Home is where the heart is, and if you’re like us, a fall home is the best kind of home. It’s those moments when you’re cozying up on the couch with your favorite blanket, sipping coffee, apple cider, or maybe a pumpkin spice latte that warm your heart. But you know what will really give you the warm and fuzzies? These registry picks for a happy fall home.
In the spirit of honesty, here we go: my hubby and I were downright nervous about our first dance. All 200+ people were watching and we froze up a bit. While we can laugh at it now, looking back, dance lessons may have been a wise choice. More likely than not, dancing will be a big part of your big day and when you kick it off with your first dance, you want to make your mark. Why so important? Ballroom Dance Chicago tells us why!
1. Set the Mood
You’ve thought through every other detail of this event, no matter how seemingly insignificant, so don’t let this big moment fall flat! What kind of mood are you going for? Starlight and romance or fist-pumping dance party? The mood of your first dance begins with the song you choose. If you want a relaxed, romantic reception, pick a tender, sweet song to dance to or if you want to kick up the dance party, pick a song that will inspire your guests to get out there and join you on the dance floor! But don’t stop there! By seeking assistance from a wedding dance professional, you’ll ensure that you and your fiance are able to move together in a way that is a bit more advanced than the hug-and-waddle and that matches your song choice!
While you might decide to do away with some of the other events at a wedding deemed “traditional” (think garter/bouquet tossing, dollar dances, and grand entrances for the bridal party), the first dance is one you’ll definitely want to keep! It’s a physical representation of your relationship, and it allows you to have a special moment with your fiance during the reception. Why throw that tradition away? We’ve heard many reasons: perhaps you don’t know how to dance, you don’t particularly like dancing, you have no rhythm, the list goes on and on. But, there’s an easy remedy for all of these problems: take some dance lessons!
3. Fun Date Night
Wedding planning, work stress, and appeasing all various family demands are what most of your days are probably consumed by. With all of the things on your miles-long to-do list, you really don’t have an opportunity to have quality time with your significant other. Dance lessons are a great way to get it back (while still checking something off of your wedding planning list), so make a date night out of it! Taking time out every week leading up to the wedding to just enjoy each others’ company will keep you connected to the reason you’re getting married (i.e. you really really like each other), rather than allowing your partnership to get bogged down in finances and decision making.
4. More Than Just Dance Moves
You will practice important skills for your marriage during dance lessons. At the conclusion of a usually long, oftentimes stressful planning process, a wedding is seen as a welcome ending to a hectic period in a couple’s life. However, a wedding is the beginning of two lives merging into one, and this new union can take more work than expected to maintain. Just like a first dance, if you’re able to put in a little preparation and practice, you’ll be able to handle any situation with grace and ease and emerge with your relationship unscathed. By taking dance lessons and learning something new with the one you love, you will develop a closer bond and practice many skills important for marriage.
Find a dance school in your area that specializes in wedding prep! If you don’t have one near you, consider Ballroom Dance Chicago’s virtual dance lessons or weekend intensives! If you have more questions about your first dance, check out our blog or shoot us an email directly at email@example.com!
ONGOING GIVEAWAYS + DISCOUNTS…
We’re excited to share that Shine invitations is currently offering FREE SHIPPING on orders over $500 (US orders only) as well as a free sample kit featuring the invitation of your choice, color charts, paper samples, and an example Save the Date! Don’t miss out!
THIS WEEK’S DISCOUNTS…
For our Destination Brides… Discount from Hitch’d Weddings & Events
For our Tri-state Brides… Discount from Femina Photo + Design, giveaways from NST Pictures and OLLI STUDIO, and don’t miss the Eddy K Dreams Collection Trunk Show at Designer Loft from August 19 – 28th, and the Kelly Faetanini Trunk Show at Gabriella New York from August 25 – 28th!
Dance Advice: Ballroom Dance Chicago
Growing up in rural Kenya, Jessica used her allowance money to buy copies of British Vogue and escape to a world of fashion and glamour. And when dreaming of her wedding day she said, “I always knew when I got married I wanted to have an epic dress.” Luckily her all lace, long sleeve, plunging neckline Berta gown completely fit the bill for the ultimate celebration with her love, Eric. Almond Leaf Studios captured the images and film you mustn’t dare miss.
From the Bride…Inspiration. For our wedding my biggest inspiration was timeless elegant glamour. I wanted things to be soft, romantic, clean, classic, grand and effortlessly gorgeous. When choosing different stylistic elements for the wedding I wanted to make sure everything I chose was timeless, chic, beautiful and not a fad or a trend. I love the way that you can still look at Grace Kelly’s wedding dress 60 years later and fall in love with it over and over. Stylistically I love things that are clean, elegant and timeless like Jackie Kennedy and Coco Chanel. There is something I have always loved about a bride wearing a classic white lace gown and a groom wearing a classic black tuxedo on their wedding day. It is timeless and never goes out of style.
I am very decisive when it comes to things I like or do not like. I only tried on two dresses. I only visited one venue. I do my research and go with my gut.
Color Palette. My color palette was clean and classic. I wanted everything to be neutrals. I chose black, white, charcoal, ivory, champagne and gold as my colors. All my stationery was in shades of grey, pearl ivory Crane Lettra, charcoal letterpress, gold foil and gold wax seals. I specifically told my florist I wanted white flowers and white flowers only – but to include lots of greenery too. The bridesmaids wore breezy, elegant champagne dresses with sparkly earrings and belts for that little bit of extra glam.
Dress. I wanted my dress to be dramatic, romantic and memorable, but not gaudy or over the top. I fell in love with the Berta dress when I saw it online. I knew it was the one. The details on it were exquisite. I loved the deep V neck with pearl beading almost down to my belly button, the dramatic lace train, the bare back, the pearl beading detail on the end of the sleeves, and the sentimental value of the fact that it was hand made in Israel.
I grew up in Africa. I went to school at an American boarding school in Kenya and every month I’d save up my allowance to buy a copy of British Vogue magazine and just pour over the pages – It was my little escape – A little bit of glamour to dream about while living in rural Kenya. I always knew when I got married I wanted to have an epic dress.
Venue. I had always wanted to get married in the south of France or a village in Italy but the minute I visited the Duke Mansion I instantly fell in love with it’s old world southern charm and glamorous feel. It was grand but it was also so warm, intimate, romantic and cozy. I loved the stately large white walls of this gorgeous historic site, the wrought iron fences and light fixtures, the stone fountains and terraces and the lush rose gardens. I was so excited to host both of our families in this classic Southern Charmed mansion in the heart of the city that we fell in love in – a city that is an integral part of our love story.
Personal Touches. Even though I wanted a big glamorous wedding, at the same time I wanted to make it very dear and personal. I wanted to make sure everybody had a blast and felt like they were there to celebrate our love. I worked hard over the course of 18 months to add a lot of personal touches to the wedding. I made and designed all the stationary myself; almost entirely by hand. (with the exception of the letterpress and gold foil stamping, done by the amazing people over at Crayton Heritage Letterpress) We wanted to make sure each guest felt contacted personally by us. I hand sketched our welcome sign, we hand-stamped coffee and tea favor bags. My mom and dad hand painted the table numbers and bride and groom chair signs. The antique silver candle sticks were used at my parent’s wedding, and the champagne glasses we used to toast the cake cutting were the same ones my parents used at their cake cutting 30 years earlier. We even had our whole family (fresh off the plane from California) hand paint gold accents on olive branches (a symbol of peace and love) for everyone’s plates the day before the wedding. It was such a fun group effort and made everyone feel included in some part of the wedding.
Photography: Almond Leaf Studios | Cinematography: Almond Leaf Studios | Event Design: Love & Honey | Floral Design: Lily Greenthumb's Wedding & Event Design | Wedding Dress: Berta | Cake: Wow Factor Cakes | Invitations: Bride | Bride's Shoes: Guiseppe Zanotti | Rings: Diamonds Direct | Bridesmaids' Dresses: Amsale | Hair + Makeup: Beauty Asylum | DJ: Split Second Sound | Groom's Attire: The Black Tux | Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux | Officiant: Bride's Dad | Ceremony Music: Andrea Mumm | Venue: Duke Mansion | Bridal Boutique: Anjolique Bridal | Bride's Earrings: Ambrosia Bridal | Bride's Necklace: Jane Basch | Bride's Robe: BHLDN | Bridesmaids' Jewelry: Nadri | Bridesmaids' Robes: Plum Pretty Sugar | Flower Girl's Dresses: J.Crew | Flower Girl's Flower Crowns: Stony Run Studio | Groom's Shoes: Cole Haan | Groom's Watch: Skagen | Invitation Letterpress: Crayton Heritage Letterpress | Mother of the Bride's Dress: Adrianna Papell | Mother of the Groom's Dress: White House | Black Market | Photo Booth: InFocus Photobooths | Pocket Squares: Target With Monograms By EmbroidMe | Ribbon: Flower Seed Paper
This celebration right here is a wedding that speaks directly to my heart. Reason being? This perfect pair decided to buck tradition and only incorporate what felt natural to them, and for that I say KUDOS. With Rachel Solomon Photography behind the lens, their intimate celebration proves that you can in fact have it all (and them some), while staying true to who you are. See it all in The Vault!
From The Bride…We talked for years about eloping in lieu of a traditional wedding. Bora Bora, Sydney, London, and many others were considered while we dreamt about a capricious time where we could have one of our most meaningful days all to ourselves. We didn’t fancy the idea of having a bridal party, overpaying for just about everything, spending time with people we didn’t truly know, being the center of attention, or even dancing (that’s right, we’re a non-dancing couple). But we could never pull the trigger and actually book the trip of a lifetime that would have excluded our dearest family and friends.
After six years of going around and around about when and where and how to elope, we decided to have a traditional wedding that broke all the traditions we don’t care for. We had a small wedding with just 54 guests, and every single one of them was important to us. We skipped the grand entrance, the first dance, and the bouquet toss simply because those options didn’t appeal to us. In fact, we didn’t have any dancing at all. We wanted our reception to feel like a late-night garden dinner. So we opted out of the traditional ballroom setting in favor of the great outdoors. My sister was the maid of honor and there was no best man. Kyle felt that asking someone to take on the role would be burdensome and annoying, so he didn’t. He just joked that Pip, one of our cats, was asked but declined the role. We arranged for everything we wanted and left out everything we didn’t. The only thing missing was our five cats…sort of.
Kyle is a true cat lover. He’s always kind to them and they bring him so much happiness. I knew I had to incorporate our cats into the wedding but did not want it to be cheesy. Kyle is from the South, Tennessee to be exact, so I thought a surprise groom’s cake was my best chance. I did some research and found an incredibly talented confectionary artist- seriously that is what she is. Haley Carins with Heartsweet Cakes spoke with me for hours about the concept. I wanted the cake to be modern and masculine and show off our cats. Amounting to everything I asked for and more, it served as desert, three dimensional art, entertainment, and a sentimental reminder of our everyday life together.
We incorporated some personal touches to add meaningful nuances where we could. During the ceremony, we each poured soil from our home states (Tennessee and Massachusetts) into a mock orange plant that was later planted in our yard in Phoenix. As a nod to the fact that we almost opted out of having the wedding, we included a city in fine print at the bottom of all eight table markers, each one identifying a different city we considered eloping to. Our one and only DIY dabble consisted of many handmade and hand strung hearts that hung on the back of our reception chairs (I have a picture of Kyle working on the project in his underwear that I think is so sweet and cute).
The colors of the wedding were ivory, varying purples, a touch of mocha, and lots of green. Kyle’s favorite color is green so I wanted to make sure our design embraced that. Natural colors are so beautiful so we brought green in through the lawn, plants, cacti, floral arrangements, and eucalyptus garlands flowing down the aisle and two king’s tables. Mocha came from varying exposed wood pieces and the purples came from peonies, lilacs, button daisies, dahlias and anemones. We did not want to distract from the scenery and warmth of the venue, which has special history and meaning for our relationship. We wanted the feel to be airy yet elegant and clean but still romantic. It was breathtaking.
My favorite moment happened during dinner. It was dark, the heaters were on, Crave by MTNS was playing, and the scent of orange blossom was in the air when we noticed that birds were flying back and forth overhead. It brought me back to 2010 when we took our first vacation together. We stayed at the Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale and noticed the birds flying over the lawn from the patio at Talavera while at dinner. At that moment, six years ago, I secretly wished we would someday be married there. And we were.
Photography: Rachel Solomon Photography | Coordination: Some Like It Classic - Wedding & Event Design | Floral Design: Carte Blanche Design | Wedding Dress: Pronovias | Invitations: Minted | Bride's Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Rings: Cartier | Makeup: June Pearl Beauty | Hair: Joey's Hair Couture | Calligraphy: The Pretty Paperie Shop | Groom's Attire: The Clotherie | Ceremony Music: VeeRonna Ragone | Venue: Four Seasons Hotel St. Louis | Bridal Boutique: Lillian Lottie Couture | Bride's Earrings: Mikimoto | Cufflinks: Cartier | Groom's Cake: Heartsweet Cakes | Rentals: Classic Party Rentals Phoenix | Signage: The Pretty Paperie Shop