I want to talk to you guys about Katie & Andrew’s rainbow wedding. I know what you’re thinking. It must have looked a bit like a Mitzvah. Not at all! It was fabulous, and you have to see it.
First, I want to tell you a little bit about Katie. She is brilliant. She’s remarkably intelligent, but also, she’s a brilliant artist. Have you ever seen those paintings that are so realistic they look like photographs? When you look at them from afar, you’re thinking, “There’s no way someone painted that!” But it’s totally a painting. That’s what Katie does. One of her favorite things to focus on is skin. Pores, freckles, every detail including the little hairs. Her colors are brilliant. Color is very important to her. And the rainbow color scheme, ROYGBIV, is especially important to her. She focuses on this in a lot of aspects of her life. Books on the bookshelf are not arranged by subject matter, by author, or even by (my personal favorite) size. They are arranged by the color of their binding. Each shelf is a segment of a rainbow. Her love of color also shows in her personal wardrobe and makeup choices. Colorful shoelaces, rainbow shirts, and multiple shades of eye makeup. Not in a “you’re in the wrong decade” way, or a “My 8th Grade English Teacher, Mrs. Wagner” way, but a really cool, artistic way.
When it came time to make plans for Katie & Andrew’s September wedding, there were a few important elements that must be included:
It was going to be FUN!
Lots of DIY elements by Katie and her crafty mother Sue.
Andrew wanted a BIG cake. Like, way bigger than they needed, but that’s okay.
The Hawk that flies to the Best Man during the ceremony.
Yee Haw Bob. More on this to come.
The wedding was held at Katie’s parents’ home in Parkton, Maryland. It was not the home where Katie grew up, but rather the place where her parents relocated in order to be close to Katie when she enrolled in MICA to study art. Katie has an art studio there, where I had the pleasure of seeing some of her works in progress and getting a tiny bit of an understanding of how she puts her masterpieces together. You can read about her artistic process on her website. It’s quite fascinating. The back yard at the house has a deck, which we used for the bar and cocktail hour food, a grassy area that we fitted with a custom tent, and a clearing in the woods, where the ceremony took place.
The tent was white, as were all her chairs and linens. A surprising decision, at first. But Katie’s choice to keep the canvas white made perfect sense to me when I started to understand the vision that she had in mind, which we helped bring to fruition. Colored up-lights were placed beneath each table, giving it a glow that complemented the color scheme of the tablescape atop each table. Each table had its own color of the rainbow, but the Sweetheart table had them all, with custom-died roses adorning the front.
Continuing with the rainbow on a neutral palette theme, were the bridesmaids bouquets — each individual colors of the rainbow — in front of the backdrop of the soft grey dresses each girl wore. Katie’s bouquet was, of course, a rainbow.
Even the food was rainbow! A fruit display in ROYGBIV order — Strawberries, Cantaloupe, Grapes, and Blueberries — was something Katie put quite a bit of thought into.
Let’s not forget about Katie’s dress! It was adorned with iridescent rhinestones that matched her multicolored engagement ring stone. Under the ivory exterior of her dress was colorful tulle peeking through. Jill Andrews did the custom fabrication, and Katie’s vision became a reality.
Andrew also had some fun with color in his suit. A Sargent Pepper-style jacket and a top hat gave him a unique look, while his turquoise accents added more pops of color.
Katie and Andrew are adventurous. They love amusement parks, and even took their honeymoon on a cross-country trip that included some theme parks. It was only appropriate to have some games at their wedding. Katie loves bounce houses. It was challenging to find one that wasn’t clearly made for children, with characters all over them. The rainbow castle was perfect! In addition to a “first dance,” the couple also shared a “first bounce,” in the bounce house. Then it was all fun and games for everyone after that. There was also giant Connect Four, and custom corn hole boards with pictures of Katie and Andrew’s faces, with the bean bags going right into their mouths.
Between Katie being an artist, and her mother Sue being very crafty in general, there were a lot of Do-It-Yourself elements in this wedding. The flower girls wore tutus made by Sue. Katie made hundreds of yarn pom-poms to line the aisle, and together they constructed ribbon wands for people to wave if they wanted to see the bride and groom kiss. Katie also designed a magazine, which served as a program. It listed all the fun things happening throughout the wedding, gave credit to all the attendants in the wedding party, as well as the vendor team. Katie also made all the stationery and signage for the event, including invitations and road signs helping guests to navigate from the main road to their home.
Andrew wanted a huge cake! Six tiers, minimum. With not much more than 100 guests, they really only needed 2-3 tiers. Jason Hisley of LaCakerie (now owner of Cake™ by Jason Hisley) designed a fake cake that towered as high as Andrew had desired. From the kitchen, we served sheet cakes. We love doing this, because it can take a long time to dismantle and slice a large cake. With sheet cakes in the back, we can cut them a few minutes ahead of time and serve the cake immediately after the ceremonial cake cutting! Katie and Andrew used a samurai sward to cut the one real tier of their cake and had a blast feeding each other. To TOP it off, there was a 3-D model of the couple as the cake topper.
Another must-have for this wedding was the “hawk guy.” Katie and Andrew had seen him at a Wedding Showcase and decided at that moment that they HAD to have the hawk guy.
It’s a surprise during the ceremony, and only a few people are in on it. The necessary players are the officiant (so she’s not caught off guard,) the photographer and videographers, the bride, and the best man. In this case, Andrew was in on it too. Here’s how it works: The hawk is in a cage under a blanket at the back of the ceremony, so no one is the wiser. At the point of the ceremony where the officiant asks the best man for the rings, he pretends as though he has carelessly forgotten the rings. He checks his pockets and his surroundings. In the process, he finds a leather glove and dons it quickly. The hawk is released from the back and swoops down the aisle, ultimately perching on the best man’s gloved arm. At that moment, the best man presents the rings (safely stored in his pocket the whole time) as though the bird had delivered them. The hawk returns to the handler and waits for his photo ops during cocktail hour.
Yee Haw Bob
On a trip to Disney World, Katie and Andrew had experienced the performer known as Yee Haw Bob. He was energetic, playful, and exactly what Katie and Andrew wanted for their wedding entertainment. There would still be an iPod for dancing music later on, but the plan was to have a 2-hour set of Bob’s specialties for the earlier part of the evening. We rented an upright piano from Ron’s Piano and the stage was set. Unfortunately, there was a hurricane that week, and Bob was not able to travel from Florida to perform at the wedding. It was a devastating loss for Katie, but Entertainment Exchange came through at the last minute (the night before the wedding!) with a Piano Bar act that could provide the live entertainment for the evening. It wasn’t the same as having Bob there in person, but it was great to have the live aspect that can make receptions so animated.
More About Katie
Katie, as I mentioned, is brilliant and wonderful. She also happens to be living on the spectrum. She has a very high-functioning form of autism that gives her some sensory issues. Loud, abrupt noises startle her. A patron at Starbucks scooting their chair on a tile floor, clanking dishes and silverware, and feedback from a microphone would all startle Katie much more than it would a person who does not have sensory issues. Because of these things, Katie found ways to adapt her wedding to be more sensory-friendly for not only herself, but her friends with autism who would also be attending. Those ribbon wands I mentioned… They were for people to wave as a way of requesting Katie and Andrew to kiss. This was in place of clinking glasses with silverware. The silverware itself was high-end disposable, as were the plates. This helped the catering staff to avoid unnecessary clinking throughout the evening. Katie penned a very well though-out email for all the vendors, explaining to them what they would need to know in order to make everyone’s experience at the wedding a positive one. She mentioned things like not pointing anyone out and asking them to get on the dance floor. Some guests would feel uncomfortable with that. She also requested to not be surprised from behind, including a request to not tap her on the shoulder. Additionally, she allowed guests to go inside the house, in case they needed a quiet place to rest and get away from the crowds. All these accommodations opened my eyes to some of the needs of those with autism. It was an incredible learning experience for me, and I have remained more sensitive to the needs of our clients since then. Over the years, we have worked with clients who have anxiety disorders, have been blind since birth, or have different physical capabilities. I feel privileged to have been chosen as the planner for all these wonderful people who felt comfortable enough with me to allow me to handle their event. Katie doesn’t bond with everyone, and some other planners she met with during her selection process did not make her feel comfortable. It was a proud moment for Plan It Perfect when I learned that she had chosen our team to take excellent care of her wedding needs.
Now back to that rainbow theme:
Having Autism is referred to as being “on the spectrum” because it affects people in a wide range of ways. Another word for Spectrum: Rainbow.
In honor of Autism Awareness month, please consider supporting this organization:
Autistic Self Advocacy Network (Katie has served on the Board of Trustees)
Planning, Design Assistance & Coordination: Plan It Perfect
Catering: Putting on the Ritz, Mission BBQ, Andy Nelson’s BBQ
Music: Entertainment Exchange, Violinist Kendra and Pianist Paula (friends of the bride)
Special Thanks to Yee Haw Bob, who was unable to perform, but was meant to be the main feature
Officiant: Rev. Laura Cannon
Birds of Prey: Wedding Doves for Love
Florist: Blue Sage Floral
Baker: LaCakerie (Closed, now Cake by Jason Hisley)
Piano Rental: Ron’s Piano
Photography: Dennis Pike
Videography: Zinnia Films
Photo Booth: Ed Paris (friend, DIY)
Amusements: Astro Jump
A/V: Total A/V
Rentals: Loane Brothers
Portable Restrooms: Maryland Portable Restrooms
Hotel Block: Delta Hotels by Marriott Hunt Valley
Gown: Jill Andrews Gowns
Custom Suit: Dawson Tailors
Hair: Behind the Veil Beauty
Makeup: Kelley Unthank