• Elizabeth Casper

Wedding Part 2 I "Secret Ceremony" + Cocktail hour + Reception perfection!

Updated: Apr 22


There are just SO many things and SO many pictures I want to share about our wedding day! It's hard to pair it down, but Imma try! I want to take you all on our journey.



*Secret Ceremony*


There was a small portion of the day when Robby and I were taking pictures that felt utterly blissful! I was on cloud nine and forgot about the looming ceremony decision. I had let the venue know that that no matter what, I wanted to do it outdoors in the garden. They then came back with - we would not have any speakers, no music, and possibly no chairs. I was so overwhelmed and saddened by the idea of loosing an outdoor ceremony that I couldn’t think rationally about it. Everyone wanted me to make decisions, and they all knew the answer that I should give, but deep down I didn’t want to. I knew the harsh realities of the situation, but I still didn’t want to give in. That is when my bride’s team showed UP and took care of everything! They started putting together music (thank goodness most of our friends are from the theatre world) , and scheming about how to get us our dream ceremony. My mom came over to Robby and I while we were taking our pictures with a great idea. What if we did a secret ceremony? We could do it in the garden with just my aunt (who was marrying us), family, and bridal party. Mock it up like the real thing, but it would just be us. And thus, magic ensued!


I think this might be THE moment we decided on our secret ceremony!



But first, we bussed our bridal party outside to snag pictures, and it started to rain again! While trying to find cover we came across an old carousel on property and I still have no idea who broke into it! (shhhhhhhh!) Those have ended up being some of my favorite pictures. So quirky and fun!



While we saw the rain letting up, we all ran back over to the garden to get married!

My uncle and some of my "outlaws" (the loving term my family uses to describe those married in) showed up at this moment with a water proof speaker, umbrellas, and words of encouragement! Funnily enough, that was one of the most emotional moments of the day for me. I am getting emotional right now typing this! But it just meant so much for them to show up for us and showed me so much what marriage was all about. The joining of two people and their families.


Everyone lined all up just like we had practiced. Our incredible friends even scrambled to put music together! My friend T. Scott’s wide ran to get his guitar, he learned “I See the Light” in literal minutes (this was the song I was originally planning on walking down the aisle to) And then to my delight, and INSTANT tears, my darling little and dear friend started SINGING as we walked down the aisle. I cannot even explain to you the perfection & bliss & and utter certainess and joy I felt in that moment. It was surreal and amazing. Our ceremony was the same. I stared into Robby’s eyes listening to every word my aunt said and just feeling and agreeing with everything that we envisioned our union to be. It was perfect and we could never have planned it.



WE'RE MARRIED!



Everyone just showed up. That’s what I’ve said over and over again. I would not have let go of control unless all of this craziness had happened. We could NOT have planned this magic. and it WAS pure magic! We are so blessed. So at the end of the day, I am actually grateful for the rain. It set us up to have the most magical experience of our lives.


And also..... how GORGEOUS is our ENTIRE bridal party!?!?! I love these incredible humans!



Ceremony Number 2!


Our second ceremony was wonderful! We were all so amped up by what we had just experienced at our first ceremony, that the energy was just buzzing. It was like we all had this incredible secret together! And then to do it all again in the presence of ALL of our loved ones was just amazing!




Cocktail hour


One of the first things we had planned for the wedding after our venue, was a steal drum band for the reception! My parent’s had seen them play at a Zoo event and loved them. They felt like it would add a very Disney, vibe and we are all about Disney! After our secret ceremony bliss, I completely forgot that they would be there! We walked up to get ready for the second ceremony at our reception venue and they were playing and it was magic! They even played the Cantina song at one point which, if you know us, you know we are HUGE Star Wars fans! So that was an amazing addition.





We also had a carousel for the cocktail hour, but Robby and I never got a chance to ride it and have no pictures documenting it! It was so great seeing how much fun all of our guests were having with it though!


And I finally got to debut my Happily Ever After jacket! I was so excited by this idea and it turned out so well! I worked with my favorite screen printer in Toledo. There was a confusion with the date I needed it by, so in the end they did the jacket and my flannel in ONE DAY! They were superheroes like so many other people we worked with. I am so grateful for them!



Reception details!


This was probably my favorite part of all of the things that were created for our wedding celebration. My mom is UBER creative and incredibly talented. The reception especially was the epitome of her incredible magical brain and magical creative powers. EVerything there was created by her.



Our table florals were put together by my increibdly talented neighbor! It was really important to me to have the day feel like ours and having so many pieces created by so our loved ones really made that so and made that happen.


Each table had a theme and a symbol to go with it. The inspiration for each being one of our favorite fandoms like Harry Potter, Star Wars, Parks & Rec, Psych, etc... We also opted for a Wish Tree instead of a guest book. (I got this idea from a stay at Animal Kingdom Lodge years ago.) We asked our guests to write wishes for us as a newly married couple and reading them was so much fun!


For dessert, we wanted to stray from the norm a bit. My favorite dessert is chocolate chip cookies and Robby’s is cheesecake. Rather than spend a TON of money on a cake we didn’t love, we got a small cake for us to cute and had a dessert table filled with all sorts of goodies people could mix & match. We included mini cheesecakes from a local bakery, and THE best desserts made by our family & friends! I am so thankful for this dessert table, because after our second ceremony Robby and I were so overwhelmed and STARVING! We snagged some chocolate chip cookies to hold us over! (these are LEGENDARY and made by an incredible family friend!)


Like the big ole nerds we are, Robby and I walked into our reception to “Catch Your Dream” from parks ad rec. This was an idea I had YEARS ago and one of the concrete things I knew I wanted when going into planning our wedding!





Speeches


The speeches were one of my favorite parts of the night! We finally got to sit down and relax, and everyone was just so wonderful. I cried obviously. Especially during my little brother’s speech! I remember that being such a moment of the purest happiness I had ever felt. Like everything was just right. The man I was marrying, our families joining, are friends that are family there to support. It was incredible and the immense bliss I felt in that moment was indescribable. (Though, I will say, the real zingers came the night before at our rehearsal dinner. Robby's family has a tradition of opening the floor to the family that would like to speak that night, and they were EPIC)



PARTY!


And then finally…..the DANCING!


Our band was INCREDIBLE! Like truly. They made the night!


Music is HUGE in my family! Almost every family gathering ends with pushing the table aside and having a big ole dance party in the kitchen. My parent’s house is almost never silent. So good music for our reception was top priority!


The band we worked with is my good friend’s dad’s band! They had played at their wedding a few years prior and I could not get them out of my head when planning ours. I tentatively reached out, praying that they would be willing to make the 4 hour drive, and they did! And I am so grateful because they brought the energy and created the party that we dreamed of! I dance the night away in bliss and I will never forget it! I would love to re-do that part of our day over and over and over again.



To sum it up... The best advice I can give any bride or groom to be would be just to go with the flow! Know you’re priorities and remember why you’re there. To marry your person. If you keep that in mind, everything will be absolute magic!


I feel like I wrote so much, but also not enough! I want to share every single detail of our absolutely amazing wedding day because it was so much more incredible than I ever imagined! I hope you enjoyed living our wedding day with me. If you have any questions about our wedding, the wedding planning process, or just wanna chat, leave a comment below!



VENDORS!

Bridal Gowns + Bridesmaids dresses / Jenny Yoo

Groomsmen jackets / Tommy Hilfiger - No longer available, but I linked the style so you could see!

Bridal party flannels / Old Navy

Bridesmaids earrings / Kamael Shine

Bridespeople's bracelets / The Fire Within Her

Bride's shoes / originally from Target & DIY'd (tutorial here!)

Bride hairpiece / Purchased from Atlas Bridal and customized by my mom!


Bride + Bridesmaid Hair / Janelle Faulkner


Engagement ring / Brilliant Earth

Wedding bands / ADORA

Jean Jacket / Found at Gabe's


Screenprinting (Bride's jean jacket & flannel) / Advanced Incentives


Photographer / Viridian Ivy

Videographer / Fairy Tale Productions

Florist / Hafner Florist

Invites / Designed by my brother! Printed by Brimming Design


Venue / The Toledo Zoo


Wedding location / Toledo Zoo Formal Gardens


Reception location / Toledo Zoo Malawi Event Center


Cake / Eston's


Mini Cheesecakes / Eston's


Band / Second Wind


Accommodations / Renaissance Toledo

96 views