I woke up that morning feeling calm and tranquil. I had no fear, I had no worry and I had no doubts about the day. I knew today was the day I was going to marry the man of my dreams. We got married at the Michigan State Alumni Chapel in East Lansing, Michigan.
We took pictures before the ceremony due to the fact that we had a late ceremony start time. We had a short intimate ceremony. We didn’t want people to have to sit through a mass type ceremony so we kept it short and sweet. We had a family friend officiate the wedding.
We had our reception at my in-laws house. Even since the movie Father of the Bride and My Best Friend’s Wedding I have wanted a backyard/outside wedding. My husband and I knew we didn’t want a cookie cutter reception hall. We did go and look at a few just to be sure. After not being able to find a place we decided to ask if we could have it in his Dad’s backyard. They sit on a few acres so we knew that would be plenty of room for parking and the reception. They have horses on their farm and gorgeous pastures surrounding their property so the ambiance we were looking for was already there. They have a huge tennis court in the backyard that was perfect to put a tent overtop of. We had to bring in everything from silverware, tables, chairs, plates, a bar, bathrooms and anything else you can think of at a wedding. Everyone had an amazing time. We danced the night away.
Toasts were made and songs were danced too. We catered the event from a local place that has a wonderful menu. I believe we served salad and rolls, prime rib and chicken, sautéed carrots, red roasted potatoes. We had white and chocolate cake for dessert. We also had an awesome midnight snack. We brought in a hot dog cart that had 12 different types of hot dogs you could order. Every last dog was gone! I didn’t even get one!
On August 18 we anticipated getting big fans to keep people cool but we had the opposite problem. It was the coldest night since spring. It got down to 50 degrees that night. Luckily we were able to go in and grab some blankets and jackets. Most people checked the weather and brought a jacket.
We danced all night long and everyone had a wonderful time. Since we didn’t have to be out at a certain time our party went till about 2AM. Most of our guests including us were staying at the same hotel in town. We had a shuttle running from the reception to the hotel until 2AM when the last shuttle left. I hadn’t had a thing to drink all night so I drove my parents van with the groom and a few party guests back to the hotel (yes I hoisted my big puffy dress into that van and drove, I do not advise anyone trying it!). I was starving by the time we got back to the hotel. Luckily staying in a college town means the best restaurants stay open late! Right across the street was a place called ‘What Up Dawg’ that served hot dogs. As I did not get one I wanted a hot dog in the worst way. We took a group of about 10 people in there all decked out in our finest attire and me in my wedding dress, and sat belly up to the greasy bar. I was so tired and exhausted at this point I didn’t care about anything but that hot dog. I started to take my hair pieces and pins out right there (I put a few napkins down on the counter first). We had some good laughs, some good eats and then it was time for bed. Luckily my friends had already checked us into our wedding suite. When we walked in it was decked out with balloons and streamers and crazy things.
Suggestions/Changes I would have made
- Hire a DJ. We had Eric’s uncle administer the music via an iPod playlist we gave him. However several slow songs were played in a row and I wish I would have had someone who knew how to keep the flow of the music and keep people dancing.
- Hire a videographer. I never thought about having a video of my wedding, I thought pictures were good enough. My mom said my Aunt would film a little from her camera. When I found out everything she tapped was corrupted I was heartbroken. We were able to salvage the ceremony, a few toast and a few peoples well wishes so I was extremely happy we have that!
- Research your photographer and have several conversations on what you want I found my photographer on Groupon. After I had purchased it I met with her to explain the style of photos I wanted. Unfortunately she was a big fan of angled photos and I wanted all of them head on and straight. We pumped heads a bit and I didn’t get all the photos I wanted. I paid for an extra hour of her time at the reception and I only have a handful of photos after dinner. I’m not sure what I paid the extra hour for if she didn’t take any pictures.
- Don’t accept one person’s no, find someone who will say yes. I hope that doesn’t make you think I was a bridezilla. When I found my wedding dress I cried, I didn’t want to take it off but I did want to alter it. It was a halter and I wanted to make it a strapless. I bought it at David’s Bridal and they told me they could do all the alterations except change the style of the dress. I took my dress to at least 3-4 different tailors before I found one who would do it for me. I loved the way my dress looked and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. If you truly want something, make it happen.
- Have your bartender have drinks waiting for the bridal party. We didn’t have anything in our glasses to toast with. I thought everyone would get something during the cocktail hour, but I was wrong. Drinking was the last thing I had time to think about.
- Use fake flowers but make sure they look real. I will always stand behind my decision for fake flowers. You know exactly what they will look like. They won’t be wilted or dry or break. They're lighter for the bridesmaids who are carrying them around all day and for the one who has to hold the brides during the ceremony. I made the boutonnieres and I thought they looked very classy and I thought the bridesmaids looked amazing as well. My bouquets however needed some work. I should have bought a really one for myself or put more effort into it. I didn’t realize I was going to have to hold it in every photo. SPOILER ALERT you do!
- If you plan to have kids at your wedding, offer something to keep them occupied. We put together a coloring bundle with extra smores, a few crayons and a few pages from a coloring book. The kids really enjoying and we had some beautiful pictures to remember them by!
The Day After
The morning after was tough. I knew we had to get up but all I wanted to do was sleep. We had planned a brunch the next morning for our out of town guests that could make it. I had a mimosa and a piece of chocolate cake that I had not gotten the night before (don’t judge me). We opened gifts with everyone and hung out for a little while. We started to clear out the tables and chairs as they were being picked up by the rental company soon.
I am glad that we didn’t go on our honeymoon right away. We ended up going on our honeymoon 3 weeks after we got married. This gave us time to get organized. We organized our accounts, my paperwork for name change, our gifts and to actually enjoyed the next few days with our family as we all took an extra day or two off from work.
We felt so incredibly blessed to be able to have such an amazing wedding and spend it with the people we love and care so much for. We have been told by many that our wedding was a good time. I never get tired of hearing that!