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Jane Austen Meets Gatsby Style in This Glamorous Wedding

This beautiful Bride and Groom had a vision for their wedding day that married “a romantic garden wedding with a touch of gilded art deco detail, and a dash of old-school soul.” With a focus on the details — like the Bride’s Pronovias lace dress and classic Chevrolet — they captured their “Jane Austin’s garden meets Jay Gatsby’s mansion” feel. See it all from Alexandra Meseke Photography in The Vault!

From The Bride…Chris and I are unapologetically old-school romantics. He continues to open car doors for me, pull out my chair at dinner, and surprise me with fresh-cut hydrangeas from our yard – one of the only plants we can keep alive in our tiny excuse for a garden! We have always been drawn to the styles, music, and culture of another era – we always say we should have been born 100 years ago.

In a few words, our vision for our wedding day was a romantic garden wedding with a touch of gilded art deco detail, and a dash of old-school soul. We wanted our guests to feel like they were stepping back in time. Yet we didn’t want it to become a costume party. It was important for me to chose colors, themes and details reminiscent of a time long ago, while still remaining fresh, simple, and modern.

We also both love spending time outdoors together in the woods, lakes, and parks in the Rochester and Finger Lakes area, so we knew an outdoor ceremony would be magical. Our hometown of Rochester, NY is overflowing with rich history and was the perfect setting to bring this vision to life while paying tribute to the place we grew up and met. When we were dating and I lived in an old city mansion-turned- apartment in the Park Avenue neighborhood, we loved to take walks and explore the city streets, admiring the beautiful old homes and architecture, and imagining a time when things were so much simpler, yet so much more grand and opulent at the same time. Just blocks away from my old apartment was the George Eastman House, the historic home and gardens of Kodak founder George Eastman and now an international museum of photography. It’s always been a favorite spot for us to visit. Think: Jane Austin’s garden meets Jay Gatsby’s mansion – to me, it really doesn’t get any better than that! Shortly after we were engaged, we knew this was our spot, and we couldn’t imagine saying our vows anywhere else.

We both come from large, tight-knit Italian families, so we knew there was no getting around a big wedding – and we wouldn’t want it any other way! But we also wanted something that felt intimate and special. The seclusion of the garden tucked away in the middle of the city felt like we were letting our closest friends and family in on a special secret as we took our vows. We were so touched to be able to share these few moments with everyone in the world who means the world to us, all in the same place at the same time.

Incorporating small but meaningful mementos to honor important family was something I felt strongly about. To honor my dad who passed away when I was a teenager, I carried an antique locket with his photo and mine on my bouquet, so he was close to my heart as I walked down the aisle. I also borrowed a silver beaded clutch that belongs to my mother, and inside, carried a handkerchief that belonged to Chris’ grandmother.

One of my favorite parts of the day was riding in the rumble seat of a 1931 classic Chevrolet Coupe along historic East Avenue from the ceremony to our reception. Aside from taking in the gorgeous view of the old homes and architecture, it was so special for Chris and I to be able to take this moment alone together (along with our family friend in the driver’s seat!) and bask in the glow of our recent vows and look forward to the party ahead. We couldn’t resist snapping a few selfies!

After the ceremony, we continued the celebration at another historic Rochester venue, Inn on Broadway, for dinner and dancing with our bridal party and guests. We both love to dance, and wanted our guests not only to remember a great wedding, but to remember a great party. Music for me was key to creating the perfect soundtrack to transport our guests back to a time of roaring jazz music, and free-flowing cocktails and champagne. A 5-piece jazz band set the scene at our cocktail hour, along with signature drinks “The Flapper” and “The Philosopher” – a champagne cocktail, and a whiskey-ginger. A cigar bar staged to look like a man’s prohibition-era suitcase and dressing table was filled with vintage photos, postcards, newspapers, and liquor bottles from the time, curated from local antique shops and Etsy stores.

Then our amazing DJ carried us into the wee hours of the night, playing a healthy mix of everything from Nina Simone, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, and James Brown (some of our all-time favorites to listen to at home) to Beyonce, Fergie, and Coldplay.

A big part of our life is centered around cooking and eating good food with the ones we love, so it was important to us for the day to reflect that. Tournedo’s Steakhouse at the Inn on Broadway prepared an exquisite, seasonal menu, and Gourmet Goodies created a gorgeous cake and pastry display overflowing with creative mini-desserts and traditional Italian wedding cookies and pastries. At the same time, it was important to us to give back, and sharing food is one of the best ways I know how. For this reason, we skipped wedding favors in lieu of a more meaningful contribution to a local food bank in honor of our guests.

We were so lucky to find Alexandra and Michael as our photographers – the moment we met Alexandra, we knew she would be able to beautifully capture our day aesthetically, as well as emotionally. The two of them together are a breath of fresh air. They put our entire bridal party at ease, and made a long day of wedding photos feel effortless.

It was important to us to choose vendors that were not only able to turn our vision into reality, but who were also just kind, genuine people who we knew would be there for us every step of the way. We also wanted to work with as many local vendors with ties to the Rochester community as we possibly could. We couldn’t have gotten through the day without this amazing group of people that we were so blessed to work with – everyone from our amazing photographers, Alexandra and Michael Meseke, to my lovely hair and makeup stylists who not only made me camera-ready but also calmed my jitters, to the meticulous event coordinators at the George Eastman House and Inn on Broadway, to our hugely talented florist and show-stopping band and DJ. Because of them, each detail came together without a hitch, and Chris and I were overwhelmed with gratitude and joy when we saw our vision brought to life.

Photography: Alexandra Meseke Photography | Floral Design: Kittleberger Florist | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Cake: Gourmet Goodies | Ceremony Venue: George Eastman House | Reception Venue: Inn On Broadway | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters | Makeup: Blush, Brush And Bronze | Hair: Cori Palazzolo with Scott Miller | Band: Showcase Sound | Bridal Boutique: Juliana's Bridal | Flower Girl Dress: Watters

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
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Spring 2016 Collection from Lovely + A Galentine’s Day Party + A Giveaway!

In the off chance you aren’t completely obsessed with all things Lovely (read: you totally should be), today we’re giving you THREE big reasons to fan girl out immediately.  I’m talking a debut collection of seriously stunning bridesmaid + party dresses from Lovely’s sister site, shoplovely.com, a “Galentine’s Day” celebration with Bow & Drape AND a fab giveaway.  Happy Monday?  Yes, indeed.

Crazy gorgeous dutch floral maxis, chic + structured bridesmaids’ dresses and beyond flattering silhouettes… shoplovely.com’s new playful collection of bridesmaid + party dresses is EXACTLY what all of you fashion-forward SMPers are looking for.  Think crazy cool crop tops, open back dresses and hi-low hems ready to party the night away at every event in your Big Day lineup… from your wedding (your besties will love you) to your engagement party to your rehearsal dinner and beyond.

Continuing the fun in their NYC location, Lovely is hosting a “Galentine’s Day” party on February 11th from 6:30-8:30 pm with Bow & Drape.  It’s a fabulous evening of dancing, bubbly and crafting your very own sweatshirt using only sparkly letters and your very clever imaginations.  RSVP today at hello@lovelybride.com and prepare to have some major FUN.  (All sweatshirts retail for under $100.)

the-giveaway

What: Lovely is giving away a Bow & Drape sweatshirt with your own custom theme at each Lovely location!

How: Simply visit one of Lovely’s fabulous locales in NYC, Washington DC, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles or Rochester, NY to enter with your name and email.

Who: Six lucky winners (one per locale) will be announced on Lovely’s Instagram on February 12th! Good luck, loves! xo

Photography: Brooke & Sam Photography | Event Planning: Shop Lovely | Calligraphy: Emilia Paavola | Co-Sponsor: Bow & Drape

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Photography Focused Fall Wedding

Since both this Bride and Groom are photographers, they decided it was only proper to pay a little homage to their joint passion, and so while they had Tawni Lee photograph their special day in entirety, they also picked up the camera themselves. In front of their Oliphant backdrop, these cuties snapped away, capturing some of the simplest yet sweetest pics I ever did see. See them all – and every other bit of this bash – in our VAULT right this way!

From the Bride… When we were first engaged, we knew fall would be the perfect time of year for the celebration. On October 11th, a beautiful and sunny fall day, my husband and I made our love-fest official in my home city of Rochester, NY.

We are both photographers, and work together on our blog a Better Happier St. Sebastian. We knew that incorporating some part of our photography background would be an important aspect for our big day. I decided it would be fun and quite meaningful if we shot film portraits of each other using my hasselblad, on the beautiful Oliphant backdrop we used for our family portraits. What ensued was a truly unique experience. Our photographer captured the two of us, capturing each other. Being able to spend a moment focusing on one another, during a day that was so full of commotion was something I will always treasure.

It was important to us to keep the ceremony a bit laid back. Our guests stood on tiered steps overlooking High Falls and fall foliage, while my brother read us our vows. We even had a rainbow appear near the falls after the ceremony, making the whole thing feel extra whimsical. The reception followed at Good Luck restaurant. With an emphasis on having the absolute best food for our guests, we worked closely with Good Luck to create the perfect seasonal menu. Chickpea Dumplings with Tomato Coriander Sauce and Cilantro Chutney, and Duck Confit with Caramelized Shallot and Blood Orange on Rye Toast were just a couple of the seriously delicious hand passed hors d’oeuvres. Dinner involved orecchiette with mushroom ragu, a fall seasonal salad, stuffed pork loin with roasted squash, and our favorite, the Good Luck burger and fries. Our friends at Scratch Bakeshop handled dessert, making a tiered pumpkin chocolate cake, fall flavored macarons, mini apple pies and red velvet madeleines.

The dress is such an important part of the day, and I still find it funny that I ended up falling in love with a gown completely different than what I imagined myself in. I pictured a simple silhouette with long sleeves, and wasn’t entirely sold on the traditional notion of gown shopping. That’s when the Dietrich dress from Pronovias found me. I went looking with my mom and sister, and the woman helping us suggested I try it on. I thought the feather detailing looked so odd when it was on the hanger that I hesitated to even bring it in the fitting room. Once I slipped into it I had tears in my eyes. I felt like the most glamorous version of myself. After deciding that a veil wasn’t quite right, I found the head piece, also from Pronovias and it completed the look perfectly.

For me, all the little details are what made the day look, and feel so magical. I mixed and matched my collection of vases and handed them off to the florist before the wedding for her to use. My vision for the flowers was executed perfectly, relying on fresh greens with hints of white flowers and hypericum. I have a love for vintage objects, and spent weeks searching for brass animal candlestick holders that were spread across each table. I wanted everything to look natural, with that perfect mix of undone elegance.

When we decided to do assigned seating, I made table assignments with my vintage found photo collection. Using an old window frame, we pinned up dozens of polaroid pictures. Each guest got a vintage found photo with their name on it corresponding to their table. It was an added detail that felt particularly unique and special to us.

It was a day dedicated to beautiful little moments. I love that we get to look back on each detail and remember how joyful every second felt.

Find more Upstate New York weddings here!

Photography: Tawni Lee Weddings | Floral Design: Nancy Ellison Of Wildflowers! | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Ceremony Venue: La Luna At High Falls | Reception Venue: Good Luck Restaurant | Bridesmaids' Dresses: & Other Stories | Groom's Attire: J.Crew | Groomsmen's Attire: Zara | Desserts: Scratch Bake Shop | Film Portraits: Jillian Guyette

These Featured Designers are members of our Look Book.
For membership information, click here
Traditional Rochester Country Club Wedding

When the Bride is an event planner, you know you’re going to see a beautiful wedding and an amazing party too! This blissful couple achieved just that, with invitations from William Arthur and lovely lavender florals (and some help from Mom!) setting the tone for an utterly elegant affair. Take a peek at the full gallery from Alexandra Meseke, to see some major pretty from this lovely day.

From Alexandra Meseke PhotographyBeth and Mike are the kind of couple that every photographer dreams of photographing. Not only are they both easy on the eyes without even trying, the camera also loves their chemistry. They were so comfortable with us from the very beginning, and I think it really shows in these photographs of them. I really love when you can look at a photograph of a couple on their wedding day and completely forget that a camera and a photographer was even there. It manages to be just them being themselves and looking so effortlessly happy.

Beth and Mike planned a flawless event. While they wanted it to be beautiful of course, it was more important to them that their guests have an incredible time. Everything was elegant and classic about this day. They picked one of the most beautiful county clubs in all of the Rochester area. The golf course CCR is so beautiful you really do manage to forget you’re even on a golf course. There is so much history just in the beauty and size of the trees.

What I loved about this event is that Beth did not get caught in trying to out DIY all the other brides out there. She let her venue speak for itself, and accented it with some phenomenal flower arrangements, and table settings. It never ceases to amaze me what a mix of differently sized candle votives can do to a table and therefore a room. Keep is simple, keep is timeless, keep is beautiful. Another really lovely detail was that instead of table numbers they did places that were significant to them as a couple and as individuals. Personal touches like that really go a long way. The other part of what we loved about this event is what an incredible party it was. Every single guest was on up and dancing because the music was amazing. If you’re going to go the band route it’s so important for them it hit the thing out of the park, and Nik Lite did that and more. Every bride is going to look stunning in her own way, and a gorgeous venue is a gorgeous venue. But not everyone can pull off a killer party like that. And what more could you want then all of your loved ones to leave your wedding saying what an incredible time they had, and wishing it didn’t have to end.

From the Bride… As a child, and now an adult who is against eating lobster in any capacity (all due to a childhood experience where my little “pet” lobster whom I adored didn’t remain a “pet” for long), it was rather ironic when on our first date, Mike ordered lobster. After a quick panic phone call to my best friend in the restroom, I stayed and had an amazing time. He swept me off my feet, and five quick years later we were engaged. Interestingly enough they say that those crustaceans I adore find one mate for life and it was clear, I had finally found my lobster.

As an event planner for the Harold Pratt House in NYC for the past seven years, I’ve been planning other bride’s weddings for years, but never truly envisioned my own. All I knew from the beginning was I wanted my guests to have an amazing time and I knew I could create it myself, having listened to so many clients list off what did and did not work out for each and every wedding over the years. The entertainment and photography were the most important to us. We knew wherever we ended up it would be beautiful, and as long as guests were dancing the entire night and the memories were captured, we would be thrilled. I also have stared at, fluffed up and bustled hundreds of wedding dresses, so by the time it was my turn to buy “the dress”, my goal was to have it fit my personality and love every minute of wearing it. My Reem Acra dress was just that and more. Mission accomplished!

If I could offer advice to the bride-to-be’s out there, it would be to take it one day at a time and to please you and your fiance first and foremost, and then make compromises along the way for friends and family. In the end, everyone will have a blast, so don’t stress the small stuff. Oh and try not to serve lobster!

Photography: Alexandra Meseke Photography | Flowers: Wisteria Flowers | Wedding Dress: Reem Acra | Cake: Incredible Edible Cookie Company | Invitations: Crane & Co. | Stationary: Veronica Foley Design | Church: St. John The Evangelist Church Rochester NY | Reception Venue: Country Club Of Rochester | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew | Make-Up: Joan Lincoln | Hair: Lara Mattoon Via Artistic Designs | Lighting : Balloon Effects International | Band: Nik Lite Via Nik Entertainment Co. | Photobooth: SNAPpodNY | Save The Date: Natty Michelle Paperie | Seating Chart: CT Designs | Sundae Bar: Abbott's Frozen Custard

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

Abby Capalbo

Design, Styling, Parties
Beautiful Outdoor Rochester Engagement Session

These two met online before it was the cool thing to do. In a chat room, 15 years ago they found love (trendsetters, I say) and to celebrate their upcoming nuptials, they grabbed Alexandra Meseke Photography and galavanted around the beautiful town of Rochester, NY. To say it’s beautiful is quite the understatement.

From the photography… Katie and Dan are the kind of people that make you fell better about the world. They have a love for life, that I find is so rare these days. They truly to their cores are humble, caring, kind, and giving people. From our very first email exchange I knew that Michael and I were really going to love photographing Katie and Dan’s wedding, and they hadn’t even booked us yet. I just had a feeling. We didn’t meet in person until the day of their engagement shoot this past July, and they certainly did not disappoint. They were fun-loving, out-going, super sweet, and completely HILARIOUS. The four of us were laughing it up the entire time. But even better, it’s not just that they were great in front of the camera(which they of course claimed they wouldn’t be), it was more that Dan had a wonderful way of showing his love and adoration of Katie even with the cameras there. The way he held her and looked at her, and nuzzled up to her had me squealing like a silly girl the whole shoot.

Neither Katie or Dan live in Rochester, but they knew that Michael and I are dividing our time between there and NYC, and they wanted to put the shoot into my hands, and trusted me to choose the locations that I thought best for their shoot. What a dream!! When a client gives you all the creative freedom you could want for their shoot, and send you an email full of inspirational shots from your own website, you know you’re a perfect match for each other. They gave me a few guidelines, but basically we got to wander around my favorite City of Rochester neighborhoods for an evening, and have a blast doing it. I was even able to find some spots I didn’t know existed. It was a GREAT shoot, and their wedding this fall at the Mansion on Delaware in Buffalo is sure to be a stunner.

From the Groom to be… When we tell people we met online, they invariably say something like, “Oh my sister met someone on eHarmony!” But you have to take it much further back, before Match.com, before Facebook, even before MySpace. For two kids who met arguing about music in an online chatroom in the days of dial-up internet, more than a thousand miles apart in different countries, we’ve come a long way. The odds against a Georgia boy ending up on one knee atop a snowcapped mountain popping the question to a Canadian girl must be astronomical, but when a thing is right you have no choice but to move heaven and earth to make it work. Fifteen years after that first chance encounter, we’ve traveled so many new places together that it only made sense to explore a new town for our engagement shoot. Alexandra Meseke showed us a side of Rochester we never could have seen without someone who was born and raised in the area. Her ability to help us relax and create genuine moments while maintaining attention to all the little details (not to mention her amazing husband Michael scouting locations and turning on a dime when we spotted a beautiful spot!) turned the shoot into a day to remember.

Photography: Alexandra Meseke Photography | Shoot Location: Highland Park | Shoot Location: The Little Theatre | Shoot Location: Rochester Museum & Science Center

Rochester Wedding at the Harro East Ballroom by T & S Hughes Photography

Every detail counts…And that’s obvious in this wedding by T&S Hughes Photography. My favorite weddings are all about the delicate, personal touches that embody the story of the bride and groom. With prohibition style mason jars, vintage fabrics from the bride’s great grandparent’s collection, splashes of lace and so many more … my heart could literally burst! Thankfully, there are even more details to swoon over in the gallery.

Click here for the FULL wedding!

From the Bride… I loved the bouquets! My mom made them herself out of old fabrics from the Great Depression era that my great grandparents had given her, fabric from my baby room and fabrics from a flower girl dress I wore in a wedding when I was younger. There was also lace from my mother’s wedding dress, as well as the finishing touch — my “something borrowed,” which was a brooch my grandmother wore to my mom’s wedding.

I was so pleased with both venues, as I felt they really worked for our day and created the relaxed and vintage tone we were hoping for. The church is a little local church in Pittsford, New York, called St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran church. It was old clapboard with white picket fences and big red doors — very typical American for our English visitors to enjoy!  The church also hosted our “English Cream Tea” reception.  Our evening reception was in Harro East Ballroom in the city of Rochester, New York.  It was a lovely old theater auditorium from the 1920-30s with big tall ceilings and huge windows! The reception hostess there is lovely to work with as well, and everyone has commented on how delicious the buffet was! Alex and I would highly recommend them both.

My main hope was to go with a feel for our day that truly represented Alex and I as a couple. Alex and I wanted a relaxed and unique wedding day. We both really like eclectic and vintage style things and really enjoy going to antique shops! The typewriter, birdcage and old picture frame with our photos pinned in were all ideas that I found on Pinterest. The suitcases were pieces that I had used in my room growing up and are something that very much represents Alex and I, as we like to travel and are living abroad in England. The heart-shaped map cutouts were a tiny detail that I really loved, as I spent time picking out maps of places we’d both been to. The centerpieces were a work in progress and developed over time out of old wine bottles, jars and swirly, feather pieces. I felt that I really wanted to display details of Alex and me in our wedding decor, which we used with the American and English themes running throughout the day as well. We enjoyed putting it all together, and it was never work — it was fun and so many people helped us out along the way!

Wedding Photography: T & S Hughes Photography / Ceremony: St. Paul’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Pittsford, New York / Reception: Harro East Ballroom in Rochester, New York / Fabric Rose Bouquets: DIY by the Mother of the Bride / Wedding Dress: Tusneem Bridal / Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Various of Their Own Choosing / Men’s Suits: T.M. Lewin / Rings + Necklace: Tiffany & Co.