Written February, 2017
Photos by Tressa Marie Photography
Many girls dream of their wedding day their entire life. Some know what they want down to the details—from the dress and the colors, to the music, food and decorations. But I could never envision my wedding day until my husband and I began planning ours. I had waited thirty years and had finally found the love of my life (in a muay thai kickboxing class of all places), so as a Graphic Designer and creative spirit, I couldn’t wait to design a day that was completely and uniquely us. This was his day as much as it was mine.
I was flooded with ideas for how I could “brand” our day and make it a true reflection of us both. As individuals we are, of course, uniquely different from one another with our own personalities and tastes, but one thing I’ve always loved that we share is our old fashioned values. We are old souls in love with a lost generation where families gathered for dinner every Sunday, people got dressed up and went out to piano bars, musicians played real music and life was just simpler. Using this commonality as the essence of our vision, all the details began to fall into place. Our parents both had hours of old family reel-to-reel films that I knew would be the perfect backdrop during cocktails and dinner, and would add the nostalgic family touches that were so important to us. Inspired by the family film idea I knew I wanted a bit of a classic movie theme (without being too gimmicky). For colors I chose ivory and pewter grey to pull from those beloved classic black and white films, with rose gold and copper accents for that touch of color and well, because my ring is rose gold!
A print designer at heart, I wanted the invitations to really set the tone for our whole day and be something of tangible beauty that would charm our guests upon opening. All of the stationary was printed on a heavy weight, shimmery ivory stock. Each piece repeated the element of a corner-punched ticket shape as a tie-in to the classic film theme. The envelopes were a rich textured matte grey that I embellished with copper leaf handwritten names. I designed a vintage-inspired logo of mine and my husband’s silhouettes that we used on our invitations and custom logo’d wine glass favors. Each table number featured a different black and white image of a classic movie or TV couple, framed in antiqued copper frames, with rose gold numbers drawn on top.
Bristol Harbour in Canandaigua provided the most gorgeous lakeview scenery for our outdoor ceremony, and an elegant but understated room for our reception with doors out to a stunning stone terrace.
I was so grateful for all the help I received from friends and family to help keep us on budget as we realized our dream day. My mother, along with my husband’s mom and step-mother banded together to make homemade cookies and truffles for the desserts. My family helped me paint tall feather-like grasses with rose gold spray paint that we placed in mercury glass vases for centerpieces. Since I couldn’t find any pre-made pocket squares or a bow-tie for my husband in just the right shade, my mom made them by hand from the perfect rose gold fabric we found in a craft store. She used that same fabric, accented with grey and ivory silk flowers that matched our dresses, to decorate the arbor we were married under—the perfect valance for our vows.
When I saw the reception room for the first time, it brought tears to my eyes. There was rose gold, copper and pewter tones everywhere. Antique family photos were softened by dusty rose and ivory blooms, and the string trio during cocktail hour made our guests feel like they had traveled back in time. The décor, our elegant attire, the light jazz at dinner, soft amber uplighting and the metallic rose gold cake all blended together for a brilliantly cohesive, classic look that rivaled any Audrey Hepburn film.
The song “Beginnings” by Chicago seemed to show up everywhere my husband and I went, so we used the phrase “Only the Beginning” as sort of a title for our big day. I designed an intricate, scroll-lettered treatment of the phrase that I used on the back of the invitations, and to bring those words to life we dreamed of having a killer brass band play “Beginnings” at the start of the night. We chose Soul Injection, (a nine-piece brass band) for our entertainment. They kicked off our reception with a jaw-dropping rendition of the song where they introduced us as husband and wife during the final instrumentals, then rocked the entire night with incredible music. It made our night to see our guests having such an amazing time, and best of all, we enjoyed every moment to its fullest. Our “Beginning” was everything we could have wanted, and we can’t thank our loved ones enough for helping us make the dream a reality.
Branding your own wedding is any Graphic Designer’s dream, but looking back now I think of it as so much more. With the help of family and friends, we created a memorable feeling and experience that was as beautiful and unique as our love, and the promises we made to each other that day.