“We tried to mix things up as much as we could to make it our own,” this groom says of planning the big day. “It was important to push the boundaries of what a wedding was. We kept thinking: ‘What’s a cool twist on tradition?’ and found our own wedding trail.”
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Stacey Storey and Adam Ward met on a Wednesday. She was sitting in front of him at a meditation-and-wellness weekend in Los Angeles. Right away, he stood and spoke to the group so passionately about his life and goals, and she was drawn in even though she hadn’t even seen his face. Stacey turned around and was immediately overwhelmed by his peaceful, upbeat, and focused demeanor; so she asked him to be her partner in a dyad exercise and within minutes of meeting, the chemistry was there. Stacey boldly asked Adam what he wanted from life, and his brazen response was “an extraordinary life with a beautiful wife.” “I had to stop myself from saying, ‘and I want to be her,’” Stacey recalls. He picked her up and twirled her around the room before whispering, “I want to live in this moment forever.” The California-based duo has been together ever since.
Like their first meeting, the proposal was also of-the-moment. Adam (a comedian and artist whose medium is LEGO bricks) drove over to see Stacey (a filmmaker and entrepreneur) to talk with her after a disheartening day—one that felt like nothing was going right. Upon opening the door, she started crying and declaring how much he makes everything better. After taking a deep breath, she simply stated that she wanted to be Adam’s wife, and then repeated it over and over until they were both in tears. His response: that he couldn’t wait one more moment. So he knelt down and asked her to marry him. A few days later, on Valentine’s Day, he presented a ring to her in a box he’d made out of his favorite toy building blocks.
Twelve months later, on February 22, 2015, the couple and 74 of their nearest and dearest traveled to Austin, Texas—where Stacey went to college—for a destination wedding weekend. The central location was easy for guests traveling from all over the country, including the bride’s native Alaska. When dreaming up the wedding and all of its special details, the couple had another serendipitous happening—they both wrote down the same six words that they would use to inspire their decisions: fun, romantic, intimate, hip, creative, eclectic, and whimsical. “We tried to mix things up as much as we could to make it our own,” Adam says. They picked a palette of lavender and aubergine with hints of teal and metallic and a bold black-and-white stripe. “I loved the fusion of so many colors and opposites, that it all just worked when every piece came together,” Stacey notes of their celebration at The Allan House.
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“I wanted all of our paper goods to be mismatched,” Stacey says. “Much like everything else we did, our taste is such a wonderful hodgepodge of styles that we picked items we loved, and I knew they would just work together.” Stacey even ordered two different save-the-dates (both from Paperless Post) and sent one version to some guests and another to the rest.
The invites, which were from Minted, boasted a different love quote on the outside of each invite’s envelope—including lines from beloved romantic movies and those penned by William Shakespeare. Stacey also hand-cut specialty paper to line each envelope, which she hand-addressed, and then finished with a custom stamp ordered from Zazzle. For the finishing touch, the couple blessed each one as they were sealed and started the wedding off with love.
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The Ceremony Dress
Stacey chose a Vera Wang dress for the ceremony. “I was always in love with Degas’ timeless paintings and the delicate tulle that draped on the ballerinas often showcased in his works,” she says. The diaphanous tulle was her favorite part since it also reminded her of cotton candy. The jeweled trim below the crumb-catcher neckline added a bit of sparkle. Stacey had actually purchased the gown about a decade before the wedding, because she loved it then and its classic and vintage appeal held true. She paired it with her “something old” sapphire engagement ring that dates back to the 1920s, her “something new” Ben-Amun earrings from Adam, her “something borrowed” striped pocket square that she used to wipe her tears during the ceremony and used during wedding planning as a design inspiration, and her “something blue” ribbon remnant that had been wrapped around the box that held the engagement ring and was sewn into the bridal gown directly over Stacey’s heart.
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The Bridal Bouquet
Bristol Lane created this arrangement of garden roses, lisianthus, scabiosa, ranunculus, and larkspur, with rosemary and eucalyptus added in. Stacey loves the smell of herbs, and since scent is the strongest trigger of memories, what better way to always remember such a special day than with those particular and popular aromas.
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The Bridal Party
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“My heart was beating so fast,” Stacey recalls. “Adam waited for me on a path at Hotel Saint Cecilia. I walked up behind him and gently told him I was there but not to turn around yet. I took a deep breath and then told him I was ready. It was great to wear my Kirstie Kelly reception dress for the first look because when I walked down the aisle, Adam had no idea about the other dress and was wonderfully surprised.”
After embracing, Adam whispered, “Let’s live in this moment forever,” to his bride-to-be.
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Showered From Above
The couple’s wedding party was full of surprises—here, the guys, who were grabbing a drink from the hotel bar, decided to grab some petals from the bride and groom’s room and showered them from above. “It added a sweet surprise to our portraits,” Stacey says.
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The Bride’s Entrance
Right before the bride had entered, guests were encouraged to take a selfie—and later send the photos to the couple so they could compile them into an album. After that, they were asked to put their phones away and be present with the couple.
Stacey’s dad walked her down the aisle as a friend sang and played guitar to Sam Smith’s “Latch.” Adam found the moment she appeared at the top of the aisle especially emotional. “We have been through so much in our lives to be there in that room,” he recalls. “It was as if we were the only two people there.”
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Instead of the bridesmaids standing to the side of the bride, a striped settee from Loot Vintage Rentals was set up for the ladies to sit on next to the ombré arch of garden roses, ranunculus, lisianthus, scabiosa, rosemary, larkspur, eucalyptus, and tulips under which the couple would stand.
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Two of Stacey and Adam’s friends, who are engaged to each other, performed the ceremony, which incorporated Stacey’s mom’s Thai heritage and Adam’s Jewish background.
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A Special Addition
The couple partook in a traditional Thai cord-tying ritual called “poo kor muer” in which “Sai-sin” sacred thread that’s been blessed by Buddhist monks for luck and fortune is tied to the wrists of the bride and groom by guests, symbolizing the pair’s commitment to each other and the unbreakable bond of marriage. As each attendee tied cords around the duo’s wrists, they offered congratulatory words and well-wishes.
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The service included several other distinctive touches: Guests took a moment to look to the sky and whisper the name of someone who wasn’t in attendance because they had either passed away or simply couldn’t attend, and poet Adam In-Q recited an original poem about being in love and growing old together.
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Stacey and Adam then recited vows that included how they met, and opted to exchange “We do’s” instead of “I do’s” before exchanging their rings. The bride remembers there not being one dry eye in the crowd. She also notes this part of the day as her most memorable. “When it was time for me to say my vows, Adam’s eyes were so locked into mine,” she says. “I had waited for him my whole life. He’s the shining example of what’s possible. I wanted to take it in so I could remember it for the rest of my life. It was wonderfully blissful.” Stacey had also written her groom a love note earlier that day and included a leather bracelet that said “you and me” on it. When she started her vows, she said those three words and saw Adam smile because he knew.
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As Adam broke the glass, everyone erupted with a huge “mazel tov!” and blew the noisemakers that had been placed at each seat as the couple walked up the aisle, hand-in-hand.
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Following the ceremony, mixologists crafted his-and-hers cocktails (each named for nicknames the bride and groom have for one another), and served a selection of bourbons, while trays of shrimp-and-grits shooters, brisket egg rolls, and curried chicken tostadas were passed. The menu was a hybrid of soul food and Asian cuisine, with a made-to-order guacamole station rounding out the offerings.
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In addition to gold Mylar and mint-colored tissue-paper noisemakers, a mix of celebratory goodies were on hand throughout the day, including foil-stamped napkins and coasters with the couple’s initials, striped paper straws with washi-tape flags, and matchboxes with the couple’s monogram on one side and a fortune cookie with “I heart you” as the message on the back. The pair’s silverware went into “bon appetit” bags at their place settings and they hand-stamped black bags with “thank you” so people could take home macarons and chocolate chip cookies as favors.
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Flowers and greenery were laid out along with colorful envelopes that helped guests find their seats. Guests were asked “What’s your match?” and inside the envelope was a card with one half of a famous pair, which would be an easy match to make when they saw the table names.
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The Table Names
Stacey found these petite banners at Paper Source, and penned the table names herself. This table was dubbed “carrots,” and guests whose escort cards read “peas” found their seat here. Other notable pairings included peanut butter and jelly, wink and a smile, and Emmet and Wildstyle (from The Lego Movie).
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In keeping with the mix-and-match theme, tables were set with both bentwood café chairs and benches for couples that would sit together. Gray linens lent a neutral touch while the floral centerpieces were arranged in an ombré gradient among warm gold mercury glass votive candleholders.
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The Place Settings
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Jenny Ziomek, a watercolor artist, painted the Peached Tortilla food truck belonging to the namesake catering company that prepared all of the evening’s fare. The artwork was then printed on a postcard with the couple’s initials and the phrase “we’re tickled peach that you’re here” on the front and an outline of the family-style menu on the back. The cards were tucked under the napkin at each place setting and the original artwork now hangs in the couple’s home. Guests dined on a Thai chopped salad, Vietnamese-style flank steak, ginger-soy grilled salmon, Southwestern macaroni and cheese, and charred kimchi miso corn.
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The newlyweds danced to Audrey Hepburn’s “Moon River”—a tune the bride describes as romantic, dreamy, and transporting. The dancing (and some singing) continued until 2 a.m.
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Actor Vincent Kartheiser has been friends with the groom for nearly 25 years, and served as one of the best men at the wedding. During the reception, he put his dramatic ability to good use in his best man speech by reenacting a game of reverse charades during which Stacey and Adam had been extremely in sync. It had the newlyweds laughing and crying.
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Stacey’s dear friend Susie Castillo (they met at Miss USA a decade prior when the bride was Miss Alaska USA) followed, describing the first time she met Adam at the bride’s annual Halloween party and did some of his funny dance moves. Stacey’s father rounded out the toasts with a heartfelt and humorous speech that honored those who had traveled from far and wide. He also doled out advice for Adam and had the crowd in stitches and tears.
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A Modern Update
“We tried to mix things up as much as we could to make it our own,” Adam says of planning the big day. “It was important to push the boundaries of what a wedding was. We kept thinking: ‘What’s a cool twist on tradition?’ and found our own wedding trail.” One such detail they put their own spin on was the sake tower. “We don’t care for Champagne much,” Stacey recounts. “Being half Asian, I love sake.” And so, using coupes, a tower was built, and the couple poured the alcohol they desired to flow over the glasses instead. The two coupes at the top were a gift from Stacey to Adam, and served as a keepsake the couple could use throughout their marriage.
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The same floral arch that the couple wed under served as a backdrop for a trio of wedding cakes. Each of the three cakes was a different flavor: a decadent chocolate confection, an organic hazelnut number, and the one they cut into—a combination of triple berry cobbler and cake. All three were made by Green Lily Bakery, covered with buttercream, and finished off with purple sugar flowers and hand painted with gold detail. A cake topper made in Stacey and Adam’s likenesses by Itty Bitty Wood Shoppe was placed in front of the cakes.
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Before leaving for the after-party in their vintage ride—but after the groom had performed an impromptu rap about himself and his new wife—guests lined up outside for one last good-bye to the couple. They waved sparklers as Stacey and Adam exited—and he kissed her and whisked her off her feet.
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Photography: Mint Photography
Location: The Allan House
Event Planning and Design: Westcott Weddings
Event Design: Forge and Bloom
Catering: The Peached Tortilla
Mixology: Firehouse Libations
Flowers: Bristol Lane
Videography: Forge and Bloom
Veil: A Stitch in Time
Tuxedos: Black by Vera Wang
Groom’s and Groomsmen’s Socks: Stance
Groomsmen’s Bow Ties: Penguin
Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Monique Lhuillier
Bride’s Shoes: 3.1 Phillip Lim
Custom Monogram Stamp: Apropos Roasters
Calligraphy: Forge and Bloom
Cake: Green Lily Bakery
Music: Byrne Rock
Photo Booth: Le Photo Booth Company
Hair: Gabriela Cotton of Roar Salon
Makeup: Adrienne Pitkin of Makeup by Adrienne
Guest Book: Benton Park Prints
Rings: Excalibur Jewelry
Paper Flowers: Carefully Crafted Arts
Boutonnieres: Pomp and Plumage
Custom Napkins, Coasters, Matches, and Sparkler Jackets: For Your Party
Favor Bags: A Fabulous Fete
Washi Tape, Envelope Stickers, and Welcome Bags: Mavora
Noisemakers: Steph Shives Studio
Escort Cards: Eternal Journals
Transportation: Antique Limos of Austin