Sometimes I think we forget that a wedding is about more than just the Bride and Groom. Weddings are also about two families coming together; the start of a new generation — but also about appreciating the older generation who have loved you and supported you through the good and the bad times.
Cheryl and Ernest’s wedding is a real celebration of that. Their chuppah (pictured above — and isn’t it one of the most beautiful you’ve ever clapped eyes on?) is the most meaningful and moving one I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen many! It’s a tribute to Cheryl’s mother who tragically passed away just as Cheryl and Ernest were embarking on their wedding planning, and it’s exquisitely made out of Cheryl’s mother’s clothes and other momentous pieces including her grandmother’s wedding dress and a shirt her mum had kept of her grandfather’s after he had died.
I also have to mention that they dreamed up a brilliant idea for their ‘conversation starter’ escort cards — scroll down to see what I’m talking about — in fact these two made sure that they spoilt their guests with little treats here and there throughout their entire celebration ensuring that everyone had a day to remember.
Enough of me, I’m going to hand over to our gorgeous Bride, Cheryl, and the fabulous images of Daniel C. Photography, and let you lovelies experience this heart-warming, life-affirming, hearty big day for yourselves.
A VENUE AND THEME THAT WAS PERSONAL TO US
Cheryl, the Bride: We were married at The Long Center in Austin, Texas. We chose The Long Center because it is directly across the street from where my husband and I met and spent most of our time together. The beautiful view of downtown Austin sure didn’t hurt either!
My husband is a little bit of a preppy frat boy and I am a little bit of an all natural, country girl, but we are both very laid back and simple, so I tried to incorporate who we are and what we love into our wedding using navy, green and grey as our main colour scheme.
A DRESS REMINISCENT OF FLOWER PETALS
The dress was actually one of the things that wasn’t super important to me but I did find something I loved. (You will have to forgive me, I don’t remember the designer and have already resold the dress) I was looking for something with a skirt that looked like flower petals and found it at Alfred Angelo Bridal.
I wore a diamond bracelet that was given to my grandmother by my grandfather on a special anniversary. I admired and loved this bracelet when I was a little girl. When my grandmother passed away it was given to my mother to give to me when I was older. When my mother passed away I was given all of her jewelry. My wedding day was the first and only time I have worn that bracelet and I loved having a little piece of them both with me that day.
‘GIVING SOMETHING BACK’ WITH MY WEDDING SHOES
My shoes were a navy blue satin pair of Tom’s flats that I bought from Nordstrom. I wear Tom’s a lot and thought this was a good representation of myself and also…my husband is my height so I didn’t want to be taller than him in all the pictures! I liked the idea of my shoes being about giving something back (each pair of Tom’s flats purchased gives shoes to a child in need) versus an expensive pair of heels that I would probably never wear again.
HAIR + MAKE-UP
My husband really likes my hair down so during the ceremony I wore it all down with a loose curl. I have had the same hair dresser since moving to Austin who happens to be a dear friend named Jennifer Cruz and she did my hair before the ceremony and then put it up for me for the reception with a loose twist and orchids so I could enjoy the September Austin heat a little easier while dancing. My make up was done by Maris Calderon who is a local make-up artist. I went with more of an all natural look since I usually don’t wear make up on a regular basis and didn’t want to look like someone else on my wedding day.
THE HANDSOME GROOM
The Groom wore a grey suit from Vera Wang, a navy gingham tie I had made for him with a little red heart stitched on the back side and one of his groomsmen’s white shirts from the rehearsal dinner the night before. Mmmmhmmm. When he got the shirt that was supposed to go under his suit he didn’t realise it was a shirt for a bow tie, not a tie until he was getting dressed. This is why the groom should always try on his suit before the wedding day! Thank goodness for same size groomsmen.
I had four bridesmaids and two maids of honour (my two childhood best friends), they were paired up and each pair wore a matching navy blue, knee length sun dress with a pair of grey Tom’s wedges (I had one special needs bridesmaid who wore grey sandals that worked better for her feet). Our wedding was outside in the summer so I wanted them all to be comfortable.
Also, my bridesmaids were all different heights and sizes so one style would not have worked for everyone and I wanted everyone to feel their best. The groomsmen wore navy gingham shirts from J. Crew with their initials monogrammed on the sleeve, which we gave them as a gift, and the same grey suit as the groom.
*Side note: One of my bridesmaids (my husband’s sister) found out she could not come to the wedding two days before due to pregnancy complications. Everything turned out ok though and I have a healthy beautiful nephew, I was just down one bridesmaid.
AN UNEXPECTED BUT VERY SPECIAL CEREMONY, 4 DAYS BEFORE THE ACTUAL WEDDING
My Dad was put in the hospital due to a pulmonary embolism 4 days before our wedding, so he missed it. Luckily we are living in a great time for technology so the groom’s cousin was elected official iPad holder and followed the wedding (and rehearsal dinner) using Skype so my Dad could watch it live from his hospital bed. I am not sure how much more individual and special you get than that.
When we found out my Dad wasn’t going to be able to make it to the wedding, my husband knew how important it was to me to have at least one of my parents see me get married, so he suggested we travel the 6 hours to my Dad and get married in his hospital room by the local JP. So that is what we did. When the nurses on his floor at the hospital found out what we were doing they spent all of their free time planning their own little wedding and we ended up getting married in the chapel downstairs under an arbor they had put together along with a bouquet of beautiful flowers and a wedding cake someone had made for us all in less than 24 hours. We had our first dinner as husband and wife with my Dad in his room and then went back to Austin for our pre-planned wedding festivities happening the next day. My older brother walked me down the aisle and I did the father daughter dance with my new father in law. My Dad was released from the hospital 6 days later.
A CHUPPAH IN TRIBUTE TO MY MOTHER
I got engaged to my husband in August of 2011 and we started planning in September and set our date for September 2nd the following year. A few months later on December 18th my parents went to a concert in Dallas for their anniversary and when they got back to their hotel that night and went to bed my mother had a heart attack at some point in her sleep and passed away. She was healthy and only 53 years old, so this was very unexpected and we were all in a state of shock.
I used planning the wedding as a way to distract me from all the chaos and sadness in my life but I also knew that my mother would have wanted me to forge on. She had been waiting for this wedding since the day I was born. I was very close to my mum and she was a very large part of mine and my husband’s lives, so we both wanted her to be a large part of our wedding.
The chuppah was the focal point of our ceremony and was a tribute to my mother. The chuppah canopy is a quilt that was made by my maid of honour’s mother out of clothes I collected from my mother’s closet. She never threw anything away so I gathered clothes from her whole life: those I remembered her wearing most throughout my childhood, those that I had just gone shopping with her to pick out months before she died, a dress she had worn to a high school dance with my dad and things my grandmother had made her. The canopy also has small pieces from my grandparents that have passed including my grandmother’s wedding dress and a shirt my mum had kept of my grandfather’s after he had died. The trellis that the canopy was attached to was covered in wild flowers, which were my mom’s favourite flowers. Sonya, the woman who made the canopy surprised us and stitched our names and wedding date in the middle of the canopy along with a phrase in Hebrew that says “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”
MUSIC FOR THE CEREMONY
I walked down to Patty Griffin’s Heavenly Day. I have always loved that song, and the lyrics fit very well with what my husband and I had been through over the last several months.
NATURAL-LOOKING GREEN AND WHITE FLOWERS
We used Prive Florist which was recommended by CLINK, our awesome event planners I couldn’t have survived without. My bouquet as well as the bridesmaid’s bouquets and all the flowers used throughout were a mix of white and green floral to compliment the all natural look I was going for. The wild flowers on the chuppah were the exception of the all green and white scheme. We used different centrepieces for each table, some with branches and tea lights, some with three sets of different flowers, it was a mix of tall and short pieces depending on the table.
Our guest book was a wooden puzzle shaped like a tree, each guest was asked to sign a piece, we now have the puzzle framed and up in our house. We also had a grey sign at our entrance which was a gift for the groom. It was a subway art sign with words, dates and phrases that were a part of our relationship.
Our escort cards were a conversation starter. Guests pulled their card from a navy blue window shutter provided by our florist and on the back of their card was a question about us. For example: “Where did Cheryl and Ernest get engaged?” At the bottom in small print it said please find the answer at table 7. Each table had a different name, so table 7’s name was “Spain” It was a fun way for the guests to share their seating cards during cocktail hour to see the other questions and try and figure out the answers before they got to their tables.
OUR AMAZING PHOTOGRAPHER
The photographer we had originally planned to go with ended up having surgery and was not able to shoot our wedding, but thankfully Danny Brod with Daniel C. Photography came through and captured our wedding in a way we could have never imagined. He did such an amazing job. He also did a photo booth set up for us that everyone loved using and produced some really fun pictures of the guests. He was also a recommendation from Clink.
Our cake was very small because we just wanted something to cut but it was a tres leches cake and the design on the cake was supposed to be similar to the design of my wedding dress . We had a whole dessert table full of other treats made by Michelle’s Patisserie as well as a chocolate fountain from The Chocolate Cup with special things to dip, which was a surprise for my groom who feared his bride thought a chocolate fountain at a wedding was too tacky and messy!
Sterling Affairs did all of our catering for our passed appetisers during cocktail hour as well as our seated dinner. Everything was amazing and I am still getting compliments on the food.
Juice was our band, and they did a fabulous job of keeping the dance floor hopping. They were also recommended by our event planner. We wanted a live band that would play a variety of music (including songs like Living on a Prayer, Let’s Stay Together and Od Yishama) and keep people dancing all night long. We also wanted them to play a little during the cocktail hour so they set up a small three-man band and played.
The groom LOVES marshmallows and S’mores and I love cheesecake so I found a shop on Etsy that made us huge gourmet marshmallows and packaged them in pairs as favours for people to take as they were leaving, one S’mores and one Cheesecake. The groom also loves a good cigar now and then so we also had a cigar rolling bar for people to have a cigar made to take home or to enjoy during the reception.
TACOS FOR THE HOTEL GUESTS
This wasn’t during the actual wedding, but Ernest and I loved walking down to this little breakfast taco place on Saturday mornings, picking up tacos and eating them in bed so the morning of the wedding we had tacos delivered from our favourite place to the hotel where all the guests were. The groomsmen delivered a bag to each guest in their room with two tacos per guest and orange juice and a small bottle of champagne for mimosas so they could relax and recover from the rehearsal dinner the night before.
ADVICE TO OTHER BRIDES
Use a wedding planner, even if it is just for the day of. It is a large expense, but it pays off in the end. I received so many good vendor recommendations from them and having them there the day of was worth every penny and more. I didn’t have to worry about anything (like my groom not having a shirt and one of the groomsmen forgetting their tie) I was just escorted from one thing to the next, didn’t have to clean up or worry about what to do. After the days we had leading up to the wedding, not to mention the months before, it was so wonderful just to be able to enjoy the day. Not to mention it was so great to have people to bounce my ideas off of and steer me in the right direction when I couldn’t make a decision and reassure me when I was doubting my choices. Not to mention in most cases you can get a discount from vendors depending on the planner you use and that can help balance the cost.
CHERYL + ERNEST’S LITTLE WHITE BOOK
Photography — Daniel C. Photography
Wedding design and coordination — CLINK
Venue —The Long Center
Bride’s dress — Alfred Angelo Bridal
Shoes — Tom’s flats from Nordstrom
Groom’s suit — Vera Wang
Floral — Prive
Catering — Sterling Affairs
Bakery — Michelle’s Patisserie
Lighting — Intelligent Lighting Design
Make-up Artist — Maris Calderon
Hair Stylist — Jennifer Cruz
Rentals and Linens — Marquee Rents
Band — Juice
Desert/Chocolate Fountain — The Chocolate Cup
Cigar Roller — Bobalu Cigar Co.
Exit Vehicle — Easy Rider
Videographer — Crescent Video