Elegance at Any Stage

Thinking about planning a wedding? It’s possible and I’ll show you how!

My husband Jake and I had been dating for three-and-a-half years before we got engaged. We were young (still are), but we knew we were ready to spend our lives together, so we did not want to wait. There were several indicators that suggested having a longer engagement may have been the “wiser” choice, especially financially. But we looked at a budget, I convinced Jake and my parents that I was committed to doing most of the planning and execution myself, and we picked a wedding date for eleven months post-engagement.

I immediately set off on my research. Okay, who am I trying to kid? I had already started my research a few months before we got engaged. I know, I know, a little crazy; but I knew what I wanted, and I was determined to figure out how to get it, even with limitations. The more I read and searched and spoke with people, the more I learned that the wedding industry was not designed for young couples. The money required to plan a wedding that matched what I was being told I needed was indicative of a couple with an unlimited trust fund, or of a couple who waited for five years for their careers to take off. We were neither of these types of couples, so naturally, I felt defeated at first, feeling like getting married so young was a stupid idea, or that we should just elope. But I bounced back quickly and made a plan for pulling off an elegant, fun wedding that truly reflected our style as a couple.

The work along the way was probably a bit harder than if our wedding budget had been larger; I had more leg-work to do in my comparison shopping, and I quickly realized that most of the personal touches that I desired would have to be designed and executed by me. I also learned to reach out to those around me and discover who was willing to help. I had to decide, did I really need the more experienced photographer, or would I be just as happy with the photography of a close friend who was just starting out in his photography business and willing to give us a great price? Tulips are my favorite flower, so I originally wanted all tulips, all over the place. After talking to the florist, however, she showed me how I could extend my flower budget by including other types of flowers, which ultimately created a more beautiful and dynamic bouquet than I had envisioned originally. Did we really need or want a DJ? Or would it be more fun to make our own play-list and have a friend (or brother) MC for us?

We could not have been happier with our wedding photography; our friend truly captured all of the special moments from our day. Photography by Eric Foss

Ultimately, it came down to compromises and decision-making, but not compromising in the sense that I had to give up the wedding that I was dreaming about. I still got to have that. I just managed to do it within our means.

The day turned out to be everything we envisioned - personal, elegant, and fun! Photography by Eric Foss

I hear today from other people in the wedding industry that they couldn’t possibly plan a wedding for under this amount or under that amount of money. And while I agree, there is a balance of reality that must be considered when setting a budget and sticking to it, there is another side that I am ready to expose: no matter your stage in life, I believe that you can have the wedding that you want. You just have to mix a little bit of realism with a little bit of patience with a lot of determination. And I would love to help show you how it is done. Let me do the leg-work to find you the beautiful venue that is not going to require you to take out a second mortgage on your house; let me call the florists and compare prices for you; let me design and execute those personal touches that reflect your style and love as a couple. I have no doubt that I can help you design and carry out the wedding of your dreams - a beautiful, elegant affair at any stage in life!

- Keara Anne