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::: Wedding resources + a look at my own wedding :::

One of the most frequent questions I am asked by family, friends, and friends of friends is about wedding resources for brides to be. I have written so many emails on the subject to various people with shop and vendor information from my own wedding, so I thought… why not put it all together in an easy to reference post.

The main question is usually about where to look for wedding dresses. This also happened to be my least favorite part of the wedding experience {shocking to some, I know} because I liked very few dresses on me. Since I am based in New York, most of my suggestions are specific to this area, but the shops should also carry designers that are available in other bridal stores across the country. Depending on a bride’s  taste and budget, the choice for dresses can obviously run the gamut.

Here are the stores that carry a well curated, large selection of gowns yet still have the boutique feel that I personally liked:

For brides who are looking for something simple, or have to consider budget, there are so many options these days. Stores nowadays are carrying wedding appropriate dresses so that you no longer need to rely on a bridal specific store. There are even bridesmaid style dresses that come in white that can be a great option.

Then there’s the Etsy route.. I think Sarah Seven makes particularly pretty ones.
Etsy is is also great for hair accessories, jewelry, bridal shrugs, purses, bridesmaid gifts, etc. They have really expanded their offerings, some you can find on their weddings dedicated blog.
For other inspiration, I relied heavily on blogs like Style Me Pretty and 100 Layer Cake, and Martha Stewart Weddings. New York Magazine has a wedding section that provides endless information for everything you need.
For Bridesmaid dresses the companies I like are:

Will and I were married in June, 2009 at Eolia Mansion located on the grounds of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford, CT. When it came to deciding where to get married, despite our initial idea of a casual Mexico beach wedding, our focus shifted when we realized our grandparents would not be able to travel. We had so many other things to consider including sticking to a planned budget. While scouting for locations, we were hoping to find something on Long Island sound, but given our short lead time and hurdles like finding places we loved but they were already booked, it felt like it was taking forever to nail something down. I finally found our location one night while looking at public parks. Even though I was raised in CT, I had never been to Harkness State Park, (it’s 2 hours north of my home city) or realized it was one of the most idyllic locations for a wedding. We loved the fact that it was on the water, had historical significance, was gorgeous without being ostentatious, and was a comfortable size to hold our guests, yet still intimate. We especially loved that the rental fee was going back into the upkeep of the mansion and park, and that we could come back whenever we wanted and walk the grounds.
I wanted to add to my dress to give it some detail, and make it unique. Looking at a UK Bridal magazine gave me an idea to do a flower shoulder, and I went to the Garment district in Manhattan and picked out silk flowers and they made it for me while I waited. It had snaps so that I could remove it while dancing. My sweetheart sister-in-law gave me a gorgeous silk hair flower from Twig & Honey that coordinated with the flower shoulder.
It was fun putting together my bridesmaid’s gifts. I used vendors from Etsy primarily, and filled personalized tote bags with a necklace with their initial, perfume customized specifically for them and packaged in vintage bottles, travel-size Korres items for the weekend, an emergency kit via 100 Layer Cake, and snacks like almonds and M&M’s.
I made the little nest that held our rings with craft supplies bought at Michael’s.
The wedding had a bird and garden theme and one of the highlights of planning this was working with our florist, Elisabeth of Blush Floral on decor. I had so much inspiration to share with her, and she was eager to collaborate on ideas and execute my direction while still contributing her own special touches. For favors we gave trees, as a nod to the environment as well as a celebration of our new beginning. My mother and father-in law took the remainder of left-over trees and planted them on their property. They are hoping that in say, 10 years, our bridal party can come back and cut down their Christmas trees from them! The escort and table cards were really fun to put together. Elisabeth and I worked on an idea to have two wooden box garden beds filled with moss and fern and stake the escort cards in the beds. Each table had a card with a different bird in a bright color which matched the birds on the escort cards. I sometimes miss the fun of all the planning, and I was so lucky to find some amazing vendors, in particular, Elisabeth of Blush Floral, Jennie Fresa of Jennie Fresa Beauty Library, and the wonderful Maggie Conley. They are truly talented professionals and it was a pleasure working with them, and knowing them.
All of the stationary was primarily designed by me using a combination of methods. Our letterpress invitations and reply cards {top left} I designed in Adobe Illustrator, and we had them letterpress printed in Brooklyn. The remaining pieces of the suite including the Directions card, Save the Date, Rehearsal Dinner invite, were ordered from Wedding Paper Divas. The ceremony programs, escort cards, table cards and menus, were designed and printed on my home printer using various papers I purchased at Paper Presentation. One night in the subway at Union Square, we met Ming who cuts your silhouette while you wait, and I loved them so much that I used them for the menus and ceremony programs. Here’s a paper related story: We were so stressed out trying to finish the ceremony programs a couple of days before the wedding because the alignment was off on the printer, and we had to do so many test-runs taking much more time than we had planned. We were packed and supposed to leave New York that night to go up to Connecticut for the rest of the week before the wedding. I had put everything in our living room that we needed to bring and told Will to take everything he saw that was out and packed, and put it in the car. This included my wedding dress which was covered and hanging on the door above my suitcase. I guess he didn’t notice it as “one of the things to put in the car.” Well, in all the craziness, and leaving at 4am completely sleep deprived and frazzled, I took a look in the back of the car about 40 minutes into our drive and realized I had forgotten my wedding dress! So we had to go all the way back home through an obstacle course of tolls in Queens and retrieve it. Now we can laugh, but as a lesson, if you decide to do all this printing yourself, try to do it ahead of time so that you don’t make mistakes like that!
Our lovely bridesmaids wore dresses by Priscilla of Boston with gold shoes. Our dashing grooms wore black suits from Macy’s and we picked out green silk ties by Rooster that matched the green in our color scheme.
Lucky for us we had 2 close DJ friends who were able to provide music at the beginning and end of the night, and we hired a soul reggae band called Buru Style that included great vocals by lead singer, Toussaint. Everything came off without a hitch, including the weather which gave us a good scare up until the day of. It was a truly magical night that I sometimes wish I could attend just as a guest this time to experience all that I missed being a busy bride. It’s true as they say…it’s the best night of your life and it goes by in a flash!
All the details:
Venue: Eolia Mansion at Harkness State Memorial Park | Floral: Blush Floral | Bride’s Gown: La Sposa | Shoes: J.Crew | Silk flower: Twig & Honey | Bridesmaids: Priscilla of Boston – Vineyard Collection | Grooms: Suits by Macy’s and green ties by Rooster | Make-up and Hair: Jennie Fresa Beauty Library {the BEST in the biz}| Our amazing Photographer: Maggie Conley | Catering: A Thyme to Cook | Tree Favors: The Green World Project | Tent Paper Lanterns and lighted trees: Garden of Eden | Music: Buru Style with Toussaint and DJ’s Lord Lewis + David Freeburg
{All above photos by Maggie Conley Photography}
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  1. Posted May 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm | #

    i love it all! you did such a wonderful job on everything.

  2. Posted March 10, 2011 at 3:51 pm | #

    BEAUTIFUL! you look amazing – and the details are adorable. esp loving those bridesmaid giftbags! ox

  3. Posted March 10, 2011 at 9:13 am | #

    wow! Jenn, thank you so much for the very kind words! It was our pleasure! We had a wonderful time getting to know you and being a part of your special day! I’m so happy we have stayed in touch! much love always, Jennie

  4. Diana Cameron
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm | #

    thank you for the memory! I know others will appreciate the creativity and originality of your ideas.

  5. Posted March 9, 2011 at 7:18 pm | #

    Jennifer! So beautiful – thanks for sharing! :)

  6. Posted March 9, 2011 at 4:38 pm | #

    Jenn, Your post is gorgeous. I absolutely loved working with you on your wedding, you were one of the most creative and gorgeous brides I’ve worked with! You thought of every little detail!! Lots of love to you both!

  7. Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:28 am | #

    What an informative & beautiful story. I loved every minute of it.

    Katy :-)

  8. Luster
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 11:26 am | #

    Thank you so much everyone, it was fun to share it with you!! xoxo

  9. Laura
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:56 am | #


  10. Posted March 9, 2011 at 8:40 am | #

    gorgeous and great tips! love it!

  11. Posted March 9, 2011 at 7:59 am | #

    Jennifer – how beautiful!!! I love it all – your lovely flower enhanced dress, the beautiful printed items (LOVE the table cards with the peacock!!), the site and the fabulous photography. And all your great tips. So not surprised that you attended to it all with a wonderful sense of style and attention to detail!!

  12. Alexa
    Posted March 9, 2011 at 7:25 am | #

    Such an * AMAZING * and absolutely * BEAUTIFUL * time, which we will always cherish !! Three words: Lovely, lovely, lovely <3

  13. Posted March 9, 2011 at 6:32 am | #

    Your wedding was beautiful! Thanks for sharing all your tips with us! x

  14. Posted March 9, 2011 at 4:46 am | #

    thanks for all the resources! i’ll be sure to keep them in mind for the future :]

    also, what a lovely wedding!!! i love how so many elements of your wedding were handmade and personalized for that special feel (especially the tote bags for your bridesmaids)

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