Elegant Spring Wedding at Lambertville Station • Alison Dunn Photography

 

It's not often that you hear of a wedding - and certainly not one this beautiful - planned in a matter of weeks. Melissa + Tom's Wedding by Alison Dunn was full of casual sophistication, organic details and most importantly, a couple undeterred by cooler-than-normal April temperatures and crazy winds. 


From Alison: Melissa and Tom tied the knot in the Inn at Lambertville Station's beautiful ceremony space and continued the celebrations upstairs in a ballroom that overlooks the water. They invited me into their story only weeks before their wedding day and I'm so lucky they did! These two executed a wedding-industry miracle by pulling together a beautiful and perfectly executed day in only a matter of weeks and never broke a sweat. It was so much colder and windier than any of us expected for an early April wedding, but they embraced the elements and refused to complain. I even caught them sneaking in a slow dance in their reception space before the ceremony - talk about calm, cool, and collected!

Vendors: Ceremony: Lambertville Station | Reception - Lambertville Station | DJ - Soundfactor Entertainment | Videographer - Snapped Studios | Bakery - Ciao Bella Cakes | Suits -Men's Warehouse | Paper - Minted | Florist - Maura Rose Events | Photography: Alison Dunn Photography

Stylish and Urban Philadelphia Wedding • Ashley Errington

 

Stylish, eclectic, totally chic. We are totally smitten with this Philadelphia wedding from Ashley Errington at Powerplant Productions. We simply adore Nadine + Naveed's fresh take on a winter wedding, their incredible venue and their adorable first look. Check out all the incredible photos below!


From Ashley : These two are two of the happiest, sweetest and most down to earth clients we’ve had the pleasure of working with! Nadine + Naveed together bring lots of laughter wherever they go, it was such a joy to kick off our 2016 wedding season with them. These two are so obviously in love, which made our job easy + so much fun! Just wait 'til you see Naveed’s sweet reaction to seeing his bride for the first time!

I loved all the fun little details that were incorporated into their special day! From Naveed’s colorful socks, to the beautiful bracelet gifted to Nadine from her new mother in law. Not to mention their friend + officiant kept their rings in, and read their vows from a Harry Potter book.

The night continued as their friends + family celebrated the newlyweds with some epic dance moves + super sweet speeches! It was our pleasure to capture every important moment from their wedding day! Enjoy some of our favorites from our very first wedding of 2016!

Vendors: Photography: Ashley Errington | Gown: Casablanca Bridal Gown | Venue: Powerplant Productions

Meet-the-Maker • Bella Carta Boutique

 

We are paper lovers here at Red Oak Weddings, and are so excited to introduce you to one of our absolute favorites, Bella Carta Boutique! Jillian is both the owner of Bella Carta, and the founder and editor behind our blog, and is as passionate as they come. If you have an eye for detail, enjoy classic, modern design and style, then you will absolutely want to look at all Bella Carta has to offer when it comes to custom designed invitation suites. Just look at the eye candy below! 


Inspiration for the Modern Couple | NY, NJ + PA | Bella Carta Boutique

Tell us a little bit about you, and how you got started!

Well, hi! I'm Jillian. Wife, mom to 3 little boys, and the designer behind Bella Carta Boutique. I've always loved design - from doodling in class to changing my handwriting with every note I wrote my friends, it's hard to put into words the pull you feel at a young age. Fast forward to my own wedding seven years ago, cold calling local printers to see who would help bring my vision to life... that was when I realized this dream could maybe be something more. I bought a domain, designed a few weddings here and there for friends, and grew my little family. A few years and three babies later, I knew it was time to really chase this dream and see where it led. I didn't want to look back in 10 years and regret the little voice telling me just try.

What services do you offer and/or what do you specialize in?

We offer everything from save-the-dates to invitations, and every wedding day decor item imaginable. I truly believe that the first piece of paper your guests receive in the mail sets the tone for the rest of the wedding, and by working with one person from start to finish, you ensure that every element coordinates and that the entire wedding feels like you. 

Inspiration for the Modern Couple | NY, NJ + PA | Bella Carta Boutique
Inspiration for the Modern Couple | NY, NJ + PA | Bella Carta Boutique

What makes your business unique?

I think my design style is unique, and that I offer my couples a very high level of customer service. My style is clean and sophisticated, with a focus on typography and quality. I love bringing the entire design full circle by helping them choose envelope liners, stamps, and even a calligrapher that will best compliment the design we've chosen. 

What is your favorite part of working with couples?

Oh, this is hard! I'd say it's their reaction to the final, printed pieces. I know my couples and I share a similar aesthetic, which is why we were drawn to work together in the first place. But actually seeing that dream come to life in the form of their wedding invitations - heirlooms that will be passed onto their children + grandchildren  - nothing really beats that.

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One piece of advice for couples?

Remember, it is just a day. All the decisions seem SO big, but if you still marry your best friend at the end of the day, it was a success. My biggest fear (which was silly) was that it would rain on my wedding day. It didn't just rain. It's poured. Almost 3". But when I woke up that day, it was OK with it all. If I was still getting to marry that guy at the end of the aisle, it was all OK in my book.

Childhood career aspiration?

First, a secretary. Then, a doctor. I still use the term "when I grow up", because many days I don't feel old enough to be living the life I am.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee daily (ok, sometimes more than that). Tea when I need comforting. Feeling sick, or sad or ready fora nap... I got that from my mom. A cup of tea is how she'd comfort me, and now I use it for that, too.

Hidden talent?

I can change a diaper almost anywhere, in record time, while never laying the baby down. On my lap, in my arms, while they're standing or playing. I'm pretty proud of that one! 

Inspiration for the Modern Couple | NY, NJ + PA | Bella Carta Boutique

Sweet and Intimate Home Engagement Session • Nicole DeTone Photography

 

If you have an engagement session scheduled this summer, this post may make you choose a new location... one much closer to home. This engagement session in Maria + Pat's Westchester home from Nicole DeTone is full of sweet, stolen moments, casual intimacy, and an authentic love evident in every photo. There's nothing sweeter than capturing these memories with the love of your life, in the place you call home.  


From Nicole: Last September, I met Maria + Pat for coffee and conversation. The coffee shop that I chose to meet them at just happened to be down the street from where they first met each other at a karaoke bar (where Maria had pulled a reluctant Pat up on stage to sing with her) a few years prior! After that first chance encounter, they began dating and eventually living together in NYC where Pat romantically popped the question to his Maria. Shortly after their engagement, they moved to a beautiful and sprawling home in Westchester, NY where they opened their doors and hearts by inviting me to photograph their engagement session. I arrived on a beautiful end-of-summer evening to find the lovely and gracious couple excited to start their session. It was so wonderful to photograph these two who just relaxed into each other's arms, laughed as they danced, and kissed as often as needed until the sun set...

Sophisticated Fall Montauk Wedding • Cadence Kennedy

 

Sophisticated and timeless will never go out of style, and this gorgeous fall wedding from Cadence Kennedy is certainly no exception. Jenna and George's wedding day is the epitome of graceful elegance, and their genuine love is evident in every photo. George's classic tux, Jenna's timeless dress, their adorable first look... all of it so sweet and intimate. We adore everything about this wedding day, and know you will too!


From Cadence: "The End" can truly be the beginning for some. Jenna and George said 'I do' out on the East End of Long Island in Montauk. The two had the most beautiful Fall day, filled with warm and golden Autumn light, and a soft ocean breeze. Jenna and George's wedding was classic and elegant. Black and white tones were just meant for these images, especially those intimate bridal portraits between Mother and Daughter. Jenna and George's back to back first look under the willow tree is still one of my favorites to date. As they turned around too look at each other, you can just see the sincere and genuine love they have for one another. By the end of the wedding, even though the sun began to set, love continued to radiate off these images. It was truly the magic of Montauk.

Elegant Wedding at Saratoga National Golf Course • Tiffany Wayne Photography

 

When we think of elegance, this is exactly the wedding that comes to mind. Lindsey + Thalis had the most beautiful day, captured perfectly by Tiffany Wayne, and at one of the most stunning venues in update New York. Everything from the flowers, to the dress, all the way down to the muted color palette was perfectly coordinated, and matched the elegance of Saratoga National. 


From Tiffany: This wedding is super ah-mazing – just get your “ooooh’s and ahhhhh’s” ready! A little over a year ago I met up with Lindsey and Thalis at a local coffee shop. I remember instantly hitting it off with these two… We chatted a lot about home renovation and decor, out love of the fall season, and our dogs! It truly was a perfect fit from the start! When I learned that their wedding was at Saratoga National, I was even more excited because that is one of my favorite places to shoot! It just feels like home when I’m there…

When I met with Lindsey (and her dog Pepper) for our final meeting, the weather forecast wasn’t looking 100% percent great. In typical Tiffany fashion, I decided to only put out those good vibrations and trust that all will work out. Praise the Lord because we had a beautiful day! I started out my day with the ladies in the morning over at the Grand Pavillion hotel in downtown Saratoga. What a great spot to get ready. The suite was like a condo- with a full kitchen and living room…super convenient! As always I got started with some detail shots…Starting off with details is kinda like doing yoga. It just helps me get in the zone and channel my inner TWP creative juices! The girls were ahead of schedule (which I love!) and after the ladies were dressed, it was time to head over to Hall of Springs where we were going to do the first look! The covered walkways are so pretty and also a good spot just in case the weather wasn’t ideal.

Groom Thalis was anxiously awaiting his bride- it was so cute to see his excitement! When Lindsey arrived, he gasped when he saw her. Heart melted! We went right into bride and groom portraits and these two were just so adorable to watch! I swear they must have practiced! It wasn’t long before we needed to head over to Saratoga National…after all, we didn’t want this bride and groom late for their own ceremony! The ceremony tent was set up beautifully with draped linens and chandeliers. The flowers were sooo stunning, too! During the ceremony, there were so many sweet moments of laughter…and Thalis even snuck a kiss on his brides forehead. A+++ on the romance you guys!!!! Love it!

After the couple was officially married, we headed out on some golf carts to a nearby field for some sunset images. The sky was a bit overcast so that super golden glow wasn’t as vibrant as I had hoped, but nonetheless, still beautiful. We shared a bunch of laughs and shortly after, it was time to party the night away! The band had everyone off their feet and it was truly a night to remember! Lindsey and Thalis, thank you so much for choosing me to capture such a special time in your life. I wish you both a lifetime that is surrounded by love and all things good…always!!! Congratulations!!! Below are some of my favorites from the wedding day, I hope you enjoy them as much as I do! As always, leave a little love in the comment form below and don’t forget to check out the list of talented vendors who made this day happen!

The Pros and Cons of a First Look • Rothweiler Event Designs

 

With all the hundreds of decisions to be made for a wedding, the decision of having a first look is probably one of the most debated. We love Daneille Rothweiler's perspective on it all, and if you're debating either scenario, this article will surely help you see it from both sides. 


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The idea of a “first look” is still so new that many of my couples aren’t sure what I’m talking about when I ask their preference. But a quick look through some wedding magazines will show not just any first look photos, but overly creative ones including spins on the original idea. Personally, I did not have a first look and I wouldn’t change a thing. In fact, I prefer the first look to be the one that takes place walking down the aisle, but that’s me and sometimes I love tradition. There are pros and cons of a first look to consider before making the decision, so read on and let me know what you decide!

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Pro: You can enjoy your cocktail hour with everyone else, including each other. Typically, there are so many photos that have to be taken and a couple doesn’t realize just how much time they will take. What you may think should only take a few minutes, could end up being over an hour. Sit down with your photographer and go over the list of people that need to be in the photos and the combinations you need as well, to find out how much time they will need. Based on that as well as a myriad of other timing issues, you might find yourself missing cocktail hour to take these photos. If that’s a deal breaker, then get that first look done before the wedding so that you can continue with all of the photos that include the both of you prior to the ceremony.

Con: You might have to start earlier than you want to. By pushing the first look to before the ceremony, the idea is to then take pictures with everyone together since you have already seen each other. This means that everyone will have to be ready sooner including being completely dressed with hair and make up already done. Find out how much time these photos will take and work with your stylists to figure out just how early everyone has to wake up in order to be ready for these photographs.

Pro: A first look can be as simple as walking down a pathway and tapping your fiance on the shoulder or as elaborate as descending a grand staircase or releasing balloons that are hiding your face. There are so many ways to stage this and set it up and your photographer can work with you on creative ways to get the perfect moment. In fact, even if you are on the fence and can’t quite commit to a first look, you can do the whole “hiding around the corner” picture where the photographer gets the shot of the two of you holding hands without actually “looking” at each other.

Con: Location can be an issue as you may not be able to go where you want for this picture. For instance, if you are hoping to take this picture and the ones that follow at your venue, check and find out if you are allowed to be there at the time you need to be. Many places hold couples and their wedding vendors off until a later time in case they have an event preceding theirs, or if it’s too early in the day. If you can’t get the location you want, you might be stuck with taking this picture in a hotel lobby.

Pro: No tears at the altar when you see each other the first time and the nerves will be settled more than they would be. You’ve already seen each other so there are no crazy butterflies as you walk down the aisle and you don’t have to worry about your face being soaked in tears. For those that are anxious about the walk and everyone staring at them, this is a huge plus because the anxiety level is brought way down and the walk to the altar will be easier.

Con: No tears at the altar. Personally, I cherished that moment I locked eyes with my now husband as I turned the corner and saw him standing there waiting for me. I also cried during my entire ceremony and I’m not terribly sure anyone understood the vows I wrote. However, he cried too and that moment when he saw me it filled my heart to see the man I love completely chocked up at the sight of me. That is a moment I will forever remember and there is something more serious about the first look being at the ceremony and not in a field where you tap someone on the shoulder and they turn around. 

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There are so many things to consider when deciding if a first look is right for you or not. Don’t let anyone tell you what worked for them or influence your decision. This has to be right for the two of you, so weigh the pros and cons and decide this together as a couple. After all, you will be deciding the rest of your lives together, so this is a great place to start!

Photography by: Pat Furey Photo & Cassi Claire Photography

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Modern Garden Wedding at the Cira Center • Emily Wren Weddings

 

Well friends, you should go grab your coffee and plan to stay awhile... this Philadelphia wedding from Emily Wren is that good. When you combine some of Philly's best wedding vendors, a stunning venue, perfect weather and a bride and groom who could pass for models, you get one of the most stylish weddings we've seen yet. 


From Emily: Jana & Peter were married at the Cira Center in Philadelphia on Labor Day Weekend. With it's rustic interior and modern facade, The Cira Center was a beautiful backdrop for this urban garden wedding. To celebrate the end of summer, Oleander Floral Design created an incredible bridal bouquet and decorated the Cira Center like a lush garden, with garlands full of greenery and a variety of white blooms. If you look close, you'll notice little hints from the garden such as mint, peppers, and rosemary! The chuppa was covered in greenery as well, giving it a natural and earthy feel. Jana looked effortlessly elegant in her Theia gown, from BHLDN. Her long golden locks, styled by True Beauty Marks, fell sweetly at her shoulders. I took advantage of the close proximity to Philadelphia's historic 30th Street Station to take some portraits of the bridal party. The art deco architecture and massive windows made for some uniquely beautiful moment. And how nice of the station manager to wish Jana & Peter a happy wedding over the loudspeaker!

Vendors: Hair/Make Up: Gina at True Beauty Marks | Planer/Coordinator: Caitlin Boshnack (JG Domestic Wedding Coordinator) | Caterer: Garces Catering  | Dress Maker: Theia, Elsa Gown | Shoes: Badgley Mischka, Ava II Sandal, Silver | Florist: Cynthia at Oleander Florals | Band/DJ: Sean McCaffrey, Center Stage Entertainment | Photography : Emily Wren Weddings

Meet-the-Maker • Rothweiler Event Designs

 

We're so excited to share one of our favorite Red Oak Preferred Vendors with you: Danielle of Rothweiler Event Designs! Danielle is one of New Jersey's top wedding vendors, known for turning empty spaces into magical weddings and her honest, unfiltered advice, she always goes above and beyond for her clients. Danielle is also a writer for the Huffington Post, and most recently, Red Oak Weddings! Get to know her and a little bit about her business, below!


Rothweiler Event Designs

Tell us a little bit about you, and how you got started!

I actually never considered wedding planning or event design as a career for me. I always had a passion for theatre and have been singing, dancing and acting since I could walk basically. In fact, I still perform whenever life allows me some time and when it doesn't I settle for karaoke or sing-a-longs with my husband (who is the best piano player ever) at home. While I was always on the stage, I knew I was never going to try and make that my career. During that time I was always designing events including my senior prom, homecoming dances, events that my sorority did in college, family parties, whatever. I was really unsure what to do after college and I literally woke up one morning and told my then boyfriend (now husband) that I thought I would make a good wedding and event planner. The years leading up to that moment I had planned plenty of events and developed a passion for decor including florals. I wasn't trying to be a florist though, so I reached out to a bunch of wedding planning companies and asked if they were hiring or had an internship available.

Now, keep in mind I have a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science at this point hanging on my wall collecting dust and I'm going into this not expecting to be paid but to figure out if this is something I would enjoy as a career. I figured between the experience I had planning events and my stage experience this would be something I would be good at and it also would satisfy my production and theatrical side. After reaching out to dozens of companies two wrote me back. One wanted me to take the courses that they were offering and it was going to cost a pretty penny. The other was going to hire me, teach me and pay me. No contest. I worked for that company for about a year and needed to then start my own- so I did and here we are!

Rothweiler Event Designs

What services do you offer and/or what do you specialize in?

We specialize in full planning and design. I prefer to work with a couple from the jump and right after the proposal happens, not after they have attended wedding shows and booked half of their vendors. The wedding day depends on the venue and all of the vendors collectively and if they already are halfway through and just gave up and want help now, it's impossible for me to fix mistakes they have already made or to change anything in contracts they have already signed. Plus, I want to recommend the best vendors to them and make sure they have the right venue and right team for the day.

I specialize in that shabby chic vintage style wedding that has now become very popular. Not many clients come to me with a ballroom in mind and even those that do are looking to take it in a different direction. But it's the raw and creative space that I love and excel in the most. This could be a tent at a private residence to a loft, museum or barn. The logistics involved in these spaces are very difficult and time consuming and if you don't live for this style you will drown in confusion. Just like working in a banquet hall there are questions that you will need to get answers to, but unless this is "your area", you won't know what questions to ask or why you need to know the answers. When I talk logistics with my clients about their raw space and mention things we need to consider, I frequently hear "wow, we never would've thought of that". I love weddings like these too because you get to create something fresh and new and that relates to the couple.

Rothweiler Event Designs

What makes your business unique?

I always tell people that I have one personality and everyone meets the same Danielle. I don't sugarcoat for my friends and I don't sugarcoat for my clients either. Many couples are looking for a planner to fight with their venue and vendors and tell them "yes" when the answer is "no". I want to do what is in the best interest of my clients, but I'm never going to give my blessing when they want to have their uncle photograph the wedding or their bridesmaids handle set up. I'm very upfront and honest with my couples which also helps them to trust me from day 1 and that is extremely important to me. Not all planners agree with me, but I believe that part of being a planner is being a friend to your couple which means going to bat for them, being a shoulder to cry on or an ear to vent to, and being straight forward when they need to hear something they might not want to (like how what they want isn't possible without increasing the budget).

Rothweiler Event Designs

What is your favorite part of working with couples?

I get to see one of the happiest times in their lives together. The engagement period can be stressful with wedding planning, but hopefully I take plenty if not all of that stress away where I can (can't control Aunt Betty that wants you to invite the 8 cousins you've never met). I watch them grow as a couple and learn that they are a team forever. I get to be a part of one of the biggest days of their lives and I am helping them with all of the details. Plus, unlike other vendors, I am with them longer and more often whereas once the photographer is booked, you won't see him again until the wedding...same goes for every other vendor too (if you ever met them in the first place). I love connecting with two people and collaborating with them to create a day they will always remember. I also love being able to remind them what a wedding is really about (each other) when they are getting distracted and stressed over the details.

Rothweiler Event Designs

One piece of advice for couples?

Hire a planner from day 1. Honestly. I cannot tell you how many times I have been hired anywhere from right after the venue was secured through a handful of other vendors as well. It's really important to have a game plan that makes sense before doing anything including establishing a budget. There are so many moving parts that go into a wedding and a planner should be considered right out of the gate and then be along for the whole ride. From that point, it's really important to trust that planner and try and tune out all of the "advice" you will get from friends and family.

Childhood career aspiration?

Rothweiler Event Designs

I wanted more than anything to be a meteorologist. I wanted to chase tornadoes and be on television pointing to a map telling everyone if it was going to rain. I love the weather still and I actually went to college for a meteorology degree. In fact, I didn't change my major until my senior year which means I took the bulk of the meteorology courses you need along with four semesters of Calculus. Of course, knowing the weather and not needing to rely on a television forecast comes in handy with all of the outdoor weddings I plan!

Coffee or tea?

Coffee. Black. Tea is only if I'm sick or craving it in the middle of the day because once I hit 11am I don't want coffee anymore.

Hidden talent?

It's not really hidden because I will do this any chance I can, but I do love to sing. In fact, one of my favorite things to do is take people to karaoke that have never been with me and surprise them as much as I can. A lot of people say they can sing, but I like to really back it up and catch people off guard when I can.

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Classic and Sophisticated Fall Wedding at Brotherhood Winery • Michelle Lange

 

It seemed appropriate that with the unseasonably cool weather we had this weekend, we'd share this stunning fall wedding from Michelle Lange. Sophisticated and utterly timeless, everything from Nicole + Matt's day was deliberately chosen and perfectly executed. The muted fall colors, Nicole's classic dress, and the rustic elegance of Brotherhood Winery - every element is pure perfection. 


From the Bride, Nicole: Matt and I wanted to find ways that we could incorporate autumn and the feelings our favorite season bring to mind, to create a day that reflected who we were as a couple and that made our closest friends and family feel welcome and comfortable. Instead of going with the traditional colors of fall, we wanted to do a softer color palette and let the scenery and background be the pops of color. Overall we incorporated blushes, gold and champagne in the floral arrangements, décor and attire. We put so much of ourselves into the details of the day so we truly felt that we had created exactly what we wanted: a beautiful venue surrounded by the people we really love. The months leading up to the wedding were an all-out effort from our families, bridal party and vendors to make everything come together – from the caterer executing a beautiful seasonal menu, to the florist incorporating soft fall florals throughout the venue, our vision really came to life. We served warm apple cider, had pashminas for guests to keep warm, acorns scattered on tables, warm apple pie and fall desserts instead of a large wedding cake.

Vendors: NY Wedding Photographer: Michelle Lange | Venue: Brotherhood Winery | Catering: Pamela’s Traveling Feast | Wedding Gown: Caroline DeVillo | Shoes: Jimmy Choo | Bridesmaids: Assorted Jenny Yoo | Groom: Brooks Brothers Suit; Ties & Socks from J.Crew | Florist: Coco & Bailey | DJ: DjMD Entertainment | Hair & Makeup: Yes I Do! (Up & Out Hoboken) | Cinematography: Digital Memories Event Videography