Real Weddings: Emily + Gary | Nordstrom Fashion Blog

Photography by Bushard Photo

Wedding Dresses Weddings

Emily & Gary | Real Weddings

In May, Emily and Gary exchanged vows along the sunny seaside of San Diego, surrounded by their dear friends and family. 

Emily, tell us about the location.

I’m a Navy brat. I was born in San Diego and spent most of my childhood there. Growing up, whenever my dad was leaving or coming home from deployment, my mom, brother and myself would go to the harbor and watch his ship. There was no doubt in my mind that would be the location of my wedding. Gary also proposed further down the peninsula, overlooking downtown San Diego.

What was the theme or inspiration?

I found brightly colored, floral invitations at Paper Source and that inspired the rest of the wedding and decorations— which I made myself.

I love hot pink and glitter, and even though I was told my palette was too bold for a wedding, I didn’t let that stop me from incorporating my favorite colors. I wore hot pink for all events related to our wedding—the rehearsal, bridal shower, engagement pictures.

Gary went to Syracuse University and their school colors are orange and blue. Throughout our relationship, we’ve gone to many Syracuse sporting events. The Big Orange will always have a special place in my heart, so orange was an obvious choice for a wedding color. 

Tell us about your favorite moment.

Gary and I were adamant about not seeing each other prior to the ceremony. Instead, I wanted to have a special moment, or “first look,” with my dad and brother. I had kept my dress a secret from both of them too. My dad started crying before he even saw me. It was such a special moment between us and my mom. I’ll never forget it.   

We wanted to have a technology-free wedding so our guests could focus on the words and us during the ceremony. This was one of the best ideas ever. I’ll never forget looking out and seeing my college roommate and locking eyes with her. She gave me a big smile, which meant the world to me. 

How did you know your dress was the one?

My mother’s side of the family was together in Denver for Thanksgiving and as a fun girls’ outing, we decided to try on wedding dresses. I had zero expectations and I didn’t think I was going to find “the one” that day. I knew I wanted something fitted, a little sexy, but classic with a low-cut back. When I got to my appointment there were three dresses for me to try on. All of them were beautiful, but they didn’t give me that special feeling. My stylist showed me a fourth dress and as soon as I saw it, I knew.

It sounds cheesy, but the moment felt like something out of a movie. My cousin asked, “Is this the one?” I looked at my mom and saw her in tears. Smiling, she mouthed, “I love you.”  At that moment I said yes to the dress! When I stepped out of it, I saw that it was Hayley Paige, which made sense—her dresses have always stood out to me. And her label is hot pink!

My parents celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary this year. I was honored to be able to wear my mom’s cathedral veil on my wedding day. I know it was extra special for her too.

I wore the Jimmy Choo Chiara gold glitter shoes. BEST SHOES EVER! I wore them all night and my feet felt amazing.

Any tidbits you’d like to share about your wedding party’s outfits?

Gary wore Ted Baker London and the groomsmen wore Calvin Klein (from Nordstrom Rack) suits. The bridesmaids wore Adrianna Papell and Söfft Innis wedges.

Any advice for brides-to-be?

Know that everything will work out and try not to stress. Whenever I started to feel overwhelmed, I thought about Gary and remembered that the wedding is just one day, but we will be together forever. It really helped me keep calm throughout planning and the day of. When I let the small things go, I started to have more fun.

Where was the honeymoon?

We spent a week in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a few days after our wedding.

Photography by Bushard Photo

Did you find your wedding gown or bridesmaid dresses at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details on getting your wedding featured on our blog. And for more inspiration, make a complimentary appointment with a Wedding Stylist or browse our Wedding Suite.

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