Emma and Brenden’s wedding at The Inn on the Lake, in the Finger Lakes Region of upstate New York, was a-year-and-a-half in the making. The details were lovely—gorgeous garlands by Kittelberger Florist all over the tented reception filled with adorable cookies and Chandon favors—but the focus was really on a weekend of events honoring the couple’s family and friends and the role they play in their lives. Read more from the couple about their celebration and enjoy the gorgeous images by Mary Dougherty Photography.
What made the wedding special and unique?
I’m sure every couple thinks their wedding is special and unique, and we are no exception to that! Our wedding day was a celebration of our love and commitment to one another and felt special from the moment our rehearsal started on Friday through the end of our newlywed brunch on Sunday. However, what made it unique was that we didn’t actually want the focus of the weekend to just be on us. From the moment we started planning, Brenden and I knew we wanted to focus on our guests. We feel so fortunate to be surrounded by such loving, supportive family and friends, and we wanted to use our wedding as a “thank you” to those closest to us. We worked to involve as many of our family and friends in to our wedding, whether it was as part of our bridal party, doing a reading at the ceremony or giving a toast at our reception. We also hosted various events throughout our wedding weekend so that we could spend as much time as possible with everyone who came together to celebrate with us. Our family and friends play such an important role in who we are as individuals and as a couple, and we loved having this opportunity to share this special weekend with them.
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
My mom’s birthday was less than a month after our engagement. When I asked her what she would like to do to celebrate, she without hesitation yelled, “LOOK AT WEDDING DRESSES!” Although I had a solid idea of what I was looking for, I in no way thought I would be finding a dress that weekend. I mean, we were only one month in to our 18-month engagement! My mom arranged appointments at three local bridal salons. By the time we arrived at the third salon of the day (Juliana’s), we had seen some beautiful gowns, but not “the one.” However, as I got ready to try this lace, fit-and-flare, sweetheart neck gown by Watters, I had no idea what was about to hit me. I put the dress on and instantly knew it was perfect! Luckily my mom and sisters thought so too. It was simple and elegant; everything that I wanted it to be. The dress just felt like me!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
Brenden and I tried to add little touches wherever we could to make our wedding more personal. Some of my favorites include my “something old”, a special piece of reception décor and our lip sync battle! For my “something old” I used the lace from my mom’s wedding dress to make the wrap for my bouquet. It was so special knowing that I had a little piece of her wedding dress with me that day. Another one of my favorite personal touches was the “M” monogram on our head table, which was made entirely of old coins from my late grandfather’s coin collection (with the exception of one from 2016 to represent our wedding). Lastly, a fun personal touch we added to our reception was a lip sync battle. Brenden and I love Jimmy Fallon and we often watch Late Night with Jimmy Fallon together at the end of the day. One of our favorite segments of his is the lip sync battle, so we asked my sister and Brenden’s cousin to battle it out during our reception as a surprise to our other guests. They both put on a tremendous performance; something no one will ever forget!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
It’s so hard to pick one moment of the day as most memorable, but we both agreed that our favorite moment came directly after the ceremony. After walking back down the aisle, Brenden and I went straight into this little room at the back of the church. It was our first moment alone that day, and we just kept saying, “I love you! Can you believe we’re finally married?!” Taking those few minutes together as a married couple before the craziness of the reception was so special. The pure love and genuine happiness of that moment is something we will never forget!
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
Brenden and I met on our first day of college during our freshman year at St. John Fisher. We had just finished moving into our dorm rooms when the entire freshman class attended a welcome picnic, and that’s when it happened! We were friends instantly and started dating within a few weeks. St. John Fisher has always held special meaning for Brenden and I, so it only seemed fitting that we get engaged back where it all began. So, one October Friday night, Brenden took me back to campus and proposed in the same spot we had met seven years earlier. It was simple, yet incredibly special. I couldn’t have asked for anything better!
Photography: Mary Dougherty Photography // Florist: Kittelberger Florist // Invitations: Minted // Ceremony Venue: Spiritus Christi Church // Reception Venue/Catering: The Inn on the Lake // Band or DJ: Turner Music Productions // Cake: Sweets by Marie // Dress Designer: Watters // Hair/Makeup: Scott Miller Style