I want to become a society lady Rockin' a new rock?!

Kristen and Michael’s wedding day at Country Club of Rochester was “organic and natural with a luxe edge.” As always, we love to see a fresh point-of-view and Kristen’s vision for her day was definitely that. The mix of wood, grasses and greenery with brass metallics and dripping black candles makes for a complete twist on the typical country club affair. Lush, graphic florals and greens are by Arena’s, with invitations by Papery & Cakery and coordination by Events By Jen. Lucky for us, Alexandra Elise Photography was on hand to capture all the cool details is these lovely fine art images.

What made the wedding special and unique? 

The tone of the wedding was an organic/natural feel with a luxe edge. Natural to me means elements produced by nature such as fire, wood, light, grasses and greenery. Luxe says sumptuous, lavish, subtle yet extraordinary. The black candlesticks give off the fire element yet at the same time the black color gives off that subtle yet bold luxurious feel. The farmhouse head tables comply with the wood element. The clear top tent brings in the natural light element. The combination of greenery and floral were an absolute dream come true; a phenomenal work of art by Charles Arena and crew at Arena’s Florist. Greenery with accents of white orchids, chocolate sunflowers, menthe roses, dahlias, jasmine, and anemone. Also, tying in gold dipped branches, decorative pheasant feathers, and mini cactus’. We decided to do a tent wedding because it acts as a clean slate. You are able to incorporate your own design and style without having to cover up the style of an already decorated ballroom or country club. Design and decorating has always been a passion of mine. Since I was a little girl I always wanted to be an interior decorator. It was a dream come true to design a space from scratch as we did here.

For the dessert portion of the night we decided to go big! Being an owner of an Italian bakery we naturally had to have a huge display of pastries, Italian cookies, and of course a 5-tier wedding cake. We went with a slightly different theme in the dessert tent as we did in the main tent. We had bistro lighting strung from the top of the tent and small bistro tables to give off that Italian bistro feel. Pastries including cannolis, cream puffs, sfogliatelle, mini cheese cakes, mini pies, tiramisu, napoleon, eclairs, and more. Cookies including cuccidati, neopolitan, almond paste, Italian meatball cookies, tea cookies, biscotti, etc. Coffee and tea were also served in the tent. During the ceremony we did a butterfly release dedicated to our deceased family members.

Words of wisdom:

Don’t stress! Everyone told me leading up to the big day that it comes and goes in the blink of an eye. It is something that stuck with me throughout the process. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every moment of the planning process even when things wouldn’t go as planned. I wanted to remember what each part of the process and big day felt like, even the most dreadful parts like the seating arrangements. Does anyone enjoy that? On the big day I would recommend to all bride and grooms to take a couple minutes, just the two of you, and step out of the spotlight. Look around the room and take this moment for it all to sink in – enjoy the company of your new husband or wife. Tell each other how much they mean to you and acknowledge the love that is surrounding you from friends and family. It truly is the most amazing day of your life. You want to be able to feel what that feels like in the moment, not just afterwards.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

Mikey and I met in Chicago, IL back in 2012. I had lived there at the time and he was in town visiting his sister who lived in Springfield, IL. My sister was friends with him and told him to call me and get together for lunch. So we did just that. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2012 that I ran into him again at the restaurant that he had just opened. He and my sister, being close friends, hung out a lot. She would go to his restaurant and drag me there while I was home over Christmas break. He told my sister “I am going to marry your sister someday” and my sister Lisa’s response was “Yeah, okay Mikey!” Telling him she isn’t going to put up with you – being the protective sister that us sisters are.

I head back to Chicago and every now and then I would get a call from him (confused at why he was calling me because I barely knew him). A couple months had passed and at the end of March my sister, cousin, mom, aunt and I went down to Florida for a girls’ trip. Mikey happened to be there the same weekend with one of his friends who is ironically someone I’ve known since childhood; all planned on his behalf I’m sure. The boys picked me up from the airport and brought me to my family. I had just gotten out of a 4-year relationship so I wasn’t really looking to date again anytime soon. I guess it’s true that love happens when you least expect it. The whole week we were there it was like I had known him forever. He was always a gentleman, I will say that. On the last night we were heading home from the bar we were at and he asked, “when will I be seeing you again?” I replied without thinking that he would be as persistent as he was and said” I’m sure I’ll run into you back at home in NY.” That must not have been good enough because a few weeks later he had booked a flight to Chicago to see me. It quickly escalated into a relationship and a lot of trips back and forth from New York to Chicago. It took about 8 months of a long-distance relationship to realize that we didn’t want to be without each other. I always knew I was going to end up back in my hometown of Rochester, New York but I had never anticipated that soon.

The proposal took place on April 9th, 2017, which also happened to be my 27th birthday. The night before he proposed we went to dinner with my parents at Louie Bossi in Fort Lauderdale, FL. We were sitting at dinner and I said all I want for my birthday this year is for dad to come to yoga with me. I was trying to get him to hop on the yoga train. Shockingly my dad agreed. Little did he know that Mikey had planned a proposal for the next morning. He now had to change his plan.

We woke up on Saturday, my birthday, and headed to yoga. Mikey told my dad he was going to propose to me after yoga back at our condo. He had asked my dad for my hand in marriage a few months back. Now, not only is my dad nervous about doing a 110 degree power vinyasa class for the first time in his life but is now panicked thinking he is going to have a heart attack from the heat and ruin this special day. Needless to say, my dad finishes the 1 hr. and 15 minute class like a champ – he heads to his house and Mikey and I head to ours. We get home, very quickly, we drop our stuff at our lobby front desk and head out to our uncle’s yacht that is docked at our place on the intercoastal. He tells me, “come out to Jimmy’s boat. I want to say hi to them before they head out for the day.” Now, mind you, we just finished hot yoga- if you’ve ever done heated yoga before you know you come out of there nothing shy of drenched. I asked, “can we please just get out of these wet clothes before we step on his beautiful boat?” The answer was no. So, we got out to the boat and there were these huge vases with gorgeous white flowers, which happen to be my favorite. It still didn’t register what was about to happen. I stepped on the boat and stopped to admire the flowers thinking that the crew is setting up for the day at sea. In hindsight, why there would be vases of flowers set up before a boat ride is beyond me. I walked inside the boat where his parents and some of the crew were. He tells me to come outside on the sundeck. I walked out to where the flowers were, admiring them again and I turn around and he is on one knee with a gorgeous serving platter with the diamond ring in the middle. I was so in shock! I had no idea that was coming. It still to this day gives me butterflies!


Photography: Alexandra Elise Photography // Event Coordinator: Events By Jen // Florist: Arena’s // Invitations: Papery & Cakery // Programs & Stationery: Anna Marino // Venue: Country Club of Rochester // Dress Designer: Berta // Bridal Boutique: Chic Parisian // Bakery: Savoia Pastry Shoppe // Hair Stylist: PCK Salon // Makeup Artist: Scott Miller Salon // Tent Rental: LT Rentals // Custom Lighting & Rentals: RES Exhibits // Accent Decor Rental: Warehouse 127 // Linen, Chairs, & Drapery Rentals: Hank Parker// Videographer: Kraig Adams // DJ: Breakthrough Entertainment // Sax player: Danny Win // Pianist: Giovanni Fazio // Quartet: Felice String Quartet


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At Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site, in a pocket garden hidden amongst hedges, Jillian and Jonathan’s wedding stirred every feeling of wonder and magic of A Midsummer’s Night Dream. Planned by Scarlet Begonias Customized Events, the day was elegant and ethereal, yet pastoral and organic. Jillian’s bouquet by Spring Ledge Farm included florals native to the nearby fields and forest, a nod to the New England charm that exuded from every moment of the day. Even the greenery seemed to grow and intertwine through the reception tent creating an extension of the surrounding landscape. Lucky for us, the couple enlisted the skills of Ashley Helen Photography to capture the beauty of their day in these stunning images.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

Because we had so many guests coming from out of town, we wanted to present the best of what rural New England has to offer. We chose outdoor venues with views of the mountains, at a sculpture garden and a private home designed by local artists Augustus Saint-Gaudens and Charles Platt, and held our rehearsal dinner at Simon Pearce, a local glass-blowing factory. My husband and I are United Methodists and we asked a pastor from a nearby church to perform the ceremony, so our faith was incorporated even though the wedding itself was held outside in a secular venue. In keeping with the theme of an evening wedding surrounded by forest, the motif was “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” with lots of trailing greenery, fairy lights, and long flowing bridesmaid gowns.

I wanted to bring the forest into the tent as much as possible, so for the centerpieces I chose tall branching greenery decorated with delicate fairy lights. Our outstanding wedding planner found more than a hundred dirty antique brass candlesticks for rent and polished them up to a soft gold that perfectly matched the flatware. They were all mismatched, which added a bit of whimsy.

All of our florals were grown and arranged by Spring Ledge Farm. I chose a cascading bridal bouquet with white flowers and smaller pink-blossomed bouquets for the bridesmaids. My father and fiancé wore white flowers in their boutonnieres, to match me, whereas my father-in-law and the groomsmen had pink rosebuds. One of my favorite decor items was the pre-planted decorative pots; Spring Ledge designed and grew the pots for us, then delivered them to rent out the weekend of the wedding. We used them to cover up the tent pegs. They were all different; my favorite was the one with a tiny Japanese maple growing in it.

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I knew from the outset I wanted a gown with simple lines and fabric. When you walk into a bridal store and say you want no lace, tulle, rhinestones, or ruffles, that really narrows your choices down! However, I fell in love with the illusion back on my Justin Alexander gown, so I had to backtrack on my opinions about sparkly embroidery. Because the cathedral-length-plus train of the gown made such a statement, the rest of the dress’s simple lines didn’t seem too plain, and the deep v neckline and exposed back added an air of sophistication and subtle sexiness. Between the sparkly back and the length of the train, I didn’t want to overdo my accessories, so I wore only a pair of silver crystal drop earrings from BHLDN and a sapphire bracelet my sister had designed for me – four stones to represent the members of our family as my “something blue.” Badgley Mischka heels with a spangle of rhinestones on the back (and heel protectors to keep me from sinking in the grass) completed the look. We wanted to preserve the formality of the occasion despite the outdoor setting, which is why we chose a black tie dress code. My husband wore a tailored tuxedo from Jos A Bank and subtly textured shirt from Bonobos. He and all his groomsmen kept to the traditional black bow ties for the event.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal? 

Aside from having the wedding in my (the bride’s) hometown, my favorite and most personal touches were sleeping in my childhood bed and getting ready in the same house I grew up in. It made the moment when we all bundled into the shuttle to go to the wedding all the more poignant. We brought in my husband’s family tradition of using his grandfather’s Naval Academy saber to cut our wedding cake. It’s been used to cut three generations of Shonerd wedding cakes, and even though his grandfather passed away several years previously, I was glad to be part of his legacy in that way on the day I married into the family.

What was the most memorable part of the day? 

My sister gave me the excellent idea of doing “first looks” with my bridesmaids and my dad before driving to the ceremony. She and my mom ushered the bridesmaids and Dad out of the house, got me into my dress, and then I walked around the house for the surprise. Only one of the bridesmaids had seen pictures of my final dress choice, and their reactions to the final effect made for great pictures! The reveal moment with my dad was very sweet. I pinned on his boutonniere and I’ve never seen him look so proud.

My husband and I agree on our favorite “wedding day hack” – after we were done with bride and groom portraits after the ceremony, when everyone else was at cocktail hour, we sneaked into the tent to share a drink and some appetizers together in a quiet moment as newlyweds. It gave us a chance to see all the decor in its pristine glory and try the delicious southwest egg rolls and coconut shrimp from chef Doug Langevin that we’d carefully picked out months before!

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

We met via Match.com just after New Years in 2015. I immediately liked his smile and the fact that he’d visit his grandma after work to help fix her computer. He (apparently) liked the fact that my profile specified that any interested parties would have to know the difference between “their, they’re, and there.” We met for coffee and had so much to talk about that we stayed until the shop closed. Two and a half years later, Jon proposed while we were staying at Ballyseede Castle in Ireland. After a day of travel and last-minute sightseeing (I had insisted on an impromptu day trip to the Cliffs of Moher that threatened to ruin his plans!), he suggested we take a picture in the castle garden before going in to dinner. As soon as we reached the gazebo, he went down on one knee, and the photographers that he’d booked got every stage of my total shock on camera! My favorite line from his memorized proposal speech was “you are the one I’ve prayed for my whole life.” I couldn’t have designed a more personal, romantic proposal if I’d done it myself.

Photographer: Ashley Helen Photography // Wedding Planner: Scarlet Begonias Customized Events; Owner Meg Tenney // Florist: Spring Ledge Farm // Ceremony Venue: Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site // Reception Venue: Private Estate // Gown Designer: Justin Alexander // Bridal Shop: Vivid Bridal Boutique // Cake: MC Confections // Live Band: Wellfeet // Makeup Artist: Candace Kennedy // Hair Stylist: Vanessa’s Salon; Jaclyn Fortin // Tuxes: Jos. A Bank


Planner and creative director, Shannon Rose Events, led the team of incredibly talented vendors in creating this Southern Romance inspiration shoot at Charleston’s historic Boone Hall Plantation. With a focus on the natural beauty of the venue, the ceremony was staged under the centuries-old live oak tree with its dripping Spanish moss. Organic, voluminous, mauve florals by Lush Couture Floral ordained the back of the ceremony and enlivened the tablescape dressed in a blush, and dusty rose color scheme. The soft, romantic style of the details was introduced with a beautiful pink stationery suite by Brown Fox Creative and captured beautifully on film in these images by Courtney Hanson Photography.

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Photography: Courtney Hanson Photography // Planning & Creative Direction: Shannon Rose Events // Floral: Lush Couture Floral // Invitations: Brown Fox Creative // Venue: Boone Hall Plantation // Dress Designer: Jennifer Black Bridal ‘Sonia’ // Dress Retailer: Gown Boutique of Charleston // Hair & Makeup: Brittany Jones Beauty // Calligraphy: Avenue 21 Designs

 // Silverware, Glassware, China: Event Works // Chargers: Posh Couture Rentals // Linen: BBJ Linen // Film Scans: PhotoVision // Models: Real Couple Georgia Kelley & Jared Miller

Kate and Jeff’s wedding at Boulder’s St. Julien Hotel was the destination wedding the couple dreamed of—a stunning, scenic location with travel accessibility to their dearest family and friends. Self-proclaimed “professional wedding guests,” the couple knew exactly what they wanted in a reception—an ideal seating layout where each guest had a great view. With the help of their planner Banks & Leaf , there was no bad seat in the house—a house decked out in elegant details and stunning florals by Statice Floral Design. Lucky for us, Callie Hobbs Photography captured the day with her signature style in the beautiful images below.

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What made the wedding special and unique?

It was special to us to have destination wedding that was in an accessible location. Boulder was a perfect choice, especially since we had a lot of friends that were pregnant at the time. A destination wedding also has a different vibe since everyone was treating it like a vacation.

Our wedding was on the smaller side, with 80 people, so it was imperative to Jeff and I that all of our guests felt included in every aspect of the weekend, especially at the reception! We’re basically professional wedding guests, and have experienced a few weddings where all the friends were sat at a large round table in the very back of the room, where it was hard to see or hear what was going on. When we had our final head count confirmed, we went back to the St Julien layout to rearrange everything a few weeks before the wedding. Jeff and I scoured Pinterest, along with every wedding magazine and website, to look at layout options. We fell in love with a U-shaped layout from an outdoor wedding, the only thing was we had to make it fit in the room at the St Julien. During our final walk through we worked with Gabby and multiple staff members at the St Julien, walking through different options and taping off measurements, making sure no one would have a bad view and while also trying to optimize the layout for the servers. It was so stressful at the time, but on our wedding day it paid off in spades. Looking around the room during the toasts, speeches and dances, everyone was engaged and best of all, we could see every person’s face! Looking back, it was one of the best decisions Jeff and I made!

Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!

I went into the dress searching thinking I wanted an ethereal, bohemian wedding dress. I tried on a bunch that I really liked but wasn’t necessarily in love with. I was in Denver for Thanksgiving and decided to make an appointment at LWD. It was one of the first ones I tried on. I remember thinking my mom wouldn’t like it for some crazy reason. Then when I came out of the dressing room she started crying! Since my family is just a bunch of group criers my sister and I both started crying and it turned into one of those cheesy but touching moments that I look back on.

What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?

Jeff’s mom’s side of the family comes from Guatemala, so it was important to us to incorporate his heritage into the ceremony. His grandmother did the second reading, doing it first in Spanish then followed by English. It was beautiful. We also incorporated arras (wedding coins), which is a Spanish tradition where the groom gives the coins to the bride followed by the bride giving the coins to the groom as a symbol of marriage and commitment to each other. We also incorporated El lazo which was essentially a large rosary in a figure 8 that was placed on our shoulders during the ceremony, symbolizing everlasting love and unity. Multiple guests came up to us at the reception and the brunch afterwards, commenting how much they loved how we personalized the wedding.

We weren’t able to bring our dog out to Boulder so my step-dad surprised us with a life-size cut out of our dog, Mowgi! Jeff was so surprised and absolutely loved it since they are best friends. He also made an appearance in wedding guests’ photos.

For our guest book we worked with Simon Pearce since we wanted a unique guest book. They helped us pick a large vase that could be engraved. My stepmom decorated the paper for guests to sign. All of the guests wrote well wishes on the paper that was then sent to Simon Pearce to be engraved.

What was the most memorable part of the day?

I could never choose just one memorable part of the day! One of my absolute favorites was at the ceremony, when the doors opened and I walked down the aisle looking at Jeff. I was experiencing so many emotions, I could not stop smiling.

Just being surrounded by so many people you love is a surreal experience. I still remember that feeling. I will remember that for the rest of my life!

In the car on the way over, Jeff’s sister led us in yoga breathing ending with OM before we walked out of the car. The calmness carried through the entire ceremony.

Tell us how you met and became engaged.

My stepmom actually introduced us! I had just moved back to Chicago from the east coast after a break up and was living with my sister when my stepmom texted me saying, “don’t kill me but I told one of executives we work with about you. He’s TALL!!!” He then messaged me on LinkedIn. We finally met up at brunch a few months later and were inseparable since then.

I was in no rush to get married, I actually didn’t want to get married. One Friday after a friend’s birthday party, he told me he had a surprise. Jeff is a very carefree person, so I assumed it was something small, like a piece of jewelry or my favorite type of wine. When he called me in the other room, I walked over and there were flowers EVERYWHERE and he was waiting there on one knee. I instantly started crying and made him walk me through all of the details of how he got here before saying yes. Blame my OCD.

However, he had thought of everything! Our close friends were waiting outside for us afterwards, and he had the whole weekend of celebrating planned with friends, siblings and family. It truly was an experience I will never forget!

Planner: Banks & Leaf // Photographer: Callie Hobbs Photography // Florist: Statice Floral Design // Stationery: Minted // Venue: St. Julien Hotel // Gown: Justin Alexander / LWD Bridal // Hair: Some Claudia Girl // Rentals: Amora Group // Band: #Rockslide with Give 5 Productions // Linens: Nuage Designs // Ring Box: The Mrs. Box


Organic and paired-back but textural and voluminous, this sophisticated seaside shoot from Amelia Claire Photography shines a light on just how elegant a beach wedding can be. Inspired by the beauty of the Australian ocean, the details include abundant florals and unruly greens by Gilded Florals,  handwritten paper pieces by Small Brown Writes and hand molded organically shaped plates provided by Side Serve. The neutral color palette and warm sunlight-infused images are a breath of fresh, salty air.

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Photographer: Amelia Claire Photography // Flowers: Gilded Florals // Invitation: Small Brown Writes // Hair And Makeup: Connor Adams // Hair: The Pretty Parlour // Furniture: Maisey Collections // Arbour Pole: Heart Strings Hire // Gown: Bridal by Aubrey Rose // Model: Melody Fricker and Daniel Chan // Table Decor: Side Serve // Cake: De La Rosa Cakes