Hello, SMPers. Meet my new best friend. Her name is Jillian and she is awesome. Not only is she the genius behind the oh-so-lovely Pretty Little Weddings, but she also happens to be the breathtaking bride below who is about to fill your afternoon with gorgeous. I know. I heart her, too. And when you jump into all of the fabulous that is her big day, you won’t know what to do with yourselves. A sophisticated black and white color palette, a beyond stunning vineyard location, a plethora of beautiful DIY blooms and brilliant images captured by Aruna B. Photography have left me completely speechless. And don’t even get me started on that amazing necklace. Swoon. Worthy. I could spend all day wrapped up in this lovely… and I think I just might. Join me in the gallery for even more!
From the Bride (Pretty Little Weddings)… My husband, Michael, and I met nearly 12 years ago as teenagers. I’d just traded ballet training for karate lessons at the studio Michael attended. The attraction was hardly instantaneous — Michael teased me relentlessly and in return, I decided to hate him forever. But in time, Michael’s teasing turned to kindness and our relationship grew to friendship and, four years later, love. In the eight years Michael and I have dated on-and-off, we’ve been together and thousands of miles apart. We’ve endured intense love and unimaginable heartache. We even broke off a previous engagement. So when we finally decided to commit our lives to each other and we began to plan our wedding, our story seemed like the perfect theme. Because true, lasting love, isn’t perfect — it fails and falters and then it fights to get back on track. Our theme became “A Love Story,” and I, as a journalist, began to write it.
Our invitations were novellas I wrote and printed from our home computer. The details of our wedding reflected the scenes from that book: Our colors were black and white, in honor of the karate studio where we met; I carried only white orchids in my bouquet because when Michael proposed, he filled my apartment with those flowers; we served pizza as our main course in honor of our trips to NYC for the delicacy; and our tables were named for our most memorable moments, including “Orchids are Engaging” and “Moonpies Were Calling,” to symbolize Mike moving with me to the South.
With the exception of our bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages, my mother selected and arranged all of our flowers. She has an incredible eye for beauty, and an even bigger heart. When we realized we couldn’t afford the look we loved, my mother jumped into action, ordering more than 200 white blooms and storing them in her basement the week before the wedding. On our wedding day, with the help of two friends, she cut and arranged all our reception flowers, along with our other DIY decor.
Our banquet style tables were filled with white flowers — a mixture of lisianthus, roses, hydrangea, stock and tulips — and herbs that we’d potted the week before the wedding. We purchased or re-purposed all the containers we filled with flowers, shopping discount and craft stores and our basements for vases, bowls and planters to use. At the end of our reception, we encouraged guests to take the arrangements and plants home as a gift.
So many of our wedding details were DIY projects. While Baumbirdy custom designed our programs, menus, place cards and wine labels, we printed and assembled each piece. Oh, the assembly lines! In lieu of an aisle toss, we also crafted ribbon wands from foot-long dowel rods, ivory ribbon and jingle bells — as Michael and I came down the aisle, our friends and family celebrated by waving them in the air. My mother also made a “Here Comes The Bride!” sign for our sign bearer to carry.
Michael and I wanted to have lounge areas for our guests, but they didn’t fit into our budget. Instead, we bought four inexpensive wrought iron benches, four side tables from IKEA and pillows from Marshall’s, and threw together our own lounge areas, complete with board games for guests to play. They were a hit, and we can now use the pillows and furniture in our home.
Wedding Photography: Aruna B. Photography / Catering: Joe Pileggi’s Catering / Ceremony + Reception Venue: Gervasi Vineyard / Bouquets + Boutonnieres: Cathy Cowgill Flowers / Program, Menu Card, Place Card + Wine Label Design: BaumBirdy / String Trio: The Classic Touch / Bridesmaid Dresses: Cynthia Rowley / Wedding Gown: Emerald Bridal / Men’s Attire: Men’s Wearhouse / Chair + Table Rentals: Canton Chair Rental