{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #14

Real Bride #14~ Hilarey L.

Where did you get married and when?

At the Art Center in Des Moines, IA on June 29, 2012

What was the best moment of the day?

Seeing Brian for the first time when I walked down the aisle.  Also, that my grandparents could be at my wedding.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different then the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

There was a huge thunderstorm right when we were supposed to have our ceremony and we had to move inside to our rain location.  It was really hectic while we were deciding what to do, but it ended up turning out just fine.  Another memorable moment was hearing what our officiant, Bev Davis, had written for the ceremony.  She is a good friend of the family and an amazing writer, so we knew she would do a great job, but we didn’t go over what she was going to say before hand, so it was all a surprise.  It was very special and personal.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

I would have picked a different dress.  I loved my dress, but I didn’t have much time to look (we got married six months after getting engaged) and I wasn’t that into dress shopping.  I wish I would have done a little more research and gone with something simple.

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

Our wedding planner had a lot of weddings in June and didn’t really focus on ours until just a few weeks before, so we were running around trying to get everything done.  Also the forecast was calling for a huge heat wave, so we were nervous everyone was going to bake in the sun during the ceremony.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

I was trying not to cry and was very overwhelmed with what was going to happen!  I’m also very close to my dad so him walking me down the aisle was something I had always looked forward to, so I was really cherishing the moment.

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

Brian and I stopped eating out and went to the gym together instead about 4-5 nights per week.  I would alternate the gym visits with yoga too.  We also cut out alcohol, ate only whole grains, veggies and lean meat.  We both saw great results- the wedding was a great motivator.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

We only invited immediate family and two friends each to the wedding- about 25 people total, and I didn’t have any bridesmaids.  My two girlfriends and my cousins came over to get ready the morning of the wedding and had a great time.  The two friends I invited to the wedding I’ve known for over 17 years so they’re like sisters to me.

What was your first dance song?

We didn’t do a formal first dance song- we tried to keep things kind of unconventional.  We had a live jazz band and danced together, but not to a specific song.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

After a lot of searching, I ended up with some really inexpensive silver flat sandals from Nine West!  They were really comfortable and went well with the dress.

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

That’s why we only invited our close family and friends- we spent all weekend together and I felt I got to talk to everyone one on one.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Don’t sweat the small stuff, keep in mind the goal is marrying the love of your life, not in the dumb wedding details.  Plus no one will know but you that something has gone wrong.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Yes I think it has evolved and is still evolving.  I love having Brian by my side every day and calling him my husband!  I’m very proud to be his wife.

 

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #13

Real Bride #13~ Lily Perry

Photographer: MCG Photography

Where did you get married and when?

Kiawah Island, SC – July 25th, 2008

What was the best moment of the day?

The whole day was amazing. I would say the two moments that stand out are:

1 – seeing scott for the first time as I started to walk down the aisle

2- walking into the reception and seeing all of our closest friends and family cheering and having a wonderful time celebrating together

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

Ok, this isn’t really the MOST memorable moment, but our friend Allan went crazy on the dance floor took off his shirt so he was just wearing a white tee, started to really break it down and dropped a glasss on the floor and the whole dance floor had to be cleared! Then of course, I step on the only shard of glass that was overlooked and get blood on the hem of my dress. I totally didn’t care though and kept right on dancing.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)? 

I wouldn’t really change anything honestly!

What was the most stressful part of the planning? 

My florist! She and I did not see eye to eye. Everything I wanted was “unavailable.” She almost quit on me a few weeks before the wedding and my planner had to take over communication with her. In the end the flowers were beautiful though so it all worked out.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle? 

Don’t trip! And smile, but don’t look awkward. Oh, and everyone is staring at me!!

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

I hired a personal trainer. So, ummm… yeah. haha

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

I don’t believe the numbers have to match with the groomsmen. I think that is silly. How likely is it that you have the same number of good friends as your husband?  Ours didn’t match and it didn’t matter at all.

What was your first dance song?

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill It’s Your Love

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

I wore silver Manolo Blahnik strappy sandals – and kind of…. they weren’t too high (3″ heel) but obviously, they came off on the dance floor (see above)!

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

I totally enjoyed it bc we had such a big rehearsal dinner (nearly everyone came to it) so I was able to say hello to everyone then and didnt feel like I needed to speak with everyone as much at the wedding so could just relax and have fun!

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Relax! At least one thing will not go as planned but at this point it is so late so stop stressing and just enjoy all of your hard work.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Not really. We had lived together before so we were surprised by how little difference there was. Moving in together was a much bigger adjustment.

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #12

Real Bride #12~ Sararose Benham

Photographer:

Where did you get married and when?

St. Lukes in the Fields, New York City,  June 5, 2010 Reception at The Little Owl Restaurant in the West Village.

What was the best moment of the day?

The best moment for me was exchanging our vows. I got choked up and a little teary which I never imagined I would.  I think because I stayed so present I was able to really hear and feel the magnitude of the promises we were repeating.  We had written our own vows which made it all very personal and that much more special.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

After we said our vows and kissed, Tom leaned down and kissed my belly (I was four months pregnant) which was a total surprise and a really genuinely touching and memorable moment I will never forget. He did stain my dress with my lipstick though!

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?  

I would have planned to go on honeymoon directly following the wedding. As wonderful as it all was, going back to work on Monday was not ideal and here we are two years later with two kids and have still not taken one!

What was the most stressful part of the planning?  

The only stressful part of the planning was the invitation list. We decided to make it a very small event and chose the venue (The Little Owl) which only seats 30 people.  Trying to figure out who could come and what space we had was really stressful as I wanted EVERYONE there! 

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

How handsome my man looked and how rad it was that my friends were all shouting so loud with such energy and love. It felt so awesome! I had gotten ready right across the street in my apartment and just had to walk across the street and into the garden with  my parents. I felt beautiful and lucky and happier than I had ever been. It sounds cheesy but it was really the best.

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

I trained three days a week with a trainer in the gym at my work.  Although I was pregnant I focused on my arms and back.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

I decided not to have bridesmaids. I had such a small wedding it didn’t really make sense to single anyone out. I had my oldest best friend come back with us after the ceremony to bustle my train as she had been at all of my fittings, and my sister handed Tom the ring during the ceremony.

What was your first dance song? We didn’t do one!

Our wedding was not the most traditional wedding. We did not have a cake (each guest got their own little chocolate molten cake and we did not have a first song).  We did get super down and dirty to Telephone by Lady Gaga during the party and our entrance song was We are Family by Sister Sledge. We focused the most on the entrance song as found it to be a really meaningful moment.  We had gotten married in a little garden in between our apartment and the Little Owl restaurant. After the ceremony we went back to our roof to take photos with the empire state building and NYC skyline behind us as well as have a moment with one another and our two best friends. While we were there our guests walked to the restaurant and had drinks and hors d’oeuvres while waiting for us. When we entered we wanted a really fun song playing that would get the party started instantly and be meaningful for everyone in the room not just us. We are Family was perfectly fitting.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

Some cheapo ones I bought online. They were NOT comfortable but looked pretty and didn’t cost a lot. I knew I would scuff them up walking around the streets of NYC and standing in the grass in the garden and wasn’t sure if it would rain or not (it didn’t, yay!).  So I decided not to spend a lot on footwear. I threw them away recently!

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

Completely enjoyed! With just 30 people in attendance it was easy to feel at ease. There was no pressure or nudging each other to make sure to talk to anyone, it felt very relaxed and easy just the way we wanted it!

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?  

I think that staying present and having fun are the most important. 

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Surprisingly YES!  I didn’t think we could be any closer or feel any more connected but we did. It felt different. There was and continues to be a sense of security and complete dedication to one another that I must have not felt before.

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #11

Real Bride #11 ~ Angie Bradshaw

Photographer: JP Kloppers and Kaitlin Yapchaian

Where did you get married and when?

July 25, 2012 Fillmore, CA, on the ranch of a friend’s family, about one hour north of Los Angeles

What was the best moment of the day?

So many! But I think seeing Steve when I walked down the aisle stands out. Everyone was there, and I was just so excited to be marrying him. It felt surreal. I was so happy, in fact, that when I finally got to Steve, we hugged… and then we kissed! Everyone gasped, and then laughed! When it came time for the ‘actual’ kiss, our minister said, “And NOW you may kiss!”

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

Our families had been in town for a week or two in two houses, our out-of-town friends had stayed together in a big house on the beach, we had a karaoke night instead of a rehearsal dinner, most guests camped out on the ranch the night of the wedding, and we spent a few days post-wedding with friends and family from overseas at a friend’s cabin up near Yosemite. Add that all up, and there were so many funny stories from that time.

One I didn’t hear about till the day after the wedding was that my husband’s car began to overheat on the steep dirt road into the ranch. The grasses started smoking, and considering it was dry and hot, it was a big fire risk. The groomsmen were apparently racing down the hill to help put out the brush fire. I didn’t hear a thing till the next day when the story came out, but it did explain why Steve had mysterious dirt spots on his suit jacket.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

The feeling of the overall day was pure joy and having our friends and family there to share it with us was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

As for details, the number one I’d change would be our vows. Steve and I had planned to write our own, but then we both started feeling like nothing we were writing was quite right, and so we just went with traditional vows. However, my best friend got married last year, and her ceremony was one of the most moving I have ever seen. I immediately wished I could go back in time and do something similar with our vows. So I’m sharing it here in case someone else wants to take inspiration from what they did!

Their minister had been in touch with two close friends (not in wedding party) of each of them, asked them to describe their friend, and then read back a list of things–silly and serious–about each of them. Then they each wrote their own vows and read them to one another. They talked about three things: why they loved the other person, what they imagined their life together to be like, and what they promised to be for the other person. So in this way, their vows totally synced up and followed a bit of a format, but they also felt entirely fresh, personal, and special.

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

The most stressful part was also the most amazing part. We held our wedding on a friend’s ranch, and we had to bring in everything: electricity, water, port-a-potties, dance floor, tents for camping. We got married four months after our engagement, so it all happened quickly.

Despite the unusual problem-solving issues, it was worth it to have our wedding in such an intimate, beautiful place where we were given free reign to do whatever we wanted. In the end, it was amazingly cool and memorable, and I’m forever grateful to my friend and her family for offering up their property.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

Well, apparently I was not thinking, “don’t kiss yet!” I was focusing on getting my dad to slow down his walk/run down the aisle and thinking about how surreal it felt.

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

No, just was really busy! I continued climbing and took Pilates lessons from my friend (and bridesmaid, Kristen Matthews) who is an instructor.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

I didn’t have to deliberate too much at the time over who I wanted to be a bridesmaid, and I’m not sure how to give advice on that, except to say do what you want!

My advice would be that friends who aren’t your bridesmaids still want to be helpful. So many people stepped in to help us and offer support, and it nice to feel love from everyone, bridal party and guests.

What was your first dance song?

Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon,” sung on acoustic guitar by Eric Kufs who is a busker we had always liked who plays in Santa Monica’s Promenade and downtown LA. He also provided the music for our ceremony and cocktail hour, and I really enjoyed the chill touch he lent to the day.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

They were incredibly comfortable–I still wear them. They’re off-white leather sandals with tie-around ankle strap from BCBG. I needed something flat b/c we were outside on uneven terrain. They were really simple, but it took ages to find them! And then I changed into light pink Converse late at night.

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

I enjoyed myself. Until the ceremony, I was still on a schedule but once that was over, I was just floating. I was ready for the fun and to eat the Mexican asado–I was so nervous I had barely eaten since the night before!

We didn’t really formally work the room–so maybe we didn’t do a good job –but we danced till the wee hours with everyone and had a blast.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Stick together. People are trying to pull you in every direction and it’s easy to lose each other in the crowd. I often was engaged in a conversation (or a few times, into logistical issues…) and then would lose Steve in the crowd. So, don’t do that, all you brides-to-be! One of the other brides interviewed in this Q&A gave (and followed) this advice, and I really agree with her.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

I wasn’t expecting it to, but it did. We starting talking about the future not as an ‘as if’ thing, but as a real thing to plan for, together.

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #10

Real Bride #10~ Franny Mulberg

Photographer: Michael Brannigan {David Michael Photography}

 

Where did you get married and when? September 24th, 2011 – The Riviera Country Club, Pacific Palisades, CA

What was the best moment of the day? That’s a tough one, there were so many special moments. Seeing Brett for the first time was definitely at the top of the list. Our ceremony was very special to me too.  During the ceremony, our rabbi had us turn around to see all around us. That was very cool to see all our loved ones in one place. And, of course after Brett stepped on the glass and we were married– so exciting and just the best moment ever.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)? After our wedding, I got the pictures. I saw moments that I hadn’t seen that were very special. Seeing my mother-in-law Shelley walk with my dad and Frank (father-in-law) down the aisle after us. She took in my dad and it meant the world to me (as we had lost my mom earlier in the year to Pancreatic Cancer). Seeing my dad happy. Realizing life is sweet. That with the hard times, comes amazing ones too. The wedding was so good for us all.  There were so many funny moments. Brett and I got on stage at the end of the night and sang with the band. What was I thinking? And I can’t believe he went along with it.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)? I can’t believe I am saying this because I was nuts about this wedding (nick-named by my sisters, ZILLA), but nothing! I would not change anything except stressing so much leading up to it.

What was the most stressful part of the planning? Where do I begin? I was so indecisive. It had been a hard year prior and I made every decision a tough one. I told my new sis Jenny during the process, I questioned everything– calligraphy styles, photographers, what was in our wedding welcome bags, even got a second dress (don’t worry I returned and got a full refund on the first awful one thanks to Jenny), every except my husband!

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle? I wasn’t thinking.  I was just so happy and peaceful.  I was walking down the aisle to my favorite person. My partner in crime that just gets me. We had lost my mom (the best person) earlier in the year and I was just so happy b/c I knew how happy she was watching it all. I felt her right there with us. Oh, and I was thinking don’t trip and good posture. My dad was walking so fast. I kept telling him to slow down.

Did you do anything special to get in tiptop shape? PALEO DIET! Hunting & gathering aka cave man diet. Don’t ask but I Loved it and still try to follow it (well, to an extent). It’s the best and you feel great. AND, Lisa– the best trainer ever.  Plus, she’s a good therapist too. Listened to all the wedding drama and checked in on me when traveling so much leading up to the wedding. If in San Francisco, you must seek out Miss Lisa Freitas. Can’t say enough good things.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids? We chose to go small-ish, just my two sisters and three best friends who are like sisters. Truly, our bridal party is like family. It was the perfect thing for us.

What was your first dance song? 34, by Dave Matthews. Brett is obsessed with Dave.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable? Jimmy Choos in this amazing navy/slate sparkle style. They were so comfy until the end. Neimans has a heel that is only 3 inch (versus 4-5). They were amazing and meant I wasn’t too tall! Plus I now wear them all the time to weddings b/c they aren’t too bride-y or white!

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?” We had the best time.  We did the ‘working the room’ during cocktail hour and also got lucky, like 70% of our amazing guests checked into our wedding hotel (The Fairmont Santa Monica – our favorite spot) so we truly got to spend quality time with a lot of our guests over the weekend.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice? Be excited. Don’t stress! Have a great day-of-person who can handle anything that comes up so you don’t have to.  Just feel good and take it in– flies by. And have your family & close friends around you.  They make the day so special.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding? Keeps on getting better. Sounds cliché, but true. Stress of the wedding is gone and you are a team/family. It’s the best. My husband took awhile to wrap his head around the marriage thing. Now, it’s funny, he says to people “we should have done it sooner”…get married. If only he would have listened to me sooner!

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #8

Real Bride #8 ~ Kate Roomet

Kathleen Miller Photography

Where did you get married and when?

Shelburne Farms, Shelburne, VT August 29th 2009

What was the best moment of the day?

My husband’s speech– I can’t remember exactly what he said about me, but I know I was in tears. He delivered it with such sincerity and love.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

The moment when I realized how magical and special the evening was. I’m not sure if it was before dinner or after, but my husband said to me, “this is pretty cool” and he had a twinkle in his eye. I felt the same way. I still think of that moment to this day.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

Honestly, if I were focused on things like the food or the china, or even my dress I could go on with endless changes. It’s difficult for me to see perfection in material things. If I were to focus on the love and happiness that I felt throughout the evening, it was more then I ever could have imagined.

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

The guest list.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

After this my life will shift into overdrive. That’s exactly what happened. I was pregnant a month after the wedding, work got completely crazy, we moved, had a baby, then bought a house and now I’m pregnant again.

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

Running.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

I chose the ladies who had been the most influential in my life, and the ones who I cared about and trusted most.

What was your first dance song?

I wanted a Barry White song, but our band couldn’t play it, so we had them choose because I wanted them to play what they played best. It was “At Last”. Too generic in my opinion, but it was one of those things I decided to just go with.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

Manolo Blahnik bright satin blue pumps. I was very comfortable in them. The funny thing is, I couldn’t wear them now if you paid me to!

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

I enjoyed it. There were times when I felt like I was stuck talking to people I didn’t know, but not enough to really notice.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

If your marrying the right person it will be such a happy day regardless of the imperfections that may come about. Also, try and think about life after the wedding, If you feel excited about happy about that, then you’ll have fun at your wedding because it’s really a celebration of your life together.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Yes, it truly did. It felt much deeper and more meaningful and we had dated for 8 years before tying the knot! I wouldn’t have expected this at all and it was the most special of any gift.

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #7

Real Bride #7: Mia McNice

 Ryan Phillips Photography

 

Where did you get married and when?

Rancho Las Lomas near Laguna Beach, May 20, 2007

What was the best moment of the day?

I loved right after the ceremony my husband and I had a few minutes to ourselves to just take in the moment as guests headed up to the dinner. It was so nice to catch our breath, spend a little time together and enjoy being Mr. and Mrs. McNiece for a few minutes before going back out into the crowd.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

The most memorable was spending the morning with my friends getting our hair and makeup done. It was so nice getting pampered while being surrounded by my closest friends and my mom and sister.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

I would not have put “formal” attire on our wedding website as I soon learned a lot of guests think this means tuxedos (it does not, that’s black tie) and were confused on what to wear. I was really going for a more relaxed Spring look but was just trying to avoid any relatives showing up in shorts. I would have also skipped the peanut butter cupcakes. Although all the flavors were clearly marked we did have one relative, who is highly allergic to peanut butter, take a bite of one and ended up in the hospital. He was fine!

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

The seating chart was way more stressful than I expected. Do I mix it up? Put people who know each other together?

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

“Don’t trip, don’t trip.”

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

Yes! Stopped eating. I dropped ten pounds and will sadly never get down to that weight again.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

Choose friends who have been in your life for a long time, those pictures last forever!

What was your first dance song?

“Here With Me,” by Dido. That’s the concert where I had met my husband eight years earlier in New York.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

Just some inexpensive ones from the bridal store where I got my dress. I figured the dress was so long no one would really see my feet. They were pretty comfortable.

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

A little bit of both– It was difficult to try to say hi to everyone and I really just wanted to dance.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Remember you’ve already conquered the hard part – finding someone you love to spend your life with. The rest of it is all just a party.

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

It did have a nice, cozy feeling and made us feel more complete.

 

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #6

Real Bride #6: Dana Ross Rodgers

Photographer: Suzy Clement

Where did you get married and when?

Rancho Nicasio, CA.  July 29, 2006. 

What was the best moment of the day?

Either the hilarious stories my bridesmaids were telling to try and relax me right before I walked down the aisle, or walking down the aisle to a song that Todd and I both loved (Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt).

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

Hard to pick just one… dancing so hard that I was dripping with sweat and my dress broke, ripping off my stick-on bra seconds before walking down the aisle because it was showing, a very disgruntled ex-boyfriend accidentally showing up at the after-party because he heard there was “something cool going on”.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

Skip the after-party.

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

Probably cutting the guest list down to the number of guests that could fit at our venue, but even that wasn’t that stressful.  My mom and our wedding planner made the planning very easy.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

I can’t believe this is happening, I hope I don’t trip, I love holding onto my dad’s arm, is my dad crying?

Did you do anything special to get in tiptop shape?

Ran a lot, worked out with a trainer a few times in the weeks before the wedding probably not enough to really matter, tried to eat more salads than I normally do.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

Choose people you feel 100% comfortable around who make you feel great about yourself, and who require NO maintenance.  I got unexpectedly really nervous 10 minutes before the ceremony and I didn’t feel embarrassed/uncomfortable in front of any of them.

What was your first dance song?

Sade’s “By Your Side”, but we think of “our song” as the Travis Tritt one I mentioned above.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

White flip flops with little sequins on them that I got from Zappos.   They were sort of ugly.  I felt like I couldn’t wear “normal” white flip flops for some reason, but I should have.  My dress was long so nobody saw them.

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

I danced the entire time.  We spent most of the dinner hour visiting all the tables and saying hi to guests, so once the dancing started it was total party time.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Whatever happens, your guests are going to enjoy themselves, so you might as well also.  It’s really just a huge party with all your favorite people in the world, so drink a beer and enjoy it.  The stressful stuff comes after the wedding…

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

The day to day didn’t feel different, but I had a much warmer feeling about our relationship overall.  It just all felt more relaxed and permanent — probably because it was.

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #5

Real Bride #5: Ellen Gardner

RedFish BlueFish Photography

Where did you get married and when?

We got married at Kiana Lodge on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington (a ferry boat ride away from downtown Seattle) on June 10, 2011 (we’re about to celebrate our one year anniversary!)

What was the best moment of the day?

Everyone knows weddings are expensive and it can certainly seem outrageous to spend tens of thousands of dollars on one day of your life. But having everyone you love in one place is incredible and I think that was truly what made the day so amazing. Other highlights were seeing friends/family getting to know one another, hearing the great speeches, the “first look” (where my husband and I got to see each other for the first time in our wedding day finest), and finally leaving the after party to go back to our hotel room where we ate wedding cupcakes and candy, drank champagne, and recapped the whole day.

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

There were SO many! One funny one: My mother-in-law is a minister and has officiated tons of weddings, so she had a lot of great advice. One piece of advice she gave us was to NOT tie the REAL wedding rings to the ring bearer pillow, because so much can go wrong (the rings can get lost, they can be hard to untie from the pillow under pressure, etc.). So we had two fake, decorative “rings” on the ring bearer pillow, but the best man had the actual wedding rings. Well, apparently no one thought to tell the little ring bearer that because when the minister asked for the rings, the ring bearer (7 year old cousin) was ready for his big moment. Then he saw the best man hand over the real rings. The ring bearer looked at his pillow with the “rings” and then back up at the real rings, and was completely crushed! After the ceremony he asked his mom: “What was I even DOING up there? I was USELESS!”

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

I would eat a s’more! During the reception, we had a bonfire with s’more stuff and I didn’t get to eat one!

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

We had a pretty long engagement (1 year, 4 months), and I think that’s just TOO much time to plan — you end up not making decisions because you have so much time! But I’d categorize the most stressful part of the planning as “people management” — trying to keep everyone in the loop and happy.

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

My 96 year old grandfather walked me down the aisle and he made several jokes (some of which the entire audience could hear), so I was laughing along with him. I also just kept looking around at all of the guests and it felt like a giant group hug from everyone I loved.

Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?

I joined a morning “boot camp” and worked out every day. The goal of looking good for the wedding was a great motivator (and my arms looked RIPPED!)

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

I’m not sure if this is advice, but I opted to pick bridesmaids from different “stages” of my life — even if we don’t talk every day now. So I had a childhood best friend, college friends, friend from when I lived in DC, friend from when I lived in LA, etc. A sort of “this is your life” of bridesmaids. Most importantly, the girls were all fun and helpful during the entire wedding weekend — love them!

What was your first dance song?

“You are the best thing” by Ray Lamontagne

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

I think I was actually more in love with my shoes than my dress — and I definitely bought them first. They were hot pink Kate Spade “Clarice” peep toe heels — and were super comfortable. My feet didn’t bother me at all.

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

I probably didn’t “work the room” enough! I was in the photo booth and dancing all night and probably neglected some long-lost cousins!

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Take as many pictures as possible ahead of time so that you can fully enjoy the cocktail hour/reception. And speaking of pictures, I think one of the best things we did was have our photographers take one, giant group picture after the ceremony. So we have a picture of us with EVERYONE who attended our wedding. Priceless!

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Yes, which was actually surprising to me. We’d been dating almost 10 years before we got married (and lived together for 4), so I figured we had the commitment thing down, but the wedding made it all feel real and legitimate. Plus, there was the whole combining finances/changing my last name stuff that we chose to do that made us feel like a real team when we got married.

PS: You can get Ellen’s cute robe here (shameless plug).

{Looking Back} Real Brides Q & A #4

Real Bride #4: Sara Harty

Photographer:  Ryan Phillips Photography

Where did you get married and when?

July 21, 2007 at the Crossroads Estate at Firestone Vineyards

What was the best moment of the day?

The vows. Sounds cheesy but true… I didn’t expect it!

What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?

Nothing major…Clay walked down the aisle with his phone in his pocket and his brother (who married us) reminded everyone to turn off phones and Clay had to reach in and turn his off…we got a good picture of it.

If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?

BETTER DJ. I didn’t think it was that big of a deal but it is SO IMPORTANT!

What was the most stressful part of the planning?

Spending so much $$$!!

What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?

Can’t remember… but in the pictures I look very happy. I was very calm and not nervous at all, which is surprising.

Did you do anything special to get in tiptop shape?

I did personal training and then the last two weeks ate nothing and stressed out. Worked like a charm.

What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?

Pick people that you know have your back, want you to be happy, and are happy for you!

What was your first dance song?

Nobody knows me by Lyle Lovett…it was supposed to be 4th of July by Shooter Jennings be we chickened out.

What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?

Can’t remember! Not great ones!

Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”

A little of both– we tried to work the room during dinner and then party after.

What is your best “day of wedding” advice?

Spend some time alone

Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?

Nope…that came with baby #1- VERY different!!!

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