Today’s wedding took place in the bride’s home town in Poland, and these photos capture it’s elegant simplicity perfectly…

The bride and groom share a Polish tradition with us:  “On the morning of the wedding, Wayne and his parents arrived at Karolina’s home to receive blessings from both parents. This is when the bride’s family ‘gives their daughter’ to be married. As a result, we arrived at the church together and walked hand-in-hand down the aisle, which is actually in keeping with the original ritual of marriage.”

In keeping with Polish tradition, all the guests gathered for a toast given by the father of the bride before proceeding into the dining room for the meal. After the toast, the bride and groom threw their champagne glasses behind them, shattering them, symbolizing good luck for the years ahead.

Says the couple:  “We have danced tango together for a few years, and have always enjoyed it as a pastime we can do together. Wanting to share this with our guests, we decided to perform two songs for them, unannounced and with a lot of dramatic flair. We’d never performed for anyone, and although it was some pressure to put upon ourselves, it made for a great memory.”

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  In keeping with Polish tradition, we decided to hold the wedding in the bride’s hometown, the city of Poznan. Our goal was simply to have our families and closest friends come together in a place which was festive and relaxed, yet still elegant. Like many Polish weddings, the reception was held in a large villa. Racot Palace was a pleasant surprise with its understated yet elegant interior. We loved the large dining room, and the adjacent ballroom was perfect for dancing (very important at Polish weddings!). There was also a lovely terrace where guests could step out for fresh air and enjoy the grounds. As it was, the celebration lasted well into morning, and all the guests (eventually) enjoyed breakfast together the next morning.

What inspired you when you were planning your wedding?  From the beginning, it was very important that the entire wedding feel personal and intimate. We designed our own invitations. Our wonderful photographers were friends of a friend from Berlin. The flowers were picked by us the morning before the wedding, and with the help of the mothers, arranged in simple glass vases. The Austrian wines came personally recommended from our close friend. We were wed in the church Karolina attended as a student, with the marriage rites read in both Polish and English.

The various backgrounds of our guests were very inspirational for us. These are special people who have known us in different places and times of our lives and we wanted to show our gratitude that they’d traveled so far to share this occasion with us. We printed a facebook with a photograph of each guest, where they came from, and something special about how we knew them. These booklets were spread along the table and within minutes of seating all the guests were not only acquainting themselves with each other, but seeing themselves in a special context as well.

Is there anything else that helps tell the story of the day?  Wayne’s Korean grandmother traveled all the way from Seoul to attend the wedding. As we greeted our guests outside the church, she appeared wearing her hanbok, the traditional Korean attire reserved for special occasions. Having her travel to Poland to offer us her blessings was very special for us.



Photography: Iconoclash Photography / Venue: Racot Palace near Poznan, Poland / Bride’s dress: Phaedra Elizabeth / Groom’s tie: C. Chauchat


This wedding was submitted via Two Bright Lights.

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It’s always wonderful to see how a couple combines their individual cultures and traditions in their wedding choices, so I know you’ll enjoy these shots from Christina and Sunil’s wedding last month…

After a week full of rain, the sun came out for Christina and Sunil’s outdoor ceremony!

The traditional Hindu wedding ceremony was followed by an evening of dinner and dancing in the Sequoyah Country Club’s Spanish style clubhouse. Built in 1913, the beautiful building satisfied Christina’s love for Spanish culture.

Miniature hand-carved wood elephants from India paraded around each centerpiece, and guests were invited to take them home as favors at the end of the night.

The cake echoed mehndi patterns like those on Christina’s feet and ankles. Below, guests were treated to a Bollywood dance performance.

Christina shares a bit about her experience planning a traditional Indian wedding as a non-Indian American bride:

I had to educate myself on a lot of the rituals and traditions of a traditional Indian wedding, because Sunil, who is second-generation, didn’t know a lot the specifics himself. Some of my local Indian girlfriends were a wealth of information about stores, traditions, and cultural norms (and no-no’s). When shopping for a dress with 3 non-Indian friends and family, I was completely overwhelmed, and the Western-style dress that I chose ultimately seemed like the best choice. I chose a Western-style dress that had an Indian feel to it and could work with Indian jewelry. Otherwise, the wedding was almost entirely traditionally Indian, with the exception of our fusion music and the groomsman and bridesmaid attire. Also, we decided at the last minute not to wear the hats that are traditionally worn by the bride and groom in Bengali weddings.



Photography: Melanie Duerkopp / Venue: Sequoyah Country Club in Oakland, California / Event Planner: Flor Amor / Bride’s dress: Martina Liana / Groom’s attire: Sari Palace, (510) 841-7274 / Stationery: / Cake: Ginger Elizabeth / Classical sitar: Joanna Mack / DJ: Toofan Sounds / Bollywood dancers: Namita Kapoor & Troop

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My husband’s parents are in town this weekend, and we’re taking them wine tasting tomorrow. Do you have any suggestions for low-key wineries or tasting rooms in Sonoma? We were thinking of Ram’s Gate which we’ve heard is beautiful, but I’d love to hear your recommendations! Which NorCal wineries are your favorites?

via My Parents Were Awesome


Love this state fair rehearsal dinner on the new Santa Barbara Chic!

So many wonderful things happening with R&K’s wedding invitation.

Lovely violet cake, via hip hip gin gin.

Amy Friend’s altered vintage photos make me think of fireflies, via sfgirlbybay.

DIY seed packet garden party favors.

Citrus panna cotta… drool…

Put your trinkets in this pretty geode box, via Design Love Fest.

Deliciously pretty Brooklyn brunch.

How romantic is the floral arch in this wedding? (Scroll down.)

Pleased to be included in this list!


Have a happy weekend, lovelies!

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Ever since I learned about Alder Manor, I’ve been itching to feature a wedding there, and today’s the day! “Charming” and “dilapidated” might not be words you’d imagine would go together, but once you see these photos from Jessie and Brendan’s wedding, I think you’ll understand how it’s possible…

Say the couple of their ceremony: “The ceremony held special meaning because it was the moment we actually committed to each other in front our community. We wanted an outdoor ceremony that focused on honoring our family and friends and the community that has helped us understand how to become our best selves, the selves we want to be with and for each other for the rest of our lives. A good friend officiated the ceremony and gave a beautiful talk that incorporated myth and literature, and really spoke to our values and the values of the communities we are a part of. Holding each other’s hands and hearing and saying the vows we wrote for each other was incredible. We stood on a little dais surrounded by our community, with afternoon sunlight breaking through the trees. We did not share the vows with each other until that moment, and in that moment, we felt the awe and wonder of committing to each other for the rest of our lives, and grateful to have our friends and family there to share it with us.”

The couple on what inspired them in their planning: “As writers, we wanted literature to be a part of the event. Our ceremony incorporated Homer, and contemporary poetry and fiction. We used an old library card catalog to hold the dinner cards, each table was associated with a literary figure we admire, the menus had a list of quotes about love by various authors, and the gift bags included contemporary literary magazines, Slice and The Coffin Factory.”

Yes, that is an empty indoor pool. Amazing! Say Jessie and Brendan about choosing Alder Manor for their wedding: “We wanted the reception to be a rocking party that was not too stuffy and overly formal, but that had enough grandeur to mark the importance of the day. Alder Manor had it all. We held our ceremony in the garden outside the manor. The cocktail party lingered until sunset and guests could wander the grounds of the manor, or nibble on appetizers on the enormous back patio. Dinner and dancing were inside the manor’s remarkable library, dining room, and marble-floored foyer.”

Brendan’s cousins led the crowd through a series of Irish step dances, honoring his family’s heritage.

The bride and groom answered some questions about their wedding for us…

Why did you choose this location for your wedding?  We fell in love with Alder Manor immediately, which has a charmingly aged and vintage feel. We met in a graduate writing program, and the space appealed to our love of literature. It felt like a mix of Great Expectations and The Great Gatsby. We are also both lovers of the classical world, and had the ceremony in a garden filled with crumbling columns and classical statues.

Do you have any budget tips for other brides?  Everything costs more than you think it will and unless you hold your wedding in a location that offers an all-inclusive package, be sure to set aside funds for innumerable incidentals that will arise as the wedding approaches.

Did you include any traditions in your wedding?  Both our ceremony and reception included traditions that are important to us. Brendan’s uncle Tim played guitar throughout the ceremony and many of his tunes were traditional Celtic compositions. He also played the hymn “Morning Has Broken” and everyone at the wedding sang along, honoring the Methodist tradition that is a part of Jessie’s family’s history. Our ceremony also included a minute of silence, a tradition that was an important part of Jessie’s life since she attended a Quaker school. Our reception included toasts by family and friends, and we had a first dance as a couple, a father- daughter dance, and a mother-son dance, all of which were very meaningful.

What was the best advice you received as a bride?  Numerous people told me to make sure that I really enjoyed the day itself, to be fully present and to take each moment in. I recommend trying to bring that mentality to the whole process. Planning a wedding can be very stressful, and there are thousands of unexpected details that crop up. But the process itself allows you to spend time with each other and with family members and friends in both formal and informal ways that are unique and meaningful. Looking back, I’m grateful not only for the day itself, but also for the many moments leading up to it.



Photography: Heather Waraksa / Venue: Alder Mansion in Yonkers, New York (914-964-8272) / Bride’s dress: Cymbeline / Bride’s shoes: GUESS / Hair stylist: Stacy Pitt / Groom’s suit: Hugo Boss / Flowers: Graceful Gardens / Catering: Chefs at Work / Music: DJ Shakey


This wedding submitted via Two Bright Lights.

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