Real Wedding Wednesday ~ Hurricane Issac Didn't Get in Their Way

I say this every Wednesday, but I really am in love with Caroline (and Ben's pretty cool too). They got married the weekend of Hurricane Issac. Yeah... Yikes! But, they didn't let it get in their way. No no no... They pushed on, changed the plan, and rolled with it. How awesome is that? And what I find truly fucking cool? Everybody made it to the wedding, and as you'll see from the pictures, they had an amazing time! Go Caroline!

Another thing I say A LOT... BB is NOT from the DIYers, but I have a deep respect for those of you who are. I am no artist, and really hate following direction (shocking, I know), so usually anything I do myself, turns to shit. But, Caroline (together with her grandmother, mom, MIL, bridesmaids, etc.)? She rocked it! I mean, just look at her bouquet!!! 

So, please my brideys, enjoy this phenomenal wedding! Let it put things into perspective for you. Caroline had to plan TWO weddings (and not for the price of one) because of the hurricane. If she can do that, then you can certainly plan one without losing your cool! ENJOY!

(When Caroline tried on her wedding dress, she fell in love with a veil that was out of her budget (a third of the price of the dress). She looked for an alternative, but just decided that she could not spend that much on a veil! Her grandmother found a birdcage veil and hair comb for a steal at Joann Fabrics. She also bought a package of tiny rhinestones. So with a pair of tweezers and a bottle of craft glue, Caroline created her beautiful veil a few days before the wedding. She loved the outcome, loved the price, and received many compliments!)

1. Bridey, how did you meet your spouse? (The short and sweet version please.)

We met in college in Santa Fe, New Mexico (at a Toga Party!). We went on a few dates before Ben graduated and then I was supposed to leave for home. Luckily my car broke down and we dated all summer and then he moved to New York. We did long distance for a while and then I moved out here too. 

2. How long were you together before you were engaged?

4 1/2 years

3. What was the length of time between the engagement and the wedding?

A year and a half! 

4. Where did your wedding take place? (venue, city and state)

It was supposed to take place at a family members home in Chesterfield, MO, but instead we moved it indoors (thanks to a weekend of 100% chance of precipitation due to Hurricane Isaac) to Chesterfield Arts/Stages St. Louis. We were their first wedding ever! It was actually kind of a perfect space for us - we are art and theatre lovers and previous artists and actors. 

5. If you don't mind my asking, what was your budget, and where did you choose to spend most of it?

Our original budget was 12k excluding our honeymoon. I was meticulous leading up to the event about keeping every dollar spent in a spreadsheet, but when the three days before the wedding turned into re-planning the whole event due to the storm, I ditched the spreadsheet and did what needed to be done. I think we ended up just a little over 14k in the end. We saved in some places because of the venue change, and then spent some unexpected funds when the cake couldn't make it, etc. Thankfully, our family was SO supportive and helped us a lot with all the changing parts. 

From the beginning we had most of our budget spent on food and drink, and the band. Everything else adds up so quickly, but I really felt like we did so much with so little. For instance, we decorated the whole place for less then $300. I created all the custom welcome bags and favors for under $400. The flowers were under $300. But boom... there's 1k on 3 things. 

6. If you had to rate your wedding planning experience on a scale of one to ten with one being shitty, and ten being awesome, how would you rate it?

I loved planning our wedding. It may sound twisted, but I also loved re-planning our wedding and realizing what worked better because the weather forced us to change our plans. I loved the challenge of still making it about "us" even though it was last min (although it was stressful and I cried a lot). I would give it a 8.5 - mostly due to the invitations and then the hurricane. 

7. What was your favorite part of the wedding planning process? Least fave?

I have lots of favorites, but I loved all the craft projects! Especially because I had such fun completing them with my friends and family. It was like a little party each time we got together to "assembly line" a project. My girlfriends in Brooklyn came over for a great brunch to help me make all of my pom poms, I had friends from home (St. Louis) and bridesmaids from out of town helping with the cookie decorating the day after my shower, my grandma and I made all of our wine glass charm favors and my brooch bouquet while she visited me in Brooklyn. My mom and I made all the flowers for the wedding party, and the family when I visited her over the summer. I felt so touched that everybody helped as much as they did, and had so much fun with each project.  

(Caroloine was inspired by brooch bouquets she’d seen online. Her MOH included a sentence in the shower invite that said she would be creating a brooch bouquet with silver, rhinestone and pearls, and they could bring something to include if they felt so inclined. She received so many beautiful brooches and earrings to include (in the bouquet), and it was so special because many came with a story. She rounded the collection out with finds from Salvation Army, Ebay and Goodwill. She and her grandmother looked at several tutorials and tried a few different styles before they came up with the version she used. Her guests had such fun finding the brooch they had given her in the bouquet!)
(The card box was created using Caroline's grandmother’s suitcase which she used for her honeymoon. She made the sign from a wire hanger and yarn. She also made a Bride and Groom sign for their chairs, however due to the change of venue, we didn’t use them. Caroline's grandmother and her sister made over 200 sugar cookies shaped like hearts and fleur de lis. They were so beautiful and delicious!)

I also loved that Ben and I figured out how to work together really well. I felt we were really in sync and that any drama that happened wasn't between us. I felt we were united, and a great team. 

My least favorite part was the guest list. Ben and I came up with what we thought was a very clear and fair way to determine the quest list to stay within our budget. I think it worked well for us, however there was constant conversation, feelings of guilt, and in the end feelings were hurt. I hated every part of it. 

8. Did anything go wrong (that you were aware of) at your wedding? If so, we’d love to hear about it (and maybe even see a picture?). Allow us to learn from you, bridey!

HA! This is such a funny question for me. We got married the weekend of Hurricane Issac, so we had so many last minute problems and changes. The groom's family was hit first in New Orleans, and his mother and pregnant cousin had to come part way by BOAT while other family members waited for the flood waters to recede before they could come. I was panicked that they wouldn't be able to make it. 

Our wonderful cake lady (a friend of his family's) was totally flooded in and three days before the wedding called me to tell me I should work on "Plan B". (Lucky for me, my mom quickly Googled bakeries, and the Blue Owl Bakery took excellent care of us... and I LOVED HER PIES!!) 

We had plans for a completely outdoor shindig at a family members house and changed venues 2 or 3 days before to a "non" wedding venue. Because of the non traditional space, we had some challenges, mostly about keeping everyone informed of when and where things were happening (my grandmother missed our first dance for example). Also, it was super hot and sadly it deterred some people from dancing to our kick-ass band. But we danced! And danced, and danced. There was a freakin kick line! There were other things, but honestly, I don't remember most of them anyway.

All that being said, my husband always tells me and anyone who brings up "how hard it must have been" that it all added up to make for the most amazing, love filled wedding and that he wouldn't trade it for the original plan. It warms my heart to hear him say that. And it was such a good time!  

My "learn from" moment was definitely to plan, but then let it roll. If you try to control everything you won't enjoy the reason why you're there. 

9. What was the biggest challenge you faced from the moment you were engaged to the day you walked down the aisle?

Besides the guest list, which I already touched on and you know, the hurricane... I had a hard time keeping myself from talking about it all the time. Ben put me on a 20 min a day time limit. At first I was so offended, but then I was really happy he did it. You want to make sure you are still enjoying each other through the process! (Also you don't want to annoy your friends, family and co-workers too much).

10. What advice do you wish you had before started planning your wedding?

Actually, I wish I had less advice. I have two close girlfriends getting married this year and I am really careful about not offering unsolicited advice. 

However, if I had to pick something, if sticking to your budget is important to you, then choose one to three things that are really important to the two of you (ours was band, photography, and food), and then make compromises for the rest of the stuff. We were really lucky that we have super talented people in our lives, and I'm not afraid to ask for help. If you must HAVE ALL THE THINGS, either get creative or get a second job. (I did both).  

11. Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

Not much, maybe tried to have better communication though all the families, maybe picked a hurricane free weekend...  

12.  Bridey, please provide the most valuable lesson you learned while planning your wedding.

In the end, if you are married to the person you love the most, and your guests had fun, then it was a huge success!

Industry Peeps:

Caterer: 17th Street BBQ
Photographer: Alex Matzke of The Newly Wed Photography
Venue: Chesterfield Arts & Stages, St. Louis
Wedding Dress: Lotus Bridal 
Hair: Tony Pringle of Metro Design Studio
Groomsmen's Ties: Cyberoptix Tie Lab
Pies: Blue Owl Restaurant and Bakery
Band: Funky Butt Brass