Ah. My wedding. Besides the days that I gave birth to my two daughters, my wedding day is my favorite day of all time. When Ryan and I first got engaged, we knew we would have a longer engagement, as he was still in school and we would be paying for a lot of the wedding ourselves. So we made a few calls and checked out a few venues and after seeing Knowlton Mansion, we fell in love. Picking a time of year was easy: September. My favorite month of the year, it's the beginning of Fall, it's the month that we first met and started dating, and my birthday month. We decided on September 26th (two days after my birthday!) and got to planning! After almost a two year engagement, our big day was here. My bridesmaids and I started the big day at the Four Points by Sheraton. Our favorite hair stylist, Meghan Cahill, did all of our hair and my favorite makeup artist, Emily, from Cheekadee made us look gorgeous!
I grew my hair out just for the wedding and was so happy with the style I chose. Almost 5 years later and I still love everything about it! The same with my makeup. I had brought some different pictures of makeup that I liked on different celebrities with the same eye color/shape as myself and Emily did a fantastic job! When it came to the fashion aspect of the day, I knew I wanted to be comfortable. I'm not a very girly girl so I knew a ball gown wouldn't look right on me and I would be ridiculously uncomfortable all day. I only went to two dress shops when gown shopping and once I saw a picture on the Priscilla of Boston website of a dress called "Sidney" by Melissa Sweet, I knew I was in love. I went to the dress shop and tried on about 8 different dresses and when I tried on Sidney (yes, I still refer to my gown as a person), I knew it was the one! I didn't have the reaction that you see on Say Yes to the Dress or anything, no crying or tears, just complete happiness.
My husband and I already had started our family before getting married so we were lucky enough to already have the cutest flower girl of all time, our daughter, Olivia. I made a big deal out of finding her dress as I wanted it to have the same material on the bottom as mine and I wanted her to feel like a princess. I chose a light green sash to go with her dress to match our purple and green color scheme and my bridesmaids wore eggplant. I picked the dress color and company (Priscilla of Boston) and told them to choose a dress that made them feel comfortable. I wanted them to like the dress and wanted them to feel comfortable all day and I loved the styles they chose! My bouquet was made up of ranunculus (my favorite flower), tulips, roses and purple lisianthus and had Olivia carry a bouquet that was identical to mine, but just smaller :) I told our florist, Carl Alan, that I wanted the bridesmaids bouquets to complement their eggplant dressed while looking like they just plucked the flowers out of a field- and they looked exactly like that!
Once we were all dressed and ready, we headed over to Knowlton for the "Reveal Meeting". This was not something that I thought I wanted to do. I had dreamed of walking down the aisle and seeing Ryan for the first time but about two weeks before the wedding I realized that seeing each other before the ceremony would maybe calm my nerves (and his) before we said our vows. You see, I'm a crier. I cry when I'm happy, I cry when I'm sad, and I cry when I'm angry. So I knew if we saw each other beforehand, I could get some of the boo hoo's out and we could get a lot of our pictures done so that we could enjoy cocktail hour! The reveal was perfect. I cried just as I knew I would and I'll never forget Ryan's face. Our photographers, Spark Photography, did an incredible job at documenting it.
One thing we had planned for but hoped wouldn't happen was rain. Unlucky for us, it rained. Not too bad on the wedding day itself but pretty badly the day before so we had to move our planned outdoor ceremony from outside to inside. I know a lot of brides stress about the rain but really, there's no reason to. Our ceremony was just as perfect inside as it would've been outside. For the ceremony, we booked a string trio as music is really important to me. I grew up playing the violin and singing so my one really big dream, was to walk down the aisle to strings playing. I chose to walk down the aisle to the instrumental version of Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. The strings in it were perfect to me and made the walk down the aisle a little more personal. I cried (I'm not kidding when I say I'm a crier) walking down the aisle and during the ceremony itself and one of our favorite parts of the ceremony was when our officiant mentioned Olivia's name and she yelled "THAT'S ME!!". After we kissed, we recessed down the aisle to an instrumental version of Clocks by Coldplay- my favorite band. I really appreciate personal touches in a ceremony, it's a way to make it your own!
When going through the planning process, I had taken on a lot of DIY aspects and had no issues doing them but didn't want to be the one to execute them. I also didn't want my mom or my aunts or friends to have to do any setup or cleanup so I decided to hire Erin as my own coordinator. She and Danielle did a spectacular job setting up all of the things that I had worked so tirelessly on and I loved that I was able to just relax and enjoy being around our family and friends that have come from all over the country to be with us. Like I had said earlier, our color scheme was purple and green and we decided to add a very light "Perfect Pair" theme. Pears were inside of the centerpieces, ceramic pears were used as our cake toppers, and silver pears were placed in between candles that were wrapped in purple and green ribbon! The candles were a big deal to me, I LOVE candles and candlelight so I knew that having the stone wall in the reception space covered, was a must. We decided to go with a non-traditional guestbook, and used wine bottles for our guests to sign. Another of my favorite details was the in memory display we had set up in the cocktail hour space. My Pop Pop passed away just a year before the wedding and that was a big deal to me to not have him there. Ryan and I decided to honor all of our family members who had passed away and couldn't be there with us by framing a picture of them and placing a rose in a bud vase with their name on it, next to the frame. It was a great way to honor all of the people that we love that aren't with us anymore.
We danced our first dance to Better Together by Jack Johnson. We didn't really have a "song" that was ours so we went with Better Together because we both love Jack Johnson and I liked that it wasn't super sappy. There was enough crying earlier in the day, I didn't need to cry anymore. The one thing that was really the most important to us, was to have everyone that we love there with us! I come from a very large family and am one of the oldest of my cousins and Ryan's family is a decent size, so we made sure that everyone was invited. Ryan also invited a large group of his friends from college (Arizona State University) and luckily, they were all able to come to Philadelphia, some for the first time ever! They say on some websites you can expect 15-20% of your guest list to not come but in our case, we only had less than 5% of the people we invited not able to come. It was great to be in the room with so many people that meant so much to us! Ryan is a big Philadelphia Eagles, along with a lot of our family and friends, so I booked Swoop the mascot from the Eagles as a reception surprise! Ryan was so shocked as he wasn't expecting it and everyone loved it- including my own Grandmom, who was pinching Swoop's rear end :)
Our DJ kept the dance floor packed all night and we still have friends and family that comment that is was one of the best and most fun weddings they've ever been to, which is always fun to hear. At the end of the day, the greatest part of the day was the fact that we were married and seeing all of our favorite people in one room, smiling, laughing, and having fun with us! If you'd like to see some more pictures and Erin's recap of our wedding, you can go here.