With less than three months until our wedding day, I want to share a quick update of how things are coming along (you can read more over at www.emilieandjason.com). I've really enjoyed this process, and, gosh, I have such an appreciation for what all my brides and grooms have gone through before me! What fun to have this "insider's" perspective.
Our goal early on was to plan a wedding that is both different and personal...
As you know, J and I are getting hitched on the island of St. John in the Virgin Islands. We chose this destination to do something different than the scene we usually photograph in New England. Not being familiar with the location or best vendors (their "island time" responses drive me nutty) has, in essence, given me a fresh look as to what it's truly like being an everyday bride.
Having always loved orange but hardly seen it at weddings, we settled on orange and blue as our island wedding colors (ironically the colors of Pictage, and how we met). It's been a gratifying affirmation to recently read all the fashion mags saying orange is THE color of the year. Look at us, ahead of a trend!
We aren't going to have a "typical" wedding day. We'll be married on a beach, and then all pile in a safari-style taxi truck to be transported to the top of a mountain for an outside dinner party at the villa we have rented for the week.
Instead of going on a honeymoon, we will be spending the week leading up to our wedding on the island at the villa with 8 close friends. Our families are also renting villas for the week nearby. Together, we will explore the island and its beaches, venture into the sea on boating and snorkeling excursions, and experience the local cuisine. (We will sneak off for a 2-night mini-moon after the wedding before heading back home, and then to Mexico a week later to photograph a wedding!)
Clearly our experience photographing more than 250 weddings has helped inspire our ideas, and the feeling we're hoping to create. We're very lucky to have the talented Kate Parker of Kate Parker Weddings traveling to the island with her husband Ryan to execute it all. Kate gets our vision and we trust her whole-heartedly (seen here from a recent photo session with baby Zachary).
Jules Bianchi, an LA-based photographer I have long admired and friend of J's from his Pictage days, is traveling to the island with her sister Joy to capture the festivities. We're so looking forward to hanging out with these twins (and their significant others, who are making a vacation out of it and staying the week) and their undeniably fun energy and mad talent.
My longtime beloved friend Julie, a graphic artist at USA Today, will be marrying us. She was ordained by the Universal Life Church (online!). When we asked her to do the honors over the phone, there was a confused silence on the other end of the line and then a huge shriek of excitement when it sunk in. We can't wait! A favorite minister from DC, Rev. Amanda Tate, has loaned us all of her ceremony documents to help up put together a meaningful ceremony. We won't have chairs; all of our guests will stand in a circle around us (I had a dream that looked like this soon after we were engaged).
Clients turned dear friends Kelsie and Rejean (who also appear in my studio promotional video on my website) had us over to their house for dinner one night months ago. It was one of the most amazing meals we have ever eaten! When our meetings with caterers during our November scouting trip (and some of their correspondence since, as mentioned above) didn't meet our expectations, we started brainstorming other options. We kept circling back to that lovely dinner at Kelsie and Reg's, and were ecstatic when Reg was able to work a trip to the island into his busy med school rotations.
Deciding on the smaller things- our invitations, shoes!, J's suit, flowers, my orange parasol!- has been the most fun and I'll post more details about those things soon.
For me, the most un-fun thing so far was finding a dress. Pressed for time (and therefore having to buy something in stock) and seeking something simple which is appropriate for the beach & heat was a challenge made worse by a cranky consultant I initially met with at a local bridal shop. On a return trip (and with a sweetheart of a saleswoman- I made sure to go back on the other gal's day off), my mother urged me try on a dress I had liked, but not loved, from the first visit. Wouldn't you know, it turned out to be the balance of what I liked in two other dresses, and ended up purchasing it (on sale! Tho, the alterations will cost just as much as the dress. Grr).
Mother truly does know best, doesn't she?
The other day I received an inquiry online from a bride going through this wedding planning process that took my breath away:
"I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was a child and I have never missed her more than I do now while trying to plan this wedding. It seems like the obvious team - a bride and her mom- do everything together from the florist to the dress fittings and it has been very interesting to do these various planning phases alone or with just friends. To be honest, what first attracted me to your website was your "campaign for change." I was browsing one of the many blogs that I check out on a daily basis and saw a post for this contest. I thought that was something that I definitely had to do but then when I clicked on your website and saw that you were from Maine... well then I just took that as a sign and knew I had to contact you myself and not just take a chance on the raffle. (By the way I was so excited about e-mailing you back that I haven't had the chance to pledge my $50 but I will absolutely do that!) Anyway, with all that being said, I really respect what you're doing with your business and I love that you are supporting to a cause so close to my heart ."
I have my first dress fitting tonight and am so lucky that my mother is able to come with me.
79 days to go!!