For a second there I was feeling like I was on top of things in terms of getting ready for Christmas, but all of a sudden the race is on to get everything done in time. I’d like to say it’s because I have a baby, but I’m pretty sure this happens to me every year. I also do this fun thing where I start second guessing myself on all the gifts purchases I managed to make in a timely manner, and wondering if I should just return everything and start all over. You know, just to keep things interesting. Anyway, if you need a moment to recharge during this holiday season, here are some links for you to enjoy…
For our very last real wedding of 2013, let’s escape the cold and head to Hawaii! Says the bride: “We knew we wanted a destination wedding pretty early on – we loved the idea of having everyone on vacation together and with us for our big day,” says Joybell. ”Since moving from Boston to San Francisco, we swapped our beach vacations in the Carribbean to Hawaii. We visited the Big Island about a year before we got engaged and the best day of our trip – and a day we both frequently quote as ‘the best day we’ve ever spent together’ – was spent enjoying the beautiful beach and grounds at Mauna Kea Beach Hotel. When we got engaged, returning to the Big Island and to Mauna Kea was a no-brainer for us.”
“We wanted the wedding to have touches of Hawaiian culture. We had the ceremony and reception outdoors and oceanside, so everyone could enjoy the views and nice weather. The flowers had some Hawaiian native florals mixed in. We also had a Hawaiian fire dancer as a surprise for our guests!”
SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR MORE DETAILS FROM THIS INTIMATE HAWAII WEDDING.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? There were so many favorite moments for me! I loved getting ready with my bridesmaids and mom – everyone was in such an excited and happy mood. We chose to do a first look and we planned it so that Joel was standing at the end of a long walkway and I was walking up to him from behind. We were both so excited and anxious to see each other, and I loved that I got to see him first!
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was to try my best to enjoy the day and live in every moment. Everyone tells you that the day flies by (and it really does!), and you don’t want to spend time worrying about how the tables are being set up or if people are going to be late. If your wedding schedule slips, then let it slip. Finally, steal a few minutes, just the two of you, and stand back and watch everyone enjoying your reception.
What advice do you have for other brides? Try not to chase the latest and greatest wedding trends – plan a day that you would love today and 20 years from now.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? A common misconception is that destination weddings are a good way to save money. I feel like this is only the case if you intend to cut your guest list way down for the destination wedding. Most vendor fees are pretty much comparable wherever you go – if you have a big family or a close group of friends and everyone will come to your wedding, no matter the destination, it won’t end up costing any less.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? As a total spur of the moment idea – and very out of character of us! – we decided to jump into the ocean after the reception. We circulated the idea and were surprised that about half of the guests wanted to join us! The hotel coordinator provided a stack of towels, and we all ran into the ocean (some in swimsuits, various undergarments or nothing!). It was a perfect ending to the day.
Says the bride: “The industrial mill site, the colors in the river-side setting, and minimal modernism were all sources of inspiration. I kept going back to the feeling I wanted to create, rather than a word like ‘rustic’ or ‘classic,’ and tried to be faithful to the uniqueness of the setting and our personalities. I wanted the ceremony to accentuate the natural beauty of the setting so I collaborated with our florist, Glenn Albright, to design a moss wall as the ceremony backdrop. This helped direct the other décor choices. For the reception, white parachutes with lights illuminating them from behind were installed on the ceilings. Glass, light bulbs, and white elements were used throughout the reception decorations, with flowers used as a colorful accent.”
SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR TONS MORE DETAILS FROM THIS ROMANTIC GEORGIA WEDDING.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? Matt and I are both from Columbus and have lots of family members who live there so it was an easy decision to choose our hometown as the wedding location. The garden at the RiverMill was the perfect ceremony site as it overlooks the Chattahoochee River and you can hear the roar of the river in the background. Matt is a bird watcher and loved the prevalence of herons and wildlife and I had grown up on the Chattahoochee so it seemed like a good choice.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? The caterer organized a time for Matt and I to dine outside in between the ceremony and the reception. It was so special because it was the only time it was just the two of us and we got to share in our joy and excitement right after the ceremony.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Instead of drinking from champagne flutes for the cutting of the cake, Matt and I drank from the same goblet, “The Loving Cup.” The cup has been passed down from my mother’s side of the family and I loved the symbolism of our new unity as a couple. Additionally, I had the Hebrew word mizpah inscribed on my husband’s wedding band. This is a tradition also passed down from my mother’s family. The word means “The Lord watch over you and me while we are absent from one another.”
Now for Stephanie and Mathieu’s wedding from Iconoclash Photography. Says the bride: When we started telling our friends that we would get married in Austria, most had the exact same reaction: “Oh my god, please say that it’ll be like in the Sound of Music? Will we get to dress up? Will you yodel?” They were so excited that it didn’t take long for my husband and me to decide we’ll do just that: give our guests a themed wedding, Sound of Music and all. So yes, that was our inspiration even though I can assure you that nowadays Austria has nothing to do with that movie.
The bride’s pearl earrings were the first earrings she ever owned, a gift from her late grandmother.
“I grew up in Austria, and not far from our town, up in the Alps, is a small village named Schwarzenberg. The entire region is postcard perfect beautiful, but Schwarzenberg is outstanding. Its beauty is heritage-protected, and the inside of its old church was painted by Angelika Kauffmann in the 18th century. It’s a tradition where I come from to get married in Schwarzenberg, and already when I was a little girl, my grandmother used to tell me how my wedding would be, one day, in Schwarzenberg. I could not imagine getting married anywhere else.”
I asked the bride about her favorite moment of the day… “There are so many. Getting ready with my girls. Surprising my husband by entering the church to his favorite song, Somewhere over the Rainbow – he was so touched, he couldn’t even turn around. Leaving the church to a sea of red heart balloons. The heartfelt, touching and funny speeches of so many people we love. The Haka our Samoan friend Va’a performed for us, to chase away the bad spirits. Our first dance. Seeing how little by little our friends all mingled, how they got to know each other and turned into friends in the course of a weekend.”
SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR ALL THE PHOTOS OF THIS ALPINE WEDDING IN AUSTRIA.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Everything was traditional in feel but we skipped the real traditions: in our region of Austria, the friends of the groom steal the bride at some point during the evening, and they take her to a place that is special to the couple. The groom has to find her and bring her back. Thanks to this tradition, wedding are sometimes groom- and bride-less for hours. Since my husband is French and most of our guests where literally from all over the world, we decided against this tradition for obvious reasons.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? From friends who got married one week before us: steal a moment, just the two of you, and realize what is happening. Everything is happening so fast, you blink once and your wedding is over.
What advice do you have for other brides? Make sure that your wedding resembles you. Don’t force yourself to do anything that doesn’t feel right. And: plan, plan, plan. Everything that can be organized beforehand will add to things going smoothly.
Stephanie and Mathieu’s Alpine wedding brunch is just the first part of this delightful wedding feature from Iconoclash Photography. Guests joined the couple for a traditional Austrian brunch (including mountain cheese, ham, potato salad, white sausages with sweet mustard, bread, and beer), in addition to the wedding reception.