Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wedding Planning in Retrospect

I intended to write a blog post on wedding planning WHILE I was wedding planning, but I was too busy wedding planning, so I didn’t. Now that I think of it, though, having the benefit of hindsight is probably better anyway. Here we go!


For a variety of reasons, both emotional and logistical, Jon and I decided to have our wedding at the beautiful lakeside Camp Living Waters in Weston, Maine right on the Canadian border. This choice was the first that we made, and it drove every subsequent decision from date to dress. 


Getting permission to use the camp was a huge blessing. Living Waters is not a wedding venue, it’s a Christian summer camp that had a massive impact on my childhood and on my faith. I volunteered there from my thirteenth summer to my nineteenth. I took Jon there for a weekend around this time last year when he road-tripped to Maine with me to meet my parents. It was there that he first let me know he was hoping to marry me.


Because of the camp’s busy summer schedule, the only date available to us was June 29th, which presented the first pleasant shock of the wedding planning journey. I would be getting married within one week of Elisabeth Wilk (now Kamakawiwoole), my dear friend and maid of honor. I remember the night when we realized it:

We were snacking and catching up at some dark PM hour outside Chik-fil-A in Purcellville. She had a brand-new sparkling ring on her hand, and I was holding my breath waiting to hear what her wedding date was, praying we weren’t about to have a Bride Wars situation on our hands. When she said July 6th, I sighed with relief, had a minor heart attack as I realized it was the Weekend After Mine and Travel and All the Things, but we didn’t graduate from Patrick freakin’ Henry only to be afraid of back to back weddings, so we took a pair of deep breaths and dove into planning together. Also watching Bride Wars--because duh.


A massive challenge faced each of us: She would have to be in Maine the week before her wedding in order to be in mine, and I would have to figure out a honeymoon that would allow me to be back to Virginia in time for hers (more on that in an upcoming post). On top of that, I couldn’t be in Maine until the week before the big day. Yikes. It took all of five minutes of Googling Weston, Maine florists to realize exactly how difficult planning a destination wedding can be. Elisabeth and I bounced every single roadblock, success, brilliant idea, and Etsy find off each other in the next six months, and as a result, planning this wedding was possibly the single most fun thing I’ve ever done. 


Jon and I decided early on that we valued having cash for our new life together over having an expensive event. We settled on a budget of 5K, which was HARD, but we stuck to it. Mostly. For those of you who don’t know, the average wedding in the United States today costs 30K, and any company that works the wedding machine knows that, and naturally wants to convince you to have an above-average wedding. Not to mention guest expectations. Not to mention MY expectations. I wanted a beautiful wedding. Yeeeiikes. (That’s a mixture of Yeet and Yikes, if anyone was wondering).

How did we do it?

Well, I'll tell you.

First of all, we picked a wedding venue that, not being a wedding venue, was free-adjacent rather than a couple thousand dollars to book and only a bit extra work. The lakeside vibe and natural beauty of the place gave me the freedom to lean into the florals and pay very little more for additional decor. 


Speaking of florals, we saved tons of money and had more fun by opting to buy loose and DIY the arrangements. This was one of the most difficult parts of the process, but not in the way you might think. I LOVE arranging flowers--from bouquets to boutineers--so that was no issue, but the distance between me and Amanda at Chadwick Florist, Houlton, was tough. Pinterest saved the day, though, so even though I wasn’t able to see what my flowers would look like until the day before the ceremony, they turned out amazing. I went for red daisies, yellow roses, baby’s breath, and seeded eucalyptus. The lovely sisters, Bethany and Katie Gicker, bridesmaids extraordinaire, took point on the decor.



They are legit super heroes.


Jon and I decided that the one thing on which we were willing to spend a bit of cash was photography, because that’s all you get to keep forever besides the wedding bands and the promises. We settled on NOVA’s Rachel Yearick for her romantic style and calming manner. We wanted our wedding photos to have some continuity of style with our beautiful engagement gallery, and Rachel at Twin First Photography delivered once again. We could not be more happy with our preserved moments! I adore Rachel as a friend, but she is out of this world as a photographer. She worked with a weekend of scattered showers with an ease, grace, creativity, and attentiveness that just blew me away. At one point she found herself some twine and a ladder and hung my dress up in the woods! Dang.


Speaking of people who blew me away, we also imported our caterer, a recent culinary school graduate just breaking into the catering world. And I mean just. Ours was Olivia Wilk’s first wedding, and from our Sam’s Club shopping trip (CALM DOWN...There Is No Costco In Maine) to her beautiful rolls, salads, and chicken pot pies--Olivia was amazing. She was a joy to work with, and she makes great food. She enjoyed the willing helping hands of two of my new sisters: Leanna and Katie, and they looked adorable with flour all over them, rolling out pie crust. 



Man, this post is getting long. Why did I think I should shove six months of wedding planning into 1,000 words? Almost Done, I Promise.

Shout out to Kelsey Wolfley, an Etsy Designer who makes beautifully simple invitation files perfect for taking to the printer. 


Shout out to Mr. Edling at PHC for printing and cutting the invitations for all of $6.

Shout out to my mom who took on a sewing project to save us $$$ on table runners, to Bethany Gicker for picking out the fabric, to Hobby Lobby for putting said fabric on sale at just the right moment, and to Etsy for these gorgeous, engraved cake servers.


Shout out to Kennebec Chocolates in Maine for being exponentially cheaper than any NOVA bakery ever, to Jennifer Dumond for baking this dark chocolate gem before taking her kids to the beach, and to Etsy again for this personalized cake topper that somehow looks Exactly like Jon and I.


Shout out to old cars for teaching me the value of mixtape CDs--my choice in wedding favors and my other favorite DIY project of the wedding.

Shout out to my sister for putting on a blue wig and pretending to be an expensive foreign DJ. I don’t know about anyone else, but thought it was hilarious, and I’m thankful to have such a weird, quirky sibling.

On the DJ note, I bought a quality speaker on the recommendation of a musician friend, sprung for Spotify Premium for the first and last two months of my life, and borrowed a microphone and cables from said friend. It turned out great. And by great I mean, mediocre at best, which is all one can reasonably expect of the enigmatic DJ Wizzé. 

And Last But Not Least: Shout out to my best friend for marrying me. 


Isn't he a cutie? (**Cough** I mean a manly, manly dreamboat?). And. With. That. I will leave you.

Next time on my blog: the dress, the old the new the borrowed and the Blue, as well as Highlights and Mishaps from our Wedding Day! Let me know if you’re planning a wedding and need some help and/or would like the contact info/links to any of the vendors I’ve mentioned above. More Soon!


  1. You made a small typo when you were talking about the fabulous foreign DJ. You wrote mediocre when I think you meant to say awesome or dazzling or groundbreaking. Otherwise, it was a great post!

  2. It's really cool and encouraging to see that you can plan a wedding on that much! It looks gorgeous. Praying for a happy married life for you and your husband.