Travis and I just celebrated our one year anniversary on Labor Day, and all I can think is HOLY COW, time flies! So much has happened in the last year, but at the same time I feel like I was planning our wedding yesterday. When I asked on Instagram if you all would be interested in seeing more about our Boston wedding (even though it was a year ago), the answer was a resounding yes!
In all honesty, I had plans to share a wedding recap many, many months ago, but it took us FOR-EV-ER to get our wedding photos (don’t even get me started), and by the time we received them, I wasn’t sure how much anyone cared anymore. Well, guess I was wrong!
I’ve decided to do a little wedding series here on the blog, and this first post is all about getting ready and the pre-ceremony activities on our wedding day. The next post will include details of our ceremony and reception. I tagged all of our vendors at the end of the post, so if you’re looking for New England vendor recommendations, be sure to look there. Also, if you’re getting married in the Boston area, feel free to comment below or email me with any questions. I loved wedding planning, and I am happy to help!
A Brief Background:
Travis and I met in college in 2010 at the University of Pennsylvania when he was a senior and I was a junior. He proposed to me in May 2016 on our college campus when we were back for his fifth year reunion. You can read all about that story here.
At the time of our engagement, Travis and I lived in Santa Monica, California, but our families were both on the east coast. This made it very difficult to decide where to get married. We knew we wanted an outdoor wedding with lots of flowers and greenery, and we looked at many venues in both California and New England. It was so hard to choose a location because while planning a wedding in California would be far more convenient for us, getting married on the east coast, where we are both from, meant more to us sentimentally. And, the chances of having good weather for an outdoor wedding were far better in California than they were on the east coast.
In July 2016, I flew home to Boston without Travis to look at three final venues with my family. The Gardens at Elm Bank in Wellesley, Massachusetts was the last of the three, but immediately upon entering I knew I’d found our venue. It checked off everything on our list, from gorgeous gardens, lots of space, and very few restrictions. We decided to book the venue (even without Travis seeing it) because the dates were in high demand, and I knew it was the one.
Getting married in Boston meant so much to me, but I won’t sugar coat it: wedding planning from across the country was not easy. Take that into consideration if you’re thinking about planning a wedding far from where you currently live. Wedding planning requires many in-person meetings with vendors, and that can be difficult to schedule from afar. Granted, if you have a full-service wedding planner or parent who can help, then it should be easier.
That said, I did the majority of the planning by myself, with assistance from Travis (who surprisingly had a fair share of opinions!) and my parents, who very generously hosted the event. I am an extremely Type A, organized person by nature, so I truly did enjoy all of the research and detail that goes into wedding planning. I used a giant Google Doc spreadsheet with numerous tabs and created countless Pinterest boards for design inspiration.
Our venue required that everything be brought in (food, beverages, lighting, linens, china, dinnerware, etc.), so many decisions had to be made along the way. Even so, I didn’t mind and was able to customize the exact wedding that we’d imagined.
We hired a month-of wedding coordinator, Alexis from The Little Things, who technically began working with us 6 weeks before our wedding. A month-of wedding coordinator’s job is basically to take all of the information and details that you’ve been planning up until that point and handle all of the nitty-gritty logistics moving forward.
Alexis created an extremely detailed wedding day timeline and got in touch with all of my vendors in the weeks before the wedding to finalize arrival time, set up, and all other logistics. The vendors knew to contact Alexis (not me!) moving forward, which makes a big difference so you’re not sitting at your rehearsal dinner fielding phone calls. If you are planning your own wedding, I HIGHLY recommend saving room in your budget for an experienced month-of wedding coordinator. Alexis handled everything that I know would have stressed me out in the weeks leading up to the wedding. She offered suggestions for things I hadn’t thought about, was on the ground setting up at the venue while I was getting ready, and ensured that everything went according to schedule throughout the day. I am so, very grateful to her and cannot recommend her enough for any of you New England brides.
Wedding Day: Getting Ready
Travis and I stayed at Hotel Commonwealth in Boston for the few days surrounding our wedding date. We booked the largest suite available to be able to accommodate my large bridal party, who would be getting ready with me on the morning of the wedding.
I generally sleep fairly well, so I never expected to be one of those brides who couldn’t sleep the night before my wedding, but I turned out to be! I was so anxious about everything running smoothly the next day, including the fact that it was supposed to rain and we had planned for an outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour. By morning, I probably only slept a total of two hours, but luckily I had adrenaline to keep me going the next day.
On the morning of the wedding, I had breakfast in the hotel suite with my mom and aunt. It was so nice to have a special, quiet moment together before the chaos of the big day. Both of them did an incredible job of keeping me relaxed, even though I had major jitters about all of the details.
With some food and coffee in me, I calmed down and was so excited to see my bridal party, who began arriving to the suite around 9AM to start getting ready. I had ten bridesmaids, and my brother’s wife, Morgan, and Travis’s sister, Justine were my co-Maids of Honor. I know some people are against such large bridal parties, but I love each of my girls so darn much, and was extremely grateful to have every one of them with me on my wedding day. They all represented different parts of my life: camp, high school, college, sorority, rowing team, and family, and I don’t know what I would do without them.
I gifted each of my bridesmaids with a mint robe by Flora Niknooz (no longer available, but similar here, here and here) and their professional makeup. Some of them also had their hair done at Dry Bar nearby.
I knew it was going to be a long day, so I wanted to make sure my girls had fun and were well fed while getting ready. I purchased snacks and water for the suite, and ordered lunch from Sweetgreen, so each person could choose exactly what they wanted. If you have a group with various dietary restrictions, I highly recommend doing this.
At some point in the morning my month-of wedding coordinator, Alexis, came to the suite to check in and (very nicely) told me that the rain wasn’t stopping and we’d have to move all of the outdoor plans indoors to Plan B. You want to know something surprising? In that moment, I really, truly didn’t care! Sure I’d planned the most perfect outdoor ceremony and cocktail hour for over a year, but in the days leading up to the wedding, Alexis prepared me for Plan B, so I knew she and the rest of the vendors were prepared. By the time the decision was made, the only thing I cared about was marrying Travis and having the BEST. FREAKING. DAY. I told her that I trusted her to do whatever she had to to make the change, and she went back to the venue to do her magic.
Once we were all finished with hair and makeup, the photographer took photos of us in our robes and we popped some champagne to toast the big day.
Then, everyone got into their dresses, and I put on my wedding dress with the help of my mom and maids of honor.
Once we were all dressed, the groomsmen (who were in a separate hotel room getting ready with Travis) and bridesmaids piled onto the shuttle to drive over to the venue. I went with my parents in their car because Travis and I were going to have our “first look” at the venue, so we weren’t ready to see each other just yet ;-).
At The Venue
When we arrived to the venue, I waited in the car with my parents while Travis was escorted to our first look location, the venue’s greenhouse. Because it was raining, I was shuttled over to the greenhouse in a golf cart in order to stay as dry as possible. Again, somehow this Type A bride didn’t really care about getting wet. I was just SO excited to see Travis.
We were both thrilled to see each other. We laughed, hugged, kissed, cried (okay, that was just me) and talked about how fun the day was going to be.
Our photographer took some portraits of us in the greenhouse before meeting the rest of the bridal party for larger group photos.
It was drizzling the entire time these photos were taken, but everyone was such a trooper (another reason I just LOVE my girls who didn’t complain about their hair and makeup getting wet).
When the rain started coming down harder, we decided to take all of our family photos indoors. I am so glad that Travis and I had a first look and decided to take all of these pictures before the ceremony. This allowed us to just relax and celebrate with friends and family immediately after our ceremony.
Stay tuned for Part Two, all about our wedding ceremony and reception, coming up next!
Boston Wedding Vendor List
Florals: Jeri Solomon Floral Design
Month-of Wedding Coordination: Alexis @ The Little Things
Hair and Makeup: Miriam Meza
Catering: Capers Catering
Venue Lighting: Design Light
Rentals: Peak Event Services