We chose to have a destination wedding in Asheville, NC at the Biltmore Estate. We live in NJ and only had family and a few close family friends, 22 people. The location at Biltmore we picked for the ceremony and reception dinner was their winery cellar.
The day was amazing! We set up all the candles and decor for the ceremony at 9AM, my hair and makeup appt was for 11AM - my mom and a close family friend also had their hair and makeup done (no bridal party) so we weren't done until like 1PM.
After getting back to the Inn on the Estate everyone got ready (Vinny got ready in my parents room - I didn't see him until the "reveal") and the photog arrived around 2:45PM for the pics of the dress hanging and me putting it on.
Then we went down to a large patio off the side of the Inn where there's a really nice view of the mountains and the photog had me go down a flight of stairs where they turned sharp right to another small flight. I stood along the wall where they turned and Vinny was told to walk along the edge of the stairs down toward the photog. He then rounded the corner and saw me for the first time then. It was amazing!! Everything I hoped for!
After that we did our formal pictures with family and then just us until getting back to the Inn around 4:45PM to freshen up before the horse and carriage picked my Father and I up to go down to the ceremony.
The Day In Pictures
I got dressed in our room with my mom and a close family friend.
Next we headed down to some stairs off the hotels patio for the big reveal!
After the reveal pics we headed out for the formal pics with our families then just us.
With my parents and brother....
Just me and DH (Vinny)
Bouquet and Dress Detail
The Horse-Drawn Carriage that took my Father and I to the Ceremony
The Ceremony :)
The cocktail hour and reception dinner took place in the same location about an hour later...
The Cake (I had to do something Halloween-related since we got married on 10/31!)
For our tables I chose a chocolate brown satin pintuck linen with gold chiavari chairs and a natural branch centerpiece. The chargers were gold and silver and the placecards I made were at every seat with pashminas on every female guests chair.
In thinking back on the day and talking with guests, we were going over and trying to remember all the little details that made the night even more special. Here are what I could remember:
The candles.....there's something to be said for a stone wine cellar lined along the perimeter with candles. All in all I ended up buying and using over 100 candles of different sizes!
The chair signs: I made chair signs for both the ceremony and reception that said mother of the bride, father of the bride, mother of the groom, father of the groom, and for our seats at the reception dinner, Mr. and Mrs.
The Programs: I made the programs into cootie catchers. The contained a bunch of info and you had to fold the cootie catcher open to read everything. They were a pretty big hit.
Pashmina's: I got Pahmina's really cheap on ebay and had one sitting on the chair at every female's placesetting.
The Cider: while the guests were waiting at the winery for my Father and I to arrive in the horse-drawn carriage (my mom wanted everyone to see us arrive so the guests waiting uptop then were escorted down the cellar) we had the staff serve hot cider. Apparantly it was pretty good!
The Placecards & Holders: I made the placecards on my computer, cut them smaller and attached them to a different color background cardstock, purchased a spierweb stamp and stamped all of them. That and the cake were really the only Halloween-themed things I did. I ordered the corks online, hot glued them together and cut a slit in the top for the cards to fit in. Here's ours:
Welcome Bags: I put together OOT welcome bags since every one of our guests was from out of town (including us - DW). Here's the labels I made and me putting them together before the welcome dinner the night before.
Our Parents Pics: His parents didn't even have a formal wedding picture because she was 6 months preggers when they got married and back then everyone was I guess ashamed of that. My parents had one but it was pretty damaged. I found an online site that does photo manipulation and restoration. I had my parents photo completely restored and we found a snapshot of his parents standing with 2 other people the day of the wedding - the company edited out the 2 other people, centered his parents behind a different background, and enlarged it to 8x10. His Mom cried and his Dad said "holy shit" 4 or 5 times in a row when they saw it.
The Ceremony & Readings: We totally wrote the ceremony from various examples I found online and his sister and mother as well as my mom all did readings. His sister did a reading we wrote about the signifigance of Halloween to us, his mom read an excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit and my mom read an excerpt from Captain Corelli's Mandolin.
The Champagne Flowers: I got these flowers off of Amazon.com that go in the bottom of champagne glasses before the champagne is poured in. They were really cool!
The Caricaturist: I hired a caricaturist and he was awesome! He walked around the tables during the cocktail hour and part of dinner (about 2 hours) and did caricatures of every single guest! I ordered shipping tubes, spraypainted them and put ribbon and a "thank you" charm attached to them and had those for the guests to take them home in. I didn't tell anyone ahead of time - he was a big hit!
Our guitarist, James (Jim) Barr from Asheville was amazing! The nicest man and, although I could not have believed it, sounded ten times better in person than on his website! He played during our ceremony and cocktail hour.
Our First Dance:
Currently by Keaton Simons
Me and Dad:
I Loved Her First by Heartland
Him and his Mom:
Through the Years by Kenny Rogers
Some IPOD Playlist Highlights from our Reception Dinner:
- At Last ~ Etta James
- You're my Best Freind ~ Queen
- This Magic Moment ~ The Drifters
- Love and Marriage ~ Frank Sinatra
- Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman ~ Bryan Adams
- Grow Old with You ~ Adam Sandler
- Come Away with Me ~ Nora Jones
- Kiss the Girl ~ Disney (from the little mermaid)
- Somewhere Over the Rainbow ~ Israel K
- I Cross my Heart ~ George Straight
- Cupid ~ Sam Cooke
- Just a Gigolo ~ Louis Prima
- I Can't Help Falling in Love with You ~ UB40
- Everything ~ Michael Buble
- Me and Mrs. Jones ~ Billy Paul
- That's Amore ~ Dean Martin
- Crazy Little Thing Called Love ~ Queen
- I'm Yours ~ Jason Mraz
- Someone Like You ~ Van Morrison
- Moon River ~ Andy Williams
- My Girl ~ The Tempations
- Save The Last Dance for Me ~ Michael Buble
We held the rehearsal dinner for every guest invited since it was a small destination wedding in Asheville, NC. The place we chose was called "The Fiddlin' Pig" and it was so much fun! We had family style dinner and they have a bluegrass band that plays every night on stage. I thought a version of BBQ was appropriate for the rehearsal since NC is kinda know for their BBQ!
Here's some pics:
Vinny and his older sister
Vinny and his mom
My dad on the right and FIL on the left.
My mom giving a little speech explaining her gift to us - a painting she did that she felt embodied the reading I chose for her that she read during our ceremony. It was really cool!
All of us!
Here are the three readings we chose to have read by his sister, mother, and my mom during the ceremony.
First Reading - on Halloween
Read by his sister Crissy
There are some dates that may appeal to one bride and groom but not another. Perhaps one can only imagine saying your vows on the third Saturday in June. Or a in a winter wonderland .As we all know for Jess and Vinny, that day is Halloween.
In the ancient Celtic traditions, some believe that October 31st was the more important Celtic festival, marking the beginning of a whole new cycle, just as the Celtic day began at night. For it was understood that in dark silence comes whisperings of new beginnings, and the stirring of the seed below the ground.
All Hallows' Eve is a time between times. All laws of time and space are suspended for the evening. The veil between the two worlds is at its thinnest on this night. The Evil of the night is kept at bay by fashioned masks bearing unholy traits while candles are lit so the spirits may find the family and friends they left behind. This night also inaugurates the cold season and is a celebration of the Life which never dies, just as the love that is felt between Jessica and Vincent.
Second Reading - Velevteen Rabbit Excerpt
Read by his mom Carol
What is real? asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room.
Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?
Real isn't how you are made, said the Skin Horse.
It's a thing that happens to you.
When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but really loves you, then you become real.
Does it hurt? Asked the Rabbit.
Sometimes, said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful.
When you are real you don't mind being hurt.
Does it happen all at once, like being wound up, he asked, or bit by bit?
It doesn't happen all at once, said the Skin Horse.
You become, it takes a long time.
That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.
Generally, by the time you are real, most of your hair has been loved off,
and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby.
But these things don't matter at all; because once you are real you can't be ugly, except to the people who don't understand.
Third Reading - Captain Corelli's Mandolin Excerpt
Read by my mom Chris
Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to
make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises
of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each
other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your root was so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being in love, which any fool can do. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.
So originally I was planning on ordering my invitations but thanks to all the DIY women on this site I was inspired to DIY a lot of things for the wedding, including the invitations. I ordered the chocolate brown "Perfetto" 6x6 pocketfolds from www.cardsandpockets.com as well as the apple green backing layer behind the main invitation.
I found a brown and green damsk picture online, saved it to my computer, then changed it to black and white.
I inserted the damask into a powerpoint file and made the page the size I needed for each invite component and entered the info specific to that insert. I included: the RSVP card, a direction card, info about the welcome dinner and farewell brunch, a day-of timeline, and a map of the area. Here they are all finished:
We sent these out to all our guests and our vendors, they were made on VistaPrint.com. I had a group photo site through Shutterfly and made cards at the wedding instructing guests to upload pics there. Once I got my pro pics on CD I uploaded them there as well. The cards listed the website so people could see the pro and non-pro pics!
Since the timing worked out, I also sent out photo Christmas cards from Shutterfly to all our extended family and friends that couldn't make it to the wedding - I put wedding pics on it and the photo website with password.
I gave these to my parents the morning of the wedding:
I gave this one to my Mom.
And gave this one to my Dad.
Here's the link to our on-line map via weddingmapper and below is some instructions as to how I made the one I put in our invitations.
I copied the initial map two different ways and found both to be pretty easy. I made the final map in Power Point.
- First either make your on-line map in weddingmapper or zoom in on your location in Google maps.
- Make sure the map is centered in the screen exactly how you want it and take a snapshot of the screen by hitting the "print screen" button. On some PC's you have to hold down the "ALT" button first then hit print screen - on my laptop the button says "prt sc"
- Open up Power Point and set your page size to what you want by going under File>Page Setup>then adjust the height and width.
- Paste the screenshot into your file by holding down the control key "ctrl" then hitting the letter V. You can also right-click and select Paste.
- Crop and enlarge/shrink the image as you want. If you are including an area in a circle - like a zoomed-in area just go back to the original map you copied from and zoom in how far you want then follow steps above.
- Put the zoom in area where you want it in reference to the larger map.
- You can now outline the smaller map and add a line from it to the larger map.
- To trace the roads I used Insert>Pictures>Autoshapes and used the straight and curved lines to trace over the roads I wanted there on the final version. This is the PIA part IMO - the easiest way I found to move the lines around easier was to right-click them and choose "Edit Points" that creates smaller boxes at each end of the line and it is easier to move it very small, precise amounts that way.
- When all the roads you want on the map are drawn then right-click the map and delete it.
- I then used the Autoshapes menu to add in circles and so-forth to label roads.
Our Hallo-Themed Cake!
For the topper, I ordered the figures separately through an online shop, I then cut out a circle of wood, hot glued the figures so that they could "hold hands", glued the hands together, then took apart fake hydrangea flowers, folded each individual petal in half and glued them one by one all over the base. I found the tree as a separate piece you could buy for a Halloween village and hot glued that to the base as well.
Here's a few other DIY things I did for the wedding:
Cake Topper - I ordered the figurines from the WBShop online, attached them to a round wooden plaque, hot glued in a few key places then hot glued on all the little red flowers individually. The flowers are a fake hydrangea pulled apart and each petal folded on itself then glued like that.
These are the chair signs I made for our seats at the reception dinner. Just different colors of cardstock, ribbon from Michael's and glue.
These are my favorite things I made - I downloaded a sample Cootie Catcher/Fortune Teller off the web, saved it into PowerPoint and modified it for my own use. I inserted a black border around the edge so that when printed I would know exactly where to cut. These are sized at 8.5"x8.5" but the page size can be changed down to 6"x6" for smaller ones.
I also sent out two newsletters to our guests since we're having a Destination Wedding - here's the second one:
Oh - and my bathroom baskets:
Here are some websites I used during planning and DIY-ing that I found helpful.
Interactive Seating Chart:
Create a free account and you can save your guest-list then play with different table sizes and move guests around to figure out where to seat everyone.
Cheap Wine Corks:
Hibiscus Flowers for Champagne Glasses:
I LOVE these! They come in a jar and you put one flower in the bottom of each champagne glass then pour the champagne over them - they look soooo cool. There is only one company to get them from (see website above) and they are in Australia - but I got mine off of www.amazon.com - the shipping was cheaper and it was the exact same product, same company.
I bought these for my guests to take home their caricatures in - spray painted them brown and put satin ribbon around them.
Polaroid Guest Book:
Personalized Isle Runner, Banners, Ect:
Great site! I used them to have our parents wedding photos re-touched. His parents didn't have a photo from the wedding day (long story) so FI and I found one from the wedding day but there were 2 people in the pic with them - sent it in to phojoe and they edited out the extra 2 people, changed the background and enlarged it for us.
Fancy Font Downloads:
Wedding Wall "Graffiti":
Peel and stick personalizable vinyl letters and sayings for walls.
Well here it is - the entire ceremony all written by Vinny and I (well, mostly me). His brother in law Wolf performed the ceremony.
Jessica and Vincent welcome you, their family and friends. Each of you has given something of yourself into their lives. It is fitting then that you share in this celebration of their commitment to each other and to their lives joined in marriage.
All of you are the most important, and have been the most influential people in their lives. All of the time, and conversations, that you have had with Jessica and Vincent even before they met have helped to make them who they needed to be to first find themselves and then each other. You are an irreplaceable part of their yesterdays, their today and all of their tomorrows.
In the midst of our hectic lives there is no greater gift that we can give, than the gift of time. They know that you’re taking the time, and making the journey, took considerable effort and they wanted you all to know the deep appreciation and gratitude that they feel in their hearts for this. Some family we are born into and others earn the title through their actions. You have all been there for them from the beginning, sharing your love and support, your laughter and tears and they are deeply grateful for each and every one of you here today.
Jessica and Vincent had known one another for years, and share a wealth of reference points that they have each acquired separately. Were the fates being kind to them by putting off their interest in one another till they were ready for the kind of relationship that they now share? No one can say for sure but there they were, neither of them in a place where they were looking for a relationship, when they found themselves looking into the eyes of their past, their present and their future. It is funny what time and real life can do to two people who once thought that they would be ill suited for one another.
Reading One – Crissy - Halloween
Blessed are you who have come together today to celebrate this happy occasion.
We have gathered together to celebrate the wedding of Jessica and Vincent, the joining-together of two lives and two families. These two stories had separate beginnings, but from today forward they form one narrative, of which we are all a part.
Marriage offers a place of intimacy that opens you to one another in heart and mind. You are asking yourselves to be strong enough to love each other and open enough to be with each other’s worst fears. This openness, this vulnerability, is a sacred trust, one that calls for kindness and the deepest mutual respect. Today is the public affirmation and acknowledgement of all that you are to each other. Seemingly your relationship will be as it has always been, yet there is a power in the spoken word. May that power bring you all the warmth and closeness, security and comfort, joy and happiness that this world has to offer.
Mark Twain once said that 'marriage makes two fractional lives a whole. It gives to two questioning natures a reason for living. It brings a new gladness to the sunshine, a new fragrance to the flowers, a new beauty to the earth, and a new mystery to life'
Christine and Robert and Carol and Vince, Jessica and Vincent would like you to know how much you mean to them and how important you have been in their lives. As you have watched and guided them and encouraged them to be the people they are today, so have you been there when they found each other. It is fitting that they are here before you today, as they have always been, to ask you to witness their joining. They ask that you will still be there to guide them, to be there in difficult times and joyous ones.
Reading Two – Carol Colasanti – The Velveteen Rabbit
Jessica and Vincent will now repeat their personal vows to each other.
Jessica: I promise to give you the best of myself and to ask of you no more than you can give.
Vincent: I promise to respect you as your own person and to realize that your interests, desires, and needs are no less important than my own.
Jessica: I promise to share with you my time and my attention and to bring joy, strength and imagination to our relationship.
Vincent: I promise to be there when you need me and to do everything in my power to ensure your happiness.
Jessica: I promise to listen always with a kind ear and to speak with an open heart.
Vincent: I promise to encourage and inspire you, to laugh with you, and to comfort you.
Jessica: I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how, completely and forever.
Vincent: I promise to love you in good times and in bad, with all I have to give and all I feel inside in the only way I know how, completely and forever.
The ring finger of the left hand, the side of the body that holds the heart, has long been used for the wedding band because for centuries people believed that there was a vein that ran directly from that finger to the heart.
May I have the rings please?
Jessica, do you take Vincent to be your husband? Do you promise to listen always with an open mind and speak with a kind heart, never forgetting that you are each the others most precious gift in life. In times of celebration and in times of sadness, do you vow to support him, and comfort him, to empower and encourage him, all the days of your lives?
Will you now place your ring upon his finger as a reminder of your commitment to this promise?
<Wolf hands Jessica the ring>
Vincent, in committing yourself to Jessica you must promise to continue to be sensitive to her needs and to listen when she explains their nature. You must promise to be there when she needs you and to do everything in your power to insure her security, happiness, and peace of mind. You must promise to share with her your joy of living and to be a loving companion. Do you so promise?
Will you now place your ring upon her finger as a reminder of your commitment to this promise?
<Wolf hands Vincent the ring>
It gives me great pleasure to pronounce that you are husband and wife. You may now seal your commitment with a kiss.
And now the words you have chosen for this moment……
Reading Three – Chris Bowman – Captain Corelli’s Mandolin
For many years to come you will remember this day; yet, beyond the fragrant flowers, the music, beyond the expressions of joy from family and friends, beyond albums filled with pictures, may you celebrate through the years that which is fundamental about your union. You are joining because you love each other, you respect one another, and you will honor each other, because you are committed to sharing equally in both the triumphs and trials of the days to come. As you begin this new chapter in your lives, remember, all of your yesterdays have led you to today, and your love will lead you into tomorrow.
I now present to you the newly married couple, Vincent and Jessica...