Hello! I am excited to share Part II of my wedding series today! If you missed Part I, which was all about everything that happened on our wedding day before the ceremony and reception, click here.
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We left off in the middle of the wedding day right after bridal party and family photos were taken. As I mentioned in my last post, I arrived to the venue understanding that our ceremony and cocktail hour locations had to be changed due to rain. While I was a little bummed, I was mostly just jittery with excitement for the ceremony. I saw my florist, Jeri, earlier in the day when she came to the hotel to drop off the bridesmaid’s bouquets. When I mentioned the rain to her, she simply asked “Do you trust me?” and I replied to her with a big fat, “YES!”
Jeri was the florist for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding in 2012, and they highly recommended her to me. Because of their praise, Jeri was actually the first vendor I booked, and she surpassed my expectations.
We were supposed to have our ceremony in the garden in the photo above, which because of all the natural beauty, didn’t need a lot of decor. When Jeri showed me the “Plan B” ceremony space on the afternoon of the wedding, I started to cry. She did a phenomenal job turning a plain white tent into the makeshift romantic, garden wedding that I wanted. It was bright and clean with my favorite elements of foliage throughout.
One of Travis’s friends from college is a fantastic musician, and we asked him if he would be willing to play the music for our ceremony. He very graciously agreed, so we worked with him in the weeks leading up to the wedding to select our songs. Before the ceremony, as guests were filing in, Jonathan played classical/piano versions of some of our favorite Top 40 songs, which was really fun to hear.
Before we knew it, it was time to line up for the ceremony. The day was flying by!
Our two toddler nephews, Benjamin and Oliver, stole the show during the processional! They went down the aisle before me, so I didn’t get to see this play out, but I love that I have the photos to see what went down. Our plan was to have my sister-in-law, Amanda, pull the two boys down the aisle in a wagon. Both boys started in the wagon, but as soon as Benjamin saw all of the people, and his uncle Travis at the end of the aisle, he leapt out of the wagon, and began running down the aisle. It was SO CUTE!
Then, he turned around and wanted to help his mom, Amanda, pull the wagon down the aisle. Our guests were loving it. And meanwhile, little Oliver was just sitting in the wagon, not making a peep, and probably extremely confused.
I have to give another shout of praise to our florist, Jeri, who took a Costco wagon and turned it into something so beautiful. The tulle she draped around the ring bearer wagon was actually extra fabric taken from the bottom of my dress!
While all of this cuteness was happening, I was behind a closed door with my parents, so we didn’t see a thing. I had both of my parents walk me down the aisle, as is customary in Jewish tradition.
I wanted to touch on that a bit more before I tell you about our ceremony. Travis and I were both raised in Jewish households, but when it came time to discuss what we wanted for our wedding ceremony, we agreed that we wanted it to feel intimate and personal. Neither of us had a rabbi we felt close to that would be a natural fit as an officiant. We’d attended a few weddings where friends or family members officiated, and we loved the overall sentiment and enjoyed listening to the personal stories that were shared. Ultimately, we decided to have a jew-“ish” wedding, our way.
Travis and I asked our close friend Kyle to officiate our wedding. To us he felt like the perfect fit: he knew both of us very well (his wife Kelly was one of my bridesmaids!), he is both funny and sentimental, and he had experience officiating two other weddings of friends before us (clearly he is in high demand!). Kyle is not Jewish (okay, he’d want us to tell you that he’s technically 1/4 Jewish 😉 ), but that didn’t matter to us, especially because of how enthusiastic he was to participate in the Jewish wedding traditions, which you’ll see more of as we continue.
It was so special to have both my parents walk me down the aisle because they both raised me, as a team. I love these two people more than I could ever say.
The tablecloth on top of the chuppah (Jewish wedding canopy) was my maternal Grandmother’s Shabbat tablecloth. She lived with us when I was young, and I was incredibly close with her, but sadly she passed away when I was in 4th grade. I know she would have been thrilled that her tablecloth was being used in our wedding ceremony.
My wedding band, that Travis gave me during the ceremony, was also hers, and was then passed down to my mom, and now me. I love that I get to carry a small part of her around with me every day when I wear it.
My aunt, Miriam, recited the Jewish blessing over the wine, and Travis and I drank from a shared cup (as I repeated to myself over and over not to spill on my dress – ha!). Miriam also read at my parents wedding (40 years ago!) and my brother’s wedding…can you tell I meant it when I said we wanted our wedding to be personal?
I might be biased because it was our ceremony, but Kyle was the perfect officiant. He mixed humor with emotion and made the whole thing feel like us, our ceremony, not scripted and standard. Countless guests told us afterwards how fantastic he was, so now we joke that he should just become a professional wedding officiant, ha!
Travis and I wrote our own vows to each other, another aspect of some wedding ceremonies I’ve always loved. We concluded the ceremony with Travis breaking the glass, another Jewish wedding tradition.
After the ceremony, the guests went to Cocktail Hour for drinks and hors d’oeuvres before the reception.
It finally stopped raining, so our photographer snagged Travis and me to take some “golden hour” sunset photos outside.
The break from rain also allowed our guests to go outside and explore the grounds for a bit. I’m happy that they got to see the property, because the gardens at Elm Bank are beautiful and the entire reason we booked the venue.
After photos outside, I was thrilled to walk into the reception space and see everything come to life that I was planning and dreaming about for over a year. The details were exactly as I’d envisioned.
We kicked off the reception with dancing and the hora. Travis and I decided to skip a first dance, parent dances, and a cake-cutting because we just wanted maximum dance floor time for everyone. I don’t regret those choices at all. Sometimes at weddings we feel as though we hardly get a chance to dance because of the time spent on formal dances and a cake cutting, and we just didn’t really feel the need to have our friends and family watch us dance, ha! Please note: there is nothing wrong with those traditions and they can be so special for some couples. We just felt like skipping them so everyone could rock the dance floor together, which was easy thanks to our INCREDIBLE band, Big Party Orchestra.
After a few songs, everyone was seated for dinner and while we ate, we listened to the most thoughtful speeches from our family. We didn’t hire a videographer, so I am extremely grateful to my bridesmaid Amanda who told me afterwards that she recorded all of the speeches on her phone. Those videos are such treasured memories for us.
The food and music/dancing were the most important choices to us, and I think we hit the ball out of the park with both. We hired Capers Catering, who specialize in farm to fork cuisine with so many healthy options (i.e. exactly how I eat). They were the first caterers we met and tasted with, and we all loved the people and food so much that we booked Capers on the spot. I worked closely with Kristin and Leslie from their team, who were spectacular. Capers is a full service caterer, so they also handled securing all of the rentals for the venue (linens, china, drinkware, cutlery, etc.). They were so organized and on top of every single detail.
We decided to do food stations, as opposed to plated meals, so that our guests could sample everything. I could tell people loved the food because I watched our guests go up for seconds and thirds throughout dinner.
We had many guests with dietary restrictions and preferences, and Capers was wonderfully accommodating with that. Their Head Chef Kevin even offered to cook a family recipe or a favorite recipe from my blog for the wedding (although we didn’t end up going that route). THAT is how personal their service is.
After dinner everyone hit the dance floor and photo booth for the rest of the night. It’s crazy how fast the next few hours flew by. I did my best to say hi to all of our guests, but sadly there were a few I missed because when it’s your wedding you end up being pulled in so many different directions throughout the night (in the best way!).
And before we knew it, the shuttles arrived to take the everyone back to the hotels, and the reception was over! Travis and I hosted a small after-party back at Eastern Standard in Boston for those last guests standing who wanted to keep the party going with us.
We had the actual BEST. DAY. EVER. and none of it would have been possible without our parents, friends and family who celebrated with us, and amazing team of vendors who put it all together. I tagged all of our vendors below, but please feel free to reach out to me with any specific questions. Thank you for reading!!
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BOSTON WEDDING VENDOR LIST
Wedding Ceremony and Reception Location: The Gardens at Elm Bank, Wellesley, MA
Florals: Jeri Solomon Floral Design
Month-of Wedding Coordination: Alexis at The Little Things
Hair and Makeup: Miriam Meza
Catering: Capers Catering
Band: Big Party Orchestra
Venue Lighting: Design Light
Custom Sign Design: Antea Amoroso Designs
Rentals: Peak Event Services
Photo Booth: New England Photo Booth
Doughnuts: Blackbird Doughnuts
BRIDAL PARTY ATTIRE
Bridesmaid Dresses: Jenny Yoo Annabelle, Jenny Yoo Nyla, Watters Tinsley
Groomsmen: Suits (1 & 2), Ties, Socks (assorted colors)
Ring Bearers: Dress Shirt, Navy Pants, Suspenders, Shoes
LOVED reading this! I love taking sneak peeks into people’s wedding days – it’s so fun to see all the different ways people celebrate their big day. That is so sweet about your officiant! We did something similar – my father-in-law was our officiant and it was one of the best decisions we made 🙂 SUCH a beautiful day Rachel!
I love that!! And I know it rained (in a BIG way) on your wedding day, too! Thanks for reading, Liz!!
CJ | A Well-Read Tart
It looks like you thoroughly enjoyed your wedding day!! 🙂 The pictures are gorgeous. My husband and I chose to eliminate a lot of wedding traditions, too, in order to maximize our time on the dancefloor. We did a First Look before the ceremony and took all of our formal “couple” shots before the ceremony, and we used the cocktail hour as our meet-n-greet time with our guests so we could literally stay on the dancefloor all night long — which is exactly what we did! We were able to get around to everyone pre-reception,and by the time the dancing started, everyone knew they had to come to the dancefloor if they wanted to talk to us. 🙂 It was a great night. So glad you had such a beautiful wedding!!
Yes!! It sounds like you did things very similarly to us! I like the way you think 😉