Today’s real wedding is a very special one – and not just because it’s an absolute beauty (which it TOTALLY is) but because dear Gillian is one of our much-loved real blogging brides of 2017! It’s such an honor and a privilege to finally be able to share her and Pete’s Jew-ish wedding day.
We love a Jew-ish wedding where both cultures and backgrounds are represented, and Gillian and Pete’s mixed-faith ceremony saw their priest and rabbi working together to create something that truly represented them – too beautiful!
Beautiful bride Gillian looked a million bucks in her Tara Keely gown, which she paired with meaningful and custom-made accessories, with a little help from her dad, who is a tailor, and also made Pete’s midnight suit.
A color scheme of blush shades and rose gold is, of course, the ideal excuse to rock that mismatched bridesmaids look, and the overall effect was absolutely stunning.
The couple had so many unique and borrow-able ideas, such as cute-as-a-button custom acrylic signs and the most adorable postcard guest book idea. Guests wrote their good wishes for the couple on postcards, which are still being posted on to them by family to this day. What an excellent way to make your big day last!
The story of the day was captured by the brilliant Blaise Szallasi, whose spread of images you can see below, and the totally stunning cinematic videography is by Wise Films.
We’ll leave you in Gillian’s capable hands for her brilliant writeup. We’ve loved having Gillian’s upbeat voice on the blog, so please give her a standing ovation. Take it away, Gillian!
How we met
Gillian, the bride: We met in graduate school getting our masters in OT.
A venue to tick all the boxes
We got married at The Ballroom at Ellis Preserve. We really wanted to get married in Philadelphia, because that’s where we met and went to graduate school, but I also wanted to get married outside. That was a tall order, especially because our invite list was quite large. So with all the venues in the city we would have had to give something up, but when we stumbled across Ellis Preserve, all the pieces were there. The only hard part was that it wasn’t actually built yet.
We had our parents go and look at the venue, because we were living in Los Angeles at the time and it was just renderings and studs. So basically we picked it sight unseen, but knew it would all come together.
A simply beautiful color scheme
I feel like the whole wedding was very “us”. The venue was modern, but also had beautiful old-world columns on the outside.
The color scheme was simple: dusty roses, dusty purples and rose gold – really that’s more me but it worked beautifully with midnight tuxes that Pete really wanted.
Our invitations were from Wedding Paper Divas. I wanted really pretty invites, but I also knew they were literally going to be thrown away, so I didn’t want to spend too much money on them. One of my best friends sent me a Groupon for half off and it was a no brainer after that.
The one we picked was under the whimsical category and I loved that! It was geometric and modern, with rose gold and beautiful purples, pinks and blues. It fit perfectly. What I was really proud of that I think pulled it all together was the accommodation card. I made those myself with one of our engagement photos.
Simply beautiful hair and makeup
I knew I wanted my hair down and simple makeup. I loved having Samantha White a friend, make me feel at ease with the whole process.
Finding ‘the one’
My dress was a Tara Keely and it was the exact opposite of what I thought I wanted. I got it at a place near my parents’, Castle Couture in Manalapan, NJ and they really made it so easy. They had so many options and the best seamstresses.
When I first tried on the dress, I didn’t have one of those “this is it” moments, because wedding dress shopping was so fun and I really wanted to keep trying on gowns, but everyone was adamant when I thought I had found the dress I should stop.
So I knew it was “it” when I started dancing in it and just kept touching it (which sounds so terrible!). But really the dress was so soft and I hadn’t tried one on like that yet. It was nothing I thought I would get and yet it was perfect.
A hairpiece with a story
My jewelry was simple and the best thing I wore that day was my wedding band. Pete’s uncle Pete is a jeweler, he made my engagement ring and my wedding band. I knew I wanted a vintage-looking band and loved how marquise diamonds have that feel. The best part was he used my late nanny’s (my mom’s mom) round diamonds to fill in the rest of the band. It’s such a special piece.
While dress shopping, I had found a belt that I fell in love with and my dad (who is a tailor and in the garment industry) said if I wore the belt it would cut the dress in half and not look as good, but I was in looooveee with this belt so I figured I would somehow make it into a hairpiece. Not my best idea, because we pretty much had to cut the entire thing down to a third of what it was, but it turned out beautiful and I wrapped the rest around my bouquet.
My veil was a special borrowed item from one of my best friends Jen’s wedding. It was simple and cathedral length, a beautiful piece without taking anything away from the rest of my look.
Rose gold Toms
Because I love to dance, Pete and I are around the same height and we were getting married on grass, I knew I didn’t want heels. It took me a really long time to find flats that I actually liked and after a few duds I decided on rose gold Toms.
The handsome groom
Pete’s tux was custom made by my dad. It was awesome to watch the whole thing come together. We got to pick out all the details and it fit him like a glove! I loved the fabric and deep color the most.
Bridesmaids in mismatched blush
I had eight bridesmaids, all of my best friends! I really wanted to have the mix-and-match look in the dusty blush colors. So three wore Hayley Paige Occasions, in the same color but different cuts, four wore different dresses from BHLDN and my sister who was my MOH, had a top custom made and skirt from Adrianna Papell.
A minimalist chuppah design
For the chuppah, I wanted a minimalist design from the beginning and knew I didn’t want any greenery or flowers around it. I wanted it to be white and big, because we had a lot of people that were going to stand under it with us! So I got inspiration from Chuppah Studio, and Pete got to work making it into a reality.
An inclusive mixed-faith ceremony
I think the confetti bombs were super fun at the end of our ceremony. We knew it was coming and it was still exciting to watch! I made our Ketubah myself, from the design to tweaking the wording, it was special to have everything be just US.
Our chuppah was also really special, because Pete and his stepdad made it, and we used Pete’s late grandmother’s quilt (which was made by her grandmother!) as our topper. It was gorgeous and complemented the crocheted pattern on my dress.
Our Rabbi and Priest were an amazing team. Rabbi Bradley Bleefeld and Father Christopher Walsh. They worked together beautifully and people raved out about ceremony. What I loved is people said you couldn’t tell they were from different religious beliefs, it was all about love, inclusion and family.
Our music choices
Our processional songs for the wedding party included a string version of Don’t Stop Believing, an instrumental version of Marry Me by Train and Chris Stapleton Traveler.
My processional with my parents was Christina Perry A Thousand Years (the version with words).
Our recessional was Hall and Oates You Make My Dreams.
We had our first dance to Ed Sheeran’s Perfect and the father / daughter dance to Louis Armstrong What A Wonderful World, finally the mother / son dance to Backstreet Boys Perfect Fan.
The rest of the music was to make sure we had a party the whole night long!
Big blooms in soft blushes and rose gold
Flowers were not important to me and I just wanted a romantic, soft minimal look. Angela from LoveBug Unique was the florist and she helped me create exactly that. I told her I wanted big blooms, in soft blushes and lots of rose gold.
Our fabulous photographer…
Photography and videography were both very important to me and I made sure to do tons of research to get exactly what I wanted.
I interviewed so many different vendors and watched a million wedding videos.
I could not be happier with how everything turned out. Blaise Szallasi had that eclectic look, soft edges and journalistic eye that we were after. Having a second shooter was a must in my opinion.
Ethan from Wise Films was our videographer, and we fell in love with his videos. They were so different from everything we saw, more movie-like and again that eclectic look we wanted. His techniques are so cool and the video brings back all of the amazing feelings and memories from that day!
A cute cake topper
The cake was included in our package with Finley Catering from Termini Brothers in Philadelphia. It was four layers with different flavors: 2 layers of marble pound cake, one vanilla pound cake with lemon curd, and one chocolate pound cake, all covered in buttercream.
It was a simple white-on-white geometric design that I found online. As long as it tasted great, I didn’t care too much with what it looked like. I loved our rose gold topper that said “It was always you” – another theme that was throughout the day.
Keeping the party going
We had Joe from JSV Entertainment. He is a friend of Pete’s from high school who owns his own DJ company. He was great and kept everyone on the dance floor all night!
I wanted our wedding to have special touches throughout. Because the venue already was a great space, with uplighting and high ceilings, it was easy to add our own touches without going overboard.
We had amazing custom acrylic signs by Katy Ackerman from Lewes Lettering Co. who I found on Etsy – they were at the ceremony and then brought in to the entrance of the reception. She made a huge “it was always you sign” that was such a cool piece!
Other creative touches were all the DIY we did, between the welcome signs, welcome bags, programs, seating chart and the menu cards.
I had help from a friend who is a wiz with Photoshop and she was able to use the design from our invites to help me create all the little touches. I also think our “guest book” was a cute and different idea. We got postcards from a few of the places we’ve lived the last two years and instead of having guests write well wishes in a book, we had them write postcards to us.
Pete’s mom has been slowly sending them to us in our first few months of marriage. It’s fun mail to get and reminds us of our big day!
Advice to couples currently planning their wedding
The best advice I could give to another bride is the same reminder I would give myself: no one will know what you don’t give them. There are so, so, so many options when planning a wedding, so many added things you can do besides just feeding people and having a ceremony. Honestly, it can get overwhelming and I see why people stress out, because I definitely had moments of stress. But then I (or Pete, more likely) would remind me that no one at the wedding knows about all the options we could have had, just the options we chose for our big day. That kept my spending, and my stress, in check!
Gillian & Pete’s little white book
Photography — Blaise Szallasi
Videography — Wise Films
Venue — Ballroom at Ellis Preserve
Bride’s dress – Tara Keely purchased at Castle Couture
Bridesmaids — Adrianna Papell, BHLDN and Hayley Paige Occasions
Hair + Makeup – Samantha White
Flowers — Love Bug Unique
DJ – JSV Entertainment
Cake – Termini Brothers
Invitation – Wedding Paper Divas
Acrylic signs – Lewes Lettering Co
Rabbi – Rabbi Bradley Bleefeld
Wedding cinematographer says
Lovely wedding. Great pictures and really nice film! Congratulations!