Saturday, December 6, 2014

Wedding traditions

One of our hopes was to incorporate marriage traditions from both our families and our English and Polish ancestry into our wedding. With stories from our parents and online research, we incorporated several legends and traditions throughout (and an explanation in our program so that guests could appreciate the story behind the activity).

“Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a sixpence in your shoe.” Something old represents continuity; something new offers optimism for the future; something borrowed symbolizes happiness; something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity; and a sixpence in your shoe is a wish for fortune and  prosperity.

I wore an English silver sixpence in my shoe, a new charm representing our wedding on my wrist and a handkerchief from my mother-in-law's family pinned to my dress.


In England the youngest children in the family are responsible for presenting the bride with a silver horseshoe after she leaves the church. The horseshoe’s U-shape is believed to hold good luck for the new couple. Traditionally church bells are rung after a wedding to frighten away evil spirits.


At Polish Weddings, the parents of the newly weds, greet the couple with bread sprinkled with salt and a goblet of wine. With the bread, the parents are hoping that their children will never hunger or be in need. With the salt, they are reminding the couple that their life may be difficult at times, and they must learn to cope with life’s struggles. With the wine, they are hoping that the couple will never thirst, and wish that they have a life of good health, good cheer and good friends. The parents then kiss the couple as a sign of welcome, unity and love.


A traditional English Wedding cake is a fruitcake covered with marzipan and royal icing. The cake is made several months in advance and regularly “fed” brandy. The cake is sliced and sent home as a favor. It is believed that unmarried women who sleep with a slice of cake under their pillows will dream of their future groom. The top layer of the cake is sometimes called the “christening cake” and is set aside to celebrate the christening of the couple’s first child. 

My sister and mom baked and decorated the fruit cake.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Location, location, location!

We were married at the Shaker Museum in Enfield, NH and couldn't be happier with the location. When we first shared the location with friends and family, we had quite a few different questions ... Where is that? What is that? Do they allow alcohol? But by far the most common question we were asked was how did you choose that location?

I had dreamed about planning a wedding for many years and had been an avid reader of wedding inspiration blogs and wedding Pinterest boards so when the planning actually began, I was ready to write a list of potential venues. I knew I did not want a traditional hotel banquet hall, so we were looking for something with character and something that would serve as a simple and elegant backdrop to our own decor elements. Our spreadsheet compared over 12 different places and was a mix of rustic barns, elegant halls and bed and breakfasts. We also felt strongly about a location that our family and friends could stay on site. With a tentative November time frame, we also needed an indoor ceremony location and we hoped for different spaces for the ceremony, cocktail hour and reception (more decorating potential!).

I had seen photographs from a wedding at the Enfield Shaker Museum on a blog several years ago and it quickly went to the top of my list. It was the first place we visited and when we first stepped into the chapel, my fiance exclaimed "this is exactly what I imagined for our wedding!" The rest of the tour fulfilled the rest of the points on our wish list - separate spaces for elements of the wedding, 20 guest rooms for our family and friends and a simple, but beautiful backdrop that we would really customize with our vision! (On our first visit, there was over a foot of snow of the ground so we actually snowshoed to the Old Stone Mill!)

Let's explore ...

First, the Great Stone Dwelling, the six story main building on campus, was our home base for the weekend. Some of us arrived Thursday afternoon and settled in. The guest rooms are simple but comfortable with private bathrooms and lots of Shaker character. The twenty guest rooms are located on the third and fourth floor. With the place to ourselves it was our home away from home for the weekend. Guests lounged in the rocking chairs at the end of each hall way and mingled freely from room to room. It was the perfect feeling and reminiscent of summer camp or a college dorm.

On Friday night after our Rehearsal Dinner, we (our younger guests and those young at heart) went "Trick or Treating" from room to room.


The Mary Keane Chapel was the site of our marriage ceremony and it was spectacular! The chapel was originally built as a Catholic church but is no longer consecrated and therefore available for any type of ceremony. The giant organ played wonderfully by a local organist was beautiful for the processional music and hymns.


Our Cocktail hour was across the street in the Old Stone Mill. This was one of my favorite places when we first visited - I loved the high ceiling, exposed granite walls and lights strung across the room. It was one of favorite places to decorate and plan. There were lots of different elements and will certainly be a post of it's own.


The reception was back in the Great Stone Dwelling in the second floor meeting room. We set the tables up in long rows leaving half the room for dancing. The space held our 105 guests well.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Wedding Rock!

One of the element's that I dreamed of incorporating in our wedding from the beginning of our planning was "rock". For those unfamiliar with this nostalgic British seaside treat, "rock" is a candy stick with words or pictures down the length of the stick. It comes in many flavors, but peppermint is the most classic. It's sold in beach resorts along the English coast and was the quintessential souvenir from your summer holiday. It was a favorite treat when I visited family in England or brought back by visiting friends. As my family is English, I incorporated English traditions throughout our wedding.

We started with a few companies in England but the cost of shipping was prohibitive. We were excited to find an artisan in Florida practicing the craft of rock making. Raley's Confectionary produced our rock and even sent great photos of the process. As you can see above, the large pieces of sugar in each color are pulled into long rods which are shaped into letters. The letters are then wrapped in more sugars before the log is pulled into long thin sticks. 

We placed the rock into tent cards which served as place cards for each of our guests. Our names throughout the rock were a sweet little surprise for our guests!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Pros that made a wedding perfect!

Although I knew that I wanted to create many aspects of my wedding and include projects that my family could put their own touch on, I also knew I wanted professionals to make the day picture perfect. We met with vendors at wedding expos, pursued recommendations and interviewed potential partners. The end result was absolutely perfect and we couldn't be happier with the professionals who helped make the day a success!

We are so excited with our photograph from Matthew of Wilton Brothers Photography. I haven't been able to stop looking at them. Matthew was fantastic to work with and made us all so relaxed. His photos capture the small details and the overall spirit of our day. The weather was uncooperative and rainy - but Matthew was not deterred and without the umbrellas you might not even realize the weather was less than perfect.


Brad at Harrington Flowers created our bouquets, wreaths for the chapels, arrangement for the podium and centerpieces for the reception tables. The designs and flowers were absolutely beautiful! Brad took our ideas and inspiration, added his expertise and creativity and the results were even more beautiful than I could have imagined!

Our Wedding Cake was beautiful and absolutely delicious thanks to the creative and talented Pastry Chefs at Popover's on the Square. The simple, elegant buttercream decoration, done by Pastry Chef Katie, were perfectly accented by our wedding color flowers. The tiers were three layers of chocolate, vanilla and marble cake sandwiched with raspberry filling and chocolate hazelnut fudge. So delicious!


Mr. Jonathan was our DJ and he kept the dance floor hopping the whole night! He played the perfect mix of music that allowed guests to show off their ballroom dancing skills, swing and just get down. Mr. Jonathan was quick to respond to the vibe of the crowd and asked throughout the night if they was anything we needed. He was a real professional and the perfect ingredient to an evening of fun for all.

Neither David or I are naturals when it comes to dancing, but we wanted our first dance to be a relaxing and memorable experience. We stated private lessons with Maria at Paper Moon Studio several months before the big day. We learned a routine of the Foxy to the song, You are the best thing. Maria was a great teacher - very patient and motivating! We practiced, fine tuned and practiced until it felt very natural. The final performance was so close to perfect and we were having so much fun we didn't have to worry about remembering to smile!

I'll share more about the venue and hair & make up and fashion in another post.