Last week we were basking in the warmth of Maui, and tomorrow we’re headed for the tundra of Wisconsin (Kidding. Sort of.) to spend Thanksgiving with Ryan’s family. With record-breaking cold happening in the Midwest, it’s going to be an adjustment to say the least. This year Ryan’s mom and I collaborated on the Thanksgiving menu, and I’m really excited to make all kinds of goodies, especially this sourdough stuffing with sausage and apples. Drooling. Before I head out, of course I have some links for you below. And I’d love to hear what yummy things you have on your Thanksgiving menu, so leave a comment and share!

Mini Ice Cream Mobile by Kim Baise Art Mini Ice Cream Mobile by Kim Baise Art

How darling is this ice cream mobile?!

This Thanksgiving hat tradition is hilarious.

The United States of Thanksgiving.

Lovely pear garland.

Solange Knowles’s wedding dress - so glam!

DIY wire leaves for your Thanksgiving table.

And DIY copper leaf candles.

Leonardo da Vinci’s brain.

Thanksgiving leftover pie printables.

Not that I think there will be any leftovers of this hazelnut chocolate pie

Six stretches for people who sit at desks.

Christmas list for a child of the 1980s.

Love this guy’s resume.

Transparent concrete, what?!

Jordan’s tips for creating a dessert table.

Jewelry for a cause.

And in case you missed it, this week on Snippet & Ink…

Our 2014 bridesmaid gift guide!

A pup-themed wedding at Villa Terrace in Milwaukee.

Elegant winter wedding at BridgeStreet in Birmingham.

Orange County wedding at Rancho Las Lomas.

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Classic elegance, blooming gardens, and Spanish-style architecture made this couple and their guests feel as though they were transported to a European garden… and if it’s freezing cold wherever you are, then let their sunny SoCal wedding at Rancho Las Lomas transport you too!

SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS CALIFORNIA WEDDING BY ESTHER SUN.

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

The Ceremony

“We chose this location for our ceremony because it was so beautiful – it’s almost hard to describe! The venue itself is a unique, private resort with beautiful architecture, and also had a small zoo. With the property and Spanish-style architecture, it felt like being transported to Europe. The ceremony site was an outdoor courtyard surrounded by trees with a beautiful ceremonial stage which was a perfect setting for us to exchange our sacred vows.”

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

Your ceremony in three words.  Traditional, Light-hearted, Religious.

Who officiated your ceremony?  It was important to Matt’s mother and grandmother that we have a Catholic ceremony for our wedding. We had Father Christopher from St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Irvine, California officiate our ceremony.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  Our wedding ceremony was very traditional – we said traditional vows and had traditional Catholic readings. But, Father Christopher incorporated a brief Q&A with Matt and me and asked us personal questions which allowed our ceremony to be more light hearted and fun. Our guests also had a good laugh which we enjoyed as well. We weren’t expecting Father Christopher to incorporate the Q&A into the ceremony, so it was a pleasant surprise for us.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

The Reception

“After the ceremony our guests went upstairs to another courtyard located above the ceremony site with a beautiful fountain and our guests enjoyed cocktails and food. We transformed our ceremony site for the reception, using all round tables for our guests and a head table for us and our wedding party. Market lights strung across the dance floor set a romantic mood especially at dusk.”

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

Did you work with a wedding planner?  Matt and I planned our wedding in six months. Due to our time constraints we hired Jenna Kang from Divine Day and she was a huge help. She was able to help us from the initial stages to the final stages of our wedding and we went with her guidance and knowledge. Planning was exhausting but it was nice to know we had an expert guiding us and making sure we had everything covered.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The venue really inspired us during the planning stages of our wedding. With its rustic, romantic, outdoor setting, we wanted to base the rest of the wedding details around that.

First dance song:  “Your Song” by Elton John
Father/daughter, mother/son dance:  “In My Life” by The Beatles

What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a rustic buttercream cake decorated with greenery. We had two flavors, coconut and Nutella, and both tasted delicious. We also had a dessert table with an assortment macarons, cupcakes, cake pops and mini parfaits.

Did you include any other traditions in your wedding?  My something old and something borrowed was a diamond bracelet I borrowed from my aunt. It was a beautiful bracelet that matched my dress perfectly. I also had a blue charm bracelet that I used for my something blue. // During our cocktail hour we incorporated foods from our ethnic background. Matt brought Vietnamese spring rolls and I brought Korean rice cakes to serve to our guests.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink

 

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  To slow down and take a moment amidst all the chaos during the wedding day because the day goes by too fast!

What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  Although stressful and overwhelming at times, enjoy the planning process have fun, and don’t stress too much because it is one day and the most important thing is that you are getting married to the most important person in your life and that is what counts, not the minor details that may consume your time.

If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently?  Start the wedding earlier in the day because it goes by too fast.

What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  Our favorite moment of the reception was just looking around the room and seeing all of our loved ones, our family, our friends who took the time to spend this special day in our lives.

 

Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink Esther Sun | Snippet & Ink
Photography: Esther Sun / Event Planning: Divine D-day / Venue: Rancho Las Lomas in Silverado, California / Dress: Cymbeline from Panache Bridal / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Bracelet: Van Cleef and Arpel / Bridesmaid Dresses: Little Borrowed Dress / Suit: Ralph Lauren / Groomsmen Attire: Friar Tux / Floral Design: Kristine Shin / Catering, Rentals: 24 Carrots / Hair, Makeup: Studio MM&B / Videography: The Seven Production / Cake, Desserts: Sweet and Saucy / Stationery: Exclusively Weddings / Strings Trio: Seaside Strings /
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  • Orange County Wedding by Esther Sun

    20 November 2014
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    This time of year has us thinking about gift giving! Not just for the holidays (though we hope this gift guide will help you there, too), but also for your favorite ladies. If you’re looking for bridesmaid gifts, we’ve got you covered!

    Bridesmaid Gift Ideas from Snippet & Ink Bridesmaid Gift Ideas from Snippet & Ink

    1-6
    1. monogrammed bridesmaid shirts by Pretty Personal Gifts, $35 // 2. Pre de Provence lavender hand cream from Drugstore.com, $11 // 3. “Posietint” lip and cheek stain by Benefit from Sephora, $30 // 4. Peruvian embroidered clutch from Leif, $48 // 5. Dinner Diaries book from Amazon, $34 // 6. Camille Styles Entertaining book from Amazon, $18

    7-12
    7. monogram crest journals from Anthropologie, $25 // 8. Paul and Polina pens from Mochi Things, $3 each // 9. NARS nail polish from Sephora, $20 each // 10. custom engraved stationery by Crane & Co., $212 for 25 // 11. red monogrammed travel case from Cuyana, $105 for 2 // 12. silver and silk bracelet by Vivien Frank from Boticca, $38

    13-18
    13. “Back Me Up” iPhone charger by Ban.do from Nordstrom, $30 // 14. wavy heart print scarf from Leif, $48 // 15. glass water bottle in Mint by Bkr from Birchbox, $30 // 16. modern key ring from Areaware, $16 // 17. diamond stud earrings from Shopbop, $128 // 18. monogrammed Maya heart charm necklace from Mark & Graham, $80

    19-24
    19. vintage-inspired earrings from Anthropologie, $33 // 20. crystalline paperweight from Anthropologie, $85 // 21. orange blossom scented candle by Voluspa from Nordstrom, $27 // 22. “Orb” copper cocktail shaker from Crate & Barrel, $25 // 23. linen monogrammed jewelry roll from Mark & Graham, $45 // 24. leather monogrammed foldover clutch by Mimic Design, $85

     

    This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting our sponsors!

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    We’re well on our way toward the winter holidays, and as a December bride myself, I always love seeing how couples bring this festive season into their weddings. Larkyn and Jim included red flowers and linens and a jingle bell send-off – plus how gorgeous is the bride’s vintage-inspired look?!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS FESTIVE WINTER WEDDING BY A BRYAN PHOTO.

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    “I didn’t even look at traditional white dresses,” says Larkyn. “When I found the Jenny Packham dress, it became the focal point of our Southern winter wedding”

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Larkyn and her bridesmaids carried bouquets of red ranunculus, pale pink roses, privet berries, lamb’s ear, and brunia berries.

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “I always knew I wanted to get married at the church I which I grew up, in my hometown of Birmingham, Alabama,” says the bride.

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Your wedding ceremony in three words. Glamorous, Vintage, Classic.

    How did you go about planning your ceremony?  The upside (in my opinion) to getting married in a church is that the choices are sometimes limited – I actually spent much less time thinking about our ceremony than our reception because I didn’t have a desire to stray too far from the traditional vows, the traditional music, the traditional processional. We did feel like it was very important to have family involved in the ceremony, so all of my cousins’ children played roles, which was really special.

    Ceremony Music:
    Processional: Trumpet Voluntary by Jeremiah Clarke
    Recessional: Water Music – Hornpipe by Handel

    What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony?  We incorporated bagpipes at the end of our ceremony and it felt pretty magical – I studied abroad in Scotland and thought the unique sound of bagpipes would be pretty remarkable in the grand church in which we were married – and indeed it was!

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Try to throw your stress out the window once the wedding day arrives – I admit I didn’t take this advice myself, but I would pass it along to other brides! Also try not to lose your new husband at the reception. You are talking to so many friends and family, but you can’t forget the party is to celebrate your new life together, and you should enjoy that celebration together.

    What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding?  If your parents are helping to plan (and/or pay) for your wedding, find a middle ground that reflects your style as a couple but also allows for some compromises (such as the guest list) that will ensure they feel appropriately represented. It’s not going to be perfect, but some give-and-take is important on both sides.

    Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  It was helpful for us to start with an overall number to keep us organized and to prioritize. Often during the planning process, I wanted to splurge on everything, but there are many ways you can save money, and having a budget helps you identify which elements are the most important to you and where you want to splurge (the band and the photographer, in our case).

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    “My grandmother was a collector of all things vintage and antique – furniture, clothes and of course, jewelry. One of my favorite memories as a child when going to visit her house in Alabama was going through her piles of jewelry – and on special occasions, receiving a token of my own. I grew up with an affection for vintage jewelry and carried this with me to New York, where I currently live. When I got engaged, I knew I would get married back in Alabama and I wanted our wedding to feel classic and Southern, and to reflect my affection for vintage style. I didn’t even look at traditional white dresses; when I found the Jenny Packham dress, it became the focal point of our Southern winter wedding – with a bit of glitz, plenty of glamour and a nod to my grandmother who inspired it all.”

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Why did you choose this location for your reception?  I knew I wanted to do something somewhat traditional and vintage-inspired, but within a non-traditional venue, and BridgeStreet fit that mold.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  One of my favorite traditions is one my college friends began when the first of us got married in 2009. We have passed around a garter – monogrammed with our maiden initials and wedding date – to each friend on her wedding day. The most recent friend to have gotten married presents the garter while we are getting ready. It’s always a very special moment!

    Please tell us about any special details from your wedding.  I wanted the boys to look classic and really honed in on finding the right bowties. We found them at Billy Reid, a vintage-inspired clothing store based in Alabama – I got stuck on herringbone, so when we found them, we grabbed them all! // The flower arrangements that Buffy Hargett created were absolutely beautiful and really stood out as a uniquely winter element of the wedding that I was excited to incorporate – I gave her a general color scheme but let her run with it, and on the wedding day she emerged with bouquets that were richly colored and textured – a subtle acknowledgment of the holiday season but not overtly so. // In addition to my dress, my paper suite also served early on as a blueprint for the wedding – simple and classic but with uniquely vintage, art-deco elements. Mary came up with the idea to use the shell pattern found on F. Scott Fitzgerald book covers and we incorporated that into the save-the-dates, welcome bag cards and church programs (we kept the formal invitation simple and classic – a hint of red on the edges and a gold band).

    Signature Drink: Bourbon Apple Cider on Ice
    Cake Flavor: Red Velvet and French Vanilla with Cream Cheese Buttercream Frosting
    First Dance Song: Book of Love by Peter Gabriel

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink

     

    Did you include any DIY elements in your wedding?  Although I would not qualify my wedding as DIY, there were a few homemade elements that were very special. My mom hand-embroidered the initials of every member of the wedding party onto vintage handkerchiefs of my grandmother’s that she had been saving away for the right occasion. We also used pearls from one of my grandmother’s many strands to create bracelets for each of my bridesmaids and readers. My dad and sister also get credit for a truly DIY element – as a family, we created an assembly line of hole poking and jingle bell threading to create the mini jingle bell tambourines that guests shook as we were departing.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  As I was getting ready to leave for the church, I snuck away to read a letter that Jim had given me the night before. I didn’t have any photographers around, so it was a special moment to have alone. Although I won’t say all nerves dissipated, it was very special to read those words and remember the reason I was about to walk down the aisle in the first place!

     

    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink A Bryan Photo | Snippet & Ink
    Photography: A Bryan Photo / Event Planning and Design: Mariée Ami / Venue: BridgeStreet Gallery and Loft in Birmingham, Alabama / Church: United Methodist Church / Dress: Jenny Packham via Carriage House/ Shoes: Christian Louboutin / Earrings: Oscar de la Renta / Hair, Makeup: Celine Russell / Bridesmaid Dresses: Swoon, Bella Bridesmaid / Suit: Freeman’s Sporting Club / Bow Ties: Billy Reid / Stationery: Mary Baugh / Calligraphy: Steve Logan / Floral Design: Buffy Hargett / Rentals: Event Rentals Unlimited / Music: Robert Williamson Band / Catering: Savoie / Cake: Barb Sullivan / Bag Piper: Jim McGraw / Drummer: Todd Kelly / Lighting, Drapery: AG Lighting / Linens: BBJ
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  • Christmas Wedding by A Bryan Photo

    18 November 2014
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    This intimate Milwaukee wedding featured two very special guests: the bride and groom’s dear pups! From the invitations, to the ceremony readings, Lily “The Pill” and Max played a central role in Samantha and Jason’s celebration. Other aspects of the wedding were inspired by the Wisconsin location (local cheese and beer) and by the couple’s love of Sea Island, Georgia. Everything came together for a beautiful day at Villa Terrace!

    SEE THE GALLERY FOR EVEN MORE PHOTOS FROM THIS MILWAUKEE WEDDING BY HEATHER COOK ELLIOTT.

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Ceremony

    “Our favorite thing about the wedding ceremony was definitely the inclusion of our dogs Lily ‘The Pill’ and Max as our very non-traditional wedding party. Their presence and love were with us through multiple years of a long distance relationship and this most amazing moment of our lives wouldn’t have been anywhere near complete without them. Plus, they’re totally gorgeous and were very well-behaved!”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Your ceremony in three words.  Personal, Playful, Heartfelt.

    Why did you choose this location for your ceremony?  It reminded us of one of our favorite (and most romantic!) places to vacation: Sea Island Resort in Georgia. It has wonderful mediterranean inspired architecture with stone work and a tile roof. It also has immaculate gardens and is on the ocean so the outdoor experience is as incredible as the inside. From the moment we saw photos of Villa Terrace we knew it had the same feel and features – just with Lake Michigan instead of the Atlantic and a lot closer to home.

    How did you go about planning your wedding ceremony?  We had help from both our wedding coordinator and our officiant. We followed a relatively traditional but non-religious template, and went outside the playbook a lot when it felt right. Every step of the way we chose elements that would be meaningful to us and make us happy, regardless of how they fit into convention.

    Did you include any traditions in your ceremony?  We made a lot of new ones!

    What was your ceremony music?  We had an amazing acoustic guitarist who fit the feel of the wedding perfectly. He sang and played wonderfully, setting the perfect relaxed and inviting tone to the day. The processional was made up of only two songs: one for when our families and then “wedding party” (our two dogs!) entered and another for when Samantha came down the aisle. The first was James Taylor’s “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (perfect for the dogs) and the second was “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, with only the guitar. The recessional was a favorite song of the couple, “When We’re Together” by Joshua Radin. The lyrics of the chorus fit the moment incredibly. “…I’m with you forever, cause we’re the best when we’re together. I’m with you forever, you are the only one and we’ve just begun…”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    What were your ceremony readings?  We had two readings. The first was a poem by Taylor Mali entitled “How Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog” and the second was called “Love if Friendship Caught Fire” by Laura Hendricks. (See Samantha and Jason’s readings right here.)

    What were your vows like?  They were a traditional format but not traditional verbiage. We especially liked how the last line ended: “until the end of our forever.” That seems tangible and real, but still so full of love. (Read Samantha and Jason’s complete vows right here.)

    READ SAMANTHA AND JASON’S FULL CEREMONY RIGHT HERE.

    Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony?  As the start time of the ceremony approached, a really thick fog rolled in off the lake – so thick it seemed like we were up in the clouds. At first we were a little disappointed to not have the amazing views of Lake Michigan during the ceremony, but exactly at the moment he was pronouncing us husband and wife, the fog cleared and a brilliant blue sky and sun came out. It was pretty incredible and although we had a non-religious ceremony seemed pretty divine. So many guests commented on how magical that moment was. (I’ll admit here that I (Samantha) only partially noticed it happening because I was so in love with my new husband at that moment… I probably would have missed a marching band, fireworks and a laser light show had they all been going on…)

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Are there any special details you’d like to tell us about?  In our welcome bags at the hotels, we used all things from Wisconsin: Sprecher root beer, Gardetto’s, Wisconsin shaped cheese. And the best thing of all were caramels that Samantha and her Mom made together. // We had a welcome BBQ at my parents home the day before the wedding. My mom and I made cupcakes with hickory nut frosting – the special part is that the hickory nuts were from trees at my parents’ home. My mom and dad picked the fallen hickory nuts, opened and dried them and then shelled them. If you’ve never seen a hickory nut, they’re small – really small – so shelling them is no small feat!

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    The Reception

    “Our reception was relaxed, inviting and fun. We tried to mix Wisconsin inspired ideas (had many guests from out of town) with the elegance of a Southern estate. We wanted everyone to feel like we were all celebrating together. To us that meant trying to make it feel the same as if we were throwing a party in the backyard… if our backyard was on a Southern plantation overlooking Lake Michigan.”

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    Menu:  appetizers: sharp cheddar grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato soup shooters / brie puffs with apricot and blackberry / bacon wrapped dates stuffed with Boursin / cheese plate with all Wisconsin cheeses (complete with Wisconsin shaped chalkboard menu) / caprese skewers // starters: caesar salad / lobster stew (made from a recipe from a little crab shack in Maine that we try to visit every year) // main course: beef tenderloin with green beans and rosemary red potatoes / chicken marsala over polenta

    What type of cake or dessert did you serve?  We had a dessert station with ginger peach cobbler, schaum torte with berries, and tiramisu. Our cake was a white cake layered with with almond cream and Door County cherry preserves. Heaven.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the reception?  There are two… After everyone moved from the courtyard to the terrace for dinner, Jason and I were still in the courtyard with the guitarist. Believe it or not, Jason and I had never danced together! So the guitarist played one more song, just for us, and we had a “practice dance” together. It was really wonderful – private and perfectly special. And then the official first dance! We had dancing out on the terrace, in the same space the ceremony and dinner were held. Once the sun started to set during dinner, Edison lights strung over the terrace were lit, and one of my closest friends played the guitar and sang the first dance song (The Shape of Us, by Ian Britt) with the help of another friend. It was perfect – real, romantic, and only ours.

     

    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink
    Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink Heather Cook Elliott | Snippet & Ink

     

    FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHER:

    Sam & J’s wedding lives in my memory the way a good meal in a perfect setting with the right people stays on the mental palette for years to come. It was intimate, romantic, playful, delicious – the kind of day that never feels hurried; the kind of day that slowly simmers every experience to perfection. These days Sam & J live and work together in Virginia where he’s from but they decided to marry back in her home state at the incomparable Villa Terrace, a little garden oasis in Milwaukee that reminded them rather a lot of a beloved travel destination of theirs – Sea Island, Georgia. Travel is something they’ve done quite a bit and in talking to them one gets little hints of lovely trips and awesome adventures in their past: the engagement ring was found in a little shop near Italy’s Lago Como and she had just returned from a Tanzanian safari when we did their engagement session earlier this year. And really, seen through their eyes, Wisconsin even becomes a bit of a destination, one who’s traditions and local fare they mixed with southern-inspired charm to create a simply gorgeous day. I adored the woven grass fans and moss covered gates paired with New Glarus beer (only available in Wisconsin!) and assorted Wisco artisan cheeses and playful bites like mini-grilled cheese & tomato shooters.

    Off and on the sun shone brightly, a perfect match for the gardenia in Sam’s hair and J’s summer suit, all of which combined with gorgeous lake views to trick the senses – maybe we are staring out at the Georgia coast after all …but then the mist rolled in and the edison lights overhead began to glow and it all felt very lakeside, very cozy, very Wisconsin again. My favorite part of the day was just after cocktail hour and before dinner when all the guests were seated and ogling the now sunny lake view, but Sam & J were missing. I spied them through the villa doors back in the courtyard dancing alone to one last song by the guitarist. I snuck upstairs and spied on them, capturing a perfectly serene, incredibly romantic moment between them; It was, like Sam & J, unplanned and spontaneous, sweet and real.

    And I have to say a little something about the most adorable and well-behaved bridal party a photographer could ask for. Fur siblings Lily “The Pill” and Max walked down the aisle and practically posed for pics all day, two constant companions for both Sam & J. I loved how they helped Sam & J feel truly at home on their wedding day, and how they made the Villa their own. They had both told me that it was inconceivable to them to get married without the dogs present and celebrated along with them. Thus the invites with the dogs silhouettes and instead of flowers on the aisle, little glassine bags with dog bones (as in “bridal party will beg for treats.) The bigger dog Max is J’s buddy so J wore a tie to match Max’s collar and Sam’s girl Lily got a little sparkle and flower treatment with a floral collar that any dog would be lucky to sport. And during their ceremony a dear friend read the most surprisingly perfect poem by Taylor Mali – titled How Falling in Love is like Owning a Dog, the reading was the ultimate ceremony customization Sam & J could have planned.

    Photography: Heather Cook Elliott / Venue: Villa Terrace in Milwaukee, Wisconsin / Event Planner, Styling: Tailored Engagements / Dress: Jenny Yoo / Shoes, Bracelet: J.Crew / Floral Design: Marius Bell / DJ, Edison Lighting: Milwaukee Airwaves / Catering: Gracious Catering / Rentals: BBJ, Arena / Guitarist: Ryan McIntyre / Makeup: Tayla LaMachhia / Hair: Neroli Third Ward / Cake: Sweet Perfections / Fans: Hanson Ellis / Stationery: Paper Envy / Suit: R Coffee LTD / Tie: Pomp and Ceremony / Leash Accessories: R.E. Stowe / State Shaped Chalk Board: Chalk Style / Favor Recipe Card: Pickle Dog Design / Moss Initials: Cellar Window / Dark Chili Powder Favor: Eden’s Meat Market
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  • Villa Terrace Wedding from Heather Cook Elliott

    17 November 2014
  • 3 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings