Nancy Neil‘s photos from Jocelyn and Wes’s wedding are too wonderful for words, so all I’ll say is that this wedding is gorgeous proof that the only theme a wedding needs is the two people getting married. And now I’m just going to stand back and let the picture do the talking…

Jocelyn designed all the signage and invitation. Invitations were then printed at a local printer.

Says Jocelyn, “Wes’s god brother (a super cool motorcycle rocker dude, who insisted he be wearing a gun during the ceremony – in the spirit of our cowboy/western wedding) agreed to marry us, which really made the ceremony intimate and special.”

Escort cards were displayed in shotgun shells, and a sign on the table read, “This ain’t no shotgun wedding; y’all have proper seats!”

Guests were encouraged to dress in “Ranch Elegant” or “Cowboy Cocktail” attire. The bride even wore red cowboy boots, and the groom wore a Flying M Ranch belt buckle.

Simple floral arrangements and burlap table runners fit the elegant rustic ranch feel of the wedding. 

This is such a special wedding, with so many personal details – don’t you love it?! Jocelyn kindly answered some questions about the day:

Why did you choose this venue for your wedding?  The ranch is very special place for my husband’s family, so it seemed fitting that we hold our wedding there. It’s a beautiful, expansive cattle ranch in Merced County where the family has gathered for holidays and retreats over several generations. Aviation is another important aspect of the ranch (there’s a 3000-foot runway on the property) and for my husband, and we had several guests (who are also private pilots) come land at the ranch for the wedding.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  I wanted everything to be natural and rustic (the location was a cattle ranch after all), and tried to include personal touches that reflected our personalities and interests: guests went home with camo coozies since Wes likes to hunt and drink beer; we served good food, good wine, and decorated with beautiful flowers since those were the aspects I really cared about; Wes grew up around airplanes and earned his own private pilot’s license by the age of 18, and we tried to showcase his family’s aviation history in various parts of our wedding (live fly-bys to excite our guests and model airplanes to serve as table markers).

What advice do you have for other brides?  If you give yourself two years to plan your wedding, it will take you two years to plan your wedding, so think about how much time do you want to spend planning, stressing and preparing? Seriously, it’s over in a flash, so it’s really not worth going Bridezilla about making everything perfect.



Signature cocktails: Jocelyn’s Pineapple Margarita (tequila, limeade, pineapple juice), Wes’s Sparkling Orange Man-Cooler (orange-infused sparkling water, white Zinfandel) // Appetizers: Lobster Bisque with Truffle Cream, Mushroom Sachets, Ahi Tacos // First course: Organic Field Greens with Peaches and Ricotta Salata // Buffet dinner: Paella Valencia, Filet Mignon with Pancetta, Mashed Potatoes with Roasted Fennel, Fresh Summer Vegetables, Crepes Gratinée // Dessert: Vanilla Cutting Cake with Vanilla Frosting and Pies in Berry, Chocolate, Peach, and Apple



Photography: Nancy Neil / Venue: private ranch in Merced, California / Bride’s dress: Pronovias / Red cowboy boots: Luchesse / Groom’s suit: Calvin Klein / Flowers: Natalie Galasso Designs / Catering: Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme / Cake and desserts: Sweet Temptations / Music: Rough Puppy / Rentals: Classic Party Rentals


Congratulations Jocelyn and Wes! Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful day! Y’all can read more about the wedding, and see lots more beautiful photos over on Jocelyn’s blog, right HERE.

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Today’s gorgeous, classic Philadelphia wedding comes to us from photographer Kate Murphy – wait until you see the cake! And I love the vine motif, from the invitations to the cake topper – what a simply lovely idea!

Says Claire, “My gown had pockets which were perfect for carrying two handkerchiefs that had belonged to my grandmothers and were embroidered with their names. It helped me feel connected to an older generation of my family who are no longer with us.”

Says Claire, “At the very beginning of the ceremony, instead of the more traditional Who gives this woman to be married? our officiant asked Who welcomes Claire as a daughter and a loving friend and wife to Matthew, to which Matt’s family replied We do. She then asked the same of my family, and they welcomed Matt. That feeling of inclusion and community was really important to us and set the tone for the rest of the ceremony.”

The groom’s favorite part of the day? “The kiss! And walking back down the aisle together as husband and wife.”

A little advice from Claire, “As the wedding day drew closer, I remembered a piece advice a dance teacher told me years ago before a recital, No one else knows what it’s supposed to look like. So, for example, when my homemade table numbers didn’t turn out quite the way I had pictured them, and the peach flower arrangements arrived with yellow roses, I reminded myself they wouldn’t look wrong to anyone else’s eyes. Honestly, I was so caught up in the emotion of the day, that lots of little details which felt so important in the months prior, were simply overshadowed by an overwhelming sense of joy.”

Why did you choose this venue for your wedding?  Though we weren’t raised here, Philadelphia is where we met and started our life together, so it seemed a fitting place to celebrate our wedding. The majority of our guests were from out of town. With that in mind, we tried to keep arrangements as simple as possible by holding both the ceremony and reception at the same location, which was within walking distance of hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing spots. We were thrilled to hear how much everyone enjoyed exploring our adopted city. We aimed to select a wedding site which felt quintessentially Philadelphian and captured the sense of history and beautiful architecture we appreciate about the city.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  The venue guided a lot of our design decisions. We didn’t have a theme per se, but the idea I kept coming back to during the planning stage was classic. The ceremony and cocktail hour were held in a beautiful walled garden, so even though we were in center city Philadelphia, we still felt connected to nature. That secret garden feel was reflected in the design of our invitations and on the vine ribbon tied around our napkins. Later in the evening, our guests moved inside to a ballroom for dinner and dancing. The sea glass colored walls in the space reminded me of an inspiration board I’d seen on Snippet and Ink (Board #473: Antique Peach & Blue), which in turn led us to select peach for our floral arrangements.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  By holding our ceremony and reception at the same location we were able to eliminate transportation costs, and avoided purchasing separate ceremony decorations and a ceremony site fee. We used chairs and tables provided by the venue, which cut out rental fees and meant we could avoid dealing with drop-off, set-up, and pick-up logistics. And instead of renting votive candles, I purchased them online in bulk, at a third of the quoted price.

What was your favorite part of the day?  I felt bowled over by the enormity of the day during the toasts, both the ones given in our honor, and the ones we offered. I’m not very comfortable with the idea of public speaking, but as I stood, surrounded by our friends and family, I was so glad I decided to give a speech.

What was the best advice you received as a bride? And what advice do you have for other brides?  Something I read along the way (I wish I could remember where) was “Years from now, few guests will remember how your napkins were folded, but they will remember how they felt at your wedding.” As someone who likes to craft, and is politely referred to as “particular,” that was a helpful piece of advice for me to hear. It helped me keep my priorities in the following order: 1. Get married . 2. Be a gracious hostess. 3. Worry about the fussy details. For instance, I didn’t have the time (or money) to devote to assembling welcome bags, but I wrote a brief note to each guest letting them know we were looking forward to seeing them. DIY details, while fun and potentially enjoyable, have the potential to take on a life of their own; at the end of the day, if the stress they are causing you outweighs the enjoyment they will bring your guests, it may be time to reassess.


Philadelphia Wedding Menu

Hors d’Oeuvres: Shrimp with Crushed Garlic and Lime Juice, Mozzarella and Sun-dried Tomato Tartelettes, Bacon-wrapped Scallops with Horseradish Dipping Sauce, Yukon Gold Potato Pancakes with Apple Onion Compote, Turkish Lamb Kefta Kabobs with Pomegranate Molasses and Minted Yogurt, Cheesesteak Spring Roll with Spicy Ketchup // Appetizer: Boston Bibb Salad with Candied Pecans, Apples, Stilton and White Balsamic Dressing // Entree: Chicken Breast stuffed with Duxelle and Mushroom Dijon Sauce; Seared Merluza with Saffron Corn Coulis; Artichoke Strudel with Parmigiano-Reggiano // Dessert: Chocolate Chip Pound Cake with Chocolate and Vanilla Buttercreams



Photography: Kate Murphy / Venue: The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in Philadelphia / Bride’s dress: Anne Barge purchased at Lovely Bridal / Engagement ring and wedding bands: Tiffany & Co. / Groom’s suit: Canali / Groom’s tie: Brioni / Save-the-dates: Felix Doolittle / Invitations: Bella Figura / Flowers: Carl Alan / Ceremony music: Dave Baker / Reception music: Heath Allen / Catering and cake: Jeffrey A. Miller Catering

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Monday is a great day for something sweet and lovely, don’t you think? Eliza and David’s wedding fits the bill, with simple DIY details, an at-home reception, and lots of thoughtful advice and reflections from the bride. Oh, and I just love this idea for something old: Eliza sewed two buttons from her grandmother’s collection into her dress…

One of Eliza’s favorite parts of the day? “The walk from the church to the house with the bridal party was wonderful – full of sunshine and laughter as we walked through the neighborhood I grew up in.”

In addition to dancing, guests (and the newlyweds!) enjoyed lawn games like croquet. In addition to wedding cake (with tiers of red velvet and vanilla raspberry), the dessert table included chocolate raspberry cakes and raspberry-rhubarb, strawberry-rhubarb and blueberry pies. 

Eliza and David kindly shared some details about the day:

Why did you choose this venue for your wedding?  We chose the location because it just seemed natural to have the wedding in Yarmouth, with the reception at my parents’ house. My mother suggested the Old Meeting House for the ceremony – an excellent idea. When my family first moved to Maine, we literally lived a stone’s throw from the Meeting House, and we used to picnic on the front steps. We even went sledding down the hill next to the church in the winter. We hoped that we would get a nice enough day that everyone could walk from the Meeting House to my parents’ house; sure enough, we were blessed with a glorious, sun-splashed afternoon.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Don’t be afraid to DIY things that might otherwise cost astronomical sum – it’ll free up money you can use in other areas of your budget if need be, and best of all, you’ll feel like the cleverest bride that ever was when people compliment the things you worked so hard on. We also saved money by having a smaller, simply decorated wedding cake and supplementing it with other cakes and pies – better, in the end, because it allowed us to offer a wider array of flavors.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  We went very traditional with the ceremony; it was straight from the Book of Common Prayer. Additionally, we used the old Shaker hymn “Simple Gifts.”

What were some of your DIY projects?  Flowers, invites, programs, music, flag bunting, cake topper, bird table markers. I made earrings for bridesmaid gifts, and my mom spent hours painting all the Adirondack chairs herself! For the ceremony, my cousin’s daughter played violin and my aunt played piano, and a groomsman acted as DJ with a playlist made by the bride and groom.

What was the best advice you received as a bride? And what advice do you have for other brides?  The best advice I received was to take a few minutes alone together after the ceremony to marvel over our newly married state! It’s a life-changing experience, and it’s important to pause for just a moment to take that all in together. My advice would be to resist the urge to micromanage people and things. Not everything will go according to plan. Stay organized, but also stay sane. Remember, you hired these professionals because they know how to do their job, so let them do it! Work on things together as much as possible, as it helps create a day that’s about both of you rather than just about the bride. Also, get your programs done early – because the blasted things take forever!

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Our wonderful family and friends really helped us out – the bridal party helped decorate, the bridesmaids and friends put together all the floral arrangements, my parents hosted 130 people and threw tons of energy into the preparations, David’s parents put together beautiful welcome bags and planned a wonderful rehearsal dinner, and people drove for hours and hours to celebrate with us… it was a lot of hard work by a lot of people. The key is that the whole time, we were not alone – we had amazing loved ones supporting us all along. As our wonderful priest pointed out, it’s the same thing with marriage – it’s not just about us but about the greater community of family and friends who love and support us. We were so blessed to share this wonderful day with them.



Photography: Meredith Perdue / Ceremony venue: Old Baptist Meeting House in Yarmouth, Maine / Reception venue: private home / Bride’s dress: Maggie Sottero / Print-at-home stationery: Wedding Chicks / Rentals: One Stop Party Shoppe / Catering: Belle Fete Events & Catering / Baker: Two Fat Cats


Congratulations Eliza and David! Thank you for sharing all of these fun details about your wedding!

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Happy weekend lovelies! What are you up to this weekend? I’m headed to the Russian River for Mighty Summit, which is “an annual retreat structured around the idea of creating a better life,” something I’ve been actively working on for the past couple years and that I could probably use a little help with. I’ll be spending the weekend with 20 women from the blogging and social media community – to be honest, I’m a little intimidated by the amazing resumes of some of these ladies! But hopefully I’ll leave the weekend motivated to cross things off my life list, and with some new friends, too.

Of course, before I head out, here are a bunch of my favorite links from around the interwebs this week…

Whoa, chocolate truffle loaf.

It’s not original or anything, but roses are my favorite flower.

Loving Eva and Logan’s wedding suite by Milkfed Press.

Oh, Marilyn.

What are your thoughts on the aristocratic arch? As a lifelong owner of serious eyebrows, I’m a fan!

Excited about the launch of Whitney Deal!

Deb’s 9/11 story gave my heart hope.

Check out my “Behind the Veil” interview over at Oh Lovely Day!

Gorgeous modern ketubot, via Oh So Beautiful Paper.

Christian Siriano’s collection for Spring 2012 will brighten your day.

This farm fresh invitation suite would have been perfect for my You Say Tomato inspiration board.

LOVE the neon wedding shoot from Brooklyn Bride!

These dipped ombre bags by Teddyfish make me smile, via Oh Joy.

Oh, and don’t forget to enter the NewlyWish registry giveaway going on this week!

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