Every couple wants to make their Big Day unique, but this Bethlehem beauty personalized the details in ways you wouldn’t believe. From a display of vintage family wedding gowns, to a stunning Moravian Stars installation as a nod to her hometown, the design moments are (almost) as beautiful as the love itself. Lauren Fair photographed the whole shebang, and you can see for yourself right here.
From the Bride… Our day was truly detailed, personal, and special – I wanted everything to feel like it was truly ‘us’ and also showcased all the things that I love in my everyday life. I’m super sentimental, love all things vintage, have a soft spot for family heirlooms, and am absolutely in love with my historic hometown.
I also wanted to honor the women in my family who have been amazing examples of love and commitment in their marriages. Finally, while I didn’t want to have a large bridal party (I was in a sorority and have the most amazing sisters who I am lucky enough to have in my everyday life almost a decade later), I still definitely wanted to include them as a special and meaningful part of our day.
The three most unique and standout details were my family-heirloom brooch bouquet (that we made just 4 days before the wedding!), the display of my mom and Aunt’s actual wedding dresses, and the Moravian Star light installation I designed as the centerpiece of the reception décor. More details on those below.
Our ceremony décor was simple so as not to take away from the historic quality of the chapel, which was built 1751. I walked down the aisle to a live sung version of “Hey Pretty Girl” by Kip Moore, because we love country music, not Cannon in D. My dad is from Brazil so we also included a certificate signing during our ceremony, as is custom there (the Bride and Groom actually sign their marriage certificate in Brazil during the ceremony with a witness).
The reception was a all-neutral, sparkly, vintage dream scattered with homespun, personal touches. Mis-matched china on English linen and lace runners were the foundation to our tables. Milk glass vases served as the base for our centerpieces with scattered mercury glass votives. Our menus were hand stamped on doilies. Dinner was served family style on vintage china serving platters. I also was sure to incorporate things my husband loves too during our reception. Our cocktail hour space was turned over during dinner to be a bourbon and cigar bar with large lounge chairs and sofas as well as a custom designed Edison bulb light overhead.
Once things got underway with our ‘Best Day Ever’ – it was a whirlwind, as expected. But each time I saw a little detail I had made or planned for, I knew it had all come together to create a Christmas City winter affair that was truly representative of all the things and people that are special to us.
For our colors – everything was neutral: blush, gray, cream, white, sparkly/mercury glass. The bridesmaid dresses were beaded gowns, the sign carrying girls wore sparkle knit dresses, and I switched out of my bolero into a beaded belt for the reception. The girls all had vintage fur stoles, purchased over the years at an annual sale held locally. The groom and groomsmen all wore gray. The only ‘color’ you’ll see is the blue for my shoes, purse, and some of the details on the groom’s suit and his socks to match my sapphire engagement ring and custom designed wedding band. Sapphire is both my husband and step-son’s birthstone, which is why they picked that for my engagement ring!
My brooch bouquet was made from a collection of pins and buttons that were collected from my Aunts, Great Aunts, mom, and grandmother as well as from my groom’s mom, grandmother, and great grandmother. Our family best friend took on the task of collecting them and each was sent with its own story of whom it belonged to and where it came from. It glittered as I walked down the aisle in the candle-lit chapel and continues to sparkle today, on display in our home. It turned out more amazing and special then I ever dreamed – and it’s something that I am able to treasure for years to come as an remarkable collection of compiled family heirlooms that were rarely seen or used (not many people wear pins these days, sadly).
My mom is from a PA farming family of seven – two girls and five boys. Almost all of my Aunt’s still had their wedding dresses and allowed me the honor of displaying them on vintage dress forms at our reception. My oldest Aunt was married in 1951 (we also used her wedding Bible at our ceremony) in a plain Mennonite ceremony. She made her tea-length dress of white satin, including the traditional Mennonite ‘plain dress bib’ that was worn over the dress to show modesty. The other dresses ranged from a beaded taffeta dress with a train to simple satin A-line dress with applique flowers. We also included their actual wedding photos to show what they dresses looked like on their actual wedding day debut. Overall, it was one of the best aspects of our reception décor. My Aunt’s felt honored and like they were a part of the day and they loved that their dresses got another day to shine!
Bethlehem, PA is known as Christmas City, USA (we have a hashtag, #christmascityusa, even). I specifically wanted to get married when the town was spruced up for Christmas. During that time, the downtown area is decked in lights with Christmas carols playing full time from speakers. In addition, a time honored tradition (year round really) is to display Moravian Stars as porch lights or even chandeliers. The historic Moravian Chapel, where we were married, installs a large Moravian Star during the holidays at the center of the altar area. It was a simple, but perfect backdrop to our ceremony. I knew that I wanted to include the iconic Moravian Star as part of our reception décor. I searched high and low and found a local shop on Main Street who was willing to ‘rent’ me 50 Moravian Stars for our light installation. I drew out how I wanted it to look and had a stellar team from Sparks Entertainment do the install. It was sparkly, magical, and such a great tie to my hometown love. It was even listed as the #1 picture on Buzzfeed as part of the 12 Best Instagram’s from the Little Town of Bethlehem, PA
Also, I made all of the wedding programs that were super fun and spirited – not just your normal run down of what happens in sequence. I also included three addition side-pocket extras: A card detailing who everyone in the wedding party was and a fun fact about them; our thank you note to friends and family; and a vintage hankie for happy tears. I spent about two years collecting over 130 hankies and each one was different – just another keepsake for our guests to remember our best day ever.
Special People Involved
I think something that wedding blogs sometimes tend to miss is that – especially for those of us who aren’t getting married straight out of college – some significant others may have been married before. In my case, my now-husband has an 11 year-old son from his first marriage who was the best man in our wedding. For being 11, he gave the best speech ever at the reception and it’s something that was so special to us (you can hear it in the film). He wrote it himself and didn’t practice with us beforehand so we had no idea what to expect – it was witty, sweet, and honest. His speech and my ‘first dance’ with the best man/now step-son are special memories that we will treasure as a family.
The bridesmaids were all friends from growing up, originally from Bethlehem, PA. But as a way to incorporate the 10 sorority sisters, I had a ‘flash-mob style reading’ of sorts. Each sister read one verse from where she was sitting in the chapel of First Corinthians 13. She simply stood up from her spot, read her verse, and then it moved on to the next reader. While a typical wedding reading, it is more special to us because it’s also part of our sorority’s founding tenants.
Photography: Lauren Fair Photography | Videographer: Willow Tree Films | Floral Design: Patti's Petals | Wedding Dress: Amy Kuschel | Cake: The Flour Shop | Invitations: Bella Figura | Ceremony Venue: Old Moravian Chapel | Reception Venue: Crayola Gallery At The Banana Factory | Shoes: Manolo Blahnik | Rings: Ascot Diamonds (Custom Design) | Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papell | Catering: Simply Smooth | Catering: Simply Smooth | Hair & Makeup: Apotheca Salon | Lighting: Sparks Entertainment | Grooms Attire: Michael Andrews Bespoke | "Finally" Save The Dates: Jack's Master | Beaded Belt (Brooklyn): Modern Trousseau | Best Man Cufflinks (Starwars Light Sabers): DaRosa | Bride's DIY Wedding Programs: Cards & Pockets | Cake Topper - Best Day Ever: Detroit Paper Company | Custom Printed Hankies: The Polka Dotted Bee | Day-Of Execution/Planning: Engaging Affairs | Flower Girl Dress: Heirloom Showcase (Custom) | Glass Moravian Stars: The Paisley Sun | Graphic Design (Pennant Flag): The Ritzy Rose | Lace Runners: Ruby Design Decor | Linen Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Menus: K. Batty Design And Stationary Shop | Pennant Signs: The Ritzy Rose | Rentals: Maggpie Vintage Rentals | Sign Carry-ing Girls Dress: Nicole Miller | Table Number Pennants: Byive | Veil: Toni Federici