When my son Billy was pretty small, 5th grade in fact, he and I were sitting at rehearsals for his dance show, and he announced to me in a deep sigh, “I so want to be married”. My son, you see, was a romantic and liked having his ducks in a row. So, while working at Disney just after graduation from business school, he met his fiancé, Juanita, although while they worked there they didn’t date. Then Billy moved to California (sigh) to set out to conquer the world but they stayed in touch. A few months after living there, and many calls later, they started dating. At first it was long distance as she had now finished her college internship program with “The Mouse” and moved back to Reno and with Bill in Modesto, they were just a quick drive from one another over the Rockies. A few short months later, Billy announced he was engaged, and while we were happy for him, I knew that the picket fence was what Billy had long searched for. Plans were for a wedding 12 months later, but after months of planning a Nevada wedding, we got a call from Billy and Juanita because, quite honestly, my son couldn’t wait to get married. Like I said, this is something he has longed for since, oh, I don’t know, 5th grade. So, with less than 6 weeks’ notice, we found ourselves flying to Denver for their wedding in their new home town. We all will be celebrating as planned this summer with a reception on the original date, but even though it wasn’t as I would have planned, it was the most intimate, loving and special day for me, yep a mom in the wedding business for all of these years.
I know how Martha Stewart felt, when her daughter Alexa decided to basically run off and get married. My son Bill did not quite do that but we were surprised when my son and fiancé decided to move their wedding from August to March. But you know what? Even though there were just a dozen or so guests, they pulled it off and it was the most intimate, wonderful occasion where we, his brother, dad and I – along with Juanita’s mom and her close friends – pulled off quite a number of surprises. Lucky for us, this beautiful woman, my new daughter-in-law has the same heart of gold as my son.
And, as Walt Disney himself would say, it all started with a mouse. DETAILS OF WEDDING
Our Wedding of the Year Winner below (okay, I had to mention my son’s wedding first, right?) took place in my former home state of New Jersey. I was spellbound when I first saw Lisa’s daughter’s wedding photographs. There was this beautiful display of color although the wedding revolved around this gorgeous green setting at The Rockleigh in Rockleigh NJ and I couldn’t get over how beautiful everything fit in. Lisa and her daughter even had colors that went with the setting, for instance the lavender rug. I just loved everything, the cakes, the invitations, and oh my, the flowers. For all the images for the Wedding of the Year below, click DETAILS.
And of course, I can never choose just one favorite, so I found myself back “visiting” Spindletop Hall in Lexington, KY for our Wedding of the Year Winner Runner Up below. It’s really not fair to have a setting so beautiful! My husband and I used to love America’s Castles on A&E which sadly, no longer airs, however I would get up every Saturday to see each new installment. Then in 2015, we went to a family wedding in Lexington and I was in historic-loving heaven seeing Spindletop Hall. (Naturally, we chose that wedding as a feature for our Platinum Wedding of the Year and it was featured in Bridal Guide -thank you Diane Forden!). We loved all of the rooms from the hand carved fireplace and plaster-cast ceilings, so when I received a few photographs from the bride’s mother for this 2016 wedding, I immediately spotted Spindletop. I WANTED MORE!!!! Not to disappoint, we think this wedding is worthy of each and every drool. DETAILS
I know that this feature we do this year is meant to highlight the flower girl dresses that we did for these weddings but it is SO much more than that. Each one of these dresses were carefully designed with the input from the mom’s this year ~ including moi. For Spindletop, we were able to meet with the mother actually at our design studio, just a mile from Disney World. She brought her swatches with her and I am pretty sure that we never even discussed that the wedding would be held at this fine estate but Madelyn described their family farm which would be the setting for the rehearsal party and once I knew the time of the year, we both knew lots of gold should be included. I imagined the rolling hills of Lexington in the fall and could see a vision of the dress we were about to create.
For the Wedding of the Year, to say I agonized about the dress is a total understatement. As with most of our dresses, we carefully layer multiple layers of tulle in various colors to “paint” the perfect color. Lisa showed me images of her daughter’s Alvina Valenta’s gown and we were able to come up with the perfect complement to the gown by layering 5 different colors of tulle as well as a special lame’ tulle I happened to find but had wanted to use somewhere. Her flower girl was the daughter of family friends in Italy and though the little girl spoke not a word of English, her eyes lit up the moment she saw the dress we had created for her.
Finally, for my son’s wedding, I had in mind to create something really spectacular because as far as I was concerned, they were going to have to have 10 little girls walking down the aisle, right? I still plan to create these special dresses, now for my second child’s wedding for sure (it’s a secret) once that… oh, never mind – gotta finish college first, that one. But, because plans changed so quickly for my impish son, and since there wasn’t time to create an exclusive flower girl dress for the wedding, I chose at the last minute (really we had a day to make a dress for their wedding) a design from our Fairy Tale Collection called The Opal Fairy which was my take on Frozen because, after all, this was a Disney Wedding as far as I was concerned. I am pretty sure we threw poor Juanita for a loop because I had only known her favorite color was Tiffany Blue so I thought “Frozen” would be perfect. I didn’t think that she had gotten any colors for her bridesmaids because her original colors of wine and blue for her wedding likely was thrown out the window. However, the night before the wedding, her two friends from Orlando put their heads together in her closet and I was impressed by how quickly they had pulled together what would be a spectacular balance the following day of color. It was pretty funny however that a mere 4 hours from the wedding these two ran me into a few different stores where we got new shirts for my husband and his best-man brother and ties to coordinate because our original ideas just wouldn’t work. Well anyhow, it was fun and theirs was a wedding I will long smile about. It was perfect. NOW I have to get Billy and Juanita to start producing those 10 darling daughters for the next wedding.