Kelly Amber (who goes by Amber) and Tom’s chance meeting came through the wonders of technology when they both connected online. “While we were tentative at first, eventually we realized that this had a possibility to become something more,” Amber recalls. After several years of dating, the couple made it official on New Year’s Day in 2011. “I brought her to Bridalveil Fall as it’s one of our favorites,” Tom says. “We hiked up to the base of the waterfall and by the time we got to the top, we were getting pelted with both snow and water. No one else had bothered to head to the base, so it felt like we were the only two people in the world. I then got down on one knee and asked her to be my wife.”
Though the couple originally intended to plan the wedding all themselves, they soon realized the extent of the process and hired wedding planner Kendra Pfeiffer from Pfeiffer Event Planning to help. “While decisions were required, we never had to worry about bad vendors, difficult research and impossible-to-find décor items. Kendra was all over it,” shares the bride.
Once the big day arrived, guests gathered in a beautiful outdoor garden for the ceremony. The couple opted to write their own vows and keep them secret from each other until the ceremony. “I have to say, there isn’t a larger confidence booster than having your better half go on and on about how amazing you are and how lucky he is to have you,” Amber beams. “Let’s just say that my confidence was so high at that point that I could look down at the moon and the stars.”
The day transitioned to the reception at the Grand Island Mansion. “It was such a beautiful room that we didn’t have to decorate the walls at all,” Tom says. “The personality of the mansion itself spoke volumes.” The pair especially loved greeting each table and guests, thanking them for attending. “It was our way of really immersing ourselves in celebration and getting the opportunity to really visit with the people that matter to us most,” Amber says.
One of their most memorable moments was one that they couldn’t prepare for: the first dance. Though they had taken a dance class and learned a fancy move or two, Amber’s dress proved too big to allow for such slick maneuvers. “We settled for a simple embrace and swaying,” she says. “Our guests never knew the difference and we were a tad relieved at not having to remember left, right, turn, dip, etc. Regardless of its simplicity, it was a moment that was truly ours alone and it allowed us to share our thoughts in private.”
First Dance Song
I Won’t Give Up by Jason Mraz
After nearly seven years together this was definitely appropriate considering how much we have endured and grown together.
Father/Daughter Dance Song
While I would have loved this typical moment to have been a part of our wedding, I unfortunately did not have this option. I was raised by my amazing grandparents who stepped up the responsibility of taking on a “new” child when they should have been contemplating retirement. My grandfather is sadly not in any condition to dance after several strokes and so this was cut. I am just beyond blessed the despite several health setbacks that my grandfather was there…I would trade a million dances just to have him with us.
Mother/Son Dance Song
Unfortunately I could not convince my dear groom to be light on his feet and so this was cut. It is a pity, he definitely has twinkly toes.
Cake Cutting Song
At Last by Etta James
Can you honestly listen to this song and not feel the emotions involved? To have finally found the one person that you are ready and willing to share your life with and ride the ride of life next to, that is what this song evokes. I wanted to make it our first dance but in the words of my dear husband, “that is what everyone does.” Knowing that it had to be present somewhere in our wedding, I decided that “at last” we have cake, “at last” we are married, so “At Last” is the perfect song.
Bouquet Toss Song
Single Ladies by Beyonce
Yeah, over done but appropriate. Plus it is an empowering song…single and amazing. With Beyonce leading you, who wouldn’t want to step up as a single gal?
Garter Toss Song
Cherry Pie by Warrant
It is apparently MY song. I am Tom’s cherry pie, that is what he says. Apparently I’m a cool drink of water, go figure. Whenever I call Tom, the ring tone seals the deal…”She’s my Cherry Pie.”
Details about the cake
We wanted an amazing and light cake that was so delicious that you couldn’t stop eating it. Our cake was vanilla rum with vanilla bean filling/butter cream. Light and perfect. If you wanted a second piece you could have a second piece…no glass of milk required. The decor of the cake was simple, elegant and romantic. I wanted fresh flowers to increase the size and height of the cake. We had three tiers with a layer of fresh flowers of the most romantic colors; blush pink, ivory, pale green and lavender. The fondant was ivory colored and brushed with a bit of sparkle for the added touch of luxury.
Details about the flowers
Flowers, who doesn’t love flowers? My dream has always been to have an abundance of amazingly romantic and lush flowers everywhere you turn and that is what we had.
Anyone who knows me knows that I am over the moon for hydrangeas. I have several bushes that I am nursing along in our little garden. I don’t have a green thumb so to see a new bloom on my hydrangea thrills me. With such an obsession for these clustered blooms one can only imagine that they had a starring role at our wedding.
There were hydrangeas lining our aisle in pale pinks, ivories and lavender. White and pale pink hydrangeas in large clusters in the bridesmaids’ bouquets, covering the gazebo and if that wasn’t enough, we had large vases filled with hydrangeas beside the gazebo for some added color. There were the most elegant pale pink and ivory peonies in my bridal bouquet, which turned out more spectacular than I could have imagined.
At the reception our centerpieces featured virbenum with its vibrant green, hydrangeas in pale pink, ivory, white and lavender, gorgeous roses in pale shades and the most elegant lavender tulips I have ever seen.
Our wedding planner and florist worked together to utilize the beautiful flowers from the ceremony and incorporate them into the downstairs dance party…saving us money and making a beautiful room into an exquisite room.
Details about the favors
Individually boxed (with bow) M&Ms matching our wedding colors. We ordered them online and put the favors together ourselves. The boxes were purchased at Party City and the ribbon was purchased at JoAnn’s Crafts.
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
What do you do when you want an elegant ceremony, outdoors? You bring the indoors outdoors. Integrating my ideal luxurious indoor wedding with our love of the outdoors we incorporated chandeliers into our ceremony which lined the aisle. Our guests thought that it was absolutely stunning and a unique touch that they had not previously experienced. The chandeliers caught the sunlight providing the most amazing shine and brilliance that could not be replicated indoors.
As for a special moment that would have been our vows. Tom and I are not overtly romantic in public. When it comes to PDA we are not the poster couple. However, we are extremely romantic when it counts…with each other. We wanted our wedding to express our love and romance and this was no exception with our vows. We are sarcastic, out going and love to joke but there weren’t any jokes (well okay there were a couple) and there wasn’t sarcasm in our vows and in the end there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was our time to say out loud in front of the very people that had loved and supported us throughout our relationship just how we felt and why we were agreeing to spend a lifetime together. At a family dinner the weekend after the wedding the vote was unanimous that the vows were definitely the hit of the wedding. We showed a side of us and our relationship that our guests hadn’t seen previously.
I realized while planning that family is what you make it. While Tom comes from an amazing and relatively nuclear family, my family is broken and unique. My special moment is when my Aunt Jean(grandfather’s sister) was helping me put on my dress. While great aunt isn’t a typical title that is honored during a wedding she most certainly deserves my appreciation. She stood by me and supported me every step of way, filling in when a mother or grandmother normally would. While she was tightening my corset I let go of the need for the typical and accepted the fact that I was loved by a great number of people and that I had a whole new family and that titles are just that and mean nothing more.
As I mentioned before family comes in all different varieties. While I don’t have the typical father figure in my life I am not short of amazing male role models. Sadly my grandfather was not in the physical condition to walk me down the aisle so we placed him at the end of the aisle so that we could embrace before I greeted my soon to be husband. Growing up my Uncle Bob, the youngest, was still living at home when my grandparents took me in to raise me. This initiated a life long and strong bond between us that remains to this day. My Uncle Bob assumed the role of father when necessary; he took me on weekend trips to the river, took me on those rides at Disneyland that only dads dare to go on etc. It thrilled me to be able to share my special day with my Uncle Bob at my side. He is my rock, my foundation and I wouldn’t be who I am now without him and my grandfather in my life showing me what a great man really is. Embracing before heading down the aisle was so emotional.
This wedding would never have happened without Kendra from Pfeiffer Event Planning. We originally hadn’t budgeted for a wedding planner however we realized very quickly how much we needed one. With our over the top ideas and 165 invited guests I proposed to Tom that we cut the dress budget in half and instead use the savings to hire Kendra. It was the best decision we made. Tom was surprised I was so willing to hire a planner considering I am very detail oriented, strong willed person who finds it hard to let go of control of those things most dear to me, like my wedding. However, Kendra’s confidence, guidance and experience allowed me to easily relinquish control and dream my wedding dreams while Tom and I maintained our sanity and continued to tend to our responsibilities outside of planning the wedding. If there was ever an issue throughout the process we never knew about it because she took care of it immediately. She allowed us to enjoy our wedding without question. Not only did we gain amazing wedding memories but we gained an amazing and talented friend, Kendra.
Any tips you’d give brides and grooms planning their wedding today?
Savor every moment from engagement, conception and planning to execution. As every bride says it goes by so quickly and I have learned that is no exaggeration. We had the most amazing day celebrating with the most important people in our lives and we are grateful that we cherished every moment.
For brides and grooms together I high recommend that they sit down and discuss expectations with one another and how involved they want to be as a unit and individually. Tom and I both agreed in the beginning that when it came to most things he didn’t have a strong opinion and that I basically had free reign. His words “if I can eat it I have an opinion” so when it came to the cake, the food and the alcohol he was involved completely without any coaxing. I had to respect the fact that not all men care about favors, table linens and flower colors and themes. The less I worried about his lack of opinion the easier our planning process was. Yes, I would ask him from time to time just in case he suddenly had a miraculous change of heart but in the end he was happy with the choices I made. We brides have an supportive backing of bridesmaids, moms, aunts, friends and co-workers to bounce ideas off of….if a groom doesn’t have the desire to be involved don’t force it. Why create friction when it isn’t necessary?
Grand Island Mansion Officiant:
Pastor Ron Aguilera Ceremony Music:
Music & More Entertainment Photographer:
Sharpe Photographers Videographer:
Phillip Alan Films Wedding Planner:
Pfeiffer Event Planning Reception Site:
Grand Island Mansion Bridal Hair:
Jennifer Gilchrist Bridal Make-up:
Shana Beals Makeup Artistry & Skin Studio Bridal Attire:
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