I am a detail oriented person in all aspects of my life.  Details are emotionally, physically, esthetically, organizationally everything to me.  So when The Knot wanted to feature our wedding details in their Real Weddings, I was obviously ecstatic to stay the least.  A writer from The Knot reached us by email and attached a questionnaire for us to fill out because they were so excited to hear about the proposal, the planning, and the party.  We were to also explain each photo that M2 photography had submitted for us so they could write the captions.  Since I didn’t think Ben had ever logged on to The Knot before, I took the reigns on this one… or because I am a type A personality that loves to reminisce about our wedding day and what better way to do so than to write in every detail possible in this questionnaire.  I thoroughly enjoyed filling out each section and made sure they got the full picture of the emotions and atmosphere and the purpose of every detail.  Unfortunately, The Knot decided not to use captions with our pictures they featured. Thankfully, at least they did give vendor cred to all the amazing people/companies we worked with on the website.  Although, I can’t say the same for the magazine…. 😦   Since I technically promised to do all those wedding recaps via the blog time and time again, this questionnaire will not go to waste and here it is for your visual, emotional…. yada, yada, yada… stimulation!


Tell us briefly about how you met and why you chose the type of wedding you planned.

Ben and I met during our college freshman orientation and made our relationship official that spring semester in 2004.  After graduating, I accepted my first job locally, but Ben’s first career opportunity landed in Chicago.  We remained together despite the distance and managed to see each other once a month.  After I was diagnosed with Lupus in late 2008, Ben made it his priority to move back to the east coast.  A new job brought him home and we moved into our first apartment together.  In April 2010, he woke me up to an Easter egg hunt through our apartment. Ben knowing that I would go for the purple egg hid the engagement ring inside.  After I discovered it, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  I obviously said yes and we began to plan our wedding.

We both come from large families and have a lot of friends.  We wanted everyone who played a part in our lives to be able to share in our celebration too.  To do this, we agreed a traditional wedding day timeline of ceremony, cocktail hour, and a sit down dinner reception would cater our guests from young to old.  However, we looked for every opportunity to stray from tradition in the details.  My love for crafting was kicked into high gear as we wanted to create a labor of love wedding day that screamed our personalities.  We may be far from simple, but that was the key for décor.  Simple sophistication with natural and organic touches set a romantic ambiance that was as intoxicating as my love for Ben.  With the backdrop details set, we focused on making the day fun and memorable for our guests.  We hand wrote our ceremony with our officiant to incorporate various religious traditions, personal stories, and our own heart spoken vows.  Our music choices for the ceremony were the prelude to the party that our guests were in for as we walked down the aisle to a remix of “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” by The Girls Can Hear Us.  After dinner, formal dances, and toasts, the DJ kept our wish by keeping the dance floor packed the entire night.  Our wedding day was such a success because of the people we shared it with, the vendors we trusted, and the love Ben and I have for each other. We loved every minute of it!


Please provide names and the city/state for the following vendors where applicable. Format as such: Kabloom Florist, New York, NY

**please include the designer’s name and where you bought it

Note: If anything is DIY, please also tell us what materials you used and where you purchased them

CEREMONY SITE: La Massaria at Bella Vista, Gilbertsville, PA

RECEPTION SITE: La Massaria at Bella Vista, Gilbertsville, PA

PHOTOGRAPHY: Michael and Melissa McManus of M2 Photography, Philadelphia, PA (Collegeville, PA)



OFFICIANT[S]: Mark Kadetsky, he is a family friend of Ben’s and was Ben’s high school music teacher.  He became a legal officiant to marry us.

GOWN **: Private Label by G style 1393 from Agnes Edmunds Bridal & Formals, Pottstown, PA

HAIR: Linda Tucker of Salon Nova, Limerick, PA

MAKEUP: myself (Michelle)

VEIL **: my sister’s wedding veil (my something borrowed)

SHOES **: Gap plum colored ballet flats that I sewed handmade fabric flowers with crystals onto.

WEDDING RINGS **: Linwood Custom Jewelers, Linwood, NJ


EARRINGS **: J142267 – AffinityDiamond 1/10 ct tw & 8.5mm Cultured Pearl Earrings ordered from QVC.com


OTHER JEWELRY **: Bridesmaid’s jewelry was a combination of “spoon” bracelets from Etsy and charms added from “Kate & Allie Co.”, and earrings made by “Kate & Alli Co.” (Kate & Alli Co. is two friends from New Jersey who hand make jewelry)

BRIDESMAID DRESSES **: Bill Levkoff Style 679 in plum from Agnus Edmunds Bridal & Formals, Pottstown, PA

GROOM’S AND GROOMSMEN’S FORMALWEAR ** Clothes to Home, Bechtelsville, PA (slim fit tux with traditional bowtie, style?)

INVITATIONS: DIY; invitation and inserts designed by Michelle and Ben in PhotoShop; 8.5x 11 paper in matte color citron and cream puff ordered in bulk from cardandpockets.com; A7 Himalaya Dark Purple Solid Pocket Folders ordered from paperandmore.com; A7 Paper bag envelopes purchased at Paper Source, Ardmore, PA; twine, circle punches, and adhesive purchased at Michael’s craft stores; Purple Plum Divine Twine ordered through whiskergraphics.com; printed, cut, and assembled by us and family

PROGRAMS: DIY; design modified from weddingbee.com by Michelle and formatted in Microsoft Publisher; 8.5x 11 paper in matte color citron and cream puff ordered in bulk from cardandpockets.com; 8.5x 11 paper in Dark Purple Card Stock 80# from paperandmore.com; adhesive purchased at Michael’s craft stores, printed, cut, and assembled by Michelle

ESCORT/PLACE CARDS: DIY; formatted in Microsoft Publisher; printed on 8.5x 11 paper in matte color cream puff from cardandpockets.com; attached to card tents cut from 8.5x 11 paper in Dark Purple Card Stock 80# from paperandmore.com; printed, cut, and assembled by Michelle


SIGN-IN BOOK OR BOARD: Compiled book of engagement shoot pictures from M2 Photography; ordered through blurb.com

FLOWERS: R. Scott Olson from Florabundance, Gilbertsville, PA (preferred florist through the venue)

RENTAL EQUIPMENT (lighting, linens, tableware, tables, chairs, drapery, etc): chiavari chairs rented through The Party Center, Phoenixville, PA

CATERING: food provided by La Massaria at Bella Vista

MUSIC (indicate ceremony and/or reception): Ceremony: Instrumental versions of modern and familiar songs chosen by us were played through a lap top and sound equipment provided by Ben’s father and managed by a family friend; Reception: Patrick from Synergetic Sounds, Bensalem, PA

OTHER ENTERTAINMENT (performers other than musicians): N/A


CAKE: Mindy Tuohey and Liz Rega of Cake Couture, LLC, Spring City, PA


FAVORS:  Donation to American Cancer Society; Philly Soft Pretzels from Philly Pretzel Factory, Gilbertsville, PA

TRANSPORTATION: Bride and Bridal party to La Massaria– Lazer Limo, Limerick, PA; Groom and groomsmen to La Massaria – Staybridge Suites shuttle; Guests to and from hotel and La Massaria – Klein Transportation Coach Bus, Douglassville, PA

ACCOMMODATIONS: Staybridge Suites, Royersford, PA

HONEYMOON:  Eagelsmere, PA; We stayed in a friend’s cabin on a lake for a week of relaxing, mountain biking, hiking, cooking, and visiting local restaurants and pubs.


Tell us about your photos! Please refer to the accompanying PDF and briefly caption each image from left to right, starting with the top row.

For instance a cake picture: tell us about the toppings (fondant, buttercream, ganache?) and the filling and the decorations. If it’s a flower photo, tell us what types of flowers were in it. It’s a photo of your dress, what kind of fabric is it, is there beading? What shape is it? Etc.

Green and White Bridal Bouquet

Photo 1:  I requested a slightly smaller than normal bouquet in mostly white/ivory and with green accents.  Our florist used white hydrangea as a backdrop and filled in with white spray roses, white, Eskimo roses, ivory vendella roses, and white freesia.  Each of the green flowers incorporated into the bouquet were seen in the other flower arrangements throughout the wedding.  These included green spider mums, button mums, hypericum berries, and loops of monkey grass.

Origami Crane Reception Decor

Photo 2:  Although Ben is half Chinese, we took from the Japanese “1,000 origami crane” wedding tradition.  Friends and family helped us fold paper cranes in the months leading up to the wedding. No, we did not get to 1,000 cranes. My now mother-in-law and I strung the cranes with crystals in between each one.  The strings of cranes were hung above the perimeter of the dance floor and sparkled through the night.  (Paper: ivory printer paper from Staples; crystals and elastic string: Michael’s)

Dress Form Card Holder

Photo 3:  For an unconventional card holder we purchased a dress form bodice that was originally a coat rack.  The top hooks twisted off and I added green moss to the bottom and corseted purple ribbon to enclose the back.  Hand-cut letters on bunting gave our preliminary “thank you” for our guest’s generosity.  (bodice: Marshall’s; moss and ribbon: Michael’s)

Purple and White Wedding Cake

Photo 4:  We forwent the option to use the venue’s preferred baker and opted to use a childhood friend and her sister’s newly established cake business.  We chose a marble cake with peanut butter buttercream to satisfy my love for peanut butter and a rainbow sprinkle cake with vanilla buttercream to showcase our vibrant personalities.  The tiers were covered with vanilla fondant and decorated with eggplant colored piping. A statement ruffle flower with eggplant pearl beading and pearl dust to enhance the texture was the finishing touch on double-stacked middle tier.  We felt there was no need for a topper on this one!  We also offered vegan chocolate cupcakes for our animal conscious friends.

Green and White Program

Photo 5:  Inspired by a program template found on weddingbee.com, I formatted our program in Microsoft Publisher.  To create cohesiveness throughout all our wedding stationery we used the same fonts and paper to create the programs.  In a lighthearted, less than formal way, the programs stated the obvious (the marriage of Michelle and Ben, of course), explained who was who, gave cues on what to do during and after the ceremony, and concluded with a special thank you to all our guests.   (printed, cut, and assembled by Michelle; cardstock paper from bulk purchases listed above)

Private Label by G Bridal Gown

Photo 6:  This picture was taken as I was waiting to be taken upstairs to walk down the aisle.  I was cool, calm, and collected and could not wait to get it all started.  My wedding dress had a sweetheart neckline with an A-line silhouette. The detailing was romantic with flowing organza, scalloped lace, and beading. The veil I wore was my “something borrowed” from my sister and matron of honor.  I made a hair flower with layers of tulle, chiffon, and lace with crystals and pearls at the center to match my dress’s details. My “something blue” was a blue felt heart I sewed under the flower to keep everything together. While most brides splurge on shoes, I treated myself to my “something new,” a pair of earrings that complimented
the dress without overpowering the embellishments.  To complete the tradition of four somethings, I cherished my great grandmother’s handkerchief to dry my joyful tears as my “something old.”

The Wedding Ceremony

Photo 7:  We shared a few jittery giggles as my dad gave me away.  Our family friend who married us informed my dad and me about a minor process change, but forgot to relay it to Ben. It was no big deal, he was eager to get married and it set the mood for our ceremony which was meant to be fun and lighthearted.

First Kiss as Husband and Wife

Photo 8:  All along the ceremony was to be held outside in the courtyard, but a chilly wind made us change our minds. We wanted our guests to be comfortable and the alternate backdrop was just as beautiful, yet another reason we chose the venue.  The aisle was lined with tall hurricanes with candles and terrarium-like sculpted arrangements that later doubled
as table centerpieces.  The arch that stood behind us was hand built by Ben, my dad, and me and now has a home in our backyard. Oh, the first kiss was pretty amazing too.

Michelle & Ben in Gilbertsville, PA

Photo 9:  One of our many favorite pictures!  We just got married and it was just us, and our photographers, of course. The family and bridal party went in to enjoy cocktail hour as we got to enjoy each other’s company. We used this photograph as a postcard to write our formal thank you and send to our guests. (Postcards printed with Vistaprint; A2 paper bag envelopes: Paper Source, Ardmore, PA)

Mr. and Mrs. Chair Signs

Photo 10:  No traditional bride and groom or Mr. and Mrs. signs for this couple. In our college days, Ben started designing his own line of t-shirts naming the clothing line “obscene.”  The name stuck for Ben and I was dubbed Mrs. Obscene. After our engagement we started our own blog to document our wedding planning, our life, and other nonsense with the URL name mrandmrsobscene.wordpress.com.  All our wedding guests were familiar with the t-shirts and our blog, so it was only fitting. (Printed on bulk cardstock; twine: same as used for invitations, Michael’s)

String Art Table Number

Photo 11:  The tall hurricanes that were used to line the aisle during the ceremony doubled as centerpieces for the tables on the perimeter of the room. A terrarium-like arrangement was made with river rocks, moss, green spider mums, and monkey grass.  Tables surrounding the dance floor had low lying groupings of hydrangeas, roses, and spider mums. Left over wood and
stain from the arbor was used to make the posts for the table numbers.  Ben outlined the number with nails and freely wrapped purple and white baker’s twine around each of the nails. The same twine was used to wrap the pocketfolds of the invitations. (Wood and nails: The Home Depot; Purple Plum Divine Twine ordered through whiskergraphics.com)

Classic White Table Decor

Photo 12:  The venue is a converted old barn and all the rustic elements remain which was perfect for the natural organic feel we wanted. To complement the exposed stone walls and wooden beams we rented black chiavari chairs and kept the linens monochromatic for simplicity.

Couple's First Dance

Photo 13:  Our first dance was to Adele’s, “Make You Feel My Love.” Overwhelmed with love and joy, this was the most emotional part of the day and night for me, even more than the ceremony. Everywhere I looked I saw love and pure happiness and it was all for us.

{All photos are courtesy of Michael and Melissa McManus of M2 Photography, in case you didn’t know already.}

The End, Cheeseburger! (inside joke)

It is pretty awesome to go on to theknot.com and see the “love it” counts.  Today I even saw someone had a question about something and I answered them back!  Its just a shame they will miss out on the sappy details so eloquently written above. 😉

All lovey-dovey-ed out??? Too bad… or skip this part…   This past weekend was a great reminder of why I love my husband so much.  Since we are on the topic of our wedding, to quote my vows:

“I promise to always stand by your side through poverty and prosperity, in good times and bad, through all of your health and if you were ever to fall ill.  I promise to support your dreams as though they are my own, no matter how big or small.

I promise to love, accept, and respect you the way you are; a random mix of spontaneity, a  garage full of unfinished projects, a list of hobbies that go from one end of the spectrum to the other, but most of all, a free-spirited soul full of passion that is so contagious for living life to the fullest.

Ben, you love me the way I need to be loved and with you life seems completely different, exciting, and worthwhile.  I know as we embark on this new journey we will continue to live our life in the last lane, but I promise to always keep us between the mustard and the mayonnaise.

It is you that has made me realize that I am most certainly not nothing without you, but with you, I am so much more than I ever thought possible. I promise to love you and only you with all of my heart, now and for the rest of my life, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.”

The lines in bold come bursting through my mind every time I watch this video.  I am not one to publicly post all over social media how much I love my hubby-wubby-boo-boo-bear, (no, I don’t call him that, I was going for dramatics) but he deserves some special thanks and love for being so awesome.  Thanks for all the encouragement, honey bunches of oats! (yes, I have called him that.) Enjoy the video and view of me conquering the Manayunk wall.

While I have you all here, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mother …and to America tomorrow.  Have a fun and safe holiday, y’all!