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Darianna Bridal Real Bride: Claire Melvin

claire1The Meeting – A Match Made on Match: Will and I met on November 26, 2010. I used to fib about how we met for the first few years, but since everything worked out so well… We met on Match.com, and really hit it off right away. I don’t know if it was love at first sight, but we certainly knew we wanted to see each other again and soon.

The Proposal: A complete surprise! I thought we were going to have lunch and see a movie in Doylestown, but he had other plans. We had our worst lunch date ever at a local pub. Will wasn’t really talking to me and acting very odd. We left and headed to the County Theater.

When we got close, I noticed that the marquee read, “Claire will you marry me?” I was so confused and shocked, when I turned around Will was on one knee holding the ring. He told me how much he loved me and wanted to start our life together. I snatched the ring out of the box and said yes!

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Right after the proposal, my instinct was to call my mom and dad. Will said we could call after we had a celebratory drink.

We walked to a bar nearby and I was surprised again with our family and friends waiting there to celebrate. We ended up staying out in Doylestown for hours!

 

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The Venue: Will wanted to get married at a country club so that we might be able to get a year’s golf membership included. I wanted more of a unique environment like an old mansion. We went to four country clubs, and really liked the atmosphere and customer service at the Northampton Valley Country Club. This venue had been recommended to me by three of my colleagues, and we felt like this was “the one” after touring it.

Will and I are teachers, and we wanted to get married in the summer so that we could go on our honeymoon right afterward.

We quickly decided on July 18 and are so happy with our choice!

 

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The Dress: I will preface this by saying I did not want a ball gown. After two disappointing shopping experiences, I went to Darianna Bridal.

Wendy was extremely accommodating of my indecisiveness, and challenged me to try on styles that were different from what I thought I wanted. In the end, I was between two dresses, beautiful fit and flare and an elegant ball gown. It took many months for me to decide.

Since 2007, my mother had been battling chronic lymphocytic leukemia and during our wedding planning we learned that it turned into an aggressive lymphoma. That January, together with my mom, we went back for the dress. I chose the ball gown. My mother suggested I add cap sleeves to make it more personal.

She passed away not long after this, five months to the day before my wedding. It was extremely tragic for me. I am so lucky that my mom helped me with this important choice. I did not want a ball gown, but my perfect dress was a beautiful ball gown after all.

I chose my accessories very easily. My pearl earrings, bracelets, and hairpiece were my mother’s and were my something old. I borrowed my cathedral veil from my sister-in-law, my blue was my underwear, and my new was my wedding dress, which turned out beautifully.

 

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The Maids: I chose a short faille strapless dress with a full skirt in petal pink. I LOVE pink! Wendy really helped elevate these simple dresses with a stunning beaded sash. I purchased each girl a sash, and pearl earrings.

The Guys: I did not want the guys to wear pink ties, so I decided on mint for their ties and as a complementary color for flowers, centerpieces, and accessories.

The Flowers: I was really drawn to the simplicity of baby’s breath with pale pink roses. My bouquet was created with 24 beautiful Ester Roses surrounded by a collar of baby’s breath. My bridesmaids had small bouquets of the same. Will had one Ester rose in his boutonniere, and the rest of the groomsmen just had simple baby’s breath. Our cake continued the same theme with Ester roses and baby’s breath climbing it.

 

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The Shower: With the passing of my mother and my maid of honor living five hours away, my shower was not a surprise.

As a little girl, I always loved having tea parties with my mom and grandmother. My mother is English, and so tea was a big part of our lives.

The newly renovated Blue Bell Inn had just started offering tea parties, and my shower was their very first one. The pastries, tea sandwiches, and petit fours were delicious! The selection of teas was extensive, and I had a wonderful time.

My maid of honor and her mother created beautiful flower centerpieces out of my grandmother’s teapots.

Grandmother’s teapots were used as the centerpieces
for the bridal shower, such a lovely and meaningful touch!

Bachelorette Party: We spent Memorial Day weekend at the beach with a mimosa bar, a hilarious Barbie bachelorette cake, and limo ride to the Borgata for dinner.

The Wedding Day: I was EXTREMELY nervous. The thought of having to say my vows in front of 200 people, had me wanting to throw up. Our priest asked how I was feeling and I blurted out “really nervous!” I felt better after we listened to our readings, and the gospel. Some of my family thought I was going to pass out, but I didn’t!

First Dance: Our first dance was to “Rhythm of Love” by Plain White Tees. This song really spoke to us during our first year dating. We are lucky to have friends who are in a band. They played the song at a slower dance pace, and played the song live. It was fun practicing our “dance moves” in our basement before the wedding.

Uniquely Her Own: My mother was a romance author, and I incorporated her novels in various ways in our décor.

I sent one of her novels to an Etsy Vendor, and she crafted the pages into beautiful paper roses, which were displayed on the bar.

I punched dye cut hearts out of all of her other novels, and they were scattered on each table with our centerpiece. We also used her novel pages to create our place cards, which were bookmarks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With Gratitude: We had absolutely the best experience ever in planning our wedding! Our vendors were amazing.

Attire: Darianna Bridal and Tuxedo. They were wonderful to work with throughout the planning process. Wendy was patient with me as I visited four or more times to try on dresses, even though I would always return to the same two. She offered great advice on jewelry, shoes, hair, etc. For the guys, Franco found just the right look for Will – a gray tuxedo that did not look as formal. We loved it, and Franco ordered lots of tie samples for me to select from to find the perfect mint.

Secrets Limousine Service. Chuck was the MVP of our wedding, and stopped traffic in our town to take pictures in front of the County Theater where Will proposed. Our shuttle bus was also on time, and very courteous.

Brigid Eisele from Northampton Valley Country Club was phenomenal to work with throughout the wedding process. She always let us take our time during our appointments. She never rushed us, nor belittled my millions of questions. Brigid was practical and did not try to upsell us. We LOVE Brigid.

Photographer: Robert Turi Photography. He was incredibly easy to work with, and he got every shot we wanted and so many more! We still haven’t finalized our wedding album, eek!

Flowers: Graziano’s created beautiful arrangements and really worked with me to make changes to suit my vision.

DeeJay: East Coast Events Group really kept the party alive at our wedding. Eric Scott Gold is a phenomenal DJ, who really worked with us to personalize our night. He designed a line up for the evening that was atypical with a bit of dancing before dinner to get the crowd charged up, and he was a lot of fun!

Wedding Cake: Town Crier Bakery baked a delicious cake. I have to eat gluten free, and they accommodated that need without charging us more. Our cake had three yummy flavors, and we were really pleased.

Hair/Make Up: Chrissy Jacobs and Susan Young from Nu Waves did a flawless job. I was thrilled with how I looked, and how well my look lasted!

Stationery: Wedding Paper Divas designed beautiful well-made Save the Date magnets, and we received tons of compliments on them.

Overall, planning a wedding is challenging. It can be fun, but is can also be overwhelming. It takes a team/family to plan a wedding! I have so many people to be thankful for. My maid of honor, Amanda Newton, really acted as a wedding planner. She helped me create a budget. Amanda has a great eye for color schemes and décor. She helped me craft and design everything at my wedding. She was my rock!

Amanda’s mother, Jodi, helped plan my bridal shower, gave me practical advice, picked up clear umbrellas in case of emergency, cleaned up my bridal suite before my “getting ready” photographs, and cared for my dress the night before the wedding. Jodi may have worked behind the scenes, but she was integral in my sanity and happiness.

Will and I were lucky to have our wedding paid for by my parents. They were extremely generous with us, and supported the choices we made. My dad planned a great father daughter dance to “Shower the People” by James Taylor followed up with “Let’s Groove Tonight” by Earth, Wind, and Fire. It was a lot of fun. My dad and I have been through a lot over the last two years, and I am lucky to have him!

Will’s parents, Bill and Helen Melvin, generously took care of our photography, photo booth, transportation, and rehearsal dinner. These aspects of our wedding supplied us with our lasting memories, and we really enjoy looking back over the evening! We are thankful for their generosity.

Lastly, thank you to Will. I had a lot of ups and downs through the wedding planning process. It sounds silly since you are just planning a large party, but some of the choices were really difficult once my mother passed away. Something as simple as making a change to her memorial flowers was devastating.

Will really showed how supportive he was of my dad and me, when my dad insisted on having my mother’s name on our wedding invitation. It became a very sensitive topic, and I could not seem to find any sample invitations that suited my father. On his own, Will wrote and designed our invitations to pay homage to my mother. It was really touching.

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