A theme is always an enjoyable element to incorporate into a wedding, and Alicia Donald and Andrew Chipman knew immediately which premise would reflect their personalities best -- travel. After all, the pair had journeyed through many parts of the world together, and their engagement was sealed after a trip to Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic. Once they had settled on the Donald residence for the ceremony site and The Ritz-Carlton for the reception location, the couple planned a wedding filled with intricate details and incredible music that was just as diverse as their international adventures.
Guests got their first glimpse of the excitement to come through the elaborate invitations that launched the travel theme for the event. Reflecting a wedding color palette inspired by those found on a globe (teal to represent the ocean, and papaya to illustrate the earth), each piece of the invitation suite was letterpressed with a map of the world. On the day of the wedding, guests were shuttled to the Donald residence while live musicians played steel drums for their entertainment. Once guests were seated at the ceremony, the music switched to the soft sounds of a classic string quartet as Alicia's father walked the beautiful bride down the aisle. After the vow exchange, everyone enjoyed cups of sweet sorbet to help weather the warm day while enjoying the lively melodies of a traditional Bavarian band. As the couple made their way to a waiting horse-drawn carriage, guests threw paper airplanes in lieu of the traditional rose toss to further emphasize the travel theme of the day.
When loved ones arrived at The Ritz-Carlton for the reception, a drum ensemble greeted them outside as a spirited welcome. Inside, a tall ice sculpture in the shape of a globe was placed in the center of the seating-card table, with pictures of the couple on their travels together frozen in the ice. Alicia's brother-in-law designed a signature monogram that wove the couple's initials into the points of a compass, and the emblem was incorporated into the decor as often as possible. "The symbol became very special, and appeared throughout the wedding details - from welcome bags to thank-you cards," says Alicia. Guests could find their table assignments by locating the leather luggage tag with their name inside and taking a look at an enlarged map that had table names pinned to it. Each reception table was named after a destination that the bride and groom had visited together, and featured a picture of the couple in the respective locales. Fine silk table linens accompanied the multihued rose and hydrangea centerpieces carefully arranged in vases filled with teal-colored water. Papaya-colored "passports" served as dinner menus, and attendees were delighted to discover travel journals embossed with either an old world map or a pocket atlas at their place settings as favors.
The music from around the world continued as guests enjoyed a performance by the French-speaking band The Poor People of Paris during dinner. For the latter part of the evening, the couple planned for two fabulous bands to get their guests on their feet -- a New Orleans-style band, followed by a Motown revue. "We had so much music, and we danced from the moment we entered the reception... everyone from our grandmothers to the smallest kids were on the floor and it was packed all night long," Alicia happily remembers.
While the groom enjoyed his cake made in the shape of a leather suitcase and covered in "travel stickers," Alicia's favorite moment was their first dance. The duo chose a song that was meaningful to them both: "The Promise" by Tracy Chapman. Since neither of the bands knew the song, Andrew's brother played the piano while Alicia's cousin sang to the couple as a special gift. "It was so moving to dance to the beautiful and personal music," recalls Alicia.
For Alicia and Andrew, their big day turned out to be the perfect day. It was complete with memories of travels past, loved ones, and a clear excitement for their future together. To start off their new status as husband and wife, they darted off to a whirlwind honeymoon with visits to Florence, Rome, and a slew of Mediterranean stops; an appropriate beginning for a lifetime of adventures.