Once I became engaged last spring I began my search for the perfect wedding venue. Zach and I discussed every option from a casual backyard wedding to more modern locations like museums, art galleries, hotels, and even an elopement. We both decided that we wanted our wedding to be big enough to include our close friends and family but small enough to remain an intimate and simplistic affair. After months of touring potential venues, we selected Hotel Andaluz. I had always loved this boutique hotel in downtown Albuquerque and I felt that it encompassed my personal style of modern meets vintage and the overall ambiance was very sophisticated and romantic. Another decision we made about our wedding was to keep the transition from ceremony to reception simple and convenient for ourselves and our guests, so, we opted to have the entire event at the hotel.
Zach and I knew we wanted a ceremony that was short and sweet and specific to us and our relationship. Since there were a lot of aspects of the wedding that were nontraditional, we decided to stick with traditional marriage vows and include a unity candle. I liked the idea of reciting the same vows couples have made to each other for centuries. For our unity candle I chose three beautiful crystal flower candle holders. They were so elegant and unique and they sparkled in the light. Next to the unity candle was my great grandmother’s bible that had been passed down to my grandmother and my mother. It was so symbolic and special to have a piece of her there with us on our wedding day.
I am my father’s only daughter and we have always been very close. It meant so much to me to have him walk me down the aisle on my wedding day. When we saw each other for the first time before entering the ceremony we embraced and he told me how beautiful I looked and how proud he was of me. It was a lovely moment walking arm in arm with my father before being handed off to my husband-to-be.
Zach’s sister, Courtney, allowed us to use her three adorable children for our flower girl and ring bearers and they certainly stole the show! Courtney even made Kate’s flower girl dress! I found this picture of a flower girl dress on Pinterest and Courtney was able to recreate it herself. It was exactly what I wanted my flower girl to look like. I also loved the “Here Comes the Bride Sign” that her son, Mason held down the aisle while Kate’s twin brother, Colin, was in charge of the ring pillow. One of my bridesmaids’ boyfriend made the sign for me. It was perfect. It was so touching to have all my friends and family help out in creating little pieces of the wedding.
The wedding party entered the ballroom from the outdoor balcony which made for a beautiful burst of light as the double doors opened. We had a white lace aisle runner lined with tall vases filled with vibrant lilies.
Days leading up to the wedding, I was so worried about crying during the ceremony and losing my composure. But I was completely calm as I locked eyes with my groom and made my way down the aisle towards him. I tuned out everything else around me. I can’t even remember hearing the music. I had envisioned that moment in my head thousands of time before and I wanted to soak in every second of my stroll down the aisle. I felt totally comfortable being surrounded by my friends and family and I was so blessed to feel so much love in one room.
I chose my dear friend, Jane, to perform a reading during the ceremony. She is such a special person who radiates with charisma and presence. She was nine months pregnant at the wedding and I’m so thankful to her little bundle of joy, Harper, for waiting until after the wedding to make her debut. 🙂
The reading Jane recited at the wedding was “The Key to Love” by Anon
“The key to love is understanding … The ability to comprehend not only the spoken word, but those unspoken gestures, the little things that say so much by themselves.
The key to love is forgiveness …. to accept each others faults and pardon mistakes, without forgetting, but with remembering what you learn from them.
The key to love is sharing … Facing your good fortunes as well as the bad, together; both conquering problems, forever searching for ways to intensify your happiness.
The key to love is giving … without thought of return, but with the hope of just a simple smile, and by giving in but never giving up.
The key to love is respect … realising that you are two separate people, with different ideas; that you don’t belong to each other, that you belong with each other, and share a mutual bond.
The key to love is inside us all … It takes time and patience to unlock all the ingredients that will take you to its threshold; it is the continual learning process that demands a lot of work … but the rewards are more than worth the effort … and that is the key to love.”
Once we were pronounced husband and wife, Zach and I stayed on the balcony to take family photos while our guests gathered in the beautiful hotel lobby for cocktails and hors d’ oeuvres before returning to the ballroom for a sit down dinner and reception.
Ceremony music selections:
Grooms entrance: Let it be by the Beatles (piano instrumental)
Bridal Party: Something by the Beatles (piano instrumental)
Bride’s entrance: First time ever I saw your face (piano instrumental)
Recessional: My Best Friend by Queen
The Van Hecke Family
The Thompson Family:
As guests returned to the ballroom after the cocktail hour, they selected their place card that had a vintage key attached to it. My overall theme of the wedding was “Keys to a happy marriage” and I thought giving everyone their own vintage skeleton key was a unique way to present the place cards.
I wanted the reception to be lighthearted and fun. Before dinner was served, the hotel staff performed a choreographed champagne pour and we started the reception off with toasts from the Best Man (Zach’s brother, Andy) and Maid of Honor (My best friend Arantha Royce).
My father and I danced to Somewhere Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World by Hawaiian artist “Iz.” It was a very sweet moment and it reminded me of when my dad would dance with me when I was a little girl.
It was very sweet to watch Zach and his mother during their mother/son dance. Zach is the youngest of four children and I know he and his mother share a special bond. They danced to the song More by Harry Connick Jr.
Trying to decide on a song for our first dance was a little tough for Zach and I. We didn’t have a particular song that had special meaning to us and I was somewhat opposed to choosing a tear jerker love song. Since I was a little girl, I loved the movie French Kiss with Meg Ryan. In one of the scenes she dances to a beautiful french version of one of my favorite songs, “Dream a Little Dream.” I have a similar version on my iTunes playlist by French Canadian artist, Emilie-Clair Barlow. I would play this song all the time at home and occasionally coax Zach into dancing with me in the kitchen. It is such a lovely, elegant version of the popular song made famous by the Mamas and the Papas and we decided it was the perfect selection for our first dance as husband and wife.
Perhaps the funniest part of the evening was when the hotel staff was buzzing about U2 front man, Bono, who was supposedly hanging out in the bar across the hall from our reception. Unfortunately, “Bono” turned out to be an impersonator but we all had a good laugh. He even tried to crash the wedding and sing for us! Luckily, the hotel staff was on it and escorted him out of our ballroom before he made a scene.
After dinner, we all danced the night away and continued to celebrate into the early hours of the morning. It was an amazing day and I can’t help but smile when I look through pictures and remember how sublimely happy I felt. Sure there were glitches here and there but nothing seemed to bother me. I was on cloud nine and I still haven’t come down. 🙂