Real Wedding | Kara & Ernie

I look at wedding dresses 7 days a week.  And I never get tired of it.  Today, after seeing Kara’s stunning dress, I’m picking the Vera Wang Iris as my current all time favorite.  If I were to get married tomorrow, I would want (make that have) to wear this dress. Simple. Classic. Modern. Elegant. What more could you ask for?

Kara & Ernie | August 29, 2009 |The Grand Lodge, Baltimore, Maryland

How he proposed
I always told Ernie that I would know exactly when he was about to propose.  I really didn’t think he would be able to surprise me.  Well, I was wrong!  Ernie was fretting about turning 30 so I thought I would surprise him with a 7-day Caribbean cruise to take his mind off of turning the big 3-0.  We invited some of our friends and were ready to have a great time.  The first night on the ship, after dinner, Ernie suggested we take a walk around the upper deck of the ship.  It was late, so no one was up there, and it was just so beautiful looking at the stars in the clear sky.  I turned my head just for a second and the next thing I knew, he was down on one knee with a beautiful ring in his hand.  I was in such shock I didn’t say anything for a couple of seconds…then finally managed to get a “YES” out.  It was so special because it was just the two of us – I will remember that moment forever, especially when we go on another cruise.

The ceremony
We found the perfect little chapel on the grounds of The Grand Lodge where the reception was held.  It was important to both of us to get married in a church, but I really wanted something that would look full with the 180 guests that would be there.  This chapel was perfect.  It had a beautiful wooden front door that almost made it look like a castle, and tall arches which added it to its beautiful structure.  It was quaint and intimate – just what we were looking for.  My favorite moment was when the priest announced us husband and wife – we both had the biggest grin on our faces and had the perfect first kiss as a married couple.  We exited the church to The Beatles, “All You’ve got Is Love” and roaring applause from our guests.

The reception
We chose to hold our reception in a Masonic Lodge.  It was an easy decision after seeing the marble floors, grand ballroom, and huge gold chandeliers, plus we both have Masons in our family and thought that would be a unique detail.  When we first started planning our wedding we wanted to make sure we were both on the same page as to what’s most important to us…and that was having a great time.  We wanted this to be a celebration for our friends and family and for everyone to have a fun night.  Our main focus was on our awesome 7-piece band, great food, and unlimited bar.  We started our guests off with a signature cocktail – my favorite, pomegranate martini, followed by passed hor’d ourves.  We offered a sit down dinner but didn’t waste any time and started the night off with some great music and dancing.

We really didn’t have a specific theme in mind while planning our wedding.  It kind of just all came together.  I had found a picture in a magazine that had purple, teal and chartreuse and I fell in love with that color combination.  After a visit to my florist, she proposed that we incorporate peacock features – which worked perfectly.  All the details were very modern, from the square tables and plates, to the design I put on the menus and place cards, to the cake.  For an extra dessert, we created a “Taste of Baltimore” dessert table which offered only the best that Baltimore is known for, and of course our favorite desserts.  We offered Marshmallow filled donuts, Burger Cookies, and my favorite, Crumb buns. They didn’t last long!


One thing that was very important to both of us was to honor my grandfather and Ernie’s grandmother who were both able to attend our wedding.  Both grandparents had celebrated over 60 years of marriage and we can’t wait to follow in their lead.  My engagement ring and wedding band, and Ernie’s wedding band were once worn by his grandparents.  We didn’t change a thing and wear them with respect and pride.  It was wonderful to see how happy our grandparents were for us and how much fun they had!

The moment Kara will never forget
My favorite moment was when Ernie and I first stepped foot into the ballroom as husband and wife.  It was amazing to see all those people that had come to support us in our marriage.  Also, to see all our hard work in planning actually come true.  We were both taken back by how stunning the room looked, it was more than we both could have imaged.  We went straight into our first dance which was to Frank Sinatra’s “It Had to Be You.” I’ll never forget what I was feeling at that moment.

What made her wedding dress  the “The One”
As a little girl, I knew the name of one wedding dress designer:  Vera Wang.  I really wanted to keep the dress at a reasonable price so I figured it wouldn’t be hard to find a dress I love from another designer.  I must have tried on close to 100 dresses and spent numerous hours in dressing rooms trying on all types of dresses.  I didn’t have a style in mind so I was open to any and all of my options.  After months of dress shopping, many opinions, and no luck, I found a Vera Wang boutique not far from me so I made an appointment on a Saturday afternoon and went solo.  As soon as I walked in, I knew.  I wasn’t leaving this shop until I had my dress!  Up until this point, I had tried on many beautiful, flattering dresses…but that’s just it, they were just dresses.  I didn’t feel like a bride.  That all changed when I put this dress on.  I felt beautiful, and I looked like a bride.  The next weekend, I brought my parents, and maid of honor back with me to give me their honest opinions and fingers crossed buy my dress.  My mom couldn’t stop smiling and my dad had tears in his eyes.  This was it!  I absolutely fell in love with how classy the dress is with the modern twist of the bow in the back.  The fabric is light and easy to move around in and didn’t slow me down.  This was just what I was looking for.  My little girl wish came true.  My wish is to be able to share the way I felt with anther bride.

Her advice for other brides
My advice for brides would be this…it’s ok to be nervous, or anxious, that’s normal.   Plan the day of your wedding (getting ready) so you don’t have to stress about your timeline.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get your hair and makeup done, make sure to eat lunch, and give yourself some time to just kick back and chat with your bridesmaids before the hectic getting dressed starts.  Do as much planning ahead of your big day so you know you have plenty of time to get everything done.  And remember to not worry about the details – only you (and your mom – in my case) will even notice most of the details and hard work you put into it!

Kara’s Wedding Dress: Vera Wang Iris

Photography: Kate Triano Photography