Every time I take a look at this wedding from Braun Photography and Far Hills Florist, I just end up speechless. Blame it on the Alice Temperley gown worn by bride Megan, or even her vintage 1920s reception dress — any way you slice it, this wedding has style for miles.
From the bride, Megan: Since Paul and I are both academics (he: a philosopher; she: a medieval historian), we have both been so fortunate to live in many fantastic communities–from Oxford OH, to Cambridge UK, to Nashville TN, to Washington DC, to South Bend IN; additionally, I am British, with my grandparents both serving in World War II before emigrating to the US, and I have lots of family in England and Ireland. Therefore, we saw our wedding as an opportunity to gather many important people in our lives from throughout the world together in one place, at one time, to celebrate. With that in mind, we also wanted to commemorate our pasts, how they have shaped us individually, and how we see our love–for each other and for everyone in our lives–growing in the future. So: lots of literary references, lots and lots of flowers, and many delicious British delicacies were on our minds from the beginning.
Since our wedding ceremony took place in my Mum’s absolutely wonderful garden in front of the potting shed that my grandfather had built my senior year, the wedding ceremony certainly had a British garden party strand running through it. Croquet, cucumber sandwiches cut into fours, meringues, Walkers Salt and Vinegar crisps, and my Nana holding court (as I once said to her, ‘I might be a princess on my wedding day, but you will be the Queen!): it certainly felt like being back in my grandfather’s house, where I grew up until I was 10, in Newmarket England. But we also had bits of whimsy: a bouncy castle, badminton, and tent filled with pillows, blankets and silks that I created for Paul (with some serious help from my wonderful bridesmaid, Chelsea Blackerby, a magnificent artist from Akron, OH) after three years of promises. (Additionally, my aunt Pat, an award-winning baker in Ireland and owner of Cobh Sweet Expectations Confectionery and Cookery, came all the way and made not, one, but *two* cakes for our wedding and my wonderful Mum and I made yards and yards and yards of cream, copper, and teal bunting!)
Our reception that evening was held at Carillon Park, in a large crescent shaped building that can only be described as a train depot. Trains from the 19th century to 1960 all were open and able for people, as they arrived to walk through. We had a bit of a 1920’s theme going on there with architectural lines and a wonderful Big Band band (shout to to Different Hats!), although even here we didn’t hold fast to that one idea. On our tables, we had bought a bunch of globes from antique markets and the like, affixed one of our favorite cities on top with a little flag, in order for people to find their seats easier. Then we took canvases, a bunch of spray paint, antique maps, and little lug tags to make the escort table. We also had a *bunch* of English candies, ready for our guests to snatch them up as parting gifts. I have to say how absolutely wonderful our parents, and especially our two Mums, were throughout this entire journey. Not only did Paul’s parents spend more than one weekend helping to get the garden into shape, my Mum also totally understood my aversion to synthetic tablecloths and found dozens and dozens of the most beautiful antique tablecloths in varying shades of cream, all with beautiful madiera insets. And: teacups! We had so many antique china cups that we collected–once again, with a huge thanks to Paul’s parents that gave us several from their parents’ beautiful collection.
My most wonderful florist, Barbara Schneider, who has been a family friend for years, really shone in this wedding. She took one look at my Alice Temperely dress and, for the bridesmaid’s bouquets, pulled out all of the flowers in the embroidery and gathered them together. For my own bouquet, she kept it more cream, with hints of lavender from my Mum’s garden that she had picked the previous day. But the stars in my eyes were my magnificent crown, that I wore for over 12 hours, and it still looked wonderful, and the gorgeous arbor that she placed so, so many simply stunning roses, hyacinths, and the like in.
Any advice for couples planning their weddings now? My own snippet of advice would be: consider a long engagement. Paul and I were engaged for almost two years, and it was the perfect amount of time to plan, especially since we had friends and family coming from Hawaii, England, Colorado and the like. Also, that way you can do a little bit each week, which makes planning so much more fun and fresh. Also, I found it helpful to consider our wedding not ‘our day’, but instead a wonderful celebration of everyone we love, and life in general. That way, when something goes awry–which it did for us; we forgot much of the decor for the evening reception–it won’t matter; everything, namely everyone, will be in front of you. Finally, try to hire local businessmen/women. My Mum, my Aunt, and my Nana have a wonderful network of local businesswomen as friends–Barbara Schneider from Far Hills Florist, Jenn Disanto from Fresca, and Miss Michelle from Michelle’s Nails, who made me feel so beautiful on my wedding day–which not only meant that they were all keenly invested in our wedding, but that we could work together to support each other. On that note, be open to new experiences: our absolutely magnificent photographers–who I now feel lucky enough to count as friends–spotted us at a grocery market, and asked if they could take our pictures! And they couldn’t have been more perfect…
Solitary though we academics are, music is so, so important. So, I really wanted ‘The Beatitudes’ by the Kronos Quartet to play as we walked towards my Popa’s potting shed, but we missed our cue. Instead, we had the birds chirping and the wind rustling in the trees–which was even more perfect. As for our recessional, it was the clapping and cheers of everyone around us! Our first dance was one of our most beloved songs, Kishi Bashi’s ‘Manchester’. Not only is the title’s name very near where my family originates, but it also has the most wonderful lyrics. But the most fun dance (apart from the first), was when everyone–and I mean everyone–danced to Rick James’ ‘Superfreak’.
Wedding Location: Dayton, OH / Photographer: Braun Photography / Florist: Barbara Schneider of Far Hills Florist / Reception Venue: Carillon Park / Wedding Dress: Alice Temperley / Reception Dress: 1920s vintage, from Dear Golden Vintage / Caterer: Fresco By Chef Jenn DiSanto / Wedding Cakes: my most talented aunt, Pat O’Brien of Cobh Sweet Expectations Confectionery and Cookery / Band/DJ: Different Hats / Wedding Invitations: dearemma