All Green Everything

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A quick Google search sealed the deal. 2013 was the year of the green.

This past year there were many catchy headlines to remind us that green was indeed the color of 2013. To be precise, the color of the year was Emerald. Pantone, the authority on this, made it perfectly clear last December.

By the time this news was delivered to the masses I already had my gown designer, Kathryn Conover, on a search for the perfect shade of green french lace and silk taffeta for my wedding gown. I didn’t make her job an easy one, and she was often reminded as she searched for the fabric that while it was hard to find at the time, it would soon be available everywhere. So yea, I’m excited that my dream color for my wedding gown turned out to be the color of the year. That’s cool and I’m inclined to give myself much more credit than I deserve. However, had green been voted the worst color of 2013, the absolute ‘don’t you dare wear it’ color of 2013, I still would have walked down in the aisle in my perfect green gown. Ladies, be who you are. This is not a straight or gay thing. I’m just certain that life is too short to do what everybody else says you should do.

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My parents still leave newspaper clippings on my bed in their house. Each time I arrive for a visit there are relevant articles in a pile on my comforter. Last year, any time they came across breaking news about the color of the year they left me the pages. Cuties.

Looks like the color of 2014 is Radiant Orchid … Hmm.

The real point of this post is that I’d like to know – Any of you ladies have a wedding dream that everyone raises their eyebrows at? 

Carnival Cut-outs

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Carnival cut-out by the talented Kate Taney

Don’t know what a carnival cut-out is? Yes you do, just like I did, but I never really knew the name for them.

I googled and googled until I discovered that the classic name for that lifesize thing that ya stick your head through is called a carnival cut-out!

Have talented friends? Me too. My beloved pal Kate started asking us a lot of questions leading up to our wedding. She wanted to know about Sam’s secret dress and the wedding cake, she wanted ceremony location details. Sam and I were alarmed. Then Kate showed up to the wedding toting this carnival cut-out, which was not only a huge hit at the reception, but was so imaginative, beautifully done and thoughtful. If you can’t tell there’s a Milk Bar cake, which our pups Luda and Winston are peeking out from behind. There’s a rainbow flag, of course, and our dresses are pretty spot-on. I was completely blown away. Some of our guests who dared instagram themselves as the two brides are now shown here for your enjoyment …

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Wedding Whites – Nightfall

After the gorgeous toasts and the sinful meal (Are brides supposed to gorge like that the night before their wedding?) we had one more trick up our sleeves for our Friday night rehearsal guests – Movie Night!


We bought two carts full of blankets from Ikea. We forgot that they don’t have bags, so the blankets were spilling all over our car. My mom helped us wrap each blanket in twine.

Friday evening was planned to every last detail by both me and Sam. I really pushed for those mountaintop toasts, but I have to give Sam credit for the movie. This was her idea. We wanted something fun and lowkey, because after all, Saturday was going to be a big day. After dinner and s’mores we led our guests down to the great lawn where we had a giant blow-up movie screen set up on the edge of the lake. Meg from That Time Events set out the blankets (An Ikea purchase as a gift to our guests) and lanterns to make everything super cozy, while Lisa and Stephanie from Cedar Lakes Estate made sure there was wine and popcorn for all.

We kicked off the festivities by releasing giant paper lanterns into the night sky as a slideshow of photographs lit up the screen in the background. We nearly set a tree ablaze, but otherwise the lanterns went up without a hitch. Then it was movie time. Sam and I had settled on cult favorite Wet Hot American Summer. We weren’t surprised that most of our aunts and uncles had never heard of it, but we were shocked to find that some of our cousins just a few years younger than us had never seen this gem. We curled up and enjoyed movie night until Sam and I were ready to sneak off to bed.

My dad still maintains that Friday night was his favorite part of the weekend. It was a warm, no-frills evening for everyone to enjoy being together and for us to spoil our guests (and ourselves) a little.

Of course, Heather Waraksa was there to capture the magic.

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Wedding Whites – The BBQ

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Naturally once we had everyone wearing white and drinking booze it was time for a BBQ.

The group headed down to the open air Dining Pavilion where a fire roared in the stone pit and where Meg, from That Time Events had arranged mismatched vintage plates among wildflowers and lemon-filled vases full of yellows and creams. We offered our guests custom designed paper bibs by Sand Scripts to keep themselves safe from splatters of sauce.

Lisa from Cedar Lakes Estate cooked up a BBQ that guests are still raving about. I, of course, required pulled pork on the menu, but the fried chicken was also unbelievable, not to mention I ate about two plates of mac & cheese and made a mess of myself with the corn on the cob. I ate so much dinner, in fact, that I was too full to dive into the s’mores bar that was situated around the fire. That’s okay though, I watched everyone else enjoy the homemade marshmallows, which included flavors like vanilla, toasted coconut and pumpkin. The fire crackled and the whole place smelled like summer camp. We played an ipod playlist of folk and bluegrass tunes.

We also used Friday night as an opportunity to showcase some of our favorite wines. The bar for the evening included a Firefly cocktail, beer, and some of our favorites  from vineyards we’ve visited, including Rusack Vineyard Chardonnay, Archery Summit Pinot Noir, Erath Pinot Noir, and a Lieb Vineyards white blend.

Everyone was full of food and wine by the time darkness had fallen and it was time for a surprise …

Wedding Whites – Mountaintop Toasts

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With the right plans and the right people, the night before a wedding can be much more than a mere rehearsal dinner. Inspired by festive rehearsal dinners that I’ve had the good fortune to be a part of, most recently my dear friend Leanne’s, I wanted the night before our wedding to be a celebratory kickoff for a weekend of fun. Joined by those friends and family who were a special part of our wedding ceremony or planning process, we had pretty big plans for Friday night, the first part of which was entirely out of our control; That plan was sunshine and a warm, clear evening.

We decided to make this a white party, of sorts. Because we were not having a traditional wedding party nor were either of us wearing white for the wedding, we thought it would be fun to have everyone in similar dress for Friday night. This way we could get wonderful photos that had a true wedding look about them. Our Friday night invitations read: This is your turn to wear wedding whites! Please wear your favorite white, ivory, or neutral outfits.

The evening began down by “the deck” where we had a quick wedding rehearsal. Then me, Sam, our parents and siblings as well as our ceremony escorts and readers all headed up to the mountaintop for toasts. Cedar Lakes Estate has two locations where couples typically get married; the deck, which we found more intimate and where we had to get married, and the mountaintop, with plenty of space and stunning views. I knew we needed to find a way to include the mountaintop in our wedding, and pre-dinner toasts were the perfect opportunity. When we arrived up there our gorgeous guests, all decked in white, ivory, cream, pink  … and on and on … were mingling and sipping, bubbly in every hand. Our marvelous designer Meg, of That Time Events had arranged all of the chairs in a large circle. After a few minutes Sam and I began the festivities by welcoming our guests and thanking them all for being a part of our wedding weekend. Then we opened up the floor.

Among the speakers were my mother Irene, Sam’s Godmother Shelley (who released two silver star mylar balloons into the sky as a throwback to the day Sam was born, when she arrived at the hospital with a star balloon that read, “A Star is Born”) and many of our friends both old and new. There was laughter and tears, declarations of love and reminders of embarrassing moments past. The toasts were a perfect kickoff to a big, love-filled weekend.

After the toasts it was time for a BBQ …

Kegs & Kickball

A wedding day is often an emotion-fueled enterprise idling around one word: Preparation.

Hair. Make-up. Last minute details. So you have all of these special people in your life in this one place to celebrate with you, but you can’t spend any time with them because you’re busy getting ready all day. I rejected that.

As I’ve already mentioned, Sam and I were adamant about enjoying our wedding day – the entire thing! We had family and friends gathered in one place, so we thought it would be fun to get everyone involved in some friendly competition and go Goettlich v. Semon one final time before we became The Abbys.

Unfortunately it turns out that we have some seriously competitive friends … and a few on either side who like to bend the rules. We discovered some new heroes among us and most importantly, we had a ton of fun. View this slideshow to check out some fun kickball pics. It hurts to admit that in the end Team Goettlich won, but Team Semon put up a good fight … even if most of our team spent more time at the keg than in the field.

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A Useful Guest Book

Some couples have a guest book, but when I read about a wedding where the bride and groom had a signed adirondack chair, I knew we had to have one.  I’m not sure where I found this idea, but considering the amount of time I spent on wedding blogs in the past year, I’m not surprised that it’s slipping my mind. Nevertheless, I thought it was adorable. Who cares that we don’t yet have a yard or anywhere to actually sit together in our adirondack chair …

We had a lot of space to work with, so we had a double adirondack chair shipped to our wedding venue and we left it out over the whole weekend so that our guests could leave their remarks. Our designer Meg is going to finish (maybe the word is “seal?” I’m clueless) the chair and someday when we have a house and a yard, we will read our guests notes and laugh at how drunk they were when they signed our chair. Maybe while drinking in the chair. Yeah!


It is also worth noting that I have no idea where the chair is … and that while I have not yet read the notes that were left, one of our gorgeous guests did reveal her witty inscription at Sunday’s brunch: You sit well together. Applause.

Q&A with Samantha

Though I could go on and on about my wedding gown, let’s hear how Sam’s look came together:

A few questions for my beautiful bride.

Did you ever have a vision for your wedding gown?

Yes. I wanted something that was messy, something a little different, with a haphazard elegance, something that wasn’t the traditional white wedding gown.

Did you always know you wanted to wear a pale nude or blush color?

Yes, I didn’t know which exactly, but I knew my dress wouldn’t be white.

What did you think about me wearing a green dress and did this influence your own choice of wedding gown?

Although I never planned to wear white, when you told me about the green dress at first I was a little like, “uh oh, what if I don’t like her dress, will I be able to pretend?” Then I realized that whatever you wanted I would be happy with … then I tried on a pink and black dress at Vera Wang that I loved, but I knew it wouldn’t look good with you in a green dress …


Our first look


But then you got over it?

Yes, I found a dress I liked even more.

And because you’re crazy in love with me?

Yes, I worship the ground you walk on*

Why did you want to go to Vera Wang?

I’m not one of those girls that has the patience for  a Kleinfelds where it’s dress after dress after dress. I knew Vera Wang was the designer that had the type of dress I wanted, so I didn’t waste time anywhere else.

(I actually took Sam’s Kleinfelds appointment and brought my friend Kate with me. We had a great time)

How many dresses did you seriously consider?


How did you know this dress was the one?

Part of me wanted the black and blush one because it was so different, and I knew my mom would have loved it …  the blush color really got me. Then my aunt went to the bathroom and snooped around a bit, and she found my dress in the back. I agreed to try it on based on the color, but when I put it on we knew, this dress was perfect.

How was your experience with Vera Wang?

Amazing. They were on top of everything and it was a positive experience. The only time it sucked was when I went back for my second appointment, to try on her spring collection. I was sick, it was winter, and I had to wait almost an hour for my appointment. It was frustrating but then I found my dress that day.

 Tell  us about your headpiece.


Sam and her dad before the ceremony.

My headpiece was my mom’s from her 1981 wedding. It is a satin piece with Swarovski crystals hanging down. My whole life I knew I would wear it. When I was young and my mom would show me her dress we always talked about how I would wear it someday when I got married … I was worried because the headpiece was white and I didn’t think it would work with my dress. Then Talia, a stylist at Vera Wang, told me about a millinery in the east village. She said that the owner, Vashti de Verteuil  could dye it to match exactly. I was so excited and so nervous.

What was the name of the millinery?

Gallery Vercon. She was amazing.

What kind of jewelry did you wear and how did you decide on it?

I wanted my mom to be as much a part of the wedding as possible, so I wore a pair of her double diamond drop earrings. I also wanted the dress to speak for itself, so I didn’t wear a necklace. I wore three hammered rose gold bangles by Gorjana and the rose gold infinity bracelet that you gave me. On my right hand I wore my mom’s sapphire and diamond ring that I had reset a couple of years ago.

What did you think of the end result?

I looked like a fairy princess. I looked gorgeous!  I’m not somebody who necessarily has high expectations of the way I look, so even though I had a perfect picture in my mind, I lowered my expectations a little bit, but then every part from dress to headpiece to make up to hair was incredible. Once the headpiece was on the look was complete. This was my vision from day one. I was stunned.

*This response is a lie I made up. Because it’s my blog.

My Green Dream – Part 2

So I had the dress. Now I needed to figure out my jewelry. No easy task. I was still unsure about earrings but I knew I needed a necklace. Originally I thought I might wear pearls and add a little classic elegance to an otherwise modern take on a wedding gown, but then I came across this Swarovski showstopper during a daily peruse on, the Swarovski Reload Multi-Shape Tiered Necklace. photo-152

Against the pearls I already owned, this was going to be a splurge. Not only that, but the necklace was final sale. I sought the opinion of others before trusting my instincts and making the purchase. I crossed my fingers that this would work with my dress. When it arrived I tried it on again and again, then brought it with me to that first dress-fitting. I actually gasped when I looked in the mirror. This dress and this necklace are soulmates. Seriously, they should be on their honeymoon right now. How was all of this working out so well? Nothing ever goes quite that smoothly in my life. I was getting my bridal lace and then my party necklace. Two looks. One night. I promised myself right then that I would keep that dress on for no fewer than eight hours the day of my wedding. I actually wore it for over twelve hours. The after-party ended and I was still in it. My bride cannot say the same …


Their first time together. Yup, I’m pretty impressed with myself. A matchmaker really.

I kept on my usual silver bangles that I wear every day, along with a  silver bracelet that belongs to my sister (something borrowed). On my other wrist I wore a delicate silver bracelet with the infinity symbol, which matched the rose gold bracelet that I gifted to Sam on our wedding day. I never bought earrings, which is a good thing, because Sam’s gift to me included this sparkly pair. 


I completed my outfit with something old, a family heirloom shield ring that was once a pin that belonged to my great-grandfather.


I felt like me. But significantly more glamorous. My goal was never to be the classic bride or even to look like someone else. I mean, my nails were my favorite dark shade of purple, and I was wearing comfortable flat sandals and a green gown. My goal was to look like the best possible version of myself on my wedding day. I think I achieved it. (Well, my hair & make-up girls achieved it, but more about them later)


Casually resting on a tree stump, smiling at the thought of my bride. Obviously.

Anyone hosting a gala or ball? Please invite me. I’ll wear this gown again. And again.


So if I wear this to your gala I should bring a bouquet, yes?

My Green Dream – Part 1

I don’t know when it is that I decided  a green gown is my idea of real beauty, but it’s stuck with me over many years. In high school when I searched for a green prom dress I couldn’t find the color anywhere. Green was certainly not popular in 2003, and I was looking for a very specific shade. I quickly gave up my search and my mom’s talented friend Donna made me a dress. I loved wearing it.

When it came to my wedding I’d never dreamed of anything specific, but I knew I would wear a green gown. Just like with prom, I realized that I would have to have this one made to fit my specifications. The reason I tried on so many dresses (many of which were displayed on this blog) was to decide what style I liked best, and besides, trying on wedding gowns is fun! I got to put on some incredible dresses by some serious designers, and being in all of those different styles helped me discover which was right for me. Originally I wanted a lace sheath, but when I tried on all-lace gowns I found the fit didn’t flatter my figure. Then I tried on the Mia during a trip to Nicole Miller and I realized that I’d been completely wrong about what I was looking for. This was what I was looking for. I never thought I would wear a gown like this, but suddenly I knew this romantic yet modern style was perfect for me. Not only that, but I knew that my fabric should be a silk taffeta, something I could feel beautiful but comfortable wearing.


In early spring I went to Kathryn’s studio to see my muslin. Here she has draped me in my green silk and gotten me all excited.

When I approached Kathryn Conover to work on my gown, she listened to what I had to say and embarked on making my dream a reality, creating a one-of-a-kind gown with the elements I’d loved from dresses I’d tried on, along with  unique elements that made this green dream all mine. I loved the twist knot sweetheart neckline from the Mia, but I wasn’t ready to give up on my lace. Images of Monique Lhuillier’s keyhole  back lace gowns sashayed around in my mind and I thought, “Maybe this IS possible.” I asked Kathryn to make me some sort of lace shrug or bolero that would suggest the image of a keyhole, let me have my lace, and act as a sort of “veil.” Because I didn’t plan on wearing a veil, I thought the lace would be my bridal element that I could remove for the reception. Kathryn e-mailed me a photo as soon as she found the perfect shade of green french lace, which was no easy task. Though emerald green would eventually be hailed color of the year by the fashion world, green lace and green silk were not in abundance early in the year, when Kathryn was preparing to create my gown.


Making some adjustments to the beautiful french lace bolero

From the beginning Kathryn trusted my vision and I trusted her expertise. She knew how to cut the dress to flatter my figure, how to make the ruching perfect and how full the skirt should be. If I had a concern she listened to it, and she made creating this dress a truly enjoyable process. My parents were both with me the first time I put on the completed gown and I think while I was rejoicing they were sighing with relief. Though they were supportive of my decision to wear green, I imagine they wondered just what kind of daughter they’d raised that dreamed up a green wedding gown. They saw the way my face lit up when I put the dress on and they loved what Kathryn had created for me.


Checking myself out in the mirror while my parents look on. My first time in the gown.

With the perfect gown, I  now needed the perfect accessories …