Celebrating the winter solstice is always special. This year we added even more depth and meaning by setting our intentions and joining hands together.. forever.
December 21, 2021 - the date in and of itself felt magical, but it fell on a Tuesday, could we really have our wedding that day? Well, I'll spoil the surprise now.. We did!!! The idea called to us and it felt right. Everything fell into place once we committed to it. Planning an intimate wedding for our immediate family on the shortest, darkest day of the year ended up being the perfect way to celebrate our union, officially.
You see, Matthew and I welcomed a baby girl in September and together we are raising two boys from my previous marriage. Our family grew to a party of five and it was time to tie the knot. At the time of the wedding, Lyra was exactly three months old - a big, “traditional” wedding wasn’t exactly what I was envisioning. We considered taking a family trip out west to elope but with COVID still being a valid concern we opted not to take that approach. We found a venue in Philadelphia, a city very special to us and the aesthetic was classy and dreamy. Black and white checkered floors in the halls, a grand winding staircase, fabulous mantles adorned with antique brass candle holders and winter greenery, mirrors galore and a wooden arbor draped with more winter greenery.
We had the date of the winter solstice in mind for our elopement and upon seeing the space and the way Monica, the owner, decorated we just knew everything would come together flawlessly. I wanted a wintery feel but not Christmasy. Dark yet illuminated, an encapsulation of the sparkle of the season to honor the celestial shift and rebirth of the sun. The black and while tile, dark wood doors and floors, white walls and neutral color palette left room to bring our vision to life. We asked our guests to dress for the occasion; the gentlemen in blue suits and green neckties, and black dresses for the ladies. Matthew and our sons, Derek and Emmett wore matching green bow ties and I wore navy blue shoes.
For the botanical elements we had the mantles and arbor draped in winter greenery, the bridal bouquet and boutonnières included the same pine and cedar greenery along with white and blue florals. Pinecones we’re incorporated throughout our table scape and our three tier cake was adorned with a matching arrangement.
I designed our wedding invitations and coordinating stationary. Printed on handmade cotton paper featuring wintery, botanical elements that inspired my bouquet. Rather than mailing our invitations, I put together boxes which included the gentleman’s neckties, a jar of honey with a dipping stick, cedar from our backyard, a pinecone and a pair of bells. Each of these elements representing something special to us or the season and hand delivered them to our guests. We wanted to gift the ties eloquently and given we only had to prepare eight total arrangements we felt it would work well if we presented the invitations with the ties.
Each decision we made for the wedding tied in with another aspect, evolving as we went along. I had always dreamed of wearing blue shoes on my wedding day, which led to the suits being blue. The dark, wintery vibe of the solstice influenced the black dresses for the ladies and black linens at dinner. The rebirth of the sun was represented with an abundance of beeswax candles made by Matthew and I and brass candle holders to display them. The floral arrangements were inspired by the greenery of the season. I envisioned everything for months and am so pleased with how it all came together. Each aspect truly represents something meaningful and aligned with the winter solstice season.
The ceremony, an ancient handfasting ritual, was officiated by our close friend, Amanda Crooke of Locust Light Farm and our first dance commenced at the base of the staircase to an acoustic melody sang by dear friend (who also happens to be Amanda's husband, they are quite the pair!) After a brief cocktail intermission, a winter feast prepared by private chef, Joan J, ensued and was served family style while champagne and wine flowed and conversation followed. The evening concluded with divine desserts including warm apple pie (with ~homemade~ ice cream!) and earl grey wedding cake with Swiss meringue honey buttercream filling. We saved our top tier to enjoy a year and a day from now.
Guests were sent home with ornaments to adorn their trees and monogrammed blankets to have and to hold in case they got cold. ;)
I can’t wait to share more of the professional photos Jess Flynn captured on film and digital from our big day. It was so special to celebrate the winter solstice and our union with our immediate family and we are already dreaming up a grand summer solstice renewal to celebrate with our extended family and friends.
Wishing you all an abundance of solstice magic. - Chanel