Our Wedding: The Ceremony


Our ceremony! Our favorite part of the entire wedding.

It was also the most important part, to us. We put a lot of effort into making it as genuine and personal as could be. We wanted it to be a direct reflection of who we are as a couple. Starting with Derek's sister, Anne, officiating the ceremony, the sentimental sand in our sand ceremony, our mother's doing readings and many other details you'll see here!

My dear friend / college roommate / bridesmaid / talented artist, Rebecca, painted this sign for the entrance of the wedding and it was the most beautiful handmade touch right at the start of it all.

Our sand ceremony consisted of sand from First Encounter Beach in Eastham, MA (left) and Eastern Point in Gloucester, MA (right). Two very special places to Derek and I. And ultimately the book ends of our relationship. We both vacationed in Eastham growing up (still do!) and spent a lot of time at First Encounter beach in particular, however even though our paths clearly crossed so many times for so many years there we did not realize this until we began dating. It's a place where we both have roots and that's so important to us. And Eastern Point is a place where our relationship started. It's where we had our second date which ultimately flung us into making it official a few weeks after and a place we had visited often ever since. Most importantly, it is where Derek proposed to me and we sealed the deal to pursue forever with one another. Mixing the sand from these two places together on our wedding day to become one was so full circle for us both. It's truly a testament to our journey together.

And on top of that the table used for this was made by a very close family friend which made it even more special!

The invitation suite was a real labor of love and team effort. I was very particular about this because I am a designer myself and I had such a vision for exactly how I wanted them to look. But like I said, it was a group effort and that's what made every piece that much more meaningful. Morgan, my Maid of Honor, did the custom water color illustrations and we worked through a bunch of options together with her creating the art while I worked the typography and layout. I wanted them to be classic and traditional in the type but organic in the illustrations which she did such a beautiful job on!! My mother-in-law did the calligraphy on all of the envelopes which still has me in awe because not only was every envelope perfect, but she did it so. quickly. Amazing! And my sister-in-law Anne, graciously printed everything for us which was such a huge help and made the process seamless. What a bunch!

Even our rings are super sentimental to us! My engagement ring is a family heirloom from Derek's grandmother/great-grandmother which is over 100 years old and an incredible honor to have passed down to us. Derek designed and 3D printed the mold for my wedding ring which is so nice that he had a hand in that. And both of our wedding rings were purchased from Long's Jewelers which is also so full circle as my Mom has been with the company all my life and I always oo'ed and ahh'ed while dreaming of the day that I'd be be picking out wedding rings someday! It was so nice to share that with my Mom. The rings are just all around, so special to us.

(Note: So special in fact that we totally did not want to risk anything happening to them when we went on our honeymoon with all the swimming we were doing so we wore Qalo rings while we were in Tulum and they were the best! Highly suggest them for active lifestyles or situations where your rings may be compromised)

What a handsome, handsome man :)

Derek's sister, Anne, entering the ceremony.

Here comes the groom!

Proud parents of the groom.

And finally my Mama with my brother, Ryan and my cousin, Samuel. Her boys!

And then....the moment of all moments...

^ this. melts. me.

Though we received a lot of pressure to do so, we chose not to have a first look with one another. We went back and forth but every time we talked about it, our gut was to save this once in a lifetime moment, THE moment, to occur in its purest form. Not forced or staged. Just as is. Derek seeing me for the first time as the doors swung open and my dear Dad and I emerged walking down the aisle was a truly priceless moment for us both and we're so glad we protected that. Derek's face says it all...

Always by my side, this was a moment we both anticipated for so very long.

I'll always remember how it felt to be standing there seeing Derek as my groom. It was surreal to say the least (I mean the entire day was but, you know). I was in complete awe and just couldn't believe it. At the risk of sounding cliche, it literally felt like I was in a dream. A dream I'd had in my head since I was little and here it was happening, right before my eyes.

Sand ceremony in action :)

We are so close to our family, as I'm positive you know!, so we really wanted to have them involved in our ceremony since they're such a  reflection of who we are. Our Mom's did readings and it was the perfect way for them to have an important role in our wedding. We love them dearly!

Derek's Mom read first and my Mom read a blessing after her.

"The Prayer" by Celine Dion is a really meaningful song to me and has a message that rings true to our love for one another. My hometown pal, Zach, sang it beautifully accompanied by the harpist and cellist. It was another personal touch that brought so much to the ceremony.

And then came the pivotal moment of it all. The reason we were all there. Our vows.

We wrote them ourselves. This was really important to us. So much of how we've always expressed our love to one another has been through written words. When it came to preparing for our wedding, our vows were the most important written words we'd ever write for one another. As we held each other's hand and read them to one another, it was yet another incredibly surreal moment. The sincerity of it was worth it and they serve as a base for our marriage.

Leading up to the day, I was so nervous I'd be crying so many happy tears that I wouldn't be able to read them. But throughout the whole ceremony it was as if time stood still. Again, cliche but so true. Being surrounded by so much love, support and happiness took all of my nerves away.

And with that, we dedicated our rings to one another...

And shared our first kiss as Mr. and Mrs. Derek Peter Schradieck!

There we were, husband and wife!!

And what a moment of pure joy and excitement it was.

After the ceremony we had a receiving line in the beautiful gazeebo just beyond our ceremony site. Again, this was something we received some push back on but we're so. glad. we did it. Dedicating actual time to greet our guests was a gift. It not only allowed us to say hello to absolutely everyone but it meant that we'd be able to enjoy our reception on the dance floor with our friends and family!

We attribute the fact that we felt like were so in the moment for our entire wedding to this. Each part had its time and we were able to enjoy it all. This was so important to us as we heard so much of the same thing from a lot of people throughout our engagement that the day would fly by in an instant. We wanted to do everything we could to preserve it and go at a pace that would allow us to take it all in, moment by moment. By doing so, we were able to enjoy our wedding this way. And to us that meant everything.

We would have loved to have had our dog Conway with us but it's just plain unrealistic so we found other ways to honor and include her in our day! We named our signature cocktail after her, The Conway. It was a margarita with honey. We both love margs and Derek is a honey bear, so it was a combination of both of our tastes.

We were so lucky to have so many talented people help us create special pieces of all different parts of the wedding. I mentioned a few earlier but here is another one. My friend and bridesmaid, Brittany, did the calligraphy for our guest seating and it came out beautifully!

From there it was cocktail hour during which we took our wedding party, family and bride/groom portraits.

How beautiful are they!? Our wedding was complete with each of our wedding party members by our side. The bridal party consisted of my cousins Lauren and Emily, and friends from growing up through college and high school: Brittany, Morgan and Rebecca.

Derek's party consisted of my brother Ryan, his cousin Andre, hometown best friend Julian, my cousin Samuel, and college pals Nick and John.

Our wedding party as a whole was such a great mix of family and friends throughout different parts of our life. Altogether, those who've been a part of becoming who we are.

I love love love this photo and I'm pretty sure my Mem loves it even more so as it's all of us grand children in one shot! Can you tell we're related? ;)

You can never have enough father/daughter photos.

Proud and grateful to officially call these lovely people right here my in-laws!

My Maid of Honor, Morgan, and I insisted on a photo recreating one we'd taken way back in high school at her prom where we naturally had a photo of us and our (then) dates with us in the middle, holding hands. It's become a running inside joke and it was only right to recreate it here :)

Brother bear of mine!

Sis in-laws!! Fun fact: Anne and I have the same birthday, we're both graphic designers, and she was almost named Nicole too! Meant to be.

It was so special to have Sam in our wedding party as he's like a brother to me. I'm ten years older than him so when he was born, I was at an age where I was able to bond with him from day one and we've always remained so close. It's so crazy that we're both grown up now and it meant a lot to have him by our side on this day!

Derek and his best man, Julian. Lifelong buds.

The people who have made me, me. Gosh I love 'em.

And best for last, our parents and siblings. Getting framed STAT.

Our ceremony was a moment in time we'll cherish for our entire lives. Everyone who was a part of it and everyone who was there to witness it made it a dream come true for us. And for Derek and I, it was the most incredible culmination of our relationship to officially become one. Just, amazing!


You can see more of our wedding via these links:
Part 1: Getting Ready
Part 3: Golden Hour + Reception
Wedding Video

You can also see our honeymoon here:
Part 1: Inn at Castle Hill here
Part 2: Tulum, Mexico
Honeymoon Video


Sources mentioned:

Flowers: Celia's Flower Studio
Harpist + Cellist: Lily Press and Simon Linn-Gerstein (love them!)
Hand Painted Sign: Thirty Six Sign Studio
Illustrations: Morgan Dyer
Guest Seating Calligraphy: Sea of Atlas (Brittany Fabello)
Photography: Briana Moore
Hair + Makeup: Backstage Salon
Bridesmaid Dresses: Weddington Way
Groomsmen Suits: Calvin Klein

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