My wedding was probably the most memorable day of my life. While I’m always more than happy to share it with anyone that wants to hear about it, I also just want to write about it so that, years later, I can still look back on this and remember how great it was for my wife and me.
All of the preparation leading up was actually very relaxing. We chose some great vendors that reduced our pre-wedding stress levels (more on that later). Actually, there were even times where we were looking for wedding-related things to do just out of principle, because everything was being handled well.
As most designers who can’t shut off that “itch,” I took the opportunity to design all of the materials myself. From the programs to the wedding website to the handwritten invitation envelopes, I couldn’t resist. (The table numbers/booklets also gave everyone else a chance to be involved.)
Even though we didn’t get married in a church or by a pastor, both Emily and I really felt that it was important to have God as part of our service, as He’s a huge part of our lives. The ceremony kicked off with a beautiful rendition of The Lord’s Prayer, sang by Ruben Duany, a friend and fellow singer in my band, accompanied by Daniel Arrebato, quite possibly the best pianist I’ve ever met. I’ve heard Ruben sing this song many times before and have even accompanied him, but this was by far the best arrangement I’ve heard him sing. One of our guests actually came up to me during the reception and said, “I’m not a religious man at all, but that song was the closest I’ve ever felt to God.”
Not to be outdone, I also sang and accompanied myself on a song I wrote for my soon-to-be-wife. Now, I sing and play in public pretty regularly, both with the band and in church, and have been doing so for just about all of my life. Nerves are very rarely an issue. Yet, this was definitely the most nervous I’ve ever been. I couldn’t control my breathing, I kept getting choked up, and I even forgot the words to the first verse. Everyone said it was great, but I think they were just being nice. In any case, here’s my dedication to Emily:
Some would say this is where we start our life
I’d argue that it started on day one
Some would say this wedding is the starting line
But you and I know when it had begun
The moment I saw you
I knew that very day
That you would be my wife
That you would be my life
When I saw you
You took my breath away
I knew right from the start
What God had set apart
When I saw you
A relationship, a decade in the making
A friendship that’s been harvesting for years
An everlasting love for all eternity
Is celebrated with the joy of tears
(Big ups to the band for the beautiful background vocals they sang, and to my brother for lovely guitar accompaniment.)
Doing it right
I don’t profess to be an expert on weddings, but I do know that I can’t say enough how much I enjoyed mine. Em and I have no regrets; if we had to do it again, we’d do it the exact same way.
I will say this: if there’s something you want done right, either do it yourself or hire someone you really trust to do it well for you. A huge part of the what was so fun about the day was how great all of our vendors were, and I’d like to give them all a shout out right now.
The Knowlton Mansion
We got married at the Knowlton Mansion, a 19th century estate in northeast Philadelphia, about 20 minutes from where we lived. We originally picked the place for how gorgeous it is, but the best side effect that we hadn’t anticipated was the ultra-attentive staff. Emily got a personal attendant for the day that saw to her every need, from putting her shoes away when she got tired to keeping our food warm when we decided to say hi to everyone instead of eating. The staff and wedding coordinator really kept things moving at a completely appropriate pace, not too rushed but nothing that really dragged on either.
Barry Sames Jazz Combo
Excellent music was probably the second most important thing we wanted for the day. Originally a friend of the band long before I joined, I met Barry Sames accidentally at a concert both of our bands were playing in. Barry is a phenomenal musician and just a great guy. After seeing a few of his shows at some local jazz clubs (like Ortlieb’s), we knew he was the right choice. Appropriately recommending a four-piece band for the feel of the wedding, the Barry Sames Jazz Combo of a singer, a keyboard player, a drummer, and a bass player really set the perfect tone by mixing up some jazz, some stylistic arranged pop, and even some Prince!
I also found out that Emily met with Barry and his group a few weeks before and ran through a song to sing for me at the reception. She surprised everyone with a killer rendition of “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You.“ That girl can sing!
Photography was absolutely at the top of our list of things we had to get right. The moment we saw the Wiebners’ work, there was no question that they’d be perfect for us. The hook for us was that every photo made us feel like we were there. The husband and wife team aren’t just good at recording an event of film; they can really capture the moment, and make you feel exactly what everyone in the photo is feeling. Not to mention the fact that every design aspect of their photos is of the highest standard.
Just 3 days after our wedding, they posted 24 photos of our wedding that just look fantastic. (By the way, we’d love to stay as some of the favorite photos on their site, so drop by and rate a photo or leave a comment, even if it’s just to tell the Wiebners that they rock!)
Happily ever after?
Totally. I couldn’t be more blessed to have the wife that I do. What a wonderful new chapter of life!
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. (1 Corinthians 13:4–7)