Liza and Alex couldn’t have chosen a more perfect location for their wedding day. The Kenwood Country Club was exquisite and a gorgeous backdrop to their already breathtaking wedding décor. I knew when I met Liza and Alex last year for their engagement session that their wedding would be spectacular, and it did not disappoint.
I’ll go ahead and stop here for a moment to warn you. This blog post is long. And that’s a good thing. There was nooooooooo way I could choose just 50 or so images from the day to give you an accurate representation of what I was so fortunate to experience, so sit back in a chair, grab a glass of wine… beer… a soda… whatever, and get ready for some complete awesomeness. (And please ignore that run-on sentence while you are at it.) This wedding was FAN-tastic, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Here we go!
I stepped into room 740 of the Hyatt in Bethesda, Maryland. Liza, her gorgeous bridesmaids, her mother and her grandmother, equally as gorgeous, were busily preparing for the day. The iPod blared Michael Buble, Van Morrison, Ingrid Michaelson, among others, as part of a playlist that had been created just. for. Liza by her cousin, bridesmaid, and friend, Jenna. The hair stylists stood in one corner, curling, teasing, curling some more, teasing some more, and ultimately making everyone, one by one, look A-mazing…as if they weren’t already a fabulous looking group of women. Across the room, in front of wall-length, sliding glass doors, were two makeup artists working their magic. They were calm and made no qualms about the fact that they meant business. When those women walked out of that room, they would look nothing less than spectacular. And they did.
In the meantime, the men had gathered at Alex’s parents’ home just minutes away. They made a toast to Alex’s future with Liza, they shared some laughs, and they watched football… Lots of football. But they were there for one reason, and that reason was to stand by their friend’s side and support him as he pledged his life to the woman he loved. Alex’s brothers and friends helped Alex get ready for his bride AND managed to tie all of their Hugh Simms, monogrammed bow ties, which was likely a feat in itself. And in spite of the football games they would be missing to do so, they were honored to be there.
The ceremony location at the country club was on a patio overlooking the golf course. To the left, the sun was going down and shown brightly through the tall trees just to the side of the green. The chuppah was donned with cream, light pink and peach colored roses. Liza and Alex stood beneath it, surrounded by friends and family, and promised their forevers.
Liza insisted that she would not dance until she had spoken with every. single. person who had come to share in their special day. And she was serious. But that is the kind of person Liza is. She is sweet and thoughtful and one of the most genuine, not to mention spunky, people I have ever met, and she is an absolute joy to be around. Alex, too, is one of a kind. He is cool and calm. He is a man of few words, but you just know, without a doubt, that what he does say is said from the heart.
The reception was full. Full of family. Full of friends. Full of laughter, and full of love. There was no doubt that the bond that had been formed was not just a bond between Liza and Alex, but a bond between families and friends. Liza and Alex had become one, and as the crowd lifted them on chairs for the Hora Dance, clapped, sang, and loudly cheered them on, one thing was clear. They would be surrounded with open arms and open hearts for the rest of their lives. This would be the first of many times that their friends and family would cheer them on as Mr. and Mrs. Zawatsky. They had begun a journey that would not be walked alone. And everyone in that room knew that they were better for having Liza and Alex in their lives. I am no exception.
Liza and Alex,
I am so, so lucky to have met you. Your authenticity is refreshing, and I am in awe of the way you love on those around you. The first time I spoke with you, Liza, and you told me you wanted “black, white, and lots of bling” on your wedding day, I knew you were a girl after my own heart. But it wasn’t until we met during your engagement session that I began to understand just how special you are. You are gorgeous and kind, and you love Alex with the kind of love young girls dream of. And Alex, you exude calmness and being around you on the wedding day made me realize the effect you must have on others. You didn’t know who I was, yet you welcomed me onto your family’s farm last year and into your wedding day this week with open arms. Both of you, your families and your friends have been wonderful to get to know, and while I am thrilled beyond words for the life you are starting together, I’m secretly a bit sad that it’s over. It is my sincere hope that we keep in touch and you keep me posted on the adventures your marriage will most certainly bring. Have a fantastic time in Fiji! May these images always take you back to this moment in your life. As your Rabbi mentioned, it is in remembering the emotion and love on the hills that will get you through the valleys. Much love always. M 🙂
A perfect chair at the Hyatt for a perfect bottle of Prada perfume. And get a load of that ring! Are you swooning already?…
Liza took some time to be alone and send a special message to her groom. The Hyatt has a pretty good view, huh?
Liza is already stunning. Check out the cute monogrammed robes Liza bought for her lovely bridesmaids.
Thank you, Pinterest, for making this happen! We did not count on the ceiling being so low, but we worked it out anyway! Such fun!
You know those Hugh Simms, monogrammed bow ties I mentioned? Here they are! LOVE them. Like, LOOOOOOVE.
Hey there, Handsome.
You will see more of the florals in a minute, but look at these rose boutonnieres. Gorgeous. And Alex wears one well.
Roses and Stuart Weitzman. You can’t go wrong there!
Liza had two dresses for her special day. This one was for the ceremony. Maggie Sottero knows how to make a dress. And Liza knows how to wear one. F’real.
Liza wore this dress at the reception. Equally stunning.
Now, THAT is a garter… all blinged out.
I cannot get enough of Liza in that dress. Seriously.
A love letter from Alex.
Originally, Liza and Alex were not going to do a First Look, which was totally fine. However, they had to see each other before the ceremony to sign the ketubah, so they decided to do the First Look after all! And we all know how much I adore First Looks. I was so excited!
Signing the ketubah.
This part always makes me a little teary. Something about a daddy and his daughter… and just WAIT for the father/daughter dance. Gah!
Hellooooooo, sunset ceremony!
Liza was a bit skeptical about holding a dove, but I think it was a beautiful, unique touch to the day!
Sunset photos of the new Mr. and Mrs. Zawatsky. Stunning.
These ladies were so much fun to be around. And BEAUTIFUL, too. Take a look…
These guys aren’t so bad either… although wrestling seemed like much more fun than having their photo taken. Hence the arm lock they have the groom in…
If you ever want to give a room a TOTAL transformation, use up lighting. Adding lighting to the room creates a romantic, exquisite look that cannot be outdone.
A little more bling on the place cards.
The first dance was to Van Morrison’s Into The Mystic. Who doesn’t love that song?!? Exactly.
Alex’s dad stood before the couple and offered a toast. He referred to Alex as earth and water, and to Liza as fire. This comparison could not be more on the money. They compliment each other in every way, and somehow in the midst of many of their differences, they are the perfect fit. And I do mean perfect.
Caitlin and Liza have been friends since they were young. Caitlin is also the person I can thank for introducing me to this wonderful couple. She was a bridesmaid in Caroline and Joe’s wedding and passed my information on to Liza. I am truly grateful, Caitlin, and your toast to the couple was beautiful.
There is that father/daughter dance I mentioned. Melt. My. Heart.
I don’t think Liza is completely convinced that the Hora Dance is a good idea. So fun!
Do you see the recurring theme? That bling Liza mentioned when we first talked? On the cake too. And it looks fabulous!
Every good blog post has a touch of humor, right??? I added this photo because I personally find it hilarious! Liza was literally warning Alex about smashing cake in her face while hold him at fork-point. And I think he was actually scared. If she was holding a fork on me and giving me THAT look, I’d be scared, too!
DJ Billy Zee did a fantastic job of keeping the party going until the very end. Liza’s quite the dancer (and singer?), wouldn’t you say?
Don’t you love this second dress just as much as the first? I absolutely do.
The happy coupled ended the evening exactly as they should… in each other’s arms while Michael Buble’ sang “Save The Last Dance For Me.”
A perfect ending to the perfect wedding.
Happy Monday, friends!
Venue: Kenwood Country Club
Photographer: Michelle Renee Photography
Cinematographer: Stan Pe Films
Dress Designer: Maggie Sottero
Shoe Designer: Stuart Weitzman
DJ: Billy Zee
Florals: Sue Morriss
Cake: Mary Kay Gillespie
Stylist/Makeup Artist: Kim Reyes/Audrey