The second we caught wind that Crystal Palecek, the uber fabulous founder of RUE mag, was getting hitched we just knew it was going to be a good one. And the gorgeous affair captured by Belathee Photography is even more chic and timeless than we could have imagined. It’s a day built around the couple’s modern aesthetic and innately stylish sensibilities crafted by a team of true talents including Bustle Events, florals by Natalie Bowen and stationery by Julie Song Ink. Sneak a peek here for even more.
Three words to describe your initial wedding inspiration?
I would describe our wedding inspiration as classic, elegant, and clean. Our wedding balanced a relaxed-meets-preppy vibe with an edited palette of black, white, and champagne- the perfect representation of our love for sophisticated design.
We’re huge fans of Rue and know you’ve got a killer eye for design. How did that translate into planning your wedding?
Working in the design and style industry, I’ve had time to really hone my eye, which has given me a lot of confidence in my personal aesthetic. Whether decorating my home, styling a photo shoot, or conceptualizing my wedding, one of the many design ethos I live by is: Pick a point of view and stick to it. Having the conviction to commit to a concept, and the restraint not to stray from it, is something that really helped me. Andrew and I knew that finding a venue that encapsulated our style – elegant, sophisticated, and clean – was important because if we got the foundation right, all of the design layers thereafter would come together effortlessly. Andrew and I found our perfect venue in interior designer Ken Fulk’s private estate, Durham Ranch (booked exclusively through Paula LeDuc), which felt like magic from the moment we stepped foot on it. With our dream venue setting the tone, the inspiration easily followed. If you don’t work in a style related field and feel less confident about knowing what you want, don’t worry! I suggest starting a wedding pinboard on Pinterest (you can see mine here), and pinning everything that catches your eye on Style Me Pretty and other wedding inspiration sources. Soon you’ll start to see a theme surface, which will help direct you towards your style. Just remember, as long as you and your groom love it, those are the only two people who matter!
Any special touches you loved?
Do I have to pick just one?! For starters, the custom C+A monogram that the talented Julie Song Ink designed for us became a recurring element that tied everything together, from the invitations to the wax seals on the escort card walls, to the little paper cones filled with French fries. Bringing the monogram into our design added a personalized, stately look to our vision, which fits who we are so perfectly. I also adored the way our lucite Roman numeral table numbers turned out, which were custom designed and produced by Amber of Pitbulls and Posies. I lived in Rome, Italy for two years in my early twenties and have always loved the classicism of all things Roman. The table numbers were inspired by that. Not to leave any detail un-personalized, we also had custom Palecek chairs designed for the outdoor spaces (Andrew is a furniture designer). Always the decorator, I carefully selected each fabric and finish and opted for timeless black and white striped patterns from Duralee (this one and this one) for the furniture, napkins and the curtains. Having Palecek furniture as part of our wedding was something really special to us both as design is such a huge part of who we are individually and as a couple.
How did you select vendors to bring your vision to life?
Andrew and I count ourselves as extremely blessed to have collaborated with such an amazing wedding team- some of the best people the industry has to offer, in my humble opinion. But it wasn’t just their undeniable talents that made them stand out to us. As we talked to potential vendors, what set ours apart from others was that each of them made us feel deeply cared about on a personal level. Dorothee, our incredible photographer, for example, put so much heartfelt time into getting to know Andrew and me beyond just our upcoming wedding, even before we officially decided to work together. She was – and continues to be! – so generous with her time and her love towards us. And Erin, our amazing planner, was like working with a trusted best friend. She went above and beyond to make sure the experience was everything we ever hoped for and exceeded all our expectations. I feel blessed that I can call Dorothee and Erin, and so many of the people we worked with, lifelong friends. When selecting vendors, I would not only recommend that they align with your style, but even more importantly, that they align with the values you wish to be surrounded by during this important time in your life.
What was your secret to balancing wedding planning, managing the Rue brand and staying sane along the way?
No matter what you do for a living, planning your wedding is going to be one of the busiest times of your life. The good news is, it’s also one of the most exciting ones, too! I tried to embrace that paradox rather than fight it, and to allow myself the emotional space I needed to feel all the many emotions that come with wedding planning and entering a new chapter in life. I distinctly remember giving myself permission to indulge in all the new magic following the days after Andrew’s proposal. I took a couple guilt-free days off from Rue work, accepted every invitation for celebratory champagne, and wasn’t hard on myself when I didn’t finish my to-do list because all I could do was stare at my new ring, much less be productive. With all the stress that comes with wedding planning, I believe it’s important for us women to be kind to ourselves along the way. We need to give ourselves permission to self-care and to be unapologetically happy regardless of what others around us might think. After all, it only happens once in a lifetime and we deserve it!
Absolute favorite moment of the day?
Walking down the aisle! To know how much love is part of my history and how much love awaits me in the future gave me the most calming feeling as my father and I set out to walk towards the love of my life. When my procession song began, the music came over me and seemed to touch every bone in my body. I just couldn’t wait to join the man of my dreams at the end of the aisle and was so grateful to have my father help me get there. We began the walk towards my handsome groom and as we got nearer, our friends and family rose to their feet in unison. At that moment, a powerful rush of majesty came over me; I felt utterly exalted, humbled, honored, and worthy. I’ll never forget the magnitude and sanctity of that feeling and the gift it was to me.
Words of wisdom for future brides?
Strive to have a whole experience, not a perfect one. These days it’s so easy to get caught up in the pressures of having the perfect engagement and wedding, especially with the rise of social media. I would venture to say that our unrealistic expectations of what our wedding day is supposed to be is impossible to achieve. Letting go of our desire for perfection and instead being present to the beautiful moments that make up the whole experience gives us permission to be human. In a flurry of day-of stress, you might snap at someone. Forgive yourself. Perhaps you won’t be able to give each out-of-town guest the time they deserve. Let go of the guilt. Maybe you need to go through a few good cries as you let go of one chapter and enter the next. Have compassion for yourself. At the end of the day, you have the great honor and privilege of having found your soulmate, of loving him and being loved in return. And what could be more perfect than that?
Photography: Belathee Photography | Event Planning: Bustle Events | Floral Design: Natalie Bowen | Wedding Dress: Monique Lhuillier | Cake: Shannie Cakes | Stationery: Julie Song Ink | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | Catering: Paula LeDuc Fine Catering | Hair And Makeup: The Makeup Dolls | Lighting: Got Light? | Tux: Ralph Lauren | Dessert Bar: Batter Bakery | Event Logisitics: Dovetail Logisitics | Film: 618 Studios | Table Numbers: Pitbulls And Posies | Venue: Durham Ranch | Wine: Kokomo Winery