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English Garden Party Inspired Wedding at Crane Estate

I’ll always be a fan of pretty photos (and this gallery from Hello Love Photography is chock full of them) but when I come upon a Bride whose story is so well told that I feel like I know her and her Groom, well, it doesn’t get much better than that. Brighter Lights Media captured this love live and with Mayflour Confections and White Label DJs, a good time is guaranteed. Make your Tuesday better right here!


From the beautiful Bride… Playful, wholesome, personal – those are the three words I used as inspiration while designing our wedding day on September 28th, 2014 at The Crane Estate in Ipswich, Massachusetts.

Walt and I met in college, and although I was a geography major and he a theater major, we share a love for art, history, mysterious things, and Michael Jackson music. Before our engagement last August in Paris, we spent two weeks exploring the Scottish and English countryside. We both have deep roots from that area, and were so awestruck by the classic gorgeousness – the rolling hills endlessly dotted with sheep, the warm people, the ancient ruins, the lush gardens. We knew our dream for our wedding day would be to combine the feeling of that place with the beauty of New England’s coastline for some of our favorite people in the world (minus the sheep, unfortunately).

We chose to have our ceremony and reception at The Crane Estate for several reasons. The winding drive there through the marshes and past grazing horses definitely echoed our drives through the UK countryside. The historic house and knockout view – complete with rolling lawns, sunken gardens, and the Atlantic Ocean – were something both Walt and I knew we wanted our guests to experience and enjoy. Most importantly though, the beach at Crane is where I played while growing up, where we take our dog, Bella, to run in the winter, as well as the first place I ever flew a plane (a life dream and first anniversary gift from Walt), so it had also become quite personal to us over the years. We had found our place.

Although the Estate itself is quite grand and even somewhat imposing, our vision for the day was a simple and sincere old-fashioned daytime family affair. Over the months of planning, sticking to that vision despite the grandeur of Crane became a fun puzzle.

First and foremost, we wanted our guests to feel completely comfortable – as though they had arrived at a friend’s home for a relaxed garden party – so we decided that as they entered through the majestic house to the lawn where the ceremony would be held, the first things they would see, hear, taste, and feel would be: ocean, acoustic guitar, basil-infused lemonade, and sunshine.

One of our favorite aspects of Crane are two massive, stone griffins that guard either side of the rear terrace. They were gifts given to the original owner of the Estate from his employees, so naturally, we had to dress those two up a bit for the occasion! Erica Gregory of Lilac and Lily Floral Design draped gorgeous green garland around their necks, as well as around the cake and sweetheart tables. She worked with us to create the feel of a typical English garden with soft arrangements of garden roses and greenery, fragrant potted lavender and other herbs, as well as large potted ferns.

While we wanted our day to be inspired by both our heritage and love of all things English and Scottish, we did our best to be subtle while infusing that into our decor. Bits of tartan ribbon could be found throughout (including bows on the back of my shoes), and our naked Victoria Sponge Cake baked by Mayflour Confections was every bit as delicious as the ones we devoured in teashops across the pond.

To create a more intimate vibe, we chose to forego a large bridal party, and instead had our closest family and friends participate in other ways. My mother served as my matron of honor and Walt’s best friend from college was his best man. My five nieces -whose ages range from 10 to 24 – were our gorgeous flower girls, complete with hand-tied floral crowns and ethereal ivory chiffon dresses. The youngest walked down the aisle in the traditional style, while the older girls handed out programs and cones filled with rose petals for post-nuptial tossing. My four nephews served as ring bearers. The youngest two carried our wedding bands down the aisle and the older assisted with the Ring Warming Ceremony led by my sister, Hayley. It was important to us that every guest there felt that they were an active part of our beginning, so having them each take a moment to hold our rings and put their well wishes into the gold is truly a treasured moment.

As Walt waited patiently in his handsome plaid Ted Baker London suit, I walked down the aisle escorted by my oldest brother carrying a bouquet of delicate roses, fresh lavender, white Scottish heather (for good luck!), dusty miller, and ranunculus wrapped in an ivory ribbon and a gold locket which held a picture of my late father. To complement my ivory silk Kelly Faetanini ‘Genevieve’ dress, I also wore the pearl earrings my father had given my mother for Christmas before he passed away when I was seven.

After officially becoming Mr. and Mrs, the day continued with our wholesome, laid-back theme. Lawn games, lounge furniture dotted with pretty floral throw pillows handmade by my mother, and fun parasols to shield the (surprisingly strong) late September sun put people in a playful mood. Our amazing friend Jesse Ciarmataro lovingly played his guitar, and before long there were children running and dancing everywhere while our guests soaked up some rays and indulged. We opted for a fun brunch-inspired menu featuring a bubbly bar with assorted fresh fruit purees, ‘Old Cuban’ signature cocktails, miniature pancake muffins, lobster rolls, yogurt parfaits, crepes (a little nod to our Parisian engagement!), and frittatas.

Walt and his friends are avid Dungeons and Dragons players, so as a surprise to him, I ordered navy blue dragon-shaped escort cards exclusively for that select group. Also, rather than seat everyone with only their friends, we did our best to thoughtfully mix people up. As an icebreaker of sorts, I had our stationer type up tented cards for their tables pointing out what everyone had in common and to hopefully get them talking. For instance, one card said, “Two of you have run Tough Mudders” and another said “Three of you are yoga teachers” – it was really fun to see what interests and experiences people from totally separate pieces of our lives share. We finished off the decor with framed pictures of our pets, family members who were no longer with us, as well as a personalized watercolor map of Ipswich.

After two heartfelt speeches by Walt’s best man and my brother, we had our first dance, and then our guests joined us on the dance floor for an impromptu ‘Thriller’ flash mob attempt. As the merriment continued, everyone cooled off with frozen espresso drinks made by the wonderful Espresso Dave. Hiring him was one of the last additions we made to our wedding plans, but we are so glad we did. An espresso cart is the perfect way to keep a dance party going!

As the afternoon was coming to a close, we both went off and changed into our going away outfits for our last dance. We were headed to Hawaii the very next morning, and as a surprise, my family bought us leis to wear as we swayed to Jack Johnson’s song “Lucky.” A traditional London cab waited for us outside, and as we walked out of the house, a husband and wife bagpiper duo played as we said our goodbyes and left to begin our adventure as husband and wife.

Handcrafting this wedding was one of the greatest joys of my life thus far. As a woman whose father passed away at such a young age, planning a wedding was challenging… something I can honestly say I’ve actually dreaded for a long time. However, when creating this day I truly tried to honor his spirit and embrace life. I worked hard to create a day that not only Walt and I would enjoy as a couple, but that would also give our most beloved family and friends a wonderful love-fueled afternoon to remember.

Not being a stereotypically thin bride myself, I will admit the pressure of gown shopping was not the most enjoyable aspect of the wedding planning experience for me. I waited until the last minute to look, and it was painful to try on samples that in no way fit… there were most definitely some tears happening. After visiting several salons, I found the team at Allegria Bridal, and I am thrilled to say I felt so unbelievably beautiful on my wedding day because of them. The gown I chose was fashion-forward despite being made in a larger size. It was light, had an amazing twirl factor, and the unique peplum detail echoed the waves of the ocean. I didn’t want to take it off!

Photography: Hello Love Photography | Cinematography: Brighter Lights Media | Event Design: Bride | Floral Design: Lilac And Lily Floral Design And Event Styling | Cake: Mayflour Confections | Bride's Shoes: Milk And Honey | Engagement Ring: Brilliant Earth | Catering: Fireside Catering | DJ : Ryan Durkin Of White Label DJs | Groom's Attire: Ted Baker London | Wedding Venue: The Crane Estate | Bridal Boutique: Allegria Bridal | Bride's Hair: Abby D'Orsi | Bride's Hair Comb: Anna Marguerite | Guitarist: Jesse Ciarmataro | Invitations, Chalkboards & Signage: Fleuri Post | Lawn Games: Etsy | London Cab: London Livery | Older Flower Girl Dresses: J. Crew | Parasols: Luna Bazaar | Place Cards: Jonni Paper Goods | Ring Bearer Attire: J. Crew | Wedding Map: Laura Lavender | Wedding Rings: One Stone New York | Younger Flower Girl Dress: Gowns by Ginny

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Romantic Pastel Cape Cod Wedding

I’m lucky to call New England home, especially when weddings as beautiful as this one take place in our stunning state. Graced with sunshine and salty air, this seaside celebration is filled with pretty pastel accents, a gorgeous Lovely Bridal Shop gown, and one lucky-in-love couple. Summer Street Photography was on hand to capture all the merriment and it’s waiting for you here!


From the beautiful Bride… After spending my summers as a kid running around the beaches of Cape Cod and after Adam proposed on the rocks on Bank Street Beach, we knew we had to get married there. Chatham was such a special place for us and for my family it seemed perfect that we begin our future there together and share the fond memories with our guests. People asked us what our “theme” was all along the planning process and we never really had one, we just DIY-ed everything we could DIY, from the BAR marquee sign, to the garland hanging from the tent, and even all of the signage.

We were so unbelievably lucky to be surrounded by amazing and loving family and friends. Our officiant, Cameron Thomas, is a college friend of Adam’s and our florist, Jessica Stage-Fiesinger (of Stage Floral Styling) was the Matron of Honor and one of the bride’s very best friends, so every bit of this event was meaningful and special to us. Those vendors who weren’t before, sure became our friends by the end. Bob Oldsman of White’s Catering is one of the nicest, most fun-loving and helpful people we have encountered and everyone from Summer Street Photography (Chuck, Vina, and Kendra) made it so that we will have these memories forever.

As this was a destination wedding for all we had 4 days worth of serious help from our favorite people in order to make this day the best we could have imagined. We had been together for almost 9 years before getting married and wanted this wedding to be a reflection of our journey. Our goal was great food, great drinks, and great fun. We ended the evening with a bonfire and s’mores on the beach and ended the weekend with a hangover-curing brunch the next morning. We definitely think we succeeded in reaching our goal. Best. Day. Ever.  

Photography: Summer Street Photography | Florist: Stage Floral Styling | Gown: Watters Via Lovely | Bridesmaids Dresses: Amsale & Jenny Yoo Via Bella Bridesmaid | Food: White's Catering | DJ: Sara Williams Mobile DJ | Groom's Attire: Asos | Wedding Venue: The Hawthorne | Bar & Farm Table Rentals: True North | Bride Earrings: BHLDN | Bride Engagement & Wedding Ring: Shiree Odiz | Cakes & Desserts: Artisan Bake Shop | Dress Customization: Esin From Sew Elegant | Groom Wedding Band: 2nd Street Ring Craft | Hair & Make-up: Lasha Keller & Juan From Elements Hair Studio Brooklyn, NY | Reception Dress: Custom Made By Rebecca Schoenveld | Rentals: Undercover Tent & Party

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Join Us Tomorrow! West Elm + Style Me Pretty Pop-up

New Englanders, the time has come to celebrate in true SMP style. We’ve partnered up with West Elm Fenway and we’re inviting YOU to join the revelry THIS SATURDAY! Come share the day and meet our very own Abby Larson, a few fabulous local wedding vendors, and get tips on registering. Join us on Saturday, May 2nd from 12pm – 3pm, click here to learn more and be sure to RSVP!

Meet with local vendors like Mayflour ConfectionsRuth Eileen PhotographyBlackbird DoughnutsLauren Wells Design + Stylingand Petal Floral Design! You won’t want to miss out on the festivities, we promise it’ll be an afternoon filled with fun + fabulousness. See YOU there!


Doie Lounge
Doie Lounge

This week’s DISCOUNTS…

Starwood Hotels & Resorts

For our California Brides… Giveaways from Silver Time Studios and Rime Arodaky, and discount from Marmalade Sky Films 

For our Midwest Brides… Discount from WASIO photography

For our Southeast Brides… Giveaway from Rime Arodaky

For our Mid-Atlantic Brides… Discount from Goodstone Inn & Restaurant 

For our Tri-State Brides… Discount from IM Photo Studio and giveaways from Rime Arodaky

For our Australian Brides… Discount from Linneys and don’t miss the “Carats & Couture” exhibition going until May 2, 2015!

And our WINNERS…

Congratulations to our Jenny Yoo winner Mariteremilan!

Congratulations to our Sweet Whistle winner Caroline!

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
Rustic Summer Wedding at the Barn at the Crane Estate

It’s our lucky Friday, with not one, but two Joyelle West wonders. We loved on this elegant Rhode Island manor wedding this morning and now we’re crushing hard on this Crane Estate beauty. Held at their Italian-style barn, this celebration was bursting with rich jewel tones, reminding me why I so adore autumn weddings. This gorgeous gallery isn’t one to be missed!


From Joyelle West… Brittany and Brandon had a timeless black and white wedding at the Barn at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, MA. Their ceremony was in the field that was the vegetable garden in the early 1900s, and the reception was in the Italian-style barn. I was in love with the beautiful old garden, the sweeping grounds, and the light we had that day.

From The Bride… My mom and I picked all the décor, we have similar style and she knows exactly what I like so we work really well together. Many things were found on Etsy, my mom found my something blue (a pin with two cats and a blue moon) as well as the antique French mailbox for cards, which were two of my favorite elements!

The chocolate cake was decorated with stars. My cousin Jamie’s girlfriend Krista baked the macaroons, she had never baked for an event before and did such an amazing job, they were delicious and she is such a sweetheart for taking on such a big first job!

Melinda has been my hairdresser for years and I wouldn’t trust anyone else with my hair for my wedding. My loose and pretty hairstyle worked so well with my hairpiece and perfectly complemented my beautiful strapless gown. My hair and my makeup, which I did myself, as well as the cat pin on my bouquet and my perfectly witchy pointy black suede kitten heeled Mary-Janes made me still feel like myself which was important.

Shelley made up the most gorgeous arrangements, especially the urns, which were lined with moss and were part of the garden ceremony and then were moved down to either side of the barn doors. The colors of the flowers were peach, pink, burgundy and white with accents of silver dusty miller and eucalyptus. My bouquet included Coral Charm peonies, Juliet garden roses, jasmine, burgundy ranunculus and silver dusty miller. Shelley designed it so it would mirror my headpiece.

Brandon and I made sure we sat down and ate delicious food together and spent most of the night dancing with each other, which is always our favorite part of weddings. We ended the night with Shout by Lulu, it is one of my favorite songs, I just love her energy and her voice and was so happy that so many people joined us on the dance floor for a happy energetic song before we said our goodbyes. We had perfect weather and an amazing night and Joyelle captured it all beautifully with her stunning photography style!

My advice to other brides would be look at other people’s weddings for ideas but make sure you stay true to your own personal style, surround yourself with people you love and blot your face during the reception (Shiseido Pureness Blotting Paper is the best!) Also, don’t have three martinis the night before your wedding if you only had sushi for dinner and (super cliché) marry your best friend!

Photography: Joyelle West | Flowers: Bow Street Flowers | Wedding Dress: Oscar De La Renta | Cakes: Flour Bakery | Shoes: Prada | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Alexandra Grecco | Hair : Melinda Brandt And Kerri Marland | Wedding Venue: The Barn At The Crane Estate | Cake Topper Stars: BHLDN | Flowergirl & Ringbearer Accessories: J.Crew | Groom’s Suit: J.Crew | Hairpiece: Twigs And Honey

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
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Modern Boston Public Library Wedding

When I lived in Boston, I used to walk past the Boston Public Library on Saturdays in hopes of catching a Bride walk out of that gorgeous building. And spotting a wedding like this one from Corinna Raznikov would have made my entire week. Gorgeously classic and elegant in all the right ways, this gallery is just everything


From Corinna Raznikov PhotographyEmily and Ben met in their freshman year of college at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. After cultivating a friendship for three years, they began dating in their senior year and fell deeply in love. After graduation they both moved to Boston and found a strong connection with the city and eventually moved-in together; finally, Ben proposed on an autumn night in front of Boston Harbor.

Having such a passion for the beauty and history of the city, Emily and Ben chose the Boston Public Library as their wedding venue and worked together with James Hansen of the Catered Affair to produce their dream wedding. They had their expectations far exceeded and were overjoyed by how well everything turned out; right down to the tiniest of details.

Emily and Ben did a beautiful job of combining their styles and efforts to plan this modern, fresh wedding. They had so many incredible moments in their wedding from surprising their wedding party and families with a ride on a classic Boston Duck Boat to the Boston Commons, to surprising one of the groomsmen with a personalized cake for his birthday, to Emily walking down the aisle to the song “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory performed by a melodious string quartet from C-Zone entertainment.

The rain that day set a romantic, mysterious, and almost Parisian setting outside in the library’s courtyard. The couple were married under huge white umbrellas in front of the bronze cast fountain which lit up and spouted as they shared their first kiss. Mimosa, an incredible florist, did such a great job not only on the bouquets of soft pink flowers with lovely hints of dusty miller, but also on the amazing centerpieces with hydrangea, orchids and more dusty miller ( I LOVE the addition of this soft fuzzy little leaf in arrangement) atop stacked books to celebrate the venue.

Try and hear that song “Pure Imagination” song from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in your head as you feast your eyes on this magic…

Come with me
And you’ll be
In a world of
Pure imagination
Take a look
And you’ll see
Into your imagination

Photography: Corinna Raznikov Photography | Videographer: Timothy Bakland | Florist: Mimosa Fresh Flowers | Cake: Cakes For Occasions | Invitations: Jeanette Patenaude designed them and they were produced by Paper Source | Bride's Shoes: Badgley Mischka | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Caterer: The Catered Affair at the BPL | Makeup: Charlotte Phinney | Hair: G2O - Dailin Davila | Band: Sultans of Swing | Venue: Boston Public Library | Bride's Dress: Augusta Jones | Men's Tuxes: Vera Wang | Programs: Wedding Paper Divas

These Vendors are members of our Little Black Book.
For membership information, click here
These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here

Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
Top Tips for Choosing Your Vendors

Getting engaged is awesome. And then you have to plan a wedding. The entire thing can be totally daunting. And even though I am in the industry, and most of my friends think that it must be easy, I assure you that it is not! Maybe you are a super amazing planner and I admire you for that, but for those of you who are feeling like you need some guidance, I’m going to try and help you out.


ONE | Don’t wait to book your vendors

TWO | Find someone you connect with

THREE | Look at their blog or social media accounts

FOUR | Show a Pinterest board with 15 photos, (max!) to get your vision across.

DONT WAIT! | When Ross and I got engaged, I emailed our wedding photographers the next morning. Only eight hours after we got engaged! It is never too early to start a conversation, especially if you have a vendor in mind that you love. With that said, I booked our photographers a year and a half before our wedding date. After that, I could relax about it, and I am so very glad I booked when I did. If you don’t know what kind of style you like, I recommend starting your photography research when you start your venue research. And as soon as you book your venue (and consequently have your date), book your photographer!

I met with a bride recently who thought that since her wedding was a year away, she didn’t have to ‘rush’ to find her vendors. This makes me so nervous for her, because there IS a rush. I hate to say it, but it is true. If you have a favorite vendor, I guarantee they are someone else’s favorite too and you don’t want to miss out on booking them. Yes, a year is a long ways away, but not in wedding world! So get to it. Email that photographer or florist you love…right now! And if they are already booked, ask for their recommendations. It is a great way to find a similar style you love, and an added bonus if they are already admired by a fellow wedding vendor!

FIND SOMEONE YOU CONNECT WITHMy absolute favorite client meetings are the ones where we realize hours have passed and we’ve barely discussed photography. Having brides and grooms I connect with is important to me, and I think it’s important to them as well! As the photographer, I am your shadow on your wedding day. You want to find someone that you a. like and b. get along with. And if you become friends, that’s even better! Choosing my vendors was easy, because I am already friends with both Lauren and Krissy. I am thankful to have them- we get along really well and I feel comfortable bouncing ideas off of them. This is pretty important when planning your wedding, because it is you and your fiancées big day! Good communication = happy bride + happy vendors!

LOOK AT THEIR BLOG AND SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTSIf you feel like you are totally overwhelmed by websites, I recommend checking out the vendors’ blog or social media accounts, like Facebook and Instagram. Often it will help you a. feel more connected with them/get to know their personality and b. get a sense of what their current work looks like. This can help determine what you really want in a vendor, and should make the decision making process a bit easier.

GETTING YOUR VISION ACROSS | One of the things I did with Lauren was make a Pinterest board with 15 images, MAX! It was really hard, let me tell you. But narrowing it down to some images you love will help get the ultimate vision of your wedding across to your planner and florist. And even if you aren’t working with a planner or stylist, it will help you stick to a certain vision and determine what is important to you and your fiancé. There are so many awesome options out there, so its easy to get distracted and start pinning like a crazy person. I’ve been there. Don’t do it.

BONUS TIP: If you are doing a lot of DIY, make a schedule in the months leading up to the wedding to get it done! You don’t want to be glue-gunning 2 hours before your Rehearsal Dinner. Plan in advance.

Photography: Fat Orange Cat Studio | Event Stylist: Lauren Wells Events | Floral Design: Pollen Floral Design | Calligraphy: Li Ward