Blogger Bride Jessye of City Tonic's Colorful DIY Wedding
January 26, 2016
New England
DIY InspiredClassic WeddingsEstate Weddings
We've had a front-row seat to our blogger bride Jessye's wedding planning journey, and today is finally the big reveal. She's sharing an inside look into her Martha's Vineyard nuptials photographed by Ruth Eileen, and it's the ultimate East Coast celebration with pops of color woven throughout. Jessye, it's been a joy having you guest blog on our pages and your special day, simply put, is everything. Excuse us as we go spend the rest of the day pinning in The Vault.
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From The Bride... I’m so excited to share my wedding with you today! When I think back on the crazy blur of our wedding, a few moments really stand out to me. On the morning of, I woke up to a crisp and cloudless blue sky and an adorable text message from Kevin – both of which put me at ease. After that brief moment of calm, all I can remember is the frenetic energy around me as I finished some last-minute DIY details with my bridesmaids (thanks guys!) and wrote notes to Kevin and our parents. Suddenly, the frenzy of the day came to a halt and I found myself looking at my dad as we were about to walk down the aisle, violin music floating in the background. I remember locking eyes with Kevin and watching a smile flash across his face as I approached. Somehow — even after anxiously waiting and planning and daydreaming about it for months — nothing really prepares you for how exceptional that moment feels.

When we first started discussing the big day, we agreed that we really just wanted everyone to have fun. We also hoped that our guests would be able to see all of the personality and love that went into the planning. My mom and I (and Kevin, at times) planned the entire wedding ourselves and the experience made me realize how lucky I am to have a creative and innovative mom and a supportive husband. Since the wedding involved plenty of sourcing and DIY elements, I thought it would be fun to break it down into pieces — in case anyone else is as obsessed with the details as I am! (And I owe a huge thank you to the immeasurably talented Ruth Eileen Photography for capturing all of those details and moments so beautifully.)

The venue

My family has a home on Martha's Vineyard and the island has always been a huge part of my life — I spent a few glorious summers there waitressing and babysitting, and it's probably my favorite place on earth. When I met Kevin (a native Californian), I made sure we visited MV early on in our relationship — luckily, he fell in love with it too! We chose to get married at a private estate in Edgartown where we could hold both the ceremony and tented reception — it was situated right on the water and surrounded by beautiful sea grass and Montauk daisies. As an added bonus, it was large enough to house the whole bridal party so everyone was able to stay in one place (and enjoy plenty of leftover fried chicken the morning after the wedding!).

The fashion

As a fashion blogger and overall style enthusiast, I was particularly excited about dress shopping. I eagerly scheduled appointments at multiple boutiques in Boston, and was pretty certain I knew what I wanted. My first appointment was at L'elite Bridal during a Reem Acra trunk show (one of my favorite designers). I'm generally a very indecisive person and I like to know all of my options before committing to one — so it was pretty surprising when I fell for the second dress I tried on (miraculously, I never second-guessed my choice either). The intricately embroidered bodice was peppered with just the right amount of sequins (although it's hard to see in the photos!) and I loved the fluid movement of the skirt. I had small silk buttons added to the back as an homage to my mother's wedding dress and a sequined belt for a little extra sparkle and texture. My favorite addition; however, was the beautiful diamond starburst brooch that was used to fasten the belt – it’s a family heirloom that’s been worn by every bride on my mother's side since the early 1800s, and I felt very lucky to continue the tradition.


After learning calligraphy and designing our save-the-dates and invitations, I knew I also wanted to design all of the other stationery components (like table numbers, menus, directional signs, etc.) to keep everything visually consistent. Our wedding invitations were foil stamped in copper and rose gold, so I decided to incorporate these metallics throughout the wedding. However, professional foil stamping can be really cost-prohibitive when you're printing menus, ceremony programs, table numbers and advice cards. It simply wasn't in our budget, so I found a way to print DIY foil at home using foil transfer paper and a laminator. It was extremely time-consuming (I ended up printing a few hundred pieces, which I would not recommend!) — however, I'm one of those weirdos who thoroughly enjoys big craft projects so it all worked out.

In order to achieve the same rose gold theme in my wedding signs, I enlisted the help of my cousin who owns a custom print wear shop. I scanned my own brush script and designed the layouts — and from there, he came up with a way to print these beautiful banner signs in shiny foil. My mom and I constructed frames for the banners using copper pipes and fittings from the hardware store (I thought this added a bit of an unexpected edge to the look). We also made stands for the table numbers using thin copper pipes. For the escort card display, we wrapped an old door in that ubiquitous banana leaf print fabric — the same print I used for envelope liners in our invitations (it was like a little wink to... myself). I ordered a giant box of copper plant markers and wrote all of our guests' names on the individual tags. My darling bridesmaids helped organize all of the tags by table number and attached them to the display.

The menu

Since we got married at a private venue, we had the freedom to customize everything. Instead of picking a few options from a fixed menu, we worked with an incredible local chef, Gina Stanley, to create our dream menu (think: sweet potato beignets, fresh island oysters, buttermilk fried chicken with Tabasco honey, braised short ribs and parmesan risotto). Kevin and I are huge foodies — and we especially looove comfort food, so we opted for a family style dinner made from all local ingredients. That way, everyone could try everything and the informal family-style meal facilitated more introductions and conversation between guests. (P.S. I always hear that brides forget to eat on their wedding day, but I definitely did not have that problem.)

The party

After all of the anticipation, stress and excitement that comes with wedding planning, we were so ready to unwind and have fun at our reception. I was laughing and dancing nonstop – catching up with friends and family, smooching Kevin and repeating “I can’t believe we’re married!”, not caring about my windblown hair or grass-stained dress. It was the perfect celebration. After dinner and our first dance, Kevin and his groomsmen changed into these crazy printed short-shorts (Chubbies) with socks, and danced like maniacs. I wasn't sure how the outfit change would be received by all of our guests, but it was a hit and it totally kept the party going! After that, we had a sparkler and paper lantern release that, unfortunately, we had to cut it short due to a fire hazard with the surrounding sea grass. For all you brides-to-be: this is a perfect example of those inevitable wedding day blunders you'll have to force yourself not to stress over! Luckily, no damage resulted and the ordeal was quickly forgotten as soon as the late-night donuts and apple fritters arrived!

Look Back on Jessye’s Journey:

Meet the Bride | Bridal Accessories | Bachelorette Getaway

Little Black Book Vendors
Joanna August
Bridesmaids' Dresses
Back to Joanna August
What We Do
Bridesmaids' Dresses
Back to Silver Arrow Band
What We Do
Back to Blank Label
What We Do
Groom's Attire
Back to Plum Pretty Sugar
What We Do
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LookBook Designers
Additional Vendor Credits
Invitations, Table Numbers, Menus, Banner Design + Programs
Jessye Aibel
Bride's Shoes