Real Long Island Wedding: Jackie and John
After getting engaged the big question of “When will the Big Day actually be” arose. People always laugh when I tell them how our wedding date of 2/20/10 came to be. John is a big sports guy. His favorite sports are Baseball and Football. He didn’t want to have the wedding on a day when one of his favorite sports might be played. He also didn’t want to be away on our Honeymoon during playoffs. He gave me 2 months to choose from since sports he watches aren’t on at that time, February or March. He also threw in “the girl gets to choose everything. Can I at least have a say in the date?” I didn’t give him a hard time about the date because we are both pretty hot blooded and we would never have been happy having a summer wedding. We enjoy the cold and the snow so a winter wedding just fit. We priced out some places and decided on a February 20th wedding. Many people would ask if we were worried about snow. To be honest, our ideal scenario was snow on the ground and flurries in the air. What gorgeous pictures that would have made. Snow covered tree limbs are so beautiful and delicate and in the background of photos it would look amazing. Flowerfield is simply a gorgeous hall inside and out. We knew we might not be able to take pictures outside but that didn’t matter because Flowerfield has amazing backdrops inside for photos. Their cocktail hour room is an atrium with trees, a bridge and a pond. It really gave us a variety of locations to take different style pictures.
Our color scheme was one of many challenges in wedding planning. It took me forever to decide on something. Although John was very involved in wedding planning, choosing a color scheme wasn’t really his cup of tea. I am a fan of darker bold colors and red is one of my favorite colors so the decision of red black and white seemed the perfect blend of winter meets classiness. Red can be a very dominant color so instead of doing red dresses I opted for black gowns and red sashes for the bridesmaids. I added pops of red throughout the décor by having red runners and chair sashes. I also added a small red rose to be tucked in each napkin. The accents gave the tables the right amount of color. I used the black and white in my invites along with the red. The girls bouquets were wrapped in red fabric and the MOH who wore a red gown, had her bouquet wrapped in black. The groomsmen wore all black. They had black shirts and black vests with red ties and handkerchiefs. They wore black Adidas sneakers that had red stripes to once again tie in our color scheme. I felt our color scheme worked out beautifully. The black against the red was a very pretty contrast.
We wanted our wedding to be “us” and if you know John then you know his obsession with the Buffalo Bills. Instead of using table 1, 2, 3 etc. we decided to name the tables after his favorite Bills players. John had a ball with this. He made up a list of his favorite players of all time. He searched for pictures and then created them on PowerPoint. He added a paragraph alongside the pictures explaining who the player was and why they mean so much to him. To accompany the table names we customized the place cards. John found jerseys on the internet and used them to display the table number. He even got as detailed as using the style jersey that player wore at the time of his career. He created these on PowerPoint as well. Our florist, Flower Michele, gave us the idea of displaying them in wheat grass. This effect would give the illusion of being placed on a football field. We loved this idea and it came out very cute on the day of.
I can’t take all the credit for our programs. A wedding we went to in 2007 inspired them. The groom at that wedding was into comics so their program was drawn up comic book style and they had assigned members of their bridal party to comic book characters. We absolutely loved this idea and wanted to somehow use the idea for our own programs. For the most unique part of our program, we contacted my Uncle who is an artist and asked him to draw each person in our bridal party as a cartoon caricature. These drawings came out phenomenal. Instead of listing everyone in the bridal party, we wrote blurbs about each member next to their cartoon face. These were such a hit. The bridal party loved them as well as the guests.
Since John and I are very much into pictures, we had decided to take pictures for 3 hours before our ceremony. This meant bringing our bridal party with us and having them stay occupied when our photographer was done with photos of them. Fast forward to our rehearsal at Flowerfield…the bridal party spots a large dining room like table in the Groom’s Lounge and begins scheming on who will bring what to play a good game of beer pong the day of the wedding. I thought it was a joke but sure enough one girl brought cups and another guy brought balls! While the photographer was busy with me and John, the bridal party started up a beer pong tournament! We actually thought this was hysterical and typical because that’s the kind of group they are. We made sure Jessie (our photographer) got some cool shots of the game. This was a fun behind the scenes part of our wedding that a lot of guests had no clue about. John had also brought a football and the guys were tossing that around as well. You can dress the men up in tuxedos but you can’t take the kid out of them!
One of the spotlights of a wedding is the first dance. In my eyes, it’s a very special moment. It’s really the first moment that you get to be together in front of everyone yet feeling like it is just you two in the room. John isn’t too keen on dancing. He isn’t comfortable dancing in front of people and having all eyes on him while he’s doing it. I didn’t want to just rock back and forth like Junior High days though. I proposed the idea of dance lessons to John. We contacted John from Ballroom Dance LI and he offered a free introductory lesson. Our first lesson was great! John did so well and didn’t feel intimidated at all. The instructor taught us some steps in a very relaxed easy way. John agreed to go back again. We purchased about 6 lessons and did them once a week. We had our first danced choreographed and we just loved it. There were dips spins and other fancy moves. Our last lesson was held at Flowerfield so we could get a feel for the dance floor and how it would be the day of. Taking lessons was one of our best decisions. We had so much fun learning and we still use the moves we learned while out at other weddings.
One of my favorite things about LIW was it steered me in the direction of some amazing vendors. The LIW vendors we used were LI Sound, Flower Michele, Lovin Oven Floral, Nicole D’Angio, Cruise Control Limo, Ballroom Dance LI, Patken, Pennylane Video, Dawn’s Honeymoon Specialists, Elsa and A Beautiful Affair of the Heart. Each one of these vendors did a fantastic job! Patken was better than I could ever have hoped for. We had Jessie and Nick and they are spilling over with talent. John and I are in love with our pictures. The creativity of the shots floored us. We have full intentions of using Patken whenever possible in the future. Our DJ was another vendor I cannot say enough about. LI Sound was nothing short of amazing. There wasn’t one moment of the wedding when our dance floor wasn’t packed. The DJ read the crowd and kept everyone on their feet. They also provided the uplighting for our room and it looked sick! After the wedding, compliments came pouring in for our DJ. Just the thought of what they did for us on our wedding day makes me giddy! My flowers were just what I had pictured/wanted. Both florists nailed my vision and were pleasures to work with. Nicole did a fabulous job. I really wanted my hair to look natural, romantic and soft and she did just that. I didn’t look like I had loads of hairspray in my hair and it didn’t feel “crunchy”. She was such a sweetheart and I would love to work with her again. Adam from Pennylane is in a league of his own. We haven’t received our video yet but I can tell it will already be amazing. He showed us some of what he filmed the day of the wedding and he is a genius. The anticipation for our video just kills us!
Planning a wedding is tough work. It takes a lot of time and energy and can be very draining on a relationship. Right in the very beginning of the process, John mentioned that we should write our own vows. I agreed but was a little nervous. I am 1000% thankful that we decided to go through with it. It was my favorite part of the ceremony because it was so special to be able to let everyone in on what it feels like for us to be in love with each other. It made the ceremony that much more special and personal. Our vows are something that we can forever look back on and we are having them added into our photo album as well. With all the stress and pressure that planning a wedding caused, it was nice, at the moment of our vows, to remember why we went through it and what brought us to that point.
Yes a wedding is like a big party but remember what the party is celebrating. It is celebrating your commitment, trust, loyalty and love for one another. Remember that you must still honor all of those in the days leading up to your big day. Also, no one will be as excited for your wedding as you are so don’t take it personal when people don’t want to hear about it. With that in mind, take their opinions and suggestions with a grain of salt because when the day is over its YOU and your FIANCE who need to be satisfied with the end result.