What creative or personal aspects did you include in your wedding?
We wrote our own vows, my “something blue” was my grandmother’s handkerchief she used at her wedding, I wore a penny in my shoe for good luck, our favors were royal icing cookies with each guest name personalized, I did a first look with my bridesmaids and father.
We are from Pennsylvania and my family is Polish so we did the “bridal dollar dance” and my uncle and grandfather took my shoes off after the garter toss to collect more money in my shoes (old tradition). We also had the “Pittsburgh cookie table” on display!
Did you do any DIY projects or create any handmade items for your weddings?
I bought a cricut specifically for wedding projects and did my own signage! We made our wedding programs into fans since our ceremony was outdoors. My matron of honor has an Etsy shop (emilytrends) and made both my jewelry and the jewelry for the bridesmaids!
What was the biggest thing you did to save money?
Shopped around for florals! My venue also had a floral shop and I found it to be the most affordable option. I have to brag that my total cost of flowers was $800! The majority of quotes I received from other florists for the same description of what I wanted was around $1700-2,000. That was a huge lesson I learned to shop around for better prices because they are out there!
I also found my photographer and videographer when they first started out and secured their beginning rates since most of them will go up each season (both of mine have already went up hundreds of dollars in the past year). I could see the talent was there so I wasn’t afraid to book someone that didn’t have decades of experience. Although it was time consuming, we saved tons of money by shopping around and researching great vendors for great prices!
What’s the best advice you have for planning your wedding now that you’re on the other side?
It’s probably not what a bride would want to hear: but focus more on the marriage and not the wedding day. The current statistic is that 50% of marriages end in divorce, so fight the odds! Also, if you have the expectation that some things will not go as planned, you will be golden. If you keep your eyes on the prize (marrying your best friend) then you will not be the slightest bit bothered when for instance, someone forgot to put flowers on your cake, people step and get mud all over your dress in the receiving line before photos, and the majority of cookies were forgotten downstairs and not placed out for dessert. Those were a few examples of what happened to me and I never realized until someone else told me because I was so happy to finally be a wife!
Our officiant told us to take a moment and soak it all in as we looked out to the crowd during the ceremony. It was beautiful to see our loved ones grinning ear to ear and realize the support we have as two families became one. I would definitely recommend taking a moment to pause!
What was your biggest splurge?
Growing up, my family was big on home movies. There is even footage of my grandparents wedding day so there was never a doubt that I’d have a videographer. For us it was a splurge because we had several family members offer to record the ceremony and reception for free. However, I love the cinematic feel of a professionally made video and how the music in the background captures the emotions of the day. My makeup is washed away and my flowers are all dried out, but I will have the video forever!
What was your favorite detail?
I stole this idea from my matron of honor’s wedding, but I loved our cookie favors. Each guest had a cookie sitting at their table with their name on it. Looking back, I realized it served many purposes! It let the guests know where to sit at their table and gave them some sugar if they were hungry before dinner was served. My mom is actually making hers into a Christmas ornament! I didn’t want to spend money on something that was going to go to waste, so I recommend any kind of edible favor!
What is the most memorable moment of your day?
We got married on what would’ve been my grandmother’s 80th birthday after our venue told us in 2020 that they only had 1 date for 2021- June 19th, 2021. I definitely took it as a “sign” that the date was meant to be.
We originally wanted to hold the ceremony in a church, but faced some obstacles. We decided to go with an outdoor ceremony reluctantly, but people assured me that the weather would be beautiful because of the significance of the date. Well, the forecast the morning of was calling for a 100% chance of thunderstorms at our start time with gusty winds and HAIL! It rained the entire morning and I heard the guests shuffling upstairs in the barn. My coordinator came in and said I had to make a decision. I suddenly felt confident it would come to an end and said to keep the original plan.
The guests walked with their umbrellas to their seats. As I peak outside right before I walk down the aisle, I see the rain has completely ceased. It held up for the entire ceremony. We were pronounced as husband and wife and as we take the 1st step down the aisle, the sun comes out and blasts our faces! My husband and I cried tears of joy. Not a single drop of rain fell from the sky the entire evening. Our venue owners said they had never seen anything like it in their 20 years of business. I knew my grandmother wouldn’t let us down and she delivered!