Emily and TJ’s wedding was elegant with a touch of nerdiness! This bride and groom fell in love with what may have started with a Pokémon keychain, and the rest was history. The breathtaking Aldie Mansion set the classic mood for the day with its effortlessly romantic setting. The bride even created DIY fandom candles with quotes from their favorite movies and games to tie into the theme. The Bucks County fête was beautifully captured by Black, White and Raw Photography and the lovely details are ready to be swooned over below!
From the Photographer, Lori Foxworth: “We did Emily and TJ’s engagement shoot at Ursinus college where they met. Emily is a dancer, and we knew how important dance was to the couple and the important role it played in their love story. Her wedding dress from the Morilee collection by Madeline Gardner was absolute classic elegance, and I couldn’t resist having her spin in it all day long.
How They Met
“We met in the dining hall of our college during the first weekend of freshman year eight years ago. We both love Pokémon, and I was using a Pokémon keychain when we met. TJ noticed it and decided he wanted to get to know me better. TJ approached me a few days later after psychology class and tried to talk to me, but I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t realize he was actually talking to me and totally ignored him by accident. When I got home, it dawned on me that he had been trying to talk to me and felt really bad! I looked him up on Facebook and apologized. We discovered we lived at opposite ends of the freshman hallway. After that, we became friends and decided to start dating before the end of the first semester. We still think it was that Pokémon keychain that really brought us together which is why we chose Pokémon for our wedding cake toppers.”
“We both talked about getting married after I finished graduate school, but TJ wanted to keep the proposal a surprise from me. I’m terrible at letting myself be surprised, so TJ clued me into the fact that the proposal was coming and actually let me give my opinion in person on the engagement ring choices. However, he did manage to surprise me in the way he proposed. On a sunny summer day in June 2016, he took me out to dinner at one of our favorite college restaurants. We later took a walk around campus. I was a double major in dance and psychology, and one of my favorite places on campus was on the stage in the theater. He planned in advance with security to open the theater, and we walked up on the stage just the two of us. He put on Frank Sinatra’s The Way You Look Tonight and asked me to dance with him on the stage. We used to slow dance in my dorm room to this song. During the dance, we both started tearing up, and when the song ended, he got down on one knee and asked if I would marry him. Of course, I said yes. After we got engaged, we came home, drank champagne, ate chocolates, and watched Jurassic Park!”
“We both knew that planning a wedding would be challenging for us. We are both introverts and don’t even like celebrating our birthdays with a large group of people. We decided to take our time and took almost two years to plan our wedding. We both worked demanding jobs during that time. I was working as a family therapist and TJ as a financial planner. Planning a wedding was kind of our personal hell. We disliked being the center of attention and making so many decisions, but at the same time many of the decisions felt important to get right, and the details were important to us, so we invested time and anxiety into them. However, there were aspects we really enjoyed like designing the details that mattered to us like our nerdy centerpiece candles, spending time getting closer to our families and friends, and choreographing our wedding dance together. At the end of it all we made it a beautiful day where every detail was meaningful to our families and us; so it was all worth it- and thankfully we never have to do it again!”
“We held our ceremony at Saint Dorothy Church in Drexel Hill, PA which is the church I grew up in. It was meaningful to my family to see us start the next chapter of our lives in that church. We spent a long time searching for our reception venue. We wanted to find a setting that would perfectly blend our styles. TJ wanted a classic, elegant venue and I wanted something romantic and off the beaten path. When we walked onto the grounds of the Aldie Mansion for the first time, we knew it was the perfect compromise. We loved the vintage charm of the mansion, the romance of the sprawling tree, and the beautiful ballroom. Our families didn’t love the 40-minute drive to Doylestown from our ceremony, but once everyone saw it, they understood why we picked it.”
“I was inspired by the large tree at Aldie Mansion, and as a couple and family therapist, I love family stories and family history. We incorporated the theme of “family trees” into our wedding. We had a tree painting with leaves to sign as our guest book, and featured photos of our parents and grandparents on their wedding days in the library of the mansion. It was important to us to honor the loving relationships in our families that came before our own. We also wanted the wedding to feel elegant and romantic, without losing the nerdy, quirky details that brought our relationship together in the first place. I wanted to find a way to put those nerdy touches into the day without being distracting. We made candles with love quotes from our favorite shows, video games and movies as centerpieces; we played music from Harry Potter, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars during dinner. We had a Pokémon cake topper, and even a light saber send-off at the end of the night. The final result was a day that felt elegant, had details that were true to us, and honored our family histories coming together.”
“TJ’s favorite moment of the day was finally seeing me walk down the aisle. We decided not to do a first look, so that was the first time he saw me at the ceremony. He felt so much emotion at that moment and held my hand through most of the ceremony. My favorite moment was having our first dance at sunset under the tree at Aldie Mansion. We had made up the dance ourselves to The Way You Look Tonight two days before the wedding and only practiced it a few times in our living room. At the moment on our wedding day, I could not stop beaming. I felt so much love and so connected to TJ as we danced under the tree surrounded by our friends and family. I was also really proud of us for being able to do our lifts and not tripping over the sticks on the ground!”
Wedding Planning Advice
“The advice we would give would be to let your vendors do their jobs. We spent time researching good quality vendors that matched our style and then let them do their magic! We didn’t spend time trying to micro-manage florists, photographers, or our caterers because we figured they would do a better job than we ever could with those details. The other advice we would give is that spending time on the details that meant something to us was so worth it in the end. I knew I didn’t need to spend time making those candles, choreographing our wedding dance, scouring Etsy for the perfect Pokemon toasting flutes, hiding my wedding dress from TJ or spend time hunting down old family photos but I’m so glad I did because those are the moments that I remember most. I’m glad I didn’t spend time researching flowers because that was less important to me and I knew our florist would do a great job! The other advice I would give is that weddings are stressful because you are taking a huge step toward merging families and identities- we tried to embrace that and work as a team through that stress rather than against one another, and that approach helped us grow closer!”
Our vendors were awesome! Lori and Paul from Black White and Raw Photography took the time to really understand our style and blended attention to detail with stress-free attitudes and made the day wonderful and captured our wedding perfectly. Jeffrey Miller Catering and the Aldie Mansion staff were amazing, especially our coordinator, Catherine. We felt so well-taken care of. The food and service were amazing and the day went so smoothly. Our flowers by Buttercup were beautiful. We loved our DJ, Vince Perkins, of Signature DJs who captured our music style perfectly with his playlist. We worked with so many professional, talented people who made the day exactly as we hoped it would be.