Newlyweds on 42nd Street, New York City. Photo: Rene Burri
There’s something completely enchanted about saying your vows in the lush, serene Tennessee forest. Katarina and Andrew’s ethereal wedding celebration was perfectly captured by Abigail Bobo, using mostly film. From the bride’s romantic gown, to the sweetest first look, to dinner and dancing in an elegant, rustic barn; this day was as close to a fairytale as you can get.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? “Have a mimosa.” The entire week before the wedding, a few of my bridesmaids stayed with me and really took care of me. The morning of the wedding I was absolutely crazy, I just wanted to get down to the venue and do set up and arrange everything. My sweet friends Meg and Patty looked at me very sternly and told me that I needed to calm down and have a mimosa and let everyone else do their jobs. Calm down, have fun and trust in the people around you to take care of last minute things so that you can focus on you and your (soon-to-be) husband.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? Narrow down the things that are most important to you and book those first. For us, the photographer was the most important thing because we knew we needed someone we could trust, which is why we chose Abigail Bobo. You’ll feel best about your purchases if you prioritize and invest in the things you believe in.
Katarina was like a dream in her stunning gown with its floral-covered bodice, flowing tulle skirt, and sweeping train. She says that her something old, new, borrowed, and blue were “thrown together by my parents and bridesmaids moments minutes before the ceremony.”
“The Wren’s Nest is an elegant, rustic barn setting that was naturally lovely—we instantly fell in love. The lush, green woods gave a secluded, private ceremony and the restored barn served as a beautiful place for the reception. We tried very hard to make our wedding day very personal for us and the people that attended. We wanted to make sure that the ceremony really felt like and reflected us and we wanted each person who was present to know that, as we took the biggest step of our lives, we genuinely wanted them there as a witness.”
Your ceremony in three words. Ethereal, natural, and intimate
Who officiated your ceremony? David Fredriksz officiated our ceremony. He is our spiritual mentor and premarital counselor and we met him while attending G42 Leadership Academy in Mijas, Spain. He is such a special person in our lives and we couldn’t picture anyone else joining us in the covenant of marriage.
What was your ceremony music? Our ceremony music was a mix of traditional and modern. We had quartets, hymns, and some more recent acoustic tunes – we tried to give a very soft natural feel with the song choices. We finished the ceremony with the recessional song, “She Said Yes” by The Wedding Band because it is such a joyful, funny song. It made a perfect bridge from the soft, sweet ceremony to the party that was to follow.
What were your vows like? We repeated traditional wedding vows after the officiant.
What were your ceremony readings? We did not have any readings. We tried to stay away from the usual ceremony traditions in order to make time for the things that mattered most to us.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We included communion with the guests during the start of wedding ceremony and a washing of each other’s feet after our vows. Our favorite part of the ceremony was the communion that we personally handed out to each of our guests. The time allowed for us to see, hug, and thank every person that was there.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Be you. Don’t listen to everyone else’s opinions of what your day should be. Don’t get caught up in trying to get every single idea that you see to be a part of your wedding. Do what feels natural to you as a couple and when the day is over everyone will have had the best time because they love you … and if the ceremony shines like you do they will love that too.
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I wouldn’t do anything differently, except be less stressed about the details.
“The Maple Barn at the Wren’s Nest served as a perfect location for our wedding reception. The top of the barn was where dinner was held and it was beautiful with very little extra décor needed. The bottom floor was an excellent place for dancing.”
How would you describe your reception? A party that was full of life.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Pinterest, DIYs, and wedding blogs were a major inspiration for us in our planning. With so many resources out there, sometimes you can get lost in the details. We were very fortunate to attend many weddings the year before our wedding and it helped us figure out what mattered to us, instead of trying to do every beautiful and clever idea that we saw.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? My mother planted each of the succulent plants herself and made some of the mercury glass planters. It was a very special addition and I still have the plants in my home.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We served white almond wedding cake with buttercream icing, and a dark chocolate groom’s cake with dark chocolate icing.
What was your wedding menu? Georgia chopped pork and roasted chicken. Garlic red skin mashed potatoes, fire-grilled veggies, and honey buttered corn bread muffins. We didn’t have a signature cocktail, but we served wine and craft beer, two of our favorites.
First dance: “Thinking Out Loud” Jasmine Thompson
Father/daughter: “Sweat Pea” Amos Lee
Mother/son: “Forever Young” Audra Mae & The Forest Rangers
Mother/daughter: “Three Little Birds” Renee & Jeremy
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. In addition to the traditional speeches, we opened the mic to our bridal party. It allowed for very kind words to be said over us and for a hilarious, impromptu speech given by the flower girl.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The dancing was our favorite part of the reception! Kevin from Choice DJs knew exactly the kind of music people wanted to hear and he was very involved with the crowd without being overbearing. Everyone in the barn was dancing! I only requested one song and although he didn’t have it—because it was a very obscure song—he got it for me and played it. It meant so much and everyone who knew the song just went crazy for it.
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Tennessee Wedding at The Wren's Nest by Abigail Bobo12 August 2015
This week’s Signature Cocktail is sure to please filled with fresh tomatoes, beets and garnished with pimenton spice mix! Original recipe from Paula LeDuc Fine Catering and photos by Josh Gruetzmacher.
The Gold Standard
(this recipe makes 2 portions)
• 1.5 oz. Amontillado Sherry
• 75 oz. Baby Golden Beet Juice
• 75 oz. heirloom tomato syrup
• 75 oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake well with ice and fine-strain into 2 small “taster” glasses rimmed with pimenton spice mix.
We’d love to see your creations! Share your homemade Gold Standard on Instagram and tag us @snippetandink for a chance to be featured.
From the bride’s lace gown to the oceanside ceremony to the simply beautiful lantern decorations, Raine and Aldo’s elegant island wedding is going to make you wish you were on your way to Jamaica – we certainly do!
Did you have something old, new, borrowed, and blue? Yes! My aunts Giselle and Lisa wanted to contribute to my big day in a meaningful and intimate way, and before the ceremony we sat down together and they presented me with four beautifully wrapped little boxes, each carrying a special token of my family’s love. Something old: A gorgeous diamond pendant that was once my mother’s. It was sewn into my bustier close to my heart. // Something new: An antique pair of teardrop chandelier earrings given to me by my Aunt Giselle. // Something borrowed: A ruby bracelet worn by my grandmother Joanna. She passed two years before and it was important for me to include her in the ceremony. // Something blue: A fancy white lace garter threaded by a silk blue ribbon adorned with a gorgeous Swarovski crystal.
From the groom: A tradition was born when one of my groomsmen gave me the bow tie he wore for his own wedding. I was proud to sport his neckwear on my wedding day and even prouder to give it to another fellow groomsmen who will wear it to his wedding in two months in New York City.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? I teamed up with my maid of honor to create a cache of locally themed hand picked goodies to welcome our wedding guests to Jamaica with a taste of island flavors. Our personalized wedding welcome boxes included Jamaican Jerk sauce, mini Tortuga Rum Cakes, Coconut Drops, an assortment of Caribbean candies and island themed post cards.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? The morning of our wedding, my husband and I enjoyed a peaceful breakfast on the veranda of our villa, and two of our closest married friends stopped by to share with us a few words of advice. They encouraged us to steal a few moments to ourselves throughout the day. At the reception that night, we took the advice of our friends and stepped away. For a moment we sat together, holding hands and quietly watched our family and friends laugh, dance and sing together. Looking back today, we are so thankful to have spent that brief quiet time soaking it all in.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Be kind to one another, laugh and enjoy being in love. The planning will not always be perfect but remember that there is beauty in the imperfections. Allow your character and personality to shine through. Believe the hype! It will be one of the most incredible times of your lives!
“Having grown up in Jamaica I had always envisioned having a classic Caribbean wedding. Having been to Jamaica many times in the past, Aldo was incredibly supportive. Round Hill had already been our first choice but when we walked out onto the picturesque spa lawn, framed by the 18th century Great House and the Caribbean sea, our minds were made up.”
Your ceremony in three (or four) words. Elegant, Classic Caribbean, Warm, Loving.
Who officiated your ceremony? A charismatic and warm Jamaican officiant named Glenroy Clarke eloquently guided us through our marriage vows and ceremony.
What was your ceremony music? We were fortunate to have an incredibly talented young violinist, Filip Pogady, fly in from Manhattan to play during our ceremony and cocktail hour. During our ceremony he played Pachelbel’s Canon in D for our prelude, “All of Me” by John Legend during the processional, “Ave Maria” for our wedding march and “This is Love” by Bob Marley during our recessional. Filip also took the time to learn and play the University of Notre Dame fight song during our cocktail hour. This was a special treat as we met at Notre Dame and many of the guests were alumni as well.
What were your ceremony readings? A favorite memory from our ceremony was hearing my aunt recite my mother’s favorite poem “The Marriage” By Rumi. It was a small detail that gave her the voice to pass on a message of support at that very special moment. Our other readings were Proverbs 3:1-6 and Philippians 4:4-9.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Groom: The pure anticipation of seeing my wife in her wedding dress for the first time was one of the most exciting parts of the ceremony. She was absolutely stunning as she walked up the aisle. I knew we were embarking on a new and wonderful journey together. // Bride: I felt at ease standing in front of my husband under the warm Jamaican sun surrounded by an intimate gathering of our closest family and friends. We recited our vows over the sound of the waves as they crashed lightly against the shore behind us. I don’t think I have ever felt more joyful than at that very moment.
“Our reception took place on the historic Hanover Terrace that offers panoramic views of the entire Round Hill property. We dined under the Georgian Room’s architecturally exquisite vernacular ceilings. Then joined our guests for an all out dance party under the glowing lanterns hanging from the canopy of trees above us. The location emanated with a sense of old world luxury that left us feeling a little like the stars that had been there before us. The property is famous for being the place where John F. and Jackie Kennedy honeymooned and is rumored to be location where Oscar Hammerstein dreamt up the lyrics to ‘The Hills Are Alive’ for The Sound of Music.”
How would you describe your reception? Elegant, light-hearted, picturesque.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We knew that planning a destination wedding would be challenging. Luckily, we met Racquel Bernard, the catering and sales manager at Round Hill on a visit to the property (she made time for us on Jamaican Independence Day no less). Racquel went above and beyond to make our wedding everything we had envisioned. She was with us every step of the way and her knowledge and advice were invaluable.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had a coconut cake with a pineapple filling infused with coconut rum. It was garnished with tropical flowers and topped with “Love” in gold scripted letters.
Did you have a signature cocktail? No, but we had signature chocolates! We brought a little piece of San Francisco sweetness with us to Jamaica by having our favorite chocolate shop, Chocolatier Blue create 200 signature chocolates for our guests to enjoy at our wedding. Each chocolate was airbrushed in red, green and gold, homage to the vibrant irie colors of Jamaica. The delicious flavors included passion fruit caramel, piña colada, chili, sage honey, and sunflower and orange marmalade.
What was your first dance song? “At Last” by Etta James
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. It was important for me to take a moment to honor my incredible mother who passed a few years ago. She had fallen in love with Jamaica as a young Canadian woman on vacation and after many visits decided to follow her heart and build a life on the island. I was born in Montego Bay, Jamaica a few years later. As a child, I remember her telling me that though she loved Jamaica for many reasons, it was the warm crystalline water and powdery sand beaches that had truly stolen her heart. It seemed only natural on my wedding day to invite our friends and loved ones to the edge of the water to participate in a floating lantern ceremony. Each guest came together in a collective moment of remembrance and reflection as they placed a lantern into the Caribbean Sea. Throughout the festivities of the night, I only had to look out to the ocean to watch as 100 (biodegradable) lanterns lit up the night with her presence.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? Groom: It would not be a stretch of the imagination to say I have two left feet. Which is a bit challenging when you have a wife that loves to dance. Suffice it to say we did a few lessons rehearsing our first dance song in San Francisco. While our first dance was not perfect and my steps may not have been the smoothest, the laughs we had through the process and the joy we felt that night dancing made it a moment we will never forget. // Bride: Aldo’s best man performed a wildly hilarious poem that would rival any comedian and left the entire wedding laughing hysterically. My maid of honor followed and eloquently tore at our heartstrings. The rest of the night was filled with dancing and laughing on the Hanover Terrace under the canopy of tropical trees lit with glowing lanterns.
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Montego Bay Wedding at Round Hill by Jeremy Harwell11 August 2015
When you work in the wedding industry, planning your own wedding can be a daunting task. As bride Abby says, “Having photographed hundreds of weddings for my job, I can safely say, being on the other side is a completely different experience.” But with a team of trusted vendors, she was able to breathe easy. And the day was as lovely as it was thoughtful…
“I’m a huge fan of fountains and architectural details, and the Plaza De Las Palmas courtyard at Mission Inn embodied everything we wanted, with beautiful mosaic reliefs of the Virgin Mary quietly showcased on each of the four walls of the cloister. The courtyard was on the smaller side with a simple fountain in the center. We draped the archways behind the altar with baby pink, ivory, gold, and champagne sheers. Olive leaves and Italian ruscus lined the aisle, gardenias and roses floated on all three tiers of the fountain, and all you could hear was the trickling water. Our guests enjoyed tray-passed prosecco while mingling before taking their seat before the ceremony. It was all about family, friends, and enjoying the experience.”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, meaningful, “us”.
Who officiated your ceremony? My wedding industry colleague and friend Reverend Glynn Ferguson of Sensational Ceremonies officiated our ceremony. He did a wonderful job and kept things simple and to the point.
What was your ceremony music? The music was a mixture of contemporary and traditional, but all instrumental to keep it cohesive.
Pre-Ceremony: “Ave Maria” / “The Cello Song” by The Piano Guys / “Begin Again” by Taylor Swift (instrumental version) // Seating of the Mothers / Bridal Party Processional: “A Thousand Years” (instrumental version by The Piano Guys) // Bridal Processional: “Canon in D” by Pachelbel // Recessional: “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” by Stevie Wonder
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We wanted to keep the ceremony all about the joining of two families and it was really important that we involve Danny’s two sons. We chose a unity candle to symbolize our new family. Each one of us lit an individual candle and together lit a large pillar candle. It was a way for the boys to participate in the ceremony, and what boy doesn’t love playing with fire? We also had the reverend read the “Irish Wedding Blessing,” which was read at each of my siblings’ weddings, too.
What were your vows like? I wrote mine the morning of the wedding and Danny literally went off the cuff with nothing written. It was one of the most beautiful and thoughtful moments we shared.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Walking down the aisle toward Danny and seeing the biggest smile across his face. I also loved the few minutes I shared with my father before entering the ceremony. I was so calm. We were just cracking jokes and laughing. Truly a moment I’ll never forget.
Did you include any other special details in your ceremony? I wanted to honor both sets of my grandparents who have passed away. I tied a few charms with their wedding photos into my bouquet.
“The reception was held on a vast green lawn outdoors overlooking a lake. Market lights were strung over the large U-shaped table giving it the perfect al fresco atmosphere. Twinkle lights were strung throughout the large bushes bordering the outside of the table. A large grand fountain which is flanked by towering palms is the centerpiece of the courtyard. At night, large glass hurricane vases with candles illuminated the architecture of the fountain. And to top it all off, the moon was full with a pink lunar eclipse to boot!”
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? We were inspired by our shared Italian heritage, and chose this location to give our wedding a Tuscan look.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? My favorite moment of the reception was being introduced and seeing all of our guests cheering us on.
What was your wedding menu? While we wanted it to be traditional Italian style food, we didn’t want to serve very heavy pastas, so our wedding menu was light Italian fare with antipasti, grilled chicken, braciole, and roasted asparagus.
What type of cake did you serve? Three tiers: chocolate cake with strawberry preserve filling, chocolate coconut cake, and then my favorite, lemon, for the top.
What was your first dance song? John Legend’s “All of Me”. It was perfect.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We wanted to include Danny’s two boys in all parts of the wedding. They sat next to us at the head table and we had a special dance together to Michael Jackson’s “I Want You Back” (we’re huge fans of the movie Guardians of the Galaxy).