I just realized that blogging about both the wedding and honeymoon is going too make this post way too long so I’m breaking my 2015 review in to even more parts. As you might imagine, I am so excited to write this post!
Best. Month. Of. My. Life.
A few weeks before our wedding, Chris and I submitted our announcement to the New York Times Vows column. The Times gets thousands of submissions and they choose a handful of couple who get a blurb. They also pick one couple for a full featured article. It’s kind of a right of passage for NYC area couples to submit an announcement and get rejected so Chris and I did it on a whim figuring nothing would come of it. Then we got a follow up email saying that we were being featured and the Times was sending a reporter to our wedding! How crazy is that?
In the week before our wedding Chris and I both had phone interviews with the reporter and she also spoke to both of my parents. If you want to see the final product click here.
When we started planning our wedding we decided pretty quickly that we wanted to have it in our home state of New Jersey. There were a few reasons for this, one being that it would be harder for people to get hotel rooms in NYC and another being that we wanted to show our out of town friends why we love our home state so much. We had so many friends travelling in from the Midwest, West Coast, and even some from abroad. These people have all been to NYC and they already know how fabulous it is, but it was time to show them how fabulous NJ is too. This also meant that we wanted to find a place where people would have plenty to do rather than a venue that was pretty, but in the middle of nowhere. I immediately thought of the Lambertville, NJ/New Hope, PA area.
Lambertville/New Hope is just under an hour from where both Chris and I grew up (in different directions) and I loved going there as a kid. We also had hoped to get married at an inn so that people from out of town could party all night and not have to go very far. We were so lucky to find that the Lambertville Station Inn was open on our preferred date and we booked it right away. It turned out to be everything we hoped.
The weather that weekend was beautiful and, as we hoped, people fell in love with the area and have been texting me to say that they want to go back and spend more time there. I love drumming up tourism business for our beloved home state!
Our wedding was on Sunday evening November 8th. On Saturday November 7th me and Chris, our friends Mary (bridesmaid) and Beth, and Hans and Sanne (who came all the way from Denmark!), piled in to a van we had hired and headed out for the hour and a half drive to Lambertville. I would highly recommend travelling to your wedding venue with friends if you can. It was so fun having friends p around us and talking and laughing that I didn’t have time to be nervous. After checking in to the inn and dropping off our bags, the 6 of us headed to lunch and then walked around the picturesque town which is filled with adorable shops, restaurants, and galleries.
We headed back to the inn to relax and freshen up before heading to our “rehearsal” dinner (we didn’t actually have a rehearsal, hence the quotation marks).
The wedding party and our families walked over to Triumph Brewing Company in New Hope where Chris and I had booked a private space. I literally cannot say enough good things about Triumph. The place has a cool vibe with it’s open, industrial look and exposed red brick walls. The food, mostly locally sourced, is delicious and the service is fantastic. They were such a pleasure to deal with and our dinner guests raved about how great everything was.
Chris and I thanked everyone for all of their love and support and gave our gifts to the wedding party. I’m a total sap and I cried during my thanks, especially when I thanked my Maid of Honor and best friend of 16 years, Jody.
After dinner we had reserved some space at the bar and invited everyone who had come to town early to join us for a drink. It was wonderful to see so many people there though I didn’t stay out too long as I had kind of a big day the next day.
Chris stayed with his brother and best man, Matt, that night, and I stayed with Mary and Beth. We were up bright and early the next morning and our moms and the other two bridesmaids, Jody, and Chris’s sister Sarah, joined us in the suite to get gorgeous. Like me, everyone decided to get their hair and makeup professionally done. My hairdresser and makeup artist made everyone look and feel fabulous.
While I waited to get my hair and makeup done Mary ran down the hall to Chris’s room to bring him the gift I’d bought him; a new watch. Chris sent Mary back with gifts for me. There were two wrapped items, one marked “Something Old” the other, “Something New.”
“Something Old,” was a first edition of my favorite childhood book, The Secret Garden, and “Something New,” was a pair of gorgeous diamond earrings. Needless to say, I cried when I opened them.
Later that afternoon our wedding photographer, who had already photographed my handsome husband getting ready arrived to photograph me getting my dress on and then, before I knew it, it was time for Chris and I to see each other!
We loved every detail of our wedding, but the best decision we made was hiring Isabel March as our wedding photographer. She is so fun and easy to work with and her work speaks for itself. Here are a few more from prior to the wedding.
After the portraits were done we headed back up to the suite. The ceremony we planned was mostly a traditional Jewish one and that always starts with a ketubah signing. The ketubah is a Jewish wedding contract. These days most modern couples (aka non-orthodox) select their own language rather than using the somewhat outdated traditional language.
The Cantor who would marry us, my friend Alison, met us there and began the quick, but meaningful ketubah signing ceremony in front of our parents and our witnesses. Fun fact: I set Alison up with her fiance. Good karma, right?
Soon enough it was time to line up and head downstairs for the public ceremony. As I said, it was a pretty traditional modern Jewish ceremony except for one twist. The heart of the Jewish ceremony is the Sheva Brachot (seven blessings), we also asked 6 people close to us to offer their own blessings that they wrote specially for us and interspersed them with the traditional blessings so Cantor Alison would sing a traditional blessing and then one of our loved ones would offer their own alternating with Alison. We were so touched to hear the beautiful words that my parents, Chris’s parents, my cousin Mara, and our friends Hans, Brian, and Lisa wrote for us. I cried all the way through and cracked up and times to.
The whole ceremony was so special and meaningful though I admit it was also such a blur to me. It’s just such an overwhelming time in the best way possible.
While the guests headed to cocktail hour we headed to the bridal suite for our Yichud. The Yichud is a Jewish tradition where after the ceremony the couple retreats for a few moments on their own. Orthodox couples fast before their wedding so they eat together during the Yichud, but most people just take a few minutes to enjoy some time together. After about 15 minutes my mom came up to bustle my dress and then we headed down to join the party.
Of course, as with any Jewish wedding, there was a ridiculous amount of food. The cocktail hour alone had 3 food stations (sushi station, turkey carving station, pasta station), crudites and cheese, and 8 different passed hos d’oeuvres. Unfortunately Chris and I had very little time to actually eat anything. I didn’t see any of the stations and we only got a quick bite of mini grilled cheese and mini reuben sandwiches.
Then it was time to party! Announcements we made, first dances were danced, and the toasts from out Maid of Honor and Best Man made me laugh and cry. I can’t say enough good things about our venue. We were waited on hand and foot and they made sure that Chris and I had 10 minutes at our sweetheart table to actually eat. Of course we spent most of dinner hour walking around greeting guests so they piled all the courses on the table for us.
Our guests enjoyed an augula salad with port wine stewed grape tomatoes, radishes and fontina cheese, butternut squash soup, and a choice of chicken stuffed with vegetables, filet mignon with a port wine demi glace, salmon with a maple mustard glaze, or roasted vegetable stuffed eggplant over mushroom risotto. The dessert was a 3 tiered dish of all kinds of goodies like mini cannoli, chocolate covered pretzels, truffles, and more. Plus the wedding cake and some other surprises!
The first surprise was a surprise to Chris as well. I had the bakery that made our cake also make a hiking themed grooms cake! I ordered an amazing personalized topper from a vendor on Etsy that I based on one of my favorite pictures of us taken when we hiked Arthur’s Seat in Scotland. We also sent everyone home with little boxes of hot chocolate that I ordered from another great vendor on Etsy.
Our DJ did a phenomenal job and the dance floor was packed all night. Chris and I were barely off the dance floor throughout the whole event. It’s true what people say, the adrenaline that pumps through your system that day just keeps you going no matter how tired you would’ve otherwise been.
Marrying the love of your life is obviously incredible, but it’s also just the most amazing feeling to have all of the closest people in your life under one roof gathered together to wish you well. I have never felt more blessed than when marrying the most wonderful man I have ever known surrounded by our incredible group of family and friends.
I loved writing this recap! Now stay tuned for the honeymoon.
What did you do (or what will you do) to personalize your own wedding?