This wedding had so many beautiful details that we just couldn’t fit them all into one single blog article. For more about Ben and Samantha’s Lighting Design, check out last week’s article, and stay tuned for more about their wedding reception and special events, next week! Click here to check out the other articles in this multi-part style profile on Ben and Samantha’s big day or to learn more about the Hitched wedding project.
After their Wedding Ceremony, The Newlyweds, Bridal Party, and Family remained on the Happy Days Lodge Lawn for formal portraits while their guests moved to Happy Days Lodge’s semi-outdoor solarium, a sunroom with three sides of screened window-walls, where they enjoyed live music by the violin/guitar duo. Ben and Samantha had originally planned on recorded music, during cocktail hour, but had a last-minute opportunity to secure live musicians and went for it. Despite the quick addition, we were able to work together to coordinate the delicate balance between the live soundtrack, entertainment, and announcements for traffic control between the two spaces. Special thanks to Dave and Gwen on the Guitar and Violin for being so great to work with.
A little under an hour later, guests were invited to dinner in Happy Days Lodge’s Main Hall, which had been bedecked in shabby-chic, rustic decor [including work by several Vendors We Adore — warm wooden farm tables by Borrow Vintage + Eclectic Rentals, chairs by Miller’s Party Rental (watch for an interview with Dean Miller on the blog, later this winter), place setting design by none other than Old Carolina Barbecue Co.’s Leslianne Love-Lake, and highlighted by Something New Entertainment’s rich custom lightscape (see more about the lighting design, here)].
Not long after, the Bridal Party and Couple made their Grand Entrance! Ben and Samantha chose special songs for each pair (including “Get Ready for This” by 2 Unlimited, “Let’s Get It Started” by the Black Eyed Peas, “Get the Party Started” by P!nk, and “Party Rock Anthem” by LMFAO, for themselves) as they made their way down the aisle along the (fabulous) King’s Table.
At the end of the aisle, bridal party members joined me a pair at a time for personalized introductions to Ben and Samantha’s other guests — a moment honoring the significance of each friendship as well as providing some entertainment for everyone.
Ben and Samantha’s Bridal Party included:
Stefanie, Samantha’s younger sister, escorted by Phil, Ben’s childhood friend; Chris and Christie, Ben’s brother and sister-in-law; And Shade, Samantha’s “soul sister,” escorted by Nick, Ben’s best friend.
Finally — the moment we’d all been waiting for:
the guests of honor — the NEW Mr. and Mrs. Ben and Samantha Cook — completed our celebration in Grand Style, indeed!
After their Grand Entrance, several of Ben and Sam’s nearest and dearest honored the couple with a series of touching (and entertaining) toasts.
During a delicious dinner prepared by Old Carolina Barbecue Co., Ben and Samantha chose a selection of vocal jazz and big band classics to compliment the relaxed elegance of their down-home dinner party, including Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Michael Buble, Ella Fitzgerald, and more.
After dinner, it was time for dessert!
Ben and Samantha cut the chanda-cake (created by Dolce Colpo) to “This Will Be and Ever-Lasting Love” by Natalie Cole.
I’ll be the first to admit it: things got a liiiiiiiittle messy.
After cake, just before Ben and Samantha’s First Dance as a married couple (to Keith Urban’s “Without You) we took a few moments to honor the romance that had brought us all together — Ben and Samantha’s Love Story.
I’ll share just a little part of it with you, today:
Our story begins across the sea — in Germany, where Ben was born — and spans across the Atlantic Ocean. Ben’s story is truly an “American Dream” story, wrought with toil and turmoil, tempered by redemption, success, and the happy ending — or maybe more accurately the new beginning — of finding true love.
Their paths first crossed in the Winter of 2011, and they credit Maid-of-Honor Shade with making the meeting possible after arranging a job interview for Samantha at the restaurant where Ben was working, at the time.
The chemistry was instant and electric, but their budding romance already faced an obstacle: Ben’s face, in fact. Because – to Samantha – a 21-year-old Ben looked about 30, and she worried that he was too old for her.
That hesitation didn’t last long, though. After only a couple days of working, together, Ben and Samantha got to talking after their shift and didn’t stop talking until the wee hours of the morning. They talked about everything under the sun. “It got very philosophical” Samantha told me, “and I thought ‘this is the man I’m going to marry.’”
Well — she was right!
Samantha also planned a special Mother-Daughter dance with her Mom to “My Wish” by Rascal Flatts…
which quickly turned into an impromptu — and maybe even *more* special — Mother-DaughterS dance.
What a beautiful moment!
Next, Samantha and I coaxed all the single ladies out onto the dance floor to catch a little extra marriage luck with the bouquet toss!
Samantha chose the newly-favorited “Single Ladies” by Beyonce for this event.
Followed by a similar event for the single guys… with a little twist!
First, Ben retrieved the garter…
…then, we teased the guys a little bit — who proved beyond the shadow of any doubt that their dancing skills were above reproach!
Finally, Ben tossed the garter!
And, then? Then, we DANCED!
Some of the Bride and Groom’s requests for the evening included:
Several modern popular “wedding songs” like:
“Marry You” by Bruno Mars
“Marry Me” by Train
Several modern country party hits, like:
“Country Girl (Shake It For Me)” by Luke Bryan
“Chicken Fried” by Zac Brown Band
Several modern dance hits, like:
“Shots” by LMFAO
“Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
“Titanium” by David Guetta
Several modern pop sing-alongs, like:
“We Are Young” by Fun
“Empire State Of Mind” by Jay-Z
“Rolling In The Deep” by Adele
“I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by Aerosmith
A little bit of kitsch, like:
“U Can’t Touch This” by M.C. Hammer
“We No Speak Americano” by Yolanda Be Cool
And some classic rock sing-alongs, like:
“Livin’ On A Prayer” by Bon Jovi
“Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard
“You Shook Me All Night Long” by AC/DC
“Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison
“Faithfully” by Journey
“Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
…and they all lived happily ever after.