Wedding Planning

Rita and Jeff’s Snowy January Wedding by Zac Wolf Photography

I have a few rules for life, and one of them is most definitely to wear footie pajamas whenever possible. So, when I saw Rita rocking a pair when she was getting ready for her big day, I was hooked.

I have a few rules for life, and one of them is most definitely to wear footie pajamas whenever possible. So, when I saw Rita rocking a pair when she was getting ready for her big day, I was hooked. Rita and Jeff (and their talented friends and family) DIY‘ed so many details of this wedding (read below for all the info)–amazing! Thank you to Zac Wolf for sharing this very fun travel-themed wedding.

What was your vision for your wedding?

The only thing Jeff and I cared about at our wedding was that we married each other and that everyone had a good time. We wrote our own vows, the entire ceremony, and even custom picked all of our ceremony music (including skipping the ‘Here Comes the Bride’ in favor of The Scorpions ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’). A highlight of the ceremony was when we ‘tied the knot’ — Jeff and I met while working at a Boy Scout camp when we were teenagers and this special part of the ceremony was designed to pay homage to that beginning. Another great moment was when Jeff rick-rolled’ me during his vows promising he was ‘never going give [me] up, never gonna let [me] down, never gonna turn around and hurt [me]’.

The ‘in-lieu of favor’ cards were designed by a good friend Christine and her fiance Steve. We knew that we wanted to give donations to Toys for Tots (one of our favorite charities) and that we wanted to have toys there to represent the gift. Christine took the idea and ran with it. We could not be happier with how the pieces turned out.

Jeff and I love to travel so we decided to tie that into our wedding. We named each table for a place we had been to together (plus two places we were traveling to in the near future). The suitcase seating chart was an idea I had in my head, but I was not sure how it would all come together. My sister (and maid of honor) Stephanie is a wonderful artist and she took the charge, creating a beautiful suitcase out of a grade school science fair display board and paint. She also designed the customs stickers that we used on the suitcase and at each table as a marker.

For our name tags, we purchased what looked like luggage tags and clear labels from Staples. They came out perfect and were very cost-effective.

In keeping with our travel theme, Jeff envisioned an airplane safety card program. Of course, I had to deliver on that for him. I used a basic Microsoft program to do the design for the safety card as well as our save the dates and invitations. It would have been easier in another program, but I used what I had on hand. We printed everything at my parents house to reduce cost and no one could tell! The safety card included pictures of the special people standing by us as we married; including my two maids of honor, Jeff’s best man and groomsman, and our good friend Jess who was kind enough to officiate the ceremony.

If there is one thing Jeff and I are known for (besides travel and silliness), it is food. We are big fans of food and we were very excited to surprise all of our guests with a waffle bar towards the end of the night (similar to the waffles we had enjoyed during the trip we were engaged during). We were both looking forward to the waffles so much that we did not eat our wedding cake (the Publick House packed it up and we ate it the next day).

Did anything funny or out of the ordinary happen?

I was announced by ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’; Jeff Rick-rolled me during his vows; we snuck a kiss before the end of the ceremony; my dad presented Jeff with a fresh batch of cookies to welcome him into the family; everything was fun, we spent the entire night laughing and smiling and just enjoying all of our friends and family.


How did Jeff propose?

Jeff proposed (fittingly) on a trip. We were in Germany visiting a friend and I had gotten my hopes up for going to one of the Christmas Markets. Before we left, we researched a market in Aachen and decided that we would take the day just to ourselves to explore. I remember Jeff looking very sick that day (it was very warm and he seemed to be overheating in his large jacket). I convinced him to put on a lighter jacket and he seemed better. The market was beautiful; it was a Christmas overload with wooden items, food, Christmas music, and lights everywhere. After the sun set, we took video and pictures to show our friends and family back home. We went up to a landing to get a better view and I started taking pictures. When I turned around, Jeff was on the ground (I actually took a picture of him kneeling there before I realized what was happening). He proposed and I said yes! It was Thanksgiving Day back at home and we were able to use Facetime and Skype to let our families know that we were engaged.


How did you know your partner was ‘the one’?

I don’t know. We were only dating a few weeks when I told my friend that I was going to marry Jeff. I don’t remember what triggered the thought in my head, but thank goodness we acted on it (five years later). Throughout our relationship, we have done everything as a team, each thinking first of the other one; filling in each other’s weaknesses and consistently working to build each other up.


Any advice you’d give new brides who are just getting started?

Talk with your fiancé about the wedding and what you each want. Then, when you disagree on something, figure out who cares more and let that person win. This is the person you love, you are a team — trust that it will all work out and don’t bother getting too stressed. In the end, if you spend your time trying to make sure the other person is happy and they do the same, everything will work out just fine. Oh, and spend the little bit of extra of money to purchase wedding insurance (either on your own or through your venue). It covers you just in case something happens to the location or the gifts. It’s worth the price for peace of mind.



Photographer: Zac Wolf

Venue and catering: Publick House, Sturbridge, MA

Dress:Bernadette by Maggie Sottero

Groom and Groomsmen: Calvin Klein Tux

Flowers: Pumpkin Florals & Crafts

DJ: Derek Campbell from Groove Entertainment

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