In light of our 2nd year Anniversary, I’m taking you all on a little trip down memory lane with me to the best day of my life. Here’s all the details from our fall wedding in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
We got engaged January 25th, 2016 at the top of the Navy Pier Ferris Wheel in Chicago. It was a rainy day but the city lights looked so pretty on our rain splattered carousel. It was insanely romantic and I was completely caught off guard! I cried/squealed, it was ugly but a thousand emotions ran through me! And the ring? I couldn’t believe my eyes! It was more gorgeous than anything I ever dreamt of!
OUR IDEA BOARD:
- Colors to match the leaves
- Taco bar and margaritas
We wanted an outdoor fall wedding! Gorgeous colorful leaves were a must! We loved the rustic barn theme but wanted something super unique that no one has done before. After some serious searching I found The Blue Dress Barn and it was PERECT! I almost thought it wasn’t real!
We contacted them and scheduled a tour right away. It was February and freezing cold. As we pulled up to the barn, we were a little iffy because with all the tree bare and the gray skies, it looked like a sad barn but we fell in love with the character and knew it would be perfect for our October wedding!
THE COLOR SCHEME:
So I wanted a color for the bridesmaids that would tie into the gorgeous fall leaves! I wanted to find a dress that was super affordable for my girls and that they may be able to wear again. I wanted them to match each other but for them to each have their own style. I found these awesome convertible dresses from lulus.com for literally $58!! It has these long straps that you can tie and twist all kinds of different ways that way everyone could look the same but also add their own style. I asked them to pair it with nude shoes since most women have at least one pair of nude shoes. I really wanted it to be as inexpensive as possible for everyone.
I went with a burgundy/apple color to match the fall colors! I bought one ahead of time incase they turned out horrible but I loved it and actually kept mine! My girls looked absolutely gorgeous in them!!!!
Also, I just want to say that I’ll forever be thankful for these ladies. No matter where we go or wherever life takes us, I’ll always love these gals!
As for the boys, we picked navy blue with brown shoes which always looks so classy and fresh! And popped in the red/apple color to match the girls.
And my gorgeous little flower girls got this super cute dress from Pink Peony Boutique! I call them my nieces since I practically grew up with my cousins! Still can’t get over how perfect they are. I wanted them to be comfortable and also be able to wear their shoes for more than one day so they paired their’s with TOMS!
First of all, my goodness! The most handsome man I ever laid eyes on. I wish I could marry him every day of the year. It felt like a dream. As the years go by, I’m just reminded more of how thankful I am. I fall more and more in love with him everyday.
I’ve always dreamt of a long sleeve lace dress. So after I tried every long sleeve lace dress in the bridal store and wasn’t a huge fan of any of them, I thought I was going to have to come back to the drawing board. The bridal assistance brought out this dress that was a sweetheart strapless but had a quarter sleeve lace cover that went over it. Well, I absolutely hated the little cover thing and then I stood there staring at the strapless dress on. I fell in love. The train absolutely blew my mind. It was better than I imagined! The only thing is I really wanted sleeves, especially for the fall wedding. Turns out the owner of the bridal store could put sleeves on it! Was it scary buying a dress that I wasn’t sure what the final outcome was going to look like? YES! But it turned out absolutely perfect. I felt so beautiful and I could barely contain my excitement to show Leonard.
When I picked out my dress, I didn’t cry. I felt the pressure from all the movies and all the stories about how the girl and everyone in the room cries when she finds the perfect dress. That wasn’t the case for me. But when I put my dress on that day, a rush of emotions fled through me. I was really a bride. I was really about to marry my best friend. Don’t let other people’s experiences and perceptions make you feel like your story is suppose to go the same way. It’s your story for a reason.
You guys…this was it before and half/way through:
With Leonard and I being the same height and it being at a barn, I already planned on wearing flats. I bought and tried on so many fancy flats but they were all so uncomfortable or I just really didn’t like them. I’m a huge TOMS fan so what better shoe to wear that is comfortable, cute and can be worn again! It ended up hailing, raining and snowing on our wedding day so actually after the pictures, I put on my UGGS! No one could tell and I was warm and free to dance! Peep the picture below lol
The GIFT FOR THE GROOM:
I was super nervous to have a boudoir session done for Leonard’s gift but I’m so glad I did it! I mean, look at his reaction! Priceless!
Kayla Knies not only did an amazing job but she made the whole thing super comfortable. For those of you that don’t know, a boudoir session is pictures in lingerie. It’s not a gaudy session, they actually turned out beautiful! Ladies, if you’re looking for someone, Kayla Knies is your girl. I promise you’ll love you did it! And so will he!
Our venue allowed us to get there at noon, but with the ceremony at 3 we got ready at our Air BnB.
Huge thanks to Brittnay (@brittnaybohacik) and Stephanie (@alwaysmadeup2) for waking up super early and making us all look and feel gorgeous!
I loved the idea of robes but end of October in Indiana/Michigan can be no joke so I went for these super cute flannels and had @Swindazzle add the fun writing on the back!
Me slamming a pumpkin pie before getting in my dress 🙂 …sounds about right!
All week there was expected to be rain in the forecast. That morning I woke up and it was 97% chance of rain all morning but it kept getting pushed back. We finally got to the point where we had to decide if we were going to keep it outside or move the ceremony inside. It was my dream to have it outside so I prayed and I mean prayed hard that God would hold off on the rain until after the ceremony. I knew it might be chilly so I had a cute basket full of blankets like this below for guests to use.
Everyone said that the sun came out for our vows and peeked out a few other times! Shortly after the ceremony, as everyone was heading inside it started to hail! I can’t make this up, people! Look closely at this picture, there is hail on the ground!
That night as we were all tucked in the barn dancing and drinking the night away, it rained and snowed! That’s gotta be extra good luck, right?
I’m not sure if some of you are religious here but I SWEAR that that had to have been God. Sunshine during the vows… minutes after the ceremony hail…rain and snow after we were all safe in the barn. I prayed so many times He was probably like, “OMG, this girl again?! Okay, okay, I’ll hold on the rain but now you’re about to get hail!”
Look at that sun!
I’m not going to sugar coat it and say it wasn’t a little nippy out. I was so thankful for all our family members and friends that braved the weather so we could have our dream outdoor wedding. We got married between these two gorgeous silos.
We were so blessed to be married by my cousin-in-law. My cousin Shannon and her husband Kevin have been huge role models for us and supportive during our entire relationship and we felt so blessed to have him marry us.
THE GUEST BOOK:
How cute is this Guest Book Sign from @2MadDogs on Etsy?! She also created our instagram filter, too.
I loved this idea instead of a book because it’s hanging in our breakfast room and I get to see it everyday and be reminded of all the amazing people who were there to help celebrate our big day.
Because fall is our favorite time of the year, I really wanted flowers that would be similar to the colors of the leaves but also elegant. Our florist, Crystal Springs Florist did an excellent job! She literally listened to my vision and made it come to life.
THE FOOD & DRINKS:
Who doesn’t love tacos and margaritas, am I right? So we had a delicious taco bar by CK Catering and some STRONG margaritas.
Of course, there was beer and wine too but the margaritas were where it was at!
My amazing and talented friend, Alyssa made the most delicious pies for our wedding. Everyone does cake for weddings so we wanted to do something different and what better thing to have during a fall wedding than fall pies! She made apple pie, pumpkin pie, and cherry pie. They were a total hit.
We had pumpkin and apple donuts from the County Line Orchard and we had a small cake from the The Baker’s Rhapsody to do the cutting. It was made with pumpkin and buttercream frosting. Ugh, it was so good. We didn’t make it a year before we ate the rest of the cake like the tradition says, we busted it out a couple weeks later for Leonard’s birthday! It was a little stale then so I can only imagine those who wait the whole year!
(Also, shout out to my dad for transporting the cake, our 3 dogs, and a truck full of wedding decor back to Tampa in one piece!)
We danced to Speechless by Dan & Shay and now I can never hear that song without feeling the way I did that night and I love it. Its like a rush of emotions. I relive that day with that song. It gives me chills.
My dad worked SO hard to carve out the inside of a tree trunk to make for our card holder. It was so special and I think despite him having to redo it quite a few times, I think it turned out absolutely perfect!
As for the decorations, we used most of the items from our house to decorate! Like the picture frames and the “K&L”! The box that held our Programs now holds my garden supplies. I didn’t want to have a bunch of stuff that would go to waste after one day so I tried using as many resourceful things as I could.
My mom had that sign made for us with how the stars were suppose to align that night. It’s now hanging in our bedroom. We had twine throughout the barn with pictures of us from the last 5 years (which I used for my garden), polaroid photo booth, a fun chalkboard door I found for rent, and of course the cute cheesy signs we all find on pinterest!
THE WEDDING FAVORS:
No offense to anyone who has ever given bubbles… but give me something I can EAT, am I right?! Send me away with snack to eat on the way home! So we decided on the most delicious fall treat of them all.. caramel apples! These were the best caramel apples I’ve ever had! They had these yummy chocolate sprinkles that melted in your mouth!
THE TABLE DECORATIONS:
Some of my best tips for brides:
- Book your venue and photographer early because the good ones book quick! (We booked with White Harvest Photography who captured our wedding beautifully)
- Don’t be afraid to do things that aren’t “traditional.” Tacos and margs in a barn at the end of October? Probably not ideal but it was everything WE wanted it to be and it was PERFECT.
- Tell your caterer to box you up some food and put it in the car because when you and your hubby/wifey get to where you’re going, ya’ll are going to be starving.
- Save your flowers! Hang them upside down in a closet or somewhere safe and after they’ve dried up, put them in a shadow box so you can enjoy them forever!
- Things don’t always go as planned– We were suppose to have a smores bar, pumpkin checkers, cornhole and an outdoor bar… none of that happened and even though I spent a lot of time planning and getting items for all of it, you just gotta brush it off and enjoy your day!
- Ask your photographer for: a picture under your veil and a dip picture!
8. I lost Leonard for a hot minute! Try to say your hellos and thank you’s to everyone together because you get pulled every direction and you won’t see your groom/bride for a long time!
9. Don’t spend a lot of time stressing about the seating chart because some people won’t come even though they RSVP’d and eventually everyone moves around and sits where they want.
10. See below for #10
Okay ya’ll, if you made it this far, thanks for walking down memory lane with me. I pray that if you’re married, it brought you back to the night you said “I do” and reminds you of all the reasons you love your significant other. Marriage isn’t easy and it’s not always perfect. Play the song you danced to and go through your pictures together. Don’t ever forget how you fell in love with them to begin with.
I pray that if you’re about to be married, you take the time to enjoy this season of your life and cherish it. Remember not to stress about the things you cannot control and take the time to know what really matters (&seating charts is not one of them) and what doesn’t. It’s a stressful time but an exciting one. Hang in there. Your day is going to be perfect because you get to marry the one you love.
I pray that if you’re single or dating that you enjoy this part of your life. That, like I said above, you don’t let other people’s life stories make you feel like you’re doing something wrong or that your route isn’t right. It doesn’t matter how old you are. It doesn’t matter that you haven’t found “the one”. This is your story. There’s a plan for your it and it’s going to be amazing.
I wish you all nothing but a lifetime of endless love.