Friday, August 3, 2012

Denise & Zach's 10 Best Wedding Tips


All photos copywrite Lara Kimmerer 2009.

Denise & Zach chose to have their wedding at Perona Farms in Sparta, NJ, so they could showcase the beautiful farmland of Northern Jersey, and serve delicious food made with fresh, local ingredients. They tapped into their design skills and their shared love of gardening to make the celebration more personal, and they put together a party they knew everyone would love - without breaking the bank.

Here's the story of their wedding journey. It's a top 10 list of the things that made their wedding great, things they learned, and creative ideas you can steal:

1. Find a good photographer

Denise says, "This is so important! The day goes by so quickly, and the pictures are what you're left with." Luckily, they knew Lara Kimmerer, a professional wedding photographer, from college, and they were so happy with their work. Lara strongly encourages couples to do an engagement shoot with her beforehand, so that she can get to know the couple, and more importantly, get to know what they're like in front of the camera. Click here for some pics from their engagement shoot.

2. Hire your talented friends


Denise's vows are several pages long, Zach is flabbergasted.

Denise & Zach were really fortunate to know people they could count on to help them with the wedding. Denise's brother's best friend is a DJ who offered his services as a wedding gift. Lara, the photographer, was a mutual friend from college, as was their officiant, Dan Bailey-Yavonditte, who was able to create a personal and meaningful ceremony for them. And Denise's friend Katie Radler owns her own wedding flower business, The Flower Girl. Zach points out that all these vendors will be at the party - so they might as well be people you'd actually like to party with. "It's so much better to have friends there with your best interest at heart!"

3. Design your own invitations

If you've got design skills, use them! Denise came up with the concept for their invitations, and Zach put it all together, then brought the file to a local print shop. They saved money by doing all the work themselves and printing on basic card stock. They tied in their wedding colors, their Jersey Fresh theme, and kept it simple and stylish at the same time.

4. Let them wear Converse.

The groomsmen wore navy Converse sneakers, and the groom wore white. Denise asked her young neice to be a bridesmaid; she's a bit of a tomboy - Denise says, "I was the exact same way!" - and hates getting dressed up, so they invited her to wear navy Converse as well.

5. Honor your missing loved ones.


The bride & groom were two peas in a pod.

Denise's father had passed away several years before the wedding. She wanted to keep him close by her, so she planned to carry tiny picture frames in her bouquet. The day of the wedding, she was getting ready at her sister's house and realized; she had forgotten the pictures. Denise says she was freaking out about it. And so, on the morning of the wedding, in a freak snowstorm, Zach drove 45 minutes back to their apartment, dug around in their closet, found the pictures just in time, and drove 45 minutes back. Denise was blown away that he was willing to drop everything for an hour and a half on his wedding day, but Zach says if he hadn't, "I'd be telling a different story - of the one thing I regret not doing on my wedding day."

6. Decorate with seed packets.

Denise & Zach found beautiful vintage seed packets at LandrethSeeds.com, which has been a seed company since colonial times, and is known for their classic, old-timey labels. They used them to designate each table with a different vegetable. After the wedding, they bought frames from Ikea, painted them to match their kitchen, and framed the seed packets. They're stylish and fun, and so very Denise & Zach.

7. Give potted herbs as favors.


Flowers by The Flower Girl.

In keeping with the Jersey Fresh theme, Denise & Zach took the time to grow potted herbs from seeds. Each guest had their choice of herb to bring home - and they also had fresh herbs right at their table for seasoning their dinner. Genius.

8. Make a do-not-play list.

Zach has particularly strong opinions about music, but he also has a lot of respect for DJs; he knew that he wanted to hire a professional who could read the energy on the dance floor. However, there were songs he absolutely did not want to hear at his wedding, so he banished "Celebrate Good Times" or anything by Van Morrison. Once that was clear, he got out of the way and let the man do his job.

9. Have fun with dessert.

Rather than a dessert buffet, Denise & Zach opted for a dessert cart. It was laden with cookies, mini-cakes, eclairs, and fancy after-dinner cordials, and the staff wheeled it around from table to table. They also decided to design their own cake topper. They pieced it together from two different Playmobil sets - they even found a miniature wedding cake with tiny people on top of it. Once they had their little tableau, they glued everything down on a blank CD. Zach says they probably spent more money on that project than they would have spent on a standard-issue cake topper - but some things are worth a little extra money. "When you make it yourself, it can be exactly the way you want."

10. Have an after-party.

Denise & Zach had a morning wedding, and they felt like the reception just flew by. They knew their friends would have the stamina to keep the party going. So they planned ahead for an after party at the hotel where most people were staying. The hotel had free shuttles, a good discounted block rate, and a pool for the kids to hang out in while the adults were carousing in the lobby bar. They loved the chance to hang out with all their favorite people in a more relaxed setting, where it wasn't all about the two of them on display.




1 comment:

  1. Having well planned locations and a smooth transportation plan are important factors in keeping your wedding day events moving along as smoothly as you planned.
    city hall wedding photographer

    ReplyDelete