Says Stephanie, “We chose to have the wedding in Wilmington because Ryan is a UNCW graduate. We liked the idea of having the wedding in a city with both a cute downtown area and ready access to the ocean. We landed on a classic style with crisp, nautically inspired colors. This look was complemented by our venue’s bright stained glass windows and deck overlooking the Cape Fear River.
I had envisioned myself picking an all over lace dress with short sleeves. When the store associate showed me a strapless fit-and-flare dress with a sweetheart neckline, I did not think it would suit me. I went ahead and tried it on, and I’m so glad I did! I remember saying, “Mom? I think I actually really like this one…” Standing in front of the mirror wearing my dress and one of the store’s veils, I had that moment of feeling “like a bride” for the first time and felt my eyes fill with tears. I started to cry outright (with happiness) when I realized the dress actually fit within my budget!The weather on our wedding day was not initially perfect. It was quite humid, and thunder and rain interrupted our first look and photo session. Equipped with golf umbrellas, our wedding party members were good sports and were able to take shelter in our trolley while we finished family pictures under a covered porch. The trolley then drove us across town to our venue, where we went upstairs to get our first view of the decorated deck. We were absolutely awestruck by the beautifully draped tent and gorgeous flowers and lovely little ginger jars our planner had used to complement our color scheme. As soon as our entire wedding party was under the tent, rain began pouring. But thanks to some special wedding magic, the sun came out at the same time! We loved the feeling of being surrounded by our wedding “team” of family and best friends against this exhilarating backdrop. (Unfortunately, we did not see a rainbow.) We will never forget our excitement and adrenaline as we got psyched up to walk down the aisle and see all of our guests and hear the bagpiper. Thankfully, the weather cleared up during our (indoor) ceremony and the rain stopped just in time for cocktail hour.
Stephanie & Ryan’s Love Story | Like many Washington, DC couples, we met when our career paths crossed in the lead-up to the 2012 election. We were both working at the same communications firm and realized we shared a love of Seinfeld, a deep dedication to family, and a determination to keep each other laughing all the time. We spent many hours cooking and watching sports and walking around the city together. More than four years of (sometimes lame) jokes later, we are still finding new ways to make each other smile.
We spent a lot of time on our playlist, making sure that we chose a mix of unique, fun, and familiar songs. Favorites included some songs from our college years that everyone had loved in the late 2000s but hadn’t heard in a while. At the end of the night, we also incorporated a special nod to Ryan’s favorite football team. Ryan is a huge Pittsburgh Steelers fan and his mother and sister had custom yellow ‘Kelley towels’ made as a surprise favor for all of our guests. The DJ played Renegade by Styx (a favorite Steeler anthem) while everyone danced and twirled their towels. The best part was Ryan’s expression of shock and complete joy when he saw the towels.
Stephanie’s advice? Remember to enjoy the excitement of planning your wedding. You only get to do it once! Spend hours on Pinterest finding just the right color palette and the perfect hair style. Leaf through bridal magazines and collect inspiration. (Lemons as centerpieces? Why not!) Think about opportunities for creativity. Learn from friends’ experiences. Focus on what you want your guests to remember most about your wedding. Consider writing your own vows. Try to not stress and try not to let little annoyances lead to disagreements. Have fun creating your registry together. The year before your wedding will be a wonderful whirlwind, and being a bride-to-be is very special. Revel in it!
Stephanie and Ryan honeymooned in Oahu, Hawaii.
Credits: Photographer: Sara Logan Photography | Planner: Kelley Event + Design | Floral Design: Fiore Fine Flowers | Venue: 128 South | Catering: 128 South | Minister: Seagull Ministries, Rev. Lynne Glaros | Furniture Rentals: Pomp Event Furnishings | Event Rentals: Party Suppliers | Wedding Cake: Imaginary Cakes | DJ: Brian Hood | Lighting: High Performance Lighting | Hair & Makeup: Groove Jet Salon | Bagpiper: Jerry Hudson