I missed y’all last week! With the 4th of July weekend, things got a little hectic and I didn’t get the chance to finish up this post. But I am excited to finally share our wedding ceremony with y’all!
I feel like the ceremony is the one thing I really haven’t shared any pictures of. But it was absolutely more beautiful than I could have ever imagined, and I am so glad we had it where we did!
The Colony has a variety of locations to hold a wedding ceremony, despite the hotel being so small. Having it in the Hanging Garden was a no-brainer for us. This allowed it to be outside, while still being out of the sun. Plus, who can resist the gorgeous foliage hanging above? Looking back on it, it was very smart of us to do, considering people spend tens of thousands of dollars to get a similar hanging garden look at their wedding – and we didn’t pay a dime extra!
Some other details I loved that came with the venue were the small fountain that acted as our altar and the Serena & Lily chairs that the guests were seated in. This area usually serves as Swifty’s restaurant and they happen to use Serena & Lily chairs. I asked our planner if we could use them and she said it wouldn’t be a problem!
I also liked the fact that since this serves as a dining area, it is not in the grass. Outdoor weddings, in my opinion, are normally hot and sticky, your heels get stuck in the grass, there are bugs, etc… just not enjoyable in my opinion. I never anticipated having an outdoor wedding, but with a venue like this, I gladly agreed to. Plus, we were only outside for the ceremony and cocktail hour – and we got married in the evening so the weather wasn’t unbearable. Never in a million years could you even pay me to have an outdoor wedding reception; just my opinion.
Since the venue was gorgeous on its own, we were able to have minimal decorations that we actually added/paid for. Our florist, Dalsimer Atlas, made two beautiful arrangements for the altar space, which also got moved to the reception area after the ceremony. They were so much bigger than I anticipated, but they were so beautiful! I also wanted a rose-covered aisle, since we didn’t have a flower girl, and Dalsimer also did that and supplied the white runner to make it pop against the brick terrace.
Some of the items we brought ourselves for the ceremony were the hurricanes/candles that lined the aisle, the hand fans we placed on each seat (which my sister customized at her shop with ribbon and our monogram from Schuler Studio), and our supplies for the glass ceremony (which I’ll get into in a minute). We opted not to do programs since we knew the ceremony would be short and everyone there was pretty close to us, plus our officiant (my Uncle) knew how to communicate well with the guests. I did like the fans we sat on the chairs though, since it was an outdoor wedding. It was something people could use the rest of the night, and the rest of their trip. We bought ours on Oriental Trading, but for the life of me I can’t find them on the site any more; these ones are similar.
A word of advice to brides: consider the width of your gown! This is something I didn’t even consider when planning and didn’t think of even after seeing the setup of the ceremony venue. But once I began walking down the aisle, I panicked! I looked down, saw the lit candles in the hurricanes, and thought “This is definitely not wide enough.” I looked to my left, since my Dad was on the right side of me, and I said to our one guest “Can you get my train?” She nodded, and thankfully as I went down the aisle, those sitting along the side followed suit. That was something that was 100% my fault, because I knew that if I would have said something before the event started, it would have been fixed. I also had a ballgown style dress with a long train, but if you have a more narrow dress you probably won’t have to worry about it. It is funny to look back on pictures of the processional though – Grant and I are smiling at the camera while all of our guests are looking down in horror at the aisle, guiding my dress along.
We didn’t want a long ceremony – I knew I wanted it to be 30 minutes max. My Uncle Andy, who is a pastor, was our officiant and he knew how to make it short and sweet. However, we didn’t want things too short, so we opted to do a glass ceremony. Similar to a sand ceremony, we used the company Unity in Glass to pick colors of glass to combine at our ceremony, symbolizing us coming together to form a marital bond (and we chose a third color my Uncle poured in to represent God in our relationship). We have since shipped that glass to the company and they are creating it into a vase, as well as some other pieces. We haven’t gotten it back yet, but when we do I’ll do a whole blog post sharing more.
As I mentioned in my last post, our DJ, Adam from Good as Gold Events, also did our ceremony music. We hand-picked everything and went with mostly instrumental Disney music. Despite not getting married at Disney like our original plan was, I still wanted to keep our processional song – the Fantasmic theme song! This is honestly the only moment I wish I would have had a videographer for lol. But our Disney-loving friends attending loved that we picked that song!
I’m eventually going to do a post on “unconventional” and “controversial” things we did for our wedding, but I wanted to mention two of them now since we are discussing the ceremony. We ended up doing assigned seats at our ceremony. Our wedding was only 40 people, including the wedding party, and some of the families had 5-7 people attending. I didn’t want to put tons of seating up and have empty chairs, but I also didn’t want it to be a free-for-all and have families separated. Honestly, it worked out very well! We gave the groomsmen (who also ushered) seating charts and they took it from there! It gave us a lot of peace of mind.
Another thing we did for the ceremony, which I know some people had an issue with, is that we collected cell phones. I have been to too many weddings and heard too many horror stories about peoples’ cell phones going off, people filming, taking pictures, and getting in the way of a photographer. I just simply wasn’t okay with that being a possibility. And while I wish I could say I trust people enough to not do that, I can’t. I know many people also opt to do a “social media minute” where guests can take pictures, but that wasn’t something I was particularly interested in doing. We had a family friend standing at the entrance to the ceremony with brown paper bags and a marker. A name was put on the bag, and the phone inside it, and it was taken away for the remainder of the ceremony. The person I had collecting them/passing them out told me how frantic people were about getting them back at cocktail hour. It’s honestly sad how adults can’t go 30 minutes without a cell phone. Again, I know many people probably weren’t fans of that, but I am glad we did it because we don’t have one cell phone in our professional photos that we paid thousands of dollars for, and no unsolicited pictures from the ceremony popped up on Facebook later on.
Next time we will talk about cocktail hour, which is probably one of my favorite parts of the wedding! I can’t wait to share it with you. As always, if you have any questions or comments leave them below or connect with me on Instagram! Don’t forget to sign up for my email list to be notified when I post next.
P.S. All wedding photos are by the fabulous Shea Christine!