Melissa and James were married in a traditional church ceremony at Calvary Evangelical Free followed by a reception at the Rochester Senior Center in Rochester, Minn. on January 4. “We knew that we wanted a candlelit reception (with Christmas lights and candles everywhere),” Melissa said. “The [Rochester Senior Center’s] ballroom had tall ceilings with exposed beams, low lighting, and big windowns — perfect for the idea we loved.” The bride wore a strapless sweetheart fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorized with her hair in an updo, fingertip-length veil, faux fur bolero, knot gloves, and a pair of boots, while the groom wore a light gray suit, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore short gold dresses, accessorized with pashmina shawls, and carried bouquets of peonies and greenery. “I adored my bridesmaids/attendants’ dresses,” she said. “They all picked out their own glittery gold dresses, and they looked gorgeous. This kept their budget low, but allowed them to pick out dresses that fit their styles. Plus, glittery gold was fantastic with our ‘woodsy glam’ theme.” Almost 200 guests gathered to witness the joining of these two families at 5 o’clock. “The minutes before walking down the aisle were very sureal, yet clear,” Melissa said. “I was standing alone in the hallway as my bridesmaids walked down the aisle. The music was playing, and I was able to reflect on the journey that led me to my Mr. Wonderful. It was incredibly powerful to have that moment alone. To be in the moment and really say, ‘yes.’ I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” The reception took place in the ballroom shortly after portraits were taken in the snow! “Because I was living in Canada during wedding planning, my parents did so much work,” she said. “They are amazing. They handpicked, painted, and glittered over 3,000 pine cones. My dad cut down trees, making centerpieces, candlestands, and branch decor. We had tons of everything. It was really a winter wonderland wedding.” Dinner and dancing ended with a bag of Chicago popcorn from Carroll’s Corn. The newlyweds’ best advice? “The advice we would give couples is to identify your top priorities before you even start planning,” Melissa said. “My husband and I identified that we wanted to look good, have an A+ photographer, and have great decor/lighting. Throughout the planning process, having our priorities helped us to invest our time/money into the right places. It definitely brought a clarified vision, which helped a ton!”
Sarah and Corey were married at The Humphreys Estate in Temecula, Calif. on June 21. The bride wore a strapless straight across-neckline ball gown with a lace bodice and ruffled skirt, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, floor-length veil, satin sash, and a pair of flats, while the groom wore a black tuxedo, accessorized with a bow tie. Bridesmaids wore long neutral chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of roses and hydrangeas. Guests were greeted with plenty of chalkboard signs that said, “So this is the miracle that we’ve been dreaming of. So this is love,” “Once in a while, in the middle of an ordinary life, love gives us a fairy tale,” and “As two families become one, choose a seat not a side.” Before the ceremony, the couple opted for a first look. Fun fact: Corey was blindfolded! It took place in the garden in front of a raised gazebo. A tent was placed overhead for shade. To symbolize their unity, they even chose to combine sand. Once the license was signed, sealed, and delivered to the officiant, it was bona fide. Cocktail hour began around the pool followed by the reception. Tables were decorated with pink rosette linens, mercury glass votives and vases, gold charger plates, and picture numbers from throughout their entire relationship. In lieu of a traditional guest book, everyone was asked to share a message next to a typewriter. The first one was from the newlyweds, “It means the world to us that you are here today. Please sign our guestbook so we can treasure the memories we made here!” After dinner, the three-tiered square cake was cut and candy bar opened for grabs. It featured yogurt-covered pretzels, licorice, sour patch kids, gummy bears, lollipops, and more. At the end of the night, they exited amongst a sea of sparklers and were off to their honeymoon.
Karisa and James were married at Serendipity Garden in Oak Glen, Calif. on May 25. ” It was a wedding fairytale venue,” Karisa said. “It had every WOW factor I was looking for with beautiful views from every angle, brand new barn that gave my pictures the cutest rustic touch, and it was all inclusive, which sold it for me. They took care of everything and that helped me be very organized!” The bride wore a lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown with a low back, accessorized with her short hair down in loose curls, branch wreath, and a pair of nude Christian Louboutin platform pumps, while the groom wore a tan suit, accessorized with a matching tie and pocket square. Bridesmaids wore long chiffon dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of roses, hydrangeas, berries, and dusty millers. “My flowers were to die for,” she said. Before the ceremony, the couple opted for a first look. James’ reaction — pricesless! Guests were greeted with a chalkboard sign that said, “As two families become one, we ask that you choose a seat not a side.” The ceremony took place outside overlooking the mountains. They even rode off on a horse-drawn carriage aftwerwards! “It took everyone’s breath away,” Karisa said. The reception kicked off with dancing, obviously. “Honestly, I think about how many people danced their butts off all night,” she said. “The dance floor was packed with all of my loved ones celebrating and having the time of their lives. That made all our hard work worth it.” Tables were decorated with white linens, burlap runners, lantern centerpieces, and gold glitter numbers in picture frames. “My cake was not only the most beautiful cake I imagined, but it was also by far the most delicious I have ever had,” Karisa said. There was also a candy bar too. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Do not sweat the small stuff,” she said. “There are so many details in wedding planning. If you worry about every single detail, you will not only become a bridezilla but also take the focus off the beauty in every fun aspect of it. This happens once, so enjoy every small and large thing that this experience has to offer! Let others help you.”
Megan and Dan were married at the Saint Paul Hotel in Saint Paul, Minn. on June 29. “We knew we wanted a hotel, so we could do everything in one place,” Megan said. “The Saint Paul Hotel was classic and beautiful and didn’t require much additional decoration. It was perfect!” The bride wore a strapless sweetheart satin fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown, accessorised with her hair half-up/half-down in braided loose curls, a lace capelet, and a pair of Badgley Mischka rhinestone peep-toe high heels, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a polka dot tie. Bridesmaids wore long black chiffon dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of garden roses, ranunculuses, hydrangeas, and astilbes. Before the ceremony, the coupe opted for a first look and decided to take portraits in front of a mural with music celebrity stars like Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Edward Sharpe & The Magnet Zeros, The Ramones, and Tracy Chapman. “I think about Dan and I sitting at the reception and looking around the room,” she said. “We were so overwhelmed and overjoyed that all these people had come from near and far to celebrate us. It was a very surreal moment.” Tables were decorated with striped linens, tall hurricane vase centerpieces dripping with crystals, and votive candles. Dinner and dessert was one of the most important aspects. After all, it was at a private cooking class where Dan proposed. “Food is one thing that really brought us together and cemented our relationship,” Megan said. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Getting a planner for the day-of if you can,” she said. “Our planner from Premier Planning was fantastic and she really eased our stress and was beyond helpful in helping us plan and execute our day.”
Jessie and Justin were married at Serenata Farm in Madison, Ga. on August 2. “The day before we signed our contract on our venue, I saw a flyer for a yoga retreat,” Jessie said. “I went home and watched the video, and I almost fell out of my chair. It was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. Eighty-four acres of pristinely-kept gardens, pools, and a Southern historic mansion to die for. It was exquisite, and I wanted our wedding there! Immediately, my mom and I drove to the property and begged the owners if we could have it on the property . . . finally they agreed.” The bride wore a custom-made v-neck a-line wedding gown with capped sleeves, accessorized with her hair half-up/half-down in loose curls, while the groom wore a black suit, accessorized with a bow tie. Bridesmaids wore one-shoulder short pink chiffon dresses and carried bouquets of garden roses, ranunculus, cleamtis, and stock. “We had our ceremony in front of the original porch that dates back to the 1800s,” she said. I arrived in the coolest ’55 Chevy to make a wow factor entrance.” Cocktail hour was held inside, but the reception was held outside underneath a pole tent lit with crystal chandeliers. Tables were decorated with white linens, tall candelabra centerpieces, charger plates, and glitter wooden numbers. “The cake was six layers of gourmet heaven,” Jessie said. “I even was able to help make some of the fondant petals.” Fun fact: Jessie is a model and Justin is a hockey player for the San Jose Sharks. “With my modeling jobs and Justin’s hockey schedule, we didn’t have time for a proper honeymoon,” Jessie said. “But we had the most memorable mini-moon. We went to Savannah, only a short drive from where the wedding was held. We had a horse-drawn carriage take us through the roads lined with Spanish moss trees.”