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Sarah & Jeff | Real Weddings

Sarah shares the story of her and Jeff’s rustic but elegant garden wedding, plus a beautiful video to remember their big day.

Olia Zavozina 'Ebie' Wedding Dress

Location and Special Details: Jeff and I had never been to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens before and when we went to look at it, we fell in love. The flowers were blooming, we had the whole place to ourselves, the staff was wonderful. We had the ceremony and cocktail hour outside on the terrace and the reception inside one of the halls that looked out to the garden. The sun was setting. It was gorgeous. The food was amazing. I think that was one of the things that sold us on the location. Bon Appetit did the catering and everything was delicious. Our guests complimented us on the food the most!

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Our Theme: We wanted to do a rustic theme but have it be light and fun. Our colors were coral, blush and gold. For our seating assignments, we had a huge mirror with everyone’s name written in gold. For our cards, we had a mini birdcage. The floral arrangements were coral, blush, white, leafy—very earthy.

Champagne GlassesSimple white wedding cake with pink peonies. 12241393_10205088534999794_9085620730853809518_n

Special Moments: Jeff and I had an evening wedding, so we took pictures before the ceremony, which I liked because our first reveal was very private. We were able to hug, kiss and cry without anyone seeing us (other than the photographer and videographer to capture the moment!). We had that moment to ourselves. Even though I had seen Jeff prior to walking down the aisle, I became very emotional when I saw him standing at the end waiting for me. My eyes were on him the whole time. Walking toward the man I am going to spend the rest of my life with was a feeling I will never forget or be able to replicate.

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The Dress: Dana from the Wedding Suite at Nordstrom was an absolute pleasure to work with, as was Natasha from Nordstrom. They made the experience, from the trying-on process to the final fitting, awesome. Dana called my mom when there was going to be a trunk show and invited us one Sunday afternoon. The designer that day was Olia Zavozina. I had tried on about 10 dresses at various stores prior to attending this trunk show at Nordstrom and none felt right. I tried on Olia’s ‘Ebie’ dress and knew it was the one. I always have wanted a simple yet elegant dress. This one has lace on top and silk on the bottom. I had pearls as buttons down the entire back. I completed the look I wanted with a jeweled belt that made the dress perfect.

Pink peony wedding bouquet.

Advice for Brides-to-Be: Don’t stress. Everything will turn out wonderfully. Enjoy every minute because the day flies by.

Last Thoughts: We had an amazing time planning our wedding. It was a day and experience I will never forget. Our relationship grew stronger than ever and I couldn’t be happier with the day.


The Honeymoon: Aruba. It was both my and Jeff’s first time. We stayed at an all-inclusive resort. While it was windy all the time, the sun was shining every day. It was fabulous.


Photos by Kim Ponksy Photography | Video by Jeffrey James with First Choice Videos

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