In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. ~ Proverbs 3:6

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Real Life Love Story Part 4 - Planning the Wedding

You can read previous posts abot my love story at the following links :  Introduction ;  Part 1 – How We Met ;   Part 2 – Getting To Know One Another ;   Part 3 - Engaged

It’s been a while since I wrote about my real life love story.  Today, I continue with a post about how Matt and I planned a wedding in only three weeks. That's right, within three weeks we researched, contacted and confirmed every aspect of our special day.   Below are some of the decisions we made about our wedding and a few tips for planning a wedding.  I also put in contact information for the vendors that we chose to use for our wedding. 

The Wedding Notebook
Organization is key to planning a wedding!  Here’s a tip for all brides ~ keep a detailed notebook of your plans!  This little binder had every detail of our wedding in it!

The Budget
Along with the organized notebook, Matt and I had a detailed spreadsheet that kept track of every penny we spent on the wedding.  That was important to us, since we paid for the wedding ourselves.

A Small Family Wedding
Other than eloping, a simple church wedding would have been the most cost-effective way for us to get married…..but I really did not want a church wedding for the following reason ~  we felt like it would be a very public ceremony if we had the wedding at our church......which meant inviting just about everyone we knew.......making it impossible for us to stay within our budget….unless I, and I stress the word I, did a lot of the work myself to stay within the budget ~ therefore, we opted for a small family wedding at an outdoor venue that would set the stage for a casual but classy wedding.

A Timeframe
Once we knew what kind of wedding we wanted, we needed to confirm a timeframe for the wedding.   We chose the summer of 2009 for two reasons: it would be a short engagement, and it would not interupt my school year. 

The Guest List
I confess...I tend to be a control freak.  People that know me would assume that I would spend hours on the details of my wedding (ie: making the invitations, the flowers, the cake, the food, decorations, ect.), rather than letting someone else help me with the details.  When Matt and I got married, my life was way too busy and chaotic to stress out about any wedding details.  By keeping the guest list to one hundred people (family only with the exception of a few close friends), our budget allowed us to pay other people to take care of the details for us, which made me a relaxed and happy bride:)

The Venue for the Ceremony
After looking at several venues and comparing prices, we decided to have our wedding at Avon Gardens. The best way I can describe this venue is GORGEOUS! 

The Venue for the Reception
Fortunately, Avon Gardens was able to facilitate our reception just steps away from the ceremony.

The Date and Time
Setting a wedding date really depended on the venue.  We chose Friday, June 26, 2009, at 6:30 p.m., because it was the only Friday evening Avon Gardens was not booked for the summer wedding season. 

The Invitations
We ordered our invitations online from Wedding Paper Divas.  They have a lot of invitation styles to choose from.

The Officiant
Once we had an official wedding date, we went to our pastor to see if he was available to marry us.

The Attendants
A small wedding meant a small wedding party.  I asked my mom to stand by me as my matron of honor, and Matt had a best friend from college who was his best man. 

The Registry
We registered at Target and Bed Bath and Beyond

The Cake and Caterer

The Cake and The Caterer by Nick and Lisa Farkas out of Bloomington, Indiana, provided us with dinner and cake at a reasonable cost, but the company no longer exist.  They've moved onto bigger and  better things, but let me just say that they were affordable compared to other catering companies ~ and the food was delicious!  Since the website no longer exist, I'll give you some quick info about the catering.  They offered several menu choices, but we selected the following: 
Italian style meatballs; bruschetta, spinach artichoke dip and seafood dip with crostini; fresh ceasar salad; penne pasta in cream sauce with prosciutto and asparagus; garlic roasted chicken in pesto cream sauce and sun dried tomatoes; roasted balsamic glazed grean beans; roasted red potatoes with fresh herbs; three layer cake (chocolate, vanilla, pina colada rum).
We paid for 100 guest at $16 a head (buffet style).  The cake was $3 a slice, but our cake fed over 300 people (350 slices).  And we were also able to to rent standard china, glass and silverware setting for $2.10 a person (that's much cheaper than many rental companies).  An additional 15% gratuity was added and a 6% sales tax was added aswell. 
To some this may sound expensive, but we did a lot of research and were very pleased with the quality of food and service combined with a decent price.

The Florist
 Post Road English Gardens did a beautiful job on our bouquets, boutonnieres and flowers for the cake.

The Photographer
Photography is something that I don’t recommend skimping on for a wedding.  Unlike the cake and flowers, the pictures last forever, so try to hire a professional to take your pictures.  Let’s get real though… photographers are EXPENSIVE!  I was ecstatic when I found Running Creek Studio on the internet….and I was even more ecstatic when I made an appointment to see Julie's portfolio.  At the time of our wedding, she was a young mom who was starting her own photography business.  She was very affordable compared to other wedding photographers in our area, and she did a beautiful job!

The Music
I really wanted a harpist at our wedding, and I found Elizabeth O'Meara Ahlgrimon at  Matt and I were very impressed when we made an appointment to hear her music.

The DJ and Dance Floor
Ok, so Matt and I don't really dance....and we knew most of our guest didn't dance.....therefore, we saved a little money and just had dinner and mingling during our reception.  However, our venue was able to accomodate a dance floor if we needed one.

Decorations and Rentals
Tables, chairs, tents, linens and place settings can be very expensive to rent.  Fortunately, Avon Gardens gave us the option of renting all of our wedding necessities through them.  It was more cost-effective to rent from them, and they did all of the work for us ~ including decorating for the ceremony and for the reception.  When I showed up for my pictures, everything was done for me!

The Dress
We purchased my wedding gown and vail from David's Bridal, but it is no longer available.  It was the second dress I tried on, and I just knew it was meant for me:)   We also purchased my mom's gown from David's Bridal.

The Tux
We rented tuxedos for the groom, best man and father of the bride at Men's Wearhouse and Tux.

The  Rings
Since Matt purchased my engagement ring at Jared, we purchased our wedding bands there too.

The Details
We ordered most of the details of our wedding from

I am so glad I planned on an updo, because it was a hot and humid 98 degrees on our wedding day.  Naturally, I went to my hair dresser at D:fine Salon the morning of my wedding, but it was important that I had a picture of what I wanted my hair to look like.  Eva Longoria's hair in this picture was my inspiration. 

Mani and Pedi
Since we got married in a garden, I went barefoot on my wedding day.  My mom and I got a mani and pedi at a local nail salon the day before the wedding.

The Honeymoon
The honeymoon could be its own post.  I'll just say that within the three week time frame we planned our wedding, our plans for the honeymoon were also finalized.  We took a long honeymoon that began the day after the wedding with a road trip to Niagara Falls.  We then drove to NYC where we set sail on a nine day Caribbean cruise to Burmuda, Puerto Rica, the Virgin Islands and Turks and Caicos.  When we returned to the states, we had a couple of days to sightsee the "big apple" before driving home.

So how did we do all of this in three weeks?  Well, I stayed up late each night researching and planning.  Then, I gave Matt everyone's contact information, so he could schedule all of our appointments.  He tried to make all appointments during the few hours a week that I was available to go to appointments, but there were times when he went to the appointments by himself.  At the end of three weeks, everything was planned and most of it was paid for.  It's ironic that after all of our planning for a traditional wedding, things didn't end up as traditional as we planned......but I'll have to tell that story on another day......


  1. When Mike and I were dating and he still lived in Indy, he bought all of the flowers he gave me from Post Road English Gardens. I absolutely loved their arrangements!

  2. Very happy picture, bless you!
    I will get married next month, and am looking forward to!

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