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Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to share true love stories and wedding inspiration from our community…
Natalie, ModCloth’s Head of Writing & Social, and her husband, Jim, were once high school sweethearts. However, they ended up going away to different colleges, breaking up, and then re-meeting each other later in their mid-20s. Turned out, they liked the adult versions of one another, too.
“My father passed away in May of 2013, and that made us both realize that life is really short and really unpredictable, so you have to make the most of every single moment,” says Natalie. They were married in November, 2013.
All photos by Mandy Fierens.
Tell us about your quest for “the dress”…
I browsed occasionally, but didn’t really have a ‘quest’. I was drawn to vintage-inspired styles, and a dress I liked went on sale, so I snapped it up. Pretty proud that I only spent $300 on my wedding dress! I just couldn’t see any sense in spending a crazy amount for a one-time-wear dress.
What was your something old, new, borrowed, and blue?
Umm… I don’t think I did this. I honestly don’t even remember. That probably means I didn’t.
Where was the ceremony?
We did things a little different. We got married on 11/12/13 at the courthouse in our hometown. Only close family was present. Then, we had a big reception/party that Saturday. It was really important for me to have my whole tight-knit work team there, so I made sure they could all fly back to the East Coast for it. The party was at the George Washington Hotel — it’s a historic landmark, with really beautiful architectural details. We had only the morning-of to get the entire ballroom decorated the way I wanted, because they had an event in it the night before (a wedding that appeared on TLC’s Four Weddings, in fact!).
Natalie’s work team.
Despite the fact that it was a traditional setting, I knew I wanted color, color, color, so I settled on three of my favorites (turquoise, magenta, and citrus orange), and went wild with it. I bought two dozen vintage silk saris on eBay (which you can get for $10-$15), used those as table coverings, and draped them over the giant windows behind the band’s stage with twinkle lights behind them. I also covered the entryway ceiling in paper fans. I was inspired by the first time I saw the ceiling of the lobby of the Bellagio (in Las Vegas) — cheesy? Maybe. But I just loved all that Chihuly glass, and this was as close as I could get to replicating it!
Funniest moment of the day?
Probably watching my mom go buckwild on the dancefloor. She later claimed that her “petticoat just took over”. (She love, love, loved wearing her vintage-inspired dress with a red petticoat underneath it that night!)
Do you have a “song”? What is it?
We didn’t have a traditional ‘first dance’ (or much of anything traditional, other than the fact that I wore a long ivory dress, and Jim wore a tux). But, we both love Lorde’s “400 Lux”, and made sure it was on the playlist. I remember a moment, early in the party, when we heard it come on, locked eyes across the room, and smiled. That song still makes me think of our wedding every time I hear it.
One thing you’d go back in time and tell your day-of-wedding self?
Remember to eat the food. Seriously. Don’t worry about trying to talk to every single person and just eat some food, because you’ll either be starving or you’ll get too, um, tipsy.
What does marriage mean to you?
Partnership. In everything. The peace of knowing that there’s this one person who will always have your back, no matter what. Being there for each other in the bad times, not just the good. And calling each other on your BS, too! Making each other better people.
What did you DIY vs. buy?
I DIY-ed a lot, including purchasing loads of vintage furniture (I had a LOT of auction alerts set on my phone) to create ‘lounge spaces’, instead of the usual round tables and chairs. There were also all the vintage saris I mentioned earlier. I wanted flowers, because I love flowers, so I told a florist friend what my colors were, and she ordered buckets full of flowers for me. The day before, I came to her shop, and put together all my floral arrangements myself. (She was kind enough to let me keep them there until the next morning.) The flowers were arranged in about two dozen vases I’d scored at various thrift stores, and then spraypainted gold.
This couch is the only piece of wedding furniture Natalie hung onto!
Any tips for future newlyweds?
Remember that this day is all about celebrating you, your partner, and your love for each other. Don’t worry about trying to please everyone and their mother, because that will only stress you out! Take in every moment of the big day, and be sure you make time for each other. And do not forget to eat the food! I did, and it’s my biggest wedding regret!
Saved the best for last: FOOD AND DRINKS! What did you serve? Signature cocktails? Did you opt for a crowd-pleasing spread, or pick you and your partner’s personal faves?
We picked lots of favorites that are not typical wedding fare. We did a custom menu with lots of very non-wedding-y foods…but they’re things that we love and grew up eating, including pierogies from Pierogies Plus (an institution in Pittsburgh!), cabbage rolls, lots of charcuterie and cheeses, an insane amount of cheddar, buffalo-ranch, and caramel-chocolate popcorn, and several passed appetizers, including pancetta-wrapped shrimp, chicken satay, and bruschetta. (All I had was one piece of bruschetta early on in the night. Sadface.) We did have a signature cocktail, but we also had an array of champagne punches that guests could help themselves to, as well as a pour-your-own wine station in the mezzanine that we stocked with my father’s last batch of homemade wine.
Get Wedding Style Inspired by Natalie & Jim’s Big Day:
+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.
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