Posts tagged vows

As a recent bride I've had the opportunity to experience first hand what to do and what not to do to create the best wedding experience for yourself as well as your guests! If you are a bride, you know a bride, or you're just collecting information for that day that your knight in shining armor gets down on one knee, see my list of wedding advice below!

1. Make it personal

Andrew & I had our Maid of Honor individually ask us questions about each other and our relationship and videotape our answers. We compiled this, as well as some images of us growing up and growing together throughout our relationship, into a video that played right at the beginning of our ceremony. Since all of our guests were from all over the United States and weren't able to be around us on a regular basis, this was a fun way to let our guests get to know us on a more personal level before they witnessed one of the most personal things in a relationship, marriage. We definitely recommend adding in personal touches like this!

2. Write your own vows

First off, neither of us are writers. You don't have to be, all you have to be is in love with that other person in order to be able to say something meaningful. This is something I will strive to encourage everyone to do! We'll be calligraphing them and hanging them above our bed in the near future.

3. Create a website

Our guests thoroughly enjoyed our "Explore" page on our website! Many of them actually came a day or two early to specifically visit some of the places we recommended! Plus, as I mentioned before in a recent post, there's no better place to put the nitty gritty details that don't fit on your invitation suite or detail card.

4. choose Reusable decor

Buy decor that you can reuse! We decided instead of decorating with flowers, we were going to create vintage looking pots full of plants paired with vintage brass candlesticks as our decor, with plans to use them throughout our new home! We also used a glass keepsake box as our card holder, and it now contains many small wedding items as memories from our wedding (i.e. invites, vow books, dried florals, bridal accessories, etc). Instead of a guest book, we had our guests engrave their names in a silver platter that now adorns our walls. A linen banner that I calligraphed our first dance lyrics onto was made into a canvas and is now a show-stopper piece in our living room. Needless to say, these items are now a constant reminder of our special day, as well as a great investment that lasts longer than a day! (see this post for a look into my wedding/home decor)

5. have an Unplugged Ceremony

Kindly ask your guests to power off their devices during your ceremony. There's something special about walking down the aisle and seeing everyones smiling faces instead of a camera or cell phone. In addition to that, I hired a professional to photograph our wedding and I knew I didn't want to see the distraction of cell phones or cameras in those images.

6. Your Guests Won't Notice

There are so many details that go into a wedding and each detail means so much to you, but if something goes wrong, your guests won't know. To keep your sanity, take a moment and say, "they won't know." Your guests have no idea if you didn't complete that extra project you were hoping to get done or if your grooms tie wasn't the right shade of blue. Don't focus on the details, just focus on the end result, you'll be married to your best friend at the end of the day and that's all that matters!

7. Make Memories Together

On your wedding day, you're going to get pulled in so many different directions. Everybody wants to say "congratulations" or take a picture with you, which is not a bad thing — if you do it together! Make a promise to stick by each others side throughout the night. There is nothing you will regret more than having memories on your wedding day without your other half.

8. The Big Three vendors

Choose wisely when deciding on your caterer, DJ, and photographer/videographer. You want your guests to love the food and dance a lot. But even more importantly, at the end of the day all you have left is the memories (and of course your husband), so be sure to choose a photographer that shares your style so that you will want to hang those photos up on your wall for years. And if you have the budget, spend the extra money on a videographer, you will not regret it! 

9. enjoy Bridal Bliss

You don't need to be bothered while getting ready for your wedding day. Print out schedules & details anyone might need ahead of time, make sure to include everything your guests may need to know on your website (i.e. addresses & times), give your personal attendant or Maid of Honor your phone, and enjoy your bridal bliss!

10. Thank your parents

Whether your parents helped with the expenses or not, more than likely they were the people you complained to, took your stress out on and maybe even yelled at a few times. More importantly though, they raised you and took care of you up until this moment when they hand you off to your new husband. Don't let all of their hard work go unnoticed. 

11. you can't have your cake & eat it too

For me this was a big challenge because we all want that special day with everything included. However, I figured out that you have to pick & choose. If you spend that extra money on the photographer, you may have to cut back on your decorations or something else. It is possible to have your perfect wedding day within your budget, just be strategic, and don't get caught up in having a "Pinterest perfect" wedding. There's nothing worse than being broke newlyweds or causing your parents to take out a second mortgage for one day of festivities. 

12. take a honeymoon

Just do it. After all of your wedding planning and then your special day there is nothing you don't deserve more than to go on that honeymoon you dreamed of with your hubby to relax and enjoy newly married life. If you budget for it ahead of time and start a small bank account where all your gift money goes to, your dream honeymoon can be achievable. Your honeymoon is the best excuse to splurge and go on a big adventure because who knows when the next chance will be. I went on a dream honeymoon to the Amalfi Coast in Italy and it was worth every penny!

I hope you find this advice helpful in your planning process and that you're enjoying this season of life with your fiancé. Don't hesitate to reach out for any bridal advice!


p.s. For other tips or insight into wedding stationery & planning, click here and be sure to subscribe to the journal to receive updates straight to your inbox!


My dream wedding looked like something straight out of the book, The Secret Garden. I always knew I wanted to have a small outdoor ceremony with a greenhouse reception (because I'm realistic about the temperamental Iowa weather). That being said, I've yet to find that perfect venue here in central Iowa. Instead I made due with a local Des Moines art and furniture warehouse space that features an expansive wall of windows looking out to a beautiful wooded ceremony space that overlooks downtown Des Moines. I'll admit that I didn't quite get my dream wedding... but I still got my dream wedding, if you know what I mean! Being surrounded by 150 people that we love was such a blessing and something I'll never forget.


The day was unreasonably hot for June at 95 degrees with a 90% chance of thunderstorms scheduled to arrive in the middle of our outdoor ceremony and despite that, we took our chances! Ohh I'm so glad we did though, because nearly 30 minutes before walking down the aisle the sun came out and trickled through the trees creating those little dancing light beams that never cease to stop me in my tracks. The minimalist alter was lovingly made by Andrew and sat beneath the ceiling of trees. On a tree nearby was a linen banner calligraphed with the names of our wedding party and the aisle was lined with English garden-like pots of ferns and other greenery. Meanwhile, our friends and families filtered in and filled the chairs as we prepared to walk down the aisle.


We knew we wanted to tell our love story at some point during the day, and what better time than right before the ceremony! The last minute decision to create a love story video, turned out to be a great way to give our guests a glimpse into our everyday lives as Cassie & Andrew and the love we have for each other. Photos of us growing up, going on dates, and traveling together preceded a video of my maid of honor interviewing each of us about our relationship and upcoming marriage that proved to be equal parts hilarious and sentimental. (read: Cassie & Andrew's Love Story)


Our bridal party, made up of our closest friends and family members, started the ceremony off and lined the alter. My ladies wore french blue tulle skirts & ivory lace tops and the guys wore khaki suits with french blue ties. The flower girl and ring bearers were nothing short of adorable as they took their jobs mighty seriously! Finally, I made my way down the aisle with my mom on one arm and my dad on the other with tears in my eyes (I told the make up artist I didn't need waterproof mascara because I'm not a cryer. She insisted and I'm so glad she did!)

The ceremony was straight out of a storybook. Our pastor shared a very relatable message about marriage and love as butterflies danced around us (I promise I'm not making this up!). Andrew and I each shared our vows we wrote for each other, exchanged the rings, and recessed back down the aisle as husband and wife as the DJ played one of our favorite songs. Meanwhile, one of our ring bearer's who carried a baseball holding the first ring Andrew ever gave me, was bound and determined to deliver that ring by the end of the ceremony. All of a sudden we hear "Andrew, catch!" and a baseball is flying at us. Thankfully Andrew has more hand-eye coordination than I do!


We made our way across the lawn to the light-filled warehouse space that was carefully decorated with vintage-looking plants and gold candlesticks. Almost immediately the sky opened up and poured, and just minutes later there was a full rainbow. (We're told that is good luck!) Set up for a cocktail-style reception, our guests filled the reception space as they mingled with each other and enjoyed our appetizer stations and cocktails. I'm sure you all know what comes next. We enjoyed the dinner, cake cutting, toasts, bouquet & garter toss, and most of all the dancing that ended the night. 

Needless to say, our wedding was better than our wildest dreams. The mere fact that half of our crew (Andrew's half) traveled all the way from New England to celebrate with us, was more than we could have ever asked for. Having these people together in the city we love so much was something we will never forget. This day was the perfect starting line for the adventure to come.


Read: 12 Pieces of Advice from a Recent Bride



Venue: Sticks
Photographer: Ivory+Bliss
Flowers: Artisan Floral & Events by Saley
Hair & Makeup: Vesta Salon & Spa
Catering: Taste To Go
Cake & Pies: Nancy Ertz
Event Planning: Out of Box Productions
Dress: Anais Anette from a&bé Bridal Shop
Bridesmaid Skirts: Revelry
Groomsmen Attire: Men's Wearhouse
DJ: SBC Event Services
Stationery: Gatherie Creative