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Brides of 2010: Reflections

When Brian and I were engaged, a photographer in California who we knew and whose blog we followed compiled a “confessions” blog. He emailed all of his brides from the preceding year, and asked them to respond with their answers to 3 questions. I found that each of those brides’ answers to the questions their photographer had given them were incredibly helpful to me in my own wedding-planning process. With 2010 having been such an awesome year for Project: Life and with our business growing steadily, we felt like this was something we could do for all of our 2011 and 2012 brides who are currently planning their weddings, as well as readers who will plan their own weddings someday!

So… here are the questions each 2010 bride was asked to provide answers to:

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

As of now, 5 out of 7 have responded, and as the last few responses come in, we’ll update this post! I just threw the responses into this post in no particular order, so brides-to-be, read through everyones responses, and stay tuned for a few more on the way! Hope you will find this info helpful!

Married on October 1, 2010

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

Kelsey: “My favorite part of the day as a whole was seeing how much we were loved and cared for by friends and family. Everyone did a lot to help get everything together and go smoothly- the Lord really provided for everything to come together. We had our pastor preach a sermon that was 30 minutes long on marriage- it was really wonderful to be under the teaching of the Lord on the day that we stood before Him and committed our lives to each other.”

2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

Kelsey: “I would have made sure my uncle flew into the right airport so that he didn’t miss the ceremony! And I would have done something to prevent Daniel’s sister from falling and twisting her ankle during the recessional. Also, I would have designated someone to make sure we all had something to eat that day before the wedding!”

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

Kelsey: “I would have had a different wedding coordinator. We had a friend do it, and we were thankful that she did it for free, but we ended up having to throw a cake together at the last minute, and we didn’t have any meals set up for us on the wedding day.

Also, I would have talked to my fiancé more seriously about taking all of our pictures before the wedding. I am from California, where the tradition of waiting to see each other until the wedding isn’t held to very often. Although Daniel didn’t care too much about keeping our wedding plans in line with a traditional ceremony, he had never imagined his wedding day in a way where he wouldn’t see his bride for the first time as she came down the aisle. Since it was something that was important to him, I agreed to it. It was very difficult, however, to get all of our family in the same place at the same time, and it dragged out the time between ceremony and reception a lot longer than we would’ve wanted. Several guests approached us during pictures for hugs and congratulations, which I loved, but made it harder to get through pictures quickly. It’s certainly important to do on your wedding day the things that you’ve always dreamed of doing since you were little, and if waiting to see your groom until you walk down the aisle is one of those things, then go for it! But, don’t discount the option of seeing each other before. I’ve been in lots of weddings where the bride and groom did a first-look; it eliminates a ton of stress, and you can still have a memorable, intimate moment seeing each other for the first time before the wedding.

It’s important to plan the things that you like, but it’s also important to make your family feel included in the planning process. At the end of the day, our wedding day wasn’t just about us- it was ultimately about the Lord, but also about our families coming together- it was as much their day as it was ours.”

Married on September 18, 2010

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

Linsey: “My favorite part about my wedding ceremony had to be seeing Josh’s face for the first time. I expected myself to cry but I didn’t expect to see tears on his face. My favorite part of my reception had to be my Father Daughter Dance. It has been the talk of my wedding. A few days before the wedding I was reviewing songs with my dad for our big dance. To my surprise he didn’t like any of the songs I suggested and even replied, “they’re too slow!!” So, Friday before the rehearsal dinner I found a mix CD with oldies and newbies. We ran through it twice and that was it. It was pretty much a freestyle for him when it came time to do it at the wedding. It was fun and it made everyone let loose. My favorite part about my wedding day as a whole would have to be being surrounded by my closest loved ones and friends. It’s rare that we ever have the entire family together. My grandmother, who is 92, drove 18 hours from Illinois and it was truly a blessing to have her there with me at every moment, even though it was just for the weekend.”

2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

Linsey: “If I could go back and change one thing I would have changed my wedding cake. I didn’t do a lot of shopping and ended up purchasing a cake from the first place I went. Later when my budget was dwindling I realized I had over spent big time on my cake. It also wasn’t decorated as well as I had liked it to compared to the picture I showed them. I found out later that you can actually order a very pretty wedding cake with whatever decor you want for just pennies compared to what I spent. My advice on this is to definitely shop your vendors and make sure they know the idea and theme you are wanting to portray clearly.”

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

Linsey: “If I could go back to the planning process I would have definitely asked for more help when I needed it and less help when I don’t. For instance, we had “make your own” invitations and I didn’t realize how many pieces had to be glued and tucked. It ended up being really time consuming and I barely got them out in the mail by the 8 week mark. I should have asked for help but never wanted to ask because I thought everyone had their own thing going on. Always ask for help. 9 times out of 10 your friends and family are delighted to help and be a part of your big day, so let them! When I didn’t need help, I had too much of it. Especially from…my mother. We never got anything accomplished at catering meetings or the rental place because we could never agree on anything. Sometimes too many opinions just hold back on the planning process. Really think about what you want and what you can afford. You don’t need a big budget to have a beautiful wedding.”

Married on March 6, 2010

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

Sarah: “Well, I had many favorite parts of our wedding day. But if I truly had to narrow it down to one thing, it was the fact that I was marring the one I love with my whole entire heart. Because that is what it is all about anyways! None of the material things of this earth really matter at the end of the day. Its your relationship with that special some one. I was so excited that I was starting my new life with my husband.”

2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

Sarah: “If I could go back and change one thing, it most definitely would have been my florist. I should have made them myself. Flowers are TOO expensive to get them on your wedding day already half dead. Thanks to my wonderful photographers and photo shop, no one will ever know looking back at my photos.”

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

Sarah: “In my case, I wasn’t able to be too involved with planning my wedding. I had family and a friend help plan it for me, with my input of course. They just made sure all the dirty work got done. I was going to school and was working full time and I chose to have a two month engagement. So yeah, it was pretty crazy. Over all I wouldn’t have really changed anything except just wishing that I could have been a little more involved and planning the day to run a little smoother. But for having a small budget and not a lot of time, it turned out beautiful.”

Married on May 22, 2010

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

Nicki: “1. Wedding Ceremony- Exchanging our vows because we wrote our own. I also enjoyed pouring our unity sand because we had a slideshow of pictures playing and the song Stephen wrote for me playing over the sound system. Wedding Reception- my cake because it was awesome. It was funfetti on the inside and there were polka dots on the outside. Day as a whole- that I married my best friend! Things went wrong, but at the end of the day, I was still Mrs. Pappas!”
2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

Nicki: “I would not have stressed out that morning. I would have relaxed more and enjoyed the day!”

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

Nicki: “I would not have gotten upset over little details, like colors of ties. Seriously, ten years, five years, even a year from now, people are not going to remember insignificant details from the wedding. I would have enjoyed the planning process more and just relaxed!”

Married on July 17, 2010

1.) What was your favorite part about your wedding ceremony, reception, and wedding day as a whole?

Britton: “My favorite part was definitely hanging out with our guests and dancing the night away at the reception! If I could go back I would definitely try to slow down and remember more of the night, it seemed to have gone so fast! I would say for sure that the fact that we had OUR favorite food and drinks there made a big difference. I know most brides don’t take the chance to eat on their wedding night but I for sure took the opportunity!”

2.) If you could go back to your wedding day and change one thing, what would that one thing be?

Britton: “I would go back and slow myself down, to take it all in. For the entire day, I was freaking out and going at hyper speeds. Not once did I take the opportunity to just pray or have a quiet moment and sit in the happiness. It was the most amazing day of my life and I scrape through my memories so often trying to re-live every second.”

3.) If you could go back to the planning-process and do it over, would you change anything? If so, what would you change?

Britton: “If I could go back to the planning process I would pour myself a glass of champagne, sit back and DELEGATE. I swear I got so obsessive about everything being just right that I didn’t realize I was completely wearing myself out. If the little things dont go perfect, it’s not a huge deal but you can also get things done just the way you want by bossing other people around! If someone doesn’t listen to you, just cry. Your husband will fix it really quickly, or in my case your dad.”

…More to come!!!

November Special!

Probably for the rest of our lives together, as November approaches, Brian and I will feel the weight of thankfulness for a reason very different from most. Of course we celebrate Thanksgiving, but this time of year brings a sentimental aspect to our holiday cheer: In 2008, Brian asked me to be his girlfriend on November 25th, which was 2 days before Thanksgiving that year. In 2009, we were married on October 30th. This year, as our first wedding anniversary approached (bringing with it our 2-year anniversary of being together), I began to feel a heavier sense of thankfulness than I do most autumns… thankfulness for Brian, and for our families who’ve always supported us in everything… for finally finding something I am passionate about, that I am also actually good at (those two things never seemed to coincide with any other activities I’d perused in the past)… and for all of the opportunities we’ve been given by so many wonderful clients over the past year to grow our business into a league we really never thought we’d be in already.

So, in celebration of everything Project:Life has to be thankful for, we’re offering a special for the month of November! Book your wedding with us during the month of November, and receive a FREE 7″x7,” (up to) 30-image, full-color COFFEE-TABLE BOOK (normally valued at $200)! Couples who take advantage of this offer will have two options as to how they want this book designed for them.

Option A). The book can be designed as a “mini album,” holding up to 30 of your best wedding day images. This compact coffee-table-style book makes a great mini-album to keep in your pocketbook or in the car, so you’re never without artistically-captured memories of your wedding when visiting with friends and family, or happen to run into someone you know! This book also makes a great gift for parents, and additional copies of this coffee-table-style “mini album” can be purchased at a discounted cost with this limited-time offer!

Option B). The book can be designed as a guest book for your wedding, holding up to 15 of your best engagement images! The  extra space would be filled with lines, or left empty if you wish, to be utilized as signature space! We can only offer this option, however, if Project:Life has taken your engagement portraits. We have had couples order guest books just like this in the past; some opted to have lines for guests to sign on, while others chose to have no lines, so that guests could write sentiments and congratulatory notes freely.

Below are some images I snapped today of some coffee table books belonging to past clients (occasionally, we order a duplicate of a clients’ wedding book or guest book, just to have updated samples to show clients and potential clients at consults. The books shown below are 8″x10″ dimension, so they are a little bigger than the one included in this special.

So, book your wedding… tell your friends… spread the word about Project:Life’s November Special! A Free 7″x7″ Coffee Table Book, customized either as your wedding book or your guest book!

Oh Life • We’re Married!

Melissa and I both agree- our wedding day in its entirety and the rehearsal/rehearsal dinner the evening before was the time of our lives! Melissa’s Maid of Honor and 2 other bridesmaids flew in from California for the wedding, and all 3 of them just meshed right in with our South Carolina friends at the rehearsal dinner as if they had all known each other their whole lives! After the dinner, our wedding party kidnapped us and took us to an old historic home converted into a coffee shop around the corner from the restaurant where we’d eaten, and we all just relaxed and talked; that is a memory we will remember and cherish forever! Thank you, all of our amazing friends in our wedding party! You guys made us feel so special and loved 🙂

The next morning, the day of our wedding, Melissa’s Maid of Honor threw a luncheon for her, her bridesmaids and a few other special women in Melissa’s life who’d flown in from California to help us with the wedding. The ceremony was at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, and as soon as everyone got there and Melissa had changed into her wedding dress, we met up at our favorite spot in the garden. If anyone is debating whether or not to see each other before your wedding, we highly recommend it! Your wedding day is so stressful, so rush-rush, and everybody’s late or running behind. Seeing each other, having that moment just the two of us for me to see Melissa in her wedding dress before anyone else, having that time to pray together and calm each other’s nerves… we wouldn’t have traded that for anything! It also gave us leave to have all of our family, wedding party and artistic photography done before the wedding, so we were able to scoot right to the reception after the ceremony and our guests didn’t have to wait!

As for the wedding in and of itself, we did things a little differently 😉 We entered an internet contest and won $500 in free flowers (which is funny, because all Melissa and I wanted flower-wise was one bouquet, for her, and single-stems for the bridesmaids. But winning this contest enabled us to get some other floral things that we didn’t think we’d have the budget for). Each bridesmaid held just one calla lily stem. Melissa is obsessed with TOMS Shoes, so our gift to each of her bridesmaids was a pair of black TOMS to wear for the wedding, and Melissa wore ivory TOMS (for every pair sold, TOMS donates a pair of brand new TOMS Shoes to a child in need in 3rd world countries). All of our bridesmaids picked their own dresses- Melissa just told all of the girls to pick out black, floor-length dresses that were not strapless, and then had her Maid of Honor pick out a black, floor-length strapless dress so she would be distinguishable. All of my groomsmen wore their own suits (which turned out awesome! A black suit is a black suit ladies and gentlemen… if you don’t believe me, check out our wedding photos on facebook and see for yourself! No one would’ve known they didn’t go out and rent matching suits, because no one micro-examines groomsmen). The groomsmen unanimously wanted to wear skinny ties, so we found skinny ties the same color as the bridesmaids’ lilies and gave all the groomsmen their ties as their gift.
As for the ceremony itself, we were crazy and got married outdoors in a garden in late fall- thank the Lord it stayed warm and light out! Our grandparents were not “formally” seated; we were on a time-constraint, racing the sunset, and this day was about us! At the end of our ceremony, our pastor, Phud (who officiated the ceremony), announced that guests would need to keep their programs for the reception.

As our bridal party was announced when they entered the reception (held at the open-air pavilion on the lake at Camp Thunderbird), each pair danced in! IT WAS AWESOME… Now, instead of an “Order of Ceremony” or “Thank You’s,” we had put the lyrics to our “First Dance” song in our programs and wrote about how those lyrics applied marriage to the Gospel and why the song was meaningful. So when we Melissa and I entered the reception and immediately began our first dance, we also had a slideshow of photos of the two of us during our dating relationship playing on a screen behind us AND the lyrics to the song in everyone’s programs for them to read- so it was basically unnecessary for anyone to pay attention to how bad of dancers we are (we’re geniuses). We also played slideshows of Melissa throughout her childhood during her dance with her dad, and a slideshow of me growing up during my dance with my mom. Thanks Mr. Mills for the awesome screen!

Instead of dismissing each table by number to go get dinner at the buffet, our Master of Ceremonies dismissed each table according to their accumulated score they got on their “About Brian and Melissa” quiz provided in their programs. We skipped paying a DJ and just threw together 2 different playlists on an iPod, one more relaxed to play during dinner whle Melissa and I walked around to all the tables and greeted everyone, and another second playlist for everyone to dance to towards the end of the reception. Thank you Braden for being charge of the music! We had some tables with chairs and some cocktail tables scattered throughout the seated tables at the reception so that people would feel welcome to get up, walk around and talk with other guests. The cocktail tables were more crowded than a lot of the tables with chairs by the end of the night, full of laughing people! We’re so glad everyone had so much fun- because we had an absolute BLAST!

~Brian