From the moment our Social Media Coordinator, Rachel Varina, got engaged, we knew her wedding was going to be epic. With a love for all things jeweled-toned and glittering, as well as her obsession with autumn, her and her fiancé planned the perfect Halloween-formal wedding, with the help of the entire Revelry community.
Every Sunday for over a year, Rachel would share parts of her planning process -- asking for tips and sharing what she learned -- with brides and bridesmaids across the country. With "Harry Potter" details around every turn, non-stop laughs, and plenty of beautiful bridesmaids, our #FinallyTheBride had a one-of-a-kind day to remember: absolutely spellbinding and totally unique.
"Before we dive into beautiful pictures that make my day seem flawless, I just need to say: Everything went wrong. A lot of times you look through gorgeous blogs and think: Man! They pulled off the perfect day. The joke is on all of us, because, thanks to amazing photographers, it just looks that way! My day was a MESS. I forgot my bouquet and realized I didn't have it when I was halfway down the aisle. I had to change my ceremony the morning-of, the DJ lost my must-play song list, and the list goes on and on and on. The thing is, despite all of those hiccups, it was amazing. My husband (so weird!) and I laughed the entire time as things kept going wrong, and my friends were there to remind me that the day isn't about a bouquet or a Best Man speech that totally forgot to be given. The day is about love. And honestly? I've never had a more love-filled day in my life. It was flawed and silly and totally unperfect, which made it absolutely perfect for us." -Rachel, Bride
"Ever since I started working at Revelry two years ago, I had been dreaming of what I would ask my girls to wear on my big day. The best part? I wasn't even engaged yet. But that never stopped me. I had always envisioned Rose Gold Sequins, but as soon as I saw the Cabernet color at a photoshoot, I was obsessed."
"I knew that I wanted to have my friends pick their favorite styles to wear, and since I couldn't choose just one fabric (I just love ALL of our gowns, okay?!), I decided a mix of both sequin and tulle looks would be gorgeous. After having an epic coven-themed Try-On Party with my girls, everyone decided on different styles that made them feel like royalty. For my friends who weren't in town, they all ordered Sample Boxes and sent me photos of their favorite looks. Come the big day, everyone glowed in gowns and separates that complimented their own personal styles.
"As a die-hard DIYer (and with "gifts" being my Love Language), I knew I wanted to spoil my friends and family with presents on my wedding day. While most brides give their maids monogrammed bags or cute totes, I decided to do something a little...different. I found some horrible photos of my besties and got them printed on bags. Needless to say, they hated them. Which, of course, was exactly the reaction I was looking for."
Hazel: Cabernet Sequin | Chloe: Black Tie Sequin | Rosalie: Cabernet Tulle | Ivy Top: Cabernet Sequin + Mila Skirt: Cabernet Sequin | Rosalie: Cabernet Tulle | Bandie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Mila Skirt: Cabernet Sequin | Chloe: Cabernet Sequin | Sadie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Skylar Skirt: Cabernet Tulle | Penelope: Cabernet Tulle | Chloe: Black Tie Sequin | Bandie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Skylar Skirt: Cabernet Tulle
"While I could never pick a favorite part of the day, my favorite aspect of the weekend was the gorgeous AirBNB we rented with our bridal party. With 9 bedrooms (and tons of couches), everyone pitched in and we spent the weekend together, laughing, eating, and bonding. We had a giant Halloween party open house the night before the wedding in lieu of a traditional rehearsal dinner and our friends and family were dazzled by how gorgeous the place was. It felt like a giant sleepover all weekend, with the girls lounging by the pool and the boys playing billiards, with each night ending in the giant hot tub, sharing stories and making lifelong memories."
"Jon and I had gone back and forth about the idea of having a first look, but eventually we settled upon it to take some of the stress off and ensure we had enough time in the day to enjoy our party. Standing on the stairs, waiting to see him, I felt so much anxiety -- I couldn't believe the moment was here. Seeing his face light up after seeing my dress was totally worth all of the panic."
"We rented a big shuttle bus to take us all to the venue. The thing is, I was planning on only seeing my almost-husband for our first look and photos, then avoiding each other again until the big aisle entrance. Out of habit, however, I plopped right down next to him on the bus. It wasn't until we were halfway to the venue that I remembered I didn't want to be near him again until the wedding ceremony. Whoops!"
"Walking around downtown Ybor during Halloween weekend decked out in formalwear was honestly so much fun. We stocked up on smoke bombs and took over the road to get some awesome shots. And after spending weeks perfecting the "Thriller" dance with my girls for a flash mob at the reception, I felt that I had truly earned Michael's famous red jacket."
"When I asked my best friend to be my Maid of Honor after my engagement, neither of us had any idea what was in store. Having gotten married last October (and having me stand by HER side as her MOH), we quickly found out that she was pregnant. And the kicker? She was due right around my wedding! A week before my vows, her doctor advised her not to travel, and we jumped into action. We Facetimed the whole day and I had a lifesize cutout of her made. It turns out, she ended up being the hit of the dance floor -- photo proof to come!"
"As my new husband and I talk about our wedding day, we both agree: One of the coolest parts was having friends and family from all walks of life come together. I loved watching my sorority sisters meet my high school friends and bond with my "adult" friends. Watching them all take selfies, goof around, and exchange numbers was the greatest gift of all."
"When Jon and I met during our freshman year of college, I had no idea, obviously, that he was destined to become my husband. We dated on and off over the four years at school, and then upon graduation, decided to finally go out for real. What can we say? We were total college sweethearts.
"We moved across the country together, got a dog, got another dog, and spent the next five years playing games, laughing non-stop, rereading the entire "Harry Potter" series together outloud, and eating way too much pizza. After he proposed, we knew that we wanted our wedding day to be totally nontraditional and absolutely us. We worked tirelessly to add details that described "us" in every aspect of our day."
"When asked over and over again what the best part of the day was, I have to say: It was the ceremony. The thing is, nothing went right during it. We didn't get to have a real rehearsal so we had to pretty much wing the whole thing, and between music cues being missed, candles not lighting, readings not working out, and my bouquet getting forgotten -- it was a mess!"
"Through all of the mishaps, however, I couldn't stop smiling and laughing. Before our vows we played "Rock, Paper, Scissor" to see who would read first (since that's how we handle all disputes in our house) and the entire audience got into it, cheering us on. It was such a rush to joke around with one of my favorite people in the world as my cherished friends watched."
"One of the most amazing memories of my life will be standing on stage and marrying Jon. It felt like we were in our own bubble. We kept giggling and scooting closer to each other, and every few minutes one of us would look at the other wide-eyed and mouth, "we're getting married." By the time we read our vows, we were both giggy, crying and laughing, and so ready for that kiss."
"I've said it before and I'll say it again: Make your wedding your own! Our signature drinks were named after our dogs, our cake topper had a dinosaur (for no real reason, we just thought it was hilarious), every guest got a wand, and the amount of "Harry Potter" references were enough to make a muggle's mind spin.
"Speaking of everything going wrong and making our day our own, when it came time to cut the cake, the knife was nowhere to be found. So, we looked at each other and then bit right into it, getting frosting EVERYWHERE. Talk about making an impression..."
"Never having been a big fan of spending money on flowers that would die, I knew I wanted a different type of bouquet. I decided to have one made for me from my favorite "Harry Potter" chapters, sheet music, and maps from all of the places I have lived and loved. I put my childhood dog tags as well as my dogs' tags on it as my "something borrowed" as well. It's awesome to have a keepsake that will last forever with such sentimental value."
"Sometimes I wished I had just had a "normal" wedding, like when vendors looked at me like I was crazy or I had to stay up all night crafting wands for over a year. But when we walked into the reception and saw our friends dressed in their Halloween formal best with their homemade wands raised, we knew we made the right choice by ditching tradition and making our day our own."
"When it came down to it, our day was not *exactly* how I had imagined it. I pictured a stress-free wedding full of Pinterest-envy and Instagram goals. Still, as I said "I do" to my husband, danced with my girls, and ended the night by pulling out my extensions and shout-singing "High School Musical" with my friends at our rental house, none of the mistakes mattered. I got to marry my favorite person, I got to spend a weekend with the best people, and I got to laugh, love, and soak up every second in between. In the end, the mistakes didn't take away -- they made our day perfect. They made our day real. They made our day magical."
Bridesmaid Looks: Hazel: Cabernet Sequin | Chloe: Black Tie Sequin | Rosalie: Cabernet Tulle | Ivy Top: Cabernet Sequin + Mila Skirt: Cabernet Sequin | Rosalie: Cabernet Tulle | Bandie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Mila Skirt: Cabernet Sequin | Chloe: Cabernet Sequin | Sadie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Skylar Skirt: Cabernet Tulle | Penelope: Cabernet Tulle | Chloe: Black Tie Sequin | Bandie Top: Cabernet Sequin + Skylar Skirt: Cabernet Tulle
Photographer: Rebecca Jordan | Venue: L'Unione Italiana | Videographer: Creator T Productions | Hair and Makeup: Lasting Luxe | Wedding Dress: Kitty Chen | Bridal Boutique: The Perfect Dress | Suits: The Black Tux | Pajamas: Target | Catering and Cake: Olympia Catering | Bouquet: Etsy | Shoulder Necklace: Etsy