Susan and Joe's Wedding

This is a repost that I had on Indiebride:
I owe a big thank you to all the Indibrides who helped by providing such excellent and unique ideas along the way! We were married July 25, 2009 and I wanted to share it with you to give back to future Indibrides. I have also posted ceremony details in the Vows thread and other areas. Thanks everybody!

Although we had a big wedding, it actual felt comfortable. I was terrified of having such a big to-do, but our families and friends all mingled and enjoyed the day so much. It meant the world to us. We tried to incorporate little details throughout the day to make it "ours". I hope you enjoy the photos...

Professional Wedding Photos: http://yondaphotography.smugmug.com/gallery/9197954_cQnNg#61 4125697_GVCV5
Password: susanandjoe

Engagement Photos: http://yondaphotography.smugmug.com/gallery/8296557_UcvqD#54 3343906_FWEok

Misc. Photos/Inspiration: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sus_joe/sets/

Number of guests: 225 attended / 426 invited (160 invitations)

Number of attendants: 5 adult bridesmaids, 2 junior bridesmaids, 5 groomsmen, 1 ring bearer, 2 ushers

Colors: dark brown, bronze, ivory, gold, cobalt blue

Resources: Indiebride, Offbeatbride, craigslist wedding forum, http://weddingplannerandguide.com/, http://www.weddingchannel.com/, http://www.etsy.com/index.php,

Songs
Processional: Here Comes the Sun by the Beatles
Recessional: Embryonic Journey by Jefferson Airplane
First Dance: Question by Rhett Miller
Father/bride: Stand by Me by Ben E. King
Stopmom/groom: What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong
Wedding Party: I’ll Be There for You by The Rembrandts

What I Loved:
 The flowers – this was one thing that was very important to me. My florist was excellent. It was important to me to have live flowers and I spent tons of time looking into what was available in the colors I wanted and what types of flowers would hold up well.
 Hiring a day-of coordinator – best decision ever. I was really nervous about the day of the wedding and pretty much just wanted to get myself ready and show up. She touched base with all vendors to confirm schedules and deliveries, took care of all the decorating, helped with wardrobe malfunctions, directed guests and wedding party, worked with the reverend to get the ceremony off to a good start, kept me hidden from DH since we didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony, cleaned up everything after the reception, returned rented vases to the florist, and tons more.
 The fact DH and I had just about everything done and ready a week before the wedding and could just relax the weekend before.
 The slide show – we had it professionally done by a work contact of DH. DH picked out the music for various segments, arranged all the photos and worked with the person who produced it. It was a huge hit. We had extra copies made and gave them to our parents and everyone in the wedding party. I'm still trying to figure out if I can upload this somewhere.
 Using table runners for the guest tables. It added a little something and helped tie the colors together.
 The website – a great tool for letting guests know what was going on and when. Unfortunately, it was only used by those who had regular access to the internet (most of my family does not). But, it was great when we’d get questions about the registry or hotels to say, hey-check out our website! Our Wedding Website: the actual web address was http://mylastandhislast.weddings.com but for recap purposes, I’ll list this so you can see it: http://couples.weddingchannel.com/wedding_websites/PersonalW ebsite.action?occ=574102277&view=wp&c=574102277& s=10&t=100&p=22&l=48842#
 Most of our vendors were awesome – I would recommend most of them to anyone who asked!
 Writing our ceremony – I researched, picked out multiple options for each part, and we went through it together to make it ours.
 Having our friend play acoustic guitar for our processional/recessional. He was awesome!
 Providing transportation for guests between the reception and ceremony locations. Since almost no one was from Madison, it took some of the heat off of them to not have to navigate through road construction on campus/downtown to get from point A to B.

What I Would Change:
 After seeing pictures, I would have made the cake four tiers instead of three. We had an additional side cake (and still would have needed one with our high number of guests) but the three tier cake on that big table looked out of proportion. I wanted simple & elegant and was afraid the cake would look too big if I went four tiers. Oh well, it was still yummy!
 I would have used more paper lanterns over the dance floor – it looked sparse to me. I found myself at one point during the reception talking to a family member and looking over his shoulder trying to count lanterns. My DOC and I had decided on using 20-25 lanterns – and that’s what she used. I would have used more to fill it out.
 Our photographers were great; however, we didn’t get many formal shots. I would have requested a photo of me with each of my bridesmaids alone. In our group shots, someone’s face is always in shadow. Now that’s all we have.
 The arbor we used for the ceremony should have been weighted down somehow. It was so, so windy that day. Right at the end of the ceremony, the reverend was giving instructions to the guests about getting back to the reception for cocktails & hors d’o euvres and the bride and groom will greet them later. Well, she took two tiny steps forward and a big gust of wind blew the heavy wooden arbor down where she had been standing! The reverend later said that she could feel the flowers on the arbor brush the back of her legs as it fell! We credit DH’s mom for diverting this potentially horrible accident. She passed away in 2004, but we know she was there with us.
 The only complaints we have are about the DJ. They didn't have several of the songs we wanted to have played at the reception, and would not get them for us. They suggested that if we personally had the songs, we put them on a disc and give it to the DJ. Well, we did that but he wouldn't have played them had DH not gone up and reminded him toward the end of the dance. Then he played only two of our special songs.

The DJ was not loud enough - no one heard the announcement that the father/bride dance was happening, so my mom is really sad that she missed it while visiting in the back with family (who also missed it). Unless you were standing by the dance floor and noticed I was dancing with Dad, you wouldn’t have known it even happened.

We had the DJ announce several important guests' birthdays and anniversaries that almost no one in the room heard because he wasn't loud enough.

Although we asked for a DJ who would interact with the crowd, he did not.

The woman in the office was rather condescending and talked down to us at times. We were highly organized and had timelines, mapped out the location site, song lists for cocktail hour, dinner and dance, etc. and she seemed to think we were incapable of possibly doing all that ourselves. We did.

In the big scheme of things, these are mostly minor irritants. All in all, the day was perfect. We're bummed that our guests missed the announcements because those are things we can't get back - like the father/bride dance for example. At least I know the photographers were on it.

Advice:
 Stay organized. I put together a wedding binder to keep things in order: Timelines, inspiration pics, payment schedule, receipts, vendor contact info, any and all wedding-related stuff went into the binder.
 Go with your gut – we chose all of our vendors by not only their portfolio of work, but by our gut feeling about the person. Do your research online and by word-of-mouth, but meet them and trust your gut.
 Make your wedding your own – don’t let family or friends pressure or guilt you and your FH into doing things. We did not want a church wedding or any religious overtones in the ceremony. This upset our parents – too bad. We have received so many compliments on our ceremony – which was heavily borrowed from Indiebride and other sites.
 Send periodic informational emails to your wedding party and any family or friends involved with the wedding. Give instructions about hair appointments, tux rentals, dress alterations, day of schedule, etc. so everyone stays in the loop and on schedule and knows what to expect.
 It is nearly impossible to talk to all of your guests at the reception. We had 225 guests and were not able to visit with all of them, even though we split up and went table to table at the reception. Contributing factors were: we didn’t want to see each other before the ceremony – therefore photos had to be taken afterwards; and we did not want to do a receiving line because it would have taken forever. Weigh this carefully – if it’s important to you to say hello to everybody individually you may opt for the receiving line.
 Compromise with your FH. I wanted a really small, barefoot in the park kind of wedding. He wanted a really huge affair with all his family and friends (and their children) present for every part of it. If I had my way, we would have had only immediate family at the ceremony, but since 90% of our guests were coming from out of town or out of state, it didn’t seem right to exclude anyone after they travelled so far. DH really struggled to cut down his side of the guest list, and when I saw how heart wrenching it was for him, I just said to invite whoever was important to him and we’d make it work. In turn, decorating and details were not important to DH, but I had free reign over that part of the wedding because he knew how much it meant to me to create something unique and beautiful.

Vendors:

CEREMONY
Ceremony: Allen Centennial Gardens http://www.horticulture.wisc.edu/allencentennialgardens/Inde x.htm
Tent/chairs at ceremony: Bucky’s Rentals http://www.buckysrentals.com/catalog/tables-chairs.html
Rev. Cecilia Pohs of Sacred Soul Ceremonies (no website)
Arbor (purchased): http://www.save-on-crafts.com/weddingarbor.html

RECEPTION
Cake serving set: Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5922397
Cake: “I Do” Cakes by Betty http://idocakesbybetty.com/
DJ: Juke Box Bandstand http://www.jukeboxbandstand.com/
Favor boxes and cocktail napkins: http://beaucoup.com/
Guestbook Pen: Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6152342
Guestbook: from Yonda Photography engagement photo shoot
Reception: The Edgewater (also for rehearsal dinner and gift opening) http://theedgewater.com/edge.index.html

DÉCOR
Florist: Beauty Blossoms http://www.beautyblossomsonline.com/
Table runners: A-Z Event Essentials http://www.eventessentials.com/index.cfm
Paper lanterns: Luna Bazaar http://www.lunabazaar.com/
Misc. decorative items: Sheppard’s hooks, curly willow, etc. http://www.save-on-crafts.com/

CLOTHING
Dresses: David’s Bridal http://www.davidsbridal.com
Hair: Serenity Salon & Day Spa http://madisonserenitysalonanddayspa.com/
Bride’s Shoes: http://www.promshoes.com/gold-prom-shoes/touch-ups/hailey-38 7-3743
Bride’s Jewelry:
Necklace from TJ Maxx
Bracelet form JC Penney
Earrings from Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5583987 & http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5190212
Hair comb from Etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=6492350
Tuxes: Men’s Warehouse http://www.menswearhouse.com

TRANSPORTATION
Mini-Coach for wedding party transport: Rite-Way Leasing http://ritewayleasing.com/
Trolley/Bus for guest transport: Badger Coaches http://www.badgerbus.com/

STATIONARY
Invites/programs/name cards/table cards: Paper Piper Design http://www.paperpiperdesigns.com/
Thank you cards: from Yonda Photography
Save the dates: Magnet Street http://www.magnetstreet.com/store/details/market/517/product Id/15013

Photography: Yonda Photography http://yondaphotography.com/

Day of Coordinator: Beyond Elegant Events http://www.beyondelegantevents.com/packages.htm

Vendors & Venues Reviews

286762
"I Do" Cakes by Betty Arp
Arlington, WI
Cakes/Candies

Highly recommended


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Beyond Elegant Events
Sun Prairie, WI
Coordinators/Planners

Highly recommended


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Juke Box Bandstand
Madison, WI
DJs

Not 100% satisfied. See my profile for more info.


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264228
Beauty Blossoms
Madison , WI
Florists

Highly recommended


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Paper Piper Designs
Madison, WI
Invitations

Highly recommended


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Rev. Cecilia Ann Pohs
Madison, WI
Officiants

She was great and really let us customize our own ceremony.


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Yonda Photography
Madison, WI
Photographers

Really great to work with.


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Men's Wearhouse
Dearborn, MI
Tuxedos

We had a great sales rep. They seemed very thourough. Tuxes were good.


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Serenity Salon & Day Spa
Madison, WI
Wedding Day Beauty
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Allen Centennial Gardens
Madison, WI
Ceremony Sites
168724
The Edgewater Hotel
Madison, WI
Reception Sites

The pre-planning was a bit unpleasant at times, but the day of went perfectly. Unique spot.


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Wisconsin State Capitol
Madison, WI
Photo Sites
137668 l
UW Memorial Union Terrace
Madison, WI
Photo Sites
160168
David's Bridal
Wedding Fashion

I had an extremely bad DB experience and would not recommend going there. I did buy my dress there, but never looked back.


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Christine K Designs
Sun Prairie, WI
Wedding Fashion

The BEST for dress alterations! She was wonderful to work with, thourough and reasonably priced. I trusted her completely with my dress.


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131708 l
Allen Centennial Gardens
Madison, WI
Ceremony Sites
168724
The Edgewater Hotel
Madison, WI
Reception Sites
Emptyprofileicon
Serenity Salon & Day Spa
Madison, WI
Wedding Day Beauty
131565 l
Howard Johnson Madison Washington Ave.
Madison, WI
Hotels/Accommodations
Emptyprofileicon
Best Western East Towne Suites
Madison, WI
Hotels/Accommodations
131659 l
Red Roof Inn Discount Hotel
Madison, WI
Hotels/Accommodations
Emptyprofileicon
Comfort Inn & Suites East Town Mall Area Madison
Madison, WI
Hotels/Accommodations
237760 l
Days Inn Hotels: Windsor
Windsor, WI
Hotels/Accommodations
132982 l
Henry Vilas Park Zoo
Madison, WI
Attractions/Entertainment
67990 l
Olbrich Botanical Gardens
Madison, WI
Attractions/Entertainment
131337 l
Wisconsin State Capitol Building
Madison, WI
Attractions/Entertainment
137668 l
University of Wisconsin: Memorial Union
Madison, WI
Attractions/Entertainment
284481 l
Monona Terrace Community and Convention Center
Madison, Wisconsin
Attractions/Entertainment
Emptyprofileicon
Fair Oaks Diner
Madison, WI
Restaurants
184281 l
Camp Randall Stadium
Madison, Wisconsin
Attractions/Entertainment

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