Wedding Details | Part II

Now that we've gone through all the things leading up to the wedding (part I), let's dive into the wedding day! First up: rings. All 3 of our rings (both wedding bands & my engagement ring) were custom that we designed with Oak Park Jewelers. They're located right off the blue line (perfect for going real quick from the loop on a lunch break) and they were absolutely fantastic from start to finish! Very fair prices for the city, too. If you're looking for a jeweler, head there and ask for Sam. Tell them David & Ali sent you! The ring box pictured below is from The Mrs. Box.

Also below are my wedding shoes. Seriously struggled with picking these because a) you have to have them at your first fitting which for me was 4 months out and b) because I had a blingy dress I wasn't sure if I should go super simple on the shoe or try to complement the jewels. Then I saw these beauties at BHLDN and snatched them up! I loved the unique ankle strap and summery style, but the prongs for the jewels did get caught on the tulle under my dress a lot. I had a feeling I'd want to change shoes (because I'm a total whimp with heels) so I came prepared. I ended up changing my shoes not once, not twice, but four times (1. heels 2. wedges 3. crystal jelly sandals 4. finally gave into my birkenstocks). If you have an A+ coordinator like me, she'll bring you every pair (THANK YOU JEN!!). 

At the end of the day, I loved my shoe game & I wouldn't change a thing. Just know that you might just want your favorite shoes at the end of the night! Same goes for the dress. I was fully planning on wearing my wedding dress through the reception then changing for our after party. Wrong. The MOMENT our photographers left I sprinted to change into my romper. It was so stinking hot and everyone was stepping on my dress--I just wanted to get comfortable! I wasn't planning on changing so I didn't have it handy, but luckily my hotel room was about 20 steps from the dance floor.

Next up: dresses! For my dress, I knew I wanted something different & unique, but wasn't willing to pay an arm and a leg for it. I totally lucked out finding my dress at Wedding Belles in downtown Barrington, IL (just recently closed for good--so sad!). In all honesty, I only wanted to look at wedding shops in the city and didn't think I'd find anything I'd like in the suburbs. Turns out Wedding Belles had by FAR the best selection. Lesson: don't turn up your nose to mom & pop boutiques in the burbs! My dress had been a recently discontinued style by Hayley Paige so I got the dress for half off and it was the absolute last one! Translation: it was 4 sizes too big and took 5 fittings to get it right. Completely worth it though! I cannot recommend my tailor, Mary Catomy, enough. She books up a year out so call her immediately! She is a true visionary and phenomenal at her craft. One thing I loved is she had to remove a ton of beads from the straps of my dress when she shortened them so she made a hairpiece with the extras to complete the look. On top of that, her prices are beyond reasonable!

The hangers (though hard to see in the photos) have copper embossed calligraphy with each bridesmaid's name, also done by my friend Annie. They turned out great! Word of the wise: when making things for your bridesmaids don't forget about yourself! I had to make my bride hanger the day before flying to Palm Springs (whoops!). I scored all the bridesmaid dresses on super Black Friday sale through Revolve & Shopbop (with the help of LSL). I definitely had it easy considering all my ladies have similar style and are basically all the same size! The deep v-neck dress is discontinued, but the strapless & draped dresses are still out there! Here are some similar styles as well (1, 2, 3, 4). I LOVE Zimmermann because they are structurally beautiful dresses that you could wear again and don't look too "bridesmaidy". I wanted all 5 of my girls to feel sexy & beautiful and there's no way to not feel that way in a Zimmermann!

David wore his favorite Hugo Boss suit he bought at Nordstrom a few years ago (He couldn't find anything else he liked better.... when you have something you love, just wear it!) and had a custom french cuff shirt made at Nordstrom as well. The guys wore similar navy suits we rented from Formally Modern, here in Chicago. The rental also included the white shirts & brown shoes which was great because there are 5 million shades of brown leather shoes. I was little nervous about David blending in too much with the guys but I think him wearing a different suit & different shoes helped! We bought these bow ties & these suspenders (sold out, similar here) for the guys. We went through about 5 bow ties before we found one we liked, and our dads ended up wearing 2 of the ones we didn't pick. Pro-tip: Don't wait until the wedding weekend to learn how to tie a bow tie. Youtube is v helpful! 

Invitations... right off the bat I knew what I wanted them to look like. Playful verbiage to set the tone. Subtle nods to the desert. A watercolor cactus envelop liner. A belly band that said 'a weekend ten years in the making'. Lastly, I wanted the leading lady--the invitation--to have copper foil, a blind deboss, and edge painting. Taryn crushed it. She seamlessly incorporated it all! Below are some photos Society House took for Twinkle & Toast's portfolio.

David & I gave each other our gifts the morning of the wedding. I got him brushed brass cufflinks with the longitude/latitude of where we met, Barrington Middle School Station, & where we were wed, the La Casa at La Quinta Resort & Club. He ended up loving them more than I expected and keeps them on his nightstand next to his alarm clock! I thought about the typical watch gift since he's had his Fossil forever and could use an upgrade, but it's such an expensive gift (considering we paid for a good portion of the wedding) and not as meaningful. I love that the cufflinks are subtle, represent the start & end to the first chapter of our relationship, and are special/reserved only for special occasions. Also, they go with anything so he will definitely get use out of them!

For my gift I was convinced David was giving me a bottle of Chanel Coco Noir perfume (I was in need of a new scent!). Luckily, he told me to pack a travel perfume just 'in case' he did something else (yep, obvi he did). DPN used to burn me CDs in high school that my sisters & I would listen to in the car. One of my favorites was titled 'To: Ali From: The Sexiest Man Alive'. We played the CD so much until it was so scratched it would skip on every song and we couldn't play it anymore. Then, for our wedding day, he remade a similar version (because he lost the original) with songs we used to listen to all the time in the first few years we were dating (which was 11 years ago now!). I sobbed for a bit, then found an outlet in the courtyard to plug it in and listen while I hand wrote my wedding letter to David (don't worry, I already had it pre-typed in my phone). It was the perfect way to start the morning--nostalgic in every way! Also, I was so happy that David made sure I got my gift BEFORE an ounce of makeup was put on my face. Between his mega nostalgic gift + sappiest letter on the planet, it took me about 20min to pull myself together after!

Another element to the day were the flowers. Our entire wedding ceremony & reception was outside at the base of the San Jacinto Mountains so it was already a gorgeous setting and didn't need much! We wanted to take advantage of all the beautiful florals you have access to in the CA area--full, lush & loose arrangements (that you wouldn't typically see in Chicago) were the vision. Kasia of Plenty of Petals did a wonderful job bringing it to life! For the alter we ended up renting the front portion of a Chuppah. Don't be afraid to think outside the box & borrow from other faiths! We really wanted long farmhouse style tables with garland draping from end to end, but there just wasn't room in the budget to do that for all. We decided to do a long table and garland at the head table, and kept the rounds provided by the property everywhere else. We ended up 'dreaming the dream' only at our head table which made sense because the most photos are taken at that table! 

I think the main reason why our relationship has always been so strong is because we're really good at communicating. In fact, I might say we're over communicators sometimes. Saying personal vows to each other was a no brainer and something we both really wanted--I wish everyone did it! We got these cute little vow books and hand wrote them. The process of writing my vows was honestly so fun. I kept a note in my phone for about 6 weeks leading up to our wedding day and jotted down some thoughts every now and then whenever I thought of something I wanted to include. It really wasn't as hard or as daunting as I thought it'd be. Our vows really seemed personal to us & our relationship so I love that we will have these forever. 

It was 95 degrees during our ceremony (10 degrees warmer than we were expecting) so I was very happy we made fan programs! My mom and I put these together--thanks for your help momma! Taryn made a wooden sign with our crest that stood at the base of the arch to the La Casa. She also made the prettiest seating chart! When we first walked the venue I knew something special needed be under that insanely gorgeous bougainvillea. We waited until the last minute on this--explored all sorts of more affordable seating chart options but I'm glad we splurged at the end of the day. It was one of my favorite things and created the most beautiful vignette. Also, my girl Madeleine (Shaw) Castelli gets a BIG shout out here for picking up all these large pieces from Taryn's house in San Diego! When planning a destination wedding, it's so helpful if you have a girlfriend located there to help!

Some reception ditties... we wanted unique chair signs on acrylic with copper. We've adored the song 'Into the Mystic' for years, so it was easily chosen as our first song. We had Taryn put the lyrics as our chair signs. They're still tied to our dining chairs in our apartment! I love that we'll always have these in our home somewhere and it's something we were able to repurpose after the big day.

For the place settings we had Kasia, our florist, source a few varieties of Monstera leaves to serve as the 'charger' under the plate. We needed a paper weight of sorts to hold the napkin & menu down, so I ordered orange (vegetarian), pink (chicken) & red (steak) tiles through one of my tile vendors at work and shipped to Taryn to write names on them. These were a great keepsake for our guests (and made cute coasters, too!). For the menus I followed a similar layout/typeface to the program. We used italian words for the headlines (ex: mangia means eat in italian) and the courses since David & I studied abroad together in Italy and think of it so fondly! I love how through the combination of these elements the tables became so colorful, but still simple. Our entire menu was Italian-inspired including sorbet after the first course as an 'intermezzo'. David  & I loved that this was a little different than your standard menu. For chairs--upgrading to the fancy gold ones is really expensive (since the white chairs came with the venue, similar to the round tables) so we just did those at the head table. The plain white folding ones ended up blending in with our long white tablecloths so I didn't mind them in the end!

The last item for this post is the [godforsaken] table numbers! Going into this DIY I knew I'd be cursing every minute of it. Very thankful DPN is just as meticulous as I am and was SUCH a great helper with this one!! I used my Silhouette Cameo machine to cut the copper vinyl, similar to the cards I made in the first wedding details post. The idea was to have the copper be solid around the number and the number to be clear so you could see through to the floral centerpiece. We used these acrylic sign holders for the table numbers and these to hold the bar signs. The bar signs turned out relatively atrocious therefore, no photos (don't worry you're not missing anything!). I designed each number/sign in photoshop, used the Silhouette Cameo program to program the machine to cut the vinyl, then David & I would stick the vinyl to the acrylic. It took a lot more time & patience than it sounds! Overall, they came out exactly how I envisioned. We did have to ship them to the property and a handful broke at the base, but nothing a little gorilla glue & momma B couldn't fix ;) 

The last detail for this post is the desserts. This still makes me laugh. David & I aren't the biggest dessert people and in particular we aren't super fond of cake. After months of trying to think of something a little more creative (our best idea was gelato but HELLO 95 degree heat) we caved and went with the tradition of cake. As you can tell, we both cared a lot about pretty much every element of the weekend, but dessert was the exception. This was one of those things where we just wanted someone else to make the decision and us show up for it. Anyway, about 2ms before our wedding we settled on a simple buttercream naked cake by Exquisite Desserts and our florist provided some flowers for it. For supplemental desserts we did a fresh fruit tartlets (because berry anything is my fav) and profiteroles. For this being one of the things we really could have cared less about, I think our cake turned out stunning and just as we envisioned!

If you made it to the bottom here, you deserve a medal! Apologies for the length of this post, but I hope you found it helpful :) Please let me know if there's something in particular you'd like me to touch on for my last Wedding Details post coming up!