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The Couple: Claire and Joe

Wedding Date: October 28, 2017

Photography by Emily Jean Images

Tell us a little about you and your beloved: We met while we were both living in Boston after college, and realized pretty quickly that we had something special together. Still, Claire was surprised and excited when Joe proposed right before making the big move to California together. In the middle of moving, getting new jobs, a new house, and a puppy, we really took our time to just settle in and enjoy being engaged before jumping into any wedding planning.

When we did pick a date, there were plenty of decisions to make and things to do!  It made it easier to realize which decisions we felt strongly about (Joe’s barn veto!), and which decisions we could spend less time on (eg. tuxedo rentals).  The choices for every aspect of a wedding seem endless, but once we enlisted the help of a wedding planner we knew we couldn’t make any bad decisions!

What was the most amazing part of your day? Getting married! And celebrating that all day long with all of the people we love.  Many of our friends and family had never met before since we’re from very different places, so it was fun to have them all together even for just one day!

What else would you like to share about your big day? I definitely recommend doing a first look!  I understand those who skip it, but this was definitely the best decision for us. As someone who is a detailed planner and can get anxious or stressed, doing the first look really calmed my nerves, cleared my head and let me take a breath to focus on us. It was perfect to have a few minutes together before the ceremony, just the two of us (and our photo/video crew!).

Ceremony Site: Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament

Officiant: Bride’s Godfather, Deacon Dave Rezendes

Reception Venue: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria

Photographer: Emily Jean Images

Videographer: Sean Kenney Films

Wedding Planner: Jenn Robirds Events

Caterer: Randy Peters Catering

Cake/Desserts: Ettore’s European Bakery & Restaurant for the cake, late night snack of mini Chicago-style hot dogs from Randy Peters Catering!

Flowers: Jenn Robirds Events

Favors: Homemade jam from a local fruit stand in Ripon

Bridal Attire: La Soie Bridal

Bridesmaids’ Attire: Bianca’s Bridal Couture

Hair: Tina Romo Hair

Make-up: Shana Beals Makeup Artistry

Invitations: Paper Habit

Signage/Calligraphy: Ashley Baumgartner

DJ/Entertainment/Band and Lighting: SJ’s Disc Jockey

Furniture and Décor Rentals: Celebrations! Party Rentals

Linen Rentals: La Tavola Linen Rentals

Other Rentals: Three Palm Events

Transportation: Sentimental Journey Vintage Transportation

Honeymoon Location: Maui, HI

First Dance Song: “Days Like This” by Van Morrison

Last Dance Song: “Sweet Caroline” by Neil Diamond (Go Red Sox!)

Any advice you’d give to our readers who are planning their weddings right now? Don’t be afraid to put your personal touch on things! I’m so glad we included bookmarks for place cards, jars of jam for favors and authentic Chicago style hot dogs for a late night snack.  Sharing those things important to our personalities, relationship and family history made our celebration even more special.

Anything that you would have done differently if you were given the chance? Start writing Thank You notes sooner! A thoughtful note is always a good idea, but people also just want to make sure their gift or card was delivered! (Don’t worry, we finished them.)

Blog post by Real Weddings Magazine’s Social Media Maven, Aimee Carroll.

Photos courtesy of Emily Jean Images.

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