From the very beginning of my engagement I heard horror stories from former bride friends of all the things that went wrong while planning their own weddings. I decided that regardless of what went wrong, I wasn’t going to be one of those brides who let every little bump in the road turn into a crisis and just really enjoy the planning time because, after all, I only plan to do this wedding thing once.
Our main goal throughout the entire planning adventure was to have a beautiful, simple ceremony and for us, as well as our guests, to have a great time at our reception. In addition to a lovely mood-lit setting and a live band, it was very important to my husband and I that we have great food at our reception. Both of us are somewhat “foodie” types, so that is where a good part of our budget went. After several tastings we went with Stoveworks and were SO happy with the outcome. The food was beautiful, elegant and delicious and we received many compliments from our guests.
The best part of the day was walking into the reception after the year and a half of planning and seeing how beautifully everything had come together. Just as we had hoped, the lighting was perfect and the tables and centerpieces looked amazing. All of the centerpieces were my DIY touches, as well as the gift table decoration where I had wooden “L-O-V-E” letters that my uncle had carved for me and I decorated.
My mom and I also did the favors ourselves and the gift bags for our out of town guests. I loved how creative I got to be during this time and it was wonderful to see it all come to fruition.
I was nervous about how it would all look, since I wouldn’t be there to set up the reception hall myself, but that is where Elaine came in. We hired Elaine to do our day of coordination and I tell everyone it was the best decision I made when it came to planning. She handled everything with such grace and I didn’t have a single worry the entire day. I was able to enjoy every moment without the stress of making sure everything happened how and when it was supposed to.
A very special part of the day was when the band invited my dad to come up and play a song. They heard from my now father-in-law that he used to play in his own wedding band and they thought it would be fun to have him get up there and play. Everyone LOVED it and it made it such a fun, unique reception that our guests will always remember.
As a whole, there were no crazy events that took place. The priest was on time, no one in the bridal party fainted, the caterer showed up. It was pretty much as smooth as one would hope for. It truly was the best day of our lives and we will cherish the memories we made.
Location: Franklin, TN
Date: March 2011
As far as our budget, it wasn’t really a “set” budget, but we spent about $15,000. The caterer was our biggest splurge 1) because of the number of guests 2) because we really wanted good food at our wedding. We also really had our hearts set on a band as opposed to a DJ, so that cost a bit more, but the Top Tier Band was very reasonably priced as far as bands go. The other major cost was the venue. I ended up getting a “weekday rate” since my company often book events there, they gave me a good deal. Having nice lighting was also important to me to add to the ambience. We were able to do the string patio lights and the green and purple uplighting around the perimeter for about $500 ($800 with labor).
Wedding Coordinator: Events by Elaine
Photographer: Betsy Limbaugh
Videographer: Cinematic Focus (Watch the highlight video here)
Ceremony: Saint Philip Catholic Church
Reception: Factory at Franklin
Catering: Stoveworks Restaurant
Wedding Dress: New Natalies
Dress Alterations: Oakwood Cleaners
Hair and makeup: Jessica Trimbell at J Bangs Salon
Wedding Cake: Emilie Dishno
(In addition to cake, Sarah served raspberry cheesecake and then later had a s’mores station)
Florist: A Village of Flowers
Hair flower: DK designs
Lighting: Nashville Event Lighting
Band: Top Tier Band
LOVE letters: ”My uncle carved the ‘Love’ letters for me and I wrapped them in colored yarn.”
Cupcakes: Arranged in a letter ‘A’ for the couple’s last name.
Beer/Wine: ”We had the wine shipped in from California in order to have better quality wine for less money than we could buy here in TN, even at discount stores. We bought all the cases of bottled beer from Costco.”
Bridesmaid bouquets: “I bought the flowers for the bridesmaid bouquets from Michael’s and put them together myself.”
Favors: ”My mom made all of the toffee for the favors (she is kind of famous among our family and friends for this candy so everyone loved them) and we ordered a stamp with our wedding date to make the tags for the favors.”
Hotel guest bags