As the owner of a wedding design company I'm asked all the time about my own wedding, and I love sharing all about it. So, in honor of my husband and my ONE YEAR wedding anniversary I'm finally writing a blog post all about our special day.
First, the groom. Kris and I met in high school and are the cliche high school sweethearts. I do think theres's something extra special about having started dating so young though. Literally growing up together, figuring out who we are, where we want to be, what we want to do in life side by side. We've seen each other through the hardest times, the awkward phases, and I can't imagine doing life with anyone else or any other way. Kris has been there since the day I first discovered that I wanted to go into a creative field professionally. He listened intently as I described all my big elaborate plans of owning my own business, he encouraged me as I started to piece together what I wanted to create, he never doubted me as I set out to start my own business at the age of 20, and has encouraged me every step of the way since. I always say how lucky I am to have the support system I have and anyone who knows Kris knows exactly what I mean.
I, of course, knew he was the one, we had talked about getting married, but I still had to graduate college and start really working on OKOTA full time. So Kris bought the ring in April, I graduated in May, and he proposed in June. BUT he did a little too good of a job convincing me that he didn't plan to propose until a few more years. So imagine my surprise when this happened on my family vacation to Destin...
So finally it was my turn. I had planned tons of weddings prior and always thought I would want an long engagement to really get mine perfect. We set a date for August 12th which was two and half years away. I wanted to have tons of time, not have to rush, and still be able to focus on OKOTA weddings without the worry about my own overwhelming me. The long engagement not going to lie was frustrating at times because it's easy to get impatient, but really the timing worked out perfectly. Especially since lots of our vendors etc. were in high demand. Getting them booked early was awesome!
The first thing I booked was my venue. I knew I wanted to get married at Bellarmine Chapel on Xavier University's campus, as that is where I went to college and Kris and I had attended several services there over the years. We also both have HUGE families and dreamed of an intimate wedding. Bellarmine's circular seating styled gave us the best of both worlds, as all of our guests were very close to us as we said our vows. We hired a guitarist to play as I walked down the isle and everyone cried. I honestly wasn't sure if I would, or if Kris would. I was just so sooooo excited to be seeing him (we didn't do a first look) that nerves never got to me, but seeing him cry, oh ya, lost it.
I was a little bit worried about finding a dress because at this point I've seen and photographed about a million, so I wanted something different, and my own. After some social media stalking I found Hayley Paige (a little bit before she really blew up as a front runner in the wedding fashion industry) and fell in love with her look. I made an appointment at Hyde Park Bridal and they really helped my dream come true. I wound up getting a custom Hayley Paige gown!!
I also wore the "Hayley Tiara" by Haute Bride and for shoes, I chose the Kate Spade sparkly Keds in ivory. I knew I wanted a huge dress and huge bouquet so thought some easy to move in shoes would be the better way to go. Plus there are few things more "Abbie" on this earth than those Kate Spade sparkles. (To be super extra, the Hayley Paige athleisure getting ready outfit was also sported the morning of my wedding HAHA).
The bridesmaids also wore Hayley Paige with my sister and MOH standing out by wearing the rhinestone belt by Hayley Paige as well. Can you tell who my favorite wedding designer is?!
Unfortunately, the Hayley Paige La Petite flower girl line didn't exist yet, so our flower girl, Kris and my goddaughter, had to get stuck with an Abbie Guthier original. I couldn't find anything I loved so of course, just had to take matters into my own hands and bust out the sewing machine.
I loved all the little details of my wedding day... I was so excited to do a first look with my dad since I wouldn't be doing one with Kris. I had the lyrics of our dance "butterfly kisses" made into cuff links for him. Kris kept talking about how cool that was so I had our invitations made into cuff links as part of his gift.
Another special detail was my mom's gift... ever since I was little I always said I wanted my mom to match me on my wedding day in some way. So, I ordered a necklace made out of the same stones used in my dress and tiara for her to wear. I also sewed a tiny flower piece from my mom's wedding dress into the bodice of my dress as my something old.
Gifting is my favorite (OKOTA brides know)! So I embroidered tote bags for each of the girls to match the wedding colors. Each bag was filled with Plum Pretty getting ready shortie sets, bracelets I handmade, and pearl earrings from the jeweler who designed by engagement ring and wedding band.
It was the best day ever. We were surrounded by our best friends and siblings in our huge bridal party (I have 3 sisters, Kris as 2, throw in a few friends and cousins and there you have it, plus Kris has about a million BEST friends lol).
Our reception was at Rhinegeist and it was the perfect venue for us. I always have leaned towards a glamorous and rustic looks so was like 1000% sold when I walked in and saw the huge silver tanks. I knew our photographer, Jonathan Gibson, would be able to create awesome images with the venue and boy was I right. Jonathan was my photography and design professor at Xavier University and I was his wedding photography assistant on the weekends. Helping him is when I was first hit with the wedding bug! So full circle there he was photograph my big day!
For our honeymoon we did a split trip for 8 days in St. Lucia (Sandals La Toc) and then 4 days in Barbados (Sandals). We had an absolute BLAST! Anyone who knows me knows I'm completely obsessed with turtles, specifically sea turtles and we went to Barbados only because our amazing travel agent, Angela Turner with Turner Travel Tours, found a sea turtle excursion trip that was beyond perfect so Kris agreed we had to make it happen! It was quite possibly the second best day of my entire life.
Getting married definitely provided me with a lot of new insights about a wedding day. So many things I understand now... like a bride not eating the morning of the wedding I never really understood. I was always like you're not going to get to eat until dinner! You can't risk passing out in your dress in this heat!! Well there I was with stomach growling during the ride to the chapel :)
And how many times do you hear "It goes by SOO fast! Be sure to take it in!" I expected that to be true, but never expected it to be THAT true! WOW there were so many parts I wish I could just re-live over and over and savor just a little bit longer. For example, we surprised everyone with a confetti cannon during our reception entrance (I actually told EVERYONE I was doing one, but they all just thought I was just being extra and kidding... I was not kidding! :) ) After, I looked at Kris and he was like "How did the entrance go?! I blacked out!" bahahahaha The excitement of the day is REAL guys!
Which is why I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in the memories!! We definitely prioritized photos and having a videographer, and am so happy I did. We had Little Brown Dog there to capture everything on video and they did an outstanding job. I love reliving our special day and will cherish this video forever...
I LOVE LOVE LOVED my wedding day and feel so blessed to be trusted to make sure sure all my OKOTA couples love their day too :)