Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to share true love stories and wedding inspiration from our community…
Karen, of Top Chef: Season 13, met LJ through a mutual friend — Rachel — who persistently kept trying to introduce them. One fateful evening, a tired, post-work Karen finally agreed to drop by for a drink with Rachel and LJ. Karen was cranky, tired, and didn’t want to go… But when the two met, it was L-O-V-E.
“This was the person I wanted to spend my life with,” Karen said, “I had never wanted to get married before that moment. It was really fast for both of us.” They were engaged a year later!
Karen & LJ
First things first: when and where was your wedding?
We got married twice in three days. The first was May 29, 2014 on a Thursday morning at Boston City Hall. Just the two of us. The second, was two days later, May 31, on a lavender farm in Wiscassett, Maine. Our family has a house in that area, and it is the place we go to spend quality time together. We love that area, and wanted to share how special it was with everyone.
What was your something old, new, borrowed, and blue?
My something new was my dress — the Aisle Be There Dress. I ordered it on a whim, and when I put it on, I knew it was exactly what I had been looking for. My something old was my grandmother’s pearl necklace, and LJ’s grandmother’s cameo ring. My something blue were my royal blue Betsy Johnson heels [editor’s note: we no longer carry those particular shoes, but have lots of other beautiful Betsey Johnson blue soles]. LJ wore a custom made blue tuxedo, with vintage suspenders, and blue dress shoes.
What did you do different to personalize your wedding?
Our ceremony was very personal. It was deep and funny and joyful. Our vows were Dr. Seuss-inspired, and we read them in rhyme. At one point my vow was, “I will love you till the stars grow cold, I will love you until your brain grows mold.” My friend Ashley married us and personally scrapbooked our vows into Dr. Seuss books for us to read from during the ceremony.
We had 1,000 folded origami cranes there for good luck. I had been given 200 cranes from someone else’s wedding, and my family made 800 more. We used the candles from my sister’s wedding and beautiful twine balls from a friend’s recent wedding. We loved the idea of all of the good ‘love karma’ from upcycling our loved ones’ wedding decorations.
My bouquet was made up of vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I walked down the aisle carrying carrots and kale!
What was something unexpected about that day?
How incredibly chill I was. I was so happy and relaxed. (Note: I am neither a relaxed, nor a chill person.) I think that since we were already married, we were in the secret “love bubble” that happens right after you get married. I wasn’t worried about anything, and my DJ told me I was the calmest, happiest bride she had ever seen. I ended up walking down the aisle barefoot — it was perfect.
Do you have a song? What is it?
We had a few! We both felt really strongly about the music that day. LJ walked down the aisle to “Somebody Loved” by the Weepies, I walked down to “Chariots Rise” by Lizzie West, and our first dance was to “I Choose You” by Sara Barielles.
How did you celebrate after the ceremony?
We danced all night long, and ended the evening around the fire pit. The next day, we invited every one to our favorite lobster place, Georgetown Lobster, to continue the celebration.
One thing you’d go back in time and tell your day-of-wedding self?
I really wanted to steal LJ away into my bridal cottage for a bit before dinner. I think it would have been nice to reflect quietly together. However, we knew how fast it would go, and really tried to make the moments count.
What does marriage mean to you?
Everything. Partnership. Teamwork. Love. Passion. Devotion. There is nothing more important to me than my marriage.
Any tips for future newlyweds?
LIVE IN THIS TIME. It is the most beautiful, special time, and you don’t get it back. Call yourselves newlyweds for as long as you can. Celebrate all of the time, drink champagne. We spent every Sunday during our engagement, and the year after, having a bubbles-filled afternoon date.
Last, but certainly not least: tell us about THE FOOD! What was served at your wedding?
We were so lucky to work with the talented and amazing chefs at Dandelion Catering in Yarmouth, Maine. We had lots of vegetarian food, because LJ is a vegetarian, and lots of local fish and lobster. I was super-focused on cocktail hour, because it’s my favorite part. We had tons of oysters, charcuterie, and cheeses. Lots of passed and stationary appetizers!
- Wakame eggplant tempura with spicy lemon coconut
- Fresh asparagus and caramelized onion tart with new potato and cave-aged gruyere
- Slow braised beef in a bacon popover with black cherry conserve
- Mini tarragon Maine lobster BLT
- Fresh arugula, shaved asparagus, and radish salad with asiago and champagne vinaigrette
- Fresh baguette with whipped butter
- Lemon Maine cod with pea shoot, kumquat, and chive oil
- Slow beer-braised chicken thigh with leek and morel on vinegar-wilted chard
- Fresh herb pappardelle with baby spinach, fava beans, spring onion, mild peppadew, and mascarpone
- Brownie bar: dulce de leche / macaroon brownie
- Lemon bars
We absolutely adore Karen and LJ’s story — and their wedding menu! (Anybody else suddenly get really hungry after reading that?) Be sure to check out Karen’s recipe inspired by the mini tarragon Maine lobster BLTs that were served at their soiree.
Get Wedding Style Inspired by Karen
+Stay tuned for more real love stories, wedding ideas, and beguiling bridal style on the blog! In the meantime, find more style inspiration in our wedding boutique.