My husband Robin and I were married on September 22

My husband Robin and I were married on September 22.  It was one of the most incredible days of my life, but I can’t say it was exactly how we had always imagined it.  It all started in spring of 2007, when I decided that the fashion design program I was enrolled in at FIT in Manhattan just wasn’t for me.  Robin was working as an engineer in Connecticut, and the plan was that we would get married once I finished school and got a job in New York.  But when I left FIT and moved in with Robin ahead of schedule, we asked ourselves, what are we waiting for?  So… we moved our wedding date up a year!

It was March, and we picked a date in September.  Six months seemed like enough time to plan a wedding.  Things were complicated, however, by the fact that my older sister Donica was getting married in July!  Everyone was focused on making sure Donica’s wedding was perfect, so four months went by without much thought going into the planning of mine and Robin’s wedding.  After Donica’s wedding, though, we got right to it!  We had a little over 2 months to do the bulk of the planning.  Luckily, my Mom is an amazing event planner, and with my sister’s wedding under her belt she was like an old pro!

I was also able to get things done quickly and efficiently by doing a lot of the work myself.  I designed all the printed materials for our wedding; including our save the dates, invitations and RSVP cards, programs, place cards, and table numbers.  I also designed our welcome bags, favor table (a fun candy buffet), and cake topper (bride and groom PEZ dispensers!).  It added a lot more to my plate, but I really enjoyed creating a custom look for our wedding.  Making everything myself added a one-of-a-kind, personal touch – and we saved money, too!

We knew we wanted a nontraditional wedding

We knew we wanted a nontraditional wedding, and we definitely wanted it to reflect our personalities.  I am an artist, and Robin and I love visiting museums together, so we decided the whole event would take place at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia – an amazing, modern building with several art galleries, all with different themes. Photography by:

A bit of luck allowed us to book the venue with relatively short notice – the date we had chosen was (unbeknownst to us) a Jewish holiday – apparently not a very popular date for weddings!  Our ceremony took place in a small, intimate gallery showcasing student artwork; we held a cocktail hour in a sculpture gallery with a panoramic view of the city; and our reception was in a large gallery with soaring ceilings and bright, colorful artwork adorning the walls.  Everyone loved the unconventional setting and it was a beautiful backdrop for our wedding photos!

Robin and I met in college while singing together in an a cappella group, so we also wanted to make music an important part of our wedding.  Robin’s big idea was to incorporate karaoke into the reception, an idea that worried me initially – some DJs we met even tried to steer us away from it!  In the end we decided to go for it, and I’m so glad we did!  The DJ we chose mixed karaoke with dance music throughout the night, creating a fun, party atmosphere.  We broke the ice by singing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” together, and from there we saw some amazing and hilarious performances by our relatives and friends.

There was only one major stumbling block on the path to our perfect wedding day… the dress. I knew I didn’t want a traditional wedding gown, so I ordered a simple, elegant bridesmaid dress that came in white.  When the dress finally came in, there was a huge problem.  The bridal shop had ordered the wrong size, and there was no way I could make it work.  It was two weeks before the wedding and I was without a dress!

I made a conscious decision not to freak out

I made a conscious decision not to freak out – there was nothing I could do to change the situation, and going all Bridezilla certainly wouldn’t help.  I think my laid-back attitude brought me good karma, because I ended up finding a gorgeous dress online – the very last one they had, and it just happened to be my size!  The new dress suited my personality better, and I got tons of compliments – some people even thought it had been custom made for me!

Even though our wedding was very different from what we had imagined, it was an incredible day, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.  If I could give one piece of advice to brides-to-be, it would be to just relax and take it all in.  Wedding planning can be extremely stressful, and if you let it get to you it can ruin your day.  Don’t worry about trying to make everything perfect; it’s more important that you have the time of your life!  So take a few deep breaths, have your fiancé give you a massage… whatever it takes to keep you relaxed and make sure you enjoy every moment of this once in a lifetime experience!