Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


Happy Thursday, everyone! This blog post has been a long time coming, and I am so incredibly excited to finally share with you all of the details that helped to make our winter wedding day so special. Our photographer and videographer did an incredible job of capturing all of the emotional and heartfelt moments that epitomized the feeling of our special day. We had a thousand beautiful photos to choose from, and I did my best to limit them in order to show you the most important moments; however, there are still quite a few photos!


Inspiration

For our wedding, I knew that I wanted it to be elegant and romantic. Jay was kind enough to encourage me to be in charge of the design as long as he was able to pick the band - haha! That being said, he graciously offered his opinion when I needed it, and we made a great team planning for our special day together. 

For the winter season, I envisioned lush greenery with white flowers to give the illusion of snow. I also incorporated touches of blush with the flowers, bridesmaid dresses and linens in order to include my favorite color with the decor. I knew I would regret it if I didn't incorporate a little bit of pink into our special day. ;)

I also added silver and crystal elements to create a little sparkle and elegance in the room, which also enhanced the wintery snow theme. We incorporated the crystal in the greenery structure hanging from the ceiling, as well as the candle holders and candelabras on the tables during the reception. With that in mind, I envisioned the room and tables filled with an abundance of candles. During the ceremony, we had candles and rose petals accenting the aisle runner, as well as a variety of candles at the alter and along the mantle. During the reception the room was also filled with candles, which provided a dim glow that enhanced the romantic atmosphere.

Continuing with the winter theme, I wore my grandmother's mink stole from the 50's, and provided white faux fur stoles for my bridesmaids. Jay and I also had white, faux fur chivari chair covers on our chairs at our sweetheart table. If you are interested, you can find links to everything I purchased at the end of this post.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



The Dress

My wedding dress is a design from Eve Of Milady, but with a couple of custom touches. The dress was originally strapless, but I added off-shoulder straps to the dress. I had the material measured so that the straps could be worn off-shoulder for the ceremony, but also as straps on my shoulders which allowed me to easily move around on the dance floor! The bodice was originally sheer, so I had a couple layers of sheer, ivory fabric to make the dress more timeless. The bodice was still slightly sheer to really enhance the lace and floral appliqués. 

It is difficult to see in the photos, but what initially drew me to this dress was the sparkle. The entire dress sparkled! My dress contained layers adorned with sequins, as well as various crystals, beading and pearls, which truly made this dress intricately unique. The first time I tried my dress on, I stared at it in the mirror for over an hour. As cliché as it sounds, I truly felt beautiful and like a princess, which is how I knew it was the dress!



Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


The Robe

One of the most special things for me on our wedding day was the robe I wore while getting ready. For someone who isn't aware it probably just looks like any robe you can find online; however, the robe was my mother's wedding dress. My mom went to a seamstress and had her wedding gown transformed into a robe for me to wear on my wedding day. Needless to say, there were tears falling when I opened this gift.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Getting Ready

My bridesmaids and I all got our hair and makeup done together, and my matron of honor, Emily, did my makeup. I am not saying this simply because she is my best friend, but she is THE MOST TALENTED makeup artist! I can honestly testify to this because I was covered in a rash all over my face and body on our wedding day (more on that another time), and she completely covered it and gave me that wedding glow!




Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Jay, the groomsmen and our fathers got ready in a beach house on Wrightsville Beach, and clearly had a great time hanging out together. One of the guys even brought out his guitar and harmonica!


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Jay and I wrote personal letters to each other to read before the ceremony. It was our way of stating our personal vows to each other without the worries of not being able to get our words our during the ceremony. I still cried while stating the vows during our ceremony, but thankfully they were shorter than our letters - haha! My brother delivered the letters to each of us along with the gifts we got each other. Jay gave me a beautiful diamond pendant necklace, and I gave him a watch with a personal engraving on the clasp.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Trying not to cry, and failing miserably, while reading Jay's letter.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding

Shoes are from Bella Belle

I fell in love with these shoes when I saw them. The crystals and beading adorning the shoes looked lovely with my dress, and reminded me of a modern day Cinderella slipper.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


First Look

Jay and I decided not do a first look with each other, although we completely understand why others would want to! For us personally, we wanted to see each other for the first time during my walk down the aisle. It was truly a beautiful, personal and emotional moment that we were able to share with all of our loved ones.

However, I did do a first look with both my dad and brother! My dad is without a doubt the first man I ever loved, and I am also blessed to have a brother as my best friend. I knew I wanted to have this special moment with both of them, and I am so glad I did! With all of the wedding activities going on you don't have much quality time with those around you. This first look allowed me to have a private moment with my two favorite men (other than Jay, of course - hehe)!


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


The Veil


My veil is also from Eve of Milady, and has the same crystals, beading and pearls adorning it, which complemented my dress perfectly. I love how long and eye-catching this veil is. The train of my dress is not extremely long, so the veil really added the dramatic length. I think that veils are so beautiful and romantic. There is only one day in your life that you have the chance to wear one, so I knew I wasn't going to miss out on that opportunity!


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



The Ceremony

I already discussed the design for our ceremony, so I am going to jump into some of the fun details! We hired a trio to play all of the music for our ceremony (as well as the cocktail hour), and they did a beautiful job! 

My bridesmaid, Charley, sang "La Vie En Rose" during our wedding ceremony, and let me tell you, I don't think there was a single person in the room without goosebumps crawling up their arms. Her voice and passion is something to behold, and I am so blessed to have her as one of my best friends. My mom presented us with a sweet, heartfelt message during the ceremony, and read beautiful scripture from the Bible about love. My mom is so full of love and care, and there could not have been a better person to recite such a lovely message during our ceremony.

We also had a live wedding painter paint our ceremony during the ceremony! Our friends had a live painter at their wedding, which we thought was so incredibly beautiful and unique! We immediately started researching live wedding painters to find a style of art that matched our own. I am so thankful we did this because it is the perfect way to bring a piece of your wedding day back with you. Our painter did an incredible job, and our painting is currently hanging over our fireplace mantle.

As you will see in some of the photos below, our venue had sheer curtains (which the owners appropriately named "the veil") that my father and I stood behind before walking down the aisle. Jay, and everyone else in the room, could see our silhouettes before the curtains were drawn back to begin our walk. I have never heard of another venue doing this, and I think it is such a beautiful touch.

Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


Cocktail Hour


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


I wore snowflake earrings to go along with the winter theme. I have always, and will always, love snow!


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding

My sweet aunt gave me the most special gift at our rehearsal brunch that I will always cherish. All of my grandparents have moved on to heaven, so she gave me this beautiful bouquet attachment with framed pictures of my grandparents on their wedding days. Having this, along with my grandmother's stole and wedding band, allowed me to include them on the most special day of my life. It felt like they were there celebrating with us.


The Reception

There are simply not enough words to describe how wonderful our reception was. Design Perfection went above and beyond with the decor and florals. The atmosphere was classy, beautiful and romantic, and the room looked and felt like a fairytale.

Our cake was adorned with sparkling snowflakes and placed on a cake swing decorated with greenery, which later turned into an actual swing once the band began singing Miley Cyrus's "Wrecking Ball" (I will never stop laughing). However, that is frowned upon so do try to refrain from swinging at your own wedding. ;) As for the cake itself, each layer alternated between traditional wedding cake and pumpkin spice cake!

To cut the cake, we used my parents' engraved cake servers that they used on their wedding day. It was a special way to include a piece of their wedding with ours.

Jay and I had a choreographed first dance to Aladdin's, "A Whole New World". Within the first few months of our relationship, Jay and I went to New York together, and knowing of my love for all things Disney, he surprised me by taking me to Aladdin on Broadway. Ever since that night "A Whole New World" became our song, and strangely enough began to apply to our relationship!

My dad and I danced to "Butterfly Kisses," which is a classic wedding song, but it has actually always been our song since I was a little girl. Whenever he would tuck me in for bed at night we would give each other butterfly kisses by fluttering our eyelashes against each other, and when the two of us rode in the car together he would play the song. Dancing with my dad to this song will always be one of my favorite and most cherished memories. 

On that note, our parents gave the most heartfelt and loving speeches that inevitably left me speechless. I am blessed with the most amazing parents and in-laws, and I will always cherish everything they said to us. I am so thankful that we invested in a videographer so that we can look back and relive those special moments.



Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Our sweetheart table was adorned with greenery, candles and my bouquet, and was placed in front of the fireplace, under the lush florals and cross on the mantle.

Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding

And then the party began!


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding


These women are clearly ready to have a diamond on their finger.


Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



Jay and I had a classic sparkler exit and rode away in a vintage Rolls Royce with champagne in our hands and Frank Sinatra music playing. It was a perfectly romantic way to end the night, breathe and recap the day together. As funny as it may seem, it was one of my favorite moments from the day.



Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding
Rachel and Jay Ward Winter Wedding



I can honestly say that our wedding day was the most joyous and emotional day of my life. Regardless of how much planning and stress is involved in preparing for the special day, when it comes down to it, the details do not even matter. What matters is the man standing at the end of the aisle looking back at you like you always knew he would.



Vendors


Bride's Makeup - Emily Siganowich
Bride's Dress - Eve of Milady (with custom additions from Anjolique Bridal and Formal)
Bride's Shoes - Bella Belle
Bridesmaid Dresses - Alfred Sung
Photography - Madison Hope Photography
Videography - Paperboys
Florals & Decor - Design Perfection
Bride's Hair & Bridesmaids' Hair & Makeup - Harbour Club Day Spa
Wedding Planning - We Tie the Knots - Charlotte
Officiant & Premarital Counceling - David Holt
Live Wedding Painter - Paint My Wedding Day
Band - Night Years
Linens - Party Suppliers
Catering - A Thyme Savor
Wedding Cake - One Belle Bakery
First Dance Lessons - First Dance Charlotte
Invitations & Stationary - ElisaBellaInvitation
Getaway Car - Azalea Limousine Service



Items Purchased


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