B E T H A N Y + J A D A N
Bethany and Jadan's fairytale wedding was held at an iconic mansion in New England. The breathtaking affair included glass slippers, horse-drawn carriage and even a live painter to document the day.
F R O M T H E B R I D E
We first met...
We met in undergrad at Liberty University during the Fall of 2008. Our friendship developed as we both held leadership roles in student government. He asked me out on our first date the evening that I was sworn in as the first female student body president of our university.
We began dating on September 15, 2010, we got engaged on September 5, 2015, and we got married on September 4, 2016.
We knew it was love...
For Bethany it was early on in the relationship; for Jadan it was when he realized he couldn’t imagine life without Bethany.
We took a trip throughout New England in August of 2011. It was while visiting St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Kennebunkport, ME, that we both knew that we wanted to get married and in New England.
Jadan proposed on September 5, 2015 in front of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey.
Jadan had planned what I thought was a trip to The Hamptons and Bermuda. We travelled from DC to NYC and we’re having breakfast in NYC when he presented me with our itinerary. It was completely different!
It had images of St. Basil's, the Hagia Sophia, a hot air balloon in Cappadocia, the Parthenon, a sail boat in Santorini and the Brandenburg Gate. It was a total surprise! We jetted off to JFK and began our adventure.
After a day in Moscow, we go to Istanbul where we explored the Hagia Sophia and the Grand Bazaar. That evening we were heading to the dinner boat cruise, when we passed by the Hagia Sophia again. It is a landmark that we have both wanted to visit in our almost 5 years of dating at the time.
All of the sudden he was on one knee, there were over 200 people around us, and he was opening this giant box. It was an authentic Russian Faberge egg, just like how the Czars used to propose! It spun and played music, while the ring spun in it. It was breathtaking!
I then found out that there was a photographer and he followed us around afterwards to take some photos.
We had a toast with wine - because there wasn't any champagne - and the owner of the restaurant gave me a beautiful necklace. We then preceded to go on our dinner cruise. I grew up in Europe and hadn’t been back in 8 years. It was a magical surprise and we got to end the trip by having dinner with my brother in Berlin!
T H E W E D D I N G
Our dream wedding...
We wanted to incorporate New England elements with the clambake, whoopie pies and historic mansion, balanced with a vintage Art Deco style fairy tale wedding. The custom designed invitations, program, menu pamphlet and name seating cards incorporated our colours - blush, purple, green - and reflected our Art Deco style.
Our wedding was a true magical Cinderella story: from my gown to my shoes, the live painter to the horse and carriage, the lawn games to the rose garden, and from a string quartet to our first dance - a Viennese Waltz to Tchaikovsky's “Once Upon a Dream.”
Bethany celebrated her bachelorette with bridesmaids in South Beach in Miami, FL. We had a wonderful time enjoying the beach, our hotel pool, and many Cuban coffees. Jadan celebrated his bachelor party in Key West, FL where he and his groomsmen went snorkelling around Dry Tortugas National Park.
Bethany had two wonderful bridal showers - one with family in Colorado Springs, CO and one with bridesmaids and friends in Washington, DC.
We also hosted a champagne rooftop reception in Washington, DC for friends and colleagues, many of whom were unfortunately unable to attend our actual wedding. We had a great time celebrating with all of them!
The bridal party...
We had eight bridesmaids and eight groomsmen.
My maid of honour is my best friend, whom I met in college. I also had my sister, Jadan’s sister, one of my cousin’s, my best friend from high school from Cascais (Portugal), a friend from Washington, DC and two other friends from college, including one who travelled from Barcelona.
Jadan’s best man was his best friend, who he also met in college. He also had my two brothers, two of his cousins, a friend from DC/NYC and two other friends from college.
The bridesmaids wore...
My bridesmaids wore cocktail dresses from designer Eliza J through Nordstrom. It was a print dress with purple, blush pink and silver flowers. Each bridesmaid wore her own silver shoes, and I gifted each of them with a silver clutch, matching chandelier earrings and lip gloss to use on the day.
The groomsmen wore...
The groom wore...
The groom wore a bespoke grey linen tuxedo suit through Studio Suits and a matching blush linen bowtie. Jadan had vintage copper cufflinks in the shape of a maple leaf, to represent our trips and love for Montreal, Canada. He also wore green Power Ranger socks and his favourite cologne - Kenneth Cole Reaction. Kristina, the groom’s sister, made Jadan a boutonniere of lavender and sage from her urban community garden in Philadelphia.
From the beginning, I knew that I wanted a blush toned dress, and extensively researched the various designers that offered them. The sweetheart neckline, blush tulle skirt, organza print overlay and train, and overall feel of the dress were a dream come true.
Jadan found beautiful Cinderella style heels with a large acrylic glass flower that added to the overall fairytale dream. I wore a crystal diadem headpiece, my maternal grandmother’s earrings, borrowed my great great grandmother’s antique silver mesh clutch from the 1890s, and wore a garter with blue embroidery.
From head to toe, I felt like Cinderella!
I wanted a bouquet that would complement my blush gown, as well as the rose garden. Originally I intended to have peonies, but they were not in season. So I ended up with blush garden roses, ranunculus, lavender stock flowers and a cream hydrangea to match the bridesmaids’ bouquets. The bouquet beautifully encompassed our colours - blush, purple, and hints of green, - and complemented the scenery. The bridesmaids had cream hydrangea bouquets with blush ribbon to balance out the bright print of their dresses.
Our ceremony was held in the Walled Rose Garden at Waveny House in New Canaan, CT. We hosted our cocktail reception on the outdoor terrace while lawn games took place on the great lawn. It was followed by a dinner reception inside the mansion.
The Waveny House is a Tudor Mansion that was built in 1912 for the Lewis Lapham family and was purchased by the Town of New Canaan in 1967. The house was used for exterior shots for the fictional 'Cortlandt Manor' on the soap opera All My Children for many years; exteriors of the estate were also featured in the 2004 remake film The Stepford Wives. It was also used as the Wayne Manor in the original Batman TV series.
Our reception colours were predominantly blush pink and green. The mansion was filled with round tables, all of which had recycled green glass votives, vintage green glass telephone insulators, nickel table numbers with Art Deco style blush pink numbers, and a centrepiece bouquet with green and white flowers, including a cream hydrangea to complement the bridesmaids’ bouquets. While tablecloths were ivory coloured, each setting had a blush cloth napkin with a custom designed menu card and an individual seating card.
Additionally, we displayed black and white wedding/anniversary photos of our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents, as well as the Russian Faberge egg that he had given me when he proposed.
My bridal bouquet was from Floral Designs by Nancy, while the bridesmaid bouquets and centrepieces were from Costco (Norwalk, CT).
I put collected and planned out the decorations with items from various shops and family members. Our day-of-coordinators and set-up team placed all the decorations the day of the wedding.
Instead of a traditional cake, our caterer - Sea House Clambakes and Catering - special ordered New England style whoopie pies. They were absolutely delicious!
On the menu...
Our ceremony was followed by a cocktail hour and lawn games. We had littleneck clams on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, international cheeses and a Spanish Jamón Serrano leg, served alongside Fin Du Monde beer from Quebec and non-alcoholic birch beer from the northeast.
Following the cocktail hour, we had a sit-down dinner that consisted of a traditional New England Clambake. Guests had the option between a whole lobster, aged ribeye steak or teriyaki grilled swordfish, served with roasted potatoes, rolls, corn on-the-cob and coleslaw. Our wine pairings were Portuguese Vinho Verde, French Côtes de Provence and French Côtes du Rhône.
Champagne toasts were followed by New England whoopie pies, sliced watermelon and KBC Blueberry beer for dessert.
We did not give favours at the wedding. Instead, two nights before the wedding, we hosted a rooftop reception at Hotel Zero Degrees, Norwalk for our family and bridal party who had travelled from five countries and nearly a dozen states.
Our wedding photographer was Bobby Matthews and his second shooter was Sonny Daniels of Robert Matthews Photo. We chose Bobby because we trusted him to capture our day and love, as well as liking his style of photography. Bobby and Sonny went above and beyond. From arriving early and staying even later than planned, dealing with difficult people at times (including bridal party members!), keeping us on schedule, and MOST IMPORTANTLY making us feel relaxed while taking photos. Bobby made us feel calm, comfortable and allowed us to truly enjoy the moment!
We are thrilled with our wedding photos. It’s so exciting to see and reflect on special moments that either passed really fast, or we didn’t even realise he was taking photos of, or simply seeing photos of our guests enjoying themselves. Bobby captured the moment and our love!
Horse & Carriage
Ever since we visited Connecticut and saw our venue for the first time, I had hoped to have a horse and carriage for my wedding day.
Following our first look, we went out to take photos with our bridal party. But first, a beautiful white carriage with grey velvet cushions and dark speckled horses pulled up. We got to enjoy a moment alone as we rode around the grounds of the park and then returned to take our photos.
We wanted it to be an experience for all our guests. So after the bridal party and close family enjoyed it, the horse and carriage escorted guests from the main gates of the mansion to drop them off for the wedding ceremony. It was magical!
Jadan had been hoping to have a live painter at our wedding to capture our wedding and allow guests to experience it. Less than a week before the wedding, I found an amazing local painter - Shauna Shane - that was available to come paint at our wedding.
I surprised Jadan and presented this as his official groom’s gift. After our first look, we chatted with her about our impressionist vision of the painting. Guests had the opportunity to watch her paint throughout the afternoon and evening.
The final painting captured our first look, the rose garden from our ceremony, guests playing lawn games during the cocktail hour and other details from the grounds of the mansion.
Our ceremony music was played by a beautiful quartet with music specifically chosen by the groom. The bridal party processional was to Bach - Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring and the bride’s processional to Delibes - Flower Duet from Lakme. During the ceremony, the hymn This Is My Father’s World was led by the groom’s father, and the bride’s aunt and cousin sung Falling Slowly from ONCE. Our recessional was a custom arrangement of Nessun Dorma followed by Kocher - For the Beauty of the Earth for the bridal party.
Our first dance was a Viennese Waltz to Tchaikovsky's Once Upon a Dream, the Father/Daughter dance was to You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker, and the Mother/Son dance was to You Are My Sunshine of My Life by Stevie Wonder. We kicked off the dance floor with our bridal party and guests to Bailando (Spanish Version) by Enrique Iglesias. Other favourites included Dancing Queen by Abba and Corazón Latino by David Bisbal.
M A R R I E D L I F E
We spent the first day of our honeymoon in London, UK and then continued on to spend nearly two weeks in South Africa in Western Cape. It was an unforgettable trip that included a wine tram, whale watching, a game drive, and beach full of penguins!
For now we will continue to enjoy living and working in Washington, DC. We look forward to the new adventures married life will bring!
In 40 years we hope to...
Have children and, even, grandchildren, as well as take a year sabbatical for a cruise around the world!
W E D D I N G W I S D O M
Enjoy the engagement...
Take the time to get away for a bachelorette/bachelor weekend and to celebrate with loved ones. You will need a break to just spent time with your bridesmaids/groomsmen. I was thrilled to have two bridal showers - one with family and one with friends - and feel so loved. And three of my dear friends from DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) took me out to enjoy high tea two weekends before the wedding. It was such a delightful time to relax, enjoy the blessings of our engagement, and celebrate with girlfriends.
The planning process...
It is an incredibly stressful time and wedding planning is not the cheerful, easy process like the movies and magazines like to make you think it is.
- The key to success is having a partner who is actively involved, helping, and planning alongside you. Jadan booked at least half the vendors!
- Also, take the time to work out; it is the greatest stress reliever you will find even if it’s only 30-45 minutes a day.
- While we planned the wedding ourselves, we had two incredible day-of-coordinators and a team of helpers that set up and ensured that everything ran smoothly and our vision was a success.
On the day...
Enjoy the moment! Jadan was skeptical about doing a first look before the wedding, but it ended up being the best decision. We had the intimacy of seeing each other privately, had it captured by our photographers to remember each other's faces, and it allowed us to relax and enjoy the day and each other.
Aside from a great caterer (which mattered to us!), the most valuable vendor decision ended up being our photographer. Bobby made us relaxed and kept the trains moving, while capturing amazing photos!
Photographer: Robert Matthews Photography / Venue: Waveny House / Hair & Make-up: Baumshells / Dress: Jim Hjelm / Bridal Store: Rizik’s / Catering: Sea House Clambakes & Catering / Bride's bouquet: Floral Designs by Nancy / Bridesmaid bouquets & centerpieces: Costco of Norwalk, CT / Custom Paper Design (invitation, menu cards, program, name cards): Kristina de Faria printed via Vistaprint / Day-Of-Coordinators: Paul & Kristin Sapperstein / Ceremony Music (Quartet): Vogue Music Events / DJ: Sean Langille / Officiant: Reverend William Benjamin Beckner / Headpiece: Maria Elena Headpieces / Horse & Carriage: Foxglove Farm / Live Painter: Shauna Shane / Hotel Accommodations: Hotel Zero Degrees, Norwalk / Bride’s Engagement Ring and Wedding Band: Laurie Sarah Designs