My wedding, which was held in the summer of 2012 was planned around pale pink and gold color scheme as well as little details that made the day look like us. We had guests coming both from Finland and USA so we wanted to bring both of the traditions to our wedding day.
I had always known my wedding colors would be pale pink and gold. Those two colors just blended together so perfectly and had that romantic feel that I was looking for. Me being from Finland and my husband being American we wanted to bring both of our cultures and main traditions to our big day.
SAVE THE DATE
First thing we wanted to do before starting to plan anything was to order save the date cards. This was important because we had guests coming from different countries and we wanted to make sure everyone could book the day in advance. This turned out to be a great idea, since everyone that we invited could make it to celebrate our big day with us.
The invitations were sent out about 2 months prior to our wedding. Everyone knew the day already so we weren’t in a hurry with the invitations. I’m not much of a DIY’er but we managed to do our invitation cards by ourselves. Not just to save money but also to add little personal touch to them.
We started the planning process from my wedding dress as well as the bridesmaid’s dresses. I knew I wanted all the girls to have the same dress, but they could do their hair and pick their shoes and accessories all to their own taste and personality. We ended up going with pale pink dresses, and I found the perfect shoes to match the girls’ pretty dresses. I also found a sash to tie around my waist to perfectly match the color theme. Boys wanted to look sharp but still not overdressed, so we went with regular black suits with cute little bowties and suspenders to finish the look. I wanted the dress to match my personality, and the simple dress with little ruffles on the bottom felt like a perfect match for me.
When picking out the location my main concerns were to find a place where all the guests could sit together in a same space. Easier said than done. Helsinki was full of beautiful old mansions and restaurants but many of them were divided into multiple separate spaces. I wanted to feel the intimacy of the place and all the guests to be able to be part of every moment of the celebration.
My other requirement was to be able to spend some time outside and see the beautiful Finnish nature. After all we had many guests coming from overseas and were visiting Finland for the first time. We ended up choosing restaurant Keilaranta in Espoo because of the space and the view it had.
This leads me to picking out our church which we wanted something little different and the rock church in Kamppi was the perfect location for that. It had a unique feel to it and the foreign guests could get a great experience at the same time. When we walked out the church people were blowing bubbles on us, which I thought would be a nice change to regular rice.
The catering was arranged through the venue, but we got to pick our favorite dishes. We had about 7 different starters, main course and of course the cake. Addition to that we had a candy buffet that guests could snack throughout the night. After partying hard all night, we offered midnight snack. American style hot dogs as well as cookies and milk. Everyone enjoyed the food, and no one had to go home hungry. What comes to the wedding cake, a simple yet delicious cake is what we chose to go with. The food was more of a Finnish style food and then we tried to incorporate some American elements with the midnight snack.
My ultimate favorite flower is peony. I had always know that peony would be the flower at my wedding or I did until I met the florist who sadly informed me that peonies are only available in the beginning of the summer. Our wedding being held at the end of July that was not a option for us. I started researching and found hydrangeas and carnations and at the end I was very happy with them. They were again very simple, coordinated with the theme and looked absolutely beautiful.
I am less is more kind of person. I love looking at peoples weddings with tall flower centrepieces and different coloured lights but my taste is more settled, more Finnish I guess. I had minimal decoration at the venue. I had little flower arrangements in all the tables as well as few candles. The entrance had a big gold frame to lead the guests to their seats and the dinner area had few lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The candy buffet was also a nice element to the decoration. All of these of course followed the color theme of the wedding.
MUSIC, PROGRAM AND ENTERTAINMENT
I wanted the wedding to most of all to be fun, relaxed and enjoyable. Lots of dancing, good food and mingling. I’m not a big fan of lots of entertainment and games at weddings so we didn’t plan much of that. We had a fun wedding with lots of dance, couple speeches and a magician that my dad surprised us with. We had a DJ playing slower songs during the dinner and dance music all the way until 3am. It was a big party and I think everyone really enjoyed themselves and had a good time. We had few american and Finnish traditions such as the cake cutting, first dance and stealing the bride. In Finland the grooms men usually steal the bride and the groom has to do some task in order to get his bride back. My husband had to sing a Finnish song, and it was hilarious since he doesn’t speak a word of Finnish.
OTHER LITTLE DETAILS
I love the saying “It’s all in the details”, and I tried to incorporate few little things to make the day memorable for us and for the guests. We ordered American style cookies from our friend in the US and used those as thank you gifts for the guests. Also the candy buffet was pretty new thing then, and us both being BIG sweet tooths, we definately wanted to have the buffet part of the reception. Over all the theme came through just as I imagined and my wedding day was perfect and most importantly looked like us.
Text by Riikka Williams
All pictures by Mikael Halmeenmäki