Coordinating wedding pictures, even in good weather, is no small feat. So, when we saw the big-day photos from R29 fashion sales director Caitlin Komora Engler and her husband, Tim “Shug” Engler, we were completely taken aback. They wed in the middle of a blizzard. Yes, talk about next level. In the midst of freezing temps and snowfall, Caitlin pulled off looking her radiant, warm self.
And, as if it could get any better, the duo wed on New Year’s Eve and then clinked Champagne glasses with their friends and family. Read on for their adorable story, tips on pulling off a winter wedding, and magical fairyland pictures in Erie, Pennsylvania. We’re wishing them a happy one-year anniversary!
How do you respond when people ask how you met?
“It typically starts with a ‘Technically, we met…’ We have a unique story of parallel paths. Friends introduced us while living in NYC, and we quickly discovered that we both went to Penn State (huge Big 10 school) and lived in the same dorm building our freshman year (two floors apart). Needless to say, we had A LOT of mutual friends and stories to discuss during the two-hour rain delay on our first date at the Phillies-Mets game!”
Can you give us a breakdown of your wedding day?
“We got married in my hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania (a.k.a. the Tundra), so I had a sleepover at my family’s home with my sister and a few of my bridesmaids. We woke up early to a complete white-out blizzard! While we were anticipating snow, this was more than we asked for.”
“With the weather, we left early to get to the hair salon, where myself, my bridesmaids, my family, and my husband’s family all got our hair and makeup done. Afterwards, the bridesmaids headed to the wedding venue (which was at a gorgeous, classic country club), where we had a private bridal suite to clink Champagne and get dressed in.”
“Meanwhile, my husband and his groomsmen were downstairs in the club room playing poker, drinking beer, and doing typical guy things. Since we wanted to keep to the tradition of not seeing each other before the ceremony, my sister and his brother had to coordinate when we were coming and going that day.”
“Once our photographer arrived, the blizzard was in full force. The boys were up first, and as you can see in the photos, the snow did not show mercy! The car took the boys to the church, while we got started on our indoor photos. We then bravely headed outdoors. My friends and photographer were serious troupers!”
“There was a lot of laughter and screams, which helped to cope with the cold. The energy of that moment really showed through in the photos and also reminds me of how lucky I am to have such amazing friends and family.”
“With the bad road conditions, we were definitely running behind schedule and ended up being 20 minutes late to the ceremony. The ceremony was held at a gorgeous Catholic church, officiated by my priest from grade school. The ceremony was a whirlwind, but we both remember it being absolutely perfect.”
“Afterwards, our bridal party braved the snow AGAIN and headed back outdoors for more photos. The groomsmen were such gentlemen, shoveling snow for us and making sure all the girls were warm.”
“We had previously discovered a festive alleyway behind one of our favorite bars (where we had the post-rehearsal-dinner gathering the night before), and we took more photos there. Since it was dark at that point, the lights in the alley really popped, making the pictures even more magical. My feet were literally frozen by now, so there are a few photos of my husband rubbing my toes in the middle of the bar after, haha!”
“We had our cocktail hour, followed by our first dance, and then invited all of the guests to the dance floor before dinner. The dinner bell rang close to 9, where we heard three incredible speeches and a delicious meal.”
“After the cake cutting, I headed back to the dance floor with my dad, followed by a dance with my husband and his mom. The dance floor was packed the entire night.”
“Since we got married on New Year’s Eve, we had a few surprises for the big midnight toast. These included lots of 2014 swag, mini confetti poppers and streamers, and a live feed of the ball drop in NYC. After midnight, the party kept going until close to 1 a.m. (45 minutes longer than it was supposed to), and we ended the night with sliders, French fries, and a sparkler farewell. Most of our guests kept the party going all night back at the hotel.”
Did you set out with a specific vibe you wanted?
“We wanted the wedding to feel really personal and fun, especially given that it was on New Year’s Eve. Since it was in the winter, I wanted everyone to feel cozy and warm when they walked in. We had TONS of candle glow to give it that warmth effect, no matter where you went.”
With a winter wedding, what challenges did you face?
“I think the most obvious challenge is the weather. The good news is, with a winter wedding you actually expect bad weather, so you can plan accordingly. To help alleviate stress for guests, we had transportation set up from the moment they arrived until they left the next day. We also told guests to anticipate snow and plan travel accordingly, such as flying in a day early.”
“For our bridal party, we wanted them to be as warm as possible for the outdoor pictures, so we outfitted them with fur stoles, scarves, and gloves. I can’t say they were toasty the whole time, but it certainly helped!”
Any accessories you’d recommend for surviving the elements more easily?
“The fur stoles were great for the girls because they were warm and they looked great in photos! The makeup artist put a setting spray on us, and it worked amazingly. Through all of the snow and wind, my makeup never ran. Knowing how cold our feet got, I would suggest some sort of cozy winter boots as an alternative for the outdoor photos.”
What would you have done differently, if anything?
“As someone who grew up in a snow town, I never used umbrellas in the snow (I think we thought we were tougher than that, haha). However, looking back, umbrellas would have been a smart and cute accessory for everyone, especially since it was snowing so much and our hair was pretty much soaked after the first round of photos. Luckily, we used Texas-hair-strength hairspray, so no one’s ‘do fell flat!”
Most surprising or funniest moment of the day?
“There are SO many (like how our grandparents are actually the best dancers we know), but the funniest/scariest was when my fur stole caught on fire! I walked into the cocktail hour and was so mesmerized by the gorgeous seating-chart display, which my friend hand-wrote, and I leaned over to take a closer look. Suddenly, one of my bridesmaids said she smelled something funny, and I looked down to see flames! We put it out really quickly so no one was hurt, but that smell definitely lingered for a few minutes. Remember how I said I wanted the place to glow? It may have glowed a little TOO much.”
Any advice for future brides and grooms?
“Embrace what comes your way. There are certain things that, no matter how much you prepare, they will go different than planned. We didn’t necessarily ask for a blizzard (a light dusting of snow would have been nice), but that’s what we got! With the bad road conditions, the timing of things was totally delayed, and that was okay. At the end of the day, if you walk down that aisle together, married, it’s a success!”
How would you both describe each other in three words?
Tim (Shug): Generous, thoughtful, and bright.
Caitlin: Sweet, selfless, and handsome.
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