Sarah & Stephen's Summer Wedding Celebration
Updated: Oct 13
An Elegant and Balanced Suite
I've known Sarah and her family for many years - long enough to have been her confirmation mentor! Bringing her wedding stationery vision to life was something I had always wanted to do. Sarah and her fiance Stephen were planning a gorgeous summer wedding. Due to Covid, they had to switch venues and Indian Valley Country Club in Telford, PA was the perfect place. When we met to plan their wedding stationery, we started with the overall look of the invitations in mind so the save the dates were actually a sneak peek of the invitation. Both the save the dates and main invitation incorporated a laurel design in watercolor which was subtly pulled through the individual suite pieces.
Sarah wanted all of her paper details to be elegant and balanced. She wanted hints of greenery throughout and incorporated gold foil to elevate the design. A band wrap with Sarah and Stephen's initials held the pieces together and everything was tucked into a thick envelope with a sage green envelope liner.
As with so many couples planning a wedding in 2020, Sarah and Stephen were faced a difficult decision just weeks before the big day and had to downsize the guest list due to COVID. I created a change of plans graphic for them to email to their guests letting them know the ceremony would take place as planned with a smaller guest list and that they would celebrate with their friends once it was safe to do so. This is something I offer to all the couples I create invitations for so all their communications can have a cohesive look.
What follows are Sarah and Stephen's thoughts on wedding planning and favorite moments. Photos courtesy of TrueFold Media. Stationery photos by Stone Hill Paperie unless noted.
How did you and Stephen meet?
We met in a 20s group through a church and our friends. The week before Sarah started coming to group was the week Steve decided to take a break for a bit. Sarah ended up making friends with the same friends as Steve in the group. Everyone kept telling Steve that he needed to meet Sarah and the opposite, but whenever there would be events that one attend, the other was never there. The joke was that neither one of us actually existed and it was all a ruse. Eventually, Steve and Sarah did meet and started to get to know each other. They hung out within their group of friends until St. Patrick's day 2018 rolled around.
The day of, Sarah was out running around with Marissa (one of Sarah's bridesmaids) getting wine for a wine tasting event. Sarah mentioned to Marissa that Steve said he wasn't coming to the event, and that she wanted to text him to say something and admitted that she had a crush on Steve. Marissa encouraged her to text him, so she did. Sarah convinced Steve to attend the event even though he was heading home from North Carolina that day. Steve showed up, and the two were talking a lot that night. At some point in the night, Steve went and talked to Marissa and asked if he was reading the signs correctly about Sarah liking him. Marissa confirmed, and Steve made his move. The next weekend was their first official date at Nudy's Cafe in Phoenixville, right before Sarah started working Nightshift for her outage. Their next few dates consisted of Steve coming over and giving Sarah company on her one night off from about 10 pm to 4 am - she should have known then that Steve would do anything for her. Their love story continued until a trip to Boston in October of 2019.
How did Stephen propose? From Steve’s perspective: Like any good story, we will start at the beginning. The proposal started many months before October 25, 2019. For me, the planning started in December of 2018 with building a timeline that made sense. I settled on before her next birthday. From there months and months of careful conversation followed. From the idea of us getting married, to how I should propose, to the style of ring she likes. Sarah is the most perceptive person I know, so trying to glean information from her without her suspecting anything is a story unto itself. By August of 2019, I had the information I needed, save for the style of ring. This ring is forever and I needed her to lay eyes on some rings in person and see her reaction to them before I could even think about buying one.
A brief trip to King of Prussia mall helped but was definitely not enough. I was not able to pick a ring after just that one trip. I planned a second trip to jewelers row in Philly on the first Saturday in September. Just enough time since the trip to the mall for her to not suspect anything and well, the idea of looking at rings made her too giddy to consider my motivations. At this point, I am starting to get nervous. With less than two months to her birthday and no ring yet purchased, I am a man on a mission. Luck was with me that Saturday and she found both a band and diamond she liked. I put refundable deposits on both in an effort to show her I was serious about this, but without her suspecting my timeline as I had gone to great lengths to keep it a secret. It is supposed to be a surprise after all.
With some fortunate timing I was able to purchase both items the following Saturday, but still needed to wait for the band to be made and the diamond to be set. It took an excruciating amount of time for ring to be ready but finally, by the second weekend of October, I had the ring! IT. WAS. BEAUTIFUL. Now the hard part, I had made it this far without spoiling the surprise but when do I actually propose? I only had two weekends between now and her birthday and we had something planned for each one. I settled in my mind I would do it this weekend. We had a trip to a corn maze with friends. A perfect opportunity or so I thought.
Well, that weekend came and went and not once did I have an opportunity, despite carrying the ring with me the entire weekend. With only one weekend left, it was do or die to keep that promise I made to myself all those months ago. The following weekend Sarah and I were headed to Boston to see some friends. In a stroke of amazing luck, we had been gifted tickets to the New England Aquarium. The chance I needed. Well that Friday came, and with the ring tucked into my bag, we headed to Boston. About five minutes from arriving at the aquarium we realize it will soon close and Sarah goes into full rush mode. She grows quite annoyed at my lame excuse to get some “Advil” for my “headache” from my bag. The aquarium was wonderful but the entire time we are walking through and looking at the exhibits my only thought was, “Is this the place?”.
What surprised you most about planning your wedding?
Steve: how many decisions there are to be made and the number of options for everything. Sarah: how particular Steve was about certain items - the cake in particular. What was the best resource you found for wedding planning? The internet is always an easy go-to to find all the information but can get easily overwhelming. A few months in, I bought a wedding planner (with help from her sister/maid of honor), from Erin Condren. It has monthly checklists that’s didn’t make me feel behind with a shorter than normal engagement (9.5 months). It also helped to be able to write things down especially with the constantly changing circumstances of COVID-19. Etsy is an amazing place for all things wedding as well!
Best part of your wedding day? Getting to marry each other! Besides that, we loved our intimate wedding ceremony and how everything turned out in the end. We got to enjoy the day with each other and talk to every single guest without feeling rushed. And our photographers - TrueFold Media, Alex and Chelsea Ferkh - who made taking all the pictures fun and amazing! Best part of the wedding planning? Sarah: Learning more about each other, and getting to look at all the inspiration pictures, and put it all together! Steve: without a doubt, cake tasting. And obviously working with the best invitation designer there is!
What advice will you give your friends getting married? To not stress about the little things. It will come together. For those that know me, that is saying A LOT. I always stress about the little things, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t have time to get all the decorations I wanted, but in the end it didn’t matter. It was beautiful and perfect regardless. Planning early before COVID hit definitely helped. We were able to replan our wedding from 140 down to 25 with a new venue in 3 weeks because of the prep work we did. Don’t get stressed about where the internet checklists tell you that you should be in your wedding planning process - it is a guideline. I wasn’t able to follow everything as they said, but it still worked out! Also, it is YOUR wedding. No one else’s. It's hard to listen to all the opinions, but try to stay true to yourself. It will make your day better, and not regret your choices if you do what you want. Don’t forget to laugh with each other and have fun during the process. It is stressful. There is no doubt about that. Try to remember it is about the joining of your love and each other rather than a wedding reception. Don’t forget why you are doing it in the first place! For each other! If you can make it through wedding planning - especially during COVID - you will come out stronger and better! Just remember, you got this!
Ceremony & Reception Location: Indian Valley Country Club | Photographer: TrueFold Media | Florist: Wedding Flowers by Scott | DJ: Silver Sound - DJ Jason Remaly Sarah's Dress: The Country Bride and Gent - Designer: Stella York