Mary Orton, the creative behind the style blog Memorandum, first met Richard Scudellari in November 2010. By day, Mary now works as the CEO of her own technology startup, but when she first graduated college, a stint at a New York City investment bank brought Rich into her life. "We were introduced by one of my college friends when we were both working in New York," she remembers. "It wasn't an intentional 'set-up,' but when life gives you a killer eighties cover band, an aggressive dance floor, and an open bar, love has to be in the air, right?" They spent the evening chatting about their favorite football teams and, at the end of the night, Rich asked Mary to join him for dinner the very next weekend.
Four years later, Rich surprised his love with a special backstage tour at Broadway theater where they'd just enjoyed a musical for Mary's birthday. "Instead of a tour, we walked onto center stage and he dropped to one knee as we looked out onto the beautifully lit theater," Mary says of the proposal. "He had timed it perfectly with the stage managers to make sure the theater was completely empty since he knew I wasn't a public proposal kind of girl." Once she said yes, the duo started planning their August 14, 2015 wedding in Mary's hometown of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Just nine months after they got engaged, the pair exchanged vows at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist (where the bride's parents had been married 33 years before!) and celebrated with 200 guests at the Pfister Hotel's Imperial Ballroom. Keep reading to see all of Front Room Photography's photos of their Old World-inspired day below!
Mary may be best known for her impeccable work-wear style, but that doesn't mean the bride didn't know how to rock a wedding dress. She chose a strapless silk faille Oscar de la Renta gown, which she customized with an off-the-shoulder lace caraco that provided extra coverage for the ceremony. "I wanted a dress that would fit the formality of the Catholic ceremony, but could transition well to festive dinner and dancing," she says. "It was incredibly special to wear one of the last dresses designed by Oscar himself and work with his team to really make it my own and a completely unique gown."
She completed her look with a sleek-yet-intricate low bun, delicate earrings, and a fresh face of makeup that the bride applied herself! Mary chose a cascading bouquet of ivory roses and spray roses, white freesia, Italian ruscus, white orchid blossoms, and variegated ivy.
When it came time to choose a dress for her seven attendants, Mary already had an idea in mind for their look. "As a lifelong fashion devotee, I've always been enamored with the work of Edith Head, the iconic American costume designer. In particular, there is a dress that she designed for Grace Kelly in the Hitchcock film To Catch A Thief that is exactly what I wanted to emulated in selecting the look for my bridesmaids," Mary says. She chose a blue Watters gown, which felt reminiscent of the iconic dress thanks to a Grecian cut, modified sweetheart neckline, and shirred bodice. "I had the bridesmaids flip a long piece of chiffon from the skirt up over their shoulder for a more conservative, formal look during the ceremony and sported a more simple spaghetti strap for dinner and dancing," she says.
Each bridesmaid carried a dainty posy of roses and greenery that complemented Mary's larger arrangement.
Rich and his attendants looked equally fashion-forward in their classic black tuxes and bowties.
Before the ceremony, Mary and Rich met for their take on a first look, which didn't actually involve seeing each other before the big day. The met on a grand staircase to trade notes and gifts for each other.
The couple fell in love with the grandeur of the ornate cathedral, so they chose floral decorations that highlighted the space rather than took away from it. Tall arrangements of hydrangeas, white roses, and blush spray roses welcomed guests into the space and smaller arrangements of roses and freesia decorated pew ends.
"The ceremony was scheduled to start at 3 p.m., and I really wanted to keep everything on schedule so that the reception wasn't cut short," Mary says. Just 13 minutes before the couple was set to exchange vows, one of Mary's bridesmaids tore the zipper of her dress. "I immediately grabbed a sewing kit and my mom and I sewed her into her dress. We managed to finish it in about six minutes!"
After the near snafu, the bride and her father walked down the aisle while an organist, trumpeter, cellist, violinist, and flutist performed. "We wanted the ceremony to be special, not just for us, but for all of our families and guests," the bride says. She and Rich exchanged traditional Catholic vows before exiting the church as a vocalist sang "You Are Mine."
The reception then moved to the Pfister Hotel, where guests found their seating assignments attached to antique-inspired keys. In keeping with their formal vibe, the ballroom was decked out with lush centerpieces roses, hydrangeas, and greenery. At each place setting, guests found their favor (a box of gourmet candies from Mary's hometown) that was finished with a wax seal to indicate meal choice.
After a five-course dinner, which included offerings like mushroom risotto, wild Atlantic salmon, filet mignon, and spinach polenta, the couple sliced up their four-tiered wedding cake, which was filled with layers of raspberry preserves and lemon curd, all topped with cream cheese white chocolate buttercream.
The couple skipped signature cocktails and chose to serve drinks from their full open bar with custom-made cocktail napkins. Gold foil designs included sayings like "Don't worry, Mary and Rich will be raising their children as Packers fan. (Rich just doesn't know it yet.)" and "When you heard it was an exotic destination wedding, you immediately thought Milwaukee, right?"
Mary and Rich shared their first dance to Carole King's original version of "Some Kind of Wonderful." Later, the bride slipped into a knee-length flapper-style beaded dress from Aidan Mattox that was perfect for dancing to their 14-piece orchestra. "Having every single person out on the dance floor the entire night made the evening incredibly fun," Mary says. "The entire band was so spectacular!"
After their wedding, Mary and Rich honeymooned in the Seychelles and South Africa. "Even if you want to do all the planning yourself, at the very least hire a day-of coordinator," the bride advises. "There are so many small details that come up in the last 48 hours that are impossible to anticipate and you don't want to waste your special day running around trying to problem solve."
Ceremony Venue: Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist
Reception Venue & Catering: The Pfister Hotel
Wedding Planner: Janelle Meyer-Brown of Événement Planning
Officiant: Reverend Timothy Kitzke
Bride's Wedding Dress: Oscar de la Renta
Veil: HOMA Bridal
Shoes: Christian Louboutin
Hair: Pfister Well Salon + Spa
Bridesmaids' Dresses: Watters, purchased through Weddington Way
Groom's Attire: Armani
Groomsmen's Attire: The Black Tux
Flowers: Fresh Design Flowers
Invitations: Crane & Co.
Cake: The Cake Lady
Videographer: I Do Films
Photographer: Front Room Photography
Want more classic wedding inspiration? Take a look at another couple's traditional wedding in the video below!