Due to our busy schedule and the demands of J’s job, we missed out on a lot of the traditional wedding planning activities together. Completing our registry, wine tasting, food tasting, cake tasting, choosing the tuxedos, and meeting with the venue and church were all things I did with the help of my mom and MIL. Those women deserve gold stars for being my stand-in groom most of the year! I am so thankful they were willing to help me so much.
Most of my planning with J consisted of him coming home after a long day at work and me attempting to run things by him before he fell asleep!! It was difficult to plan a wedding this way and it made me a little sad we couldn’t enjoy these things that so many couples share together. But I completely understand he’s busy and I’m so supportive of him.I think that’s why we wanted this last piece of our wedding to be a cherished activity together… We were adamant that we should be able to sit down and enjoy our wedding photos together. As a couple. Before we sent them out to friends and family.
I picked out two photos to send framed to our moms for Mother’s Day, but other than that they’ve been sitting here waiting for us to have the time to review them! J and I sat down for three hours this weekend and so far we’ve gotten through 1/3 of our photos (and then he fell asleep). But… I insisted that I be able to post this little section of photos for you since I’m so behind!
I’ve had a couple questions asking if we’re allowing any magazines or wedding blogs to publish our photos. I didn’t mind it so much since a lot of my life has been public for a long time, but it made J uncomfortable and we ultimately decided that our event was private and should be ours to share. I think we will allow The Breakers
to publish some photos since we love them so much and they were a huge part of how wonderful and special our day was.
The Night Before
After the rehearsal dinner the night before, I spent some time with J… We looked out over the ocean together on the balcony in my bridal suite. We went downstairs and practiced our first dance in his suite. Were we really going to do this? Were we going to take this crazy leap together? Eloping began to sound fantastic around 12 AM.
I had felt calm and relaxed with our family and wedding party earlier at the wedding rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner… But finally the nerves were starting to set in. I spent time with my parents in their room and I remember feeling as if I wanted to sink into their couch with the ocean waves crashing outside and let someone else deal with the next day. Would everything go right? Would our guests enjoy everything? I couldn’t think about it all… I was so anxious.
I went to my room, called J, text my girlfriends, and I finally fell asleep about 3 AM.
Our Day Begins
I woke up at 6 AM and felt so happy… Until I saw my face in the mirror. My midnight nerves had gotten the best of my skin and I was broken out and red. As I showered I tried to stay calm… But the tears came. My poor skin looked as irritated and angry as I felt. When my makeup team arrived at 7 AM, I was in tears and my hair (extensions included) was still dripping wet.
In May 2013, we stayed at The Breakers for a week to do engagement photos, hair and makeup trials, and take blog photos. It was during that week I met Tatjana Terzic of Looking Like A Star
and I instantly knew I had found my makeup artist and hairstylist for the wedding. A stunning person inside and out, Tatjana is such a calming influence. She’s professional and serene and whenever she’s around I instantly feel my worries subside and I find myself completely trusting her expertise and artistry. I’ve never seen a makeup artist or hairstylist do work the way Tatjana does… She is a true artist!
I put on my ivory lace robe
and she sat me down in a chair in front of the mirrored wall in my suite. “Calm down, it’s just stress… And if you relax your skin will improve. I can fix it,” she said in her soothing voice. I felt myself relax a little as she and her assistant began blow-drying my hair. Another makeup artist and hairstylist began setting up their stations.
I had planned for my “personal attendant” to come and take photos on my personal camera and my iPhone throughout the day. But honestly, the idea of one more person in the suite seemed more stressful than helpful. These little things are easy ways you can cut stress out of your day without even realizing it… I just went with however I felt that day and it seemed to really help keep things calm.
My bridesmaids started arriving and seeing them made me feel completely calm and at ease. One of them had given me the idea of these silly “BLPD” tees I had made by CustomInk
. They were in a police department design and had their title written across the back. Theirs were pink and I had a white one made for myself. Just seeing them parade in with their shirts, yoga pants, and the crystal flip-flops
I had given them the day before put a huge smile on my face.
Once they got in the suite, I had custom hangers
and little pink robes with lace trim
waiting for them to change into. We had tables with brunch items like yogurt, fresh fruit, pastries, and muffins sent up to the room for breakfast. They brought along tables of drinks, coffee, sodas, ice buckets, and champagne. My friends had all written me the sweetest notes and letters for me to read on my special day. We made sure I read them before I had my makeup done so I didn’t ruin it with any sentimental tears. One of my bridesmaids put on the playlist we listened to before her wedding. It was the sweet, sentimental part of wedding prep… The calm before the storm, if you will.
Although professional makeup artists can be pricey, I felt it was worth it to make sure my bridesmaids and I all had a similar look for photos and makeup that would last all day and into the night. I wanted to give them a pampered beauty experience that morning and it was so fun to watch them be transformed into glamazons! My mother and aunt joined us, and it really was a great experience for me to get to see them made up as they usually don’t wear much makeup. Everyone looked stunning.
I knew I wanted my hair half up and out of my face for photos. The smallest amount of wind can send hair across my face and I didn’t want to hassle with it during photos. I almost always curl my hair and I wanted soft, romantic curls for my wedding day. I trusted a Florida hairstylist to know how to deal with humidity, even in the mild February temperatures.
I secured my hair with a beautiful hairpiece from Bacio Bacio Bridal
my wedding planner’s assistant drove 40 miles for the morning of my wedding. I was so thankful for her! I loved the way it looked in my hair.
My makeup artist used an airbrush foundation to get the soft, flawless look she and her team created for everyone. On me, she created a dramatic eye look with neutral colors, sweeping black liner, and individually applied false lashes. Pink cheeks and a rose lip gave the look a romantic feel.
I will do a separate video and post about what I wore for my wedding day and all the details. For now, I’ll just tell you about the MOB and the bridesmaids.
My mother wore a selection of her own jewelry. Her beautiful rose gold dress with embellishments was made by the designer Rene Ruiz and sold and customized by Dimitra’s Bridal
in Chicago. She wore shoes by Rene Caovilla
. Her hair was a modernized low updo with volume on the top. For makeup, Tatjana created an elegant version of a smoky eye that accented my mother’s blue eyes and completed the look with a soft rose gold lip.
The bridesmaids wore floor-length blush pink crinkle chiffon Amsale dresses
(style G782C) I gave to them as gifts. They also wore the Nadri jewelry
I gave them the day before at the bridal luncheon
. I asked that they wear whatever shoes feel most comfortable to them, as long as they were gold or champagne. Standing in heels all day is exhausting and being comfortable is more important than being matchy-matchy… I wanted each girl to wear the heel height they preferred and I told them they could change into the crystal flip-flops I gave them as soon as the ceremony was over if they wanted.
I asked the bridesmaids how they wanted their hair and we all thought updos might look best since most of my hair would be down. One of the bridesmaids chose a look that morning and we went with it! It was a low updo with volume at the top and a sideswept side. They had soft makeup with smoky eyes accented with shades of pink and purple and a pink-nude lip.
My mom treated us to mani-pedis the morning of the bridal luncheon and used OPI’s “Bubble Bath” for a polish color on both nails and toes. Since some of my nails were broken the nail tech applied short acrylic nails to even them out.
Our flowers were done by The Breakers Design Studio
. I chose them because I liked having a florist that was used to the venue and located on the premises. I was so happy with their work and each time we did a conference call or mock-ups I felt they understood my vision perfectly. They created the most classic, timeless fairytale look for our wedding.
The Maid and Matron of Honor carried bouquets with brighter pink peonies for a pop of color and the rest of the bridesmaids carried bouquets with the white and pale pink color palette my bridal bouquet had. We wrapped the girls bouquets with their little custom handkerchiefs
I gave them at the bridal luncheon
. We had a little white rose flower ball made for the flower girl.
My bouquet was in the same white and pale pink color palette as my bridesmaids. I wanted lots of beautiful, romantic roses with delicate white feathers giving the bouquet a soft texture. My bouquet was accented with Lily of the Valley – one of my favorite flowers and one my maternal grandmother loved as well. It also happens to be J’s fraternity flower, so I thought it was a beautiful way to incorporate him into my bouquet.
Suddenly everything went from 20 MPH to 100. Our photographer, who had been shooting details quietly in the back bedroom of the suite with her assistants, came into the main room and began to direct us. Soon, staff from The Breakers swept in to take away our brunch tables.
There are a couple people I want to mention that I couldn’t have lived without on our wedding day. The first, an energetic woman named Penny from The Breakers. Penny was our personal assistant for the day and she was incredible. She helped us the entire duration of our wedding. But getting ready… Penny was there to hold items for me, straighten my veil, make sure I had water, and to carry my train. As soon as I saw Penny I felt at ease because I knew she understood The Breakers wedding process inside and out… And she would make sure everything was operating smoothly.
The second lifesaver that day was Lisette from Bless the Dress. She breezed in quietly, this beautiful woman with a polished and professional personality. Immediately she cleaned my rings for photos and began to steam my bridesmaids’ dresses. She tied the groomsmen’s bowties. She tied our bows and she repaired any failed zippers or rips. She carried an incredible kit with mints, deodorant, hairspray, and lip gloss and kept me and the entire wedding party touched up and refreshed throughout the entire day. She even stayed through the reception to help me into my second dress. Her sweet personality made me feel taken care of and relaxed… She was like a wedding day Mary Poppins.
Last Moments in the Suite
I saw a sneak peek of my dad just long enough to send him down to J’s suite with my personal vows I had written for him and a little gift… Custom-engraved cufflinks from Tiffany. We chose to recite traditional vows during our ceremony, but we wrote each other personal vows in little vow journals we exchanged. J sent up the vows he wrote for me and his wedding gift to me – a beautiful pair of diamond earrings.
I had given my mom and MIL their gifts the previous day at our bridal luncheon, but I gave my mom an engraved locket with tiny photos of John and myself to remember her day as MOB. She helped me with my veil and loaned me some family heirlooms to wear on my wedding day. I’m so close to my mom and it was so sentimental to go through all our wedding experiences with her for the past year. Seeing her so beautiful in her dress and knowing how important she had been to me during the planning process felt so emotional… Everything had come full-circle.
I gave my dad engraved “Father of the Bride” cufflinks I had made for him, along with a custom handkerchief and a special note. I just looked at my dad in his tux and I kept thinking how he would be walking down the aisle in an hour or so. I was so thankful to have those moments with him… My dad can have such a calming presence, it just felt nice to be there with him.
More than anything, my heart was aching to see J. I wanted to see him waiting for me at the end of the aisle and I couldn’t wait to see what he thought of my dress. He had sent flowers to my room that day and a sweet text message, letting me know how excited he was for our day. I felt like there were a thousand butterflies in my heart and stomach!
Someone from The Breakers came to get the bridesmaids’ bags and bring them down to the bridal green room (a perk of a Breakers wedding). They had a small room stocked with food and drinks near the reception ballroom for the wedding party and vendors. The wedding party’s things would be safe in the room until it was time for them to leave after the reception.
Then we were on the move… Tulle and flowers and cameras were moving down the hallways to the lobby of The Breakers for outdoor photos. J and I didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony, so my bridesmaids, parents, and I had to be sneaky taking photos while he and our guests headed out on the trolleys for the church.
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