Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

Before I get into part two of our wedding recap, I want to thank you all for your sweet, kind and thoughtful words from part one. I love that you’ve all enjoyed seeing my wedding photos and sharing in my happiness.

Also, I’ve turned this into a three-part series, because there are just too many cute details and gorgeous photos, I couldn’t fit it all in one post today.

You’re all the best!

Now, today, we’re going to recap the ceremony (captured flawlessly by Nadya Furnari Photography.)

So, we left off after taking photos with the bridal party. After that, both of us went our separate ways and spent about an hour apart – him with his groomsmen and me with my bridesmaids. I loved that time together, getting all excited before the show!

I practiced my vows, sipped champagne with the girls, got our makeup touched up, and my sister helped put my veil on.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

Once I had the veil on, I felt like a true bride. I wasn’t sure if I was going to wear it, but my grandmother told me I had to and I was happy she did, because it definitely made me feel elegant, beautiful and bridal.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

Then, it was time to walk down the stairs and out to the area where the ceremony was taking place.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

It was breathtakingly gorgeous (I thank Hamilton Farm Golf Club, Jardiniere Fine Flowers and the hustle of the ladies from EVJ Wedding Co) – it was simply flawless perfection.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

We placed doily cones full of roses for the people sitting on the ends of the seat rows to throw up after we were married.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

We also lined the aisles with mason jars full of fresh flowers:

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

The “altar” was made of birch wood and assembled with fabric we picked out in NYC and fresh flowers from our florist. It was stunning:

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

When our guests entered, they were greeted by some chalkboards (which Lu and I stayed up finishing until 2:30am the night before our rehearsal dinner, haha.)

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our programs were stuffed with tissues for “happy tears” and the back of the program featured fun facts about Lu and I – just something for our guests to read through while they waited for the ceremony to begin.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

I did all of this, because I wanted the wedding to be personal – to be very “us.”

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Now, for the ceremony. All of the bridal party and bridesmaids walked down a set of stairs, to “One Love” by Bob Marley (played by a guitarist.) Here’s a shot of the stairs and a gorgeous one of my mother, with her brother:

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

I wanted a more special entrance. My father and I were together, just him and I, talking as he walked me around this gazebo and out to the “aisle.”

We had it together until we stepped onto the actually aisle, when my song came on (“Crazy Love” by Van Morrison.) He started sobbing again – and I couldn’t help but cry too! I was trying so hard not to absolutely lose it, so I fought back the tears as best I could, but a few slipped out.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

In the pictures, it looks like I’m smiling and looking down, but I’m really fighting back those tears.



I’m happy I took that grander entrance, because it made for gorgeous photos and gave me more time to look around at everyone standing in their seats – and then, of course, more time to look at Lu’s face as I walked closer and closer.


The ceremony was a bit of a blur – I tried my hardest to make a mental note that morning to really pay attention during the ceremony, but all I could think about was, “In 20 minutes from now, this many is going to be my husband and I get to have him for the rest of my life, forever.”

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details

I couldn’t stop looking at him and thinking about our life together forever.


We did write our own vows, which I encourage every bride and groom to do – it’s so much more personal than standard, traditional vows – and it gives an opportunity for a crack of a joke, especially when you’re nervous up there. Lu clearly enjoyed mine:


During his, he made a reference to zucchini noodles, which, when we get our wedding video, I’ll have to share with you all (it was pretty clever.)


I was overwhelmed with joy and love, I actually reread Lu’s vows when we got back from the honeymoon and only remembered about 30% of them, haha! It was kind of like when he proposed, I didn’t hear a word he said after he got down on one knee.

Our friend Rob married us and he gave such a heartfelt, profound ceremony – we couldn’t have been more blessed.






We took a moment and kissed like crazy when we neared the end of the aisle and took a few more cute pictures.


Then, we walked to the front of the mansion and took 5 minutes to ourselves, riding off in a decorated “just married” golf cart. It was nice to be alone with him for those few minutes and take it all in.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony, Reception & Details



Then, we went upstairs to sign the marriage license. This was actually one of my favorite moments from the wedding. My grandmother, sister and the girls from EVJ Wedding Co (our wedding coordinators) bustled my dress, while Lu, my father and I looked out the window onto the patio where the cocktail hour was happening and watched our closest friends and family celebrating us.

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

Our Wedding Day, Part 2: The Ceremony

It really was a magical moment, to see everyone there.

Then, it was off to the cocktail hour and reception! Can’t wait to share those final pictures with you next week!

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  1. Tearing up again! Just beautiful. Love the go-cart and Lu’s socks. And your mom is a beauty too! Thanks for sharing.

  2. girlllll you’re giving me wedding fever! seriously, it’s SO gorgeous Ali. I can’t wait till I get to have something so special :)

  3. Oh, Ali—you and Lu look so, so, so happy and in love, and the way you describe what you were think and how lucky you felt to be able to watch him for a little bit longer because of your longer grand entrance… I have butterflies! Your happiness radiates not only through your gorgeous photos but also your overwhelmingly ecstatic words. AND THE FUN FACTS! “Don’t push me, push a push pop” might be the most adorable thing I’ve ever read—what a fabulous idea! I wish I knew you personally and you could help me plan my wedding, but thank you for getting me so excited to do it now, and for sharing your bliss with all of us! :)

  4. I grew up in that area and remember riding horses there before the golf club was built. What a beautiful place to have your wedding and how beautiful it was!

  5. All I can say is “WOW!” Everything turned out so beautiful!! I loved the chalkboard schedule and the personal invitations and the cone of rose petals to throw and the mason jar flowers!!!! So unique and quite personal, which is how you want your wedding to be. I am looking forward to viewing the video.

  6. Ali I have so enjoyed all your wedding photos! Your photographer did a great job capturing the moments of your special day. Thanks for sharing.

  7. margaret craig :

    Beautiful photos of a beautiful couple and their families and friends. Thank you for letting me see these. xx

  8. Those fun facts are such a cute idea! I just cried again a bit… such a romantic day :) Thanks for sharing!

  9. Ali,
    Congratulations on becoming Mrs. Cerda and on all of your leap of faith success!! Your story is truly inspirational and when you combine passion and commitment, wether in a relationship or a business venture, you are destined for success!! I recently formed Luxevents and Co., an event planning company with a talented graphic designer and dear friend and share your passion and dedication for this new venture. Equally important is my passion for health and wellness.While not one to order random items on Amazon, I was immediately drawn to the Inspiralizer and ordered it along with YOUR cookbook upon finding them late one night. What an awe-inspiring story. I wish you continued success and happiness in all of your endeavors.
    Best, Karen

  10. Gorgeous pictures once again! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful day. Can’t wait for installment #3. Just so you know, your blind date with Lu was on my 50th birthday!! LOL I had *no* problem celebrating that milestone day in my life, and I’m glad it worked out for you too! :)

  11. Just spectacular!

  12. I love the natural beauty of it all…truly a fairytale. Thank you for sharing

  13. Ali- I think your wedding is the most beautiful wedding that I have ever seen. I love everything about it–from the venue, to your dress, the flowers, the personal notes about you and Lu, the chalkboards that you stayed up late finishing with Lu, and you and your father tearing up as you approached the wedding party.

    I recently read the post about how you and Lu met and also the post about your weight loss journey. You are an amazing person and an inspiration to me.

    Thanks again for sharing your beautiful photos.

  14. I’m grateful you have shared your special day with us and I have enjoyed it all. What does it mean to “bustle your dress”?

  15. What a lovely personal wedding!. You both made it your special day. Your love for each other and your families is truly wonderful. Wishing you both, love, respect and lots of laughs and joy in your future.

    All the best, now and in the future

  16. Wow…your wedding day looks amazing! Being a scrapbooker, I have to say that one of my favorite parts was your chalkboards…I will have to borrow that idea for a scrapbook page soon. I loved all the little details that made your day so special. Thanks again for sharing with us.

  17. What a beautiful ceremony! I can’t wait for the reception pictures!

  18. Lovely pictures! Thanks for sharing them with us!

  19. What a beautiful day and a stunning bride. I have loved hearing about your day and celebrating the love you share. I hope that you have a lifetime filled with love, just like me and my husband xx

  20. So beautiful!

  21. Ali,

    I am in tears. How can one woman who I’ve never met move me to such emotion? I feel as if I was there. I am blessed to have found this site. And you. I know, I just KNOW yours and Lu’s life will be a long and happy one.


  22. Ruth Detroit Area :

    Like others before me have said, I FEEL LIKE I WAS THERE! And its not just the pictures, your sweet/thoughtful description of everything, including what you were thinking, was wonderful!
    Thanks for sharing – ruth

  23. Wow, just beautiful pictures and a stunning wedding day with your loved ones and friends. What a great memory you will have of this day. Thank-you for sharing. Makes me want to do it all over again with my hubby.

  24. Oh my, that was really special of you to share your beautiful wedding. I had to keep stopping reading to wipe away the tears. You were absolutely beautiful. The place you had the wedding was very nice. It looks like the weather was great as well. Your dress was spectacular, congratulations to you both.

  25. Emotionally beautiful! Congratulations!

  26. LOVED this (and the first post) and cannot wait to see the 3rd post about your special day! Mine is a month away and all your photos just make me that much more excited!! Love your little details and hope our day is captured as beautifully as yours has been! Congrats again!! {IG: Insta*Lins}

  27. I LOVE GIN RUMMY. I find myself daydreaming about playing it some days at work.

  28. Thank you so much for sharing- the photos are absolutely beautiful and made me shed a tear too! I just love your dad and how proud he looks! What a wonderful day – you look stunning!!!!!

  29. It is wonderful of you to share these with all of us – I got “happy tears” just looking at your awesome photos! So much joy and love.

  30. Thank you for sharing all these beautiful and joyful moments. May you have a lifetime of happiness!

  31. Love this :) can’t wait for installment 3 !

  32. Mazel tov! You are a gorgeous bride & Lu a handsome groom. I wish you a long, happy, healthy & prosperous life together. Your mother’s dress is also amazing and perfect for the day. I am at work crying my eyes out!

  33. Ali,

    Where are your programs from? I love them!


  34. Emilie Joshi :

    Hi Ali,
    Congratulations to you and Lu!!! How exciting. Thank you so much for sharing the amazing photos from your wedding! They are spectacular. It is a small world. I used to live in Gladstone and Bernardsville and went to Bernards High. I’m quite a bit older than you! I graduated in 1985. Wishing you and Lu all of the best. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your incredible recipes with all of us.

  35. Wow! Everything was so well done–beautiful venue, fabulous dress. You looked gorgeous and your mom is stunning in that dress. Congratulations!

  36. All your pictures have been wonderful! What an amazing wedding! It appears as though everything went perfectly! Your dress was beautiful, and the veil was a great choice, even if it was just to make your grandma happy! It’s a day you will never forget, even if you didn’t have such great photos. It will always be your day! Congratulations!

  37. Ali,
    Where did you have your ceremony programs made? they are absolutely perfect.


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