Real Wedding | Jessica + Ari

There’s something so charming about college sweethearts tying the knot…friends and family have watched the couple grow in their love, and waited years to celebrate with them. When Jessica and Ari said “I Do” at the Chapel of their alma mater, Cornell University, you could see how much joy filled the room.  You’ll love the spirited details at this modern wedding, including the choreographed first dance and a-cappella serenade at the church. Most of all, you’ll adore Jessica’s amazing Monique Lhuillier gown, simply perfect for this chic celebration. Enjoy!

Jessica + Ari | September 24, 2011 | Ithaca, New York

The ceremony

We had a beautiful reform Jewish wedding ceremony inside the lovely and ornate Sage Chapel at Cornell University. We met as freshmen in our college dorm, initially became friends, and eventually fell in love. My favorite all male a cappella group at Cornell, The Hangovers, performed for the ceremony, entertaining guests with various love songs while they arrived. Ari and I wrote our own vows and exchanged them aloud for the first time at the ceremony. There were many tears and many laughs. Upon being pronounced man and wife we walked back down the aisle to an energetic rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours” and proceeded outside to the courtyard where we held a receiving line to greet and thank our guests. The ceremony was absolutely our favorite part of the entire wedding!

The reception

Our reception was held at John Joseph Inn and Elizabeth Restaurant in nearby Groton, New York. Our guests travelled via school buses that were inscribed on the sides with “Ari <3 Jess” and “Ari and Jess Big Red Express” (Big Red being a reference to the informal name for the sports teams at Cornell). The John Joseph Inn is a beautiful bed and breakfast out in the middle of lush green farmland, a short drive from Cornell, along Cayuga Lake. Guests enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a photobooth at the tented cocktail hour in the gardens of the John Joseph Inn. The property is over 10 acres and houses an expansive field, English gardens, a beautiful orchard and even a few pet sheep! Next, guests were ushered into the main tent for an evening of dinner, dancing and celebration. Our first dance was performed to “You Belong to Me” by Jason Wade. After my father completed his toast, my entire family (including Ari and his sister!) got up on stage for a surprise performance of “Say A Little Prayer For You” for which they had written all new lyrics pertaining to myself and Ari. It made me cry tears of joy!

How Jessica found her dream wedding dress

I started out my dress search with a fairly open mind, but I quickly narrowed my search down to dresses that were mermaid and trumpet style. I wanted something that I would feel feminine and flirty in, something very romantic. I knew that I did not want a dress with a lot of volume or weight as I wanted to be able to move about freely, dance my heart out with my new husband, and to be able to easily hug all of my family and friends! I also had to take my setting into consideration. Our dress code was formal attire, but it was also in a country setting, under a tent outside, so I wanted something that looked somewhat organic with our surroundings. I ended up falling in love with the Monique Lhuillier. The dress I ended up with was not necessarily exactly what I had envisioned, being that is was all lace, but it actually ended up being even better!

The way Jessica felt in her wedding dress

Romantic, Feminine, Lovely

Why Jessica decided to sell her wedding dress

I had been debating over the past year whether to save my dress or sell it, and I ultimately decided to sell. I just do not feel that I need to save my dress for a friend or family member or a daughter that I may never even have, and I realized that even if I do have a daughter someday she may not want to wear my dress. There were just too many if’s. I would rather sell my dress and get a little bit of my money back and have someone else enjoy her day in it (now) as much as I did. I hope they do!

Jessica’s wedding dress: Monique Lhuillier, Arielle, Photography: Wrinkle In Time Photography, Ceremony Venue: Sage Chapel at Cornell University, Reception Venue: John Joseph Inn and Elizabeth Restaurant, Event Planning: Ceremonies and Event Planning of The Finger Lakes, Florist: Backyard Garden, Cake: Sincredible Pastries