A Hometown Wedding
Planning a wedding can be a bit like trying to stage a play, complete with musical numbers and a live orchestra. Each person needs to know where to be, what to do, what to wear, and the list goes on. It can be a hectic, expensive, and stressful process, but it doesn't have to be—the key is have a good planning team, and if you can, try to keep it local.
Katie Raymo grew up in Madison and this past October she married her husband, Mike, at the Surf Club. Raymo works in the design and event planning field, so when it came time to plan her own wedding, she certainly had a step up, and took those skills to essentially turn the town of Madison into her wedding venue.
"I had always kind of known the vibe I wanted for my wedding so then when I got engaged I could say I already know what it is going to look like," she says. "So everything fell into place."
The ceremony took place on the beach at the Surf Club and Raymo put up three tents on the Surf Club deck for the reception, completely transforming the space.
"I put drapes and chandeliers inside the building because there are these beautiful beams and there was a whole vision there," she says. "Since I was getting married in October, I was a little worried because weather can be hit or miss, so we ended up doing three tents in a U shape that just covered the whole deck space and then I just put lighting in the tents."
Her mother, Ann Nyberg, says while it wasn't a traditional wedding venue, it was perfect for this occasion.
"It was gorgeous and it was on a town beach where all of our kids played in the sand," she says. "I guess the message is look at your town or wherever you are from and look at templates that maybe aren't done. Look at a building you maybe didn't think about because anything is possible."
Ultimately, Raymo decided not to stop with just having her wedding ceremony and reception in her hometown, but to essentially use the whole town as her wedding venue.
"This whole four-day event, which it turned into with outings and everything else, was so relaxed and so chill and in town everyone got Airbnbs or got hotels," says Nyberg. "The rehearsal dinner was at Cafe Allegre, after that we walked over to Moxie so the whole town became the wedding. The dress was altered at Angie Lu, so we just took this monopoly board game of a town, which we love, and brought it all here. I would do it again in a heartbeat and it was so much fun."
Tips of the Trade
Even with a local wedding, there are still a lot of moving pieces to keep track of when planning a wedding. Raymo says she was lucky because she already knew a lot of the vendors she wanted to use but says no matter how much a bride might know about hosting a wedding, a wedding planner is always a good idea.
"One thing I am always telling my décor clients is that wedding planners get overlooked a lot, people don't always see the need for them, but having someone there to orchestrate all the pieces is great because on the day of you don't want to be thinking about all of that," she says.
She says she recommends a "month of" planner at least so that the planner can get to know the venue, the vendors, and what the client wants out of the day. Nyberg says having a planner helped minimize stress for the event.
"I think it's a must because you are busy as a mother enjoying your child getting married and being a hostess and you can't do everything, so a planner is worth their weight in gold," she says. "After you do a wedding, they are not really that expensive."
It's Your Day
When it comes to planning a wedding, Raymo says it's really about making sure the day fits the people getting married. She has seen million dollar weddings and backyard weddings and says cost doesn't make one better than the other.
Raymo says you don't have to check all of the typical wedding boxes either. She and her husband didn't take engagement photos because she said that just wasn't for them and when it came down to things like choosing her dress, she sought out a store that worked for her.
"I got my dress from Michele Bridal in Westbrook," she says. "It was so fun because I hate bridal shops where they go into the dressing room with you and they put the dress on you, but at Michele she was just, 'I'll give you the back room, I'll pull some dresses and if you need me, I am here and if not then ok'."
In the end Nyberg says she was thrilled to see her daughter get married at home, that the whole town served as the perfect venue, and that the whole event was free of any typical wedding hysteria.
"When you think about a wedding, it's a celebration of two people," she says. "So it's a big party. All the stuff that people try to put on that day is just ridiculous. At the end of the day what you are celebrating is two people in love."
The Wedding Vendors
Rehearsal Venue: Cafe Allegre
Reception Venue: Madison Surf Club
Planners: Maggie Bascom & Tim Cairo-Devlin
Florist: Hana Floral Design
Photography: Hailley Howard
Videography: Will Talamelli Films
Lighting/Draping: Ryan Designs
Invitation: Tied & Two
Bus: Durham School Services
Hair/Makeup: Lindsay J.
Tent: Chase Canopy
Linen: BBJ Linen
Catering: Marcia Selden Catering
Rentals: Chase Canopy & PEAK
Band: The Soul Estate Band
Wedding Dress: Michele—A Bridal Boutique