A year ago, I was a guest at the wedding of my dear friends, Casey and Roger, as they were married in a beautiful autumn wedding in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I did not plan or coordinate this wedding and got to enjoy the weekend simply as a guest; but Casey and Roger did such a beautiful job, I wish I could take credit for it!
Before they returned to Waterville Valley, New Hampshire for the weekend to celebrate their one year anniversary, they agreed to let me feature their beautiful wedding and spent some time talking with me about their planning process and the wedding itself.
How did you pick the theme and venue for your wedding?
Casey and Roger's wedding had a clear nature theme; when asked how they chose the look and feel they were going for, Casey answered, "At one of the bridal shows we attended, we came across Jacques Pastries; in one of their brochures filled with the amazing wedding cakes they had previously made was a birch tree wedding cake." She continued, "We fell in love with the rustic, natural, truly New Hampshire look of the birch trees and decided to build our theme around them."
Once they had a theme, they began searching for a venue that would compliment the look they were going for. "We wanted a venue with a lot of natural backdrops, that had a tent available, and was equal distance for our families in Massachusetts and Maine," the couple said. "Waterville Valley had the perfect location, an amazing look and feel, and a large tent with a cement floor, but also a large indoor ballroom as a backup in case of bad weather."
The couple also liked that Waterville Valley only holds one wedding per day and has multiple hotels within walking distance of the reception tent so guests could pick a hotel within their budget.
The wedding ceremony was held at St. Agnes Church.
The reception was held at Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire.
How did you chose your wedding colors?
The color choice began with the bride's love of purple and the accent color of orange was chosen because of the autumnal feel of the color for their October wedding, reminiscent of turning leaves and pumpkins. Bridesmaids were given a color but were able to choose any dress in which they felt comfortable.
Did you enjoy the process of planning your wedding?
"We loved it, but worrying about all the last minute details really can stress any couple out," Roger and Casey agreed.
Was there anything unexpected you learned from the process?
"We learned how hard it is to stay on budget, how much time goes into planning, and the stress it can cause." The couple added, "Also, no matter how much you try to please everyone, you can only really worry about what you as a couple want."
The bride's dress came from Marry & Tux in Nashua NH, which was the only store in New Hampshire to carry the dress she wanted.
Upping the glam factor for the bride and bridal party were hair stylists from Luminous Day Spa in North Woodstock, NH and makeup artists from Chill Spa in Manchester, NH.
Casey told florist, Lotus Floral Designs, Suncook NH she "wanted a ton of color in [her] bouquet with unique elements like cabbage, fiddleheads, and succulents as well as flowers."
Photographing the nuptials and the rest of the couple's day was Brendan Mercure, Mercure Photography of Boston MA
Any funny moments?
During the ceremony, the organist provided by the church played the bridesmaids' procession song repeatedly for a good 10 minutes while the bride waited patiently for the bridal march to begin so she could walk down the aisle. The bride, bridal party, and guests sat awkwardly as the looping music continued, until four people, one after another, told the organist to begin the bridal march. It got to the point where every time the organist began the song again, guests chuckled.
Said Casey, "This wouldn't have happened if we had hired a "day of" coordinator! The guests and groom were all wondering what was going on...did the bride break a heel...or worse, run away?"
What was the most touching moment?
At the church, Casey and Roger had a tree planting ceremony where their mothers each brought soil from the bride and groom's childhood homes and, together, added it to a potted tree to symbolize their roots coming together. The bride and groom then watered the tree signifying how, in their marriage, they will grow together as one.
The large tent was held up by poles decorated with birch trees and branches, with white lights and paper lanterns strung between them.
Centerpieces were sky high glass vases filled with pieces of birch and topped with colorful, draping, textured arrangements.
What was the vibe you were aiming for with your reception?
"Party, party, party!"
The couple was clear about what kind of experience they wanted for themselves and guests: "We wanted to have a blast and we wanted everyone else to say they did as well. We wanted people to say it was the most fun at a wedding they'd ever had!"
Did you accomplish your goal for a memorable party?
"Guests were dancing well into the after-party and some were even wearing our paper lanterns on their heads. People still talk about the awesome party we had so I guess we did," said the couple.
The fun couple expressed their personalities with a choreographed entrance to the reception to Redfoo's "Let's Get Ridiculous." The entertaining and lively entrance set the tone for the rest of the night.
The couple loved the DJ they hired from ECF Entertainment, Boston MA who kept guests on the dance floor until the end of the reception. The couple then held an after-party at a local bar in the center of Waterville Valley to keep the party going.
What did you LOVE about your wedding?
Roger loved the setting, while Casey loved the party atmosphere, dancing, and having a blast all night.
Both agreed, "our friends and family being with us in that beautiful setting really made the night an amazing celebration!
Was there anything you would have done differently?"
"First, I would have hired a day of coordinator, especially to make sure everything went smoothly at the church," said Casey. "One of our friends stepped up and organized the bridal party procession when we got to the church; looking back I should have hired someone to help with the timing and overseeing of the day's events."
"Second, I wouldn't hire a company that subcontracts it's services; while we loved the vendors who worked our wedding, the contracting company for one of the vendors has been a nightmare to deal with."
Casey and Roger built their wedding theme around a photo they saw of a birch tree cake; this is the couple's 4-tier customized interpretation by Jacques Fine European Pastries of Suncook, NH.
It was important to Casey and Roger that the wedding contained personal touches and reflected their personalities and interests. The couple had a custom cake topper made incorporating their three cats while tiny details on Casey's bouquet were a nod to her love of ladybugs.
They also continued the birch tree motif throughout with little details everywhere tying their theme together.
Says Casey, "We wanted to incorporate Roger's style and likes as well to personalize the day for both of us."
Roger and most of the groomsmen are on a pool league so the couple found miniature billiard balls to add to the boutonnieres.
Also, the table numbers were marked by billiard balls, so guests matched the sticker on their place card with the table with the corresponding pool ball. Adding to the rustic feel were burlap and lace table runners and burlap bows on the chairs.
What was the most helpful advice you received about your wedding?
Answered Casey, "To soak up every moment because it goes by in a blink of an eye. Also, to get a videographer because the day passes so quickly it is a whirlwind; if you have it on video you can look back and discover things you might have missed."
The advice the groom found the most helpful was "to not worry about the little stuff on the day of the wedding--something being off or missing--because no one will notice but you. Just enjoy the day."
Another way the couple incorporated the groom's interests and personality was to have the groom and groomsmen wear superhero t-shirts under their suits.
Casey's Wonder Woman garter was the perfect complement to Roger's Superman shirt.
As favors, the couple bought leave shaped jars wholesale and brought them to a local sugar shack to have them filled with local, New Hampshire syrup.
One of the bride's favorite details was the custom wedding program she and Roger made for guests. Filled with funny responses to typical guest questions, the program told guests what to expect from the ceremony, what lawn games were available during cocktail hour, how to find their seat at the reception, where the after-party was being held, and other must-have info.
Love is Sweet! One of Roger's requirements was that they have a candy bar at the reception.
The couple's card box--found on Etsy--was a functional birdhouse that Roger and Casey put in their backyard after the wedding.
This artist-made canvas was customized for Casey and Roger to use as a guest book where wedding-goers could leave a finger or thumb print and sign their name. It now hangs in their home.
What advice do you have for other engaged couples?
The couple had plenty of advice for engaged couples:
"Don't skimp on the following vendors: a good DJ (ours was worth every penny and made it a party), an exceptional photographer and videographer (because the photos and videos are what last), and a great coordinator so you can be stress free and know things are being taken care of throughout the day."
Their parting words of advice: "Do what makes you as a couple happy and remember to have fun and enjoy every minute. Let the little stuff go and just live in the moment because it goes by so fast."
Happy 1st Anniversary to a lovely couple who I am lucky to call close and genuine friends!! Thank you for letting me share your beautiful wedding and, in the process, remember such a wonderful weekend.
Rena Dandurant, owner of Eventi Planning & Coordination.