Interview with a Bride: Stephanie and Ryan

This is the first blog post on the new series I am starting "Interview with a Bride". I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed gathering all of the juicy details of each of my past brides wedding. A sort of "where are they now" "what to expect when you are planning a wedding" series. Stay tuned for the next blog (I will try to do one weekly for you per my new years resolution). If you have any questions you would like to have answered by the next bride, please leave it in the comments section. Happy reading! :)

 

How did you and your husband meet and when did you know you wanted to get married?

We met through a mutual friend. There was no single moment, but our first date lasted 8 hours (always a good sign).  Ryan planned the best dates. Each allowed me to get to know him better and explore the city.

How did your husband propose?

It was November 1st, 2014. Ryan suggested we visit a historic house on SLU's campus that is an art gallery. We walked through, admiring the architecture and antiques. Afterward, Ryan led me to a koi pond just outside. (Little did I know that when Ryan went to SLU, he had picked this as his desired proposal spot.) We watched the bright orange fish for a minute. Then, he asked me to sit next to him on a nearby boulder. I took my seat, and he proceeded to dig in his pocket. He pulled out a large box, and I curiously looked up at him. Upon opening, I realized it was a gold locket necklace. (Backstory: The last locket he gifted me had the words "I love you" in it as his first expression of love.) Thus, I knew it was going to say something important, and I started to tremble. While I opened the locket, he got down on one knee and brought another (smaller) box out of his pocket. He asked me to marry him and I began weeping in immense disbelief and elation (not a cute cry, an ugly “I-can’t-believe-this-is-actually-happening” cry). He stood up and placed the ring on my finger. The moment had passed so quickly, I asked him to get down on one knee again so I could remember that moment forever. He obliged. :)

What was your first step for your wedding planning?

Finding a venue was step one for us. There are lots of options around St. Louis, but we wanted to do something unique, yet stay within budget.

 

How did you expect your wedding to go vs. how it actually went? Were you happy with how it ended up being?

The wedding beat all of my expectations! Sure, there were some small things I would change, but overall, everything came together and it was even better than I could have imagined. Winter weddings are risky, but it ended up being 45 degrees and sunny. However, there was also a historic flood the week of our wedding (they say rain is good luck, so maybe floods are really good?!).

What is your favorite memory from your day?

- Ryan: My favorite moment was the first time I saw Stephanie while taking first look pictures.

- Stephanie: There were so many little moments that I now cherish, but the one that comes to mind was sitting with my husband at our sweetheart table watching our guests during the ‘generations dance’. We did things a little differently than usual- couples who have been married the longest (30yrs+) started dancing and then couples with various lengths of marriages joined in (e.g. 10 yrs). This gave us a chance to observe the couples who have served as examples for us (both sets of parents have been married for 35+ yrs) and watch the dance floor fill.


How much research did you do when selecting your vendors?

I did a lot of research. I have spreadsheets for everything imaginable. Beyond Google, I would suggest joining local wedding groups on social media for recommendations.

How much money should a couple plan to invest in planning their wedding?

I have seen beautiful weddings at all budgets, but couples should plan to go over budget on some things. I suggest figuring out what is most important to you (for us: live music and activities) then cut the things that are not important to you (for us: flowers, programs, veil, ‘get-away car’ etc.). Sure, you can get the cheapest vendors, but there is a reason they are cheaper.

Are there any areas of your wedding that you wish you would’ve not splurged on? Any areas you wish you would have splurged?

Nope, I am happy with what we paid.

Now that the wedding is over, how do you feel when you look back on your day?

This is a great question! I have had married friends tell me one of two things: (a) “save your money; the one day is not worth the hassle and money” or (b) “it was such a special day, I wouldn’t trade it for anything”. I agree with the latter. The memories made with our closest family and friends are invaluable. Not only was it a “wedding” where my fiancé and I expressed our love to one another, but it was also an opportunity for our friends and families to visit the city we love and spend time together getting to know one another. It was worth the stress and every penny.

What is your biggest advice you can share to a couple planning their wedding?

When in doubt: Keep it simple! No one remembers what the centerpieces were, if you had a personalized return address stamp, or what font was used on the programs. That is, don’t get caught up in the tiny details. Instead, focus on making it an experience for your guests, then sit back and watch your loved ones party in your honor.

 

Venue: Washington University in St. Louis

Ceremony: Graham Chapel

Reception: Holmes Lounge in Ridgley Hall

Makeup Artist/hair stylist: Sierra- Abigail's on DeMun

Ceremony dress: Brides by Design - Resale and Sample gown shop

Reception dress: Neiman Marcus -Plaza Frontenac

Florist: Walter Knoll Florist- Sally Rodriguez

Caterer: Bon Appetit - Washington University in St. Louis

Band: Saint Louis Big Band

Officiant: Rev Sark Elking