My love affair with weddings started a long time ago. At age 5 I was the flower girl for one of my mom’s best friends. I remember my great-grandmother sewed me a bubble gum pink flower girl dress with rosettes that held up the draped fabric covering a hoop skirt. I had a matching rosette bow and little white gloves. I thought the whole thing was magical, even the kissing that most kids find gross. I couldn’t help it, I was raised on princess fairytales and felt like every princess married their own prince charming. A wedding was the closest I had ever been to a real-life fairytale and I was living for it, I knew it was an experience I would never forget- and 32 years later, I haven’t. I remember my hair being curled in ringlets achieving volume I could never dream of now. I remember being told it was my job to make the aisle pretty for the bride and I took that very seriously (this is also how I still describe a flower girls job to her during the rehearsal). I remember my feet dangling over the pew as I sat watching the storybook moments unfold before me. I remember dancing all night to late 80’s jams. I remember being sad it was over but excited that one day I would get to have a day like this of my own.
By age 6, my favorite coloring books were ones that featured brides, usually barbie brides or princess brides. I loved to color their dresses and the puffy sleeves of their bridesmaids. By age 9, I would spend hours sketching my future wedding dress and bridesmaid dresses, sure that if I didn’t one day become a dress designer I would at least design my own wedding gown. Around age 12 I started a binder and filled it with my favorite flowers, pretty invitations, and potential honeymoon destinations. By 16, I was on every event planning committee I could make time for. The spark for wedding planning became a raging fire when I got engaged at 22.
I had always heard how hard and stressful wedding planning would be, but that was not my experience. I knew exactly what I wanted, I made quick decisions and I thought the whole process was a blast. I had been pretend planning and replanning my future wedding for as long as I could remember so planning it for real in the span of about 5 months felt like a literal dream come true. And honestly, my wedding checked all the boxes my inner child had been dreaming about…and then I got divorced. My then-husband and I filed for divorce almost exactly 6 years after we began dating, a mere 15 months after saying I do (and funny enough, 13 years ago tomorrow). To say I was devastated feels like an understatement. Not only was I heartbroken at the sudden and unexpected demise of my marriage, but I also felt like my wedding was now a ruined memory. That may sound silly or superficial but i had literally been dreaming about it and it was everything I had hoped it would be, but then somehow the marriage wasn’t. When I said yes and then I do, for me, it was forever and the fact I couldn’t make him love me made me feel like a failure. It made a day that I had looked forward to my whole life seem wasted on someone that didn’t believe in marriage the same way I did. It felt like something valuable was stolen from me. I felt betrayed, stupid, and honestly embarrassed that I didn’t see it coming.
I have always been a romantic, but instead of being hopeful that love would find me again someday, I settled for hopeless. For years, I tried to convince myself that I was just unlovable. I bounced around in toxic relationships and watched a lot of romcoms while I sipped pitchers of vodka sodas. My broken heart couldn’t seem to find a way to repair itself. I had tried online dating. I was on all the sites. And while my dates always gave me a good story to share with my girlfriends (so many that I considered starting a blog called, ” So That’s Why You’re Single”) none of my dates ever seemed like they were going anywhere. Eventually, I just gave up and told myself that maybe I was just meant to be single.
Even though my wedding was now jaded, I still loved weddings for other people. I loved the way weddings “married” beautiful celebratory spaces with the people that make up your life. It’s two entire life stories, told in the span of a few hours, through the intermingling of friends and family. I have had some of my very favorite nights at weddings. Core memories that will always be with me, from dancing on a fog-covered dance floor to Walk Like an Egyptian in 1990 to double fisting signature cocktails, the size and potency of shots, at Meagan’s wedding in 2013. I’ve never met a wedding celebration I didn’t like. Years went by as I worked in PR, sales and nonprofit events until a fateful day when Meagan and I met up for happy hour.
In 2013, when Meagan and I sat down at a bar and began talking about owning a business together we weren’t totally sure what it would be. We knew we loved weddings and with our respective backgrounds in events, we thought we could start an event planning company and get some weddings under our belts. In the beginning, we planned all kinds of events. We were even regulars on the Mitzvah scene, but it became clear to us that our hearts and our strengths were in creating weddings that told the stories of our couples. Though I loved weddings, I didn’t know if my loveless little heart could handle seeing so many people happy and in love, but as our client roster grew, I could feel something changing within me too. That wall of hopelessness was beginning to get worn down.
I vividly remember the first time I realized that being a part of my couples wedding day was healing my soul. I was standing at the back of the ceremony, listening to the personally written vows the couple read in front of all the people that loved them. There was something about the authenticity of their words. They shared how much they had been through together and how they worked on loving one another every day. I don’t know why, but that day, I started to believe that love was possible for me again because it wasn’t some perfect fairytale. Something about their words to one another helped me realize that someone out there might be willing to work for it with me. It made me begin to obsess about the stories that eventually lead to the wedding day as much or more than the wedding day itself. It made me excited to start to one day begin writing a new love story for myself. In the meantime, it felt peaceful, that I got to surround myself with that kind of loving energy every weekend. It became clear to me that the reason weddings are so special isn’t just because of the commitment two people are making to one another, but it’s also all the love that surrounds them at that moment. It’s the culmination of every step that got them to that altar surrounded by that specific group of people. It made me realize that fairytales didn’t really exist and that love was more of a journey than a destination. And a wedding isn’t a celebration of finding your happy ending. No, it’s the celebration of finding a partner to take on the adventure that is life with. Weddings are more of a kickoff than a conclusion. So I went home and signed up for tinder. This weekend my boyfriend and I will celebrate 8 years of choosing to love each other every day. We don’t have any wedding plans in the works and thats fine with me. One day we might get married, but if we don’t that’s okay too.
As a wedding planner in the luxury space it would be easy to say I love to plan weddings because I love designing beautiful and meaningful spaces- which is 100% true, but the real reason I love weddings is that I love being surrounded by the energy of love. The love that the couple shows in caring for their guests, the love their parents show as their eyes well up with tears at the sight of their son or daughter. The love that emanates from the couple’s best friends as they scream-sing songs on the dance floor that reminds them of a poignant time in their shared history. So for me, weddings are no longer just about the two people saying I do, they are about every single person in the room (or on the lawn). And because of that when I plan a wedding, I try to make sure that every single person in that room can feel the love coming right back to them.
I still have that bubble gum pink dress with the rosettes and I know that someday if I get married again, another little girl might wear it, feel like a princess, and start her own love of weddings, but more importantly, her joy for celebrating love in all its forms.
Thank you to our featured video and photography partners: Ryann Lindsey Photography, Melissa Ivy Photography, The Shepards, Rachael Koscica Photography, Aaron Kes, Kayla Fisher Photography, Olivia Markle, Rachel Soloman Photography, Marie Claire Photography, Emily Vandehey, Morgan Mccanne, Andrew Glatt, Chiara Shine Photography, Mike Oblinski, and Good Vibe Media.