUT ALL OF THE PEOPLE YOU PLAN TO SEND SAVE-THE-DATES TO!!! I think we were way too excited and quick to send a save-the-date to everyone and their dog! In retrospect, huge mistake that caused a lot of unneeded stress!
Now & Forever A+ for service & B+ for paper quality
The invitation search was frustrating for me!! It was months of searching, with one of three things happening again and again: finding very little that fit what I was looking for, finally coming across something I loved but absolutely REFUSING to pay an obscene price for paper that will be thrown away, or finding invites that I loved and being so indecisive that I would be posting invite polls on the ’07 board left and right (sorry ladies!). Finally, with very little time left, I came across the now-and-forever website and found exactly what I was looking for- a cute light blue invite that fit our theme with a very reasonable price! The invite is called “Bloom Invitation” and the color is “Mist” (it comes in several other colors). The design is long stemmed flowers in bloom in white and I used mocha colored text. There was some sort of spring sale running and also a discount code offered. You can only use one code though. And my total came to a mere $200, and that was even after my STUPID mistake of ordering 100 when I only needed to order 50! The quality of paper is probably a tad thinner than most would like, but I thought they were fine and wasn’t too concerned with that. They also shipped within 3-4 business days, which is super quick! Everything was packaged in a very orderly manner and they included tips for stuffing invites and had the different pieces all labeled so as not to confuse you. Overall, ordering through them was a very pleasant, quick and easy, experience and I would recommend them!
Setauket Pastaria A+
The only time available for our wedding rehearsal the day before our wedding was mid-day, so we decided to do a rehearsal lunch at 1:30pm rather than a dinner. We had a small group of about 25 and wanted to do something pretty casual but nice. I looked into menus and pricing info at many different places for my ILs, and we decided on the Setauket Pastaria after reading about as a recommendation on LIW. And we are SO glad that we did! The plans, to my dismay, were made very last minute (about a week and a half before hand) and they still accommodated us. It was perfect for accommodating a group of our size. The ambiance is so cute, like a small Italian café. The food was delicious!!!!!! Everyone raved. And the service was absolutely outstanding!!! The staff was incredibly sweet. I can not say enough good things about the Pastaria!
Grooms cake (for rehearsal lunch)
Audrey’s Bakery A for taste & C for look
DH is writing his first book and hopes to become a published author, so I knew I wanted to have a book cake made for him. I also chose an inspirational quote from one of his favorite poets- Thoreau, to put on the pages of the book. I talked to Tom about surprising Nate with the groom’s cake for the rehearsal lunch when we met with him in person to choose our wedding cake, but I didn’t have clear enough ideas of exactly what I wanted so I figured Id call him and order it once I did. I called him a few weeks before the wedding and ordered the book cake. In retrospect, I wish I was much more clear and detailed and sent pictures, because it didn’t end up coming out as I had hoped. Grooms cakes, in my opinion, are supposed to be really realistic but this just kind of resembled the shape of a book. It didn’t look like an actual book. I told them specifically I wanted chocolate brown writing, but they did it in light blue. I wasn’t crazy about the decorative flowers on both pages (the cake didn’t look masculine at all), but I understand they probably felt like it needed something else to not look so empty. And I really should have been prepared for this... DH didn’t understand what a groom’s cake was or think it was a big deal in the moment. Haha. He just figured, oh a cake. The biggest embarrassing part was that they didn’t get the quote right!! Instead of “Go confidently,” it said “Go compently.” I remember it was really noisy when I was reading him the quote over the phone, but, come on, compently isn’t a real word. As for taste, though, DH still talks about how much he loved their peanut butter mousse and chocolate cake. All of this being said, they did AMAZING for our wedding cake (read below)! And I have seen other groom’s cakes by them, which looked amazing. So I think that, maybe, this was just a case of me not giving enough direction/not being specific enough.
I ordered the girls monogrammed mini-totes from The Palm Gifts. They get an A+ for customer service & B- for fabric quality. They have a ton of different types of totes and cute fabric designs. The girls loved them and get a lot of use out of them, but I personally felt that for the price, the fabric wasn’t the greatest quality and I wish I had paid more attention to just how small they would be. In retrospect, I would’ve ordered them larger totes. I then filled the totes with the “Runaway Bridesmaids” gift (3 in 1 body wash, bubble bath and shampoo) from Bath & Body Works, flip flops from Old Navy, and day of jewelry custom designed and made by my cousin Melissa who has her own website for custom jewelry- Mella Beads. The jewelry was my favorite part of their gift. My cousin has been making beautiful jewelry for a few years now and we all get so excited when she surprises us with a jewelry gift! I was frustrated that I could not find any jewelry that I liked that incorporated blue and brown for my bridesmaids and then it hit me that I should ask my cousin to design our jewelry! Her prices are reasonable for custom jewelry and she did an incredible job on the earrings and necklaces, made of all swarovksi beads. My girls loved them! FM me if you would like her contact info to have her make your bridal or BM jewelry. I will also post her jewelry website here when it is finished. She gets an A+!
Some of the gifts
We knew that our GM would LOVE Reef’s Mick Fanning Bottle Opener Sandals, which have bottle openers on the bottom! We picked out a different pair for each guy, that we thought matched their style/personality. We bought them from Eastern Mountain Sports (EMS) in Exton, PA. They go along with our casual and beachy theme and the guys did love them. A+. We also bought them their “Opal stripe” neck ties in blue for the day-of from the Perry Ellis website.
WEDDING APPAREL, ACCESSORIES, HAIR, MAKEUP
Marisa dress from Lizelles Boutique in Havertown, PA A+ for boutique alterations & B- for customer service
I started exploring different wedding gown styles online soon after we got engaged, to see what look I was drawn too. And it was the same look again and again- simple, classic, lace gowns or gowns with lace detail. I knew from the get-go that a poofy, princess style just wasn’t for me! Initially, I was set on a Monique Llhujier gown, because I LOVE the look of almost all of her dresses. And then I came across Marisa’s 611 with the lace jacket (611J) and fell in love with it before ever seeing it in person. I knew that this was the dress! I did a store search on Marisa’s website and found the closest bridal boutique that carried the Marisa line was in Havertown at Lizelles, so I checked beforehand to make sure that they had that particular sample, and then went in to try on gowns for the first time. She brought me about 5 different gowns, almost all of them were lace or had lace detail, and they were okay but either too heavy for me to feel comfortable or not the most flattering. I tried the Marisa gown last and like I had already felt from the start, it was THE ONE and we bought it then and there! Of course, it was such a quick decision that it scared me a bit and I questioned my decision a little bit. Maybe I should have tried something totally out of character just to see, etc. But I’m glad that when I look at photos from our wedding day, I know that I chose the right dress for me. It’s a dress that I will be happy with years and years from now.
The customer service wasn’t bad, but it certainly wasn’t good. It is a small bridal boutique and you would imagine that they would be very customer service oriented, since word of mouth is so important with places like that. To me, when you are working with brides, its is an incredibly special time in their lives (especially dress shopping), and it would be nice as an excited bride, to get that warm, welcoming feeling when you’re at a bridal boutique, to have people remember your name. smile, etc. I just think that type of pampering feeling goes a long way and I did not get this feeling at all any of the times when I was there. Even when I brought my whole bridal party there to try bridesmaid dresses.
The alterations were pricey. They charge a flat fee of $395 for any bridal alterations (this includes pressing your dress & veil), which I think is ridiculous. Imagine you had very minimal alterations to make. In my case, my alterations were quite extensive so it worked in my favor. Before my fittings, my dress felt so heavy, and with my mobility issues, I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to walk around all day in the dress. We made some changes to the inside of the dress, added something around my waist on the inside to hold me in, little tabs around the top on the inside to keep my bustier from showing and to keep my dress up so I wouldn’t have to hike it up all night, we shortened the length of my train to make it easier to move in, and we did a one point bustle. Ling is the woman there who does alterations. I was her first bride since starting there, which would have really freaked me out if I didn’t hear that she had had about 20+ years of experience at Suki’s, which has an amazing reputation on the mainline in PA. She did an incredible job with my alterations and used techniques I have never even seen! I was so psyched with how the dress felt on me at the second and final fitting. I could walk around with ease, which set my mind at ease for the big day! Priceless!
Sidenote: I tried a few veils on while trying dresses and knew right away that a veil wasn’t for me!!! I looked and felt so silly! I couldn’t find one style that I liked and I knew that it would be just one more thing that felt was getting in my way when I was walking around, especially if it was breezy or windy. I have seen so many pics of that from weddings, and it gives me sensory issues at the thought. Id feel like I was stuck in a bug net. I settled on just a pretty hair comb for the back of my hair instead. Worked for me!
Nothing too special for shoes. For me, it was more about what I could get around in easily than the look. So I went for the simple and comfortable “Chablis” by Dyeables in white satin. I love shoebuy! They have free shipping and all kinds of other discount codes all of the time and they ship super fast.
Long line bra & “Bride” undies from Victoria Secret
I used to hate strapless dresses because I could never find any strapless bras that I felt held me right. But I didn’t want to feel limited to certain cuts when picking out the most important dress Id ever wear. Thankfully, my mom picked me up VS Seamless Bustier and it was just what I was looking for. It wasn’t horribly uncomfortable or anything. I only wished it was a bit longer so I didn’t feel like my lower tummy was being pushed out. It worked perfectly for me though. It’s a bit pricey but Id def suggest it, especially to girls with larger chests like me. I need something to hold me up really well and that was perfect.
I also wanted to find some cute underwear that said “Bride” and VS happened to have some. They are white and the writing is done with swarovski crystals. I can’t seem to find them on the site now though, so I am not sure whether they sell them anymore.
I also loved my “Something Blue” tank from there! I wore it while getting ready that morning.
Smart Bride Online
I bought this light blue garter when I thought that I would be doing a garter toss. I thought it was really cute and a nice plus that it is adjustable so its not a “one size fits all” that chokes your thigh, lol. Even though we decided last minute not to do the garter toss, I was still going to wear it day-of, so our photographer got a pic of it, but when it came to the rush of getting dressed day-of, I totally forgot.
Hair comb from Perfect Details
Since I decided not to have a veil, it was important for me to find a hair accessory I loved. And I thought with a half up/half down look, a hair comb in the back would be a nice touch. After much searching, another LIW bride suggested that I check out perfect details and the “Adam’s rib” hair comb by Paris caught my eye right away. It was a pricey piece because it is custom made, and it took about two months to come in, so keep that in mind if you’re ordering a custom piece from them. The different shades of pearls blended perfectly with my dress, and ended up looking so nice with the rest of my DOJ! I am not sure whether they are still making this piece. FM if you're interested in buying.
Bracelet & Earrings from Anna Bellagio A+ for product quality & customer service
I had seen a picture when we first got engaged from a dress twin’s knot bio and it was of her wearing this amazing bracelet on her wedding day.
Fast forward a year later and I had no clue who’s bio it was or who made the jewelry, but after posting a pic of it on LIW, another bride afrodyt2000 found it on Anna Bellagio. It is called “Daria Pearl and Crystal Bracelet.” AB jewelry is beautiful and so reasonably priced. I was so psyched to find the bracelet after MUCH back and forth about DOJ!!! I have received SO many compliments on this bracelet. And to think, it was so inexpensive. It was exactly what I wanted.
I then settled on AB’s “Ellie Pearl Earrings.” At first I was worried that the shades of pearl from my hair comb and the necklace wouldn’t all mesh well, but they all went perfectly. Flower designs and clusters of crystals tied them all together as well. And AB had incredible customer service. They ship fast, in the cutest pink boxes and there is a personalized note with the order. Just a nice touch!
Brooch from White Aisle
I ordered the Pearl and Crystal Flower Brooch, which is currently on backorder and they have limited quantities, from White Aisle when I was not sure how I would be tying my sash. Here is a pic from a dress fitting showing how I planned to wear the brooch if I went with this sash style.
Ultimately, literally last minute on the day-of (after our photographer had already taken pics of it), I decided to tie the sash as a bow in the back and there was no room for this pretty brooch. But it would have went so perfectly with the rest of my DOJ.
My mom is particular and she had a hard time deciding on what to wear. She tried so many different options, and ultimately settled on this two piece, tan jacket and skirt with a slit from Barrie Pace, and I think it was perfect. It was dressy enough, but not overly dressy for our more casual wedding and the color blended well with everything.
Flower Girl Dress
I was desperate to find my niece/God-daughter her flower girl dress, because we waited til the last minute on this one. Bad idea. I bought a flower girl dress on ebay, but it ended up being horrible. It was more yellowy ivory than a pure ivory and, it didn’t mention in the description that the bow was held on by velcro and snaps! The quality was very poor and unfortunately they don’t accept returns. I do not recommend buying from seller zach0306. This being said, I happened to come across the Strasburg children store in Lancaster, PA and thought it couldn’t hurt to see what they had. Their dresses were such high quality, perfect ivory, beautiful satin brown sash…perfect!!! My niece loved wearing it!
FG Basket & RB Pillow Set
I was so glad to come across the light blue basket & pillow set from the Knot’s wedding shop. Perfect color! Arrived fairly quickly. They loved holding these!
We knew from the get go that we didn’t want black tuxes! It would be a pretty harsh look for what we were going for, especially next to such a light/icey blue. We wanted a lighter, more casual, beachy look, which led us to light tan/stone colored suits. I found a fabulous one on Jim’s formalwear and we were set on using that for DH and all of the GM. We thought it would be super easy for them (all OOT GM) since all of them had a store that is a Jim’s Formalwear retailer nearby to rent or buy from. We were going to have them get sized wherever and give us their sizes to give to a JF retailer on LI so that when they came in for the wedding, they could pick them up and try them on for any last minute alterations. Well, fast forward to about 4-5 mos to the wedding, it ended up being way more complicated! The retailers either didn’t have the suit or said it would be too difficult to coordinate, or any number of other issues. So we looked into similar suits at Jos A Banks, Men's Wearhouse, After Hours…..nothing! We couldn’t find the right shade of tan in any of those suits and when it came close, the suits were way too heavy for a summer wedding. We were told by many of the places that we’d never find what we were looking for up North here, because the suit we were hoping for was more of a Southern style, summer suit. Whatever.
I wracked my brain to think of any other light suit I had seen. Thank GOD I had a flash in my head of Kittythestray’s DH’s light tan suit. It was EXACTLY what we were looking for!!!! I went to her review, which said they bought his at Banana Republic. We bought it right away- the "Modern Twill Suit" (it is not up on their site anymore, since it is a summer suit but they have the same/similar ones up each summer)! His dress shirt was their "Royal oxford shirt" in white. I am almost positive his tie was actually from the Donald Trump signature collection from Macys- the "Tonal Rib Tie" in light blue. The suit only needed minor alterations bc DH has ultra broad shoulders and a trim waist. DH and I LOVED that suit and highly highly recommend it to anyone looking for a similar style for a summer wedding!
And for DS, who was a Jr. GM, we bought him an outfit as close to the GMs outfits as possible- shirt was from Macys, khakis from Gap Kids, and tie was the "boy's stripe tie #1501" in brown from the Absolute ties.
With a groom in a light tan suit, I had seen pictures of two options for GM: they wore the same suit as the groom or for a more casual wedding, they wore a dress shirt and dress pants. These are the pictures of the looks I was choosing between...
Ultimately, since we knew we were likely to have an incredibly warm day in August and we wanted a more casual style wedding, the first look was perfect! We found Banana's "straight khaki pinstripe dress chinos" in light khaki (that matched DH’s suit pants) and a "solid chambray shirt" in light blue. We bought them their ties, the “Opal stripe” neck tie in blue from Perry Ellis. They used their own brown belt and shoes. Thank goodness we did not do the full suits for all the guys, because it was in the 90s and they were sweating profusely through their outfits. My one sister was hysterical laughing during the ceremony because she could progressively see their sweat stains getting bigger and bigger, the sleeves and pants legs were slowly getting darker and darker, haha!
We are so psyched that this pic/our GM outfits are in THE KNOT'S BEST OF WEDDINGS 08 ISSUE (see center below)! They liked the attire for a beachy wedding look and of course Blue Daisy's photography!
Bill Levkoff dress from Lizelles A for dress & C+ for boutique service
I tend to prefer the look of tea length dresses over full length, especially for an afternoon, summer wedding. I also love the look of any BM dress with a sash as well, so that along with the colors blue and brown are what we worked within. I was not very happy with the selection of BM dresses at Lizelles to be honest, but we kind of shopped there out of convenience. My whole BP is from OOT so they had to travel to me for shopping and my two sisters have kids so we really did not want a drawn out search. I feel bad in retrospect, because I think we could have probably found something that they all liked more if we were all willing to check out a few more places, but ultimately we ended up with Levkoff’s 220 in Euro Periwinkle (an icey sky blue) with a chocolate colored sash. All of them say the dress ended up working out fine, that they felt very comfortable in it and like how it looks in pics, so that’s good! Just want to also point out that I did not like the service at Lizelles at all when I had my BP there looking for dresses. They weren’t very friendly, attentive, or helpful.
I loved the look of slides with a tea length dress, but my sisters were a little picky about which shoes we chose. I totally understood bc it can **** to have to walk in uncomfy shoes all day! They also wanted to make sure the heel was a decent height, so they didn’t feel “stubby.” They decided on Touch-ups “Trista” dyeable shoe, which we found on Bellissima Bridal Shoes website, but I found the best price for them on the Shoe Buy when you consider the free shipping. The shoes are hot! And they looked great with their dresses. They had them dyed to match their chocolate sashes. They all loved how they look but they all ended up kicking them off or putting on flats to dance, so maybe a bit uncomfy in the end, but what pretty shoes aren’t?
Sorry, no great close-up of their shoes
Non pro- un-dyed
Roseanna Amador from CosmoNY A
Right away I assumed that I would need to get my semi-permanent “great lengths” extensions again for the big day (if you need info on great lengths or want me to suggest a technician, FM me!), because my hair is extremely thin and wasn’t long enough to achieve the look I was looking for.
My only concern was that not every stylist knows how to work with those kinds of extensions, and I didn’t want to deal with that unneeded stress. After much searching on LIW, I saw DCSFreez AKA Denielle’s trial with Roseanna Amador from CosmoNY, and she used clip-in extensions for length and body. It was the same exact look I was going for and I called to set up a trial with Roseanna right away! I sent Roseanna pics of my hair ahead of time so that she could try to bring in a good match for the clip-ins. I lucked out! The dark brown clip-ins she brought in were literally a perfect match to my hair color. She did not rush at all, was very pleasant, and exceeded my expectations. I bought her clip ins right then and there (they are her own line of clip-ins that she had designed, 100% human hair, can be worn again and again, can be styled as your own hair, very comfortable) and booked her on the spot!!
Trial- day of I wanted less height, otherwise loved it!
Day of, she arrived early as planned and got right to work. She worked around our schedules, but also kept us on track with timing. Everyone loved their hair. One of my BMs at first had a middle part, but Roseanna had no problem adjusting it to a side part at my BMs request. Everyone’s hair complimented their face shape. She had great suggestions for those who weren’t sure what to do. And, the best part is that, my hair that day looked a million times better than it did at my trial and I didn’t think that was possible. I was SO concerned about my curls falling out, but they lasted pretty darn well the entire night!! She did my curls one barrel smaller than most of the other girls to account for mine possible falling and she also used a lot of spray, which held my hair perfectly. About that though… in some pics, I have that really hard hair look, evn wet looking, which I am not crazy about, but overall it was not a big deal. The other thing I wish looking back is that I would have had her trim the extensions so they weren't so long/heavy. Overall, I am very happy with her work and definitely recommend her! I've also dyed and used my extensions a couple times since then and they still look/style great!
Marti from MAC A
Marti did makeup for my sister’s wedding in 2005 and I was in the BP. I typically do not let ANYONE else do my makeup… ever. Not even my grandmother very often, who is an AMAZING makeup artist and has been for about 35+ yrs. It’s just that I am very picky over what I like and I have difficult skin to work with so I prefer to do it myself. Well I ended up loving my makeup at my sister’s wedding, so when it came to be my time, she was the first and only person I thought of. So many people have asked me about her work after seeing pics, unfortunately ladies she lives and works out of NJ so I am not sure how feasible it would be for a lot of you to use her. But she does do a certain amount of out of state weddings, so as long as you were willing to travel to her for the trial, I would contact her about availability. She does not have a website because she works mainly through word of mouth, she is very popular in NJ, but I do have her phone number if anyone would like it, just FM me!
I went for my first trial and showed her pics of a very smoky eye. She did exactly what I showed her perfectly, but I went home and I just didn’t feel like how I envisioned myself looking on my wedding day. I think the smoky look just didn’t work for me. It felt too harsh for an more casual afternoon "beachy" wedding, so I called her back and set up trial #2 where we went for lighter bronzy shades. That was it!!!!!!! Only thing I'm not entirely crazy about is that MAC foundation can feel a little heavy.
(Disclaimer: I was having bad skin issues at the time, so go easy on me!)
On the day of, she arrived a little bit late, after hitting some traffic coming from NJ unfortunately, but she had more than enough time to get to everyone without rushing. She also worked with everyone’s schedules. Her signature seems to be a very intense eye (that I LOVE), which not everyone is comfortable with at first, so some of my BMs were surprised but they all said that they ended up loving it and feeling great. They all looked like vamped up versions of their beautiful selves! My only very minor complaint is that my look on the day-of seemed to be a mix of trial #1 & 2, but I didn’t want anything from #1. I wanted exactly what she did in #2, so I wish she wrote it down as we were going along during that trial instead of just doing it from memory on the day-of. At least, when she heard me talking about it, she did come over and lightened it up for me. Anyhow, everyone complimented me on my makeup and at the end of the night, many people told me I looked the same as I did when I first walked down the aisle…everything held up amazingly. Marti is such a sweet person, has so many good suggestions (TIP: ahead of time, she suggested that I buy MAC’s blot powder for when I got shiny (I still use this every day now) and the lip-gloss she used on me, so that I could reapply- lifesaver on the day of!!!!), and went above and beyond for me at my trial/day of in any way that she could possibly help. Adore her. I highly highly recommend her!!!!!
My girl’s hair & MU
WEDDING CEREMONY/COCKTAIL HOUR
The Old Field Club A+
The OFC is a hidden gem that I feel blessed to have come across. It has the exact look that I was always hoping/searching for for our wedding. Tom is the Maitre-D there. If you’re looking into the OFC, don’t make my mistake and try to communicate via email. I found that out fairly quickly and started to use the phone instead. I was not very happy with communication early on. I would wait a long time to hear anything back after leaving voicemails, but as it got closer and closer to my big day, communication improved 95%, which I was THRILLED about. It began to ease my anxiety of everything falling into place. I was a little annoyed that we had to wait so last minute (less than a month) to set up a time for our rehearsal, but I sort of understand that they are a social club and put their large events in front of something like a rehearsal.
Dropping off tons of boxes of ceremony/reception items the day before at the rehearsal was a little frightening. I wrote down where everything should be, but relinquishing everything I had spent so much time and effort to plan was anxiety provoking...just hoping it would all come together somehow. And WOW, Tom pulled through for me in every way!!!!!!! Everything, literally everything, was in its place and trust me I had tons of items. I left a lot of the decor up to him (as far as me bringing the shells and beachy touches but not dictating where he should place them) and he did an incredible job placing those details through out the hall. I can’t tell you how impressed I was. Tom made everything that day running as smoothly as possible. I was worried about walking down the aisle, since I have mobility issues from a medical condition. My pop-pop was of course on one side but I still needed something else on the other side. Tom put out his hand for me to hold for balance as I had to walk over the slight step before walking down the aisle. Small things like that mean a lot to me.
Father Michael Callahan A
I was Catholic at the time of our ceremony and DH is Protestant (we now go to a wonderful non-denominational Christian church- it is pretty much like a Protestant church), but we never really focused on our religious differences. Instead, we always acknowledged how both of us wanted to have a Christ-centered ceremony and marriage. The most important thing for us and what brought us together is our faith, so we wanted an officiant who would focus our ceremony on all of that. We set up a time to meet Father Callahan, who is from an order of married Catholic priests, which means his ministry is no longer associated with the Catholic church (if you want more information, check out C.I.T.I.), and he was very pleasant and we liked that he seemed very laid-back and willing to tailor the ceremony to us and our beliefs/values. We got a good feeling from him and booked him right away. He was very helpful in that he sent us suggestions/choices for readings, vows, ring exchange wording, etc. He was good with communication, and we mainly contacted each other through email. He also asked us to, separately, write down why we love each other and send it to him, which we did. And it was nice to hear, day-of how he incorporated that into our ceremony. I was SO nervous after walking down the aisle and getting up there, but focusing on the meaning of his words really helped to calm DH and I, and to remind us of what this whole day is about- God and the two of us. I felt so bad for him dressed all in black because that day was SCORCHING HOT!!!!!!! But he dealt with it and did a wonderful ceremony for us.
Choice of readings was very important to us, as is our faith. We wanted to include these two beautiful passages from the gospel to reflect what this day was about and what is truly important to us. My step-dad and DH's father read the scripture.
1 John 4:7-12 (God's love and ours)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[a] into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.
Whitehall Jewelers- Exton, PA location A for ring quality & service
DH & I went to pick out our bands together. Our only ideas going in were that we didn’t want any gold, DH wanted comfort fit, and I wanted a platinum band that was thin enough to match the thinness of my Tiffany solitaire e-ring. The woman who helped us was very pleasant. You know jewelry stores, some people can come off as a little phony or pushy. They weren’t too bad about this her though. She showed us a variety of rings, and DH ended up with a white gold 6.5mm comfort fit (update: he lost it in the ocean while on vacation this summer, so I'll be buying him a new and different one since it had a lot of scratches on it already anyways since DH never took it off) and I ended up with a thin platinum band with diamonds going half way around. We’re both very pleased! We didn’t even realize that we went when diamond was the stone of the month, and there was also a sale going on, so that was a nice perk too! The service was nice and attentive. We ended up getting our rings engraved with our initials and date as well.
Blue Daisy Wedding A+
I had always felt that the photographer is probably one of the most important vendors… the person who captures the highlights and emotion of your day for you to look back on for years and years to come. I knew that I wanted someone who had a very unique, creative vision, and didn’t just capture your standard wedding shots. Details, colors, and emotion…I wanted all of that to pop in our pictures! Bonnie had actually pointed out to me another bride’s proofs who married at the OFC. This bride, Imavolio, had used Marianne from Blue Daisy Weddings for photography. I fell in love with those beautiful pictures, and Mariann’s photojournalistic style. Thankfully, when I contacted her, she was still available for my date and I booked her right away. She was very helpful even in the process building up to our wedding. I was clueless about how the timeline should unfold day-of, and Mariann had some very helpful suggestions for me. She is great about returning emails/phone in a timely fashion as well. She also sent us a form about a month before the wedding so that she would know our timeline, who everyone is, must take/formal pics, things to be aware of, etc.
Day of, Mariann and Amy arrived right on time and started snapping away- photos of my dress and all of the details. Then we had Amy go take pictures of the guys getting ready and their formal shots outside around Danfords. Those shots came out great. Mariann stayed with us and got great getting-ready pics and formal shots of us before we left for the OFC. They were very unobtrusive, and I rarely remember being aware of them taking pictures during the ceremony/wedding, but wow...they captured all of those special moments! She worked within our schedules, energy/comfort level, etc. My only minor disappointment is that we forgot some pictures, like a close-up portrait of me once I finished getting ready, one of my DH, formal shot of me and DH with both sets of parents, me and DH’s with both of our families together, and some other minor details. It seems like the “in-the-moment,” “capturing real time” photos are Mariann’s specialty, so if you’re looking for more traditional or formal portraits, make sure you have that clearly outlined ahead of time. Which makes sense…most artists work best without any constraints or instruction. Ultimately, even the posed pictures came out very nice though. (TIP: Bring a copy of your list of formal shots with you and have someone you trust hold on to it. You totally forget in the moment!!! And can you feasibly expect your photographer to remember which family members you said you wanted formal shots of in the moment?). In the grand scheme, the pictures we did get really make those few missed shots incidental! Mariann is one of my favorite vendors, if not THE favorite!!!! I HIGHLY recommend her and Amy for their incredible work. I feel so blessed that I have these gorgeous pictures to look back on forever!
We chose collection 3, which included two photographers for 9 hours (Amy, her second photographer, was there for our wedding and we are so thankful, because she captured all of those spontaneous moments between formal shots. We love those!!) , unlimited number of photos taken (we had 1000+), a minimum of 600 images as 4x6 unmarked paper proofs (we got our proofs on 9/26, so excited! They came in a beautiful photo box personalized with our picture, wrapped in tissue of our colors, along with a small photo book of glossy prints of highlights of our day...such nice touches!!!) and the same images as small and large file high resolution pics on a DVD once you finish your album. This collection also includes a custom designed 10x10 album with 40 sides (20 pages). Approximately 3-4 weeks after the wedding, an online private gallery was made available so friends and family can also view and even purchase the wedding images. One nice perk is that a few days after the event, she posts quite a few “teaser pics” on her blog. After seeing those, we were so relieved and eager to see the rest of our proofs! Mariann also designed our thank you card, which we are very pleased with!!! She has been incredible to work with, such a pleasure throughout the entire planning process. Always getting back to me very quickly if I have any questions at all, always giving very helpful suggestions, etc. And her work...well it speaks for itself!!!!! Beautiful. She was so awesome and incredibly patient with me during the album planning process. I emailed her 100-110 picture numbers and she got back to me in about 2 weeks with the first version of the layouts. Now I tend to be very anal retentive about layouts- its an obsessive thing where I need everything to be in order, symmetrical, even visually, etc. I know, PITA right? But she did such a great job and then I just sent her all of my little nit-picky changes until we got it all right, within about a month.
TIP: My two biggest bits of advice here are when narrowing down photos, its easy to get overwhelmed. Make a yes, no, and maybe pile. Then break down the pics into categories by choosing your favorites for each part of the day- getting ready (guys, girls, hair, makeup, etc.), details (jewelry, dress, rings, invites, flowers, program, invite, etc), ceremony (ring exchange, vows, kiss, etc.), CH (food?, guests, band?, etc), reception (entrance, first dance, father daughter, son mother, cake, food, guests, CPs, place cards, venue inside and out, etc), formal family portraits, bride and groom portraits.......you get the point. Try to tell the story of your day through the pics. And YES, it IS okay to ask for changes until you're absolutely 100% in love with it. It's the album you'll have forever, so love it! I felt bad at first too, but I think most couples make changes and most photographers expect it.
Here is our slideshow that Mariann made for us
Here is the Thank You card she designed for us
Below are just SOME of our favorite pics (besides the tons all over this bio!)
First seeing each other, SO glad we waited, even if we lost the opportunity for more pics!
He said he was starting to tear up here
Arguably our fav
Verbena Designs A+
We couldn’t decide if we even wanted floral CPs, so we waited a while to meet with any flower vendors. I know some ppl feel like floral CPs are a must, but we toyed with the idea of beachy CPs that guests could take home and that would last, instead of flowers that die in a few days. We ended up meeting with Jen from Verbena, the only flower vendor we met with (I got quotes from others, but no one could match Verbena’s prices) who was so nice and helpful and worked with us in our price-range. Flowers are the one area that I was told by my sister and other brides that they regretted spending too much money on. The wonderful thing about Verbena is that I truly think that you get the most for your money. We ended up getting small low CPs too, since the price was comparable between doing that or a DIY project. I am so glad we ended up doing those because they ended up being so pretty. I don’t know very much about flowers at all, but I knew that I loved hydrangeas and wanted blue and ivory flowers with brown touches (like brown bear grass) and Jen, with her artistic vision, ran with my ideas and made everything so beautiful.
TIP: Jen suggested using hydrangeas in the CPs but not in the bo-k since they do not typically hold up well in heat. Remember that ladies! If you are having them in your bo-k, they will need a built in water source but I didn’t want to risk them wilting or my bouquet being too heavy.
Day of, when our flowers arrived at the hotel, I was so incredibly pleased with everything!!!!! My bo-k was STUNNING, very big and lush!!!! Ultimately, I am happy with the size, even though it was a bit heavy for me (I mentioned to them before hand I needed a sort of light bo-k), because I saw what it looked like when I was holding a BM bo-k in some pictures and it looked funny for me to be holding a small bo-k. The BM bo-ks were gorgeous too, but a tad smaller than expected. Then again, I have no idea how big they are supposed to be, so who knows. Overall, I could not be happier with Jen’s work and I would highly highly recommend working with her!!!
YAY! The KNOT MAG also included my bouquet in their Spring/Summer 08 issue!
Sand ceremony items
Fantasy Glass Works
I bought a 31 oz Apothecary Jar engraved with our names, date, and an image of entwined rings. You can pick from a variety of images that might fit your theme, diff fonts, and write whatever you want, up to 4 lines. They did a great job and it shipped fast!
Daisy Days Vials and Sand
We bought a set of 3 tall pouring cylinders, as well as our blue and brown sand from this website. Very happy with products. Quick and easy purchase and shipping.
The brown sand was purchased from Colored Play Sand and the one smaller pouring cylinder for DS’s brown sand was an extra that I had sitting around but never used, from a set of votive candle holders. Hey, ya gotta be creative sometimes! Previously bought from Potterybarn website.
We really wanted to find a special way to incorporate DS into our ceremony, other than the sand ceremony. We wanted him to have some sort of keepsake, but I was clueless. Thanks to leafgirl’s suggestion, I started to search for what she was describing and I found the family medallion. Brilliant Sterling Silver filagree-style oval pendant measures 3/4" x 5/8" with three equally merged circles. Two circles represent the marriage union while the third symbolizes the importance of children within the family. Includes matching 18" chain, photo-display case and "Celebrating the New Family", resources for presenting the Family Medallion pendant during the wedding ceremony. I can not express to you just how special DS felt to be included in this way and then how cool he felt showing it off to everyone after the ceremony. He wore it for days after the ceremony and kept pulling it out of his shirt to show it off because he was so proud. He has it now as a keepsake. I highly recommend using the medallion as a special way to incorporate any children you have going into a marriage.
I give me an A+!
I need to give a big thank you to the very sweet Ryan AKA Diva7531 for making our monogram, which I used, on the front of these programs (as well as with my wish jars, menus, etc). She has such a knack for creating monograms! She incorporated butterflies into ours and it was such a nice touch, since they have a very special meaning to me. I can’t remember exactly where I got the program template from but it was a pretty plain booklet template and then I used other LIW girls examples of what they included in theirs and went from there. I used 8X10 cardstock from Office Depot, but they have it really anywhere.
I happened to see that the knot had a sale on sandalwood fans. It was a very last minute decision to order them to lay out sporadically on some of the chairs for the women at our outdoor ceremony. We figured we had a pretty good chance for a very warm day and it would be a cute and refreshing touch. I am so glad we bought these, because they were a hit. The kids loved playing with them and I saw most of the women hang on to them and use them throughout the night.
Cocktail hour food
The Old Field Club A+
Everyone raved about the hor d’ouvres!!!!!! Especially the bacon wrapped scallops.
Cocktail hour singer
Ed Travers A+ for CH
I heard about Ed Travers through djchic Denise’s (LIW BnBdreamin) bio on the knot. When I heard that his specialty is Jimmy Buffett covers, I knew I had to look into it. My father, who passed away, was the biggest “Parrot head.” He loved Buffett so much, and now those songs remind me of dad and some really great memories. I thought it would be a way of kind of dedicating the cocktail hour to my dad in a personal way. So I contacted Ed via email, told him the background story, and he was available and very touched by our story, so we were glad to be able to book him. I was not sure what I was going to do for ceremony music, so I asked him about doing that as well. I informed him of choices for the ceremony songs:
BP processional- steal drum music
My entrance- Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love”
Sand ceremony- Buffett’s “Pirate Looks at Forty” (instrumental)
Recessional- James Taylor’s “How Sweet It Is.”
We spoke a few times on the phone (probably the best way of getting in touch with him because he is a busyyyy guy), and then finalized about a week before the big day, which is when he mentioned briefly something about an ipod. I was kinda confused because I thought he was going to be singing those songs, not using an ipod to just play clips of the ceremony songs. I was disappointed but didn’t say anything, because what could I do at this point. He said he uses the clips of the real songs instead of playing because there is only enough time for very short clips (maybe 30 secs) and for the guests to get the full feel of the song, you need the actual song and instrumental. So whatever, we went along with it. It wasn’t ideal, but no guests even remembered or cared. Him playing the guitar and singing during the CH, however, was a big hit! He was awesome, great singer, funny, incorporating spontaneous things he saw going on with guests into the Buffett songs. I had my guests telling me that they felt like they were on an island getaway. I really wish we had more of an opportunity to listen to him. We missed basically all of our CH taking pictures, but we did catch him for a few minutes at the end and he played us like our own personal concert on the deck and it was a really special private moment for me and DH. I do wish he had set up closer to the door by the indoor CH area. Because it was SO SCORCHING that day, a lot of the guests wanted to be right inside the door to cool off, but he had already set up before the ceremony half way down the deck. This made it hard for those inside to hear him and he ended up being out there with very few people at first. Thankfully, it continued to cool of as the day went on and more and more people went out to listen to him. Anyhow (I know I have been saying this for everyone but its true!), I highly highly recommend him for any event!!!!!!!!
The Old Field B for food, A+ for table & bar service
Through the evening, the Maitre’D Tom would kind of guide us by giving us updates when needed as to what was coming up next, where we needed to be, kept our glasses of wine full, etc. He made everything run smoothly.
The service was perfect! The food was...just good. Though we did receive a few compliments on it. The only thing, which I actually read in another bride’s review, was that the Chicken Portabella is a bit salty, which is sort of true. I didn’t really enjoy mine too much. We chose it because it seemed the safe choice for poultry for majority of the guests. I would suggest that others planning to marry there maybe try another dish for your poultry.
Anthony Falco from Elite Sounds DJ A+
All I can say is class act! And they know how to keep the party going. This is a vendor you don’t hear very much about on LIW, but you really should…I hope to spread the word bc they’re great! Planning from PA, we really were just going by recommendations. Upon asking Ed Travers for DJ recommendations, he highly suggested Anthony from Elite Sounds, so I contacted him and he seemed very friendly and helpful. He emailed our contract, music suggestions, and other forms for us to fill out for him to know exactly what we wanted/timeline, etc. They offer flexible plans for any budget. They also offer photo & video packages. They are actually now located in Sayville, NY with Jo-Art Photography.
Up until the big day and even on the big day, I would change my mind about things (changing certain songs, nixing the garter/bo-k toss or adding the anniversary dance) and he had no problem adjusting things. He is very flexible, and has such a huge selection of songs that it wasn’t a problem to change things up. I have been to far too many weddings with cheesy DJs, but like I said, Anthony and Chris are a class act, and even with my very small wedding of about 50 people, managed to keep the party going. They are professional and still fun and friendly on the mic. And they played a nice variety from what I listed for them, and also took special requests. Highly recommend!
BP Entrance- Paul McCartney’s “Dance Tonight”
Our Entrance- Hellogoodbye’s “Oh, It Is Love”
First Dance- EastMountainSouth’s “So Are You To Me”
Cake cutting- The Archies’ “Sugar Sugar”
Bride/Grandfather- Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World”
Groom/Mother- LeeAnn Womack’s “Hope You Dance”
Bro In Law dances- Cotton Eye Joe & (the new fam fav) Copperhead Road
Anniversary Dance- Clint Black’s “Something That We Do
Last Dance- Michael Buble’s “Save The Last Dance For Me”
Audrey’s Bakery A+
We met with Tom and picked their “Dreams” design in a blue and brown 3 tier cake. We were so thrilled with how it turned out. It was not only beautiful and exactly what we were looking for, but it tasted so delicious. We got so many compliments on it! It was vanilla cake with strawberry fruit and chocolate mousse filling with butter cream icing and a fondant bow topper. We had the top tier made with chocolate cake and the same fillings. We froze it while were on our honeymoon and then ate it when we got back, and that was amazing too. Once again, highly recommend!
Butterfly Seed Paper from Swallowtail Farms A+ service and product
Butterflies are special to me because they have kind of represented the memory of my father who passed in 04. I was so happy to come across plantable seed paper shaped like butterflies and decided that would be perfect in blue plantable paper and brown ribbon (comes in many other colors). They came with a small strip of directions, which I attached to the back of my own message I typed up and included inside the vellum envelope. This was what I put:
"Love is in bloom! (this was a line that came from our invitations)
Butterflies symbolize hope. They also hold a special meaning to us as they are representative of the memory of my father, Tom ____.
Plant this seed paper both in his memory, and to celebrate our love and new beginnings. Watch wildflowers bloom as they attract butterflies to your garden. Thank you for sharing this important day with us. Enjoy your blooming memento of this special day!"
It sounds kinda cheesy, but it is genuinely meaningful for us. I also adjusted these by the thick brown satin ribbon they were sent with which frayed way too easily.
Sand dollar cookies from Lulus Cookies A+ for service and taste
We felt that we wanted to give our guests a little something more and who doesn’t love an edible favor, so I remembered sand dollar cookies I had seen online, which went perfectly with our beachy theme. I ordered packs of 2, plain (they make zesty lemon too), not dipped in white chocolate (I didn’t want to risk it in the August heat). For a small charge, you can have them attach a personalization card with your names, date, and another cute touch we loved- the Legend of the Sand dollar.
“Upon this off shaped seashell a legend is told
About the life of Jesus the wondrous tale of old.
The center marking plainly show the well-known Guiding Star
That led to tiny Bethlehem the Wise Men from afar.
The Christmas flower, Poinsettia, for His Nativity
The Resurrection too is marked the Easter Lily, see.
Five wounds were suffered by our Lord from nails and Roman's spear.
When He died for on the Cross the wounds show plainly here.
Within the shell, should it be broken five Doves of Peace are found.
To emphasize the legend so may peace & love abound."
Our faith is very important to us as you can tell from our story of how we met, so we knew this was so perfect for us and our guests! I got a sampler before ordering, YUM!!! Especially the ones with white chocolate.
I give myself A+ on these too!
I used ivory cardstock for these too (2 menus per each 8 x10 sheet), our monogram, and the same fonts as my programs.
Jimmy Buffett Table numbers
We did names of Jimmy Buffett songs in memory of my dad. It is a theme that we used throughout the wedding as you can probably tells. We used the ivory cardstock and the same fonts again. I designed the look and my cousin (a graphic designer) made them for me. Then we frame\d them in blue frames I found at Target that were perfect.
1- California Promises
3- One Particular Harbour
4- Coast of Carolina
5- Stars on the Water
6- Beach House on the Moon
I DO letters
All materials- letters, acrylic paints, swarovski crystals, gem tac- from Michaels.
All materials- plain white box, acrylic paint, shells, ribbon- from Michaels.
Message in a bottle place cards
I saw a picture of a similar idea on the knot and fell in love with it. If you remember DH’s proposal to me, he had a proposal made into a message in a bottle for me, in a case as a keepsake. Using messages in a bottle for the place cards was different and totally fitting given our theme. I typed up a “thank you” on blue parchment (from Office Depot) inside. We ordered the bottles online. The sand, small shells, and raffia is from Michaels. The sand dollar labels are from the Stationary Studio. We bought blue and tan wood tables from the Christmas Tree Shoppe that were shaped like a seashell and fishy and we placed the bottles on there. I wasn’t happy with the flower petals being on there too. I think it was too much but I forgot to tell the florist to put them instead on the entrance table. Oh well!
and the "thank you" message in the bottle
Make a Wish/Take a Wish Jars
I found a picture of a similar idea on the knot for this one as well. I placed beachy touches on the bottom of two large apothecary jars and labeled them “Make a Wish” and “Take a Wish.” I printed and cut out small business card size pieces of paper that were blank on one side and had our monogram printed on the other and I left those for people to fill out wishes and put in one jar. For the other, I printed out a bunch of inspirational quotes, with our monogram on the other side, and put those in the other jar for people to take. I also then printed out a cute little explanation of what guests should do. Unfortunately, most of them still didn’t get it or just passed by, but at least it looked cute!
Memory Candle for my dad
I bought a tall pillar candle, vellum paper, and ribbon that matches our colors all at Michaels. Then I scanned a pic I love of my dad and made it sepia tone, typed up a little something in Word, added the pic and printed in landscape. Easy as pie. Besides my little confusion about how to get the vellum to stick to itself (thx girls, double sided scrapbooking tape works like a charm). Then I used just a glue gun for the ribbon and put two little pins through the back to hold the vellum and ribbon together and in place. I didn't want to do dates under his picture or do a tear jerker poem...I didn't want it to be morbid (not that its bad if any of you did that, its just my preference not to), just an acknowledgment that we will be thinking of him and know he'll be with us on that day.
Leslie from Travel Solutions by Marcia A+
Caneel Bay Resort in St. Johns, USVI A+++++++
If you go through Travel Solutions, make sure you mention you’re a LI bride, because there’s a discount. Our TA, Leslie Daniels, was so incredibly personable, informative, and patient throughout our very drawn out HM search! She was always VERY good about getting right back to us with a ton of info. We had a lot of criteria for the kind of place we wanted to HM- not a hotel (more of the separate villa feel), beachfront, very private, quiet, romantic, beautiful beaches, wheelchair accessibility, ease of getting around, etc. At first, we looked into Cap Juluca in Anguilla, where my sister and her DH went on their HM. BTW- she highly recommends it there!!!! We were literally right about to complete our travel plans for Anguilla when we got more information regarding the not so wheelchair-friendly set-up and we decided it just wasn’t for us. With Leslie’s help, we then looked into Caneel Bay (which I had come across online before as well), which seemed to be the PERFECT fit! Leslie worked with the resort to make sure everything would be totally set up for us- made sure they would guarantee us an accessible room, have a beach wheelchair available, and so many other important details that made our travels run exceptionally smooth!!!! At first we were a little confused because we didn’t hear anything from her after we booked, though we thought she said she usually checks in when people arrive at their destination to make sure everything went according to plan and so on. When the company did contact us later regarding our meal plan, the owner called. None of this was not a big deal by any means, because everything went perfectly. Come to find out a few months after the wedding, Leslie emailed explaining that she had actually been sick and was unavailable, so we now understand why we didn't hear from her. Anyways, we are very happy that we had Leslie to help us navigate through all of our questions/concerns and to help us find exactly what we were looking for. She went above and beyond and our HM was one of the best experiences ever!!
As for the HM…
I'm already thinking about when we can plan to go back! It was AMAAAAZING. This is LONG (sorry) but hopefully it will help someone who is still trying to choose a honeymoon location, ppl looking to plan a vacation in general (or even other people who have mobility issues and are looking for an accessible and beautiful vaca spot)!
Caneel Bay Resort in St. Johns (www.caneelbay.com) is one of the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts. If you are looking for absolute seclusion and relaxation surrounded by pristine beaches, you have to visit Caneel!! The resort is in the middle of a National Park and Forest, which is gorgeous. During our stay, we saw all different types of birds, as well as deer, donkeys, etc.
It was so hot when we arrived at the St. Thomas airport which was so small and packed, that after the long travel I was a bit irritated, but we were greeted with such a warm reception that my mood and attitude quickly shifted! The airport lounge for
Caneel Bay resort's guest reception area was by far the nicest out of them all. It was cool and had complimentary drinks and treats available. The employees were incredibly hospitable to us. They actually had a wheelchair waiting at the airport for us just in case, though we didn’t need it because we checked my lightweight one from home as baggage. We only had to wait about a half hour before we were to leave for the ferry, so we passed the time with a trip to the airport liquor store. The liquor there is super cheap, so I recommend stocking up there before heading to your resort. We picked up some Rum Punch and wine. Then our driver, who was so cool and friendly, drove us in nice van to the ferry. They drive on the left side of the road, which was screwing with our heads the whole time! Our driver chatted with us the whole way, telling us about himself and the area. Downtown St. Thomas, right by the ferry, is amazing for shopping. It was flooded with tourists.
The whole crew on Caneel’s ferry (Caneel Bay Mary II) was amazing. The captain, the crew- especially Tilbert, and Tasia the hostess were all incredibly friendly and helpful in terms of telling us about what St. Johns and Caneel had to offer. They provided complimentary drinks, so we enjoyed a couple glasses of fresh Rum Punch. The ferry ride was about a twenty minutes long, flew by, and we so enjoyed ourselves by taking in the gorgeous island views. We passed by many beautiful hillside mansions as well as ruins where they used to trade goods from years and years ago. We knew then that we would want to try to charter a private boat during our stay to really take it all in.
Upon arrival to Caneel, we were greeted with moist towelettes and introductions to three of the resort managers, all of which were incredibly nice- one of which was Matthew (the front desk manager) who graciously took us on a brief tour of the resort on one of the carts and we passed by the Sugar Mill ruins, Equator restaurant, bar, fitness center, pool, tennis court/massage area, the “Self Centre,” and the rest of the stunning grounds. Matthew went so out of his way, neither one of us has ever received that warm of a reception before. He brought us (and the bell hops brought our bags) right to our room, #25 which is a beachfront room on Caneel beach with an accessible side entrance to the porch and a few front steps down onto Caneel beach. We were so excited as he showed us in. The room was immaculate and decorated with modern Caribbean touches. The ceiling is vaulted and the remote air conditioner is so refreshing when entering from the island heat. There was a complimentary bottle of champagne and Cruzan rum for us, as well as other beverages and a whole stocked bar (of course, that's not complimentary).
Our cleaning lady, Paulette, was such a sweetheart! We can't say enough about her. She was notified before hand that I had mobility issues and made sure to rearrange the furniture for us to allow for plenty of wide-open room space. She also brought in a shower chair for me. She said she has been here for 33 years, because “she loves her guests, and her guests love her.” She told us to make ourselves at home and wants all her guests to feel as if they are surrounded by family. That is exactly how we felt. She came and chatted with us every day, cleaned everything in ways to make it easier for me to get around, and before we left she came to give us huge hugs and a beautiful large sea shell to remember her by. Each night around 7 or 8pm, there is also turn down service. A very sweet woman turns the bed down and lays out our breakfast/lunch menu for the next day, as well as our favorite touch- a quote on a piece of paper with a beautiful sea shell. We loved collecting the shells every night. I think the lady must have been irritated by the end of the week, because we started putting the service tag on the door but only to get the quote and shell from her and not to have her do turndown service, hehe. Overall, all of the employees seem so willing to make any reasonable accommodation that they can to enhance your stay.
As far as food, overall we were not very impressed…then again, we so did not go there for food! For breakfast, we would fill out what we wanted for the next morning and leave it out on our door at night. This is a “breakfast basket” option, where a basket is delivered to you in the morning, at a time you specify, and you can set it up out on your porch or do a breakfast in bed. We enjoyed all of the breakfast choices. They sometimes include front pages from the New York Times in the basket as well. There was a free continental breakfast option near the front desk, but we were never up early enough to take advantage of it. For lunch, there is also an option of filling out what you want for the next day and leaving it out on your door at night. It is the “picnic lunch” option. Then you pick up your coolers of food up at the front desk and can eat it anywhere on the resort. There were only four choices for picnic lunches, none of which were very good at all, so we stopped doing that after a day or two. Instead, we started eating at the Grille. This is the most casual restaurant on the resort. It is located right at the front entrance of the resort, next to the bar. It requires no reservations and most people come in their beach cover-ups. The food overall was so so, and by the end of our stay we started to get so tired of it! Thankfully, the day before we left, they changed up the menu so we got to enjoy some new options and they were the best yet! Overall, there is not much of a selection and we found that to get anything decent you have to order something pretty standard, something you know can’t be messed up (I would usually get the tomato, buffalo mozzarella and basil sandwich and Nate the BLT or paninis). For dinner, we started by ordering room service, which…surprise…comes from the Grille. Again, we were not very impressed. The wait is usually an hour for food to arrive as well. On our first night, the woman who delivered gave us her best wishes and left us with some marriage advice- “You take the good and you take the bad. You put them together and you make it work.” Simple, but we appreciated it. It seems that for everything, the island natives have a piece of wisdom to share. We made reservations one night to eat inside of the Sugar Mill Ruins at the Equator Restaurant. There is a set up fee, but it was worth it for the private, romantic atmosphere. The food, however, was disappointing again. Thankfully, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner from start to finish at the most formal restaurant at the resort, the Turtle Bay Estate House (the accessible entrance is around the back of the restaurant). It was perfect! Prices for everything on the resort are exorbitant. Though once we got there and saw how beautiful it was, we really didn’t care and just enjoyed ourselves to the fullest.
Our only minor annoyances during our stay, which really didn’t even bother us that much and pale in comparison to the absolute beauty of this island, are the sand gnats ("no-see-ums") that come out at 5pm like clockwork, though Matthew did warn us and they provide bug spray. They sting when they bite and leave little welts, which itch like hell. We also were greeted with a very large cockroach during our first night; thankfully again they provide a huge can of raid. And neither spray has that rancid chemically scent any more so we weren’t bothered to use a bunch of it. On day 3, we asked the concierge/activities desk how much it would cost to charter a private boat and without much thought or looking into anything, she quickly said it would be around $500. We thought that was ridiculous and let it be. On day 6, I thought we should specify exactly what type of boat and how long we would want to charter the boat for, for a more accurate quote. We contacted the concierge/activities desk to arrange for a private powerboat charter for two hours around St. Johns. They quoted $265 and $85 for a captain, which was more reasonable and they said that they would leave us a confirmation note on our door, but they never did. The next day we contacted them, but they said that no plans were made but that they would check into it and to call back, which we did for a third time later in the day. Again, no one knew anything about it and they said to check in later. We went personally to the desk and the woman told us she called all around and didn’t find anything. At that point, we were so over it anyway. Also, the “Self Centre,” the mind body spirit center, was not wheelchair accessible. So, although I was incredibly excited and interested in checking out some of the sessions and activities, I wasn’t able to. It seemed ironic to me that of all of the places, this center wasn’t welcoming to all guests. A friend of mine who honeymooned there and whose husband has a disability as well let me know when they went the people from the "Self Centre" came to their room to accommodate them. I feel so stupid that I didn't think to ask them to do this for us. Lastly, we were honeymooners staying on Caneel beach (because it has accessible rooms on either end- 14, 25, 26, 29), which is beautiful but is the busiest beach among the six at Caneel. It is one of the only beaches where children under twelve are welcome, as well as guests visiting the beach from off of the resort. It is also the location for water sport activities, making it more crowded even in off-season. I would suggest that honeymooners try to request a quieter place on more secluded adult beach such as Scott beach (the rooms on Scott are called premium beachfront, but to be honest I think our room, plain beachfront, offers much more for the price). Of course, the great thing is that no matter where you stay on the resort, you always have the option of exploring different beaches and finding which one you like best.
There are no phones in rooms, though they’re conveniently located around the island and near the front desk. Wi-fi is available but only on Turtle Beach and near the front desk. There is also Internet café next to the front desk and activities desk. Not that we should be worried about that though (I did sneak on a few times, hehe).
We called the front desk on day 2 to remind them that our TA told us a beach wheelchair would be available and sure enough, about ten minutes later, we had one on our front porch. It rides much smoother over some of the paths than our lightweight regular chair does. The whole resort has paved roads, paved paths or pretty solid dirt/sand paths making it easy to get around. They also have transportation circle the main roads on the resort to take you where you want to go.
We loved Scott beach, as it is quiet and secluded. In fact, there were several times that on this nice sized beach, it was just us. And even at its most crowded while we were there, there was maybe 15 other people around. The sand on all of the beaches is almost white and the water is the brightest aqua blue I have seen and very calm. So calm that this was the first time in over a decade that I have able to get in and swim in the ocean, a feeling I can’t explain!!!! We picked up our snorkeling gear for free (all water sport activities and equipment are free for guests) and snorkeled every day. We saw huge schools of minos, small fish, turtles, stingrays, barracudas, etc. We had an almost close encounter with a barracuda and then sting rays, not cool for my first time in the ocean in way too long. One great perk is that the nicest guy drives around all the beaches fairly often throughout the day offering cool drinks (alcoholic and non) to people on the beach. We made friends with him fast. Also, our favorite drink at the bar by the Grille is definitely the St. Johns sunset (Coconut Rum, cranberry juice, orange and then apple to make it look like a sunset). Mmmmmm!
As far as attire, close to the front desk/bar/gift shop/Grille area, and any beach area women and men are okay being casual- women should be wearing cover-ups over bathing suits and men need shirts. During evening hours, women are okay in appropriate evening attire and men in Bermuda shorts and collared shirts, unless you are eating at the Turtle Bay Estate house, where men are required to wear long pants.
The weather during our first day was perfect. On day 2, we had a bit of wind and rain after a morning of sun, due to the nearby hurricane.Luckily the hurricane completely missed us. Day 3 was just about the same as day 2. Day 4 was SCORCHING!!! Lying out on the beach, I thought my skin was melting. Day 5 was partly sunny, still an okay beach day. Day 6 was sunny with quick squalls of rain, one hit us on our leisurely, romantic stroll home from dinner, and we got soaked! Day 7 was sunny and perfect! Our last day, traveling out, was rainy. Which was good, so we didn't feel like we were completely missing out.
The resort seems ideal for families, honeymooners/couples (we saw two weddings there during our stay), and people with any type of mobility issue. It is ideal for honeymooners and couples because there are designated adult beaches that offer seclusion and quiet, but it if also ideal for families and children because Caneel beach is full of activities and welcomes children under 12. We plan to try to go back again some day! Hopefully we can bring some family next time, since it is a kid friendly place too.
Beyond how we chose to spend our time there, which was essentially enjoying the beach all day, there are so many other things to do- scuba, sailboats, kayaks, tennis, pool, massage, movie presentations, visit St. Thomas (Caneel's ferry goes back and forth between St. Johns and Thomas all day long), sailing trips, cocktail cruises, tours of St. John, watercolor lessons, fishing/boat charter, self drive powerboat rentals, jeep rentals, babysitting & children’s program, self centre programs (provides meditation, yoga, Pilates, T’ai Chi, Jing Energy Flow Therapy and wellness consulting services), etc......
Many more HM pics in album...
THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO CHECK OUT MY REVIEW. GOD BLESS ANYONE WHO MADE IT ALL THE WAY THROUGH! FM me w/ any questions. Best wishes to all future brides!!!
Message edited 1/6/2010 12:14:10 PM.