Leslie Ann and Gary

I felt like ending off the week with this delightful intimate wedding of Leslie Ann and Gary from North Carolina. It rained, in fact, it poured. But as we’re coming to learn on Polka Dot Bride, the rainy weddings? They’re the ones with the amazing stories of how everyone pulled together, of memorable moments with decorations dripping with water, of family members moving mountains to set up umbrellas and decorations at the altered venues. They say rain on your wedding day is good luck – could it be because of how evident your family and friend bonds are? The joy that comes because of, not in spite of the downpours?

Leslie Ann explains how she met her husband Gary. “We started dating during our last year of high school in 2001. I had secretly loved Gary since 8th grade. I used to sit in the desk behind him in 8th grade English class and admire him – during those four years from 14 to 18, my admiration and longing for him never ceased.  During my senior year, a mutual friend set us up.  He told each of us that the other was interested in the other without either of us knowing.  Six months after we got together, we went to different colleges and spent most of the time after college in different cities, sometimes different countries. We were intent on accomplishing our own goals before marriage. We dated for eight years before getting engaged.”

Today’s photographs are captured by Melbourne photographer Harvard Wang. Harvard met Gary while Gary was studying in Australia in 2005 and he traveled to shoot their wedding. I love it when a photographer makes their Polka Dot Bride debut and Harvard has really captured me with his interesting images of unrehearsed and subtle moments.

“There were a couple “bad omen” type occurrences that just made everyone laugh.  First, the snow white wedding bells carefully placed on the mailbox by the mother of the groom were pummelled by rain and ended up rather dirty and wilted by the side of the road.  Then, one of the Chinese lanterns we sent happily into the sky one evening (each lantern is a good wish for the newlyweds) immediately got stuck in a tree and almost caught the neighborhood on fire.  We all thought it was quite hilarious (except for my little sister, whose lantern it was).”

Leslie Ann wore a sweet short gown from French Connection UK and paired it with pink ruffled ballet flats from Steve Madden. At risk of ruining her shoes in the wet grass, Leslie Ann ended up walking down the aisle bare foot!

The couple were married at a family home. “The first venue of course was the backyard of Gary’s brother and sister-in-law, Paul and April Larson.  Paul, April, my husband Gary, his parents and I spent lots of time in that yard, day and night.  I don’t know who remembers whose idea it was to have the ceremony there, but once the idea came up we knew that was it. For an intimate family wedding it was the perfect place.”

Little moments throughout the day, were the highlight to Leslie Ann. “My entire family showed up late to the ceremony. Apparently, nine people are unable to share four bathrooms in an hour. I thought it was humorous.”

Leslie Ann walked down the aisle barefoot with her father. “Gary chose one of the Yann Tiersen piano songs for my walk down the aisle.  The playlist on his iPod used to have a track called “Aisle” but he deleted the playlist!”

“The poem we chose to read to each other before our vows: Pablo Neruda’s “Matilde Urrutia”.  A close friend of ours read the poem one verse at a time in Spanish while Gary and I repeated it to each other in English.”

The small nature of the wedding is one of Leslie Ann’s favourite memories. “It was extremely simple and intimate. I remember every moment and every guest.  Gary and I both experienced the whole wedding the way our officiating pastor explained that it should be experienced – as a period of time set aside from normal day-to-day chronological time, to mark a significant moment in our lives and to be fully aware of its significance.

This sentence from Leslie Ann? It’s been in my head all week. Isn’t this what a wedding should be?  Leslie Ann describes how she felt on her wedding day. “I felt comfortable, at home. It has been a long time since I have been home and felt that kind of warmth.”

In keeping with the rest of the wedding day, the reception was simple, but beautiful. Leslie Ann recalls, “It was simply a long dinner with the wedding party and some other close family friends.  For this venue we chose the amazing Southern Lights Bistro in Greensboro, North Carolina.  My husband’s brother is a close friend with the sous-chef, who was adamant that he be in the kitchen that night.”

A few DIY projects were executed for the wedding, including stationery designed by Leslie Ann’s sister in law which were in teal, of an ephemeral dandelion. Leslie Ann says, “One night we got together with family at my parents’ home and let off Chinese wishing lanterns into the sky.  In a way, it was a bit of a tribute to our impending move to China.  For the wedding ceremony itself, I didn’t actually do much of anything myself to plan!  But when Gary’s mother and sister-in-law were helping Gary plan, they needed something for favors to give out at the reception dinner.  In another nod to our move to China, our guests at the reception dinner arrived to find wedding favors in tiny three-inch tall, hand-decorated Chinese takeout boxes.”

In lieu of wedding cake, Leslie Ann and Gary served cupcakes. “We had individual cupcakes in many different flavours so our guests could choose what they liked. We ordered the cupcakes from Maxie B’ sand they hand-painted dandelions onto white frosting.”

Congratulations Leslie Ann and Gary! Thank you for sharing your wedding day on Polka Dot Bride! Thank you also to Harvard Wang for today’s images!

Photos by Harvard Wang.