This weekend, Isaac and I celebrated our first wedding anniversary, and over the last few weeks I've been reminiscing about just how busy this time last year was. Wedding planning is, in turn, so thrilling and so agonising- I remember both sensations very well, and can now laugh about the time I had to go to the bathroom to primal scream because I ordered the wrong sized table cloths (WHO WAS I in that moment?). Anyway, as summer wedding season slowly draws to a close for this year, I thought I'd quiz five of The Street Where You Live girls, who all had wonderfully inspiring, beautiful and individual weddings, on how to have a beautiful day and not lose your goddam mind in the process. Scroll down for very many wise words and some seriously stunning brides.
Who? Uber talented Brooklyn photographer Noel Camardo
Where? Rhinebeck, New York at Grasmere Farm
What did you wear? Originally I was going to wear a blue silk dress that showed some of my stomach, but my poor mother was not excited about that at all! I ended up opting for white, which was more traditional than I would have expected myself to go....but the designers I picked both have an ethereal energy to their designs and I loved the dresses. And yes, I wore two dresses! Total diva. The first by Mara Hoffman, which had beautiful beaded feathers on the front and along the back and cut outs at the waist. The second dress was designed by my dear friend Samantha Pleet, the dress was shorter, with bell sleeves and cut outs on the shoulder....perfect for dancing, and re-useable!
What was your favourite part of the day? It's all such a beautiful blur. We both had friends and family from all over the world there: Japan, Africa, England, Denmark, Canada... to see all these people we love in one place was incredibly touching. I also loved watching my seven year old niece turn into a whirling dervish on the dance floor, girl after my own heart. She kept requesting Taylor Swift songs from the DJ and put her hands on her hips when Michael Jackson came on, with a sassy "who is THIS?". Ha! I gave her a pop music crash course in the middle of the dance floor while "Thriller" played.
What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? I was never one of those women who day dreamed about a wedding...so I think it came as a total surprise to both me and my parents that I wanted to have one at all. This may not apply to all brides, but if you're an independently spirited individual, the planning process will be challenging, and you're going to want to elope at some point....and you will question your sanity. And every issue you have with your partner and your family will rise to the surface. So do a lot of yoga, have a friend on speed dial that you can vent to, and have at least one thing happening in your life that you have full control over...but don't elope! A wedding is an enormous love fest...you get to eat and dance and cry with all of your favorite people....it's an incredibly romantic and beautiful day. Power through.
Who? Tyler Cook, one of Hollywood's most in-demand editors
Where? The Holding Co. in Silverlake, Los Angeles for both ceremony and reception. It was a 1920s auto body shop that's recently been converted to a courtyard/loft/warehouse space.
What did you wear? I bought a 1960s vintage lace dress from Gossamer vintage, then I bought a seafoam bridesmaids dress from BHLDN and had my friend Tashina, who custom-designs wedding gowns, whip the two into an entirely new dress o' my dreams. Trying on dresses, I fell in love with many but all were insanely-priced, and the vintage ones I found weren't quite perfect, but I knew I wanted an element of antiquity and I knew I wanted some color, as well. I lived and breathed ideas about the perfect dress (I am BONKERS FOR DRESSES in my daily sartorial-scape), even woke up in sweats one night because I told Tashina the wrong idea for a dress. Luckily, in my panicked 6am email, she said not to worry, she never made changes until 3 days after appointments with brides because of this very reason. It ended up being, just, the most beautiful dress I could imagine, honestly. The peter-pan collar and the button-up back lace top combined with a cascade of lace applique down the seafoam tulle was romantic and whimsical, two things I look for most in a dress. And, the top came off so it became a strapless dress to dance in all night!
What was your favourite part of the day?
There is no feeling like holding onto both parents' arms and walking into a sea of people who you love most in the world to a song that's made you cry for months in anticipation of the wedding and ending up in front of a person whose crystal-blue eyes are shining and weeping and waiting for you to make life-long promises to him. It was really stunning, I was utterly overcome with emotion - so much so that all photos of me walking up the aisle are utterly UNUSABLE because my face is contorted into RIDICULOUS-looking sobs.
That moment, as well as climbing aboard a turquoise schoolbus we rented at 3:30 in the morning with 30 of our loved ones who managed to stay awake the whole night and driving to Pomona's campus to see the sunrise light show at the James Turrell skyspace "Dividing the Light." That was a truly epic, unforgettable way to usher in our first sunrise as a married couple.
What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? Don't spend an insane amount on flowers!!!!!!! I read that it can be three to ten thousand dollars to spend on flowers and we definitely didn't have that. My aunt, mom, and I went downtown to the LA Flower District and bought car-loads of flowers for a grand sum of $360, and arranged all the bouquets and vases ourselves, with the help of our family. It was a beautiful way to spend time with everyone the day before the wedding.
ALSO: this is probably obvious to every sane, sophisticated, adult woman out there but DO NOT CUT YOUR OWN BANGS THREE DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING because you don't "have enough time" to get them professionally done. I wince at the desperate bang-job I gave myself and can see how uneven it is in all the photos. What a dope!!!
ALSO: buy comfortable shoes to dance in! I rolled my eyes at every blog's suggestion to buy two pairs of shoes for the wedding (absurd and excessive!) and insisted on finding a comfortable pair I could wear all night that went with my dress. By god did I look high and LOW for that perfect pair, to no avail. I ended up buying a beautiful and moderately comfortable pair for the ceremony and fun flat (FANCY for Chrissakes, not FLIP-FLOPS) sandals to dance in, which meant that I actually danced for hours.
Who? Alex Head, a dashing scientist and motor bike rider.
Where? The Home Farm, Somerset, England. My childhood home
What did you wear? A handmade silk tulle dress made by my friend and drama teacher from school Meryl Smart. A true piece of craftsmanship. Concealed corsets and silk skirts and lots of champagne tulle which is like sewing sand!
What was your favourite part of the day? Towards the end of the church ceremony, as we stepped up to the alter for the final blessing, the skies cleared and the October sun streamed through the main stain glasses window in the beautiful ancient church where we got married. It was pretty amazing. We then turned around to walk out and saw everyone we cared about in the world beaming back at us. Loved the whole thing and just the fact we had the best party with everyone we loved.
What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? Elope! Joking....ish?! Try not to let 'wedmin' become all consuming - if you have a long engagement then you'll feel like you never talk/think about anything else for months on end. Have a couple of days a month when you bosh out some stuff and don't worry about it the rest of the time. Details are all important but don't lose perspective. Will anyone really notice if your tablecloth isn't the same length as the runner? Or if the cutlery doesn't all match because the caterers got it wrong? Whilst your wedding is obviously about you and your new husband - try to remember why your doing it the way you're doing it: To have your favourite people share your day and make it as fun and joyful as possible. Weddings that ask a lot from their guests become a drag. If your guests are happy then so will you be and your day will be a genuine love in.
Who? Adam Hoefel, a dapper Canadian and hot-shot immigration lawyer
Where? Camden Town Hall, a beautiful Victorian registry office opposite St. Pancras station. It's a hidden gem filled with sweeping marble staircases and wood panelled chambers. Our wedding reception was held at Brunswick House in Vauxhall, an old Georgian mansion house transformed into Lassco's rambling antiques salvage yard.
What did you wear? I wore a one-shoulder draped Grecian gown made of claret velvet. I found it online (cheap as chips) and had it posted to the UK from Nordstrom. My mum, a glorious seamstress, sewed layers of frayed claret chiffon into the hem of the dress to create a bit of a bohemian train. She also made me a pair of rough cut garnet and gold earrings - one of my most special possessions. My belt and shoes were from & Other Stories.
What was your favourite part of the day? There were so many! Glimpsing Adam outside the registry office as my taxi drew up (my girls had to bundle me down into the car so that I wasn't seen) - I swear my heart skipped a beat. When one of my sisters broke down crying whilst reading our favourite John Cooper Clarke poem and my other sister (her twin) valiantly stepped in and finished it. Our first married kiss. The speeches!! But if I'm totally honest, it was having almost 100 people throw the handmade confetti I'd spent HOURS making over my head. That was a totally joyous moment.
What's your number one piece of advice for someone else planning their wedding? Don't give a shit what others think. If you don't want to wear white, then don't! Celebrate your mismatched bridesmaids (two of mine wore black, and damn they looked chic!). Walk out of your wedding to the Rolling Stones if you want to, and don't spend money on stuff you can't eat or take home. Also, let your friends help you. From my invites, to my hair, make-up, cake, lighting and venue, my friends joined in and helped build the day with me.
Thank you wonderful girls. Your words, as ever, inspire. Do you have any top wedding tips? Advice on how to deal with the stress of the big day? I'd love to hear!