Alexandra + Matthew
Alexandra (or Allie, as her friends and family call her) came to us just 6 weeks ( 6 weeks!!!!) before her wedding day when she stumbled on an instagram post of our beloved Vesper gown. I really try not to play favourites with the dresses, but the Vesper is a little extra special to me because I was VERY VERY pregnant when I designed the dress, and thought I would hold off naming the dress until the baby was out and we knew (his or her) name. So when brides choose the Vesper I'm always a little extra chuffed.
When Allie sent us that email and told us this was the dress of her dreams, but that she was getting married in 6 weeks, we really wanted to make it happen for her. As luck would have it, we fortunately had an extra Vesper gown, and Allie happened to be the exact size of the dress. It was definitely meant to be!
We are so honoured to be part of Allie and Mathews love story. Please enjoy.
Couple: Alexandra ( or Allie) and Matthew
Photographer: Jocelyn Vassos of Lovebird Studio
Location: Santarella Gingerbread House, Tyringham, Massachusetts (in the Berkshires)
Dress: & FOR LOVE "Vesper"
Headpiece: Naturae designs
Makeup: Erin of Erin Ford Makeup, Albany, NY
Hair: Julie Potter of Eclectic Salon, Latham, NY
Shoes: custom Etsy from Spain
Cake and desserts: Crisan Bakery in Troy, NY
Flowers: Colie Collen of Flower Scout, Troy, NY
Describe you and your guy? How did you know he was The One?
Matthew is a musician and I am an artist. He plays guitar in several projects right now and works as a sheet metal technician. I studied art history, have worked for a museum and antique stores in the past and recently have been working as a textile artist. I'm American and he's Canadian, and we actually met because he sent me a message through Tumblr, of all things. At the time, I was making jewelry and he liked my metalwork and taste in art. We started talking and became friends, and after a few months we made plans to meet. He was living in Vancouver and I was in Washington D.C., so I flew cross-country and then drove over the border to Canada to meet him. I've never been so nervous in my life, but as soon as I was with him, it was like picking up where I'd left off with an old friend. The rest was history, as they say! It was clear from the start that because of the differences in our nationality and the distance between us that we'd have to be serious about our relationship, and marriage was discussed from the very beginning. I don't think there was a lot of doubt for either of us. Soon afterwards he moved to Montreal and I moved up to Canada to be with him. He proposed to me at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with his mother's ring, eight months after we first met in person.
What's your bridal style?
I never gave a lot of thought to my wedding dress before getting engaged. All I knew is that I wanted lace, long sleeves, and something with a train, because I'd never gotten to wear a dress with a train before and I figured this would be my first and last chance. At first I tried to find a vintage dress, and there were a lot of dresses from the Victorian era that I loved, but couldn't find one that fit all my specifications. I tried on tons of more traditional-style gowns at practically every bridal studio I could find, but nothing made me feel like myself. I actually ended up buying a dress online, an oyster satin and lace gown from a designer I liked, but it still didn't seem like "the one." Luckily, I came across &FORLOVE about six weeks before the wedding (eek!) by way of a Instagram post, and I saw the Vesper gown and immediately knew it was just what I wanted. Thankfully, I was able to order a sample to wear that would arrive in time! You all made it so incredibly easy for me to get my dream gown, and it felt like fate that it all worked out in time.
What made you fall in love with your dress?
Definitely the bell sleeves and the train! I decided the lack of bell sleeves on my other gown were a dealbreaker. Really, though, every detail was perfect - the pattern of the lace was beautiful, and I liked the not-too-bare look of the low-backed satin slip under the lace overlay.
Describe your wedding- any inspiration or themes were your drawn to when planning? What was the vibe?
We wanted a fairy-tale, English Garden style wedding with personal touches reflecting our respective heritages (Matthew's father is Iranian and his mother is British, and my family is Irish) without going too much into the realm of fantasy-themed, Game of Thrones-type stuff. Our venue was pretty over-the-top stunning, so we didn't feel like it needed too much dressing up. (We did try to include a few fun, on-theme things, like a photo booth with props - swords, armor, crowns - which was a huge hit with the guests). And I definitely drew on a lot of medieval inspiration when choosing my bridal outfit. My ideal wedding look was Isolde from Tristan and Isolde meets Vanessa Redgrave as Lady Macbeth. My hair was inspired by Botticelli paintings. My bridesmaids' look, mismatched tulle and silk gowns in tones of silver and pale grey with greenery crowns, was inspired by pre-Raphaelite paintings. One of the most unexpectedly happy moments for me on my wedding day was seeing how beautiful they all looked in their bridesmaids' outfits.
For our ceremony, we wanted to keep it short but still make it moving and personal. We had Matthew's mother read a Kahlil Gibran poem that we both love, and our officiant incorporated some lines from Jane Eyre, my favorite book, into the ceremony. Our officiant read a Persian blessing and a Celtic blessing, and we also had a handfasting (a tradition in Celtic cultures) with a handspun wool cord decorated with runes and stones. Our handfasting cord was handmade by an artist friend in France (Mathyld/@underthepyramids). Inside the venue by the dessert table, I set up a special table with pomegranates, honey, sweets, and books of Persian religious texts and poetry as a nod to Iranian wedding traditions. At Iranian weddings there is usually a table called a sofreh aghd with these items, along with a mirror, so that the couple can look into it and see themselves as a married couple for the first time. I always thought the symbolism was so meaningful and it meant a lot to me to be able to include these details for Matthew and his family. It made everything feel so much more special, really like a joining of two families.
After the ceremony, we had a long, relaxing meal inside the beautiful Gingerbread House, which was constructed by an English sculptor from salvaged architectural materials taken from old churches to make it look like a real medieval feasting hall. It's such a beautiful space that we just wanted to be able to take our time over our food and enjoy the conversations and the experience. Neither Matthew nor I really wanted to stick to the traditional wedding "script" - I'm embarrassed by toasts, so I specifically told the wedding party not to surprise us with any, and neither my dad or I were into the idea of a father-daughter dance. After dinner, we did do a first dance, to Pictures of You by The Cure, to kick things off. We spent the rest of the night dancing to classic rock and 80's goth and new wave.
Fave thing about your day? Any surprises?!
Matthew's cousins, who work as set designers, and some of our friends surprised us with a huge light show, complete with smoke machines and choreographed swordfighting, that they set up outside the venue after it got dark. We were completely surprised, it was amazing!
What does marriage mean to you?
Waking up excited to have my best friend my by side every single day.
What's the one piece of advice you could give to brides?
Don't talk yourself out of an idea you really like because you're afraid it'll look silly or that you'll look back on it and regret it. My one regret is that I passed on a vintage cap veil and medieval-style crown I loved because I was afraid it looked too costume-y. In retrospect, I wish I'd followed my instinct and just done it. Talking with other friends who have gotten married, this seems to be a common regret!
Life post-wedding means .... Finally getting to be in the same country for longer than a month!
Words by Allie O'Hora ( follow her instagram @moonsiren, it is so inspiring! )
All photos by Lovebird Studio