Before planning a wedding of your own, it’s so easy to overlook the small details that other brides (and grooms) have meticulously planned for their special day. Couples spend hours weighing decisions and striving to make their wedding day truly reflective of who they are as people, and often times, everyone is having too much fun at cocktail hour or on the dance floor to even notice some of the smaller details! But having gone through the process myself, I find myself noticing those details more and more, and I have to say, they’re my absolute favorite!
So, in case you missed them at our wedding, here are some of the details – and the stories behind them – from our wedding. Enjoy!
I will be 100% truthful and admit that I had a pretty awful time finding a wedding dress. I struggled to find a dress that fit me (literally), my personal style and my parents’ budget. (It should be shocking to no one that I gravitated towards dresses that ended up being thousands and thousands of dollars.) After a few months, I wanted nothing more than just to decide on a dress – any dress – just so I could cross it off my to-do list. Fortunately, BHLDN came through with a beautiful lace dress with just enough spunk and personality (hey, scalloped front slit!) to be the winner. But because I’m a woman who has not yet mastered the skill of body positivity at all times, I knew that I would not be comfortable rockin’ a form-fitting dress for the entire night of burger-eating, beer-drinking and photos, so…
The Second Dress
I set my sights on a party dress. I hope that there are a thousand more occasions that are suited for this dress, because I was so obsessed with it! It was comfortable, full of life and movement and perfectly me.
I also had a blast incorporating my halo into my wedding day look! Originally, I had no idea how I wanted to style my hair; I just knew that Skyler had asked me to wear it down. I thought maybe I’d wear it as a headband (as it was intended), but during my hair trial, my stylist and I decided to rip the halo off the ribbon ties and incorporate it backwards! (Similar halo here.)
I’ll take credit for Skyler’s shoes. I found a few options that I liked, and told him to choose from my pre-approved list. Fun fact: I originally picked these shoes because I loved the navy blue laces, but I didn’t realize until literally two days ago that he had swapped out the blue laces for black for our wedding day.
The ties he and our groomsmen wore on our wedding day were from BHLDN, but that was also a last-minute change! We had originally purchased this tie for Skyler to wear, so that would look ever-so-slightly different from the rest of his groomsmen, but when he saw them all lined up next to each other in our room the night before the wedding, he changed his mind! Fortunately, we had purchased an extra tie for Dale to wear, so Skyler took his, and Dale just went without one!
Bridal Party Attire
My bridesmaids had free reign to choose any dress (and shoes and jewelry) they liked, as long as it was a shade of blush pink. I’ve been fortunate enough to be in weddings with the same philosophy, and I just feel so much more confident when I’m able to choose a dress that fits my body type, so I wanted to do the same thing for my girls! From BHLDN to ASOS to Lulu’s and more, no dress was the same, and I loved how they all looked side-by-side.
As for the suits, we turned to The Black Tux. We scoped out a few of the usual suspects for suit rentals – Jos A. Banks, Men’s Warehouse, etc. – and couldn’t find anything we loved, or that one of our friends hadn’t already done. We weighed the pros and cons of buying vs. renting, but we also had to consider a place that could accommodate suits for a bunch of grown men, as well as my 12-year-old brother. I stumbled upon The Black Tux thanks to an Instagram ad, and I’m so thankful that I did; everyone looked so handsome!
Skyler bought my engagement ring from Point No Point Studio, a company that uses 100% recycled metals along with ethically and responsibly sourced conflict free diamonds, a quality that I love about my ring. While they don’t make my exact ring anymore, there are a zillion other options for the bride who is looking for something a little more unique!
My wedding bands were purchased from Etsy, and while it was a little bit of a joke during our ceremony that I have two bands, I’m not the only one! A few weeks after our wedding, Skyler had still not adjusted to his band. It was too big or too wide or too whatever, but he didn’t like it. Eventually, we took a shot on a flat profile band, rather than the traditional round version, and we’re both obsessed with it – it’s perfect!
My dear friend (and stunning bridesmaid) Becky is wonderfully talented and works for a florist in Grand Lake, Colorado named The Stalk Market. She’s done beautiful wedding florals for a few of our mutual friends in the past, and I trusted her more than anyone else in the world to bring my vision to life. I went really light on decor for our ceremony and reception because I wanted to just have an abundance of greenery and florals throughout the whole venue!
Not only did she ship ALL of the flowers and greens across the country from Colorado, drive them several hours in a van from Pittsburgh, and store them in the garage of her local house rental, but she (and her lovely mom, Amy!) were incredible teachers. With their help, a small team of us built all of the bridal party bouquets, corsages, boutonnieres, decorative arrangements and centerpieces in the days leading up to the wedding, and let me be the first to tell you, I do not have a green thumb. Becky (and co.) knocked it out of the park with everything, and I couldn’t have been more thankful for her.
PS: My aunt, grandma and matron of honor gave me my something old, something borrowed and something blue, all of which you can see attached to my bouquet in the photo above!
Our Wedding Suite
This was probably the most fun part of planning for our wedding – designing our entire suite! I spent endless hours perfecting our Save the Dates, invitations, RSVP cards, programs, menus, seating chart, everything, and I’m so proud of how it all turned out!
My step-mom found these gorgeous doors from someone on Facebook! I love how beautiful they were, and how it really helped define the ceremony space from the openness of the rest of the venue.
We decorated the right side of the doors with ferns and an acrylic sign, and we had our programs and lavender toss packets on the right! Skyler hated the idea of being doused in lavender, but I thought it would a) make for some awesome photos, and b) lavender has some special meaning for my family. Fortunately for him, we were safe – no one tossed any! After we sealed the deal with a kiss, I jumped the gun and started walk down the aisle before we were announced as Mr. and Mrs., and I think that really threw off the whole thing.
My dear, sweet brother married us, and it was probably one of the most special things about our entire wedding. Asking Tyler to be our officiant was an idea that Skyler had about two days after we got engaged. I had originally wanted all three of my brothers to stand on my side during the ceremony, but as soon as Skyler suggested that Tyler marry us, I knew that’s exactly what I wanted to happen.
We asked Tyler to marry us over a game of Apples to Apples, and I’ll never forget the conversation. Skyler started to tell Tyler that after some consideration, we just didn’t see him as a part of our wedding party. I could tell that Tyler was hurt by that, but he stayed calm and let Skyler finish his sentence. “… because we want you marry us!” Tyler was super confused, and then we presented him with a tshirt that read SERMONATOR across the front, and it all started to click. He cried, I cried, my mom cried, everybody cried. Several months later, we got him ordained online, got him a spiffy little suit, and that was that! He absolutely knocked it out of the park on our wedding day, and I couldn’t be more thankful.
No offense to our venue, but the standard round tables that were included in our wedding day package were… not great. I knew immediately that I wanted to rent farm tables, so that we could bring the pavilion to life and add a little personality. Freedom Farm Tables had exactly what I was looking for, and they were able to provide us with all of our guest tables, a sweetheart table and gold table numbers. They worked directly with our coordinator to determine drop-off and pick-up times, and it was a detail I didn’t have to worry about for a single second.
Becky lined the centers of all the tables with eucalyptus, and we added a few gold geometric candle holders here and there, and that was it! I wanted to let the tables shine and do their thang, you know?
The Guest Book & Gift Table
For a while, I didn’t even want a guestbook. Most guests never sign it, and most couples look at it once before tossing it into a corner to collect dust somewhere. But after we got our engagement photos back, I wanted to print them in a photo album, as I usually do. I’m not one who loves to have giant photos of my face on my own walls, so every year, I make a yearbook. So, I decided to make our engagement photo album multi-purpose, leaving some open space for people to leave us little love notes. Ta-da, guestbook!
As for the gift side of the table, we had the most beautiful card box, and our wedding coordinator moved our memory frames from the ceremony to the reception, so our loved ones could keep celebrating with us. But the table definitely got a huge facelift with these piñatas from my friends at Soccer Shots. They knew that I had really want to sprinkle in some Cinco de Mayo details (we did get married on May 5th, after all), but Skyler was not about it. They stepped up the game by putting our gifts inside the piñatas, and it made me SO happy to see some fiesta decorations! At one point late in the night, they pulled Skyler and I aside to break open one of them, where we found it filled with candy and mini-bottles of liquor. Top notch party boost.
We decided really early on that we wanted custom koozies to act as our favors. We knew we were going to bring in our own beer, so they would be useful, and not just a waste of money. So, I designed the print I wanted on each side of the koozie, and we ordered 200 of them. After they arrived, I realized that I had printed them with the wrong date! I was annoyed that I had made such a dumb mistake, Skyler wasn’t super pleased that I had wasted money, so we even considered using them and hoping that not many people would notice. But, luck was on my side! As the wedding got closer, we decided that were going to buy cans, not bottles, so the koozies with the wrong date wouldn’t work anyway! I placed another order – this time with an updated design, a new color, and the correct date – and now I get so excited when I get random photos of our friends still using them!
Our First Dance
We danced to “Home” by Blue October. Before we were even engaged, this became our song, so it wasn’t even a question that this would be the song for our first dance.
PS: First dances are awkward AF, because everyone is just staring at you! I much prefer sharing this dance with Skyler at home in our kitchen.
It wasn’t until a bit later into the planning process when we decided to bring in Chickfila for our cocktail hour, and I’m so glad that we did. All day long, I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on some nugs and Chickfila sauce. (And my husband too, of course.)
For dinner, we hired the Lancaster Burger food truck! Skyler and I are not very traditional people, so we tried to make our whole wedding reflective of that fact. I think the decision to serve burgers at our wedding was the biggest way we incorporated our casual, laid-back personalities. It allowed our guests to order whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted to eat it. Because there was no formal time for dinner service (and because people could wander around the entire venue all night), our wedding just felt like a huge picnic with all of our favorite people, which is exactly what we wanted.
We also decided to forgo a wedding cake! Neither of us really love cake, we didn’t want to do a cake-cutting or smash, etc. So, we skipped it altogether and opted for a donut bar instead! I think this started out as Skyler’s idea because of his very serious love for Maple Donuts, but it was a really easy (and inexpensive) way to have a dessert option that we both really loved!
The Signature Cocktails
Skyler and I probably made 90% of wedding-related decisions together. There were things that he just didn’t care about, like the color of the beer koozies, the design of our seating chart, or if our ceremony took place on the left or right side of the pond. There were things he really cared about, like types of beer to serve, having Dale as a groomsman (groomsdog?) and the songs that would play at the reception.
He also cared a lot about not naming our signature cocktails after our cats, but I did it anyway. If Dale got to be a part of our wedding, Buxton and Dave should be included, too!
It’s been a few months, but I still get all smiley when I think back on this day. Besides getting to marry the love of my life, it’s truly some of these little details that make me the happiest!