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Once Upon a Time…


It was New Year’s Eve. I decided to go low-key and have a quiet, local dinner with friends when I met my future wife. We had lots in common and formed an instant bond. It was one of the most laid-back, easy, but fun New Years Eves  I’ve ever had. After the stressful year I’d experienced, the evening was just what the doctor ordered. It would be two years until we hung out again –though we did mysteriously manage to cross paths several times, as if fate was on our side. Flash forward to Summer, 2011. We both found ourselves single, reconnected, and began dating.  Coincidentally, we were both taking huge risks to do what we loved: the two of us had jumped ship from the corporate world. Me, to begin Ampersand, and her to devote time to creative writing and to begin an MFA program. We were two creative peas in a pod.


There’s that old saying, “When you know. You know.” And after dating only a year, we knew. We  shared the news of our engagement with our parents. They were supportive and overjoyed. We couldn’t wait for our two families to finally meet. It turns out, they were so similar and welcoming to one another, that it only solidified where our relationship was headed. Working with our friend, the very talented graphic designer Jess Robash we created a post card save-the-date that would announce our good news .

Once the save-the-dates were out, we all put our heads together again to produce a formal invitation and RSVP card. We wanted a simple, classic look that was as formal as it was fun. As for our actual wedding and reception, we knew we wanted  a DIY vintage-themed celebration that would also incorporate elements from my soon-to-be wife’s love of books and writing. Our decor was personal and 100% of it was homemade–whether made in our basement, spare bedroom, or driveway. Each decorative element was a labor of love and each piece from the string orbs that hung as ceiling decorations to the framed “author bios” that marked each table was a melding of our two lives and personalities. We worked with our talented friend, Elaine Frei, founder of Urban Soiree Chicago to assist with developing the concept, layout and the day-of planning and coordination.

On an overcast, but otherwise lovely day in late September, 80 of our closest friends and family members gathered together to watch us get hitched. Love was most definitely in the air and as the guests arrived, we felt intensely grateful and calmed by the support and presence of  people from different chapters of both of our lives. Everyone gathered together to send us off into the next phase. Let the nuptials begin!


September 29, 2012, marked the beginning of our two families becoming one.


The exchange of vows (and rings) was brief, but meaningful. We wrote our own vows and were married by my former business partner and good friend, Andy Crepeau who pronounced us married by the power of Castle Grayskull and also, the State. Why am I screaming in the picture above you ask? Because my wife stepped on my toe with her stiletto heel. Nice job, wife. J/K. I don’t even remember screaming, but I do remember exclaiming “Thank You,” to everyone before I screamed.  I know. I’m a weirdo, but I was excited.


Now it’s time to talk flowers. We worked with our friend, Jennifer Allen owner of MaRKet,  a small lifestyle boutique that specializes in both vintage & modern home furnishings, interior design, and offers floral design as one of its services. Jenn has a knack for flowers, she’s been arranging them since high school.

Paper Wedding Boutonniere - Posh Studios

I wanted to surprise my wife with this paper wedding boutonniere by Posh Studios. Cassie’s work is amazing and I wanted my boutonniere to have a connection my wife and be a keepsake. Cassie was great to work with, I sent her a picture of my shirt so she could match the color and explained that she was a writer and asked that the paper have type. I think she did an excellent job.


Picking out the ring is ALWAYS a nerve wracking experience. The ring is going to be on your partner’s hand for the rest of their life. No pressure. To make a long story short, picking out my wife’s ring was something I put off for a long time. She kept saying to me, “You’ll know, I trust you” and on the inside I was a wee bit nervous. She was right, though. I stopped into Cambridge Antique Market, spotting what I was certain would be her ring. The next day I tricked her into coming back with me to take a look. We stopped in, I casually was like, “Hey, just take a look so I can get an idea of what you’d like.” She agreed and of the dozens of rings in the case, she immediately commented on how beautiful this ring was. I asked if she wanted to try it on and believe it or not, the ring fit. Perfectly. Did either of us know her ring size before she tried it on? Miraculously, no. For me, the ring picking experience was excellent and lasted all of five minutes. Don’t be jealous.

For my ring I wanted something simple since I work with my hands all the time but I didn’t want it to be a plain boring band. I came across Adzia‘s custom fingerprint engagement and wedding bands and instantly knew that’s what I wanted. My wife’s fingerprint is engraved both inside and outside. The inside is what feels the most special to  me.


Then the party began. We entertained our guests with yard games and music. My wife’s sister is a musician and introduced us to the Brazilian Jazz band, The Jerrod Cattey Trio. They were the perfect match for our cocktail hour. We both love jazz and they brought that perfect, breezy Latin sound that was an important element to my wife who is from Central America.

We did a few passed hors d’oeuvres and watered our guests with wine and kegs of our favorite craft beer supplied by our local favorite, The Craft Beer Cellar.


Then the night fell, dinner was served under the big top…


My wife’s sister made a simple but amazing cheesecake for our wedding cake and our guests enjoyed individually plated strawberry shortcakes, my wife’s family favorite. The cake toppers were custom made by LavaGifts since they didn’t currently have the pink ones in stock. It was on short notice and they turned it around in no time.


What’s with the saw you ask? We like magic tricks. No, no. It’s a German tradition called, Baumstamm Sägen, “log sawing.” It represents a married couple’s first difficult task together. You’re supposed to have a nice small log but oh no, not us. My wife’s father is an arborist and special ordered a beautiful silver birch for this special occasion. He also called in several favors to get the beautiful antique logging saw pictured above. I think he likes me. With both our fathers holding the log, the crowd breaking into an impromptu chant of “saw that log”, and my serious attempt to stretch it out while they reset the log helped us get through it. It takes a village to saw that log apparently.

I’ve mentioned on the blog that I love to dance so this part of the night was one I was really looking forward to. We had worked sooooo hard to pull this off and it was finally time to cut loose! My wife used to be a music critic and she tasked herself with finding the DJ. We wanted to find someone that could blend our love of old school tunes and the contemporary with the aim of having the dance floor packed the whole night. There was just one rule, no cheesy traditional wedding songs. My wife knew DJ Monster Carl and just said, “trust me.”  One word, WOW. You can see from the pictures that it was pretty rocking and I wasn’t even on the dance floor the whole night but one thing I remember was the amazing energy on the floor, the smiles on everyone’s face, and at least five times where people were down on their knees and shakin’ what the good lord gave ’em.

It was so hard to narrow down the pictures to a select few because the pictures from this part of the night are truly epic.

It was so hard to narrow down the pictures to a select few because the pictures from this part of the night are truly epic.

…and the outtakes. Go ahead and laugh at us, we did.

Vintage Wedding Outtakes Vintage Wedding Outtakes

This story would not be possible without the amazing skillz, yes with a “z”, of Zac Wolf. Actually, he made this story hard to tell because his photography was amazing and narrowing the photographs down to tell this story was quite hard. Check out all of his amazing work here at Zac Wolf Photography. He also provided us with a bit of danger, The Danger Booth that is. Our guest got to pose the night away in the photo booth and he handed us a thumb drive with the nights antics before he left for the night. It was a lot of fun looking at all the fantastic pictures the next morning.

Danger Booth Zac Wolf Photography

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. absolutely stellar! Gorgeous wedding, Beautiful love story. Congrats to you and your beautiful bride!

    January 25, 2013
    • Yay Mandy! Thank you so much, everyone worked so hard to pull this off. So grateful to everyone involved.

      January 28, 2013

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