Real Brides

Vanessa recounts her and Jon’s May wedding at the Renaissance D.C. Downtown Hotel in the nation’s capital.

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My Vision: The reception venue was modern and sleek but still warm and inviting. This modern look lent itself well to the D.C. vibe we were trying to achieve, as well as a less formal feel to the reception. For example, we did not have a traditional sit-down dinner; rather, we incorporated live-action stations in our reception ballroom, which included a mashed potato bar, a crêpe station, and a crab cake station. Finally, we had a photo booth that was a hit with our guests—such a fun experience, and it also doubled as our wedding favor. Overall, we wanted our guests to enjoy a great party with delicious food and drinks and have FUN!

The Scene: When we were planning for our wedding, an issue was that my family was scattered across the Northeast, while Jon’s family was situated in Seattle, WA. Our closest friends live in the D.C. metro area. Ultimately, we decided to have the wedding in Washington, D.C., as it is a location that both families could travel to and one that our friends could easily get to. Moreover, we hoped that our out-of-town guests would take advantage of their D.C. visit to check out the monuments and other historic sites!

St. Dominic’s is a breathtaking church that provided a serene setting for us to exchange our vows. We visited many potential reception sites to follow up the ceremony with before deciding on the Renaissance D.C. Hotel. However, after our first meeting with an event coordinator at the Renaissance, we felt excitement: something we hadn’t felt with the other venues we’d visited. As the event coordinator showed us around the hotel, Jon and I could see our wedding playing out, details and all.

We loved the modern yet inviting feel of the hotel as well as its central location in D.C., for both out-of-town and local guests. The coordinator was also inviting—her warmth was evident, as was her love of planning weddings. Jon and I knew we wanted to work with a coordinator who saw our wedding as unique and would put as much care into it as we were.

Special Moments: Our favorite moment took place right before the ceremony began. Jon was in the back with our priest, Father Schommer, talking through the ceremony logistics and running down the list of items to check off, as they were waiting for the clock to hit 2pm. They heard Jon’s sister singing and the organ playing, and then Fr. Schommer asked about our cantor (the chief singer employed by the church). He asked if Jon had seen him around. They discovered that neither of them had actually called the cantor. When they did, they found out that he was sitting on his couch at home! The chief singer who we had worked with for 8 months had forgotten about our wedding. Fr. Schommer made a quick announcement to the congregation that there was a 5-minute delay, and that we were “waiting for one of the musicians.” He asked the organist to please continue to play music. This was at 2:01pm.

Fr. Schommer was a quick thinker, and he went through the ceremony songs and figured out which of them he could sing and which he couldn’t. In a minute or so, we had it figured out, and were ready to go. At about 2:05pm, Fr. Schommer walked out of the sacristy (the area behind the altar), onto the altar and quickly came right back. He said to Jon, “Vanessa is coming down the aisle!” The wedding party and I didn’t hear Fr. Schommer’s announcement of the delay, as his microphone speakers didn’t reach the vestibule (the area that the wedding party and I were lined up ready to process in). On top of that, the filler music being played by the organist was the processional music I was meant to walk down the aisle to. With all that confusion, the wedding party started to process in… without Fr. Schommer or Jon at the end of the aisle.

Fr. Schommer asked Jon to wait for a minute so that I could get down to the end of the aisle, and then waved Jon out. There was a roar of laughter, and made this moment truly memorable and unique to our wedding.

My Dress: I found my wedding gown at the Tysons Corner Wedding Suite in McLean, VA. There couldn’t have been a more perfect gown to suit my style and my wedding day in the nation’s capital. My wedding stylist, Maria, called me for my first consultation in June 2013. Knowing I was petite with curves, she suggested designs by Matthew Christopher. His ‘Moet’ gown was the second gown that I tried on when I had my first appointment with Maria, and I immediately fell in love. I tried on a few more gowns just to be sure, but each one couldn’t compare to ‘Moet’—it sealed the deal for me. I purchased my Nina wedges, Nadri earrings, Nina veil and Nina clutch from the suite as well. I also found the bridesmaid dresses and flower girl dress at the suite!

The Wedding Suite: Maria and the Wedding Suite team made my shopping and alterations experience incredible, from the day I purchased my gown to my last fitting. Not only were they organized and detail-oriented; they were also warm and caring, making my wedding experience that much more memorable. I didn’t feel like just one more bride walking through the suite. Rather, I felt my experience was unique to Maria and the team.

Photos by Rachel Naft

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Eva shares the tale of her and Jeff’s May wedding at Windows on the River in Cleveland, Ohio.

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My Vision: I wanted a simple and enjoyable day. It was all about gathering with loved ones and having a great time! My goal was to create a day that Jeff and I could celebrate with all our favorite people without feeling stressed and crazy. I wanted to take in the special moments as they happened, so I would have amazing memories. I wanted to keep with certain traditions but also to make our wedding unique and perfect for the two of us. At the end of the day, everything was without flaw, and we all danced the night away!

The Scene: It was a beautiful, sunny, 70-degree day in Cleveland. The room that held our ceremony and reception had high ceilings and tall windows that let in the natural light and provided gorgeous moonlight in the evening. The exposed brick and other architectural features made it the perfect place to display the fresh floral arrangements and romantic colors we had chosen.

Jeff and I had our first look outside the venue under an old stone bridge. It was a sweet time that we shared alone, before all the festivities really began. Jeff finally saw the dress that I had been anxiously waiting for him to see me in, and he was so handsome in his new blue suit. The ceremony was emotional and heartfelt as we shared our vows we had written to each other. We started the party off with cocktail hour outside on the patio as we listened to a live pianist with a view of the city in the background. There was delicious food, tear-jerking toasts and all kinds of dancing.

The best moment for me was standing back and seeing all the happiness and love around us and between us as the realization of our perfect day set in. Every little thing came together, and the two of us could not have been more thrilled.

My Dress: The team at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite was great in helping me find my gown and making it perfect. I went to the store for a Hayley Paige trunk show without any expectations of finding my dress on my first shopping trip. I had an open mind and wanted to try different styles to see what suited me. I was so excited with what Nordstrom had to offer, and my stylist helped me try everything I had in mind. She did a great job of making me feel comfortable and special as I quietly analyzed each dress.

After trying on about seven dresses, I tried the Hayley Paige ‘Guindon’ gown, and although it was interesting and fun, it did not make a great first impression. I took it off and moved to another. After thinking on it, I went back to the ‘Guindon’ to give it another try. After I explained that I loved everything about it except for the stripes, Hayley told me she could make it without the stripes. I was sold!

Bride: Hayley Paige ‘Guindon’
Bridesmaids: Amsale Crinkled Chiffon in Blush

The Wedding Suite: When it came to finding dresses for my bridesmaids, we loved the Amsale collection because the dresses came in so many different colors and styles. We picked the blush pink color, and then each bridesmaid chose the same dress in a slightly different style. The dresses were definitely the look I was going for, and I was glad to have found them at Nordstrom.

The process of fitting the dress was great, as I had complete trust that the alterations would make it just right. Natasha altered the dress so that it fit me perfectly. It was convenient being at Nordstrom and having the lingerie department so close. The manager came down to help me find a bra that would best work with my dress. The experience of going for fittings was exciting, as I couldn’t wait to get back into my dress each time!

Photos by Mindy Sue Photography

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Last month, Racked hosted an Instagram contest for one lucky engaged couple to win a totally free Brooklyn wedding. The catch? They’d have to plan it all in less than one month. We were thrilled to be a part of this event and offer the bride the dress of her dreams. The winning bride, Jacqueline Berman, wore a gorgeous Heidi Elnora ‘Coco Marie’ gown, and she looked absolutely stunning. It was incredible to see the wedding coordinated on such short notice! See how the entire day unfolded over at Racked’s Wedding Week feature.

Photos by: Daniel Silbert

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Erin Fetherston

Designer Erin Fetherston and musician Gabe Saporta’s wedding last spring was the epitome of a fairy tale affair—and we have the photos to prove it. As she’s known for a design aesthetic that’s rooted in romance and whimsy, we weren’t surprised by the gorgeousness of the event, but we were amazed to hear that she and her fiancé pulled it all together in a mere six months!

Erin Fetherston

Erin Fetherston

Held at St. Nicholas Abbey—a Jacobean mansion at a rum distillery in Barbados—Fetherston got the best of two worlds: the lush landscaping of the English countryside and the warm, tropical weather of a Caribbean island. Fetherston describes the property as a truly magical place with “beautiful, formal English gardens in the front yard, a lush gully of 100-foot tall trees in back.” As she tells it, even the drive to the site, with views of rolling fields of sugar cane, was incredible.

In fact, it was the landscape that ultimately influenced the design of her dress. Originally, Fetherston says, she didn’t want a dress with a lot of volume. “I was thinking I would have a very flowing dress, maybe with a long train. I wasn’t thinking about anything structured.” But after studying a lot of photos of the venue, she realized the importance of connecting the environment and the dress.

Erin Fetherston

Erin Fetherston

While Fetherston’s design was part of creating a fully realized experience, and although the English garden-style wedding inspired a specific style of gown, she emphasizes that every bride should have her own approach. If the dress is the first consideration, “choose a venue that goes with the dress,” she advises.


Erin Fetherston

Fetherston created a gorgeous, uniform aesthetic by always keeping her concept and the big picture in mind. One of the ways she achieved this was deciding on a color palette—not just for the decor, but her guests as well. “Instead of giving people a dress code, I gave them a color code for the wedding and for other surrounding events.” She describes how a harmonious color palette made the experience feel really special—and resulted in beautiful photos. But her unique approach didn’t stop with a color code.

In lieu of having official bridesmaids, she dressed every female guest in Erin Fetherston. “It was like the bridal party had no boundaries,” she says. Fetherston dived into her archives, pulling every dress that fit her chosen palette, and then invited her girlfriends to come choose their dresses. Looking back through her past collections, reflecting on her years as a designer and being married while surrounded by friends all wearing her designs gave even greater meaning to her wedding.

Erin Fetherston
Erin Fetherston
Erin Fetherston

With so much care and consideration given to every little detail, the results were truly spectacular. Thank you, Erin, for sharing your magical moments and beautiful day with The Wedding Suite Blog!

Erin Fetherston

Find Erin Fetherston dresses and intimate apparel online and in our Wedding Suites. We’re excited to announce that even more Fetherston designs (exclusive to Nordstrom!) will be arriving this September.

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Jori and Brett’s engagement has a special place in our hearts—he asked her to marry him at our Nordstrom store in Atlanta! (Ladies, a shopping trip AND a proposal! What could be better?!)

While Jori was shopping with a friend, little did she know that her boyfriend, Brett, along with her friend and even her Nordstrom stylist, were all three in on a big secret! As Jori was trying on dresses, a special box was placed outside her door. When she found it, she saw notes and mementos, including a glass slipper with a beautiful engagement ring in it. When Brett appeared, he asked her to marry him right there in the dressing room! Of course, she said, “yes!”

Jori and Brett joked that there are “no returns—ever!” on what they got from Nordstrom that day!

Congratulations to this happy couple. We’re wishing them a lifetime of happiness!

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We usually share wedding stories here on the blog, but we can never pass up a good engagement story! (It’s safe to say we just love LOVE!) And we know you’ll enjoy the story of Steve and Samantha:

Sam’s version of how they met: We met in the winter of 2010. I had just gotten off work and a friend talked me into going to a karaoke bar with her. I arrived and immediately saw Steve. He was dressed great, wearing a Brixton hat, and I said to my friend, “That guy is so cute.”

I kept trying to give him “the look” to initiate a conversation, and he kept looking over at me, but wouldn’t approach me. He ended up singing a Ginuwine (yes, that amazing one-hit wonder from the ’90s) song, and I was even more convinced that I had to talk to this guy. I introduced myself, we talked and laughed, and he got my number!

From there, we started building a friendship and dating, and it just never stopped. He’s the most patient and kind person I have ever met, and hilarious. He’s just the best person…for me.

Steve’s version of how they met: It was only a matter of time before Samantha and I would cross paths. Funny enough, it was at karaoke of all places! I knew the moment that she walked in that I had to meet her. I figured singing a funny ’90s R & B song would be a great way to break the ice.

We later learned that we had a mutual group of friends that frequented that bar every Monday evening. For the next few months, karaoke became the excuse to see each other.

After bonding over childhood TV shows, music, and Ray-Ban sunglasses, we started dating and never looked back. She is the perfect piece of the puzzle. I cannot wait to spend the rest of my life with Samantha.


The Engagement: It was our two-year anniversary, December 6, 2012. Steve made us a reservation at The Pink Door restaurant, at the “lovers” table. He had the ring in his sock at dinner, and at some point got up and handed it off to the waitress.

After a romantic dinner and drinks, the waitress came up with champagne and dessert and said “A little birdie told me it was your anniversary tonight.” I immediately thought “Ah! That’s so sweet.” Then I realized there was a little tin with flowers sitting there. The next hour is pretty much a blur. He asked me to marry him; the restaurant clapped, I cried, and could not stop smiling.

To top off the night, he had one of my best friends (and future bridesmaid) coordinate a surprise engagement party for us at our house. I was beyond shocked. I am impossible to surprise, and the whole night was just filled with one thing after the next. Best day of my life!

Congrats to this happy couple! We’re sure it will be an amazing wedding–and there better be karaoke!

If you just got engaged, be sure to check out our handy checklist to help guide you! Our free wedding stylists will also work with you every step of the way.

Photography by Ellie Arciaga, A Darling Felicity

Flowers by Melissa Cushman Floral Design

 

 

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All the married ladies: did you find your wedding dress at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite? We love a good wedding story, and we’d be honored to share yours!

If you want to be featured on the blog in our Real Weddings section, email Nordstrom Wedding Stories and we’ll give you the details on what we need from you. It’s easy! And how cool to share your wedding story as an inspiration for other brides?!

P.S.: Photographers and wedding planners: you can submit a wedding too, at the same email address above.

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We’re excited to share the summer wedding of Erika and Jason, taking place in our own hometown of Seattle!

How it all began: Twenty-two years ago, we lived just a few miles apart and never knew each other. Ten years ago, we lived just blocks from each other near the University of Washington and never knew. Four years ago, we met and, over the course of a couple of years, knew that we were supposed to be together forever. And now we’ve made it official with our wedding! Funny how those things work!

Through the years of dating, we’ve learned many things about each other. Some are profound, some pretty silly, but the most important thing we learned is that we belong together—as our personalities, our individual wills and our goals and aspirations in life are the ultimate complement to one another.


The scene: August 18, 2012, Pan Pacific Hotel, Seattle, WA

I chose the somewhat mixed theme of modern/vintage/whimsical/elegant because I love mid-century design, which I feel is evoked by the warm wooden walls of the Pan Pacific Hotel, but I also love eclectic and clean design elements, which we incorporated to make the venue feel fresh. I wanted the floral design to be seasonal and rich, so we used lemons for organic accents and a summery color palette of coral, gray, raspberry, light blue and butter yellow.

Instead of a guest book, we had vintage post cards from around the world, which we’ll now frame into a collage. Some of our other details included succulent favors in egg cups, lemon accents on the tables and trees at the altar, and Glassybaby candle holders. Wands with bells and ribbons were used to celebrate our exit!

Additionally, after having a very difficult year what with the passing of my father, we wanted to bring the summer to a close with a wonderful celebration that he so badly wanted to attend, with elements incorporated throughout the ceremony and reception that celebrated his memory, whether the guests were aware or not.


My look: I wore a strapless taffeta trumpet gown by Nouvelle Amsale. It had a gorgeous sweetheart neckline and an asymmetrical bodice with a full skirt. I absolutely LOVED my dress! One of my favorite moments of the process was trying on the dress and immediately being able to perfectly envision it in the aesthetic we wanted to convey.

I wore special jewelry around my wrist to celebrate family members who have passed away: a cross made of the diamonds that were in my grandmother’s wedding ring on a white gold chain and a locket with a tiny gold heart inside that my father gave me before he passed away in the spring of 2012.


My Wedding Stylist: Ari from the Downtown Seattle Wedding Suite

Ari was amazing. I felt like I had a girlfriend with me, helping me along the way, giving me honest feedback and support. She was extremely knowledgeable and made both my mother and me feel incredibly comfortable with the experience. Ari understood the feel and ambiance I was looking to achieve for the wedding, and she provided me with options that fit my vision with 100% accuracy.

I booked a Laura Mercier make-up artist through Nordstrom, and the day of the wedding, she did make-up for me, my mom and my bridesmaids. She was fantastic and provided make-up for each of us that was consistent with the fresh-faced look I was going for, but she tailored the look for each bridesmaid. I gave my bridesmaids Dogeared necklaces as gifts, each one with a different charm based on our friendship.

My mom loved her look, too. She wore a dress by Rachel Roy, Majorica pearl earrings, and a Judith Jack bangle. It was important for us that we work with local Seattle businesses for our wedding, and Nordstrom was one of those—it was one of the best decisions we made for our special day!

A favorite moment: Our wedding party was tasked with creating movie soundtrack-themed entrances for the reception: songs from Footloose, St. Elmo’s Fire, and Top Gun. Jason and I entered last with the Star Wars theme and our dogs dressed as Darth Vader and Princess Leia—a bit of cheesy fun that my husband was in charge of! We loved having our dogs be a part of the wedding processional, ceremony and reception!

Photography by JKoe Photography

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! Email Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details about 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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Elizabeth and Adam share how they filled their wedding day with the things they love most.

The Scene: October 20th, 2012, in Denver, Colorado

On our wedding day, the most important thing to us was to incorporate as many things and people we love as possible. Among our favorite things on Earth are family, friends, music, beer, food and having a good time with said favorites. We got married on the most beautiful Colorado fall day—October 20th, 2012—at Highlands Lutheran Church, followed by a reception at Space Gallery in the Art District of Denver. It was the most incredible experience in the world to share so many sweet moments with the most important people in our life—all in one space!

We have amazingly talented friends and family, and our wedding day was so lovely because they shared their gifts with us. Some of our favorite personal touches of the wedding day were:

  • our beautiful cake was made by a good friend
  • the bridal processional was arranged by another friend
  • two friends performed the song that I walked down the aisle to (“Somebody Loved” by the Weepies)
  • an original song was composed by a friend for our recessional
  • Reed Grimm and the Shoeless Revolution led an amazing dance party
  • pint glasses were designed by another talented friend of ours as favors

Our beer-themed wedding reception involved some of our local craft beer favorites as well as beer that was home-brewed by our friends. Serendipity Catering did an amazing job with our beer-pairing menu, which suggested craft beers to go with all of our food options. We choose to DIY the majority of our flowers and centerpieces, and I was blessed to have an army of women pull all of that together to make our day beautiful and just right. Our families have preceded us with an incredible legacy of marriage, and we honored them by having their wedding photos placed around the art gallery.

My Wedding Stylist: Stacey Kallenberg at the Nordstrom Wedding Suite in Lone Tree, Colorado

My visit to the Nordstrom Wedding Suite was far and away the best dress-shopping experience I had. It was my last appointment after a marathon day of dress-shopping with my mom, who had come in from out of town along with my cousin and aunt. Aside from the obvious reasons of wanting to get the just-right dress, there was an added desire to find the perfect dress: As a gift when I was in college, my maternal grandparents—who have since passed—gave me money so they could buy my wedding dress one day. It is, to date, one of the most thoughtful gifts I’ve ever received.

My stylist Stacey was extremely helpful and professional about listening to what I wanted and putting me in dresses she thought I might like. I found many beautiful dresses, but not The One until the very last dress I tried—a lace gown by James Clifford. It was a bit outside of what I thought I was looking for, but it turned out to be perfect! I never imagined feeling like a princess on my wedding day, as I’m just not that type of dreamer, but I really did feel beautiful.

Stacey made sure she stayed very, very accessible to me whenever I had questions or needed to get in touch. She also helped me with undergarments and gave great advice on both shoes and how to incorporate vintage jewelry that belonged to both of my grandmothers. The tailor I worked with was wonderful and worked within my time constraints to make my dress fit perfectly. The service at Nordstrom was top-notch, and I felt like I was in great hands during every step of the process.

Special Moment: The most romantic part of the day by far was when my groom surprised me by performing “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds. Be still, my heart! We accomplished our goal of throwing a great party to celebrate, and ending the day as the love of my life’s wife made the day perfect in every way.

Photography by Kevin Von Qualen

Did you find your wedding gown at Nordstrom? We love a good wedding story! E-mail Nordstrom Wedding Stories for details about 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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Ashley shares the details of her big day—and her friendship with Wedding Stylist Christy.

The Scene: October 27, 2012, at Still Waters Vineyards, Paso Robles, CA

From the day Jefferson and I got engaged, we knew we wanted our wedding to be an intimate, fun and nontraditional event for our guests—all about family and our love of wine. By having a destination wedding at a small vineyard in California, we were able to bring that vision to reality. The day was a dream come true for both of us.

We wanted our family and friends to feel as though they were attending an amazing party with great food and wine. To keep the guest count low, we made the decision to invite only those people who were in our life on a regular basis.

We asked my uncle to become “Deputy for the Day” to perform our ceremony. He has been an instrumental person in our lives, and we couldn’t think of anyone else we would want to marry us. Also, because I am an only child and my parents have been my best friends my whole life, it was fitting to have both of them walk me down the aisle. It is a memory I will hold close forever.

We also included our golden retriever, Napa, in the ceremony. She was the “flower dog” and filled her role with great stride!

My Wedding Stylist:
Christy Weidner at The Wedding Suite in Scottsdale, AZ

From the moment I met Christy, I knew I would be working with her for all our wedding needs. We just clicked right away, and I knew she would understand my style and desired look for the wedding, even though I didn’t have an exact dress in mind. We had e-mailed back and forth a few times before meeting, so when I arrived for the first shopping experience she had several dresses picked out for me. Christy was extremely professional, an excellent communicator through the whole process, personable and such a happy person.

My Look: The dress was by Nicole Miller, the Off-the-Shoulder Portrait Techno Metal Gown. It had shades of ivory and metallic gold. I accessorized with the Nina ‘Claire’ veil, kate spade new york ‘gerbera garden’ bracelet, Nadri ‘Princess’ earrings and the Badgley Mischka ‘Madalyn’ pump.

The Nicole Miller was the fourth dress I tried on, and I immediately knew it was THE dress! I had never envisioned wearing a veil, but when Christy had me try on the Nina cathedral veil, it was the perfect pairing to complete the look.

Christy made the entire experience so fun for everyone. We had a few fittings that included family members coming along, and each time we were in the suite we felt so welcome and appreciated! Little did I know that when I went looking for my wedding dress I would find a lifelong friend. We had a large reception in Arizona after the wedding and were delighted that Christy was able to attend. She is an incredible stylist and has become a great friend!

Our Special Moments: During the ceremony we passed around a glass dish that has been in my family for a hundred years. It held our rings, and we asked each guest to say a blessing over them before we recited our vows to each other. The entire day was full of emotion as we saw our dream unfold with the people we loved around us.

We worked endless hours on invitations, programs, menus, games and favors. Jefferson and his father made wine for each person to take home, a special reminder of a memorable day!

Photography by Scott and Breanna Chanson, Radiant Photography by the Chansons

Wedding décor provided by Modern Revival

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