Turning love stories into artwork is my passion, so when one of my best friends asked me to be a part of her wedding as she married her perfect match, I could not contain my excitement. Steph & Pat eloped with only immediate family on a beautiful dock in Eagles Mere, Pennsylvania. The day was filled with love and laughter that I was honored to help coordinate. On top of everything, my good friends Samantha Jay Photography and PGP Wedding Films documented the whole thing.

Highlight video by PGP Wedding Films

Though they didn't mail invitations to their guests, I knew it was important to have a keepsake suite not only for detail photos, but for their home as an heirloom piece. With handmade paper, a silky blush ribbon, a wax seal, and original artwork – I hope that Steph & Pat will cherish this suite for years to come to commemorate the day they said "I do." I included a map of all of the locations from the big day and a separate venue drawing of their reception space. Something I knew I wanted to include in their suite were illustrations of their beloved pets. Their rescue dog Sabina and cat Chester weren't able to be there in person, so I just had to find a way to include them. I sketched each pet digitally on my iPad Pro, then printed them on a fluffy blush handmade paper from Fringe & Rose. As an added touch, I included the portraits with their return address on the envelope.

With a lakefront ceremony and woods surrounding us everywhere we went, I wanted the artwork in this suite to be representative of the natural landscape. An organic tree line dressed the envelope liner and lended itself to the backdrop of their custom monogram. Their dusty blue and blush color palette made for a perfect paper combo. The suite was seamless with the rest of their details – a timeless style with a modern and quirky flair.

The two got ready separately, and the events of the day began with a private moment between bride and groom. (Anyone who had me as their wedding planner knows that I will always recommend a first look!) Steph & Pat wrote letters to each other, which they read back to back before Pat got to see his bride for the first time. What happened next was probably one of my favorite parts of the day – and definitely one of Pat's. The two decided to exchange gifts after their first look. For months, I had heard Pat trying to convince Steph to let him cut the wedding cake with a sword – and Steph repeatedly telling him absolutely not. So, when this groom opened his eyes to see a custom damascus steel sword in his hands...let's just say it was a confirmation that Steph was the perfect wife for him. I will also say that holding said sword behind my back while waiting for the moment was one of the more nerve wracking moments of my wedding planning career. Totally worth it for the look on Pat's face!

The ceremony was held on a dock overlooking the lake, with Lovers Rock in perfect view across the water – the spot where Pat got down on one knee. Steph's father officiated the wedding as her mom and two sisters watched through the happiest tears. Pat's parents and siblings soaked in the moment smiling from ear to ear. Every detail of this wedding day was personal and meaningful, a momentous occasion shared only with those most dear.

After a tear-filled ceremony, we headed out to Lovers Rock. It was a short hike through the stunning Pennsylvania woods, and giving them some post-ceremony time to be together was the perfect way to let it soak in: they were married! As the sun set, I started feeling emotional. I have known Steph for eight years, and watching her meet, fall in love with, and now marry her person has been amazing to witness – not to mention gaining another great friend in Pat. They were just beaming with joy on top of that rock, and I couldn't be happier for them.

The night ended at Eagles Mere Country Club. Their families awaited the newlyweds, ready to celebrate such a beautiful day. A champagne toast, an adorable cake, and a dressed-up car surprise capped off the evening. Steph & Pat are planning a reception for all of their friends and family on their anniversary next May, but this intimate ceremony was the perfect way to celebrate the beginning of their forever.

To Steph & Pat – I love you both. I am so glad I was able to be there for your marriage, and that one of my last days as a wedding planner was with you.

All photos in this post by Samantha Jay Photography