Wedding – Our big day near Florence, Italy

I’m back with a new name, Nicole Michele Cleary. I feel an odd sensation when I look at my new name. Letting go of the past and starting a new family is a lot to take in, but I know this change is for the better. Opening up a new chapter of my life with new possibilities.

The wedding day itself felt like a dream, because it went so perfectly. The colorful sunset and gorgeous 70 degree weather in Fiesole, near Florence Italy, made the ceremony magical. Certainly a day I will never forget, not for the beautiful scenery, exquisite decorations, delicious cuisine, and swinging jazz band, but for the romantic, patient, supportive and strong man I married. He is who I was walking down the aisle to, my husband, my person. We could have gotten married in a McDonald’s, but this way had a bit of artistic flair :)

Below are some pictures of our special day by our beloved friends and family:
Shaun Cleary, my husband’s brother and best man, ©SuperClearyPhoto website link
Audrie Lawrence, a family friend. website link
Evan O’Reilly, my husband’s cousin and good friend. website link

Bride Getting ready - Fiesole, Italy - 10-8-2012 - photo by SuperClearyPhoto

Bride Getting ready – Fiesole, Italy – 10-8-2012 – photo by SuperClearyPhoto

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Reminds me what I’m doing this all for

Being engaged is an odd feeling. Everyone tells you “it’s a very big step”, and it is. One piece of advice that I’m glad I took, “take time to be happy about being engaged”. It is really easy to get caught up in the wedding planning, dinner arrangements, ceremony proceedings, creating and sending the invites. Especially when it gets down to the wire a few weeks before the date, it is really easy to lose perspective, and forget why the two of you are doing all this work. After just an hour photo-shoot with an extremely accommodating best man (our photographer), and a beautiful setting on the Brooklyn promenade over-looking the East River at sunset, we ended up with some great photos. More importantly, I couldn’t stop smiling. I was just happy to spend a stress-free hour with my fiance. It reminded me what I’m doing this all for.

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Best Marriage Proposal Ever – Hysterical & From The Heart

The girlfriend in the video got the surprise of her life when her boyfriend sat her in the back of his brother’s car to “listen to a song”. Little did she know, her boyfriend was about to dance and sing with friends and family to the song “Marry You” by Bruno Mars to ask her the biggest question of her life. “Will you marry me?” In my opinion this was possibly the best marriage proposal I’ve heard, and certainly the most inventive. I have no idea how he was able to keep this whole idea from her.
source: Gizmodo

The marriage proposal I received was quite different, but still awesome.
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Drawings of Florence, Italy

My vacation in Florence was very special to me. Below are sketches and a recount of my memorable trip.

Florence Rooftop Garden Drawing by Nicole Barker

Florence Rooftop Garden Pencil and Paper Drawing by Nicole Barker

After a day of tasting gelato, moving about streets of Florence, and mingling in the shops, my fiance and I retreated to the hotel and walked up to the secluded garden on the rooftop. At midnight the city was almost dead quiet, and I felt inspired to sit and draw in my sketchbook the view I had towards the Piazza Ognissanti. It was beautiful. I sat there for hours drawing what I saw. Then the clock tower chimed, and I decided to head off to bed.
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Invitation Design

This October I will be traveling to Italy again, but this time it will be for my wedding. We rented a villa in Florence for a day to host the ceremony and reception. We decided a wedding planner would be key between the language barrier and the long distance, but the one thing I knew I wanted to do for the wedding was create my invitations. It would be the piece of paper that would join all our close friends and family together for the most important event in my life, and I wanted the design to be memorable. Something that truly fits with our personalities, the location, and the look and feel of the event. I sketched the villa illustration, created a font-treatment and color scheme, laid out the invitation and response card, chose paper stock, envelopes, and seals, and sent it off to the printer. A few days ago we got back the finished product, and I’m very pleased. They turned out just the way I wanted them to look. Now we’re ready to move forward with the next step in the wedding planning process… menu choices.

Wedding Invitation Design by Nicole Barker

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Woody Allen, will you come to our Wedding?

Florence IMG_5160 Photo by Brian Cleary

My wedding is this October, and my fiance and I thought it would be awesome if Woody Allen would attend. I figured that since Woody Allen and I have similar taste in places we love to visit, maybe he’d enjoy our wedding in Florence. Above is a photo of, the Villa di Maiano, where we are getting married.

I’m sure its a coincidence, but it seems like Woody Allen is following us around. First we visited Paris last year in February. Then a few months later, the Woody Allen movie “Midnight In Paris” was released. Next we visited Florence and Rome, and now there are trailers out for a Woody Allen movie titled “To Rome With Love”. I’m not sure what to think, but I know I’m going to see “To Rome With Love” when it comes out. If my fiance and I show up as extras in the movie, I’ll know this all wasn’t a coincidence.
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Everyone Should Travel

River Arno at Twilight, Italy - Photo by Brian Cleary

River Arno at Twilight, Italy
- Photo by Brian Cleary.

Everyone should travel. It expands your horizons, changes your world views, and effects your life choices. Be open to the change. From something small like listening to a new song you heard on your travels, to something large like choosing to get married in Italy because you loved it there that much.

Recently I traveled to Florence. The city of Florence is artistically beautiful, especially for me. I love to draw landscapes, trees, grass, flowers, etc. I was constantly amazed by the gorgeous countryside. It was a feast for the eyes, and all I wanted to do was see more. I traveled there with my fiance Brian. We meant it to be a scouting trip for our wedding coming this fall. I knew I was going to be pretty taken with it, but all my life I never thought I’d get married in Florence. Once I saw it, I knew a wedding there would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

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