Wedding season is upon us, and I am loving the torrent of wedding photos. You could call me wedding obsessed. From seasonal florals, to designer dresses, to the unique hairstyles and accessories, I can’t get enough. My alter ego is a swanky wedding planner who walks around in black Louboutins with a clipboard, shouting “Why aren’t the linens PRESSED!?”
A lot of women probably say this, but I cannot get over my wedding day. I daydream about it. I’m constantly re-scrolling through pictures. I wish I could re-eat the food and my cake on a daily basis. I can’t wait to show my little girl my wedding gown and have her try on my wedding shoes. I miss the steady stream of packages coming to the house one by one, bringing us each carefully thought out piece of decor. I had so much fun designing our invitations and favors. I took so much joy in planning every tiny detail of the day, that I wanted to document it here from start to finish, if only for my own pleasure.
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THE DRESS | ALTA MODA
Salt Lake City is the lucky home of Alta Moda Bridal, carrier of couture wedding gowns. I discovered them before I met my husband, while walking my dog by their store front shortly after they opened. I took one look at the display window and instantly knew I would find my perfect gown there someday.
Kourtney was the associate I worked with, and I can’t say enough good about her, or the general service at Alta Moda. (Now, if only they would allow some champagne – hint hint!) Before my appointment I filled out a survey, and sent over pictures of my dream wedding dresses. They knew the designers of the dresses I sent to them, and were able to make selections that met the same criteria.
When planning a wedding, time is precious. My wedding dress was easily chosen in under two hours…I don’t think it gets anymore personalized or streamlined than that! I ended up choosing a gown from Berta Bridal‘s Fall 2016 collection. An Israeli designer, each dress is handmade to order. The color of the gown was nude, with ivory and white lace overlay and pearl details. I loved the classic structure – fitted with beading down the back – paired with sexy details like a plunging neckline. The dress had some stretch, making it so easy to move in. The quality of the construction was clear, because it held up through a full day of pictures, the wedding, and champagne induced dance moves – no rips, tears, lost pearls, OR slipping!
THE VENUE | THE FALLS AT TROLLEY SQUARE
If I could go back, I would have selected a larger venue for my 250 guests. We originally planned 200, but the list quickly grew, and we ended up shoving a lot of tables and people in a space that really couldn’t fit them. The Falls was incredibly cost effective, and the venue had just been built the year before so it was in great condition. The bride’s room was beautiful, and the groom’s space was perfect for our large families to hang out in between events. The venue has a modern, simplistic look, so it was easy to transform the space to meet my vision.
THE FLOWERS & DECOR | THE POTTED PANSY
Mandy Ogaz owns The Potted Pansy, and I found her through Instagram. Her floral arrangements are out of this world. It was incredible how she was able to look at my Pinterest Wedding board, and identify my exact style. I wanted a greenery + neutral scheme with pops of peacock and blush. I wanted the florals to be a beautiful focal point of my wedding day, and they absolutely were.
THE CEREMONY | LUCINDA DILLON & BEVERLY PATCHELL
Lucy is an old friend of mine whom I met as a teacher at my Yoga Teacher Training in 2011. Neither my husband nor I are religious, but we do consider ourselves spiritual. Additionally, our families are religious, so we wanted a ceremony that would be true to who we are as individuals, while feeling inclusive to our families. Lucy was able to combine traditional and unique officiant techniques flawlessly.
My heritage is Oklahoma Cherokee, and this was also something we felt it important to include. Beverly Patchell, a registered nurse and Medicine Woman offered to assist in marrying us. We had a Cherokee wedding vase, which symbolizes the union of two souls. She called upon the four winds to bless and protect us in marriage, and we finished with a traditional blanket ceremony.
THE FOOD | CULINARY CRAFTS
Don’t even bother to call another caterer in the state of Utah. Just don’t. The quality of Culinary Crafts is without equal, and your guests will leave saying that it’s the best food they have ever eaten at a wedding. Mary Crafts herself helped me plan out our event. What I appreciated most was her candid honesty. I had a lot of ideas that sounded great to me, but would have been impossible–or implausible–to put into action.
For example, I wanted a hanging dessert buffet that gave the illusion that the food was floating. We would need to use this same display for drinks before the ceremony, then desserts after dinner. Instead of giving me “what I wanted” she explained that this buffet took up far too much space for my guest count, and wasn’t sturdy enough to hold the welcome cocktails. I was happy to have her expertise on what actually works at large events, otherwise there may have been many disasters.
Because our guest count was so high, and because I’m indecisive…we decided to go with hearty appetizers + small plates instead of a more formal, plated dinner. We also included side dishes in informal “bar style.” Paying homage to my Texas roots, we chose a variety of southern comfort foods to elevate.
Peach Lemonade Garnished with Rosemary | Hot Chocolate Bar | Locally Brewed Beer | Wine
Fried Green Tomatoes & Aioli | Tomato Soup & Grilled Cheese Points | Shrimp & Grits
Chicken & Waffles | Deconstructed Jumbalaya & Cajun Rice | BBQ Short Rib Sliders
Salad Bar | Biscuit Bar | Brown Sugar Whiskey Baked Beans
Salted Butterscotch Pot de Creme | Buttermilk Tarts with Berries | Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
See what I mean? Just amazing. It all tasted as incredible as it looked, too. One tip I will give for working with Culinary Crafts is, to pay attention to your details and always show up for the meetings. They are amazing, but because of that, they are in demand, meaning a detail or two might fall through the cracks. However, they will be happy to correct any mistakes and you will be happy you hired them.
THE CAKE | FLOUR & FLOURISH
I originally decided to hire Cassidy (owner&operator of Flour & Flourish) because of her insanely realistic sugar flowers. I ended up not having any sugar flowers on my cake, but was still happy with my choice. I don’t want to offend any of my other vendors, because I had some amazing ones, but Cassidy was my favorite. She is a cake goddess. GODDESS I TELL YOU.
I think wedding cake that isn’t white is tacky–I know, so old fashioned–but I had her make most of ours chocolate, because it is literally the best chocolate cake I’ve ever had. At the tasting I was so blown away, I knew I had to let all of our guests try it too. The rest of the cake was white, with raspberry swiss buttercream, also divine. I wish we had pictures of the individual slices, because even the inside of the cake was flawless.
In my opinion, the best vendors are the ones who tell you when your ideas are terrible. Nicely of course. I had a lot of various ideas for my cake, and Cassidy was honest about what looks best, tastes best, and how to fit our vision into our budget.
THE GROOM’S CAKE(S) | MINDI BAKERY 911
My dear friend Mindi Neilsen, owner of Mindi Bakery 911 did our groom’s cakes as a wedding present. My husband is a total Star Wars nerd–I mean who has a Darth Vader tattoo if you don’t LOVE Star Wars right?–so I wanted to tie that in to our big day. It also played well with the “Starry, Starry Night” theme. The inside of the cakes were Funfetti, of course!
THE MUSIC | DJ LIVE GUYS & THE SUNSET VIOLIN DUO
I’ll be honest, after splurging on the dress and the caterer…we didn’t have much leftover for live music. I really wanted a string quartet to play me down the aisle, but I opted for a violin duo instead, and was not disappointed. Trent Rolf is the person I worked with, and he was excellent. They played during guest arrival, the ceremony, and during cocktail hour. Live music can’t be beat, it transforms the feeling in a room entirely, I would say it’s a wedding must-have.
BEHIND THE SCENES
The best part of our wedding day–besides the wedding of course–were the people surrounding us. Family flown in from all over the country, childhood friends, teachers, mentors, colleagues, and many more. We were blown away by how many people showed up, so many that we didn’t even have a venue big enough! Here are some shots that highlight how much fun the day was. I like to think I wasn’t TOO much of a Bridezilla…
HAIR & MAKEUP | ARTISTRY BY MINDI
You may be asking yourself…is this the same Mindi who did the groom’s cakes!? The answer would be yes. Yes it is. She is dually talented and she totally brought that talent to our big day. I don’t know where we would be without her. She did hair and makeup for bridesmaids, my husband–minus the makeup, and I. Mindi has been my hairstylist since 2012 or so. I met her through the pageant circuit, she was the best hair & makeup sponsor Miss Utah ever had. She has definitely pulled through for a lot of us pageant girls on our wedding days too! We opted for airbrush makeup, not only does it make you feel fancy, it’s like being photoshopped in real life.
THE PHOTOGRAPHY | PERRYWINKLE PHOTOGRAPHY
All of the photography in this post is by Lauren Perry, of Perrywinkle Photography. It speaks for itself, but I want to speak for her character. The day of our wedding it was a legitimate blizzard. Almost every vendor was hours late to the venue due to the weather, and we live in Utah where we are used to snow. You couldn’t see 5 feet in front of you, the snow was so bad. Obviously, we couldn’t take pictures out in that weather.
Lauren agreed to do our formal couple pictures the following Monday morning, while we still had the tux rented. If you don’t know how photographers work, know that this is very rare. Generally, you pay for a set amount of hours, booked months in advance. For an in-demand photographer like Lauren, on-the-spot changes are unlikely. Lauren suggested the Utah State Capitol Building, spending two hours with us, after completing the eight hours we already paid for, and didn’t charge a thing. I will forever be grateful to her flexible generosity, because the snow could have easily derailed our wedding day pictures.
Overall, the day was perfection. I learned that I do NOT want to be a wedding planner–although I’ll still take those black Louboutins, and that I absolutely chose the perfect man to marry. If you’re still reading, thanks for sharing the memories with me!