The Wedding

5_6_2012_1376 - Version 2

All the details of the big day!
Hey everybody... Thanks for checking in with me again! I know it’s been awhile, but if you read on, you’ll see that I’ve had a LOT going on. The biggest news of all is that I am now married! On May 6th, 2012, I exchanged vows with Tracey Erin Dunn, a beautiful redhead whom you may recognize as a QVC model. And just two days before that, I celebrated my 3 year anniversary at QVC. The first half of this year has been an absolute whirlwind, so in an attempt to make up for my lack of blogging, here’s the play by play:

January

Tracey and I celebrated New Year’s Eve in style with friends in Philadelphia, but the very next morning she had to wake up and complete her last game as an NFL cheerleader. It was a bittersweet moment because she loves to dance and perform. I am so proud of her dedication and want to congratulate her on three fantastic years!

That very next week... it was go time! Wedding plans started to come together as we made calls and sent emails on a daily basis. She and I worked very well together, delegating responsibilities and handling challenges in stride. I am still amazed at how many details there were. We wanted to create a very special event, but doing so requires an enormous amount of energy and focus!

My favorite part of wedding planning was researching and organizing the music. I spent hours online listening to live bands, making playlists of favorite songs and deciding on arrangements for the ceremony music. Then I went out to as many venues as I could to hear the live bands in person... that was fun!

February

With wedding planning well underway, Tracey and I took time out to celebrate her sister’s and mother’s birthday in early February. I feel so fortunate to come from a wonderful family, but even luckier to be marrying into one. And having a new family on the east coast helps mitigate the sadness of not being able to spend much time with my family anymore.

February is actually one of my favorite times at QVC! It may be winter across the country, but this is the time of year that we start presenting our patio and garden items and the stress of the Christmas season has subsided. I love the outdoors and have been developing my gardening skills since buying a home. The guys from Roberta’s and Cottage Farms have really helped educate me, not to mention providing me the right kind of plants to create a beautiful landscape. I am very proud of my outdoor living space and now that it’s summer have been enjoying it frequently!

March

Right at the beginning of the month, we welcomed family in for our wedding shower. Tracey’s aunt, Sue, threw a marvelous “Jack and Jill” party and at one point, the guys in attendance were asked to leave. We went on a tour of Eastern State Penitentiary while the girls... actually, I still don’t know what happened in those two hours (probably better that way)! I’m sure you can imagine some of the jokes that were made about marriage as the guys walked around the penitentiary...

At this point, we were about 2 months from our wedding, so the planning was heating up. It also meant that the meetings we were having were some of the most fun. We worked with our amazing reception venue, Tendenza, to build our menu and arrange the decor. We created our special entrance by making a custom step and repeat and ordering a long red carpet. I started designing orders with Cheryl’s and Candle Impressions for our custom favors. Tracey was going to and from the city very often for dress fittings, flower design meetings and more. Our to-do lists were full; every time we crossed something off, another item was added.

At work, I was asked to be a part of the remote team that would provide live hits from the Philadelphia Flower Show. The theme was “Aloha from Hawaii” and I was more than happy to give some commentary on this beautiful event. I worked in and around the Roberta’s booth most of the day, but was also able to walk the floor afterward. If you ever get the opportunity to come to Philadelphia in March, this is one event not to miss!

April

After 15 months of waiting , I couldn’t believe how close the wedding was. I had an incredible sense of calm; when you know something is right, your entire mind, body and spirit is in harmony. Everyday was full and I can hardly remember a month going faster than this one did. Family started arriving at the end of the month and everyone was so helpful with the final details.

May

Here was the schedule for the wedding weekend:

- Friday night: welcome BBQ at the Dunn’s house
- Saturday morning/afternoon: guys golf event, ladies tea
- Saturday night: rehearsal and dinner
- Sunday: wedding day!
- Monday: farewell brunch at the hotel

It was a packed agenda, but we wanted to make sure that we got a chance to spend time with everyone who was traveling in as well as our local friends.

Friday night was a huge success. We served Corky’s pulled pork and chicken and Kansas City steakburgers, among other things. Tracey’s mom had a special “Q” cake made for us! We got to socialize with many of the family members who had travelled in from afar… it was a cool way to start the celebration off!

When Saturday morning rolled around, I got up early to tee off with some of the guys. I owe a huge thank you to the many friends who helped pull this event together! We had breakfast and I invited some of the guys to “roast” me… some were tame, others not so much (all in good fun, though, as I made sure to get some shots back). Then, we snacked on My Grandma’s Coffee Cakes and KIND bars as we took to the course.

After a quick shower and shave, it was into Philadelphia to meet at the church for the rehearsal. We were scheduled to get married on Sunday, May 6th in Old St. Joseph’s church. It is the oldest church in Philadelphia and we were told that Ben Franklin used to sit in on masses occasionally… how cool is that?!? The rehearsal was simple, went smoothly and I could finally feel the reality set in... I was getting married!

Off to Parc Brasserie, a hip French Bistro in Rittenhouse Square, for our rehearsal dinner. Grandparents joined us and we ate in style… my brother, Ian, even ate escargot for the first time! I said good night to my fiancé for the last time and wouldn’t see her again until she walked down the aisle to become my wife.

Back at my house, my best man and I stayed up later than we should have sharing a glass of whiskey and waxing poetic about life. Justin has been a friend of mine since childhood and I couldn’t have asked for a more thoughtful, insightful and caring gentleman to stand beside me in those moments. He assured me of the joys of marriage, warned me of the challenges, and encouraged me with stories from his personal life, scripture and literature. We awoke and had breakfast together, then it was time to get ready!

The biggest challenge of the day proved to be tying the custom bow ties I had a tailor make for my groomsmen (I had ordered an extra dress in the same color of the bridesmaid’s dress to get an exact match)! Thank goodness for YouTube on my iPad because we found a great video that got us looking sharp! Purple socks and custom suspenders finished off the guys look.

Much earlier in the morning, the ladies were at the hotel getting ready. They looked amazing (thanks to Mally beauty!), and Tracey is so comfortable with the products that she even did her own makeup! But before getting to the church, they headed over to Rittenhouse Square for photos. Crowds of people stopped and starred as my beautiful bride traversed the streets of Center City and took photos in the park!
Meanwhile, back at the church, the guys and I were taking some cool shots of our own!

After the pre wedding photos, I got settled in the church vestry to calm my nerves. At this point, I was resigned to the fact that I was sure to cry like a baby when I saw Tracey come down the aisle. I just wanted to keep it together and maintain some sense of cool. However, Justin pulled me aside and read me a prayer he had written for us… and I lost it! Water works in full effect, I knew I was going to be a mess during the ceremony. Tracey, meanwhile, was posing for more beautiful pictures!

I could hear the piano, cello and oboe playing as guests filtered in. I heard the procession music start and pictured my mom and dad walking down the aisle together, followed by Tracey’s mom and brother in law. One deep breath and the moment was finally here! I walked out to the front of the church, smiling knowing that it was finally my time to get married.

The moment Tracey turned the corner down the aisle was the single most beautiful moment of my life. I was a blubbering mess, of course, but through the tears, I saw my stunning fiancé smiling as her father guided her down the aisle to become my wife. Family members read and sang; the ceremony was absolutely beautiful. We took family photos in the church afterward and then a big group shot in the courtyard as the guest rang wedding bells.

Tracey and I then rode off in a horse in carriage. Actually, we rode around the block in order to meet the bridal party for some pictures near the church, but our storybook carriage ride was worth every minute!

The bridal party hopped in a trolley to take shots all around the city. Let me take a moment to thank our wonderful photographer, Joey Del Palazzo, and his team. They worked tirelessly, literally rolling around on the ground to get the best shots possible... Thank you guys!

After thousands of photos (no exaggeration there), we made our way to the reception venue. There we had a red carpet arrival for our guests, complete with a “step and repeat” like you see at movie premieres. Of course, instead of ads, we had our custom monogram on the banner. In fact, many of the guests say we had the best branded wedding they ever been to… hah, must be my QVC training!

The cocktail hour was amazing! Though we only got to enjoy a few minutes of it, guests raved about the food and cool ambience. Here are a few of the reception highlights:

Tracey and my first dance was to Frank Sinatra’s, “You Make Me Feel So Young.” Courtney, Tracey’s sister, and Justin, my best friend, gave heartfelt speeches. I danced with my Mom to The Beatles “In My Life.” Tracey and her dad, Bruce, performed a rousing dance to a mix we had created. I played guitar and sang a song that I wrote for Tracey. You can hear the song here: http://youtu.be/o6SYzZphRs0. We cut into the cake that Tracey had sketched and designed herself!

So that was a short look at our day, if you can believe it. If you’ve had the patience to read and look through all of it, thank you for joining me on the journey. We are so blessed to have had an unimaginably smooth and fun wedding day! Tracey and I headed off to Maui on our honeymoon and before we knew it, it was back to PA and real life. (Fortunately, we get to share a wonderful life together!)

Aloha!