I can’t think of a better way to brighten up a cold February day than with this colorful summer wedding at Inn at Park Winters, by planner and designer Julia Lake of Julia Lake Parties!, with all these gorgeous fruit and floral details. From the bridesmaids lush flower crowns to the calligraphy fruit “escort cards” to the delicious centerpieces, it’s sure to inspire.
Why did you choose this location for your wedding? We wanted to make our wedding weekend feel simple and serene by having events and even accommodations centralized in one place. The Inn at Park Winters is a gorgeous setting for a ceremony as well as a reception. Plus, we could we could stay at the inn, along with our immediate families, and any guests who were up for camping on the property. We wanted a place where we could be outdoors and that would feel playful, not just scenic. There’s a lot of green space for lawn games and the landscaping creates a sense of enchantment in that there are so many nooks, vignettes, and treasures to discover at Park Winters. Also, it’s very hot there in July, so the pool was a major selling point. Our Friday rehearsal dinner was essentially a pool party. We didn’t leave the estate for days and it really helped us to feel present, relaxed, and focused on one another.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? I wore a Tiffany’s necklace with an Art Deco diamond pendant that was given to my grandmother by my grandfather on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary. They had the love story of the 20th century and we’re going for the love story of the 21st, so it’s auspicious.
“We were married inside of a circle of flowers arranged on the grass. We stood inside the circle with our officiant and our wedding party stood just to the sides of it. It was important for us to pull in loved ones and make it a community affair. Our friends and my brothers gave readings, friends provided music, and the officiant is one of our best friends. Benjamin had his brothers for groomsmen and I had three best friends for bridesmaids and my niece for a flower girl. We’re so proud of the way the ceremony all hung together. It had balance, variety and rhythm.”
Your ceremony in three (or four?) words. Romantic, poetic, musical, secular.
How did you go about planning your ceremony? Our officiant helped provide structure to our ceremony, but there was no template.
What were your ceremony readings? Shakespearean sonnet 116 (“Let me not to the marriage of true minds / Admit impediments…”) and 1 Corinthians 13. Poems that the we wrote to each other early in our courtship were also read by our friends.
What was your ceremony music? Our dear friend Charlotte Carlson played fiddle (“Elizabeth’s Waltz” and “Midnight on the Water” for the processional; “St. Anne’s Reel” for the recessional). Our friends Sophie and Ben Esser-Calvi sang Greg Brown’s Spring Wind as a duet. Ben played guitar and their son held the music!
What were your vows like? We skipped the personal vows and went right for the legal vows for a few reasons. First, our ceremony was already plenty long with all the readings, music and the personal address our officiant gave on our relationship and the meaning of marriage. Second, we found the traditional secular vows to be more than perfunctory, but powerful and relevant. Third, we didn’t want to have to talk at all (except for the “I do’s”) because we knew we’d be nervous.
“The Victoriana of the inn and grounds as well as the rustic fecundity of the local environment inspired us, but we let our planner and floral designer, Julia Lake, build out the vision. For us, having a wedding planner was essential, because we were both really busy the year preceding our wedding. We knew we wanted a beautiful, artistic, gently bohemian wedding that felt easy and graceful, but we were happy to leave the details to a professional. Julia generated the ideas and we guided her vision with feedback. Our collaboration was very fruitful (pun intended).”
In lieu of a traditional escort card table, guests found their names and table numbers written on pieces of fresh fruit.
How would you describe your reception? Enchanted, elegant, exuberant, easy.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? To relax and go with the flow. The best compliment I received after the wedding was that it seemed like I had a great time – I really did. We both did.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Put your love first. Keep it collaborative and remember that wedding planning is inevitably stressful at times. Embrace the hard spots as opportunities to grow as a couple. Also embrace the community and family dimension. Weddings bring out the best in people; it’s amazing how everybody pitches in. Let people help and be involved, because not only does it lighten your load, but it’s part of what makes you feel held and supported when you transform your relationship with your vows. Also, we highly recommend having a planner. When you look at all the time and money that goes into planning a wedding, it does not make sense to skimp on the opportunity to be present for it. Let somebody else do the worrying so you can place your focus on celebrating with your loved ones.
What was your first dance song? Being shy, we tried to avoid the first dance. It was not on the schedule, but our families tricked us into it… we can’t even remember what was playing because we were rather overwhelmed. It was a sweet, funny, spontaneous situation and we’re glad it worked out that way.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? The toasts were unusually thoughtful, sweet, tasteful, and witty. Benjamin’s brothers, my brothers, and the maid of honor each gave pitch-perfect toasts. We were very impressed.
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. I danced the entire time and highly recommend it. It’s impossible to talk to everyone, but you can dance with everyone! Also, the one thing about having a pool at your venue is that eventually the groom is going to get thrown into it.