Samantha and Brian’s wedding day a the perfect blend of elegant and casual. Their ceremony was traditional and stunning in the grand architecture of Stanford Memorial Church and their reception was lovely and relaxed in the courtyard of the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park. We’re loving the understated beauty of the bride’s stunning J. Crew gown (read below to see how she and her fashion-conscious husband-to-be decided on the dress) and jewel encrusted statement necklace for the reception. Samantha, a graphic designer, created the modern stationery and Aili Ice Designs was responsible for the sweet ocher-hued florals. The couple enlisted Olivia Richards Photography to capture their day and that she did. The images are beautiful!
What made the wedding special and unique?
I think the most special part of the wedding was having my husband’s daughters be the people in our bridal party. Most of our closest friends had had been bridesmaids/groomsmen in multiple weddings already, and we knew it would be a big treat to let them take the day off for our wedding. His oldest daughter Madison was my MOH, and her sister, Reagan, was the ring bearer. It was incredibly special for the four of us to be a part of the ceremony, and to have the girls beside us as we said our vows—definitely a feeling I will cherish forever. On a completely different note, it was a dream of ours to get married at Memorial Church. Since my husband graduated from Stanford, we were allowed to hold our ceremony there. Even before we were engaged we had always talked about how amazing it would be to get married there. That part was definitely special too!
Tell us about the gown and where/how you found it!
The gown I chose was from J.Crew. Since my husband and I are both very into fashion, I wanted to make sure we were on the same page when it came to what kind of dress I was going to wear (although he still wasn’t allowed to see the final choice until the big day)! He had literally looked through thousands of images of gowns and had only liked 4—the one from J.Crew was one of them. I still wanted the experience of dress shopping so I went to a few boutiques and tried on a dozen dresses, but found that I kept asking for something more simple. When I got home, I ordered the dress online from J.Crew. When I tried it on, I knew it was it. Although it was from a major retailer, I felt like it was so unlike any of the other dresses I had seen. It was simple, comfortable, and sophisticated, yet I still felt sexy in it. After some alterations, it was totally perfect and exactly what I wanted. Another thing I had kept secret from my husband was the J.Crew necklace I found online. It was an older necklace I had remembered from when I used to work there. I thought there would be no way I would find it after so many years, but when there was ONE for sale on Ebay, I knew it was meant to be. I saved it to wear for the reception, and it was a fun little change without actually having to change!
What were some touches added to make the wedding personal?
With a ton of help from my mom, we did all of the wedding planning and coordinating ourselves. Since I am a graphic designer by trade, I was able to custom design our invitations, website, signage, and decor. It was a ton of pressure at first and we spent a lot of time trying to figure out what sort of theme we wanted to go with. At the end of the day, we really just wanted it to feel like ‘us’—but that was easier said than done. After some major styles were decided (venue, colors, fonts, flowers) it all came together exactly how we envisioned it. The drink flags and the individual menus were my two favorite details. And as a bonus, it was so much more cost effective to print and foil things ourselves, rather than purchasing pre-made items. I am totally obsessed with my gold-foil machine. I foiled everything! Also, I can’t forget the ice cream truck we had. Our guests absolutely loved it, and it was such a fun addition that nobody was expecting. I wish I had gone back for seconds!
What was the most memorable part of the day?
Everyone always says this, but the day went by SO fast, that I have trouble remembering all the details! To this day, it still gives me a little anxiety thinking about the little things I forgot about or wish I had done. While I don’t remember exactly what everyone said during their toasts, I remember feeling so incredibly loved. Brian’s daughter Madison, my MOH, gave us a toast that she had written herself, and it was absolutely perfect. My husband’s brother and mother also gave toasts, in addition to my best friend and dad. Their toasts were everything I imagined they would be; a little crazy, a little funny, and so, so, incredibly supportive. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place after the toasts were through, and I remember feeling calm and secure. I felt like that was it, that was what the whole day was about. It was about being together with everyone we love, sharing our thoughts and hopes about our past, and future, as a family.
Tell us how you met and became engaged.
My husband and I met 7 years ago while living in San Francisco. We both went to school at San Francisco State University and worked part time as personal shoppers at J.Crew. Our school departments shared the same floor of the Humanities building, and one day I just so happened to run into him by the stairwell and asked him to ditch his next class and get lunch with me. The rest is history! But really, the rest was a long road ahead. My husband eventually transferred to Stanford; where we would start to build our life and help raise his two children. Once we both had graduated and had started our careers (oddly enough, together at the same company), and 6 years had passed, I told him it was about time to put a ring on it—and he agreed!
Photographer: Olivia Richards Photography // Floral Design: Aili Ice Designs // Invitations & Design: Samantha Lanier, Bride // Venues: Stanford Memorial Church // Allied Arts Guild // Dress: JCrew // Hair: Drybar // Caterer: JW Catering // Cake: Mia Moretti // Ice Cream Truck: Garden Creamery // DJ: Eastwood Entertainment // Film Scans: Photovision Prints
photography @oliviarichardsphoto // floral design @ailiicedesigns // venue @alliedartsguild
hair @drybar // dress @jcrew // ice cream truck @gardencreamery