After 540 days of blogging about life as a Real Bride, my time as a blushing bride has ended. This will be my last post as a Real Bride blogger, but, of course, not the last you’ll hear from me. And what more fitting way to end my time on this blog than to thank the people who made this all possible and offer you, who are just starting this journey, a few key pieces of advice? First and foremost, I need to thank the vendors that I worked with to make the day a reality. Even now, more than six months later, I consider you all friends, which leads me to my first piece of advice for all you bride-to-bes: Work with vendors you trust, you like to be around, and you consider reliable. Wedding planning is inevitably going to be a stressful time. No one in the history of "I dos" isn’t strung out at some point during the process, so to be able to turn to people who are helping to execute your day and know that they get you, your vision, and are on your team makes that process so, so much easier. Local vendors that I must thank include: Amanda Kautt and her fabulous team at l’atelier couture. You found my dream dress, Amanda, and without you my smile wouldn’t have been quite as bright as I walked down that aisle, just as I envisioned. Antoinette Ramos and the talented designers at Paperista. You patiently navigated me through the stress of making that first major decision. To this day I still love my save-the-date and invites and your custom creation made a first impression I hope our guests will always remember. Amy Red and Amy Blonde of MiMi Design. Ah, the Amys. You were my partners in crime throughout this entire process. Amy Red, you made Green Bay home a mere two weeks after you said your own I Dos, which having lived through the madness of a wedding is unreal. You both were always one step ahead of me, always ready to answer my every query, check my every to-do list item, and respond to my every e-mail. You made it all happen, and I will be forever grateful. Rosaan Konieczny and her talented tip of the pen. From our envelopes to our place cards to our programs to those custom embellishments on our stationery, Rosann was at the ready to perfectly print any and every word . . . and she always did it with a smile.
Michael Feldbaum with Apres Party and Tent Rental. You took the vision I hoped to create for our reception and transported it perfectly from my head in Minneapolis to our reception site in Green Bay. The tent, the décor, the lighting, the service, everything was top notch. Robin and the spectacular cakemakers at Gateaux. If anyone would find a way to transport a cake from Minneapolis to Green Bay it would be you. All the little touches from our dog's collar and our original boarding passes on the groom's cake to the replicated lace of my dress on our reception cake were outstanding. And your delectable creation was totally worth breaking "the wedding diet." Nandina at Arthur Murray School of Dance. To this day, the hubby and I cannot hear “You Make It Real” or “Dynamite” without breaking into dance. That choreography will be forever ingrained in our minds and also a favorite part of the wedding video to rewatch over and over again.
I would also like to thank my parents. This day has been in the works well before my groom ever came into the picture, and they both supported the decisions I made every step of the way. (Some steps were admittedly more crazy than others: Fireworks? Sure. Individual notes in every hotel room? A logistical nightmare, but why not. A tent brought in from Minneapolis? Let's find some trailers.) In hindsight, I realize that a little more editing may have made my life and the life of those around me a bit easier, but I got caught up in SO many of the small details that it was tough to curate. So my next piece of advice to brides-to-be is this: Find the ideas that are important to you and focus on those. I wanted our wedding to be memorable and welcoming to our guests who had traveled both near and far. Did I perhaps put too much stock in our welcome bags? Yes, most definitely. Would I have changed anything? Probably not. But that is because I had the wonderful support of my parents. Their countless trips to Minneapolis to sit through meeting after meeting, in addition to the meetings with our caterer and florists that they handled on their own in Wisconsin, enabled me with the ability to include ideas I otherwise may have abandoned. Without their support, I truly wouldn't have been able to do this without them, and I am eternally grateful. The day was a perfect depiction of what we've talked about for years, and I owe that all to them. Additionally, my groom was instrumental in helping me prioritize this last bit of advice: Remember the end goal. Admittedly, I got caught up in the madness (it’s so easy to), but I had my lovely fiance, now husband, there to remind me that this is one day to start the rest of our lives. I must thank him for the constant support and patience he displayed, as I frantically shuffled through paperwork, to-do lists, spreadsheets, and thank you-notes. He put up with my nagging (“Did you book those honeymoon flights? Where are your groomsmen measurements? Can you please break down yet another set of boxes for recycling?") and he sat through an abundance of meetings that he probably couldn't care less about just because he knew it was important to me. (He also may have been a little scared of my frazzled state, but we'll pretend he did it out of love and leave it at that.) I am so lucky to have shared such an amazing day with my best friend, and I'm excited to see what the future may hold for us.
And finally, I must thank you, the readers, for letting me share this experience with you. It's been an amazing journey, and I hope you enjoy the process you are about to embark on as much as I have. I'm here if you have any questions as you navigate this path, and as always, happy planning!