There is something extra special about getting married in the backyard of your childhood home, and though it may not be quite as convenient as tying the knot at a dedicated wedding venue, for this couple it was well worth it…

“I was lucky enough to be able to get married at my parents’ house, where I grew up,” says the bride. “I explored other venues, but it’s so special to get married at home and my parents were willing to host the wedding, so we went for it! It is definitely a lot of work to pull off a wedding at home, as we needed to rent everything, from a generator to bathrooms, but our team of vendors worked incredibly hard to make sure the day went smoothly, and my parents were troopers for having 165 people over for dinner!”

“The house has an incredible view of Mt. Tamalpais, and from the very beginning we wanted to incorporate the mountain into our wedding in some way. We knew it would feature prominently the day of, so on our save the dates we decided to use a silhouette of Mt. Tam in the design, and we carried that theme through to the event itself, using the mountain silhouette on our response cards, guests’ itineraries, ceremony programs, etc.”

“I wasn’t sure that the house would even work for a wedding, and it was hard to find weddings on blogs that were actually home weddings. When I did find one, I would study it endlessly, and it seemed like the trick was to use every possible corner for the wedding. We had our family photos on our front path, because it was the only place free of rentals and catering equipment, and it ended up being beautiful, luckily! Plus, while wedding venues have already figured out where to have the ceremony, where to have the dinner, etc., we had to decide all of these things for our house! I think we changed the ceremony location three times, but in the end the layout we settled on was perfect.”

From the bride: “In a family video from about 15 years ago, I’m on tape saying, ‘At my wedding, instead of a wedding cake, I’m going to have s’mores!’ So even though we did have a wedding cake, we also had to have s’mores, and they were such a hit! All of our guests crowded around the fire pit to cook their marshmallows, and some of our guests from Europe had never had a s’more before, so I was happy to introduce them to my favorite dessert!”

SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR THIS ENTIRE BRIGHT BACKYARD WEDDING AT HOME.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  We wanted to have an outdoor wedding that was beautiful, but not over the top. I started calling our style “garden elegant.” Since we were getting married at home and in a garden, we chose to have simple details that complemented the beauty and personality of our location. We served our dinner family style, we had flowers that were all in season and could be found in a garden, and we used some of our outdoor furniture for seating during cocktail hour. We were lucky to have fantastic weather, so we didn’t need a tent, and everyone got to eat outside under the stars, just like the casual, outdoor summer dinners that we would have when I was growing up.

What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  There are too many great moments to pick just one. For our first dance, we decided to do a choreographed dance to “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk. Our choreography didn’t start until the first verse of the song though, so during the intro music I think our guests just thought that we were having a first dance to Daft Punk, which was already funny. Then when we broke out into our routine, everyone was surprised and started laughing and clapping. In the second half of the song, our parents and bridal party joined in for a Soul Train line dance, and then we invited all the guests to join in. It was such a fun way to kick off the dancing part of the evening, and people didn’t leave the dance floor until the wedding was over!

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Our florist incorporated a handkerchief from my great-great-grandmother’s wedding day into my bouquet, which was incredibly special. My engagement ring is reset from my great-grandmother’s engagement ring, which my grandmother also wore, and I wore my mother’s earrings, so we had many generations of women represented on my wedding day!

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Early on in the planning process, someone told my mom that for her daughter’s wedding they used the mantra, “One Decision a Month,” to space out the wedding planning and not get stressed out with everything at the beginning of the planning process. So after we got engaged, we worked on one decision a month, choosing the caterer, then the florist, then the dress, then the save the dates, then the band, etc. It made everything feel so much more manageable when you’re just starting to plan and not sure what to focus on. Of course, the last couple months are more like one decision a week, or even a day, but at least the beginning of the planning process went smoothly!

What advice do you have for other brides?  I would say that even though you spend endless hours thinking through all the details, it’s important to remember that you are probably the only one who will notice if something is wrong or different than you thought it would be. So it’s best to just trust your vendors, and be happy about how everything turned out, because everyone else will think it was fantastic! I worked on various tasks all the way up through the Wednesday before our wedding, but then starting Thursday I stopped worrying and just had fun.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  I tried to save money where I could. I chose to do a wedding Tumblr instead of a wedding website. I didn’t love any of the free designs that were available so with the Tumblr, we got to just have a very simple site. It actually ended up being great because we posted a few photos and a video to keep the Tumblr fresh and still provide all of the necessary wedding information. I also decided to go very simple with the welcome gifts, and we just provided itineraries and a small bag of chocolates for our guests. I designed the itinerary myself using our mountain silhouette theme and color palette, and printed them as well. It was a great way to save money and still provide our guests with something to signify that they were arriving at our wedding weekend. Also since they were just printed by hand, we made enough itineraries and chocolate packets to hand out to all of our guests, even the local ones, which I think they appreciated having.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Both Riley and I went to Williams College, in Massachusetts, and there is a tradition to take a photo at your wedding with all the guests that are Williams alums in front of a Williams banner. Williams publishes these photos in the Alumni magazine and it’s always fun to see all the Williams banners at weddings around the world. Since my parents and my grandfather also went to Williams, we had three generations of alums in our Williams photo, and guests from my parents’ generation as well as our own. We had 51 alums in the photo, and it was so fun to see every Eph (the Williams mascot) together for one moment during our wedding!

Photographer: Simply Jessie Photography / Event Planner: Estera Events / Venue: Private estate in Mill Valley, California / Gown: Monique Lhuillier / Shoes: Jimmy Choo  Suit: Freeman’s Sporting Club by Martin Greenfield / Shirt: Barney’s New York / Shoes: Alden / Bridesmaid dresses: BHLDN / Stationery: Sarah Drake Designs / Floral Designer: Birch SF / Rentals: La Tavola Linens / Music: Double Funk Crunch, San Francisco Conservatory of Music / Catering: Betty Zlatchin Catering / Cake: Branching Out / Transportation: Soiree Valet & Transportation / Hair, Makeup: Cooper Alley Salon / Calligraphy:  Papineau Calligraphy
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  • At Home Summer Wedding in Mill Valley

    27 January 2014
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    Kate Headley is one of those photographers who captures moments you’d want to frame and put on your mantle – which isn’t to say she misses the sweet details; there are plenty of those, too! This North Carolina is no exception, starting with this gorgeous stationery suite, hand calligraphed by Maybelle for Bella Figura

    The bride pinned her updo with a jeweled floral pin by Debra Moreland, and finished her timeless look with a cathedral length veil.

    The groom’s white tie tuxedo was adorned with a calla lily boutonniere. The bride carried a bouquet of white peonies and garden roses. The two had their first look in the Duke Chapel’s famous arcade arches.

    After the ceremony, the couple and their guests were transported to The Fearrington Barn for the reception, beginning with a bluegrass cocktail hour. His and Hers signature drinks were the “Blonde on Blonde” (vodka, St. Germain, freshly squeezed lemon juice, white grape juice, orange ginger bitters, sprig of rosemary, lemon peel) and an Old Fashioned.

    In keeping with the playful feel of the celebration, favors were muslin bags stamped with a Beltie cow stamp (Belties live on the farm), filled with Hershey kisses and mini Cow Tales, all tied up with bakers twine.

    SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THIS ELEGANT NORTH CAROLINA WEDDING.

     

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  Jason and I met as undergrads at Duke University. It’s a place that is very special to us, both as a couple and as individuals, and we knew the Duke Chapel would be the perfect venue for our ceremony. For our reception, we wanted something that felt elegant but also relaxed. Fearrington provided the perfect combination and exuded a Southern charm that we both loved.

    What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  In planning our wedding, we were most inspired by our friends and family. Our main priorities were to spend as much time with them as possible and to make time for special moments. At the end of the day, we knew that we would remember the time with them more than the pretty details (although I do love pretty details!). For instance, I made it a priority to have a “reveal” with my dad before leaving for the Chapel. As an only child, I wanted to share with my parents, just the three of us, before the day began. We also included Friday welcome cocktails and a Sunday brunch, so that we could spend more time with all of our guests.

    What was your favorite moment or part of the day?  The last dance of the night. We both got on stage with the band and danced like crazy to “Don’t Stop Believing.” Not only was it ridiculously fun, it was so special to have all our closest friends and family cheering us on.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Jason was raised in the Greek Orthodox Church. To honor this, we circled the ceremonial table in our ceremony, which is a traditional element of Orthodox ceremonies. 

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  The best advice that I received was from my cousin. She reminded me to keep things in perspective. Looking back at her own wedding, she remembered being obsessed about some particular detail; however, she now can’t even remember what it was.

    What advice do you have for other brides?  Enjoy the ride with your fiancé! Planning a wedding can be stressful, but being engaged is such an incredibly special time. Never lose sight of why you and your fiancé are planning the wedding in the first place. It definitely helps put things in perspective when you’re nitpicking about the stationery’s shade of ivory!

    Photographer: Kate Headley / Event Planner: Erin McLean Events / Church: Duke Chapel / Venue, Catering, Cake: The Barn at Fearrington in Chapel Hill, North Carolina / Stationery: Maybelle for Bella Figura / Officiant: Rev. Bruce Puckett / Gown: Jenny Lee / Sash: Lula Kate / Shoes: Jimmy Choo / Earrings, Hair Accessories: Paris / Tuxedo: Isaia / Shoes: Salvatore Ferragamo / Cufflinks: Tiffany & Co. / Bridesmaid Dresses: Amsale / Floral Designer: Mary Stevens of Fearrington House / Organist: Dr. David Arcus / Music: LaNelle David Bluegrass Band, Attraction Band / Videographer: Rising Moon Films / Photobooth: Shutterbooth / Makeup: Makeup For Your Day / Transportation: Loni’s Antique Cars, Caravan Bus, Horizon Coachlines

    Kate Headley, Maybelle, and Bella Figura are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.

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  • Duke Chapel Wedding from Kate Headley

    22 January 2014
  • 6 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    I’m not sure it gets more stylish than this NYC elopement, with the groom’s classic tux and the bride’s gorgeous Aurelio Costarella gown. And while choosing a photographer is always a pretty big decision, when it’s just the two of you, it’s even more important! No surprise, then, that Nikki and Todd hired one of our all-time favorites (and a Snippet & Ink Select vendor!), Trent Bailey

    Why elope? “We didn’t have the time or patience for wedding planning,” says the bride. “We were feeling distinctly uninspired until I started Googling and realized elopements have evolved – eloping no longer means no frills. We could still have a beautiful day and gorgeous photographs to share with our family and friends while keeping the focus on us. The whole idea felt slightly indulgent but exciting and we knew it was the right decision.”

    Why New York City? “New York has an energy and sense of urban romance unlike anywhere else in the world, so we decided it was not only the perfect backdrop for our elopement but also our ultimate honeymoon destination all in one.”

    “The feeling of being amongst so much joy at the New York Marriage Bureau was amazing. So many different people with so many different stories all united in a kind of nervous elation. And later, as we shot photographs downtown, we couldn’t believe how many New Yorkers stopped and smiled or yelled their congratulations. It was wonderfully surreal.”

    SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR EVERY SINGLE SHOT FROM THIS NEW YORK CITY ELOPEMENT.

     

    Nikki’s advice for brides? “Do what feels right for you and your partner. Eloping isn’t for everyone, but it felt right for us and we knew that was what mattered most. And be sure to find a great photographer to capture the moment.”

    Photography: Trent Bailey / Ceremony: City Hall in New York, New York / Bride’s Gown: Aurelio Costarella / Shoes: Givenchy / Groom’s Suit: Hugo Boss / Shoes: Rolando Sturlini at Asos / Rings: David Collins / Baby’s Breath Bouquet:  Adore Floral NYC / Hotel: The Bowery / Celebration Dinner: Eleven Madison Park

    Trent Bailey is a Snippet & Ink Select vendor.
    This post contains affiliate links.

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  • Stylish Elopement in New York City

    21 January 2014
  • 16 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings

    Maybe I’m a little biased, since I was a winter bride, but I think a winter wedding is pretty much as romantic as it gets. Soft light, candle glow, cozy portraits… and this beauty from Aneta MAK has them all!

    Aneta Mak | Snippet & Ink Aneta Mak | Snippet & Ink

    What’s a party without at least one balloon?

    Says the bride, “There were three things I was really fussy about during planning: the flowers, the photos, and the dress. I must have tried on 30 but in the end my mum decided for me… it was the only dress that made her cry!”

    Gee’s stepfather played the piano as Vivienne walked down the aisle, and the couple wrote their own vows.

    “The day itself was just a whirlwind of amazingness in spite of sub zero temperatures, featuring red noses and the odd snowflake.”

    “I wanted really delicate and soft flowers with a bit of ‘wild’ to them and loads and loads of candles. In the end the flowers were just exquisite. The ceremony and reception rooms were stunning and so romantic and that was all down to our florist, Jay Archer!” 

    Another fun detail? “Instead of a guest book, each table had blank cards with envelopes marked with the same number as the table, for our guests to write messages on. The idea is that we will open each numbered envelope on the corresponding wedding anniversary so we can keep reliving our night for over a decade! I think some of them were written quite late into the open bar, so should give us a good laugh!”

    The groom’s grandmother baked the three-tiered wedding cake, complete with sugar roses, and a friend of the bride’s baked 80 cupcakes, “Which all disappeared rather fast once the booze kicked in!” says Vivienne.

    SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR MORE DETAILS FROM THIS ROMANTIC FEBRUARY WEDDING.

     

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We wanted a relaxed romantic day with lots of personal details and the hardest bit was finding the venue. We wanted something “old world” but not too formal, and many of the places we saw with a bit of history involved getting married in dark wood-paneled rooms with tiny windows. Finally we stumbled upon Northbrook Park which had a beautiful bright room with huge windows from end to end, and best of all for a winter wedding, a massive roaring fire!

    Are there any moments that really stand out?  The most nerve wracking moment (other than waiting to walk down the aisle) was definitely our first dance. We had a choreographed our first dance, and we snuck out between the courses of the meal to have a quick rehearsal, we were so nervous about it. In the end I felt like a princess on the dance floor and it was a really special moment when he lifted me at the end!

    Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  We met with four or five photographers and none of them felt right. Then we met Aneta, and though she was over our initial budget, we fell in love with her photos, and more importantly with her! You have to really like your photographer – after all they experience every moment right there with you! It was totally worth spending extra in the end. After all, the only part of your wedding you will have left in the long term is the memories and the photos, and ours are just stunning.

     

    All in all, a dream day, where I got to marry the best man I have ever met. I don’t think either of us would change a thing.

    Photographer: Aneta MAK / Venue: Northbrook Park in Farnham, Surrey, United Kingdom / Gown: Elizabeth by Jenny Packham / Suit: Paul Smith / Stationery: Bespoke by The Letterpress of Cirencester / Floral Designer: Jay Archer Floral Design / Swing Band: Ding Dong Daddio’s / Catering, Coordination: Caper & Berry / Makeup: Carolanne Armstrong / Hair: Sharon Roberts of Wonderful Wedding Hair
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  • Winter Wedding at Northbrook Park

    20 January 2014
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    This bride’s romantic style is absolutely breathtaking… the cowl-neck gown, the 20′s style Juliet cap veil, the ballet slippers… and it all fits so perfectly against the backdrop of Laguna Gloria, with delicious flowers by one of our Select vendors, STEMS.

    Kate’s inspiration? Simply, “Bay laurel and Cynthia Warren’s work.”

    We’ve heard of a few couples who choose to have a private meal before joining their guests – I love this idea! For Kate and David, it was the best part of the day: “David and I had a secret meal upstairs in the house after our pictures, before being presented. Meg (the amazing caterer) had a table set, with champagne and (very) full plates. I have never felt so excited or childish… I couldn’t even sit still for two seconds. I was scarfing my food standing up (it was all so insanely delicious) while running over to look out at our guests, and then back to sit with David, then champagne. We both needed good food badly, and more importantly, a little moment of privacy after such a significant ceremony, and that set us up to feel even better going into the rest of the night.”

    SEE THE FULL GALLERY FOR ALL OF THE GORGEOUS PHOTOS FROM THIS AUSTIN GARDEN PARTY WEDDING.

     

    Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  It speaks for itself, really.  We knew we wanted to be married outside, and for the whole night to feel casual, comfortable, and classic, too, of course. We loved being near the water, and in so much lush greenery. The architecture of the house itself is so beautiful. David is from Houston and was actually born in Austin, while I am from Louisiana, originally. I had always imagined being married in Louisiana, so we went back and forth in deciding what state. Ultimately, Austin felt right in the end since this is really where we started our life together, and Laguna Gloria was hands down the only venue that made sense for our vibe.

    Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  It was overall pretty traditional. We had a traditional Episcopal service, with traditional classical music played on strings. David and I didn’t see one another all day. I wore the whole ‘something old, something new something borrowed, something blue’. We were presented as a couple. I tossed the bouquet, and at the end of the night, David drove us off.

    What was the best advice you received as a bride?  So much good advice – none of which actually means anything until the weekend arrives. Like: Delegate! Your loved ones offer to help and truly mean it – so involving people to help you out is a good thing. You can’t do it all yourself (this was a hard one for me)!

    What advice do you have for other brides?  It of course will not be perfect because nothing is. There will be plenty of small things you care about that don’t look right, or even bigger things that aren’t what you had in mind, but it really doesn’t matter in the end. Everyone still has a blast. It’s such an amazing and surreal weekend of events – there will likely be no other time in your life when people come from all over to celebrate you and your partner. It’s an incredibly humbling and sacred time, so be full of gratitude and relish in it. As you will hear often: don’t sweat the small (or big) stuff. If you decide to have a big ceremony/reception and go forth with the whole kit and kaboodle, know there will be drama, no matter how chill of a person you are. The good news, is that there will be some tough but worthwhile growing pains in the process – you learn a lot about your own and your partner’s (and your families’) priorities, expectations and temperaments.

    Photography: The Nichols / Venue: Art Museum of Austin in Austin, Texas / Day-of Coordinator: Casey Dennis, DNA Events Austin / Floral Designer: STEMS Floral Design / Officiant: Reverend David Boyd / Bride’s Dress, Veil: Jenny Kim Couture / Shoes: Chloe / Groom’s Suit: J.Crew / Tie: Vaida / Letterpress: Carriage House Design Company  / Rentals: Marquee, Whim / Music: Figure Eight / Catering, Cake: Meg Schwarz of Spoon & Co / Calligrapher: Mia Carameros / Makeup: Avery Allen

    This post contains affiliate links.
    STEMS Floral and Cynthia Warren are Snippet & Ink Select vendors.

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  • Garden Party Wedding at Laguna Gloria

    16 January 2014
  • 12 comments posted +add a comment SEE MORE: Real Weddings, Some Favorites