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Outdoor Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

An Intimate Fall Wedding at the Sunken Garden in St. Paul, MN

 Classic, Fall, Garden, Minnesota, Outdoor, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic  Comments Off on An Intimate Fall Wedding at the Sunken Garden in St. Paul, MN
Nov 202013
 

Marriage is a partnership based on trust and support, and Kate and Jeff, both 33, knew they could rely on one another long before their walk down the aisle. The duo met at a rock climbing gym in 2008, soon becoming climbing partners and friends. The time they spent supporting and encouraging one another during climbs helped turn their friendship into something even more special.

This adventurous couple loves to travel, and in 2011 they went on a romantic vacation to Venice, Italy. After wandering around the city for a few days, they took a day trip to Burano to explore the colorful streets. Before heading to the ferry to return to the heart of Venice, Jeff and Kate sat in a little park along a canal. In the late afternoon sun, they discussed their future travel plans and all of the exciting things life has in store for them, and Jeff surprised Kate by getting down on one knee and proposing. A year and a half later, on September 22, 2012, they invited 30 friends and family members for a charming, intimate wedding celebration in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Vintage three-strand pearl necklace.

Kate chose a lace fit-and-flare dress by Robert Bullock, complete with a row of buttons down the back. She accessorized with a handmade sash, simple tulle veil, and a vintage pearl necklace. She chose the dress because "it was the right combination of simple and delicate, with a slight vintage feel," says the bride.

White satin flats with rosettes kept Kate comfortable all day.

Kate's handmade belt featured a chiffon flower with tiny pearl beads. She accentuated her gown's sweetheart neckline with 3 strands of vintage pearls.

The bride's vibrant bouquet included roses and ranunculus buds in pink, orange, white, and yellow. Green succulents gave the bouquet some structure.

Jeff wore a black three-piece suit, which he paired with a bold blue tie. Because there were only 30 guests at the wedding, they chose to forgo a wedding party and instead invite a few friends and family members to participate in the ceremony.

Wedding ceremony at the Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

The Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory was a place that Kate had loved since she was a little girl, so it was an easy choice for the ceremony. The open, airy room and beautiful flowers create a feeling of romance and calm, perfect for a wedding!

In Kate's words, "The ceremony was a whirlwind, but once the guests left the conservatory, my new husband and I spent about 30 minutes there alone, drinking in all that had just happened. It was amazing to have that quiet time together after such a busy, emotion-filled day."

Kate is a graphic designer, so she designed and printed the invitations, place cards, menu, and table numbers herself.

Wedding reception at W.A. Frost restaurant in St. Paul, MN.

The couple chose to have an intimate reception at W.A. Frost, one of their favorite restaurants. The cozy ambiance was ideal, and the staff made sure every detail was taken care of. Soft candlelight and beautiful flowers set the mood.

In addition to creating all of the paper goods for the wedding, Kate arranged the pink, white, and orange flowers in milk glass vases for the reception.

W.A. Frost restaurant wedding reception dcor.

The couple skipped a traditional guest book and instead invited guests to leave them notes and well-wishes.

Having a small guest list allowed Jeff and Kate to spend the evening talking and celebrating with every single person they'd invited. They skipped the entertainment, focusing on delicious food and great company. Says Kate, "It shows that you don't need a big production to have a successful and memorable reception!"

While everything went smoothly in the end, Kate does wish she'd hired a day-of coordinator to handle the details. "Our wedding day was absolutely lovely, but it wasn't without a few minor hiccups," says Kate. "Having that person there as a buffer will take some stress away from your day so you can enjoy every moment."

Ceremony Venue: The Sunken Garden at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory || Reception Venue: W.A. Frost & Company || Bride's Wedding Dress: Robert Bullock at Che Bella || Veil, Sash & Jewelry: Che Bella || Hair & Makeup: Juut Salon || Wedding Bands: Blue Nile || Officiant: Reverend Bill Albertson || Ceremony Music: Laurie Leigh || Invitations & Paper Goods: Kate Siebert Design || Catering: W.A. Frost & Company || Cake: Sweet Retreat Cupcake Boutique || Photography: Amy Majors Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Whimsical Wedding at Maravilla Gardens in Southern California

 California, Casual, DIY, Green, Outdoor, Real Wedding, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Yellow  Comments Off on A Whimsical Wedding at Maravilla Gardens in Southern California
Nov 182013
 

When Dipak, 27, a director of sales at a software company, first laid eyes on Alisha, also 27, a marketing assistant, he knew he'd marry her. It's an ultra-romantic way for anyone to meet, but for these two it's positively adorable—Alisha and Dipak were just junior-high tweens at the time. They started dating in high school (their first date was a three hour walk—aw!), and the rest is history.

To celebrate their love and history together, the couple threw a sunny, whimsical garden bash with a palette of yellow and green. After a personalized ceremony, guests moved to outdoor tables at California's lush Maravilla Gardens for dinner, mohitos, and lots and lots of dancing. The reception was filled with sunflowers to give the party an extra-playful, vibe. Add DIY details like homemade escort cards, a wooden bench made by a friend to replace a guestbook (guests wrote well-wishes right on the wood!) and a bouquet made of jeweled brooches, and you've got a completely unique—and beautiful—affair.

Dipak proposed at the Santa Barbara Zoo, one of Alisha's favorite places to visit during their college years at UCSB. He set up a "fishing" game, a nod to Go Fish, which Alisha loved as a child. Each box Alicia "fished" contained a love note from Dipak, and when she read the last one, she turned around and found him on one knee.

Alisha wore a strapless Chantilly lace dress by Augusta Jones with lace accents peeking out at the top and on the train. Her sleeves were added on from leftover lace cut during alterations! Antique earrings borrowed from her mother, and a silver Tiffany & Co. necklace gifted from Dipak moments before the ceremony, completed the look.

Alisha's flower girl was just two years old. "Her mom was so worried she wouldn't make it down the aisle," she says. "But as soon as she saw dad at the front of the aisle, she ran to him. Guests loved it!"

Each bridesmaid wore a sunny, knee-length yellow dress by Ralph Lauren. The 'maids picked their own shoes in shades of gray.

The groom wore a boutonniere made of a white dahlia in fitting with the couple's sunny yellow and green palette.

The couple chose Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo CA, because it offered a secluded spot for the ceremony. "It felt like Tuscany with its rolling hills, but still a quaint and hidden gem to both of us!" Alisha says.

Alisha and Dipak decorated their ceremony and reception primarily with sunflowers, to set a sunny mood and signify the cheerfulness of the day. Ceremony aisles were decorated with mini-bouquets in glass vases.

Alisha and Dipak chose to go non-traditional for their interfaith ceremony. Their officiant told the story of how they met, their first date, and their courtship. "Guests raved about the ceremony," Alisha says. "It was all about celebrating our love and giving everyone a piece into our history, so they'd want to celebrate it with us even more."

The couple also observed a unique unity ceremony—each wrote their vows and the values they hoped to uphold during marriage on a wooden plank meant to hold wine glasses. "We didn't want to put our vows in a box and to bring out during hard times," Alisha says. "We wanted our vows to sit on our kitchen countertop every day as a reminder of the commitment we made."

Alisha carried a bouquet of jeweled brooches, assembled by her mother. "When people heard we were collecting brooches, everyone started giving whatever they had," Alisha says. The bouquet included lace from Alisha's dress, and was strung with her grandmothers' lace locket. Talk about a family heirloom!

As they entered the reception, guests signed a wooden bench instead of a book, for a keepsake Alisha and Dipak can look at every day. The bench was hand-made by a friend of the family, and Alisha's mom decorated it with painted flowers.

The sunflower centerpieces were grouped with mason jars collected from friends and family and wrapped in lace. Each bridesmaid was responsible for wrapping over 50 jars!

The centerpieces themselves were held in giant cracker jars, the perfect complement to the variety of jars surrounding them.

During cocktail hour, guests munched on Thai chicken skewers, meatballs, sweet potato fries, and Alisha and Dipak's signature mojitos. Dinner was herb-roasted chicken breast in a tomato and fig sauce, served with green beans and potatoes.

"The dance floor was always full!" Alisha says. After the couple's first dance to Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up", the Best Man twirled the pregnant MOH to Justin Bieber's "Baby."

In the center of Alisha and Dipak's three-tier buttercream cake, a mini chalkboard spelled out their initials. "It was a creative (and less expensive) alternative to a cake topper," Alicia explains.

The two hardly got a chance to sit down all night. "Everyone was either at the bar, on the dance floor, or mugging for the photo booth," Alisha says.

After a fun-packed night, female guests took home pashmina scarves, and the under-12 set walked away with bags of candy.

A week after their American wedding, Alisha and Dipak threw a traditional Indian wedding with both their families. Next, it was off to Kawaii for the honeymoon! Alisha's most important advice? "Make your wedding your own."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: Maravilla Gardens || Planner: None || Bride's Wedding Dress: Augusta Jones || Hair: Katie Lee || Makeup: Cynthia Lauran || Veil: None || Shoes: Nine West || Jewelry: Vintage; Tiffany and Co. || Wedding Band: Tungsten || Groom's Suit: Black by Vera Wang || Invitations: Paper Source || Florist: The English Garden || Catering: Command Performance Catering || Cake: Janna's Creative Cakes || Officiant: Dean Merrill || Music: DJ Michael McNeil of Ovation Entertainment || Photographer: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

—Amanda First


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A Vibrant Golf Course Wedding at PGA West in La Quinta, California

 Badgley MIschka, California, Casual, Modern, Outdoor, Pink, Preppy, Real Weddings, Summer  Comments Off on A Vibrant Golf Course Wedding at PGA West in La Quinta, California
Nov 142013
 
Bride and groom on the PGA West Golf Course in La Quinta, CA.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

It seems that fate has been trying to bring Annie, 28, and Jeff, 30, together for 20 years now. They grew up in the same town, their parents were classmates in high school, and the couple even met for the first time in 1993, when Jeff's older sister was Annie's softball coach. In high school, they were in the same group of friends. Annie was a cheerleader and Jeff was on the soccer team, so it was only natural that she developed a crush on him over the years.

Through the powers of social media and annual Thanksgiving gatherings in their hometown, Jeff and Annie stayed in touch through college. But it wasn't until her brother's wedding that Jeff made a move and asked her out (with her brother's permission, of course). The two became inseparable, with Annie visiting Jeff in Lake Tahoe almost every weekend. In August of 2012, he got down on one knee, and Annie moved to Lake Tahoe permanently. The couple kept their wedding local, heading to a gorgeous golf club for a modern-meets-classic Cali celebration.

Diamond engagement ring.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Jeff proposed to Annie during one of her regular weekend visits to Lake Tahoe. He set her up with 'the perfect day': coffee, lunch, a massage, and happy hour with wine and cheese. Why didn't Annie catch on to the impending question? "This was just another day in the life of dating Jeff," she says. Jeff orchestrated a ruse that resulted in the couple taking Jeff's client's boat out on the lake. He led Annie to the bow and got down on one knee. The entire marina cheered as Annie said "yes!"

Bride's Badgley Mischka pumps and bridesmaids' colorful shoes.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Annie went classic white with her peep toe Badgley Mischka pumps. Her bridesmaids, on the other hand, paired their little black dresses with shoes in bright, fun colors.

Backless Katie May lace mermaid wedding dress.
Bride in a lace Katie May mermaid wedding dress with a hot pink bouquet.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

When Annie began her wedding dress search, she knew she wanted something simple that wouldn't look dated when she looked back at the pictures. The one thing she did want? "A dramatic back!" says the bride. Her lace dress by Katie May was the first–and only–dress she tried on. The simple mermaid shape and scalloped neckline were perfect for the couple's California wedding.

Hot pink peony, hydrangea and rose wedding bouquets.
Bride with bridesmaids in little black dresses in La Quinta, California.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Annie and her bridesmaids all carried bouquets of bright pink hydrangeas, roses, and peonies.

Because her bridesmaids all live in Southern California but Annie and Jeff live in the northern part of the state, it was much easier to ask them to each pick a flattering Little Black Dress, creating a unified but personalized look.

Groom in a gray Hugo Boss suit at PGA West Golf Course.
Groom and groomsmen in gray suits on a golf cart in La Quinta, CA.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Jeff wore a Hugo Boss suit and a polka-dotted tie for his trip down the aisle.

The groom and groomsmen all wore colorful socks from Hook + Albert and Ralph Lauren ties. The socks and ties were a gift from the groom.

Outdoor wedding ceremony with pink flowers at PGA West Golf Course.
Outdoor wedding ceremony with ring bearers in a wagon.
Bride and groom's outdoor wedding ceremony in La Quinta, CA.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The ceremony was held outdoors at the PGA West golf course. Pomanders and hot pink flower petals edged the aisle, while the altar gave way to a dramatic mountain view.

Jeff's nephews served as the ring bearers. The youngest, only 6 months old at the time of the wedding, was pushed down the aisle in a wagon by his older brother and cousin. The ceremony was officiated by Jeff's cousin. The couple spent months prior to the wedding doing marriage counseling with him and personalizing their ceremony. Jeff and Annie wrote their own vows, and now have them framed in their home.

Bride and groom at the PGA West Golf Course in La Quinta, CA.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

La Quinta, CA, was the ideal location for the couple's wedding. "We wanted a location that would guarantee good weather," says Annie. Additionally, they've been vacationing in the area their entire lives, giving the day an added layer of personal significance.

Black and pink wedding reception dcor.
Pink wedding menu with cherry blossoms.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple came up with their black and pink color scheme together. Says Annie, "I always went to Jeff with 3 ideas and had him choose the one he liked best. This way, he would always be a part of the wedding planning."

Black and pink dessert bar at a wedding reception in La Quinta, CA.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

Jeff and Annie paid for most of the wedding themselves, so the bride took on a number of DIY projects to help keep costs down. The dessert bar, however, was a labor of love that Jeff's sister tackled. It featured some of the couple's favorite treats, from gummies and chocolates to donuts.

Black and white funfetti wedding cake with pink peonies.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

The couple sliced into a simple black and white cake with a surprise inside: Instead of plain vanilla, the cake was Funfetti flavored!

Sparkler wedding exit at the PGA West Golf Course in La Quinta, California.

Photo: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

After a night of dancing with their friends and family, a sparkler send-off was a fitting end. The couple chose a far-flung honeymoon destination, spending two weeks in Tahiti and Bora Bora.

Annie hopes couples planning their weddings will "remember why they're getting married in the first place." Even with all the stress, that's what will get you through. Her other tip is to "choose one thing you don't want to miss out on–whether it's dancing, eating dinner, drinking, talking to a certain guest, etc.–and make sure that happens! That way, you'll always have that memory."

Ceremony and Reception Venue: The Club at PGA West || Day-Of Coordinator: Alex Hillier of Carter & Cook Co. || Bride's Wedding Dress: Katie May || Shoes: Badgley Mischka || Makeup: Erin Perencevic || Hair: Nadia Draper of Panache Hair Studio || Jewelry: The Bride's Mother || Wedding Bands: Pepi Fine Jewelry || Groom's Suit: Hugo Boss || Florist: Laura Kilts of Magnolia's Floral || Invitations: Wedding Paper Divas || Cake: The Pastry Swan Bakery || Music: Luke Manthe of Vox DJs || Photography: Laura Grier of Beautiful Day Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Colorful, Rustic Wedding at the Carneros Inn in Napa Valley

 California, Classic, Garden, Outdoor, Peach, Pink, Preppy, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Summer  Comments Off on A Colorful, Rustic Wedding at the Carneros Inn in Napa Valley
Nov 132013
 

You never know when putting away your headphones and chatting with the person seated next to you on an airplane might change your life. That is exactly what happened to Mark and Bridget in 2009 on a flight from Burbank to Oakland. The duo talked for the entire flight and exchanged contact information just before landing. They became e-mail pen pals, developing a friendship that became something more when, six months later, Mark was in San Francisco for a business meeting and invited Bridget to dinner.

After three years of flying back and forth to visit one another, the couple took a last-minute trip to Orange County. Mark was antsy all day, but his nerves subsided when he finally took Bridget's hand and asked her to be his wife. On August 3rd, 2013, Mark and Bridget wed in Napa, California, proving that love may really be waiting for you anywhere–even on the other side of your airplane armrest.

Bridget's wedding-day accessories held a special place in the bride's heart. Her mother passed away a mere month before the wedding, so Bridget reached for her mother's emerald and diamond bracelet in order to keep a piece of her mom with her on such a special day. Though bittersweet, Bridget says that "wearing her bracelet made me feel connected to her, and I knew she was with me that entire day."

The bride's bracelet and engagement ring complemented her dress's pearl and crystal-embellished belt. She kept her accessories minimal to really let the dress shine.

While she was getting ready with her bridesmaids, Bridget received a sweet surprise from her husband-to-be in the form of a decadent chocolate cake.

Bride with purple makeup and a bouquet.

Bridget paired a simple, elegant up-do with a subtle purple smoky eye, adding a touch of glamour to her bridal look. Her bouquet featured white and off-white roses, peonies and dusty miller. A sparkling floral brooch was a playful finishing touch.

Bridget's wedding dress was "not at all what I had envisioned for myself," says the bride. The combination of lace and tulle in her a-line Blue by Enzoani dress was the fourth dress Bridget tried on, and she bought it on the spot.

Mark wore a gray suit and a blue polka-dotted tie. The single white rose and dusty miller leaves in his boutonniere complemented Bridget's bouquet.

Bridesmaids in blush chiffon dresses.

Bridget's four bridesmaids wore blush-hued strapless dresses. They carried soft bouquets of pink and white peonies and dusty green leaves.

The groomsmen matched Mark in gray suits and blue ties. Their soft pink shirts complemented the bridesmaids' chiffon dresses.

The bride's father escorts her down the aisle.

Bridget went traditional for her procession down the aisle. Her father escorted her as a string trio played Pachelbel's Canon in D.

Judge Guy Reece, a longtime friend of the groom, performed the ceremony. The couple kept it traditional, short and sweet. As the ceremony came to an end, Judge Reece read an Irish Blessing in honor of Bridget's mother, who truly loved her Irish heritage.

After a recessional to The Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun," Mark and Bridget snuck away for portraits. The rolling hills of Napa provided a beautiful, natural backdrop.

Instead of tchotchkes that would get left in a drawer, Mark and Bridget chose to thank their guests for joining them with individual potted succulents. The plants were included in much of the reception's rustic-chic décor

Burlap runners and twine-wrapped votive holders were the finishing touch to the pretty, rustic reception. "Simplicity was key," says Bridget. "We wanted our guests to feel comfortable and not overwhelmed by decorations."

Wooden boxes overflowed with flowers in soft pink, white and green hues. Candles and mason jars surrounded arrangements of hydrangeas, roses, and succulents.

The four-tier wedding cake was topped with fresh pink peonies and a cascade of white fondant flower petals. The cake featured alternating layers of salted caramel chocolate cake and lemon-raspberry.

Mark and Bridget's one request to their DJ? Lots of dance-worthy songs–
particularly Michael Jackson!

After the wedding, the couple spent their relaxing honeymoon in Maui. Bridget's favorite thing about being married is never being lonely. "The first three years of our relationship were long-distance," she says, "and it is so nice to not have to fly home every weekend and leave Mark."

Ceremony & Reception Venue: The Carneros Inn || Planner: Brooke Baglietto of the Carneros Inn || Bride's Wedding Dress: Blue by Enzoani, from Bridal Project || Hair & Makeup: Carrie Aldous || Shoes: Sam Edelman || Jewelry: The Bride's Mother || Wedding Bands: Symbols Myrtle Beach || Groom and Groomsmen's Suits: Hugo Boss || Bridesmaids' Dresses: JLM Couture || Invitations: Minted || Florist: Themes and Flowers || Catering and Cake: The Carneros Inn || Music: Lawrence String Trio, Randy Kort of Extravaganza Productions || Photographer: Angie Silvy Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Remote Mountain Wedding in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

 BHLDN, Classic, Colorado, DIY, Glamorous, Green, J.Crew, Outdoor, Preppy, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic  Comments Off on A Remote Mountain Wedding in Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado
Nov 112013
 

With family coming from across the country and around the world, this couple had a hard time deciding where to say "I Do." But once they picked the Dunton Hot Springs in Colorado, they had merely two months to plan a wedding to celebrate all of the people who got them to this point in their lives.

Karine, 27, a sales analyst, and Carl, 29, a product distribution manager, met through friends in 2010. The pair bonded as they trained for an upcoming half marathon–their evening runs were a perfect opportunity to chat and get to know one another. "I have never run so fast in my life," says Karine, "which Carl picked up on when he finished the half marathon an hour before me. The things you do to impress a man!" Well, whatever she did worked. Two years later, after a romantic dinner at their favorite Houston restaurant, Carl proposed on the couple's walk home to their new house. They had a whirlwind six-month engagement, but didn't choose a venue until four months in. In only two months, Karine and Carl planned an adventure for 43 friends and family members in the remote Colorado town of Dunton for their wedding on May 5, 2013.

"We booked the venue sight unseen," says Karine. Dunton is a restored ghost town-turned-resort nestled in the mountains an hour from Telluride.

Because everyone was from out of town, Karine and Carl gave each guest a welcome box complete with water, traditional Scottish treats, and an illustrated map of Dunton.

With a rustic mountain venue, Karine chose to go simple with her wedding dress. She got her cream-colored dress with a lace overlay from BHLDN. Says Karine of her gown, "While not very traditional, I couldn't have been more comfortable."

Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable, and temperatures dropped into the 30s on Karine and Carl's wedding day–even though it was the first week of May. The bride borrowed a fur stole from a friend of her mother's to fight off the chill.

Karine's all-white bouquet featured roses and scabiosas. The loose, natural feel of the bouquet was completed with twine wrapped around the stems.

Bridesmaids wore the J.Crew dresses of their choice in cream. When the temperature began to drop the week before the wedding, Karine ordered peach pashminas to keep her sisters, sisters-in-law and maid of honor warm.

One of the few things Karine was adamant about was the inclusion of her Scottish heritage in the wedding. Carl obliged, wearing a kilt of his family's tartan, with all of the traditional accoutrements. The groomsmen rented kilts for the weekend and, says Karine, "we were a bit concerned they would be wearing them home!"

The intimate ceremony was performed outdoors, with Karine's mom doing a reading in honor of all she did during the wedding planning process. Thick wool blankets were provided to keep guests warm as the bride and groom exchanged their personalized vows.

"Because Dunton is so remote, we were limited in what we could bring in without large costs," says the bride. This allowed the couple to simplify the planning process and focus on enhancing the inherent beauty of their location.

Having the wedding at Dunton allowed the couple to spend the entire weekend with their family and friends, sharing communal meals and playing lawn games. "We were incredibly lucky that we had so many of our family and friends join us on such short notice. They made the weekend so special," says Karine.

The barn reception was cozy and casual. The couple served a gluten-free meal that included prime rib and ruby trout.

With only 43 guests, Karine and Carl seated everyone at a U-shaped table, perfect for conversations and lots of laughter! Their signature cocktails were a Manhattan for the groom and a French 75 for the bride. As she says, "I don't think I drank anything but champagne all weekend!"

Flowers were kept loose and natural, playing off the forest green and gold color scheme. White hydrangeas and ranunculus were beautifully accented by the aspen bark vases.

The décor was simple and clean, giving the wedding a luxury camping vibe. Gold flatware and gold-rimmed plates elevated the natural wood tables.

Karine's mother made the couple's wedding cake, as Carl is gluten-intolerant. Cutting the cake was a memorable moment, but for an unexpected reason. "Mum still doesn't quite know what went wrong with the icing," says Karine, "but we couldn't cut through it–it was rock solid." It was an unexpected test of teamwork only hours into Karine and Carl's marriage.

After dinner, guests joined the couple outside for a fireworks display against the pitch black sky, a dramatic ending to a beautifully simple celebration. With the added challenge of planning a wedding at such a remote venue, Karine's advice is for couples to "learn early on how each person handles communication and work with that when planning; most people don't pick their partner based on how well they work together in these types of situations." What's up next for the duo? A Thanksgiving honeymoon road trip from DC to Charlottesville, then on to Nashville and Louisville. Says Karine, "It's going to be an amazing trip of local food, drinks, and exploring." Bon voyage!

Ceremony and Reception Venue: Dunton Hot Springs || Planner: Jessica McTaggart of Pink Champagne Events || Bride's Wedding Dress: BHLDN || Hair & Makeup: Angie of Sahaira's Salon || Wedding Bands: Jannie Bean Designs || Bridesmaids' Dresses: J.Crew || Groom's Kilt: Tailor-made in Scotland || Florist: Tess Jordan of Jordan Design Consulting || Invitations: Paperless Post || Paper Goods: Rocket Ink || Catering: Dunton Hot Springs || Cake: Made by the Bride's Mother || Photography: Laura Murray Photography

—Jaimie Schoen

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A Romantic Summer Wedding at Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek

 Classic, Montana, Outdoor, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Summer  Comments Off on A Romantic Summer Wedding at Montana’s Ranch at Rock Creek
Aug 202013
 

Lauren and Brad's romance bloomed over a bet. For a game in the highly-anticipated 2010 National Basketball Association finals—the Celtics versus the Lakers—Lauren sided with the East Coast team, while Las Vegas-resident Brad bet on the Lakers. "When the Celtics sadly lost, Brad called me to brag about winning the bet," Lauren recalls. "By the end of that phone call, he agreed to meet me in New York City for dinner the following day."

The pair went to lunch, "and by the time the bill was paid, I was in love," Lauren says. "We attempted a long-distance relationship for awhile, but it really didn't work for us." Within weeks, Brad asked Lauren to move to Las Vegas. "And after while, I agreed."

On the couple's weekly date night more than a year later, Brad escorted Lauren to La Cave, a favorite restaurant the soon-to-be groom had invested in. His two young daughters, Coby and Kenzie, awaited the couple on the balcony, and "while I was giving them hugs and paying attention to them, Brad got down on one knee behind me with the ring," Lauren recalls. "Then all three of them proposed. It was very sweet."

The couple chose The Ranch at Rock Creek in Philipsburg, Montana, as the location for their June nuptials. A horse-drawn carriage brought the bride to the ceremony site, an open field at the base of the mountains aptly-dubbed Paradise.

"Because we got married on a ranch, the wedding was fairly rustic," Lauren explains. Mason jars filled with white flowers and tied with twine lined the aisles, while guests watched the couple wed from rustic benches. "We kept the colors neutral for the ceremony, with mostly white and greens," the bride says.

Lauren's lace St. Patrick gown featured a cathedral-length train with a scalloped edge.

The bride did not wear a veil. Her only accessory, she said, was "a beautiful tennis bracelet that Brad gave me the night before the wedding."

Cheetah-print Ariat cowgirl boots peeked out from beneath the bride's gown.

Lauren's round bouquet was made of a mixture of white peonies, hydrangea and sweet-smelling freesia.

Brad wore a classic Brioni bow tie tuxedo. He also donned a white rose boutonniere.

The couple's four-member bridal party stayed within their neutral palette. Bridesmaids wore knee-length dresses in the palest pink.

While Lauren and Brad may have kept their ceremony mostly white, their "reception was the something blue," the bride says. Invitations, as well as Montana sky-blue napkins, were accented with horseshoe details.

Asked about the highlights from their dinner, Lauren exclaims, "Ice cream cake! I loved all the food—it is hard to capture just one thing."

Lauren and Brad also served a signature cocktail—called a Brown Sugar, the drink was mixed with pineapple juice and rum.

Before embarking on their honeymoon—a trip that included touring Paris, sailing the Greek Isles, wandering Istanbul, driving through Italy and more—Lauren and Brad returned to where things began. "We started in New York City," Lauren says, "going to our first date spot."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Katalin Green Event Design || Wedding Concierge: Life: Styled || Ceremony Venue: The Ranch at Rock Creek || Reception Venue: The Ranch at Rock Creek || Bride's Wedding Dress: St. Patrick || Bride's Shoes: Ariat || Bride's Wedding Ring: The Jewelers, Inc. || Groom's Tux: Brioni || Groom's Shoes: Gucci || Groom's Wedding Ring: The Jewelers, Inc. || Florist: Avant Floral || Caterer: The Ranch at Rock Creek || Stationery: Meant To Be Sent || Cake Baker: Cold Stone Creamery || Rentals: Montana Party Rentals || Linen Rentals: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental || Entertainment: Evenflow of Dustree Productions || Sound and Equipment: Poindexter's || Videography: Moonstone Pictures || Photo Booth: Flip Side Photo Booth || Photography: Lauren Brown Photography

A Summer Wedding with a “Fresh and Crisp” Aesthetic

 Casual, Classic, Garden, Outdoor, Real Weddings, Romantic, Summer, Traditional  Comments Off on A Summer Wedding with a “Fresh and Crisp” Aesthetic
Aug 092013
 

Love bloomed between Leah and Chris during a college Bible study, but when the couple moved to different cities after graduation, they were forced to date long-distance. "It was hard," Leah recalls, until Chris proposed on a weekend visit as the couple dined at the Crown Center Plaza. "I was so excited I shrieked 'yes' before he could get the whole question out. Apparently he had a whole quote rehearsed. Whoops!"

Just three months later, the couple—a marketing coordinator and an NFL player, respectively—wed in a backyard celebration, taking advantage of Stilwell, Kansas' picture-perfect July weather.

With fewer than 60 guests in attendance, a family member's lake house was the perfect venue for Leah and Chris' intimate celebration. "Their house is so beautiful," the bride gushes, listing the home's lush landscaping as a major boon to her simple decor scheme.

Moments before the bride was ready to walk down the aisle, her young nephew snuck into the room, "walked up to me and said, 'Aunt Leah, you look beautiful,'" the bride recalls.

The bride's Emily Hart Bridal gown featured a rhinestone detail that wrapped around her waist. Leah describes its short train as a "tail." Her Emily Hart Bridal veil was embellished with a beaded floral detail.

Her shoes—by designer Antonio Melani—were bold, with a circular beaded pattern covering the tops of her feet.

Leah envisioned a white wedding, where everything looked "fresh and crisp," she says, with just the slightest hint of green. Her bouquet reflected that aesthetic, with its white roses and peonies and green mums.

Chris wore an Astor & Black suit, which he paired with a sage green tie and white rose boutonniere.

A winding stone path, landscaped with wispy greens and manicured shrubs, led the ring bearer down to the deck where the couple would host their outdoor ceremony.

A flower girl dropped red rose petals on the path, just moments before the bride walked down it to meet her groom. Of the home and its outdoor space, the bride says, "it's the most perfect place for a small, intimate wedding."

A pastor read passages from 1 Corinthians and Ecclesiastes during the couple's wedding ceremony, which took place overlooking the lake.

The bride made each of the centerpieces for her long, white reception tables herself, filling cylinder vases with white and green blooms and tying each arrangement with a crystal "H," the couple's married-name monogram.

Guests noshed on Chilean sea bass and champagne chicken served alongside a candied-pecan mixed greens salad, dumpling potatoes and roasted vegetables.

With a diamond pattern and pearl detailing, the couple's four-tier wedding cake was simple and classic—the perfect addition to Leah and Chris' "crisp" wedding theme. Each lemon cake layer was filled with raspberry preserves.

White lanterns strung above the dance floor created a "wonderful ambiance during the night," Leah says. Chris' only wedding assignment? Picking the DJ, the bride says.

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony Venue: Family residence || Reception Venue: Family residence || Bride's Wedding Dress: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Veil: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Antonio Melani || Bride's Accessories: Dillard's || Bride's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groom's Tux: Astor & Black || Groom's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groomsmen Attire: Astor & Black || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Steinmart || Flower Girl Dress: Nordstrom || Florist: Sidelines Custom Floral Designs, Inc. || Caterer: Nick and Jake's || Rentals: All Seasons Event Rental || Photography: Sharayamauck Photography

A Summer Wedding with a “Fresh and Crisp” Aesthetic

 Casual, Classic, Garden, Kansas, Outdoor, Real Weddings, Romantic, Summer, Traditional  Comments Off on A Summer Wedding with a “Fresh and Crisp” Aesthetic
Aug 092013
 

Love bloomed between Leah and Chris during a college Bible study, but when the couple moved to different cities after graduation, they were forced to date long-distance. "It was hard," Leah recalls, until Chris proposed on a weekend visit as the couple dined at the Crown Center Plaza. "I was so excited I shrieked 'yes' before he could get the whole question out. Apparently he had a whole quote rehearsed. Whoops!"

Just three months later, the couple—a marketing coordinator and an NFL player, respectively—wed in a backyard celebration, taking advantage of Stilwell, Kansas' picture-perfect July weather.

With fewer than 60 guests in attendance, a family member's lake house was the perfect venue for Leah and Chris' intimate celebration. "Their house is so beautiful," the bride gushes, listing the home's lush landscaping as a major boon to her simple decor scheme.

Moments before the bride was ready to walk down the aisle, her young nephew snuck into the room, "walked up to me and said, 'Aunt Leah, you look beautiful,'" the bride recalls.

The bride's Emily Hart Bridal gown featured a rhinestone detail that wrapped around her waist. Leah describes its short train as a "tail." Her Emily Hart Bridal veil was embellished with a beaded floral detail.

Her shoes—by designer Antonio Melani—were bold, with a circular beaded pattern covering the tops of her feet.

Leah envisioned a white wedding, where everything looked "fresh and crisp," she says, with just the slightest hint of green. Her bouquet reflected that aesthetic, with its white roses and peonies and green mums.

Chris wore an Astor & Black suit, which he paired with a sage green tie and white rose boutonniere.

A winding stone path, landscaped with wispy greens and manicured shrubs, led the ring bearer down to the deck where the couple would host their outdoor ceremony.

A flower girl dropped red rose petals on the path, just moments before the bride walked down it to meet her groom. Of the home and its outdoor space, the bride says, "it's the most perfect place for a small, intimate wedding."

A pastor read passages from 1 Corinthians and Ecclesiastes during the couple's wedding ceremony, which took place overlooking the lake.

The bride made each of the centerpieces for her long, white reception tables herself, filling cylinder vases with white and green blooms and tying each arrangement with a crystal "H," the couple's married-name monogram.

Guests noshed on Chilean sea bass and champagne chicken served alongside a candied-pecan mixed greens salad, dumpling potatoes and roasted vegetables.

With a diamond pattern and pearl detailing, the couple's four-tier wedding cake was simple and classic—the perfect addition to Leah and Chris' "crisp" wedding theme. Each lemon cake layer was filled with raspberry preserves.

White lanterns strung above the dance floor created a "wonderful ambiance during the night," Leah says. Chris' only wedding assignment? Picking the DJ, the bride says.

—Jillian Kramer

Ceremony Venue: Family residence || Reception Venue: Family residence || Bride's Wedding Dress: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Veil: Emily Hart Bridal || Bride's Shoes: Antonio Melani || Bride's Accessories: Dillard's || Bride's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groom's Tux: Astor & Black || Groom's Wedding Ring: Shane Co. || Groomsmen Attire: Astor & Black || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Steinmart || Flower Girl Dress: Nordstrom || Florist: Sidelines Custom Floral Designs, Inc. || Caterer: Nick and Jake's || Rentals: All Seasons Event Rental || Photography: Sharayamauck Photography

An Upscale Wedding in a Relaxed Outdoor Setting

 Amsale, Casual, Fall, Garden, New York, Outdoor, Real Weddings, Romantic, Rustic, Vera Wang  Comments Off on An Upscale Wedding in a Relaxed Outdoor Setting
Aug 082013
 

It was a friend—one determined to play matchmaker—that brought Erin and Brett together. He riddled Erin, a then-student Kalamazoo College, with so much information about Brett that she felt she knew him long before they met. "The moment we met, I knew Kevin was right," she says now of their mutual friend. "To this day Kevin takes all the credit, and he was deservedly the best man in our wedding."

Six years later, Brett was set on surprising Erin with a proposal, but his plans to pop the question at The Cloisters—The Metropolitan Museum of Art's gardens in Washington Heights, Manhattan—were foiled when Erin accurately pegged his unusual behavior as part of a larger, more romantic scheme. "Brett told me that he would figure out another day to surprise me," Erin says. But after a romantic dinner, Brett proposed anyway. "He still managed to surprise me. The proposal did not go as perfectly as Brett had planned, but that is what made it so perfect."

Though the couple calls New York City home, they're Midwesterners at heart—so when it came to planning their September nuptials, it was important to "represent" their Ohio and Michigan hometowns, the bride says. "We brought our love for upscale city elegance to a casual and relaxed outdoor setting," she says.

With dozens of their 95 guests coming from out of town, the Hudson Valley's Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa"had everything we were looking for and more," for a miniature-destination wedding, Erin says. "The exquisite gardens, winding paths, quaint yet modern and luxurious cottages, and an on-site full service spa provided a charming and breathtaking location for our wedding weekend."

Erin considered designing her own wedding dress—but in the end, the bride chose a ready-to-wear gown that "reflected my aesthetic by a designer that I truly admire," she says. Her Vera Wang dress' drop waist and raw-edged organza skirt combined for a "soft yet architectural modern silhouette that photographs beautifully and looks different from every angle."

Erin's asymmetrical bouquet of white phalaenopsis orchids, fuchsia dendrobium orchids, garden roses and hot-pink ranunculus was tied with a pleated gray ribbon and adorned with a blue brooch that the bride's great grandmother, grandmother, mother and sister each used on their wedding days.

Fuchsia Bridesmaids Shoes

Photos: Style Art Life

Bridesmaids who wore short gray dresses from BCBG and Amsale also carried hot-pink bouquets made of dahlias, garden roses and ranunculus. "It was important to me that everyone felt beautiful and comfortable on my wedding day," Erin says.

In honor of Brett's undying love for the Detroit Tigers, groomsmen donned argyle socks bearing the baseball team's logo.

Rustic wood signs led guests to the couple's ceremony.

Held on a lawn near Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa's Swan Pond, Erin and Brett's ceremony was personal, they say, from the pastor's touching sermon to their handwritten vows. Music also played a large role in their nuptials, with a friend playing an acoustic guitar from the time guests arrived until the couple recessed to The Beatles' Here Comes The Sun.

The asymmetry of the bridesmaids' bouquets complemented some of the bridal party's one-shoulder dresses.

Bird Seed Toss Short Gray Bridesmaids Dresses

Photos: Style Art Life

Guests and attendants alike tossed pink rose petals into the air as the couple recessed down the aisle.

A cousin's bulldog, Frog, traveled from Ohio to attend the couple's wedding, donning a vest and pink bow tie for the occasion, "so we had to include him in the ceremony as our junior groomsman," Erin says. "He was so well-behaved and the highlight of the wedding weekend!"

As guests left the ceremony and headed toward the couple's reception tent, they were served pink Kir Royales in rustic mason jars. Staff with Oliver Kita Fine Catering also passed eight hors d'oeuvres, including risotto cakes topped with bitter chocolate beef ribs; lobster brochettes with a Panko-crumb and caramel glaze; and shooters of pear veloute soup.

"Throughout the wedding styling process we added details that truly represented us," Erin says. The couple labeled tables with numbers meaningful to their relationship—the address where they first met, the date they moved to New York City, and the number of Brett's favorite Detroit Tigers pitcher.

The bride "wanted the decor to reflect my own personal style and artistic aesthetic," she says. A blend of grey driftwood tables, mercury glass containers and fuchsia centerpieces created "a juxtaposition of clean architectural lines with subtle rustic and feminine details," she says.

Oliver Kita Fine Catering nicknamed the rustic farmhouse buffet "The Edible Hudson Valley Table," displaying local-farm cheeses, artisan breads and seasonal fruits for guests to enjoy.

The couple's white chocolate cake was covered in buttercream and layered with lemon and thyme flavors. White chocolate shavings gave the three-tier confection "a simple and modern look," the bride says.

The couple chose Barry White's Can't Get Enough Of Your Love for their first dance as husband and wife. "We chose fun and lighthearted songs for our special dances," Erin says.

Despite what the bride describes as hot and humid weather, guests danced all night to the live music of Live Wire Entertainment. "We are still receiving compliments about the amazing band," Erin says.

"The entire day was relaxed, intimate, flawless and exceptionally fun," Erin says of the couple's wedding celebration. "The night ended with our guests singing and dancing to New York, New York under a full moonlit sky. You could definitely feel the love stemming generations."

—Jillian Kramer

Wedding Planner: Events That Matter and Erin Braun Design || Ceremony Venue: Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa || Reception Venue: Buttermilk Falls Inn & Spa || Bride's Wedding Dress: Vera Wang || Bride's Veil: Bride's Head Revisited || Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo || Bride's Accessories: Erin Braun Design and Erwin Pearl || Bride's Wedding Ring: Linhardt || Groom's Tux: Ticknors || Groom's Wedding Ring: Linhardt || Bridesmaids' Dresses: BCBG and Amsale || Bridesmaids' Accessories: Alexis Bittar || Groomsmen Attire: Ticknors || Mother of the Bride's Dress: Emmelle || Florist: Steven Bruce Design || Caterer: Oliver Kita Fine Catering || Stationery: Gourmet Invitations || Cake Baker: Oliver Kita Fine Catering || Favors: Bell's Inspired Brewing, Two Little Red Hens and Russell Farms || Rentals: Party Rental Ltd. || Lighting: Stortz Lighting || Entertainment: Levi Schmidt and Live Wire Entertainment || Photography: Style Art Life

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