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DIY Wilmington Wedding from Sweetwater Portraits

You may want to close your office door for a moment. If you’re anything like me, in about 2 minutes, you’re going to be scrolling through a gallery to the sweetest wedding we’ve seen with a huge, goofy in love grin on your face. Sweetwater Portraits sent in this charming soiree, and since it hit my inbox, I’ve been developing my crush on these two sweethearts, their stunning handmade fête, and the gorgeous images. Click here to commence the crush!

The best and most unique part of our wedding is how much of it was customized and hand-made to fit our style and personalities. We are generally, non-traditional people who like to stand apart from the rest. Pete’s Mom made the hand-made fabric bunting/flags. My parents created wooden signs for the wedding and our chairs. My sister made the table numbers and every place card. My best friend sang at the wedding. Our next-door neighbor (who’s house is literally connected to ours) married us. Pete’s friend supplied our Mason Jars for Sangria (my personal favorite recipe that was used). We wanted everything to stand out, and not look so expected or typical, hence the bridesmaids in off-white/Ivory. We had our friends and family read letters/cards/poems during our ceremony that we had written to each other over the 7 years that we had been together. All of our friends and family came together to help make everything so hand-on, creative, and special.

Pete and I met while I was forced to take an EMT class (thank God), by my 3rd year of PA school (undergrad). My instructor and classmate were from Pete’s hometown and knew him through the Volunteer Fire Co, where Pete volunteered as an EMT/Firefighter back then. I used to coach field hockey camp down at the DE beaches, and so it was set up for us to meet; a blind date, if you will, to “study” for the EMT boards. I knew right away when I met Pete, there was something special about this guy! The following week when I came back for my second week of hockey camp, we met up every night, often staying up until 3, 4, 5 am (camp began at 8 am)…and as they say, the rest is history.

Pete’s proposal was about a 6 month long torturous process! From about February 2010 until August 2010 (when he finally propsed), Pete would ask me “proposal-like” questions on at least a weekly basis for everyday life questions. “Alaina, I have something very important to ask you, will you……grab the laundry?” Finally, August 15, 2010, we were on the Cape May-Lewes Ferry, heading from a friend’s beach house in NJ, to go visit Pete’s parents in DE to celebrate their anniversary with an annual Crab Feast. Pete proposed on the deck of the Ferry, asking me to “pick a hand”, implying the “ring” might be in one of his hands (a trick/joke he had been using for months….never a ring present). I picked a hand…empty. Some greater power that be came over me, and I said “Can I try again?” Low and behold…there was the ring…in the other hand.

We currently live in Wilmington, DE where we bought a house in 2008. We have a ridiculously awesome Siberian Husky named Kai. I am a Physician Assistant and Pete is an Occupational Therapist, degrees that we both received from Philadelphia University, but completely separate from each other, and often that is how people think we met. We honeymooned in Australia, which was an incredibly unique experience, and in fact, we ate Kangaroo!

Photography: Sweetwater Portraits / Ceremony Venue: North Lawn at Rockwood Park / Reception Venue: The Carriage House at Rockwood Park / Caterer: The Greenery Caterers / Flowers: Bloomsbury Flowers / Invitations: Letter C Design / Music: D&J DJ Services / Hair: Fabrizio Salon & Spa, Carmen / Makeup: Fabrizio Salon & Spa, Kim / Shoes: Badgley Mischka / Dress: J.Crew / Rings: Tiffany & Co. /Bride’s earrings: Kate Spade / Bride’s bracelet: Banana Republic / Bridesmaid bracelets: Kate Spade

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Wilmington Country Club Army Wedding from mk Photography

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

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Glamourous Wilmington Ballroom Wedding from mk Photography

Something about the quickly approaching winter season has all of us really craving some great ballroom weddings. And you lovely LBBers are satisfying our taste for gorgeous, indoor weddings – that’s for sure. Take this Delaware wedding, captured brilliantly by mk Photography. It’s just the perfect mix of luxe, grandeur, love, and magical details to compliment our peppermint mochas. And we love it! Make sure to pop into the gallery to see the rest of this lovely affair.

Drew and I met on a blind date in December 2009. We met for sushi and closed the place down! It was no surprise then that we were both interested in seeing each other again. For our second date, we ended up visiting a Meals on Wheels client of mine in the hospital and then went to dinner afterwards. That’s when I knew that Drew was different from anyone I’ve ever dated.

We spent the next year getting to know each other better and it wasn’t long before we realized that what we had was very special. A little more than a year after we met, on December 18, 2010, Drew surprised me with an engagement proposal! We had made plans with my mom and brother to go to the Cleopatra exhibit in Philadelphia. On the way there, we coincidentally found out that Drew’s brother and wife were at the Philadelphia Art Museum. So, he decided that we should stop by and see them! Little did I know, he had a big surprise planned. As we climbed the steps of the Art Museum and we took turns taking pictures of each other doing the ‘Rocky’ pose, I found Drew and I at the top of the stairs, looking down at our own personal paparazzi. At this point, I still had no idea what was about to happen but thought it was funny how our family was standing in front of us and side by side taking our picture doing the ‘Rocky’ pose. Figuring that they were done taking our picture, I started to walk away until Drew called my name to get my attention. As I turned around, he went down on one knee and asked me to marry him! Of course, I said YES! While we were dating, Drew and I had many great times and memories in Philadelphia. I’m not an easy person to surprise, so by making plans for us in Phildelphia, Drew figured it was his best bet! There’s actually a video of the proposal on YouTube.

It was important for us to bring a little bit of my culture into our wedding. We added Middle Eastern hor’dourves and desserts to our menu. Our favors were a set of Middle Eastern tea cups and our guests will probably never forget our surprise bellydancer performance!

Thoughts about wedding planing to share with other brides would be that everyone has their opinions but at the end of the day, do what makes you and your husband-to-be happy! Remember that the two most important opinions are yours and his! You may not be able to stay within a budget so try to decide and prioritize what is most important to you. Some things that you’ll spend a fortune on, or that you’ll spend a lot of time debtaing about, will never even be noticed the day of your wedding. Lastly, and most importantly, be sure to stop and take it all in. Don’t miss out on one of the happiest days of your life.

Photography: mk Photography / Brides Dress: Private Label By G / Brides Shoes: Enzo Angiolini / Bridesmaids Dresses: Bill Levkoff / Bridesmaids Jewelry: Charter Club / Flower Girls Dress: Jordan / Stationary: ESpecial Day / Venue: Hotel du Pont

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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