Brittany and Luke's Wedding

Brittany and Luke were married on a gorgeous and sunny day last October. After a morning of pampering from My Makeup Artist Victoria, Brittany and her bridesmaids got dressed. Brittany's bridesmaids wore high neck floor length red gowns that were the perfect color for this fall themed wedding. Brittany's gown was a beautiful lace fit and flare gown that fit her like a glove! To top off her look, she wore glittered Louboutin's and a blusher birdcage veil. When she was dressed and ready to go, she set off for her reveal meeting with Luke in the gardens at the hotel. After some pictures of just the couple, they headed off to the church to make it official. Before walking down the aisle, Brittany put on a long-sleeved lace bolero to wear during their traditional Catholic Mass. They kissed and were pronounced husband and wife and then headed out of the church with their bridal party for some formal photos. The lighting outside was picture perfect and they got some incredible images! We were busy at work at the Park Avenue Club, setting up all of their great details. On the back of the table number tents, guests found their favor- a donation made in their names to the ASPCA. They also rented our candy buffet glassware and filled it with delicious treats that also served as a favor for guests. Guests enjoyed a delicious cocktail hour and headed into the main room to watch the couple dance a choreographed first dance as husband and wife! Everyone enjoyed a night full of food and dancing and even a photo booth which was set up by the couple's photographer, Jenn Childress! They are always such a hit with guests! To end the night, everyone was treated to zeppolis as a midnight snack- a perfect way to end such a great night!

Congratulations Brittany and Luke!

Reception: Park Avenue Club
Entertainment: Elegant Ensembles
Hair and Makeup: My Makeup Artist Victoria
Coordinators: Annemarie and Gina

Planning a Backyard Wedding

Marcy and Dermot's Wedding
Photo courtesy of mkPhoto
It's easy to understand why so many couples are drawn to the idea of having a backyard wedding. They can be incredibly charming and personal. But having a wedding at home is not the same thing as throwing together a barbeque with a few friends. There are several things you'll need to consider.

Don't be fooled into thinking a backyard wedding is cheap. While you'll definitely have the freedom to pick and choose your vendors and find prices that work for you, there are a lot of costs associated with a backyard wedding that you wouldn't necessarily have to deal with at other venues. Banquet Halls and country clubs typically have built in pricing for a number of features and services; your home doesn't. You'll need to rent everything from tents and tables to glassware and china. Don't forget the essentials like generators for power or portable bathrooms for guests. If your property needs some TLC you could find yourself shelling out for small renovations to key areas or landscaping to make your yard look its best. All of these costs can add up, so be sure to do your research and know what you're getting yourself into. 
Marcy and Dermot's Wedding
Photo courtesy of mkPhoto
Size is key. Is your backyard large enough to accommodate all of the family and friends you're hoping to celebrate with? It's one thing to have a cozy, intimate feel. It's another to be overcrowded. Do you have the space to create separate areas for your ceremony and reception? You'll need room for tables, chairs, bars, and an area for dancing. And don't forget about the staff. From the entertainment to the chefs and servers- they'll all need room to do their jobs. 

Then there are the matters of access and parking. Does your yard have its own entrance or will guests need to traipse through your house to get there? Where will they park? If you don't have enough room, consider getting permission from a local school, church, or business to use their parking facilities and have your guests shuttled from there.

You'll also need to take Mother Nature into account. Backyard weddings are exposed to elements from winds and rain to heat and cold and even mosquitoes or other pests. Outdoor events are not for everyone, so be sure you're willing to deal with these issues. You can't predict the weather, but you can certainly prepare for it in order to ensure everyone is comfortable regardless of the conditions.
Sarah and Mike's Wedding
Photo courtesy of Pravada Photography
A tent is a must, especially in the event of rain. Putting one up can be a big undertaking, so meet with a professional tent company early on to begin planning. They can come for a site visit to take measurements, make recommendations, and troubleshoot any issues that might need to be addressed. They'll be able to guide you through all of your tent, siding, and flooring options. Tents come in a variety of styles and sizes to accommodate your personal taste as well as your space. Sides can help block out less-than-desirable conditions like chilly winds or heavy rain. Flooring is a great way to make the ground more level and keep your guests from having to dance in the dirt and mud. Depending on the season and your budget, you may want to consider fans, air conditioning, or heaters. Your tent vendor can also help you design a floor plan and provide you with a timeline for installation and breakdown so you'll know how long it will take from start to finish. 

There are several other vendors you'll want to involve in the process. Obviously a wedding coordinator or planner is a great resource during the months leading up to the big day. He or she can help you navigate the world of backyard weddings and recommend plenty of great vendors with experience working outdoors. Your caterer should also see the property to determine what equipment and space is needed to create and serve the perfect meal for you and your guests. Lighting is essential not only to set the right mood under your tent, but to keep the walkways and prep areas well lit for guests and staff to get around safely. Sound is key for people to hear everything from your I Do's to the last song. All of these vendors will require power so make sure you're aware of how much they need and what it will take to provide it. 
Sarah and Mike's Wedding
Photo courtesy of Pravada Photography
Finally, follow all of the rules and file any necessary paperwork. Permits may be required for tents or parking and the site might need to be inspected by the fire department or other officials. Be mindful of any noise ordinances and give your neighbors fair warning to avoid complaints or visits from the police in the middle of the celebration. Don't forget to adhere to regulations regarding trash and arrange for any special pickups required after the event. Ask for copies of insurance documents from your vendors and find out exactly what your home owner's policy covers, because with so many people moving in and around your home at once, there's a good potential for damage. 

While all of these considerations probably seem a little overwhelming, don't be discouraged. With the proper planning and support, backyard weddings can be amazing. In the end, all of the effort will be worth it!


Christie's Wedding

My dream wedding took place a short time ago on September 22nd, 2012 when I married the love of my life, Sean, on a gorgeous fall day in the Philadelphia suburbs. 
Our ceremony took place at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Doylestown, PA, where I walked down the hydrangea and lantern-lined aisle to the beautiful sounds of Shaw Strings, lead by Sean's cousin playing viola. 
Our wedding party wore deep turquoise with gold accessories. I also wanted to include a touch of my favorite color, so I donned turquoise peep toes, reflecting my bright and outgoing personality. Our bouquets were all ivory hydrangea and ranunculus, and each was wrapped in a different vintage silk scarf, all in coordinating ivory and gold tones. My bouquet also contained a very special gold leaf shaped brooch which was once a gift from my grandfather to my grandmother. 
Throughout our traditional Roman Catholic ceremony we wove in several personal touches, including a unity candle ceremony, and a ring warming ceremony in which our guests passed around our wedding bands tied to a leaf charm, blessing them as they went from person to person. Once we were pronounced husband and wife, we headed outside the church doors, where we released a dozen white doves to mark the beginning our of new life together. The doves were also foreshadowing of our rustic and nature-themed wedding reception, which featured various branch and love bird decor. 
Unexpectedly, we found an awesome rustic red barn right near the church for formal photo ops captured by Shari DeAngelo Photography. 
The bridal party and guests headed over to an outdoor cocktail hour at the Knowlton Mansion in Northeast Philadelphia. Everyone enjoyed delicious appetizers and drinks including seasonal soup shooters and a signature fall drink we named "Caramel Apple Kiss". The talented members of CTO Grand Central set the scene by playing background music during our cocktail hour, including an acoustic guitar on the patio and a pianist playing inside the mansion. Paper by Proud designed beautiful custom invitations and matching signage and menus, creatively displaying our nature theme.
Our guests raved about the lovely, historic grounds of Knowlton Mansion and everyone thought it was one of the most unique wedding locations they had ever experienced.
The rustic, natural, and romantic theme of the night carried through to the reception, which featured elaborate willow branch, river rock, and lantern centerpieces complemented by beautiful hydrangea flowers designed by Petals Lane. We chose to install draping which made the reception area seem very intimate and allowed us to showcase an entire wall covered in romantic ivory pillar candles. Amber uplighting and a branch design dance floor wash, provided by Synergetic Sound and Lighting, really added to the warm, intimate atmosphere. 
Everyone raved about the delicious food prepared by Conroy Catering, especially the desserts, which included an extensive ice cream sundae station and a beautiful bananas foster torte wedding cake showcasing a simple, rustic buttercream design. 
The incredible artists of CTO Grand Central kept the dance floor packed as we celebrated by dancing the night away. Sean and I had a few very intimate slow dances to some of our favorite songs, including our first dance to Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours" and our last dance to Jason Mraz's version of "I Won't Give Up", in which all of our friends and family members gathered around us in one of my favorite moments of the evening. 
Another unique feature of Knowlton Mansion is its underground wine cellar, which is entered via an iron spiral staircase just off of the reception room. We lined the entire cellar with romantic pillar candles and invited guests to enjoy a wine tasting while being able to socialize in a quiet, intimate setting away from the dance floor. We also showed our love of wine by using split bottles of a Chardonnay from a local Bucks County vineyard as favors for the evening, which also functioned as seat assignments with rustic wood-burned tags. 
By far, the most special part of the day for me was being surrounded by all of our closest friends and family members, all there to celebrate the love that Sean and I have for each other. Another favorite moment was when Sean and I wrote love letters to each other and read them aloud privately, which was captured stunningly in our wedding video. Overall, our wedding was more beautiful and perfect than I ever could have wished for. The entire day ran so smoothly, in large part due to hiring Proud to Plan as my wedding coordinators. Erin and Lisa devoted so much attention to help us plan and prepare for our big day and contributed so many creative design ideas as well as suggestions regarding logistics. Sean and I were easily able to relax and thoroughly enjoy ourselves knowing that all the details of our wedding were in excellent hands and that our special day would turn out exactly how we had dreamed!
After our dream wedding, we celebrated with an amazing honeymoon at Zoetry in Los Cabos, Mexico. We really enjoyed the beautiful, private resort, which was all-inclusive with some of the most delicious food, frozen drinks, and the best spa in the region. Aside from relaxing on the gorgeous beaches, we also loved our time golfing, zip-lining, mountain biking, riding dune buggies, and all of the other adventurous activities Cabo has to offer!

If you'd like to see our recap of Christie and Sean's wedding, you can go here