Hi everyone! I’m Corey Golden: NYC-based blogger (@seegoldenstyle on Instagram), Merchandising Editor at ELLE and Harper’s BAZAAR, marketer, and most recently, interior designer (Corey Golden Design). I’ve always worn many hats…and I’m about to add *wife* into the mix! Like many modern couples, I met my fiancé Brian on a dating app…twice (once the summer before, but we only texted). Fast forward to three years later and we’re engaged, living on the Upper East Side, and planning an intimate, summer wedding in my grandparent’s backyard in Westhampton Beach, NY. I’m so excited to take you along on our wedding planning journey, from finding the dress to choosing flower arrangements, from unexpected challenges to lessons learned, all documented here in my SMP wedding planning diary!
Wedding Date: June 11, 2022
Wedding Style: Beach romance with a dose of Hamptons elegance
All about the proposal…
In May, Brian popped the question on the beach in Westhampton. Little did I know, our families had secretly flown in and were waiting to celebrate with us afterwards at my favorite restaurant, including both sets of my grandparents (who hadn’t traveled since the beginning of COVID), our parents, and our siblings. The entire weekend was a dream come true and so thoughtfully planned out by Brian. I still can’t believe he pulled off such a massive surprise without anyone spilling the beans! Ever since, we’ve been floating around on engagement cloud nine while planning our wedding for next summer.
September 2021: 9 Months before the wedding!
We’re getting married!!! And it is finally starting to feel real.
September has been a huge month in wedding planning…we had our engagement shoot, sent out our save the dates, went on a trip to Bermuda to celebrate our engagement, and I “proposed” to my bridesmaids.
The engagement shoot was a true highlight. I had a vision for the photos and it was so much fun bringing that vision to life! I knew I wanted to use the photos for our save the date and loved the idea of “teasing” our venue, so we shot in front of my grandparent’s house. I wore my dream dress by Mestiza New York and had a total princess moment. We also got in some practice with our wedding photographer (@stephaniesunderland) before the big day.
I designed our save the dates on Minted and could not recommend them enough! Every little detail was perfect…from the blue foil-press, to the wax seals. I was so excited to drop them off at USPS!
Our engagement trip to Bermuda was so special and felt like the perfect end to summer. We stayed at the Rosewood Bermuda and loved every minute. I was so shocked at how easy the trip was…from NYC, we were there in under 2 hours! A huge highlight of the trip was our boat day…we toured the island, snorkeled, and hiked up a cliff on a private beach.
I had so much fun coming up with a creative way to propose to my bridal party! Since we’re getting married out east, I landed on custom boxes filled with “Hamptons Wedding Essentials.” The boxes included Tate’s Cookies, mini bottles of Wölffer rosé, travel-sized Coola sunscreen, a seashell hair clip, gold friendship rings with each person’s name from Retail Therapy Jewelry, and a hand-written card.
October 2021: 8 Months before the wedding!
First comes love. Then comes the dress…
I had it all planned out. Due to COVID restrictions in NYC bridal shops, only two or three people were allowed to come dress shopping with me. And between my two sisters/co-maids of honor, my mom, and my future mother-in-law, I didn’t want anyone to miss out. So I planned to visit 6 different boutiques spanning two days and bring a different group each day. Given my background in fashion, I definitely thought it would take me at LEAST two days (and then some) to make my final decision. But little did I know, the dress of my dreams would be the first one I tried on.
If I’m being honest, I was not the girl who grew up dreaming of her wedding dress (which may come as a shock to my friends and family). So when it came time to start making my dress appointments, I spent hours on Pinterest and Instagram finding inspiration, designers, and boutiques. I walked into my first appointment feeling pretty clear about what I wanted, as far as the overall look, and I even had one specific dress in mind that I thought would be the one (which I wasn’t supposed to see until day 2).
My dress ended up being the first one I pointed to on the rack and the first one I tried on, so it definitely felt meant to be. When I walked out of the dressing room to an audience exclaiming “we’re done!”, I honestly didn’t believe it! I knew the dress was special, but I didn’t have that “bridal moment” you see in movies and no tears were shed. I was expecting two full days of dress shopping…I couldn’t wrap my head around finding THE dress on my first try! I spent a lot of time in the dress, taking videos and photos, but it wasn’t until after the day was over that I knew without a doubt ( I ended up switching my appointments around so I could try on the dress that I originally thought would be the one, just to be sure).
For all the brides out there looking for some dress shopping tips, here are my top 3:
- Do your hair and makeup!! I cannot stress this enough. It really helped me get a clearer picture of what I would look like in the dress on the actual day. And it just feels more special that way :)
- Do your research, but come with an open mind. It is SO hard to know what a wedding dress will look like on your body before you actually try it on. I do think it’s helpful to have a general idea of what you want before your appointments, but at the end of the day, you want the dress to be perfect for YOU. And if that means it’s not the dress you envisioned, that’s totally okay!
- Take photos AND videos! The photos are amazing to have, but I love looking back at the videos specifically. It’s just so special to be able to rewatch how happy I was!
Here are the boutiques I went to in NYC:
- Mark Ingram Atelier – This is where I found the one! If you’re interested in seeing a certain designer, I suggest calling ahead to see if they have a trunk show coming up. This way, you can preview the latest collections that aren’t in stores yet!
- Spina Bride – This showroom is SO beautiful! It would be hard to try on a dress in this boutique and not feel beautiful.
- Bridal Reflections – This is where I thought I’d find my dress! It was definitely helpful knowing ahead of time which boutiques carry certain designers. They have a great selection of Galia Lahav.
Other boutiques that were on my list: Wedding Atelier, Monique Llhuillier, Grace Loves Lace, L’Fay Bridal, Bergdorf Goodman
P.S. Don’t worry, none of these photos are of my dress! :)
November 2021: 7 Months before the wedding!
In the movies, creating your wedding registry is portrayed as this romantic, effortless process where you and your husband-to-be peruse the aisles of department stores, scanning as you go. But as many other brides will tell you, that is far from the reality of registry creation.
Of the two of us, I am definitely the one who is more passionate about interiors. With the exception of a few random items for which Brian will have a strong opinion (i.e. a basket that serves no purpose), he pretty much lets me take the lead on design and trusts my eye. That being said, he had no interest in romantically scanning the department store aisles for our registry as I had envisioned. So…I enlisted the help of my future MIL! Tip #1) Creating a registry can be overwhelming, so find someone who has similar taste for you to bounce ideas off of. Bonus if they can come with you to appointments!
Initially when I thought about our registry, I didn’t want to include much. We had recently moved in together prior to getting engaged, so we had already purchased a lot of the “typical” registry gifts. But the more that I looked around, the more I started to look at creating our registry a bit differently. Tip #2) If you’re like us, don’t be afraid to branch out with non-traditional choices, like a beautiful set of luggage, a honeymoon fund, or an experience gift. I’m obsessed with the vintage feel of this luggage from Bric’s-it’s the perfect gift to take you from the honeymoon to all your future travels as a married couple! I included the cream set for myself and the black set for Brian.
Tip #3) The registry is also an opportunity to upgrade pieces that get a lot of everyday use, especially in the kitchen. Think: an ultra luxe coffee machine, a matching set of coffee cups (because if you’re like us, you have a LOT of mismatched cups), or a fresh set of bakeware. We loved this nonstick gold set from Williams Sonoma, especially the pizza pan!
Tip #4) Lastly, the registry is a great time to start thinking about future entertaining needs. Maybe you only have enough dinnerware for 6 guests, but want to be able to host 12 in a future home. We were missing a great cheese board and some key serveware pieces. Overall, I wanted to incorporate touches of natural, woven elements to bring a little bit of that relaxed Hamptons feeling to NYC, but not too much where it feels out of place in our city apartment, like this chip and dip and these coasters.
Tip #5) My biggest piece of advice is to have fun with it! And don’t choose items just because you think you’re supposed to-focus on things you will actually use as a couple! Happy shopping!
December 2021: 6 Months before the wedding!
Picking a wedding photographer is one of the most important aspects of planning your wedding. After the cake is cut and the band goes home, photos let us relive the most special day of our lives over and over again.
We chose our photographer, Stephanie Sunderland, for a few reasons. First, her photos are beautiful. I found her on Instagram and was so impressed by her photography style. Second, our first conversation was easy and relaxed. I sensed she would be a calming presence on our wedding day. Finally, we had our engagement shoot with Stephanie and I’ve never seen Brian more comfortable in front of the camera. He actually enjoyed himself, which was unexpected for someone who notoriously hates photos.
I sat down with Stephanie for a little Q&A on ALL things wedding photography, including her tips for finding the best lighting, where she finds inspiration, and her advice for brides-to-be:
Corey: Why did you decide to become a wedding photographer?
Stephanie: It happened organically for me. I found a love for photography around the same time a lot of my friends were getting married. Many of them asked me to do their wedding photos and that is how it all started. However, I choose to keep doing weddings because I love being able to capture true emotions, tell a true story, and also get creative and shoot with a touch of an editorial style. It fills me as an artist and always keeps me inspired and ready to work my hardest.
Corey: What is your favorite moment to capture?
Stephanie: I love capturing the authentic and unposed parts of the day. The first look, ceremony, first dance, speeches, and all those beautiful in-between moments. My favorite photos happen when the couple is fully present and just being themselves.
Corey: How would you describe your photography style?
Stephanie: I always strive for timeless. I don’t like the terms light and airy or dark and moody when it comes to describing my style. I try to capture moments and couples as they are. I like to edit in a way that is not overly filtered or dramatically overexposed or underexposed. I want my couples to look back in 5, 10, 15, 30 years and still love their photos.
Corey: What are your tips for finding the best lighting?
Stephanie: For outdoor shooting, I really like back and side light or open shade. For indoors, I prefer window light or light coming in through the door. If I am ever unsure, I always take a quick circle around my subjects and look for the best light.
Corey: What type of camera do you use?
Stephanie: Canon 5d mark IV, Canon eos 3, and Pentax 645.
Corey: Film vs. digital – what’s your POV?
Stephanie: I use and love both for different reasons. Film is precious, the shots are more thought out and selective. Film has a richness and depth that can’t be replicated-its tonal range and colors are just beautiful. Digital is amazing with how many shots you can take, you don’t ever miss a moment, and its low light abilities are impressive. I also love that you can edit digital to give it different looks and “feelings.”
Corey: What are your tips for helping couples to feel comfortable in front of the camera?
Stephanie: Don’t overthink or try to be perfect. I often have almost beautiful moments interrupted because a bride or groom needs to fix this or straighten that…if something is a bit out of place, it’s not going to ruin a beautiful photograph. Try to be present, authentically yourself, and ultimately forget the camera is even there.
Corey: Is there anything different about photographing an at-home wedding like mine?
Stephanie: For me personally it is very similar to weddings at venues, but oftentimes a little sweeter because it is an extra special place for the couple. I love at home and backyard weddings.
Corey: Where do you find inspiration?
Stephanie: I find inspiration in all art forms, but especially other photography. I love looking at vintage photographs and magazine spreads.
Corey: What is your best advice for brides-to-be?
Stephanie: Enjoy being a bride, and especially soak in your wedding day! BE PRESENT. Although it can be stressful, it goes by so quickly and you don’t want to miss it because you are worried about things being “perfect.”
Be sure to check out Stephanie on Instagram: @StephanieSunderland
January 2022: 5 Months before the wedding!
Preparing for your wedding day is the best excuse to invest in all forms of self care–for your skin and hair, but also for your mind and body. In the last few months, I have gladly taken on the challenge of test driving workouts, products, treatments, and supplements to compile this month’s diary entry, which I’m calling Wedding Wellness. I’m rounding up all of my favorite aspects of my wellness routine and what I’ve found that truly makes me feel my best, from the inside out. This one goes out to all my fellow brides-to-be who could use a little extra TLC.
If you’ve ever gotten a peek into my medicine cabinet on my Instagram, you know I am a total skincare product junkie. I love discovering new products to incorporate into my routine, but there are certain products I’ve used for years that I will always have in my arsenal. I get almost all my skincare products from Dermstore-they carry the best brands. But one tip that has nothing to do with products is drinking enough water! I recently purchased this sippy cup (made famous by the one and only Tinx) and swear it makes drinking water so much easier. I try to drink four 24oz cups per day and also squeeze lemon juice in for flavor!
I always cleanse in the morning with iS Clinical’s Cleansing Complex. IS Clinical is a brand that I’ve discovered in the last few months and have become completely obsessed with. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley always raves about this brand in her interviews, and I’ll listen to just about anything she says. After cleansing, I use a combination of two of their serums – the Super Serum Advance Plus and the Hydra-Cool. The texture of their serums are unlike anything I’ve used before. My skin feels instantly softer. I follow with the Reparative Moisture Emulsion, which I use morning and night. If I have a few extra minutes in the morning, I love Skyn Iceland’s Hydro cool Firming Eye Gels. Putting those on while I have my morning matcha is the best way to start the day. For eye cream, I use SkinMedica’s TNS Eye Repair followed by Colorescience Total Eye 3-in-1 Renewal Therapy with SPF 35 in shade Medium. PM Routine:
I never, ever go to bed without taking off my makeup! I’ve been using Koh Gen Do’s Cleansing Spa Water with Shiseido Facial Cotton pads (the softest I’ve found). I also have the Koh Gen Do Cleansing Spa Water Cloths for travel and sometimes use them to double cleanse. One of my favorite products to exfoliate is First Aid Beauty’s Facial Radiance Pads. I swear, when I use these consistently, I rarely have breakouts. After cleansing with iS Clinical’s Cleansing Complex, I use SkinMedica’s HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator and iS Clinical’s Reparative Moisture Emulsion. Every other night, I switch off between the HA5 Serum and iS Clinical’s Active Serum, which is one of my favorite products. You can feel it working immediately after applying with this nice tingling sensation. I use the same SkinMedica eye cream in the evening as well. Some nights, when I have time to relax and take a bath, I love to put on iS Clinical’s Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque.
Hair health is something I’ve been focusing on for the last year or so leading up to the wedding. I’ve tested SO many different brands, but always come back to OUAI. To start, the products smell insanely good. But more than that, I have yet to try a product from them that I don’t love. Jen Atkin is basically the queen of hair, so that comes as no surprise. I use the Medium Shampoo and Conditioner, and this Hair Treatment Mask once a week. When I’m styling my hair, I use the Leave In Conditioner before blow drying and the Texturizing Hair Spray to add hold and grit. My hair is naturally wavy, so if I let it air dry, I love the Wave Spray for beachy texture. I’ve also been taking Viviscal morning and night for the past 3 months. It has the lowest amount of Biotin that I’ve seen in a hair supplement, which is good for me because I notice that too much Biotin makes me break out.
Gut health is super important, not only for feeling good but also for your skin and immune system. I’ve tried every probiotic out there, but my absolute favorite is Mary Ruth’s Organic Liquid Probiotic. It’s easy to use and super gentle. For me, it works best if I take it at night before I go to sleep (usually filling the dropper 3 times and putting it on my tongue). I’ve been using this for two years and swear by it!
I have never been a believer in facials until I tried the HydraFacial. In the past, I always thought my skin was too sensitive for facials because, like clockwork, I’d break out the following day after treatment. I started seeing Ally at my dermatologist Dr. Marmur’s office Marmur Medical right after I got engaged and have seen her every 6 weeks since. I think what makes the HydraFacial unique is it combines deep cleansing, exfoliation, and hydration, so it works well for someone like me with combination skin. I leave every session feeling like a glazed donut, in the best way.
Hands down, my all time favorite workout is SLT. I have a love-hate relationship with the Megaformer (as I’m sure most do), but I really look forward to my workouts and leave feeling super strong. I have noticed that for me, lower intensity workouts are a better fit, and SLT truly is the best for building long, lean muscles. I try to go 3-4x per week! Also if you’re a runner, check out SLT Tread for a killer combo workout.
*A special treat for SMP: If you’re new to SLT, use code GOLDEN10 for $10 off your first class! (You can still get the new client two-pack after!) You can sign up on their website or download the SLT app.
For all my fellow Upper East Siders with sensitive skin, Bespoke Brows is the only place I go to get my brows waxed and tinted. They use a lavender creme based wax at a lower temperature, specifically catering to us sensitive skin gals. Whereas in the past I would notice bumps or redness post-wax, I leave Bespoke without any irritation. I’ve been getting on a schedule for every 4 weeks leading up to the wedding and I don’t touch my brows in between visits. I see Rebecca, who is also the founder, but everyone is trained by her. They are walk-in only and I’ve never had to wait more than 5 minutes!
LASER HAIR REMOVAL
I’ve been getting laser hair removal for about 10 years on my underarms and bikini and it is the BEST investment. I also decided to get my legs done before the wedding. My favorite spot in the city is Erase Spa-the laser blows cold air, so I barely feel the zap.
My fiance and I are both super busy during the week and don’t always have the time to cook healthy meals. We’ve tried a few different meal delivery services, but Health+ With Amanda is by far the best we’ve tried! She cooks the meals fresh every week and delivers them to your door. And the menu changes weekly so you’re never bored. Think healtified Carbone spicy rigatoni, chicken parmesan and pad thai. Basically, healthy, portioned versions of dishes you love. She delivers to NYC, LI, CT, & NJ! If you have any questions, feel free to DM me @seegoldenstyle
February 2022: 4 Months before the wedding!
Grab your passport and get ready for a holiday in the sun…we’re headed to the Bahamas for #COREYSBEACHELORETTE! I’m so excited to recap my bachelorette party & relive one of the best weekends of my life.
Checking into The Cove at Atlantis Bahamas with my girls was honestly a dream come true. Immediately upon arrival, we were greeted by a grand, open air lobby and breathtaking views of the ocean. The hotel hooked us up with connecting rooms on the 17th floor, which my sisters/co-MOHs promptly decorated and turned into the most epic bridal suite of all time. The Cove was the ultimate bachelorette party destination, with spacious (and luxurious) rooms, beautiful beaches, yummy cocktails, and a million restaurants and activities to choose from…all in a setting that is equal parts relaxation and fun.
THE GIFTING SUITE
Since my friends traveled internationally to celebrate with me, I wanted to make their arrival a little extra special! I had so much fun putting together these gift bags with my Bahamas must-haves. Each bag included: a personalized beach bag by Quilted Koala with each girl’s name on the back, Melissa Odabash sandals, a Show Me Your Mumu coverup, Tissu Quotidien terry cloth scrunchies & personalized bucket hats with each girl’s first initial, and Coola sunscreen, lip oil, and makeup setting spray.
One meal was better than the next at Atlantis! And as a bonus, the restaurants were very accommodating for larger groups (think: private rooms). Here’s where we wined and dined:
Olive’s – Mediterranean style with a great atmosphere, located right off the casino at Atlantis. A must order: the Butternut Squash Tortelli.
Nobu – You can never go wrong with Nobu! This was the perfect spot to kick off our big night out. Bonus: it’s directly next door to the club at Atlantis, Aura. As a surprise, my sister rented a limo to take us from The Cove to Nobu, which I highly recommend!
Fish by José Andrés – For Bahamian cuisine and the freshest seafood, Fish is your spot. This was the perfect dinner choice for our final night, because it’s located right at The Cove.
For my bachelorette, I wanted a combination of beach relaxation and fun activities. One of the highlights of the trip was our Dolphin Cay experience. We high fived, hugged, and danced with our dolphin, all with a backdrop of the most picturesque view of the Atlantis hotel. It was a pinch me moment and a HUGE hit on the trip!
Another must while in the Bahamas: a boat day! We booked ours through Island Yachts at Bay Street Marina, only a short cab ride from the hotel. We could not have had a better experience! As a surprise, they even decorated the boat (how sweet is that!) and had homemade drinks waiting for us on board. They helped us arrange for snacks and drinks, leaving us to dance and enjoy until sunset!
After dinner on the final night, the girls planned a surprise evening of games in our suite and my mom sent us champagne and dessert (including a homemade SPARKLY cake from The Cove). This was my favorite part of the trip – it was just so special and I felt so loved! I highly recommend doing this on the final night, it was truly the perfect end to such a wonderful weekend.
My MOHs created this adorable itinerary and had it printed for each of the girls upon arrival!
I spent months curating my all white wardrobe for this trip! I had so much fun discovering new brands and coming up with creative bridal looks. Here’s a rundown of what was in my suitcase…
Overall, a HUGE thank you to my wonderful sisters & friends and to our incredible hosts at The Cove for making this trip one that I will never forget! The Bahamas will always have a piece of my heart.
March 2022: 4 Months before the wedding!
Gone are the days where a bride wears her ceremony gown for the entire evening. I knew I wanted to have my princess moment walking down the aisle, but loved the idea of changing into something a little slinkier before hitting the dance floor. Ladies…I said yes to the *second* dress!
Katie May is a designer I’ve admired from afar for years, seeing her gorgeous designs on sites like Saks and Revolve. But I never knew she made custom bridal gowns until I came across one of the most beautiful dresses I had ever seen on her Instagram. I had been looking at options for months, but when I saw this dress, I just knew it was the one.
Since Katie May makes all of her gowns in the Los Angeles design studio, I used the bespoke Bridal Box service to do everything from my apartment in NYC! The bridal box arrived in style, with dried florals, a scented sachet, cards that outline the entire fitting process, sample gowns, and everything from measuring tape to undergarments. I tried two different styles, so don’t worry, I’m not spoiling anything with these photos!
During my virtual fitting, we took measurements, reviewed the fit of the gown, and discussed any adjustments. Once I returned the sample gowns, we officially placed my order! I cannot wait to show you the finished product, she’s a stunner.
For any other brides-to-be, here’s more info on how to order Katie May’s Bridal Box. If you have any questions about the process, shoot me a DM @seegoldenstyle.
Until next time!
April 2022: Wedding day is right around the corner!
With the big day just around the corner, it’s time for the first official wedding event-my bridal shower! I was fortunate enough to celebrate with 30 of my closest friends and family in my hometown of Potomac, Maryland. Let’s take a moment and relive the most special day…
The morning of the shower, thunderstorms were in the forecast *no pun intended* (despite weather.com predicting sun the entire week before), so we had to make a gametime decision to move inside. And I have to say, although the original outdoor location was gorgeous, the room we chose made the shower so much more intimate. If I had to do it over, I would’ve chosen the indoor location from the beginning!
I worked with my grandma and the wonderful team at Minted Weddings to design the beautiful invitations. I loved the old school feeling of the umbrella, and the pink and gold color scheme set the tone for the day-of decor.
And now for the outfit! My dress was by Bronx and Banco, heels by Stuart Weitzman, clutch by From St. Xavier, and earrings by Jennifer Behr.
My wonderful grandmother and three aunts hosted the shower and they did such an incredible job. The decor was so dreamy, from the macaroon & flower centerpieces, to the *kiss the miss goodbye* mini mason jar favors filled with Sugarlips (my favorite candy), to the most incredible cake I have ever seen from my soon to be mother-in-law.
Just in time for dessert, my handsome fiance arrived with flowers in hand! There were speeches, games, and so much love.
A huge thank you to Elisenda, our talented photographer, for documenting every little detail. I didn’t even pick up my phone once during the shower, she had it covered! We booked her through Flytographer, my go-to for photographers while traveling.
1 month countdown!!
May 2022: Weeks before the wedding!
As I write this, I am nearly two weeks away from the big day! It has made me feel so sentimental reading through my past entries and reliving my entire wedding planning journey. As my final entry, I’ve decided to share my last minute wedding tips for all my future brides-to-be!
- Don’t check the weather until you absolutely have to (especially if your wedding is outdoors)! At the end of the day, weather is one of the few things that is completely out of your control. Checking the weather weeks before will either provide false hope or unnecessary stress.
- Consider hiring a dresser for the day of! I went back and forth on this, but decided to hire Francesca DiSpirito and am so happy I did. She will be by my side the entire day to make sure my gown looks perfect, while also steaming dresses for my bridal party and making everything as stress-free as possible.
- Schedule all of your beauty appointments (and make sure they’re in the right order)! My schedule is as follows (in order): 2+ weeks out – highlights, laser hair removal, and a well-deserved massage. 1 week out – eyebrows, facial, mani/pedi, spray tan.
- Don’t make any changes to your skincare routine. Now is NOT the time to try a new facial or treatment!
- Try to be in the moment and soak it all in. Easier said than done I know, but anytime I feel even a little bit of stress, I just remind myself to enjoy it because it will be over in a flash! I am fully embracing my last two weeks as a fiancé! It is very natural that you may hit some bumps in the road during the final countdown, but at the end of the day, all that matters is that you’re marrying the love of your life in front of all the people that matter most.
It has been so special being able to share my wedding planning journey with SMP! Thank you for following along. Make sure to check out @seegoldenstyle for all the wedding deets on June 11th!