We know your wedding day is going to be full of love. That’s an obvious given. But for you brides who go the extra mile and put so much of your heart and soul (and blood, sweat, and tears) into the decor of your day… well you’re who we do this for. Brides like this beauty, captured on her perfect big day by Honey Heart Photography. We simply adore you.
From the gorgeous bride… Like most brides, I had been planning my wedding since I was a little girl. My vision began with a colorful Lisa Frank inspired wedding and culminated into a beautiful rustic-chic affair. Even though I had abandoned my Lisa Frank ambitions, the little girl in me still desired a fairy-tale wedding, complete with tiara, and poofy dress. I had to have a poofy dress.
I wanted to feel like a princess.
After my engagement, I began the search for a venue. Initially, I had wanted to be married in my current city of Lexington, KY, right in the heart of horse-country. After searching high and low for the perfect venue, I happened upon the beautiful Coal Reserve in Somerset, KY, only an hour’s drive away. There was a nostalgic appeal as well, since Somerset is my hometown.
I visited The Coal Reserve and was sold. I was blown away by the breathtaking architecture. It was the sort of unique I was looking for.
Since I had been planning my wedding long before my engagement (oh yes, the eager girlfriend!…luckily he was okay with my need to plan), I already had a general idea of who I wanted to make my cake, photograph my wedding, and deejay. It wasn’t until I went to the How Charming Bridal show that I found my floral and event designer.
Vendors secured, I began working out the details. I scoured Pinterest. I liked blogs on Facebook. It was my mother who suggested Style Me Pretty. In fact, my wedding cake was inspired by a photo on this blog. Let me just say, it was stunning.
Inspiration in hand, I had a vision in mind. It was an overwhelming vision but this was THE day. This was the day I had been waiting for, the day I had been dreaming of. This was it. It had to be perfect.
My Matron of Honor and best friend is super-crafty, incredibly artistic, and just all-around talented. I had the vision, she helped me bring it to fruition. Together, we made twenty-eight tissue-paper pom poms and a burlap banner that said, “Mr & Mrs.” We crafted a sign for her son to carry that read, “Uncle Lee, Here She Comes.” Our most laughable endeavor was cutting yards upon yards of tulle for chair sashes. We devised a clever plan in a living room not quite equipped for cutting that much fabric. Operation Tulle Cutting was a success!
Her largest contribution to my big day, being my Matron of Honor aside, was making the dress for my flower girl, her daughter. I sent her several photos of what I liked about different flower girl dresses and described to her what I wanted and she made it! It was the most beautiful dress I had ever laid eyes on. And to have had such a personal touch in my wedding meant the world to me.
This wasn’t the only sentimental touch to my wedding. My husband’s nanny is a seamstress. She did all of my alterations flawlessly and happily. The single thing that will always hold a special place in my heart, however, is my veil. She made my cathedral-length veil. It was when I saw it in her living-room that I was brought to tears. I was going to be a princess and she had helped this happen. It’s a piece of my wedding that I’ll hold on to for posterity and cherish forever.
I poured my heart and soul into my wedding. The week before my wedding was the most stressful week of my life. I was happy, definitely, but my vision had to be perfect! I was watching the weather carefully and rain was being forecast for my outdoor wedding. I was disheartened. In an act of desperation, I posted a message on the local weather guy’s Facebook page (Bill Meck…he’s super awesome) about the forecast for September 21, 2013 in Somerset, KY. I was hoping for a different forecast. Much to my surprise, he responded. He wished me well but said it would be raining.
A not-as-pretty Plan B was devised for the inevitable rain. My fairy-tale wedding was falling apart before me. I told myself that ultimately, it didn’t matter, because I was marrying the love of my life and rain or no rain, this was the important thing. I started searching online for cute umbrellas.
A couple of days before the big day, weatherman Bill Meck commented on the post again. He said that there was a possibility the rain would clear up later in the day but he didn’t want to get my hopes up. I was left hoping.
We rehearsed both plans.
A few days before the wedding, my mother, mother-in-law, and family friend who also helped with day-of coordination, helped me set up at the venue. My mother-in-law ironed the burlap overlays I had purchased on Etsy. My mother and family friend tied fifty-six tulle sashes onto the gorgeous Chiavari chairs. They tediously wired twenty-eight tissue paper pom-poms to every other chair. My vision was being brought to life. I was overwhelmed with emotion.
They helped me tie the stamped circles I had done that said, “Thanks So Much” with the wedding date, to mason jar mugs for the favors.
While they worked on assembly, I wrote the menu on a chalkboard my mother had made from an old picture frame.
Several hours later, our hard work was showing results. I looked at the reception hall in awe. Every small detail had come together perfectly in a venue so appropriately suited for my big day.
The day before the wedding had arrived. I had made a schedule for myself the night before, after making a wire-hanger that read, “Mrs. Cook.” and printing the programs I had designed. This schedule was strict, as I still had much to do before the rehearsal. I still had to buy shoes for our special first dance. We had taken dance lessons and our dance had me twirling. I knew there was absolutely no way I could twirl in five inch heels. I opted for a shorter and wider heel.
I finally had the opportunity to relax while I was getting my nails done. The best part of this, however, was convincing my other half to get a manicure. Watching a man who has never been to a nail salon try to navigate his way around is a reward in and of itself. Perhaps more rewarding is knowing that he did it for me.
The time for the rehearsal had come and emotions were high. The mothers couldn’t stop crying.
The night of my wedding, I obsessively checked the weather online. The hourly forecast had rain ending around 4 pm. I was evermore hopeful, since my wedding was to start at 5:30 pm.
My happiest day had arrived, heralded in by rain and humidity. Makeup was applied, hair was curled, teased, and sprayed. Dresses were put on. My dress was a thirty-minute adventure between my mom, mother-in-law, and husband’s nanny. Luckily, it had been altered so I could step into it. My hair remained fabulous.
The rain stopped, the sun shined brightly. My outdoor wedding was going to happen!
The time had come for portraits of the bridal party. We headed outside for the first-time, for photos, and the cool breeze hit us. Not only had the sun come out but the temperature had dropped to the upper sixties. And it was clear. This was a clear unlike other days. The sky was a beautiful blue and the clouds were a vibrant white. I can remember this vividly as I was walking through the grass with my bridal party because it was the first time I had seen the altar assembled and the chairs put out for the ceremony. I remember how HAPPY I was because everything was so perfect.
After our photos, the guys had their turn. All that was left was waiting; waiting to make my walk down the aisle to my dapper man.
Thirty minutes before the ceremony, I had to be stowed away upstairs so no one could see me. The caterer came up to me and asked me what my husband would be having to drink at the reception. I became emotional because it was the first time someone had referred to my groom as, “your husband.”
My mom soon joined me upstairs. She desperately wanted to give me my something borrowed but we were short on time and I told her not to worry about it. She was insistent. She pulled out of her purse her wedding band tied to a pretty pink ribbon. She began to cry. She told me that her wedding band symbolized so much to her and was so very precious to her and that she very much wanted me to have it as I walked down the aisle and made the same promises she made so many years ago. She told me how good my father had been to her. I had to look away from her in an effort to keep from crying. She tied the ribbon on my left wrist.
I was a mess of nerves. We opted not to do a reveal so I hadn’t seen my groom since the night before. I needed him desperately. It was almost time but the wait seemed like forever. The moments right before my walk down the aisle were surreal. It was a feeling I can’t quite describe. Everything was happening so fast yet so slowly. I can remember panicking and my brother-in-law came up to me. He didn’t say a word. He just held my hand in a silent attempt to calm me. His gesture was heartfelt and one I’ll always hold dear to my heart.
I can remember my father’s expression when he saw me for the first time, as he was preparing himself to walk me down the aisle. My dad doesn’t outwardly express how he feels often. I could tell this was going to be an emotional day for him. He didn’t say it but I knew he thought I looked beautiful. That was all I needed.
Everyone had made their walk down the aisle and were in their places. The doors were closed. It was my turn.
The doors opened and I saw everyone. I was nervous. My father tells that he felt my weight shift a bit on him. I wonder if this is the real reason brides are walked down the aisle by their fathers; support until the day he gives her away.
Then I saw him. I saw my groom and immediately, I was calm. He won’t admit it, but there were tears in his eyes. His composure was definitely affected. I was his princess.
My father kissed me on the cheek and shook my groom’s hand and gave me away. My groom held my shaky hands and mouthed that he loved me.
The ceremony commenced smoothly and beautifully. The scenery was beautiful, the altar was exactly as I had envisioned. The violinist didn’t miss a note and our nearest and dearest were there to witness our vows, to support our journey as husband and wife.
I was happy. I am happy.
We were pronounced husband and wife and I grabbed my groom’s bald head and kissed him! We walked happily down the aisle.
The reception was just as fabulous. We love eighties music and chose, “I’ve Had The Time of My Life” as our song. We did an easier version of the Dirty Dancing dance. He twirled me like a princess.
When I turned sixteen, my father wrote in my birthday card, “but whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you, win or lose.” I can remember being moved to tears by this and ever since, Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young” has held a very special place in my heart. This is why I chose it for the dance with my father.
I didn’t expect to get emotional during the dance. I did well until this lyric played. I broke down. I mean, I really broke down. It was in that moment that I knew I wasn’t his anymore. It was in that moment that I thought about everything that he had done for me, to support me, all the way up to walking me down the aisle.
My groom’s dance with his mother was just as emotional. She was so happy and so proud of her baby. He chose Celine Dion’s “Because You Loved Me” for their song. He had definitely gotten to his mom’s heart with that song. He twirled her, too, though, and she smiled.
The Best Man and Matron of Honor gave their touching speeches. The Best Man surprised me. As the brother of my groom, we had often disagreed and sometimes argued, but on that day, I saw how he truly felt about me. He had had something written down but then opted to speak without it. He first told a story about his little brother, my groom. It was what came next that surprised me. He explained to the audience how I had stuck by my groom’s side through his back injury and surgery, and how my support never faltered. He got choked up. It was then that I realized that he understood just how much I loved his brother. It was then that I realized I had his approval. He knew that I would uphold my vow to love and cherish his little brother, in sickness and in health.
My Matron of Honor is my best friend but she was my groom’s best friend first, then I stole her away. This made her speech so very special. She said wonderful things about both of us and said it was a perfect day that her two best friends would marry one another.
We cut our gorgeous cake. We drank our sparkling cider. We said our thank yous. We danced some more.
At midnight, we had one last dance to “Everything I Do” by Bryan Adams. We had often danced in our living room to this song.
My wedding and reception were beautiful. All of my planning, all of the hard work, the exceptional vendors I had hired, all of it, had paid off and the results were stunning. More than that though, it was the sentimental things that I’ll never, ever forget. My veil, the speeches, my first dance, my emotional dance with my father, my groom’s love for me…these are the happiest parts of my life.
During the reception, I had stepped outside to take a break from dancing. My father was outside and he pointed out to me a dove nested under the roof of the venue. He said it was a good sign.
I got to be a princess and my wedding day was as magical as a fairy-tale.
Photography: Honey Heart Photography | Wedding Dress: Allure Bridals | Floral Design: Hide and Seek Design | Wedding Cake: She Bakes Cakes | Ceremony Venue: The Coal Reserve | Reception Venue: The Coal Reserve | Bridesmaids Dresses: Alfred Sung | Catering: Sassy Spoon Catering | Hair: Mars Marusek | DJ: Tiger's DJ Services | Officiant: Weddings by KISS | Tuxedos: Jim's Formal Wear | Wedding Dress Retailer: Merle Norman of Asheville | Wedding Resource Center: Simply Love Studio