Mandy & Scott's Gorgeous February Wedding

As promised yesterday, we have some incredible images to share with you from Mandy & Scott's February 19th wedding!  This is one of my most favorite weddings.  Between the ceremony ending surprise, the gorgeous fashion, and the rich color palette with a hint of plaid (a la Alexander McQueen's SJP number from 2006's Costume Institute Gala); it was the perfect mix.  And, we got this spectacularly clear, blue-skied February Saturday to boot!  

When we started planning, Mandy & Scott had thought they wanted a spring or fall wedding, but weren't sure of what they wanted it to look like; maybe something outside or by the water, they didn't know.  So we saw a LOT of venues of all different vibes and styles, but what it really boiled down to was that Mandy & Scott love the city.  They met downtown on the rooftop of the Velvet Dog and have enjoyed many a night out in the city.  But, a summer wedding in the city didn't appeal to Mandy, and so began the chat of "What about a winter wedding in the city?".  A city winter wedding had a coziness about it that appealed to both Mandy, Scott, and me greatly.  And it allowed for a color palette that was right up her alley, full of rich tones; navy, red, and gold set off by white, and that Scottish tartan plaid reflecting both their families' heritage and their sense of style.  Once we were settled on in the winter in the city, we knew very quickly that the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel would be our reception venue for its history, beauty, and impeccable service.  They would have their ceremony at St. Patrick's Church on Bridge, another gorgeous Cleveland landmark.  Z Media was chosen to photograph and film the day, Fresh Tendrils would provide the flowers, and Michael Angelo's Bakery was selected to provide both the wedding cake and groom's cake. 

When we arrived at the Renaissance the morning of the wedding, we stopped in to see the girls as they were getting ready.  This was one of the most fashionable and striking wedding parties we've seen!  Hair was styled by Kristin Collins and make up by Kimberly Seenarine-Pfeifer of Kajal by Kimberly.  The girls looked AMAZING!  Check out these shots of their shoes and accessories, and the girls themselves all done up!

Bridesmaids' clutches

Mandy & Kimberly

Mandy's red hairpin

Mandy's shoes

Bridesmaids' shoes

The ceremony was lovely and you've seen the ceremony surprise ending video by now, right?  Here are some still shots from the Love Actually "All You Need Is Love" inspired ceremony ending.  

The reception was breathtaking!  The floral centerpieces from Fresh Tendrils were fantastic and really made the Ambassador Ballroom stunning!  We wanted luxe, romantic arrangements that had a classic feel with a modern twist.  Tracy delivered that aesthetic and then some.  Votive candles hung from blossoming branches on our tallest arrangements, beautiful branches and greens climbed gold candelabras topped with hydrangeas on others, and lush, low arrangements were framed by floating candles at three different heights.  It truly was a beautiful room.  We selected a champagne crush linen, gold chiavari chairs with navy pintuck cushions, and tartan plaid napkins to complete the look.

Programs, escort and menu cards were provided by CDK Designs - they were the perfect compliment to the wedding!  Classic and elegant with just a touch of whimsy.  

Guests danced the night away to the sounds of Shady Drive and DJ Scott Jones.  In one final surprise for the evening, Mandy changed from her formal wedding gown into a short and sassy mini dress that we LOVED!!!  She paired the dress with sparkling blue heels, blue drop earrings, and a blue hairpin - fantastic!

A note from Mandy: 

We have tried to write you many times and couldn't find the right words to thank you for all you did for our wedding.  We finally realize it is going to be hard to put our appreciation into words, but we will try.  In summary, know from the bottom of our hearts we thank you for making our version of a "dream wedding" into a reality.  

Thinking back to the time we decided we wanted to hire a wedding coordinator we had several reasons for doing so.  A couple of reasons we decided to hire a planner were: 
- We had no idea what we were doing and didn't know where to start. 
- We didn't know what type of wedding we wanted.  
- We didn't have time to research vendors to find the best for our style and budget. 
- Most importantly, we didn't want to worry about details on our wedding day, nor did we want our parents bothered with any work leading up to and the day of the wedding.
Thanks to you, all of our reasons for hiring a planner were justified plus much more.

As mentioned, we were not sure what we wanted our wedding day to look like.  We started by wanting a spring or fall wedding on water or some sort of scenery and you helped us seek out these locations and show us the logistics involved.  You were more than patient with us when we realized that idea was not what best suited us.  You helped us talk through what was lacking in our first plan and then helped us to find what it was we truly did want for "our day".  We appreciate the fact that you were never pushy to try and force us to make a decision we weren't comfortable with; I have heard from friends they were rushed to make a decision they later regretted and this was never the case with you.  Your work ethic proved to us you would work tirelessly until we were happy. 

The first time we talked we said we wanted our wedding to reflect us as a couple and you promised our guests would walk away feeling the day represented us well.  This was absolutely the case.  The number of times our friends and family have said the wedding very much reflected us is countless and for us that is the best compliment we could receive.  

Looking back, the day and days leading up to our wedding were a dream come true.  We loved the fact that by spending time with us you quickly found key elements that were important to us and made them a part of our day.  We, of course, are biased but we have never been to a wedding that was both elegant and a complete blast.  If we had a dollar for every person that said our wedding was the best, most fun, or most beautiful wedding they have ever been to we would have our wedding paid for. 

As the bride and groom we feel incredibly lucky to have had as much fun as we did on our wedding day.  When we say it was the best day of our life we also mean it was the most fun we could have possibly had.  We have seen many of our friends who didn't seem to enjoy their wedding because they were stressed or busy with details.  Neither of us felt one ounce of stress and were able to enjoy the day knowing you would take care of everything and anything needed.  Thank you for that precious gift.  

Thank you, Gina, for taking charge to help us find Cleveland's best wedding vendors and then guiding them to turn our vision into a reality.  You're simply the best. 

Mandy & Scott" 

It was a simply dazzling day from start to finish and we loved every minute of it!  For all of the photos we couldn't fit in this post, please visit us on Facebook and check out Mandy & Scott's online gallery!  

How can you get an experience like Mandy & Scott's?  Here's the rundown on our experience essentials partners: 

Photography: Z Media
Floral Decor: Fresh Tendrils
Rentals: Event Source
Invitations: Paper Trails
Stationery: CDK Designs
Event Lighting: Shi Shi Events


"Love Actually" Happens in Real Life

One of my favorite movies of all time is "Love Actually".  It's perfectly romantic and real and funny, and I watch it every holiday season.  One scene in particular is a favorite from the movie; the marriage ceremony of Peter & Juliet where the couple is surprised with a performance of "All You Need Is Love" after they are pronounced husband and wife.  You can watch the scene from the movie here http://youtu.be/1_f5gRCv5eY

So I was beyond excited when our bride, Mandy, told me she loved the movie just as much and wanted to surprise her groom, Scott, with a real life version of the Peter & Juliet's "All You Need Is Love" scene at their wedding ceremony!  Mandy and I worked for months on figuring out how we could get the "scene" to play out right, who we would trust with the music production and filming of the surprise and how we could best work it into the end of the ceremony.  When we reached out to Scott Jones & Geoff Short of Jerry Bruno Productions they were super psyched about the idea too, so we all got straight to work!  Scott & Geoff assembled several different ensemble options from their various groups for us, and Mandy and I selected the final "cast" who would perform the number on her wedding day.  We signed on Z Media to film not only the full wedding day, but the surprise as it unfolded.

All of us were so anxious to see it play out in real life, it was SO hard to keep the secret!  No one but Mandy, me, Jerry Bruno Productions, and Z Media knew what was coming at the end of the ceremony.  Emotions ran high that morning in anticipation.  The ceremony came to an end, the priest announced Mandy & Scott as husband and wife and the surprise began.

As the bridal party exited the church they, along with all of the guests, were cheering, some were crying, all were completely surprised; it was perfect.  For me, it was one of those moments I know I'll always carry with me.  It was all so very beautiful.  A note from Mandy:

"Gina -

On a side note, thank you for listening to me back in June when I shared with you my crazy idea about incorporating a surprise ending into our wedding.  From the moment I told you my dream to end with "All You Need Is Love" in a traditional Catholic ceremony, you supported my idea.  Even when it seemed too big of a task to pull off, you forced me to keep believing in the idea until we could make the dream a reality.

You allowed me to give my new husband, family, friends, and all attending our wedding the best gift ever...a surprise they will never forget.  I have yet to have a conversation with someone that attended the ceremony that didn't bring up the "flash mob ending" (LOL that is what everyone says).  All tell me it was one of the most moving things they have ever seen at at wedding.  For that I am forever grateful.  Thank you Gina.  I appreciate the chance to work with you over the last 11 months.  I hope one day to work together to plan another amazing event.  I'm pushing for a 5 year vow renewal and reception.  I'll keep you posted... :)  Thank you!

From the bottom of my heart,


More photos on Mandy's completely stunning wedding with experience essentials details coming tomorrow....stay tuned!


Joe & I Get Crowned

I have never posted personal photos on our blog, and this may be one of the only times you ever see them featured, but I want to share with you the joy that was Sunday, March 27, 2011.   I chose that day to officially convert to the Antiochian Orthodox faith.  We had been attending Liturgy at St. George Antiochian Church in Tremont for over a year, but I knew the time was right to make it official.  So, that morning I was Chrismated into the faith.  And after Liturgy was complete, Joe and I received one of the most beautiful blessings I have ever seen - an Orthodox Crowning.  The Crowning during a marriage ceremony is a very integral part of the service.  The couple is crowned before God with glory and honor, and the crowns themselves are symbolic of the new "kingdom" over which the couple will rule, as well as serving to remind the couple that marriage is about martyrdom and sacrifice for each other.  It truly is beautiful.

When we were married on July 1, 2005, we had a non-deominational service outside of the church, so our Crowning ceremony did not include the betrothal, but was more of a blessing upon our marriage and a recognition of it within the Orthodox church.  Our wedding photographer (and one of my favorites in market), the fabulous Steven Mastroianni, was kind enough to join us at the church to photograph the event.  Then we joined him at his studio afterward for some more fun shots!  Thank you Steven so very much - we love the images!  Here are some of our favorites.  Have a beautiful weekend everyone!


Sam & Rusty's "Spring" Engagement Shoot

You might remember earlier this week on FB, we shared an image from what should have been Sam & Rusty's spring time engagement session.  But, on the day of the shoot, what we hoped would be mild temperatures and clear skies, turned out to feel more like the heart of January!  Sam & Rusty went with it, as did their photographers, Dan & April O'Keefe of Z Media and the results were fantastic!  Here's one awesome shot we loved so much we just had to share it with you again.

In fact, there were so many gorgeous images from their afternoon in University Circle/Little Italy, we wanted to share a handful of our favorites with you!  Goes to show you that when you just go with it and have fun with whatever life throws at you, the end result is something truly beautiful.  Enjoy - happy Saturday everyone!

LOVE those shoes!

Sam is a HUGE Browns fan & Rusty a HUGE Bengals fan, so getting a shot in their respective jerseys was very important to Sam.  Cute fact: their married last name will be Brown.  Check out the back of Sam's jersey!