Straight from the lens of Suzanna March Photography, this Elm Bank Reservation wedding is like fiction has come to life (secret garden anyone?). With floral elements such as Plum Pretty Sugar robes and Winston Flowers adding to the magic, this summer celebration is undeniable, but add in the artistic work of Paper Moss and we’re in heaven. Peek the pretty and pin it all from THE VAULT!
From The Bride…John and I met when we were 17; I was attending an all-girls high school and needed a date to my junior prom. Two of our mutual friends actually set us up and the rest is history! When I started planning our wedding, I kept two important details in mind. We’d been together for over 7 years and I wanted a wedding that would include a lot of personal details that represented our journey together. I also wanted to make sure the day reflected some of John’s personality as well.
For the overall style and impression of the wedding, we envisioned a hybrid between modern and rustic elements. We were drawn to the elegance of modern weddings, but also wanted ours to feel warm, welcoming, and intimate. We struck this balance in our design through farm tables, cream ikat linens, glass votives, candles, chalk and slate accents, wrought iron chandeliers, and lots of succulents, bright roses, and texture. Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley beautifully enhanced these qualities. The venue was a special place for us, as we had attended prom there together many years ago. Our love for succulents and texture was a jumping off point for the aesthetic, but I also grew up in a household with a lot of color—my childhood bedroom was bright orange, pink, and teal—so I wanted to incorporate a lot of color into the details. Eventually, we settled on taupe, coral, orange, yellow, and teal green.
The floral details at the wedding definitely stole the show. Tori at Winston Flowers really took our “secret garden” vision and ran with it. As guests entered the cocktail hour space, they were presented with a magnificent slate escort card wall, covered in succulents and moss. This piece doubled as a beautiful backdrop for cocktail hour (and a few photos!), and juxtaposed cool and modern colors with warm wooden cards. The hanging floral installation above the dance floor was my favorite floral element of the night. I remember walking into the tent before the reception started and this piece took my breath away. The bright roses and succulents added a lush weight, while the green vines, hanging glass teardrops, rose-petals, and tea candles gave the dance floor a romantic and intimate feeling.
The chalkboards that we created with the help of the incredibly talented Niki Weinberg at Paper Tangent were some our favorite personal touches. Because Elm Bank is a large property, we knew guests would need directional signs. Niki created a large, tented chalkboard map of Elm Bank that seems part of a storybook illustration. My favorite piece of Niki’s was the compass, inspired by the large painted compass rose in Nantucket town center. John and I spent many of our summers in Nantucket, and Niki helped us create our own compass illustration that included mile-markers from our relationship. I love that we will be able to use these pieces after the wedding in our house—they’re beautiful as stand-alone artwork.
Although we didn’t have too many DIY details, we did make the colorful ribbon that we used at the ceremony to “tie the knot.” John and I both come from Irish backgrounds, so we wanted to honor our heritage by bringing this tradition into our ceremony. We chose several textured and color lengths of ribbon, and I think it brought a fun pop of color to the ceremony!
I’m one of those people that when I know what I want, I know what I want. This was certainly true for my dress! When I thought about my ideal dress, I’d always imagined something that I felt sexy in, that had a dramatic bottom, and that didn’t swallow my 5’2” frame! I instantly fell in love with this dress when I saw it in a magazine a few years ago. I love the fluidity of the rose-shaped ruching at the end, and I wanted to use a taupe sash to tie the dress into our color scheme. For the bridesmaid dresses, I prioritized finding a dress that would make each girl feel comfortable and beautiful; I think these dresses fit that to a T. I fell in love with the romantic vibe of the off the shoulders draping, and chose a teal/green color that would contrast nicely with the colorful bouquets. John wanted the guys’ attire to uniquely reflect his and his groomsmen’s personalities. Cohesion with the ladies’ dresses was important, especially because the grooms’ party had a “groomsmaid.”
Exchanging vows was my favorite moment of the evening, especially hearing John’s vows in particular. In his vows he spoke about a “time-capsule” letter he wrote in high school that he recently received. At the end of this letter he wrote, “turn around and give Michela a kiss for me because I know she’s standing right behind you while you read this.” It was truly a gift and really reflected the joy and gratitude we felt the entire day.
If I were to give advice to a future bride, in terms of practicality, I’d start off with planning as far ahead as you can! Right after we got engaged, we moved from Boston to Miami, and I started my doctoral program. We definitely had a lot to juggle. Before we left, we selected our major vendors (around the 7 month mark) and made a timeline for completing the remaining tasks. While planning this early definitely helped, I can’t thank our incredible vendors enough. I like to think of our planner (Eliza Cowan), our florist (Winston Flowers) and our caterers (The Catered Affair) as the “dream team” because they took our inspiration and created an incredible and cohesive event. We never could have pulled this off without them.
Lastly, the future therapist in me would want to tell brides to not worry about sweating the small stuff. I think it’s easy to get caught up in the details and worry about everything turning out perfectly, but if you approach the day knowing that things may go wrong (they will, and it’s okay!), you’ll enjoy the day a lot more! Focus on what you’ll remember about the day 20 years from now—your friends, family, emotion and the love from that day. During the ceremony our minister thoughtfully asked us to stop, take a breath, look around and take a moment to let everything sink in—I highly recommend this!
Photography: Suzanna March Photography | Event Planning: Eliza Cowan | Event Planning: Merren Events | Floral & Event Design: Winston Flowers | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang Boston | Cake: Cakes To Remember | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Jewelry: J.Crew | Rings: Barmakian | Bridesmaids' Dresses: L'elite Boston | Catering: Boston Public Library | Hair And Makeup: Caitlin Murphy Stylist | Lighting: Design Light Co. | Band: Wilson Stevens Productions | Groomsmen Attire: J.Crew | Venue: Massachusetts Horticultural Society | Bridal Boutique: L'elite Boston | Bridesmaid Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Chalkboard Signage & Welcome Bag: Paper Tangent | Desserts: The Flour Pot Cookies | Escort Card Calligraphy: Lettering By Liz | Groomsmen Watches: Seiko | Hair Accessories: Kate Spade | Invitation Calligraphy: Kristen Henderson | Paper Goods: Paper Moss | Rentals: New England Country Rentals | Rentals: Peterson Party Center