Just like most little girls, I always dreamed of a huge wedding with lots of beautiful flowers, flickering candles, lots of guests, a looooong limo, delicious food, and, of course, moi…gliding down a long aisle, friends and family “ooohh-ing” and “aaahh-ing” over my elegance and beauty. And, of course, said beauty would include the most spectacular dress, simple, yet elegant chignon, professionally applied makeup, manicured fingers and toes, and a dramatic, but elegant veil trailing behind.
Well…our wedding was far from all of that. And you know what? It was stinkin’ awesome.
As Kevin and I began thinking about wedding plans, we agreed right off the bat that we wanted it to be small. We’re not flashy people and we didn’t want to go broke over a party, so the decision was an easy one. The hardest part? Narrowing down our guest list. We agreed to keep it only immediate family and closest friends. We had 30 people in attendance.
When it came to the rest of the planning…well, I don’t think I have the bride freak gene. It’s like I was the anti-bride! It’s not that I wasn’t excited to get married, but I’ll admit that I probably needed a fire lit under me to get moving on decisions. We got the big things nailed down in time – the venue, invitations, food -, but I was definitely still coming up with ideas and shopping just weeks before our wedding. And I might have bought my dress about three weeks before the big day, but I lived 700 miles away from my mom and needed her to be a part of that process.
Here are a few things that made our wedding perfect for us…
The guest list. We invited only immediate family and closest friends. Yes, it was hard to not have certain people there, but they understood. Plus, we got to have an awesome group picture of everyone there!
The venue. We got married at a house that our university owns and was right across the street from the house I lived in before we got married. It’s a house with not only a lot of history, but a gazebo and a long driveway with a nice, big tree shading one end. It was the perfect setup for the ceremony and reception to be quite close together. Not only that, but that house isn’t going anywhere soon and it’s right in the middle of town so we can see it whenever we go back to Tennessee. 🙂
The ceremony. In true Kevin and Keli style, we decided last minute to walk
down the aisle up the driveway together to our awaiting friends and family. It was so special to literally be surrounded by those that love us. We were blessed to have one of our best friends (and Kristen’s hubby), Jeremy, marry us and he did a fantastic job of making the ceremony a great mix of serious and lighthearted. Plus, he kept it short and sweet so there was plenty of time eating and visiting!
The food. I loved having a sit-down meal. I know that it’s not possible for most people, but one of my best friends, Amanda, gifted us our catering from the BBQ company she worked for. Being in the South, nothing brings people together and creates a friendly atmosphere like food. 🙂
The cake. The Ruffled Mango’s very own Ashley graciously gifted to us our wedding cake and lemme tell ya…it. was. DELISH. I’m talking so good we couldn’t wait the obligatory year to eat the top on our first anniversary. We busted that sucker out of the freezer as soon as we got back from our honeymoon. Lady can bake!! 😉
The decorations. We kept it simple. We ordered our flowers from Sam’s Club and put the arrangements together ourselves. And by “we” I mean Kristen and Heather. 🙂 I ordered 24 of these blue mason jars from Amazon (and still use them as drinking glasses!), filled the bottoms with bird seed and a candle and hung them from shepherd’s hooks. That day I also inherited a new sister-in-law with mad craft skills and she made us a few special pieces.
The dress and suit. As I mentioned above, I basically waited until the last minute to buy my dress. Also, I bought it back home in Florida on a Friday and needed to leave to go back to Tennessee that Sunday. As in, I needed all of the alterations done (Hello, modesty panel!) in two days and the rushed job ended up costing as much as my dress. Kevin’s suit came from one of those package deal suit places. His alterations cost NINE DOLLARS and we got them done in THREE HOURS. Jeepers. I shopped for shoes up until the day before our wedding and never found any I liked. So, I didn’t wear any! I had a fresh pedicure and even with my sideways wonky pinky toes, I let my 10 little piggies out for the evening.
The primping. Did it all myself, including my nails with a $1.50 bottle of polish a half hour before the ceremony.
We had a great time at our wedding and I’d like to think that our guests did, too. One of the first things I said when we started planning was that I wanted our wedding to be a great party with our closest friends where we just happened to get married. It was exactly that and we couldn’t have been more pleased with everything.
The key to our nuptial success? These ladies…
…My dearest and oldest friends, who came early and stayed late, and one who drove from Texas by herself with a toddler and an infant. We seriously would’ve gotten married in a parking lot with toilet paper decorations and Funyuns to eat if it weren’t for Kristen, Heather, and Amanda. Love you five. 🙂