Rita & Jeff’s Fun and Festive DIY Travel-themed Winter Wedding


publick house winter wedding

As this blog has a global audience, I didn’t even think twice about posting a winter wedding in the middle of May, especially one that has tons of creative inspiration like this one! Rita and Jeff are big travelers so they centered their wedding around that theme and came up with some really cool DIYed travel-themed elements like passport invites, safety card programs & an airplane painting fingerprint poster. They’re also big on personalization so they wrote the entire ceremony themselves which involved “tying a knot” literally — a nod to how they met at boy scout camp.

We have Zac Wolf Photography (see his previously featured work) to thank for the beautiful photos and here he is with a few words about the event:

Rita and Jeff have been personal favorites since they took me out for hot dogs before their Rockport engagement session and I don’t think I could have asked for a better couple to kick off my 2013 with. Personal favorite moments of the wedding were their knot tying ceremony that related back to how they first met at summer camp, Rita getting into her wedding dress, then changing into a shark onsie so she can relax a bit before the ceremony, and of course the look on Jeff’s face after Rita rubbed his head right before the ceremony. It was a blast of a wedding and I am super happy to share it with you!

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

I’m happy to say that the lovely couple is here to tell us more about how they met + how they made their wedding truly their own. Over to you, Rita and Jeff!

We met (originally) when we worked at a Boy Scout Camp in the early 2000’s. We reconnected later over Facebook and friendship turned into dating without us even realizing it. We spend every chance we get exploring or traveling.

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

The only thing Jeff and I cared about at our wedding was that we married each other and that everyone had a good time. We wrote our own vows, the entire ceremony, and even custom picked all of our ceremony music (including skipping the traditional ‘Here Comes the Bride’ in favor of The Scorpions ‘Rock You Like a Hurricane’ and Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’).

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

A highlight of the ceremony was when we ‘tied the knot’ — having met at a Boy Scout camp, this was a surprise part of our ceremony designed to pay homage to that beginning.

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

When thinking about our wedding, we wanted to have fun. Since we love to travel, we built a theme around that. Our invitations and Save the Dates were designed to look like tickets and passports; our tables were named for places we had traveled to together; our programs were designed to look like an airplane safety card; and our late night dessert was a tribute to the desserts we had when we got engaged in Germany.

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

In keeping with our travel theme, Jeff envisioned an airplane safety card program. It included information about signing into our wedding app which allowed guests to upload their pictures from the night into one album (which uploaded straight to Facebook). We also had a hashtag for those who were on Instagram. On the card were pictures of the special people standing by us as we married; including the two Maids of Honor, Best Man and Groomsmen, and our good friend who was kind enough to officiate the ceremony.

publick house winter wedding

The ‘in-lieu of favor’ cards were designed by a good friend Christine and her fiancé Steve in Australia who were not able to join us for the big day. We knew that we wanted to give donations to Toys for Tots (one of our favorite charities) and that we wanted to have toys there to represent the gift. Christine took the idea and ran with it. We could not be happier with how the pieces turned out.

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

We named each table for a place we had been together (plus two places we were traveling to in the near future). For our name tags, we purchased what looked like luggage tags and clear labels. The cards were laid out in front of a custom suitcase seating cart made by Rita’s sister (and Maid of Honor).

publick house winter wedding

For our card box, Jeff picked up a cardboard suitcase to go with our travel theme.

publick house winter wedding

One of our Maid of Honor’s mother is a fabulous artist and she agreed to design a custom painting for us to capture our guests finger prints on. She even went so far as to paint our likeness on the two characters in the airplane (to fit our theme).

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

Rita built each of the centerpieces by hand. We purchased the green wreaths and decorations and placed them around the Publick House’s hurricane lamps on each table. It was an easy decoration that her mother makes every year during the holidays and they tied in the holiday decor in the Publick House.

We knew that we wanted to tie our family into the ceremony and chose to decorate Rita’s bouquet with wedding pictures from our parents’ and grandparents’ big days. It was a lot of fun to go through the pictures with the family. We are both very family-centric and it was a detail that meant a lot to us. Where all of our flowers were silk and real-touch, we will always have them with us. The vase we store the flowers in is something we picked up on one of our travels.

publick house winter wedding

We are big fans of food and we were very excited to surprise all of our guests with a waffle bar towards the end of the night (similar to the waffles we had enjoyed during the trip we were engaged on). We were both looking forward to the waffles so much that we did not eat our wedding cake (the Publick House packed it up and we ate it the next day).

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

publick house winter wedding

Words of advice from the newlyweds:

Don’t take the wedding planning process too seriously. You can spend a lot of money just doing what you think you are supposed to do. If something isn’t important to you, you don’t have to include it. And the same goes for adding non-tradition aspects to your ceremony or party.

publick house winter wedding

Huge thanks to Zac for sending this delightful wedding my way, and congratulations to Rita & Jeff! Here’s wishing you a lifetime of married bliss! 🙂

Photography: Zac Wolf Photography
Venue: Publick House, Sturbridge, MA
DJ: Derek Campbell from Groove Events
Videographer: Jeremy Foster Videography
Flowers: Pumpkin Florals & Crafts
Dress: Bernadette by Maggie Sottero, purchased at Manhattan Bridal in Dedham, MA
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Attire: Calvin Klein Tux
Catering: Publick House

Image submission via Two Bright Lights

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One Comment

  1. We are plannig our weeding with the thema “around the world”. We already set the save the date cards as boardings passes out.
    I found your safty card by a web search and im loving it. Could you send me the fotos in a better quality to get some ideas how to creat this. email: primler@msn.com
    Thanks for your help.

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