This Musical Bride and Groom Hit All the Right Notes with Their Romantic Garden Wedding
When Ludmila got the invitation to a birthday party for her cousin Alina's boyfriend, Maks, she didn't realize she was being set up with Maks' best friend, Yuriy. "Unknown to me at the time, it was a pre-planned meet-cute by Alina and Maks," says Ludmila. "We started talking around a bonfire after dinner and never stopped."
In January 2019—more than three years after their first meeting—Ludmila and Yuriy returned to one of their favorite locations: Predators of the Heart animal sanctuary, where they had met and played with baby wolves years earlier. "After spending the day literally playing in the forest with the now-grown wolves, we went on a hike on Mount Erie," says Ludmila. "Little did I know, it was all a carefully orchestrated plan ending in a dreamy mountaintop sunset proposal."
Ludmila, who owns Music Schoolhouse studio in Mill Creek, Washington, and Yuriy, who owns three wedding and event companies—Romashka Bridal, Top Tier Tux, and Noble Rentals—wanted to plan the event themselves, says Ludmila, "spending over a year meticulously researching, sourcing, curating, and ultimately planning our perfect June wedding. However, 2020 threw everyone a curveball, shattering all of our carefully laid plans. From planning on postponing, to planning an elopement followed by a reception the following year, to having our state open back up briefly, there were many, many pivots."
Finally, they committed to a 40-guest wedding on July 25, 2020, at Lairmont Manor, their original venue. "The architecture and classic gardens won our hearts from our first venue visit," says Ludmila. "If we couldn't realistically get our family to Europe for a destination wedding, this was going to be our Europe at home in the states." They emphasized a floral aesthetic, using Ludmila's favorite flowers—including Icelandic poppies—as a starting point. "That was the original inspiration for our entire color palette: a lush rose gold garden," says the bride. "For us, making it personal was all about the curated details. We wanted to create an enjoyable bespoke experience for our family and friends that included all the things that bring us joy. From the flowers to the food, we wanted an atmosphere of sunshine and romance to tell an age-old love story."
Though they trimmed their guest list and moved their June plans to July—when many of the flowers Ludmila requested were no longer in season—many other personalized elements made the day a success: They rented a grand piano for live music at the ceremony, gave their antique gramophone a showstopping spot at the cocktail hour, served a variety of European-inspired desserts, and found a classic Porsche to use for their transportation. "Where there's a will, there's a way," says Ludmila. "We were together—and that was everything."
A custom invitation set from Cree and Co. included a one-of-a-kind illustration of the venue; handmade deckle-edge paper; and a gold twine tie. "Our invitation was inspired by an antique book title page, with a delicate floral illustration and our date in Roman numerals," says Ludmila. "Our envelopes were lined with an oil painting print of a Rousseau-inspired landscape as a nod to our love of 19th-century French art. They were hand-addressed in gold calligraphy, sealed with wax for more Old-World flair, postmarked with vintage stamps, then hand delivered to each guest. I think every detail of our invitations really set the tone for an intimate and timeless day to come, full of our favorite things to share with our guests."
A Princess Moment
As the owner of Romashka Bridal, Yuriy was able to give Ludmila a "Cinderella wedding-dress shopping experience" with her four bridesmaids. "We celebrated with Champagne, rosé, music, and macarons with the shop to ourselves, trying gown after gown until I fell in love. It was a girly movie montage," says the bride. "After having tried on what felt like a million dresses, I couldn't stop thinking about the one that made me feel like a princess"—an off-the-shoulder Morilee gown with a low back, deep neckline, and covered buttons down the train. "It was one I had tried on out of curiosity, not something I at all expected to actually choose," says Ludmila. "It made me feel like Belle from Beauty and the Beast—I had to have it."
Ludmila wanted the wedding aesthetic to reflect her love for flowers. "I've adored flowers since I was a small child, poring over my mother's seed catalogues to learn all the names and dreaming up gardens I would plant someday," she says. Though many of her favorite spring blooms weren't available in July, florist Lena Manchik came through with lush summer flowers in shades of cream, pink, and peach for the bride's ombré bouquet. "I trusted our wonderful florist to run with it anyway, using as many of the flowers on my wish list as she could," says Ludmila, "and she created exactly the magic I had asked for."
Their First Look
The couple met before their ceremony for portraits at a local park. Their feelings ranged from "giddy and excited" before their first look to "surreal" as they finally saw each other. "After—more relaxed and ready," says the couple. "[It was] such a special moment to share before jumping into the rest of the momentous day."
In the Garden
The venue's enclosed garden and pretty fountain created a romantic atmosphere for the outdoor ceremony. The couple added King Louis chairs, a dramatic growing floral installation, and a rented grand piano for their musicians. "We were surrounded by so much green with everything in bloom," says Ludmila. "Our vision was to create an enchanted, storybook garden setting to reflect our love of literature, music, art, nature, and everything Old World. We wanted to create a beautiful and whimsical experience for our guests."
The couple's youngest family members processed down the aisle to begin the ceremony. "Our beloved nieces and nephews formed a darling tiny gaggle, with rosebud and silk crowns and wedding bell wands, tossing rose petals as they went," says Ludmila.
Hand in Hand
As two of the couple's friends performed "Tale as Old as Time" on the piano and violin, Ludmila's father escorted her down a brick pathway covered in rose petals to join Yuriy for the exchange of vows.
Words of Love
Pastor Jon McIntosh led the couple through their religious ceremony, based on the traditional text. "We chose a set of vows for the ceremony with Pastor Jon, then wrote our own personal set that we shared in a special private reading," says the couple.
A New Beginning
Ludmila and Yuriy also incorporated a special natural element into their ceremony. "After reading our vows and exchanging rings, we had a butterfly release to symbolize beginning our new chapter together," they say. "It was one of the most magical moments of the day."
At the reception, the couple set up a comfortable seating area under a century-old cedar tree where guests could appreciate a piece of music history Yuriy had found for Ludmila. "Before our state opened back up, we had planned a cliffside elopement. Knowing how important music is to me, Yuriy tracked down an antique gramophone in India and had it shipped to us to use for the elopement, since we wouldn't be able to have live music like we planned," she says. While they were again able to accommodate in-person musicians for their July ceremony, they displayed the gramophone in a place of honor by the Polaroid guest book signing area.
Cups and Cones
The cocktail hour also included a gelato stand from Nutty Squirrel Gelato. "Since we could no longer go to Italy on our honeymoon as planned, we wanted to bring a little taste of Italy to our wedding instead," says Ludmila.
Up in the Air
Jasmine, smilax, and twinkle lights wound around the ceiling of the couple's reception space, overhanging long tables dressed in champagne-colored velvet cloths. "When we arrived at Lairmont that day, it felt like stepping into a spellbound garden," says Ludmila. "The same organic garden feel tied in the grand entrances and grew up the intricate staircase inside. Dainty wisps further carried the theme onto the sconces along the wood paneled walls in the ballroom. It was a botanical dream."
Tablescapes included taper candles in vintage candlesticks, crystal stemware, antique silver, and plates rimmed with gold and floral patterns, while the floral arrangements showed off roses, ranunculus, sweet peas, dahlias, and honeysuckle. "Each place setting held a delicate toasted coconut macaron in French Blue on a dainty miniature dessert stand," says Ludmila. "Our reception space was an enchanted Old-World dream."
For the reception, Ludmila changed into a fit-and-flare gown from Casablanca Bridal with a custom 10-foot train—an outfit Yuriy hadn't previewed. "Yuriy had really wanted to be surprised by my dress, so I planned a second dress for the reception," she says. "I hadn't quite figured out how to sneak away to change without raising suspicion, but our gelato setup unintentionally provided the perfect opportunity: When we went to grab a couple cones and take some cute photos during cocktail hour, I accidentally spilled some sprinkles on my dress, then went to tidy up. The look on his face when I returned in my second dress was priceless."
A Little Music
The dinner menu from A Taste of Elegance included a mixed green salad, chicken marsala, and grilled salmon, with a dessert table of salted caramel macarons, petit fours, and miniature fruit tarts from Belle Pastry. "During the reception, three of my closest friends from music school performed the beautiful Mendelssohn "Trio in D minor"—on piano, cello, and violin—which was incredibly special," says Ludmila. "The jazz band took over with our favorite jazz tunes for dinner and dancing."
Having Their Cake
Their double-tiered square cake from Olga Pysko—a vanilla chocolate poppyseed flavor with raspberries and cream cheese frosting—was covered in white-on-white textured fondant with flower and bumblebee designs. "The bas relief effect created a very sculptural and artistic look," says Ludmila.
So in Love
The newlyweds chose "What a Wonderful World," Ludmila's favorite song, for their first dance—a memorable moment that capped off their dream day. "All in all, it turned out to be a delightful tented soirée to celebrate our love with our loved ones," says the couple. "Focus on the reason for it all in the first place. You are with the love of your life and at the end of the day, that's all that really matters."
Photography, Kerry Jeanne Photography
Venue, Lairmont Manor
Day-of Coordinator, Always and Forever Events
Catering, A Taste of Elegance
Flowers, Lena Manchik
Videography, Aziz Studios
Officiant, Pastor Jon McIntosh
Stationery, Cree and Co.
Cake, Olga Pysko
Music, Ryan Donnelly; Brooke Scholl (cellist)
Rentals, Fandrich and Sons (piano); Noble Rentals; Vintage Ambiance
Bride's gown, Casablanca Bridal (reception); Morilee (ceremony)
Bridal store, Romashka Bridal
Bride's accessories, Romashka Bridal veil; Bella Belle shoes; Olivela jewelry
Hair, Hair By Alise
Makeup, Chelsea Grady
Bridesmaids' dresses, Morilee
Groom's suit and menswear, Michael Kors
Tux shop, Top Tier Tux
Groom's accessories, To Boot New York shoes; Baume and Mercier watch
Music, Gus Labayen (piano), Vanessa Moss (violin)
Lighting, Noble Rentals
Transportation, PNW 356 classic Porsche
Dessert, Belle Pastry
Favors, Lady Yum
Gelato stand, Nutty Squirrel Gelato
Rings, Ben Bridge Jeweler
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