From innocent grade school flirtation to traveling the world together on a study aboard program, these two have won my heart. It only takes mere seconds into CinemaCake‘s darling film to see why. And after reading the Bride’s story, complete captivation sets in. Press play to see the entire thing!

From the beautiful Bride… Pat & I had been dating for 11 years – nearly half of our lives – when he proposed to me in the Rose Garden of the White House. When he asked if I would be his girlfriend outside the Ancillae Assumpta Academy library nearly a decade earlier, I replied, “Sure.” Our grade school romance consisted largely of blushing cheeks, slow dances at school formals, chocolates on Valentine’s Day, and a perceived mutual acknowledgement of “I like you, you like me.” Very little conversation. We were both exceedingly shy. Our primary means of communication was actually through letters. The Valentine’s Day card that accompanied the chocolates revealed a whole new person that I desperately wanted to get to know.

Miraculously, we carried the relationship through to high school, where it really grew. I discovered that the relationship I kind of happened upon had transformed into something much deeper; the boy that I had an innocent grade school crush on was the man I was falling in love with.

After much debate, with many family members weighing in on whether it was a good idea to go to the same college, we set off for the University of Miami together. And remarkably, in our junior year of college, we spent three months together circumnavigating the globe on a study abroad program called Semester at Sea. 13 different countries on four different continents – we saw the world together.

Ironically, it was after college that we learned to live apart. He got a job in Washington with the White House press office and me at an international bicycle company headquartered in Philadelphia – a constant Amtrak weekend ping-pong that we played for three years. Fortunately, Washington is only a train ride away, but the ups and downs of a long-distance relationship were difficult. We knew we wanted to get married. We had known it for a long, long time. It was mostly a matter of establishing some stability, getting our careers on track. But on that April day, as I walked to the White House for a “press office party,” I had absolutely no idea what was coming.

That morning after the proposal, exuding elation, Pat and I met our parents at their hotel. When we arrived, my mom was seated at a table with wedding magazines sprawled out around her. She looked up from her iPad and asked, “So what do you think about…” And that marked the official beginning of wedding planning – an incessant stream of questions that came with difficult answers and challenging decisions. The 4-hour flower appointments, the tablecloth debates, the impossible narrowing down of the guest list, the bridesmaid dress quest. Wedding planning wasn’t quite as fun as I had hoped.

But it was all utterly worth it. You know when you look forward to something so much, for so long that it inevitably doesn’t live up to your lofty expectations? That was the fear that crept into my mind in the final stretch before July 20th. But I’m supremely happy to say that my wedding – an event I had been planning for a year and a half and dreaming of for the last decade – was more than I could have ever hoped for. Truly. And I wish that line didn’t sound so cliché. When I really take the time to reflect on the day, I become unrelentingly emotional because I loved our wedding day with all my being and want to do it all over again.

My #1 objective for our wedding was that it would be a reflection of me and Pat. I wanted our guests to know what they were celebrating. While nearly impossible to pick a favorite part of our wedding day, I think I’d be safe in saying it was the ceremony. Officiated by my best friend’s father who had watched Pat and I grow up, he read and improvised magnificently from the script so to speak that I had spent so very long working on. I very purposefully selected specific readings that I thought spoke to us best. I catered the response to the readings to address us and our guests. Before the lighting of the unity candle, I wrote of our families’ heritage and history. Pat’s cousins and groomsmen sang – a surprise we left out of the program. When I told people we were writing our own vows, they’d look at me like I had three heads. And our vows were by far the best part of the ceremony. All in all, it was meaningful, intimate, personal, romantic.

We were originally supposed to be married in the Four Seasons’ outdoor courtyard. That’s what made me fall in love with the venue. I was totally enchanted by it. And when I was told the day before the wedding that we couldn’t hold the ceremony outside in light of the forecast, I was somewhat devastated. Though I have to say, the graceful draping, the flickering candlelight, the rose petals scattered along the aisle, the exquisite pattered lighting – it was majestic and all the more intimate. I’ll never forget the feeling of walking into that room, radiating joy, glowing in elation. And to see the tears streaming down Pat’s face. It seems like such a strange thing to say – but it made me so extraordinarily happy. I had hoped there would be something, but never imagined the kind of raw emotion I saw as I made my way to him – so moved I was the reason for it.

There were so many facets of the day that I devoted enormous amounts of time to planning, but the flowers perhaps encompassed the largest chunks of my time; and I simply can’t find the right adjectives to effectively articulate how stunning they were. The centerpieces were spectacular. The escort card tree was striking. The orchid placed in each napkin was delicately gorgeous. My bouquet, which we had tried so many variations of, was perfection. The orchids flowing over the waterwalls were striking. It was as if we brought a garden indoors, which was frankly what I was hoping for. To bring the natural beauty of outside into the elegance of inside. Rhoads Garden, our florist, outdid themselves – surpassed all my expectations.

I always wear and tend to gravitate toward bright colors. I think it’s why I hate the cold, gray winter and savor the vibrant, warm summer. So I knew when picking our colors that pastels just didn’t seem fitting. However, I didn’t want the colors to be overpowering and blinding. So we added the softness of the draping and some ivory and pale pink to the arrangements, along with silver-lavender tablecloths and transparent Lucite chairs (something my Mom insisted on that I wasn’t so sure about yet looked outstanding that day). But it was the pop of deep pinks and purples that I loved and seemed so fitting for summer and the fun and joy of the day.

I tried as hard as possible that night to savor each and every moment and sort of take mental snapshots. While getting ready, I looked around at all of my bridesmaids milling around laughing, smiling, looking stunning. Click. Tiffany Stout (makeup) and Alexey Kats from Architeqt Salon (hair) did a beyond phenomenal job. They made me and my bridesmaids look and feel magnificent. I especially loved my side-swept curls that I think perfectly complimented my Enzoani lace gown. Just after meeting Pat at the top of the aisle, I remember trying to soak in the room, the flowers, the bridal party, the music, and I tried to squeeze in a quick glance at all of our guests. Click. During the reception, I paused and watched all of my flip-flop-clad family members and friends on the mobbed dance floor swaying, jumping, grooving to our fabulous band the LA Starz, who had our beaming guests dancing from the minute the doors opened to the end of the reception (in my opinion, the ultimate indication of a great party). Click. Just before entering the after party next door, I snuck into the ballroom once more to get a final look at the breathtaking room. Click. And during the last song of the night, I took a moment to fully take in my husband and the overwhelming happiness I was feeling at that moment. Click.

I wish I could relive my wedding day over and over again. The good news: We invested a whole lot of time into finding the right people to help us remember the most important day of our lives, with CinemaCake being possibly the best wedding decision I made. They captured the emotions, sights, and sounds (the latter, perhaps the most important and defining) of our wedding in a way that I think so few mediums and people are capable of and in a way that so perfectly and vividly encapsulates the day with depth and vibrancy. We now really do get to relive our wedding day for which I am so thankful.

Cinematography: CinemaCake Filmmakers | Photography: Susan Stripling | Event Planning: The Wedding Factor | Floral Design: Rhoads Garden | Wedding Dress: Enzoani | Ceremony Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Reception Venue: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Catering: Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia | Makeup Artist: Tiffany Stout | Hair Stylist: Architeqt Salaon & Gallery | Live Entertainment: EBE LA Starz

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