Ahhh, the end of September in New England – it could be 75 and sunny or it could be 45 and chilly. Luckily for Kimberlee and Brandon, their September 28th wedding at Jonathan Edwards Winery was Option A.
Kimberlee and I started working together in August 2018. She had reached out as she wasn’t living locally and wanted some help throughout the planning process. They were strongly considering Jonathan Edwards Winery but before booking, were still interested in looking at other options. Kimberlee was one of those very detail-oriented brides who knew exactly what she wanted but liked to see all options before making a decision (we clicked right away as I am the same way!) After taking a weekend to explore a few other venues, they both kept coming back to Jonathan Edwards. So, we went ahead and booked their date and got to work on the rest of the planning!
Finding vendors that match my client’s personalities, have their date available, and are a stylistic fit is very important to me. As we book vendors, I’m also taking the overall design concept into account along with the client’s overall wedding budget. I know clients like to have options so I always present them with 2-3 top vendors per category that are specifically tailored to them. I like them to be able to explore a couple different portfolios and then schedule a consult meeting or call with their favorite option before making the final decision. This was exactly the process that we followed while building Kimberlee and Brandon’s vendor team.
The planning process sounds simple right? Just book a venue and a date and then just contract a photographer, caterer, videographer, DJ, ceremony musicians, florist, rentals, officiant, beauty, cake, rehearsal dinner space, hotel blocks, transportation, invitations, etc. and then manage all communication with 14 different vendors, track due dates for everyone, maintain communication with your bridal party and family, find a dress, stay hydrated, work 40 hours a week, exercise daily and oh yeah, be happy and calm while doing it all! Obviously I am TOTALLY kidding! The planning process is hard work and takes a lot of time to ensure everything is done right. And that is why people bring in a wedding planner!
For the next 12 months, Kimberlee, Brandon and I had a very collaborative process. I try to take on as much as I can for my clients so that they can focus on the rest of their life and join in on the more fun parts of planning – like the catering tasting, design selection, and when you get married at a vineyard, wine tasting!
I felt like I truly got to become a part of their family while we were planning together. I met Kimberlee’s parents several times and was just so excited to be able to play a part in this wedding. As the date crept closer, we had several check-in calls and meetings to finalize all the little details: what song will you walk down the aisle to, what is the standing order for the bridal party, how do you want to DJ to announce you as you are introduced, who will be responsible for taking home the cards and gifts, are we boxing up the top tier of your cake, just so many little things that go into the smooth execution of a wedding day.
And then, the day was here! Kimberlee and her girls got ready in her suite at the Hilton Mystic before coming to the vineyard where she would change into her dress. They decided that a First Look was the best decision for the flow of their day and for them. It’s amazing to watch people share their First Look from afar. I can see the nervousness, anxiety, excitement, just a spread of emotions on their face and in their body language and then to watch that all fade away as they share that moment together is beautiful.
We spent about an hour and a half roaming the property so they could take portraits with each other, their bridal party and family before we needed to tuck Kimberlee away as guests arrived for the ceremony. The sunlight when it was time for her to walk down the aisle was pure perfection. Like if I could special order the weather for someone’s wedding day, this day was it.
Their officiant was a friend of theirs which made the ceremony even more special. It was the perfect mix of humor and seriousness. After they exchanged I Do’s, guests were invited into the tasting room for cocktail hour where they were treated to a pasta bar, raw bar, charcuterie station and loads of passed hors d’oeuvres.
I always like to pull my couples away about 10 minutes before guests are invited into the reception space so their eyes are the first to see all of our hard work brought to life. Besides the First Look, this moment is my favorite of the day! It’s where they get a visual representation of all the little details we’ve spent months working on – the chair selection, linens, centerpiece design, all of it! It also gives them a few minutes to themselves to soak it all in.
Their reception was nothing short of a kick ass party! They had 175 guests in attendance and the dance floor was packed all night. We had a special surprise by Kimberlee’s older sisters when it was their turn to give a toast – they had rewritten all the lyrics to N*SYNC’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” so it was all about Kimberlee and Brandon. It was one of the best toast’s I’ve heard yet!
The evening at Jonathan Edwards concluded with a sparkler send-off before guests boarded the busses back to the Hilton for an after-party. The next day, these two embarked on my dream vacation – an African safari! Kimberlee sent me pictures of an elephant they adopted and I followed their adventures on Instagram.
I absolutely adored working with these two and helping to create a day that they will treasure forever. Mr. and Mrs. Henry – it was an honor and I wish you two the best!
Venue: Jonathan Edwards Winery
Caterer: A Thyme to Cook
Photographer: Love is Evergreen
DJ & Video: Vivid Events
Florals: Sage Hill Florals
Signage: Nob Hill Jane
Ceremony Music: Juhasz Music
Hair: Jackie Paul
Makeup: Jillian Babcock
Rentals: PEAK Event Services