A New York City Romance
Tying the knot in a gorgeous Vera Wang ball gown, Sassy’s own Meg Widmer’s fairy tale wedding in Delaware has our hearts fluttering.
From their first ‘burger and beer’ date to a beachfront church ceremony, Meg shares details on her incredible four-day affair, her top tips for nervous brides-to-be, and how she managed to plan a wedding amidst moving to Hong Kong!
All love stories have to begin somewhere. How did you two meet?
We met in 2010 at a bar called the Bowery Electric in Manhattan. The very next weekend we ran into each other again at the same bar, but it wasn’t until a month or so later that we randomly passed each other on the street that we finally decided to go out on a proper date.
Where was your first date?
“Proper date” might be a bit of a stretch. We went to a bar on the block where I lived at the time (yes, I was still 15 minutes late!) and we ordered burgers and beers and watched both the Yankees and Mets games. It was very casual and fun… until my sister showed up later in the evening and demanded that Matt buy her and all of her friends tequila shots if he wanted to continue dating me. Obviously, he bought them several rounds, because here we are!
Can you tell us about the first time he said he loved you?
I’m pretty sure I wanted to say it first, but there was no way I was actually going to say it before he did. My family owns a bar on the Upper East Side (I swear not every big moment of our relationship takes place in a bar), but we went there to say hi to the family toward the end of the night, and he finally said it with a big, dumb (but loving) grin on his face. He was definitely waiting for me to crack and say it first. Of course I said it back, and then followed it up with, “It’s about time!”
Every bride has a proposal story. What’s yours?
It was Friday, 13 June and my family was in the city for a wedding on the following day. Matt’s family was in the city to watch his brother’s band play a gig, so we decided it would be fun to get both families together for dinner. I had a feeling a proposal would be coming by the end of the year, but even though Matt asked me to plan the dinner for our families, I really had zero expectations of it happening then!
We got a lucky reservation at La Esquina’s private room in NYC and had an incredible dinner. At the end of the dinner, Matt’s brother went to open a gift from his mom. It was a huge framed photo that he looked at and then turned around to show all of us. I remember it taking a few minutes to figure out what it was, but it turned out to be a bunch of photos of letters that Matt had taken that spelled out, “Will you marry me?” Initially I thought it was for one of Matt’s sisters until of course I saw him down on one knee. I’m pretty sure the first words out of my mouth were not the most appropriate, but it gave everyone a good laugh! I’m also not sure how my family was able to keep the secret under wraps for so long — we’re notoriously terrible at that!
Tell us about the ring.
Matt really hit it out of the park with the ring! I’m not sure I ever told him what styles I liked, but he did say that I once mentioned liking delicate bands. My favourite part about his ring-shopping story is that he brought in my mum and sister to get their opinion – it meant a lot to them and a ton to me! He picked an emerald-cut stone with a delicate pave band. It is perfectly my style. I’m not sure I could have picked a better one (the ring or the guy)!
What did you do for your hen party?
I’m a huge country music fan, so we rented a house in Nashville, Tennessee, for Country Music Fest. We spent our days by the pool, or going around town, and nights at the concerts at LP Football Stadium and bar hopping downtown. Having 18 of your best girlfriends in Nashville for a week means the rest of the details are a bit tough to recall!
How did you go about planning your wedding? Did you go the DIY route or did you hire a wedding planner to help you out?
Our wedding was in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, so we hired a local planner to be our boots on the ground. Thank God we did, because partway through the planning process we found out we were moving to Hong Kong, and, therefore, decided to make it a four-day weekend of events!
The festivities started with our rehearsal dinner on Thursday evening, followed by a welcome party for everyone in town. Our wedding was on Friday afternoon at a beautiful church on the beach that our family attends. Afterward, we had the reception at a stunning golf and country club nearby. But the celebrations didn’t stop there; we also held a big barbecue and bonfire on the beach on Saturday, and a farewell brunch on Sunday! It was an overwhelming amount of detail and planning, but we left the weekend feeling like we got to spend quality time with each of our guests, and that was of the utmost importance to us.
Who helped you create your perfect day?
I am crazy about details, so I held everything very close. I asked Matt to tell me the few things that he really cared about and then I ran with the rest. I’d often bounce ideas off my mum and sisters, but I pretty much worked out every last detail on my own with the help of my planner.
Tell us about the dress.
My dress was the complete opposite of what I thought I wanted! I originally went about trying on very slim, elegant styles until my mom asked me to try on a big, full dress that I’m pretty sure I told her looked like a cupcake. It definitely wasn’t the dress, but it changed everything about what I thought I wanted. (I suppose this is where I say mama knows best!) The dress I fell in love with was a gown from Vera Wang called the “Eliza.” It was stunning, different, and likely very unexpected from this jeans and a tee-shirt type of girl.
Who helped you look and feel your best on your big day?
I didn’t change my workout routine too much leading up to the wedding, just maybe kicked it up a bit. I was a huge fan of Soul Cycle in NYC, so I was doing that or working with my personal boxing trainer almost every day for a few months. And for the day of the wedding I had an incredible hair and makeup team come down from NYC to glam us all up.
What was the wedding like?
It couldn’t have been more perfect in my mind. It was an absolutely gorgeous September day. I’ll never forget the time I spent with my family and bridesmaids while getting ready in the morning – it was happy, calm, and fun. I didn’t get nervous until the ceremony when I heard the processional music playing. I remember telling the woman holding the doors to the vestibule to give me one more second (to calm down) about five or six times, until my dad just took my hand and looked at me and said, “Don’t worry kid, we got this.” He held my hand the entire way down the aisle and helped me overcome the nerves. Seeing Matt tearing up at the end of the aisle may have helped a bit too!
We made the reception extra-long so we wouldn’t have to rush through anything. We had almost 250 guests, and the majority of them were on the dance floor the entire night. I changed from Jimmy Choos to wedged Converse for the reception so that I wouldn’t miss a moment on the dance floor, which was the best move considering the incredible band we had! We incorporated a few family traditions that really gave a personal touch to the reception. My parents both went to West Point and served in the military, as did our grandfathers and many family members, so as an ode to their service we cut the cake with my parent’s saber. My side of the family is German (among other things) so we “passed the (beer) boot” around, which is something my parents also did at their wedding.
Matt gave a moving speech from the both of us near the end of the evening and then we closed everything out with a sparkler exit.
The song for your first dance?
It was a country song, of course! On our very first date (yes, the one at the bar over burgers and beer) we got into talking about country music and I mentioned that Brad Paisley’s song “Then” would one day be my wedding song, to which Matt said he had always imagined the same song. So, we both got our wish!
What’s the most valuable thing you learned while wedding planning?
This isn’t something I learned while planning our wedding, but having attended so many other weddings, it was something I (we) very much wanted to focus on. It was very important to us that each and every person who came to share in our celebration knew how much they meant to us, how they had shaped our lives, and how much we appreciated them being there.
We took a lot of steps to really ensure all of our guests had just as fantastic a weekend as we did, but, I think the single best thing we did was write a personal letter to each and every guest who attended our wedding. On each plate we left an envelope with their name or nickname, as well as a short personal message for them alone. We watched our family and friends laugh and cry while reading them, and it’s the one thing we still get so many comments on. It was certainly a labour of love, but I’m so happy we did it!
Have any tips and tricks for brides-to-be?
1. Wear comfortable shoes, it’s the last thing you’ll want to think about!
2. At the reception, reserve a moment with your partner in a corner of the room to look out over the celebration and really take in the moment. Take in the joy, love, and all the people who came to celebrate the two of you. It will make your heart so full.
3. It’s your wedding, but don’t forget to take your guests into great consideration. It won’t go unnoticed! We did things as simple as making sure the table layout under the tent allowed for a good flow of traffic between the dance floor and bars, to providing flip flops for sore dancing feet and pashminas in the event it got chilly. The personalised letters to each guest were definitely the biggest hit, but of course, the most time consuming.
4. Have fun and don’t stress! Everyone is going to follow your lead, so if you start off the day frazzled and stressed, everyone around you is going to feel the same way. Regardless of whether or not you have some loose ends to tie in the morning, keep your cool and remember that this is going to be one of the best days of your life. Enjoy every second!
What do you remember most about the entire experience?
It’s such a unique experience having all of your nearest and dearest family members and friends in one of your favourite places, celebrating you. It sounds silly, but I will just never forget the feeling of pure love and happiness that came with our wedding day.
Is there anything you would have liked to do differently?
Well, I certainly wish the bus that had left our venue earlier in the evening hadn’t driven into a ditch, but I guess that’s what the few guests who were on it get for leaving early! Kidding, of course! We ended up one bus short to take guests back to their houses/hotels at the end of the night, but luckily the venue and our incredible wedding planner took fantastic care of those left waiting a bit longer for transportation. Some things are just out of your control!
And that brings us naturally to your honeymoon. Where did you end up going?
We moved to Hong Kong exactly one week after our wedding, so we have yet to take our honeymoon! But, we want to spend two weeks in New Zealand… eventually. For now, we’re still using much of our vacation time for other weddings!