Wedding Planning

Sarah and Joe’s “Race to the Altar” Wedding by Lauren Rosenau Photography

How many weddings do you know of that have started off with a 5k? Sarah and Joe and their fellow runners started off the day with a fun run and personalized t-shirts to commemorate the event (so cute). Lauren Rosenau captured all of the fun at this New Year’s Eve wedding.

How many weddings do you know of that have started off with a 5k? Sarah and Joe and their fellow runners started off the day with a fun run and personalized t-shirts to commemorate the event (so cute). Lauren Rosenau captured all of the fun at this New Year’s Eve wedding. Read below for Sarah’s helpful advice for planning an out-of-town wedding.

What was your vision for the day?

Joe and I met in Saranac Lake, NY and have settled down here, yet the wedding was in Atlanta (my hometown).  I wanted to try to bring the Adirondacks to Atlanta in any way I could, so there were a few small touches. The reception centerpieces were made from birch branches I collected from behind our house and brought to Atlanta. The table settings were handwritten (by me) on stones gathered here in Saranac Lake. The idea was that guests could stack their stones and form little cairns at their tables. Cairns are stacks of stones that mark a special location along a trail, but can also be used to commemorate special occasions. Finally, the hospitality bags received by all wedding guests at the hotel contained small jugs of Adirondack-made maple syrup. Yum! Other than that, our only vision for our wedding day was ‘FUN NYE PARTY!’

Did anything funny or out of the ordinary happen?

The better question would be did anything NOT funny or out of the ordinary happen! We started our wedding day off with a 5K fun run (Race to the Altar, my sister designed T-shirts. Mine said ‘Runaway Bride’ on the back and Joe’s said ‘Cold Feet’). At the ceremony, a good friend of ours was our officiant and was rather comical. Some favorite moments (out of the 7 minutes of our wedding ceremony): 1) when Jimmy (officiant) said ‘Now Joe, repeat after me…’ and Joe (nervous groom) said ‘Repeat after me’ 2) when a server opened the door in the middle of the ceremony—twice! 3) when Jimmy told guests that he is sure no one objects to our marriage because we wouldn’t have invited those people and instead asked guests ‘who supports the uniting of these two in marriage?’ and there was a round of laughs, cheers and applause.

Aside from the incredibly brief and happy ceremony, my dress was the other hot topic of the night. It was a convertible dress (2 pieces) and only a handful of people knew. Everyone else found out during our first dance (to MJ’s ‘The way you make me feel’) when Joe unzipped and pulled down my skirt to reveal my short party dress! Finally, it was a New Year’s Eve wedding, so we had the hats and leis and horns and a balloon drop at midnight. We also had a photobooth with props that was super fun and silly.

Did you do anything fun before the wedding?

It started on Thursday night when Joe and I had our bachelor/bachelorette parties. Lots of drunkenness, lots of fun. Friday was recovery and then the rehearsal dinner. We had a 2 part rehearsal dinner. The actual dinner was small, for immediate family and wedding party only. After, we had a ‘Rehearsal After Party’ in the hospitality suite at the hotel that all guests were invited to. We had drinks and desserts and showed the video montage my mother had made, and several friends made toasts to us. On the morning of the wedding, we had a wedding 5K run/walk that about 50 guests joined us for. Joe and I both like to run, especially to relieve stress (and what is more stressful than a wedding?).

How did you know that he was the one for you?

Joe says he knew I was the one when he first met me and was unable to speak coherently in my presence. It was a gradual sort of realization for me. My father always told me that I ‘would just know,’ and that is how it was. One day, we had a big argument and I realized that even when I was mad at him, I loved him and I knew he loved me. I wasn’t afraid that we might break up over a fight or anything. That is true confidence in a relationship—being able to fight and be angry without worrying that you might drive the other person away. Speaking your mind and being totally yourself with the other person and still loving each other for it. That is a love that can endure the ages.

Any advice for new brides who are just getting started on their planning?

Elope now! No, I loved my wedding, but it was so stressful planning  My advice: Have a short engagement so you can just get the planning done quickly and get it over with. And get a wedding planner, trust me. It will likely save you money (they have the hookups) and time and stress. And don’t listen to others (your mom) if they don’t like your vision—your wedding should show your personalities as bride and groom and as a couple, so let them shine through even if you think it’s cheesy. Everyone will tell you to relax and enjoy yourself, and you will tell yourself that you will, but you won’t until after you have had a few drinks, so have those drinks early. And make sure you have an AWESOME photographer, because the flowers last a night, the event lasts a weekend, but the pictures last forever! The photobooth was a lot of fun too.


Photographer: Lauren Rosenau Photography

Venue: Alpharetta Marriott

Dress and shoes: David’s Bridal

Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse

Catering: Alpharetta Marriott. Cupcakes from Sam’s Club and truffles from Eclat.

Event Planning: Bluming Creativity

Flowers: Balloonacy

DJ: Desmond Thomas