I am a well-documented fan of mismatched neutral bridesmaid dresses, and Kristen's bridal party is a perfect example of why! And that pretty lace dress that Kristen is wearing? She had her grandmother's wedding dress altered! Read below for Kristen's wedding planning tips. Thank you to Powers Photography Studios for sharing this evening with us!
What was your vision? Any DIY projects?
My vision for the day was a fun and laid-back party with vintage French touches. The theme for the wedding was Champagne and the colors were ivory, charcoal gray, olive green, and champagne. To carry on the theme (and also to save money), my mom and I collected a bunch of varying shapes and colors of wine bottles and used them as luminaries along the aisle in the ceremony and as single stem vases for the centerpieces in the reception. We made our own favors (homemade wine jellies from my parents' winery), I made the music playlist, my mom made a lit up sign for the stage that said "L'AMOUR" and the stand it was on was made out of wine barrel staves, and she made the archway for the ceremony, to name a few of the many DIY details. We toasted with the bottle of champagne my husband proposed with and champagne was served all night long. In order to save money on floral centerpieces and on catering, we had edible centerpieces of bread, hummus, olive oil and balsamic vinegar, olives, almonds, and grapes. People loved them and they looked great! We also set up a cheese table for the cocktail hour - I am a professional cheesemonger, so there had to be special cheese at my wedding!
What was the most meaningful part of your day?
There were several meaningful parts of our day. Jeff's dad passed away 11 years ago, so a white rose was set on the seat next to his mom in his memory. Jeff also now wears his dad's wedding ring as his own, and I had it engraved with both of their initials. My engagement ring was my great-grandmother's too, I wore the pearls given to my grandma by my great-grandmother on her wedding day, and while my dress was embellished and refashioned a little, the original part of it was made by my grandma. My mom is very artistically skilled, and she made a lot of the decor and details for the wedding, including the lit up "L'AMOUR" sign for our reception. In the blur that was that day, one of the few details I actually saw was that sign, and it really made the whole reception room beautiful!
Tell us details of the events surrounding the wedding.
My maid of honor and one of my bridesmaids threw me a beautiful bridal shower a month before the wedding. I had had a really tough week at work right before that day, so being surrounded by all the love and support of all the women in my life meant more than I could express. The generosity I was shown by them was wonderful and unexpected. There were also some great laughs from joke gifts - I laughed until I cried!
Jeff and his groomsmen went on a man's campout in the Mt. Jefferson Wilderness for his "bachelor party" and had a great time. My bridesmaids and I went out to a nice dinner and drinks afterwards for my "bachelorette party", and then my maid of honor and I stayed up drinking, talking, and laughing until dawn. The low-key celebrations were perfect for both of us, especially as the clock was ticking down to the Big Day and we were busy as ever. It meant a lot to have the time to connect with our friends rather than focus on partying.
How did you know your partner was "the one"?
I knew pretty early on that Jeff was it for me. There wasn't a big specific moment per se, but a lot of little ones - everything just clicked, and there were a lot of special moments and memories. I fell fast and hard for him - I said "I love you" first because I felt it so strongly that I thought I would explode if I didn't tell him, but he loved me back just as much. I remember a specific conversation with one of my best friends (who actually set us up and was my eventual bridesmaid) that if he were to ask me to marry him I would say yes, and this was only three months into dating. He didn't ask until our three year anniversary! I was waiting pretty impatiently at that point, but all that frustration was completely gone the second he asked. He just wanted to make it a surprise, and it was!
Any advice you'd give new brides who are just getting started?
People want to help you! Let them! If you don't have enough help or organized people to help you, hire a wedding planner. They are expensive, but pay whatever you need to pay or do whatever you need to do so that on your wedding day, you do NOTHING. You can stress and plan up until the night before, but on the wedding day, it needs to no longer be your concern. Your concern is about relaxing, getting pampered, focusing on your soon-to-be-husband, and having the best time! I found out later about a couple small things that went wrong, but at that point, I didn't care. I have only positive memories of my wedding day and I am such a perfectionist that if I hadn't let it go on that one day, I wouldn't be able to say that. Trust your friends and family to help you just like you would want them to trust you when it is their turn.
Consider the Friday wedding. There are big savings and if you do it in the evening, it's not that big of a deal with people's schedules. It worked really well for us. I was against it in the beginning until booked up venues forced our hand - it was the best decision in the end for many reasons.
Get started on booking a venue immediately - they book so far in advance! I talked to five venues and all five were booked on our chosen wedding date over nine months in advance. This is why we went with a Friday wedding date, which really ended up being the best thing in the end. I was shocked that many were booked so far in advance, but they told me that they had dates booked two years out! Get that part taken care of immediately and then you can do everything else at your own pace.
Photographer: Powers Photography
Venue: West End Theater
Dress: Original by the bride's grandmother, refashioned by Cocoon Silk
Men's Attire: Men's Wearhouse
Catering: Elephants Delicatessen
Flowers: Sammy's Flowers