Anetra and Alioune were married in a traditional ceremony at St. Luke AME Church in New York, N.Y. followed by a reception at The Surf Club on the Sound in New Rochelle, N.Y. on October 4. “We loved the grand staircase, the beautiful grounds, and the water view,” Anetra said. The bride wore a v-neck lace fit ‘n’ flare wedding gown with a keyhole back, accessorized with her hair in an updo, fingertip-length veil, jeweled sash, and a pair of Audrey Brooke Taylor peep-toe pumps, while the groom wore a three-piece light gray suit, accessorized with a striped bow tie. Bridesmaids wore long satin navy blue dresses in various necklines and carried bouquets of roses, lilies, and billy balls. Fun fact: there was three flower girls, one ring bearer, and four attendants. “The torrential rains stopped and the sun came out just an hour before the ceremony was to begin,” she said. “I thought it would be a complete wash out.” Guests arrived at half past four o’clock. Once the exchanging of vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official, almost 250 witnessing. Cocktail hour began with signature “Double A” drinks, which consisted of citron vodka, blue curacao, and white cranstrawberry juice, and reception shortly thereafter inside the ballroom. Tables were decorated with white linens and napkins, tall candelabra centerpieces dripping with crystals, picture frame numbers and favor boxes at each place setting, surrounded by upholstered chairs. “One of my favorite moments was our first dance,” Anetra said. “Alioune sang to me as we danced to ‘When I’m With You’ by Tony Terry.” The newlyweds’ best advice? “I would suggest that they plan well ahead of their wedding date, create and stick to a budget because it can be extremely costly, and also be ready to deal with the headache of the dreaded guest list,” she said. “I’m an event planner, so the planning of the wedding was a breeze, but my only headache was when it came time to receive RSVPs.” A week later, they jetted off to their honeymoon in Bora Bora.
Laura and Omar were married at Bella Montagna in San Jose, Calif. on July 12.”There were beautiful views from every angle,” Laura said. The bride wore a strapless a-line wedding gown with a ruched bodice and tulle skirt, accessorized with her hair down in loose curls, fingertip-length veil, jeweled sash, and a pair of Steve Madden strappy high heels, while the groom wore a three-piece black suit, accessorized with a tie. Bridesmaids wore short satin pink dresses with capped sleeves and carried bouquets of roses, dahlias, Queen Anne’s lace, and dusty miller. Guests were greeted with a citrus-infused water station to beat the heat. Aisles were lined with petals and altar was draped with fabric and lit with a crystal chandelier. “It gave such a romantic feel,” she said. “It was exactly what I wanted. To be honest, it was when our officiant dropped my wedding band during the ceremony, and we were looking for it. People got out of their seats to help. We didn’t find it until after the ceremony, but it makes for a great story and something neither us or our guests will forget.” Once the exchanging of vows were sealed with a kiss, it was official, almost 75 witnessing. Cocktail hour began followed by the reception shortly thereafter. Tables were decorated with sequin linens, white napkins, gold charger plates, mercury glass centerpieces, and pillar candles, surrounded by folding padded chairs. “There was a mix of American and Afghan music,” Laura said. “The cultural blend brought our family and friends together.” In lieu of a traditional guest book, signatures were inscribed onto a picture frame. A three-tiered buttercream-frosted cake was cut and served for dessert concluding dinner. The newlyweds’ best advice? “Do what you want and not worry about traditions or what people might think,” she said. At the end of the night, they jetted off to their honeymoon.
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.”