ALYSSA + COLIN by Lexie Hand
Tell us how you met each other?
We met as many couples do these days, online via the dating app Hinge. However, we like to think our story is a bit more serendipitous than solely meeting on the dating app. I (Alyssa) knew details about Colin prior to meeting him. A close friend of mine knew who he was when I showed her who I had “swiped right” on.
She told me I HAD to go out with this guy. Thank goodness I believed her. While chatting on our first date, we found that throughout the years we have been at a number of the same shows sitting on the same lawns while at those shows. Turns out we just needed that extra, fateful push from modern day technology to finally cross paths.
Tell us about the proposal?
We lived in Philadelphia and I (Alyssa) decided I wanted to celebrate the summer solstice that year (2019) on Friday, June 21. I had this overwhelming feeling that life was SO sweet, we owed it to ourselves to celebrate the longest day of the year feeling grateful and joyful for all the love we had in our lives. Little did I know, Colin was planning to propose … on Saturday, June 22. Unbeknownst to me, and to foil his plan even more, I had made us plans for June 22nd a couple weeks prior. Colin couldn’t say why he was upset that I had made plans or I undoubtedly probably would have caught on to what was going to happen.. He quickly pivoted and planned to propose on summer solstice. He made dinner reservations in sweet, Old City, Philadelphia and we sat right in the window on a blissful June evening to enjoy our meal. After we wrapped up dinner, Colin suggested taking a leisurely walk home rather than ordering an Uber. The night was so beautiful, I quickly agreed. Quick aside; I collect copies of Breakfast at Tiffany’s and I have been searching old bookstores for a first edition for years. As we’re walking home, we pass an old bookstore. I told Colin we should go in to try to find Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I had searched this particular bookstore previously, but had no luck. However, this night, this summer solstice, I rummaged through the shelves, scanning to find “Capote”. To my surprise, I found it! I slowly opened it to see the year this copy was published. Colin asked, “so?” I responded, “well definitely not a first edition, but it was published in 1993 – the year you were born, so that makes this copy pretty special” and I hugged it close.
We continued our walk and are about to pass Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia – the oldest residential street in the United States. It’s charming and one of my favorite places in the city. We have never passed Elfreth’s Alley without walking through and this night was no different. We wander in, hand-in-hand, and usually there are tourists but on this night it was quiet. Colin got down on one knee, asked me to spend the rest of our lives together, and showed me the most beautiful solitaire diamond! Colin had a tendency to fake propose a number of times, so naturally I said “no.. you’re joking” a couple of times before I realized it was real. We hugged and kissed and cried and it was magic.
We left Elfreth’s Alley and walked to the first bar we could find – a tiny Irish pub. We took a shot with strangers before calling our parents!
Afterwards, I thought we were just going to one of our favorite spots in the city – an outdoor beer garden – to continue to celebrate, just the two of us. When we arrived, we were greeted by our friends and our family! Colin had planned the perfect proposal and the most magical summer solstice I could have ever wished for.
Tell us a little about yourselves, what you do, what you love, what is unique about you and your relationship…
We truly are twin flames, dual spirits, whatever you’d like to call it. When we met, we immediately bonded over our love of travel, particularly solo travel. We had both been quite adventurous and spontaneous prior to meeting and I’m so thankful the stars aligned to bring us together to be adventurous and spontaneous together. We went from two solo travelers to each always having a partner to brainstorm what the next big move may be. Most recently, prior to Covid, we backpacked through China & Vietnam. We were planning our honeymoon for Morocco and Portugal. We’re so grateful for these opportunities and to have found a life partner who craves the wonder of the world, as well.
We’re both goofy and our lives are full with a lot of laughter; we air-guitarted our way down the aisle! But we balance each other out. In the moments where I (Alyssa) am more rash and quick to make a decision, Colin is more thoughtful and thorough. In the moments where I (Alyssa) tend to get easily upset or feel anxious about something, Colin is there to help me put it into perspective to not feel so overwhelming. In the moments where Colin is on time, I (Alyssa) will always be late. Hey, he knew what he was getting into!
Colin works in the trade show industry, but he is also in a folk rock band with his brothers, The Barker Brothers. I (Alyssa) work in advertising, but have a small side hustle of wedding coordinating and styling. Part of the reason I was so excited about creating our day! We’re both creators in our own ways, we love to be hands on and are always bouncing ideas back and forth. We really inspire one another and it’s a dream to be partners, lovers, and best friends for the rest of our days.
Oh, and we also are totally obsessed with our pup, Luna Lou. Who, in fact, was born on Summer Solstice 2020. 🙂 We’re curious what Summer Solstice 2021 will bring because it’s been so sweet to us for the past 2 years. 🙂
Tell us about your special day, was there a specific theme or style? Tell us a little about the setting, the styling and some of your favourite details…
Prior to Covid, the theme was “BARKER BARN BOOGIE”. (Our last name is now Barker). I (Alyssa) had it all envisioned. I wanted a desert color palette. I wanted boho-ish. I wanted a 70s vibe. I wanted dry flowers. I wanted live flowers. I wanted yellow, pink, orange. I wanted disco balls. A lot of disco balls. The idea was a juxtaposition with the barn. A modern barn with over 70 disco balls? Count me in.
Then Covid happened…
We decided to cancel the reception, but still knew we wanted to get married and celebrate on our original date. Safety was our biggest priority so we kept it only to our immediate families.. But, I still wanted our theme somehow. Less than a month prior to our date, we landed on deciding to have it in my parents backyard and I rented the tablescape I had been dreaming of.
Then the rain happened…
The morning of the wedding, it was pouring. We couldn’t set up outside and the rain was supposed to continue for the rest of the day. We had to pivot AGAIN. My girls Nicole (@simplycoreflorals) & Emily (@splinter_andfray) made it happen. We last minute decided it was just going to have to happen in my parent’s basement. They moved furniture and they hung disco balls from the ceiling. After the ceremony, when we arrived, it didn’t feel like a basement – they knocked it out of the park.
Although it wasn’t what I had originally imagined (a reception in my parent’s basement), I still think it was beautiful and captured the main elements of what I wanted. I asked for a juxtaposition and I sure got a juxtaposition; a disco in a basement.
Tell us about your main outfits:
Hers: I will try to keep this brief. In March I brought home my wedding gown and hung it in my apartment, waiting for my first alterations appointment. Five minutes before the alterations appointment, as I’m taking my gown from where it was hanging, there is a massive stain on the wall. I gasped & looked at the dress’ duster bag. To my horror, the duster bag had the same stain. I slowly unzipped the bag and to further horror, my dress was stained grey. After going back and forth with a professional bridal cleaners and a seamstress, it was evident I needed a new dress. I also needed one fast – I was about 2 weeks out at this point. My Godmother stayed on the phone with me for an entire day as we perused the Internet. I happened upon the most beautiful gown @thelawbridal and with some quick research, we found that the dress designer, Megan, lived in Philadelphia. I reached out to her and asked her if she had a sample of her Lex Gown available – she did! Megan was a true angel. She shipped me the sample and facetimed me as I tried it on. Megan then went above and beyond and spent so much time and care and did my alterations & customized the neckline. From a true dress disaster, to loving my second dress even more and getting a good story with it!
As for accessories, I tried to put a lot of thought into each accessory and to make it very special. I always wanted my something blue to be my shoes, and blue mules were the perfect choice. My “something borrowed” was a pearl ring I wore on my right hand from my mother-in-law. My “something old” was a solitaire diamond on a gold chain, the diamond that my late grandfather proposed to my paternal grandmother with. I had a second “something old” which was a pearl rosary from the Vatican given to me by my maternal grandmother which I wrapped around my bouquet. My “something new” was my gold-leafed veil and my flower crown gifted to me by my mother. Additionally I chose to wear a golden-pearl flower crown purposefully. I wore a real flower crown, gifted to me by my best friend for the rehearsal and I wanted the golden flower crown to be worn the following day as a symbol of our vows becoming permanent.
His: Due to Covid and the lockdown, we were unable to get a custom suit made for Colin. We went with menguin and rented. He wanted to look different than the other groomsmen, so he chose white paisley and a white tie. His grandmother did have to sew a loose button on as the processional was starting!! Note to all future couples; always have a sewing kit on hand.
What were some of the most memorable/unique moments from the day?
Since we had put out a cancellation email to all who were invited, we let everyone know that we would still be having the ceremony at the church, St. Patricks. A friend helped hand out dried flower petals for anyone who was waiting outside to toss. As we walked out, Colin’s oldest brother was ringing the church bells (by hand!!) and we walked out to a shower of colorful dried flower petals and so many loved ones waiting for us to exit! It was so many more people than we had originally thought would show up – we felt so full with love. It was such a surreal moment. A funny/memorable moment was during our first dance. I was barefoot (as usual) by this point. We were beginning to start our dance and all the sudden I felt pain in my heel. I looked down at my foot and there was blood; I had stepped on glass! We had to call for the music to be stopped and my mother-in-law had to run and get a band-aid before we tried again! The second time was much more successful.
We truly went with the flow. Because of Covid, all the parks and gardens we were planning on getting photos at, were temporarily shut down. We pulled on the side of the road in a pretty grass area and just had fun with it. We stopped at my dad’s office on the way and hopped on his motorcycle for some quick photos! Everything was VERY unplanned due to the circumstances. I think the entire wedding was pretty memorable and unique, due to the Covid circumstances and the large number of pivots we had to make throughout the entire engagement process.
Any advice for other couples planning to spend the rest of their lives together?
I think it’s SO easy to get caught up in the details of the day. From one type A person to potentially another, I know how this is so much easier said than done, but my advice would truly be to go with the flow. In chronological order, here is a short list of things that went wrong while we were planning; our original rehearsal dinner location burnt down, Covid hit, the bridesmaid dresses weren’t going to arrive due to Covid, my gown was stained and deemed un-fixable, we cancelled the reception & the honeymoon completely, Colin’s original wedding band never arrived, it was tough to find a tux last minute, it rained the day-of, and I cut my foot on glass during our first dance!
All of that said, we wouldn’t change a single thing. The day was absolutely and breath-takingly perfect. I cannot imagine being any happier than I already was on that day, even if everything had gone right. It’s cliche, but when you have the right person by your side, the details (as pretty as they may be!) fade away, and it’s the hand that is in yours that matters.
Photography: @lexiehand | Ceremony location: St Patrick Parish | Reception location: The Weaver’s Backyard | Rehearsal Dress: @spell | Wedding Dress: @thelawbridal | Groom’s Suit: @menguintux | Shoes: @nordstrom | Flower Piece: @lovelybride | Earrings: @mejuri | Custom Cufflinks: @etsy | Makeup & Hair: @marcjacobsfragrances | Bridesmaid’s attire: @fameandpartners | Groomsmen’s attire: @menguintux | Styling: @splinter_andfray | Planner: @weaverandrose | Florals: @simplycole | Cake: @themastersbaker | Ribbon: @nativeribbon_co | Rentals: @whitegloverentals