Real Wedding at The Highland Manor – Annemarie Clarke and Justin Raffunello

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Real Weddings – Annemarie Clarke and Justin Raffunello

At Dubsdread Catering we love being dedicated members of the team that makes your big day your best day. While we are masters at the planning and executing the behind-the-scenes work, we know our clients have their own unique perspective on their event. We thank recent couple Annemarie Clarke and Justin Raffunello for graciously sharing their experience to benefit others.

BRIDE AND GROOM: Annemarie Clarke and Justin Raffunello
WEDDING DATE: February 25, 2022
VENUE: The Highland Manor
EVENT COORDINATOR: Bonny Bailey-Finck, Senior Wedding and Event Coordinator


Photographer: Anna So Photography 
Florist: In Bloom 
Live Band: Phase 5
Dessert: Morgan Hunter 
Video: Cinemology 
Other: A Lovely Ceremony 


How/where did you get engaged? 
We got engaged at Harry P. Leu Gardens in October of 2020. Justin was hiding the ring in a camera bag, and he took it out and surprised me while we were posing for a picture on one of the benches. My siblings were in town that weekend and Justin asked them to be at the garden when it was happening, so they were there when he proposed which made the moment even more special.clarke engagement

What are you most excited about for your wedding day?
The thing we are most excited about for our wedding is to have all of our family and friends together in one place! We both have a lot of family who live in different states so we can’t wait to celebrate and have a big party with everyone all together.

What aspect are you excited to plan the most? (Ceremony, food & beverages, photographer, DJ)
The aspect of the wedding that we’re the most excited to plan is finding a live band! We both love music and are hoping we can find a live band to help us make our big day even more fun, and we are looking forward to having some great live music for our guests to dance to. 


How do you feel the planning is going?
We feel like the planning is going well so far. We are getting more excited and nervous as the day gets closer, but we have been working with a great planner team and to-do checklists to keep us on a good timeline! We are also grateful to have supportive family members to delegate wedding planning tasks to which really helps.

What have you found to be more difficult than you expected?
The part that we have found to be more difficult than expected has probably been the process of deciding on vendors and making sure that they fit into our wedding vision and budget. There are also so many great options for wedding vendors out there that it’s been hard to narrow down favorites and decide between them. We have been picking a few favorite vendors and then interviewing them to help us better determine if they would be a good fit. Now we do have all of our vendors booked but the process of making those tough decisions was harder than we thought it would be for sure! 

What has been more fun about the process than you expected?
The parts that have been more fun than we expected were going around visiting different wedding venues and doing cake tastings with bakeries. I also really enjoyed trying on wedding dresses, of course, and more recently we both have been enjoying filling in the details of the big day like picking out songs for the band to play and choosing specialty decor items for the reception that feel unique to us.


What was the best, most memorable part of your big day?
The best, most memorable part of our big day was definitely our first look! We absolutely loved having that private, intimate moment to see each other for the first time just by ourselves before everyone would be watching us during the actual ceremony. It was more emotional than I initially thought it would be, in a great way! We both cried and hugged, and it was just the sweetest moment together that we will always treasure.

If you could change one or two things about your event, what would they be? 
If I could change something about the event, I might have the reception go one hour longer. We loved our band Phase 5 so much and everyone was shouting “Encore!” when they had to end at 10:30 p.m. Nobody wanted the night to end! So maybe I would have booked the band and the reception for an extra hour just so that we could party and dance for a little bit longer. Another thing I would change is that I would probably have communicated better to my family about taking the family photos after the ceremony, because we had some communication issues, and some people ran into cocktail hour, and it was more difficult to wrangle them for the family photos than I expected! 

Is there any advice you would give other couples planning their event that you wish some-one had told you?
I have SO much advice that I wish I knew while wedding planning! One big thing that I would advise other couples is to make sure that you have a great coordinator team or support for the day of, because having that help makes all the difference and it saved me so much stress and worry on the wedding day knowing that my coordinator team had everything under control! And also, make sure that throughout planning, you ask for help from family or friends if you need it as there is SO much to do while planning and you don’t have to take all of the stress on your own shoulders alone. Lean on your support team, delegate tasks to bridesmaids, maid-of-honor, and moms if you can and ask your fiancé for their help, too! Try to also carve out time between planning to celebrate small wins with your fiancé, set up fun wedding planning coffee shop dates, or just go on purely just-for-fun dates when you can and remember to savor your engagement period because it’s such a special, exciting time. Also, don’t compare your wedding dress, décor, or guest count to anyone else’s because your wedding is uniquely your own and whatever happens on the big day, it will be a great day because you are celebrating your love and marrying your best friend.

Photos courtesy of the bride, groom, and Anna So Photography.

When you book a wedding with Dubsdread Catering at one of our exclusive venues, we provide wedding coordination at no additional charge. Our coordinators become dedicated members of your team bringing experience and expertise to help you execute your vision. Contact them today via our Contact Us page to make our team your team in making your dreams come true. real weddings clarke 3real weddings clarke 4

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