It happened really fast. We were leaving for vacation the next day and I had some hopes but no evidence that a proposal may be coming. He got a ring with his mom and my sister’s help. He was nervous so he came home from work and came straight in and before I knew what was happening he was on one knee. Our parents were waiting to celebrate with us after.
Once we decided on the ceremony location I knew I wanted it to be elegant and simple to let the setting shine. We also wanted things to be fun and comfortable so we told our guests the dress code was “Vegas Formal”. For the reception we were caught between wanting more than a sit down dinner in a restaurant but not having enough guests for a full blown reception. Having a caterer come to our Airbnb was the best of both worlds.
THE PLANNING PROCESS
I had always imagined that I would have a big backyard wedding at my grandmother’s house. After several months of procrastinating we started planning in earnest. Unfortunately our city was hit by a category 5 hurricane that forced us to change our plans. As disappointing as it was it pushed us to actually think about what we really wanted our wedding day to be like. We decided pretty quickly to drastically reduce our guest list and to look for a good destination. We found Valley of Fire State Park and everything started to fall into place.
YOUR OUTFITS AND ACCESSORIES
I found my dress pretty quickly and easily shopping with my mom and sister in Birmingham. The dress came from a store called Bustle that sells samples so I ended up deciding to just pull the trigger so nobody else could get the dress. I found an amazing faux fur coat online and wore some Tom’s heels that I already had. Matt is a practical guy so he bought a black suit he could wear again and really enjoyed getting to gamble in it at the casino after the reception. I wore a gold sequin dress with bell sleeves from BHLDN for the after party.
Even though we tried to slow it down the whole day was still a crazy blur. We had so few guests the first times seeing everyone on the day of, was really special. Being able to see so many friends and family throughout the day was great. Everyone meeting up together in the lobby to go to the party busses, and the bus rides themselves were all really special. We also decided toward the end to do a first look and that was an awesome turning point for the day. It went from rushing to get ready to actually feeling in the moment and seeing everything coming together.
ADVICE FOR OTHER COUPLES
To me the most important things were staying on budget and staying true to the feeling we wanted the wedding to have. Try to really think about what parts of the wedding are most important to you. We booked our planner, photographer, and caterer first because they were the most important things to us, and I’m so glad we did because we cut corners in less important places later to stay on budget. Also remember that comparison is the thief of joy. Don’t go too deep down the Pinterest and Instagram rabbit holes of million dollar weddings and styled shoots.
Photography by Gaby J Photography