Amelia and I have enjoyed working on hand lettered details from save the dates to invitations to reception décor for many weddings, but there is something so special and exciting about getting to be your own client. John and I got married last year in our hometown of Mystic, Connecticut on a beautifully windy summer day. It was a whirlwind weekend filled with love surrounded by our wonderful family and friends. And I took every opportunity to personalize the day with special design details and hand lettered touches!
Photography by Zac Wolf Photography
Before diving into all our wedding details, here’s a little background on John and I. We met in middle school, became friends, and started “going out” at the end of 8th grade. We filled our summer with *gasp* unsupervised movies and bike riding around neighborhoods with friends. We went our separate ways at the beginning of high school but reconnected at the end of our senior year. Thanks to some friends setting us up, we went from the friend zone to attending prom together and had yet another summer romance, enjoying the excitement and freedom of venturing off to college in the fall. John was headed to DePaul in Chicago and I was off to Northeastern in Boston, and I wasn’t so sure about having a long distance “high school boyfriend” while starting my freshmen year of college. But there was something special about John so I decided to give it a chance – and we survived! John transferred to Northeastern sophomore year and we had fun exploring Boston together. We moved in with a few friends and eventually got our own place together in 2010. We bounced around different apartments in the Fenway and South End areas over the next few years.
Flash forward to June 2016 and we went on a magical trip to Barcelona. I had always dreamed of visiting the gorgeous European city, and Radiohead (John’s favorite band) was playing there so it was perfect timing. John stealthily packed an engagement ring in his backpack and proposed during our vacation – of course we celebrated with copious amounts of cava. We fell in love with the city for many reasons (Paella! Manchego! Sangria!) and can’t wait to go back. But first, there was wedding planning!
We both love our coastal New England hometown, so it was easy to choose the location, and there was no question I wanted a summer wedding by the water. My parents quickly helped us scope out a few venues and once we saw the Mystic Yachting Center we knew we had our spot. The rest of our planning came in waves, as all brides know sometimes it’s overwhelming and sometimes you’re twiddling your thumbs, but in the end it somehow gets pulled off – with lots of help! Read on to see how our wedding weekend came together.
Save the Dates
Since our relationship started when John and I were so young, we thought sharing our story with a creative timeline highlighting the special moments in our life together would be perfect for our save the date. We enjoyed going down memory lane as we remembered the different stages of our time together. We wanted it to be fun and light hearted but still call out dates that were really important to us. And, of course being a designer I felt the pressure of creating something unique! I knew I wanted the final shape of the card to be a square, so it took some trial and error to make the folds perfect, but I was really happy with the outcome.
Zac Wolf Photography captured our love as we walked around our South End neighborhood for our engagement photoshoot. Once we choose our favorite photos, the save the date card was complete. Check out the video of the save the date to see how it unfolds!
For envelopes, I looked to Paper Source and found the peacock color to be perfect. I used a custom stamp, also from Paper Source, for our return address. I highly recommend brides (and everyone really!) to have one of these, they are not expensive and are truly worth it with all the wedding related mail you’ll be sending. I decided to add a little something extra and embossed our return addresses in gold on the back flap. I used the Sakura Pen Touch extra-fine pen in gold to hand letter the mailing addresses. Finally, with a custom postage stamp from Zazzle our save the dates were ready to be mailed!
After a somewhat “complicated” save the date, I thought a simpler invitation suite was the way to go. Channeling an ocean theme, I decided on a blue and teal watercolor background with a special touch of gold foil for the original hand lettering. With a gold ribbon to tie the cards like a present, the invitation suite came together.
I choose envelopes from SoHo Paper, addressed them in gold ink, and carried the watercolor background from the invitations through to the custom stamps. I wanted the stamps to really shine, so I wrote over the printed gold with the Pen Touch pen so they sparkled – I know, crazy, but these are the things I get excited about about! Once the invites were mailed, the wedding actually started to feel real. And as a snail mail lover, I must say getting the RSVP envelopes in our mailbox was so much fun!
Décor and Welcome Signage
More fun stuff! And oh boy did we have a lot of it. I decided to carry the watercolor and gold details from the invitation through to the look and feel for the wedding day décor and details. No matter how organized I tried to be, all the last minute signage definitely became overwhelming! Luckily, I could turn to Amelia to help divide and conquer my long list and all the signage was completed beautifully. Our guests were greeted with a framed glass welcome sign, lettered in white with a specialty paper background. Shout out to my dad and friend Brian for making the easel out of driftwood to hold this sign! They also made the driftwood arbor we were married under, which included a hand lettered sign of our names and wedding date, and was decorated beautifully with eucalyptus greenery by A Gala Affair.
I had opted for a eucalyptus and succulent filled bouquet, so I wanted to carry the greenery theme through to the reception. Being a huge succulent fan, I was excited to use the little plants for place cards and have as favors for our guests. I really enjoyed lettering everyone’s names for these! To tie in the plant theme further, we also gave our guests little packets of wildflower seeds in envelopes with gold lettering “let love grow”. Thanks to the girls on my Beyoncé themed bachelorette trip for helping fill these little envelopes 🙂
I used the same paper from our welcome sign backing to bind our guestbook. Again, I turned to Paper Source for having all the DIY materials I needed for this. With a few family photos, our welcome area was complete.
Menus & Programs
The same blue and green watercolor background continued to our menus and programs. We chose to have different food stations instead of a plated meal, but we still included a menu at each person’s place setting in order for them to easily know what their options were.
And of course, no wedding is complete without a specialty drink! John came up with a play on the French 75 cocktail calling it the Mystic 88 after our hometown and birth year. We definitely enjoyed these, and hope our guests did too!
For our table centerpieces I had my heart set on these little sand boxes that would hold sand from different beaches that were sentimental to John and I. We were able to snag these little jewelry boxes from H&M Home and then I printed a little story about the beach on clear stickers to adhere to the box. They also served to hold the fun script table numbers from Etsy, that I of course just had to spray paint gold.
We had a selection of small deserts and a s’mores bar for our guests, but we wanted to have a little celebration cake for ourselves. Our absolutely delicious strawberry-thyme champagne cake was baked by my sister’s friend Fiona. She has her own bakery company, Fiona’s Forbidden Fruit, and her vegan recipes and treats are amazing! We were too busy on the wedding day to enjoy it so we had it at our brunch the next day. Yum!
My mom’s friend Linda made delicious chocolate truffles that we included at each guests place setting. They were such a special treat. My grandparents worked together to put the boxes together and paste in the little note – wedding prep truly is a team effort!
Bridal Party Gifts
Of course I was so excited to ask the special girls in my life to be a part of our wedding day. I put together a box of goodies with a card, mini bottle of bubbly, a framed picture of the two of us, and fun nail polish. I had to add a little Beyoncé touch, so I lettered “i love you like xo” with a gold embossed xo on the inside of the lid. It was so fun to give these to my ladies!
For the wedding day I gave each girl yet another card, a getting ready robe, a pair of earrings for the day, a hand lettered print of a quote I thought they would like, and of course a Beyoncé quote on a tote bag to carry their things around. The tote bags were printed by a friend’s screen printing company, Poor Morgan, and I loved how they came out so much Amelia and I decided to start making some to sell!
All of this couldn’t have been possible without the love and support from our family and friends. From the gorgeous rehearsal dinner (thanks Karen & Glenn!), to the wedding day, through to the perfect Sunday brunch (thanks mom & dad!) we felt so lucky to have been surrounded by our loved ones who traveled to celebrate with us. Wedding planning can be a beast but in the end the memories and love that filled the weekend made it all worth it. And the honeymoon in Italy was a dream, especially after all that work!
Thanks to Sam and JJ for officiating, it was so special to have our friends marry us. My sister, Ana, was a most gorgeous Maid of Honor and John’s brother, Andrew, a handsome Best Man. The two gave speeches that made the whole room cry! My parents gave memorable speeches too! Thanks to Stefan of Aleo Media Productions, we have a video of the day we can relive on our anniversaries. Our wedding party was fantastic, and we absolutely loved spending the day with you all. Thank you to Leslie for hosting the girls to get ready, and Rob for the boys. The fabulous Jessica and Rebecca at Upstyle made us ladies feel and look our best with wonderful hair and make up, thank you. Thank you Acebo Jewelry for our custom designed wedding bands, we love them! Our gorgeous bouquets and reception arrangements couldn’t have been possible without A Gala Affair, thank you for bringing my eucalyptus vision to life.
To the countless others who helped us organize the weekend and make our wedding dreams come true, thank you!! We’re still feeling so lucky to have you all in our lives. And thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed! Scroll on to see the special moments captured from our day, thanks to Zac & Ally! 🙂
Thank you for working so hard to make our special day perfect!