An Intimate, Formal Winter Wedding in Connecticut
Emily & Tolga
Emily Amick and Tolga Bilgicer tied the knot on February 16, 2013, just less than five years after they first met at a party in New York City. The Washington, D.C.-based duo opted for a wintry black-tie wedding harkening back to the grand affairs that transpired in their wedding venue’s heyday. The Connecticut mansion’s history and grandeur and views of the Long Island Sound celebrated the season and the couple’s love for one another equally.
Invitations embodied the black-tie wedding’s formality, but with a modern edge. Thick paper was used for the suite, which was designed by Emily, and printed by the bride, the groom, and the father of the bride using a gocco printer.
The Welcome Bags
Totes were designed and printed by the bride, and stuffed with a chocolate bar, hot cocoa mix, Tylenol, a welcome card, and a card with the Nazar Boncugu (the traditional Turkish token of protection).
White hankies were set out for guests to grab (and keep) pre-ceremony. Small evil-eye charms pinned to each integrated Tolga’s Turkish culture.
The Bridal Party
The bridal party looked stately in dark gowns and tuxedos. A green velvet couch rented from Sassafras Vintage Rentals was the perfect accent to the group shot.
An interpretation of the traditional Jewish seven blessings was incorporated into the intimate evening ceremony. Modernized blessings were read by seven married couples. “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house!” said Emily.
Winter Weather Wardrobes
Emily wore a Vera Wang gown, Kate Spade shoes, an M&J Trimmings veil, Foxen Park Jewelry, and a vintage fur stole from her grandmother. Tolga looked dapper in a tuxedo from My Suit and velvet bow tie by Mrs Bowtie.
“We really lucked out and had perfect weather for a New England wedding in February,” Emily said. “Right as we started taking our portraits, a slight snow started falling -- giving a shimmery dusting to all of our photos.”
A trio of signature drinks were on offer: a lavender gin fizz, a coconut white Russian, and a pomegranate caipiroska.
With the venue already oozing with charm and character, decor was kept on the simple and classic side; candles, greenery, and white floral centerpieces were all that was needed.
A Bold Banner
At each of the 50 place settings, cards for the made-up game of “Toga Bucks” were set out for guests to entertain themselves with during dinner. They bartered with one another to collect tickets and earn certain prizes. “It was really fun to see what they decided to buy, like lots of kisses, a lift in the chair during the horah, or a dance with the bride or groom, and initiated great conversations at our long dinner table,” Emily said.
Following dinner, guests were treated to the chocolate wedding cake and baklava with black-tea shots.
The Guest Book Station
Wanting to include her guests’ comments in the wedding album she’d later make, Emily printed cards with interesting cues like, “What was your favorite part of Tolga and Emily’s wedding?,” encouraging attendees to write their responses. Other cards prompted, "What is the key to a happy marriage?," "Words of wisdom for Emily & Tolga," "A message for the happy couple," and "Recipe for a successful marriage.”
Into Thin Air
Wish lanterns were lit and sent off into the evening sky during the reception. Emily notes that in addition to feeling quite romantic, the outdoor activity brought all the guests together in a special way.
The First Dance
Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” played as the couple took to the dance floor as newlyweds.