It’s no secret that military weddings hold a special place in my heart, and when this Army wedding landed in my lap, I was obviously smitten. Captured by mk Photography, the Delaware affair is perfectly chic – with darling details done by the bride and her loved ones, a fantastic neutral color palette, and a couple tying the knot in uniform. You won’t want to miss all there is in the full image gallery, so make sure to pop over there when you’re ready!
John and I first met in the bleachers overlooking an intramural soccer game, where my floor mates and I were cheering on our “brother floor” during the first few weeks of freshman year at Wheaton College. What followed were two years of college experiences that led us to develop a deep friendship. We had the same friends, were in the same classes, went on the same road trips, and studied at various coffee shops together.
Our dating relationship actually began one spring evening in 2009 as we sat on a bench on the Riverwalk in Naperville enjoying some Red Mango frozen yogurt. About two years later, on February 25, 2011, John asked me to marry him at the same exact place. After dinner at our first date spot, a hole-in-the-wall Senegalese restaurant in Chicago, and after seeing Les Miserables at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, we took a short walk through snow flurries, ending up at “the bench” where our relationship had begun and where so many important conversations had happened. Our favorite frozen yogurt was there waiting for us (Thank you, Chicago weather, it was still very frozen). John got down on his knee and said some wonderful things and asked me to marry him – and the rest is history!
Due to John’s pending Army career, we had limited options when setting a wedding date. We settled on Labor Day weekend of the same year, leaving us about five months to graduate from college and plan a wedding. Because John grew up in Costa Rica, we planned to get married in Delaware, where I grew up.
Spending the summer running around to countless venues and vendors with my mom was a blast! After looking at several beautiful potential wedding sites throughout Delaware and Pennsylvania, we decided it would be most meaningful and special to have our wedding right in the Delaware Valley. Our ceremony and reception venues were both specially chosen. Old Swedes Church, dating from 1699, is a cool, old, stone historic building in downtown Wilmington. It’s not the church my family attends on a regular basis, but it seemed like the perfect place due to my Swedish heritage and its fun setting. We also liked that it was in Wilmington because of our passion for urban culture and development. From there, our guests drove about fifteen minutes to Wilmington Country Club in Greenville, the site of my parents’ reception twenty-eight years earlier.
I’ve never been a fan of bright colors because I change my mind so easily, so our goal was to create an elegant evening by choosing more neutral and classic colors with a few unique elements that would add some modern flair. John and his groomsmen who are also in the military wore their army service uniforms and capped off the ceremony with the saber arch. The rest of the groomsmen wore traditional black tuxes, and the bridesmaids wore long grey dresses from Priscilla of Boston that were flattering on everyone.
Our flowers were natural whites and greens; mine were primarily whites while the girls’ had more greens. The simple yet sophisticated centerpieces of dendrobium orchids and willow branches, set off by beautiful grey linens and enhanced with hanging votives, added a wow-factor upon entering the ballroom.
My long-time friend and bridesmaid who studied design in college spent many long days and nights over the summer helping us with the fun diy elements. She created a monogram for John and me that was at the top of our menus, sewed pennant flags made out of various grey fabrics that were strung around the country club, and designed chalkboard menus for the bars, and we worked together to create our eight foot tall seating boards. A family friend sewed a unique ring bearer pillow, we displayed family wedding photos for a personal touch, we assembled our programs ourselves with the help of some friends, and we made our table numbers out of slate tiles from Home Depot with green ribbon tied around them.
One of our desires for the evening was that people would have lots of fun celebrating one of the most important days of our lives with us, and also that there would be opportunities for guests to catch up and talk and enjoy each other. Wilmington Country Club was the perfect place to accomplish this because it allowed for fabulous dancing and entertainment by the Vincent James Band in the ballroom while the candlelit patio, which was still open to the ballroom, provided a quieter setting for relaxing conversation.
We added some special touches with a dessert bar (cake was served as dessert, but John and I aren’t big cake people, so the dessert bar on the patio featured some of our favorites like peanut butter truffles and mini apple pies). I am known for my love for coffee, so we also splurged to hire a barista for the night; she set up on the patio as well and created custom espresso drinks for our guests.
John and I have never wanted to be doing so many different things at the same time! There just weren’t enough hours in the evening to spend sufficient time dancing with friends, catching up with two hundred of the most influential people in our lives, sipping coffee on the patio, and enjoying our favorite foods. Everything came together so much more beautifully and perfectly than we could have hoped, and fun, special moments from the day continue to be topics of conversation. We are now living in Hawaii where John is stationed, and we are enjoying exploring all that Oahu has to offer. We are loving life as a Mr. and Mrs. and can’t wait to see what the coming years will hold!
Flowers: Belak Flowers / Cake: Liberty Lane Bake Shoppe / Photography: mk Photography / Videography: AOV Productions / Invitations: Apropos / Hair & Makeup: Salon by Dominic / Ceremony: Old Swedes Church / Reception: Wilmington Country Club / Dress: Janell Berté from The Wedding Shoppe / Sash: Jennifer’s Bridal / Monogram, Chalkboard Menus, Pennant Flags & Seating Boards: DIY by Bride & Karen Demaio