From the couple: “We fell in love with the magical, fairy tale feeling of Cafe Brauer [in Lincoln Park]. We both envisioned getting married with lots of twinkle lights, and imagined floating candles suspended from the domed ceiling. There is something incredibly romantic about the space, which is the feeling we were going for.”
“We had, what we are calling, a Jewish-style wedding. Jessie’s brother officiated, which was very special. Although there was no rabbi, the ceremony still felt inspired by Jessie’s Jewish background. It was important to Jessie to include certain traditions, but we also made sure that everything we did reflected our interfaith and egalitarian beliefs. So, for example, traditionally a Jewish bride circles her husband seven times to demonstrate her loyalty and obedience. In our wedding, Jessie circled Garrett three times, Garrett circles Jessie three times, and the bride and groom made one circle together, holding hands.”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? First and foremost we were inspired by Cafe Brauer itself. The beautiful arts-and-crafts details, the many shades of green, and the gorgeous views of Lincoln Park. After we settled on Cafe Brauer, we really designed the wedding around the space. The next important decision was the dress. Once I settled on my perfect dress, that also helped set the tone for the event.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Reading our vows to each other was definitely the highlight for both of us. We also loved sneaking away from the cocktail hour early to hide in the gallery above before our big entrance, and watching our guests enter the main hall and start dancing like crazy to the band. It was special to be together watching everyone having so much fun.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? We were given five dance lessons by Garrett’s brother and sister-in-law. They told us it would be great time to spend together, doing something fun (and useful). They were right! We loved our bi-weekly lessons leading up to the wedding, and were so proud of our “performance” for our first dance.
What advice do you have for other brides? Enjoy the planning! The actual wedding goes by in a flash. It’s everything leading up to the big day, all the special moments with your mother, your friends, and your husband-to-be, that make the celebration last.
Says the bride, “We had previously been to Cowley Manor for a long weekend and fell in love with the amazing venue and beautiful grounds. As we had such a small wedding the church was perfect for our needs. We also loved the contrast of the traditional English countryside and church with the modernity of the Manor House.”
Naturally, Tribble the hedgehog appeared in some of the newlyweds’ portraits. “We also made sure that everyone had a part in the service,” says Rebecca, “with our siblings doing readings and my grandma and Mike’s aunt signing the register as witnesses.”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? It was important to us that the venue and ceremony reflected our personalities and that everything was organized to our taste. I also think that flowers are vital to setting the tone of the wedding and they were one of the most important aspects of the decoration to me.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Make sure to spend time as a couple throughout the day, as well as devoting enough time to the guests who are really important to you. Luckily this was very easy for us as only our closest friends and family were there, so we were able to spend time with everyone.
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? Rebecca’s Grandma was diagnosed with a serious illness shortly before we were engaged. She’s a very important person in Rebecca’s life and we wanted to make sure that she could be at our wedding day. We therefore decided to organize a small wedding for as soon as we could so that she could be there for our special day, with a big party next year to celebrate with our friends. Having such a small wedding really worked for us. It was an incredibly intimate and special day, one that we will treasure forever.
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Why did you choose this location for your wedding? It has a beautiful view, good food, and a great deck for a wedding ceremony.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Simple elegance and the company of good friends and family in a relaxed, beautiful and tropical setting.
What was your favorite moment or part of the day? Saying “I do” to the man I love. Sneaking away after the ceremony for photos and seeing a huge green turtle swim below our photo site! It was magical!
Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day? We were so happy to have our closest family and friends witness our marriage in a gorgeous, natural setting. With the tropical sun on us and the ocean breeze, we felt like God was pouring his blessings on us!
Yesterday’s bride was a wedding planner, and today’s bride is a wedding photographer – it’s so fun to see how wedding vendors tie the knot! Kelli and Kevin opted for an intimate, rustic wedding at a Colorado bed and breakfast…
Kelli’s favorite moment from the day? “At the very end of our ceremony, after we had done a huge group prayer, and then we were pronounced husband and wife. I remember falling into Kevin’s arms, hugging him tightly and thinking, God is so good. That was the constant feel of the day.”
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Why did you choose this location for your wedding? In planning our wedding, we really wanted our friends and family to be treated well and we wanted a simple, cozy venue in the mountains. The B&B was perfect because it provided a place for all of our favorite people to celebrate with us the entire weekend, and we had a lot of creative freedom to transform the quaint and rustic space into a beautiful wedding day.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We are both artists and we love people and the mountains so we wanted that to be the focus. We wanted a Kinfolk feel to our reception, with family style dinner and candles and flowers everywhere so our guests could really enjoy themselves and it felt like being around the dinner table with family. Our aesthetic and styles are very different, mine being simpler with clean texture, and Kevin’s being more bold, masculine and quirky. In the end, we married the two styles together, and I think it turned out better than expected.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? Keep it simple and really enjoy every part of the day, and let everyone else figure out the details. As a wedding photographer, I know how chaotic weddings can sometimes be, but being a bride was different. I didn’t care about the details as much as I thought I would. Instead I really took everything in that day… the cold air, the smell of trees, the people, what I was feeling, seeing Kevin’s tears as my dad walked me down the aisle. I remember it so vividly even though it was such a fast day.
What advice do you have for other brides? Remember the reason for all the planning: you’re marrying your best friend and the person you get do life with forever. The details will come together how they are suppose to, so it’s not worth it to get worked up over the little things that seem to be going wrong. If you’re one to be more of a perfectionist (like I can be sometimes) it’s best to delegate tasks to people that are willing to help. Then just let things fall into place as they should.
Listen to this crazy story about Emily and Gerry’s wedding venue! “Oddly enough, I experienced more hiccups in my wedding planning than I have with any of my couples combined. The first major upset was with our venue. We picked an amazing art gallery in the Mission… which had to shut its doors 3 months before our wedding. The day we found out about the venue I was at a dress fitting, trying on this amazing custom dress and thinking that I had no place to wear it! Luckily I have two of the best colleagues in the world, and by the time the fitting was over, Lauren and Cassandra had a spreadsheet of options ready with availability and site visits set up. Gerry and I visited Dogpatch WineWorks that night. It was about 4 blocks from our home, newly opened, and a wonderfully interesting and flexible space. We signed the contract and I am so glad things worked out the way they did. Having the venue so close to our home allowed me to get ready at my own house on our wedding day. We did our first look in our backyard, and family photos in a park nearby. It was easy and comfortable.”
From Emily: “My favorite part of planning was thinking up wonderful little details to surprise our guests. From our guest book (a cookbook with lots of lovely pictures and white spaces for notes from guests), to vintage sea glass jars as bud vases, to hand painting all of the votives with gold leaf and metallic paint, to displaying framed photos of our parents (married 35 and 36 years respectively). We also hand wrote notes to each of our guests, inserted into little metallic envelopes, which doubled as place cards. Our signature drink was ‘Guns and Roses’ (Brut Rose and blood orange juice with a twist).”
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What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Planning your own wedding when you are a wedding planner is hard. I have seen and done so many things for my clients that it was difficult to come up with ideas that felt new, fun, inspirational, or personal. I tried to relax and focus on things that I really enjoy, and let the venue and the season inspire me. I also gave artistic reign to the vendors I worked with. I know from experience that trusting and collaborating with vendors is the best way to get a truly gorgeous and one-of-a-kind look for your event. Overall, the look of metallics, warm wood and linens combined with the structural but soft florals, perfect lighting, and the smell of wine in the air from the venue set a terrific tone for the event, and I was ecstatic with how it turned out both as a wedding planner and as a bride.
Did you include any traditions in your wedding? Our ceremony followed the traditional Catholic ceremony and vows very closely, which felt right to us as a family tradition. We also used the same toasting flutes that my parents used at their wedding, and my brother and sister-in-law used at theirs. I wanted our wedding to feel like a wedding – a celebration of our union. I think we succeeded in choosing traditions that led us to that type of event.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The best advice I received was from Lauren, who reminded me often to focus on what I loved. Also, the wine and chocolate pairing station was her idea, and it was an excellent one.
What advice do you have for other brides? The best advice I always give to my brides is what I tried to follow as well – hire a planner, trust your vendors to do their jobs without micromanaging them, and get your groom involved in the things that are most important to him. A planner is necessary. Lauren always says that everybody needs a wedding planner – no matter what. There are a range of planners out there at different price points and you will save yourself and your family a lot of stress by having someone to recommend vendors for you, advocate for you, and set up and run your big day so you can just enjoy time with your loved ones. I also think it is important to let your vendors do their jobs. As I said before, giving them creative license can be a beautiful thing. You will be surprised in a good way. Collaborate with them, make them a part of your team. You will get the best results from vendors who value you as a client and want your day to be special as a result. Finally, I think it is extremely important for often-quiet grooms to have a voice in the planning process. I always ask grooms to tell about the thing or things they care about most, so that I can keep that in mind as we plan. In our case that was music, and Gerry spent a long time making sure that our musical choices reflected us and would be enjoyed by our guests. It was really fun to watch him take ownership of that project.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? One budget tip that I implemented was choosing an off-season date. Between November and March venues are less expensive, more vendors are available and willing to work with smaller budgets, and your guests will be less likely to have another wedding to go to. I loved having a February wedding! It felt cozy and romantic.