As you may already know, I am reflecting back on our weddings from this year. This week I am highlighting Lauren and Matt's wedding! Lauren was our "June bride" and I loved working with her and her entire family. Lauren and Matt are from the Pennsylvania suburbs, but moved to Boston after they graduated from Penn State University. So, for the planning, I mainly worked with Lauren's mom. During the planning process I got to know the entire Mills family and absolutely loved working with them.
Lauren is one of seven children-- yes I said seven! All five of her sisters served as bridesmaids and her brother was a groomsman. The Mills live on a non-functioning farm in West Chester. Growing up, the Mills' children each had their own cow to take care of. Their parents believed that by taking care of a cow they were learn how to be more responsible. Lauren's cow, Bessie, was a guest at the wedding. You can bet she was a big hit!
When Lauren and Matt got engaged, Lauren’s parents transformed their barn that was being used as storage. They wanted the barn to be a fully functioning event venue and added electricity, a workspace for cooking, new floors, and new stone and lighting. Lauren’s parents hope to host their other six children’s weddings here in the future.
The wedding took place on Saturday, June 18th and 165 guests attended. A lot of the guests were college friends from high school and Penn State. Lauren and Matt were high school sweethearts at then attended college at PSU together. They were both stand out cross country runners while at PSU.
The ceremony took place outside on the property, then guests moved to the upstairs of the barn for cocktail hour. After cocktail hour they were seated downstairs and sat at long farm tables, surrounded by lanterns.
Lauren and Matt describe their wedding as laid back, colorful, and happy.
Their Proposal Story: Matt took Lauren out to a fancy dinner for their 5th year anniversary of dating. The went for a walk beforehand, gave Lauren a letter he wrote, and got down on one knee.
Setting up and transforming this venue was truly a labor of love. But the end result was definitely worth it. Some of my favorite details were the table numbers that were wine bottles, and the ceremony programs that doubled as fans. There was definitely a sense of family throughout the day, since the couple said their vows in a place that was very familiar to them.
Ceremony & Reception Venue: Private residence, West Chester, PA
Officiant: Pastor Steve Godsall-Myers
Day of Coordinator: Table 1 Events
Photography: Pete Lounsbury Photography
Catering: New Street Catering
Florist: Flowers by Mary Elizabeth
DJ: DJ Johnny Johnson
Hair & Makeup: Avante Salon
Wedding Dress: Lovely Bride
Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff
Rings: James Allen
Click here to see more pictures from Lauren + Matt's big day
As the 2016 wedding season is winding down, I want to start highlighting all of the wonderful weddings we were a part of this year! First up is Steph and Matt! Steph called me about six weeks before her May wedding in a panic. She didn't realize that she would need a Day of Coordinator until all of the last minute items started piling on. She had been very organized during all of the planning, but was smart enough to realize she wanted to actually enjoy her wedding! After a long meeting at a local Starbucks, I was ready to start the 2016 wedding season! Steph and Matt were married at Aldan Union Church in front of 160 friends and family members.
May 21 was a very rainy day, but it didn't stop anyone from having a great time. The reception was held at The Old Mill in Rose Valley, PA which fit nicely into the couple's vintage, rustic theme. One of my favorite parts of this wedding was listening to the speeches and learning about how the couple met (high school sweethearts!) and how their relationship grew over the years.
Another favorite of mine was the unity rope the couple used during their ceremony. This was based on a Bible verse about a cord made from three strands woven together being stronger than any one strand alone. Matt attached three pieces of rope to a rustic-looking board, one representing himself, one representing Steph, and the third representing their faith and the role it will play in their marriage. The couple braided the cords together during the ceremony.
I love the little details that Steph incorporated into her wedding, like the Kate Spade theme ribbon for the bridesmaids bouquets. The navy blue fit nicely into the Spring season and made for gorgeous tablescapes during dinner.
The cake was truly a labor of love, made by Matt's cousin Rachel, who happened to be a professional baker. Rachel stayed with Matt's family the week of the wedding so she could bake the cake and assemble its tiers. The sugar flowers were handmade in Seattle, where she lives.
Steph and Matt decided to do a 'First Look' and take all of their bridal party portraits prior to their ceremony. They went to the Old Mill to take pictures around the grounds, then headed back for their ceremony. The rain held out for these pictures, so it was a good thing they got them in ahead of time! Ashlee Mintz Photography did an amazing job of capturing this couples love for each other. (As you can see by the smiles on their faces!)
When you spend the entire day with someone, you learn a lot about them. Especially if that day happens to be their wedding day! I learned that Matt's four brothers served as his groomsmen. Most of these guys were already married, so it was nice to see them give Matt some brotherly advice throughout the day.
Steph and Matt were so sweet and I truly enjoyed working with them! Best wishes to this happy couple, and thank you for starting off our 2016 wedding season in such a fabulous way!
Ceremony Venue: Aldan Union Church, Aldan, PA
Reception Venue: The Old Mill, Rose Valley, PA
Day of Coordinator: Table 1 Events
Photographer: Ashlee Mintz Photography
Florist: Amaranth Florist
Stationary: Wedding Paper Divas
Dress Shop: Bridal Sophisticate
Dress Designer: Essence of Australia
Caterer: Conner Catering
Cake: Rachel Skvaril, The Fondant Flinger
DJ: Kevin Henley
Videography: Seth Umbenhauer Wedding Cinematography
Hair & Makeup: Onde Spalon
Officiant: Mark Tindall
Bridesmaid Dresses: Alfred Angelo from Weddington Way
Guys Attire: Jos A. Bank
Click here see more pictures from Steph + Matt's big day!
Any wedding planner will tell you that need good entertainment, food, and photography. But there are some other key items to consider splurging on to make your wedding day beautiful. Throughout this blog I will explain what things to splurge on, and not splurge on, for your wedding.
If you have it in your budget, spend some money on additional floral arrangements, or larger floral arrangements. They really do make a difference. You should have florals at your ceremony location, on your tables at your reception venue, as well as scattered throughout your reception. Floral arrangements with a bold color, like red, really make your venue pop.
Hair and Makeup.
Please please please hire a professional to do your hair and makeup. Unless you are a hair or makeup professional, you should not be doing this yourself on your wedding day. You should look like the best possible version of yourself on your wedding day. A professional hair stylist will be able to give you the hairstyle you are looking for, while taking into account your veil or headpiece. A makeup artist will have expensive makeup and will transform you to look like the best version of yourself.
A Day of Coordinator.
Once you have your vendors booked, you need someone (not a guest of your wedding) to execute your timeline and oversee your event. A Day of Coordinator usually starts working with you 6-8 weeks before your event and costs a little less than a wedding planner. They take care of the little things you might not even think about. Who is going to bustle your dress? Who is going to load up your car with your gifts and decor at the end of the night?
A second shooter.
A second photographer is definitely worth the investment. Without one, you probably won't see pictures of the groom and groomsmen getting ready in the morning (something that is often forgotten about). A second shooter can get action shots of your guests, while the main photographer focuses on the couple.
Videography seems to be the first thing that gets cut from the wedding budget. But in a few years, you will be so happy that you have that video from your wedding! It's so fun to look back on your wedding to see how you looked, and to perhaps get another glimpse of a loved one who has since passed away.
Draping or lighting.
Depending on the set up of your reception venue, it might be a good idea to invest in draping or lighting. Some venues, like barns, really need some extra TLC. Drapery or string lights can really transform your room into an upscale event.
And here's a list of things to not spend your money on:
Here's the thing about your favors. No one will use them. And if you order 200 beer coozies for your guests, you're going to end up with 100 of them. No one remembers to bring them home at the end of the night. Instead, opt for a late night snack bar.
Wedding Signs and Decor.
While I believe you should have some decor, I see couples get really carried away here. I see brides spending hundreds of dollars on handmade Etsy products. While they are cute, they often go unnoticed. Try to DIY with the decor. Or, if you are not creative, purchase 1-2 items that will be displayed in an area where all of your guests can see.
I am not saying to not have cake! By all means- get a cake! It's one of my favorite parts of the wedding. But a 10-tier wedding cake will go to waste, unless you plan on having 500 guests at your wedding. A 2 or 3 tier cake will be more than enough. Only about half of your guests will actually eat your cake. And while I love tiny details, sometimes the cost of adding details to your cake isn't worth the cost. Instead, have your florist add a few flowers to your cake.
Expensive Bar Packages.
It's nice to provide alcohol for your guests. But the top-tier bar package is probably not worth it. You should provide beer, wine, and some liquor for your guests. You do not need to provide $100 bottle of wines. The standard bar package will be fine.