Well, it’s been three months since Stephen and I got married, so I guess it’s time for a wedding recap 🙂 Ah, I don’t even really know where to start but I will say that overall it was genuinely the happiest day of my life. I know, I know. That’s super cliché. But, its true!
We got married on June 4th 2017 (a Sunday) in Wilmington, NC at Wrightsville Manor. This is a (wedding) venue that opened last year. When we originally saw it, it was still somewhat of a work in progress but we pretty much immediately knew that this is where we wanted to be married. We knew we wanted a venue that has a great indoor and outdoor space with lots of natural light. And well, you’ll see in the photos below why this space was perfect! So, I’m going to go ahead and walk you guys through our wedding day. So let’s do this! 🙂
The weather was seriously perfect the day of the wedding (thank God)! Wrightsville Manor had a bridal suite attached so my bridesmaids and I got ready there for the day while the boys got ready at a nearby hotel.
I’ll show you guys more details of the dress as this post continues, but I want to talk about the top piece of my dress for a minute! My dress is two pieces as you may know. The top was basically made up of a really sheer overlay with tiny pearls, beads, and sequins sewn into it. It was gorgeous but SO fragile! At my last fitting, my one sister Jane (who was my MOH) suggested that they sew extra around the straps because we were worried they might break off haha. That may be a little dramatic, BUT you never know! Needless to say, it was very delicate but I loved it–it was so unique. And I love that I can re-wear it as a regular top! First anniversary maybe? Also, my dress is by the company Watters. The two pieces are from their lines Wtoo and Willowby Watters.
As we were finishing getting ready, the boys showed up and started taking photos behind the venue where the ceremony space was.
For the guys, Stephen and I decided on grey slacks, a white button down, and then black suspenders and shoes. Then we opted for pale pink bowties to match the bridesmaid dress shades. As far as the boutonnieres, we decided only Stephen would wear one. I told him, it’s not prom, we don’t need everyone in boutonnieres LOL.
After the guys finished their photos, they went into the main part of the venue where the reception would be held. The girls and I snuck out the back and then took all our photos as well. For my bridesmaids, I wanted everyone to pick out their own style and color dress–with parameters of course! But I wanted everyone to feel comfortable in their dress, spend what they wanted to spend, etc. So, I just I told everyone that their dress should be floor length and then gave several color schemes to choose from. Basically, my sister Jane and I picked out about 50 dresses that we liked and felt could pair well together. We then sent out this list to all the girls and had them pick their top 5 and add any other dress they found that they wanted to wear. We then picked one of the dresses from each of their list ensuring that all the colors and styles worked well together. I personally absolutely loved how it turned out! What do you guys think? Do you like mixing and matching or when everyone wears the same?
Afterwards, it was time for Stephen and I to do our first look. We decided to do a first look, and all the family and wedding party photos prior to the ceremony, because we wanted everyone to be able to enjoy cocktail hour and just have fun after the ceremony was done! We didn’t want to get hung up taking a bunch of photos into the reception.
The first look was one of my favorite parts of the day. I love that Stephen and I just got to have a few moments together before the ceremony. I am not someone who is super emotional or sentimental, but I definitely cried during our first look (for the record, we both did 😉 )
As far as my hair and dress go. I knew I wanted to wear my hair half up. I didn’t want to wear it all the way down because I didn’t want to cover up all the details of my dress, but I also knew I wanted it to look a little more carefree and messy (so I didn’t want to put it all the way up). With that said, I also opted to do a fishtail braid. It just seemed like a perfect way to make it more of an “undone” look. My dress I got really lucky with. In the beginning, I knew I wouldn’t want something with a ton of sequins or rhinestones, and I thought I wanted something very form fitting, lace, open back, lower neckline. Ha. You can see that I clearly ended up with NONE of those things! I discovered this when I first tried on wedding dresses, and I stumbled across a Hayley Paige dress. I loved that the bottom was more fun (it was similar to the one above) but that the top was more simple (it was a lace top with an open criss cross back). I fell in love with but it was just a tad more than what I wanted to spend so I decided to keep looking. After going to about five other bridal boutiques though, nothing was quite measuring up to the Hayley Paige.
I then went to The Wedding Dress Shoppe in Wilmington one weekend and tried on several dresses…but still, nothing was quite doing the trick. Then, my amazing sales consultant was like, hold on…I may have exactly what you’re looking for (I had showed her the photo of the Hayley Paige). She brought into the dressing room the top and the skirt I’m wearing above. They were the last two in the store from a designer that they no longer carried. I tried on both pieces, and while they both needed to be taken in, I knew right away that it was exactly what I was looking for. It was perfect and literally half the cost of the Hayley Paige (since they were two discontinued items they were 50% off)! And honestly, the price was just a bonus. I fell in love with the dress right away and bought it immediately. The only changes I made to the dress was adding a thicker sash across the waist; this way my top would overlap with the skirt some and it would look more like a dress instead of two pieces. I didn’t care if people could tell it was two pieces–I actually loved that about the dress. But, I didn’t want it to look like a crop top in photos lol.
After we had our first look, we took a bunch of family photos and then some of the wedding party all together. At this point it was around 3:30pm and the ceremony was to start at 5pm.
Once all the group photos were done, it was time for the ceremony. I wasn’t nervous the entire day, but when we started lining up to walk down the aisle, I was so nervous. Honestly, I’m not an anxious or nervous person but ever since I fainted last summer (and landed on my face and broke my jaw…fun times!) whenever I get a little nervous it always gets 100x worse because then I get worried that I’ll faint again. Anyway, Stephen walked to the alter and the wedding party followed and then it was my dad and my turn. As soon as we walked outside, I lost it. Aka couldn’t stop crying lol. I even started making myself laugh because I knew if I didn’t pretty soon I’d be hysterically crying ha. There was just LOTS of emotions–all good ones. But just a lot lol. Also, as a side note, I remember that a lot of you guys gave us recommendations for songs to walk down the aisle to (THANK YOU)!!! We ended up playing the instrumental version of Without You by the Piano Guys. And then after we said our vows we walked out to Feel Again by One Republic.
As far as the actual ceremony, I was kind of a mess haha. I was so emotional (tears of joy) but also so worried that I was going to faint that I was so distracted when our officiate was speaking haha. The entire time I was just squeezing Stephen’s hands and taking deep breaths. Stephen was even supposed to say his vows first but I was getting so flustered that I needed something to focus on– so whispered to him during the ceremony, “Can I go first?!” Of course he said yes lol. Once I started saying my vows though I felt totally fine! I guess it was just a lot of build up to that point. Stephen and I wrote our own vows, and I think that actually is my favorite part of our wedding day. A lot of people later told us that everyone was crying in the audience while we were reading them lol, and Stephen and I both were too, so I’d say they were some pretty damn good vows 😉
After the ceremony ended (phew!) we headed into bridal suite to have a moment to ourselves (while everyone else went to cocktail hour). We were also then able to view the reception before everyone else entered. After doing this, we went back outside to the ceremony area (cocktail hour was being held on the opposite side of the building so we still had privacy) and took a few more photos. We then joined everyone for cocktail hour about 30 minutes later!
The rest of the night was pretty typical of that of a wedding! For our food, we had three stations set up so there was a variety of food. We did first dances, toasts, more dancing, cake cutting, bouquet and garter toss…and yeah! Everyone came up to us and said what an amazing wedding it was, and how it was one of the best weddings they had been to. So that was awesome to hear! Stephen and I really just wanted everyone to have a good time 🙂 Once the wedding was over, we did a sparkler exit and then had a car take us to a historic B&B in downtown Wilmington. Honestly, the entire day and night were perfect. If there were any “mess ups” I had no idea. Probably because our wedding planner Jana was INCREDIBLE! Seriously, if you get married in Wilmington or the surrounding area, use Jana at Design a Dream Events.
But yes, the entire night was incredible and I don’t think Stephen or I could have asked for anything better! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this post..I think it’s been my favorite that I’ve written so far 🙂 I’d love to hear what you guys think!! In particular, any advice on what photos we should frame? I’m having a hard time deciding!! Thanks for taking the time to read it xx Claire
*All photos by Scott Piner
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