danielle + rick // Hotel @ the Lafayette Wedding

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It’s so important to make sure that every bride and groom stay true to themselves during wedding planning, and with opinions and unsolicited advice meeting you at every corner, it can sometimes be difficult to stand your ground. Danielle and Rick were not afraid to plan everything their way, even if the way they wanted things strayed ever so slightly from the norm. We love that!! They’re are such a special couple, and we absolutely love the subtle touches to their wedding day that helped reflect that! As you scroll through their day, be sure to read along with their memories and commentary to see how they made sure to make their day their own :)
One more little thing that we loved so much about these guys (aside from the fact that Rick put Danielle’s engagement ring in a fortune cookie – I mean, come on. Amazing. Read all about that right here) – when we suggested taking photos in a parking garage, instead of looking at us like we were crazy, they totally trusted us and were up for the adventure! Even if it meant climbing seemingly endless flights of stairs to make it happen. And let me tell you, we’re so glad they did – because that portrait session on the rooftop of that plain old parking garage turned out to be one for the books.

Danielle: “Getting ready in the morning was a really fun and relaxing part of the day. It was so nice hanging out in the suite, drinking coffee and eating breakfast while everyone took their turn getting their hair and makeup done. I loved having my family and Rick’s family together having our ‘girl time’. I was so happy that everyone loved their hair and makeup and felt pampered. It was also really nice to include my aunt (my mom’s sister) and cousins from out of town in the whole process. We have always been very close and their genuine excitement about the day meant so much to me.

Danielle: “I didn’t have the ‘typical dress shopping experience’. I knew I wanted something with a vintage feel and a simpler silhouette and I really liked the off the shoulder look. I saw my dress on the BHLDN website and was basically obsessed with it. It matched my vision, had a unique and vintage look, and also looked comfortable! I don’t typically love getting dressed up, so finding a dress that felt truly ‘me’ and one that I would be comfortable in was so important. My mom and I discussed visiting Philadelphia, where my sister lived at the time, to try-on the dress in person, but it was the middle of winter and the logistics didn’t work out. I decided to just order the dress online and have it shipped to my parents’ house. When it came in, I went over to their house to try it on and it was everything I wanted it to be. Everyone thought it was perfect. I was so excited about how perfect it was, all I wanted to do was show Rick a picture of it (but I didn’t)! My dress was literally the only dress I wanted and the only dress I tried on. I still love it so much.

Rick: “I remember sitting in my parent’s hotel room waiting for the rest of our small wedding party to meet us there, and in walks Danielle’s father, Tim. He was holding a very large black case with ‘Fender’ embossed on it. Inside was the most beautiful guitar I have ever seen; a surf green American Fender Telecaster with an all rosewood neck. I couldn’t believe Danielle had purchased this for me, this was the most special gift I had ever received in my life. Along with the guitar was a card with a beautiful message written inside for me.

Rick: “We decided to take pictures before the ceremony, so the first time I saw Danielle in her dress was on the street in front of the Hotel Lafayette. Anyone who knows Danielle will know that she is very particular and knows exactly what she wants. Her wedding dress was no different. I thought she looked so beautiful and the dress was meant for her. It was in every way her style and it looked stunning on her. I also remember thinking how lucky I was that I would soon have such a beautiful wife.

Danielle: “Seeing Rick for the first time during our ‘First Look’ was a great memory. It was raining all morning while we were getting ready and it finally stopped right before our First Look. Being able to see each other and have a few minutes to take it all in was really nice (just like they say!). It felt great to finally be together on our wedding day. I was honestly so excited for Rick to finally see my dress! I always tell and show him everything so keeping this to myself for 10 months was very difficult for me! Rick looked so handsome and his suit was amazing. He had some extra tailoring done a couple weeks before the wedding and it was so worth it. I could tell he felt like a million bucks in it.

Danielle: “I loved riding around downtown to all of our different photo sites. It was just really cool because people would walk or drive by and just yell out ‘Congratulations!’ Cars were honking at us; people are just SO NICE on your wedding day. It felt so nice that complete strangers wanted to congratulate us. It was so fun!

Danielle: “Throughout the planning process people kept asking what my colors were, and I couldn’t stand it! We didn’t really have ‘colors’, we just chose things that were complementary to each other and that we thought fit well.”

Danielle: “I think one of the main things that made our wedding different was that we didn’t have the traditional bridal party. We chose to have only our siblings in the wedding party. My sister was my Maid of Honor and Rick’s sister was his ‘Best Woman’. They both wore their own dresses in different colors and I loved that. My younger brother was a groomsmen. This honestly was perfect for us and we love how it worked out.

Rick: “After I had taken Danielle’s hand and brought her to the alter, we were in position to get the ceremony started, and Danielle subconsciously leaned in to give me a kiss. For a split second I was about to kiss her but pulled back realizing that we can’t do that until the end of the ceremony.

Danielle: “I tried to kiss Rick as soon as I got up to the alter because it’s just my natural reaction to kiss him when I see him!

Danielle: “The ceremony was perfect. It looked so beautiful at Karpeles and that was the first time I saw it with all of the candles lit and everything. Our officiant Michelle was so amazing. She was crucial in helping us orchestrate the ceremony.”

Danielle: “I felt so bad for Rick because it got quite warm during the ceremony, and he was sweating when we were up at the alter. He had a little handkerchief that he would occasionally pull out and slyly wipe away some sweat from his forehead. Towards the end of the ceremony, I wiped the sweat off his forehead for him with my hand. I felt so bad that he was so warm! It all turned out ok though :)

Danielle: “Jenn made sure to make my dream of photos in Symphony Circle happen, even if it meant dodging some traffic. Their dedication and passion to photography truly shines through!

Danielle: “A moment that stands out to me is right when our cocktail hour/reception was starting. All of our friends and family were arriving; we were getting our first drinks and our favorite music was playing from our curated ‘cocktail hour playlist’. It just felt amazing and surreal that it was finally happening. All of our planning and discussing was here and happening. It was our party, exactly how we wanted it to be. It was just a really cool feeling.

Danielle: “Our first dance song was ‘In Your Eyes’ by Peter Gabriel. I always wanted this song to be my wedding song. It is one of my favorite songs of all time; the words and music itself give me chills every time I listen. To me, it is a very romantic song expressing how your significant other completes you. Rick of course knows my love for this song and classic rock is something we both share a love for. We sat and listened to it a few times while making the final decision and he agreed it would be a good song to represent us (phew). The song has always been one of my favorites, but it now has even more of special meaning.

Danielle: “The speeches from our sisters were a highlight for us. We were so impressed with both of them. I guess we didn’t know what to expect since we never heard either of them give a speech, but they really delivered! We laughed, we cried and the things they said were really meaningful for us. The speeches were just perfect.

Danielle: “The sunset photos we took on the rooftop also provided quite the memories. The elevator of the parking ramp was out of order which meant we would have to walk up MANY flights of stairs. I think we were all pretty determined at that point to make it happen and we agreed to trek up to the top. The photos obviously turned out amazing, but it was another nice moment together to take in the sunset and look over at the Hotel Lafayette before heading back in for the second half of the reception. I don’t think we will ever forget walking up all of those stairs, especially Jenn [who was 9 months pregnant]!

Danielle: “My dance with my Dad was to ‘Landslide’ by Fleetwood Mac. So much of my taste in music and knowledge of classic rock comes from my Dad. We truly bond over music and have been to many concerts together. I knew choosing the song for us to dance to was going to be an important decision for my Dad and I let him choose the song. I think he considered a bunch of different songs and I think we were really pushing for it to be a Springsteen song (our favorite), but none of them were just right. As it got closer to the wedding, I think we both just realized that even though Landslide was a more obvious choice, it is a song our family has loved forever and the lyrics are perfectly fitting.

Rick: “The song I danced to with my mom was ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. This song always reminds me of a family trip we took to Hawaii and the good memories we all had on that trip.

Danielle: “We decided to skip the cake cutting and the bouquet toss/garter deal. We just didn’t see ourselves doing this and wanted to save as much time for visiting with guests, having fun and dancing!

Rick: “At the very end of our reception, I ended up bringing the guitar Danielle got me down from the hotel room and played it for the remaining guests. My cousin brought an amp that we hooked up and it was a really memorable way to end the night!

A few wise words on wedding planning from our wonderfully unique bride, Danielle: “First, I would say do whatever you want! People are so afraid of not doing the ‘normal’ wedding things and traditions. We decided to eliminate a lot of the typical traditions and we got so many compliments on our ceremony and reception style, some people didn’t even notice the things we skipped! Also, be as organized as possible. I utilized so many Google Docs and spreadsheets to organize vendors, guest lists, scheduling, etc. We also utilized the free wedding websites you can make from sites like The Knot, and we really enjoyed using it. We did all electronic RSVPs as well and it all went pretty smoothly. I would also say find a reception site where you can stay over night! We loved having friends and family all staying over at the hotel. It made the event into an ever bigger, longer party!

Rick: “Working with Ben and Jenn was such a great experience. They definitely helped to make the whole day a lot less stressful. They have so much wedding experience; having them around helped with the timing of everything and making sure we would be in good shape for the day’s events. Ben also helped attach everyone’s boutonniere, which was appreciated since none of us guys had a clue what we were doing with those things.

Danielle: “Working with Jenn and Ben (and Nicole!) was probably one of the best, if not the best, decision in our wedding planning. They are amazing at what they do, kind, generous and just have so much expertise! I emailed back and forth with Jenn so many times and her guidance helped me finalize so many wedding details. The Ayres Team helps with so much more beyond photography. They are just so professional and have all of these guides already put together to help you prepare for the day, which was amazing. We are beyond happy with our photos. They are perfect.

We love how Danielle and Rick stayed true to themselves and put their own special spin on their big day! Click here to see another couple who made their day uniquely theirs!

Wedding Vendors Include:

Ceremony: Karpeles Manuscript Library Museum
Officiant: Michelle Snyder of Yellowbird Wedding
Reception: Hotel @ the Lafayette Greenhouse Room
Invitations: Minted
Florist: William’s Florist
Make-up Artist: Leah Novo
Hair: Sara Hickey of Salon-A-Go-Go
Dress Shop: BHLDN
Dress Designer: Tadashi Shoji
Bridesmaid Dresses: BHLDN
Men’s Suits: Macy’s
Guestbook: Rifle Paper Co.
Dessert: Paula’s Donuts
DJ: Derek Hockenbery of Sound Theory DJ