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Hey, Broke-Asses! Christen, your new Real Wedding homie, here. I originally thought I would intro myself with my wedding, but then I saw Brooke and Landon’s pink-and-zebra country club fete oozing with tradition and sentiment, and I couldn’t resist moving them up in the queue. Brooke and her family are dear friends of Dana’s – so we’re extra thrilled to share their special day with you! These two managed to squeeze a 300-person wedding into a budget of ~$23K and its oozing with style! And feel free to get slapped in the face with the incredible amount of luuurrve you’ll get from them.
Occupation: Assistant Manager at The Buckle
Wedding location: Salina, Kansas
Wedding Date: June 3, 2011
How would you describe your wedding?
Our wedding was PERFECT, at least we think so. Our day started off with me waking up at my parents’ place with my mother and father by my side in the morning with big smiles on their faces. Landon woke up at his family’s place and made sure everything was taken care of at the reception. Landon and I didn’t want to see each other at all before the wedding at 7:00 in the evening. We wanted to be traditional and not ruin the moment that I had dreamed of since I was a little girl.
Our wedding theme was different at both of our sites. At the church it was filled with cherry blossoms, white, pink and just a touch of zebra. The cherry blossoms were used in our family because Landon is part Japanese. His grandmother is actually from Japan and is such a beautiful woman both inside and out.
When you arrived at the reception site you walked in to feather-filled centerpieces, with hot pink and zebra in your face.
Our church was not a traditional church. It is actually a church converted into a blues recording studio. We wanted a church with a lot of character, and we got exactly what we asked for. The walls are covered with signed autographs of famous blues players and posters of past concerts that were held at this old church.
Our reception site was at our country club. This isn’t the fanciest place in the world but it held a tradition for me. About 37 years earlier my parents had their reception at that same country club and I wanted to dance in the same spot they had danced 37 years earlier. We had a jazz band that played when people arrived at 8 until all the people were gone.
When we arrived at the reception we went straight into our couple’s first dance, toasts, slideshow and then the cutting of the cake. We allowed people to eat before we got there so they wouldn’t be waiting on us, because we find it extremely annoying when you are starving and you have to wait on the bride and groom to get there after taking photos for 3 hours so that they can eat first. We then got to eat (a little) and then go around and see all of our friends and family. Then we got to do our father/daughter dance, mother/son dance, group dance, bouquet toss (that included lottery tickets, money and gift cards that both men and women were able to participate in). Then we danced the night away!
I did wear something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue. My old was my grandmothers gold ring that my mother wore in her wedding. Something new was my Maggie Sottero wedding dress. Something borrowed was my mother’s diamond earrings, and something blue was my garter.
What was your favorite part of your wedding?
Not to be cliché, but when I saw Landon at the altar waiting for me to walk down the aisle. My hairdresser bet me that morning that he would be blubbering. I thought “No way!” As I waited nervously, hiding at the back of the church thoughts ran through my head of what he would look like, that I should try not to cry, and not to trip as I walked down the aisle. I looked at my Dad and he gave me a grin and our song started to play. I felt like I needed to pee, puke, all of the above. My father took me by the arm and started to go.
I noticed everyone standing up and all I wanted to see was my family and Landon. I turned the corner down the center aisle and saw his face. I will never forget his face as long as I live. He had the biggest grin but he was struggling trying to fight back tears.
Then, I lost it. All of my scared nervous energy went straight to a smile with tears rolling down my face of joy, that I had finally found my soulmate and today was our day. People keep telling us that when we walked down the aisle you could feel the love between us.
What did you splurge on?
We definitely splurged on our photographers, We Are The Parsons, because we wanted to be able to relive each moment of our wedding for as long as we live. Landon’s father passed away several years ago and we realized how important pictures are because they can capture a memory of a time and a place that we can go back to. We found these photographers online and knew that they were the ones. They fly all around the world to photograph weddings and we were lucky enough to have them in Salina, Kansas, for our wedding day. I hope to continue to have the Parsons take pictures as our family grows for years to come.
What did you save on?
Instead of a sit down full on steak dinner, we decided to do hors d’oeuvres and Shirley Temples. Even though it was still a lot of money it could have been a lot worse with all the people we had. We served mini grilled cheeses with tomato soup shooters, twice-baked potatoes, fajita bar, and a chocolate fountain with fruit, cheesecake, etc. We did not have any alcohol at our wedding because both of us and our families are not very big drinkers in the first place.
Was there anything you would have done differently, in retrospect?
I loved having our wedding reception at the country club, but unfortunately at the same time I had to have about four different meetings with the head people of the club to make sure that everything was ready and good. They seemed to be very unorganized and often forgot the wedding menu and timeline of that night. On our wedding day, our menu had changed a little without notice and our projector we needed for our slideshow was in a different location that day and it was our job then to find another one that morning. Luckily, Landon and my father were to the rescue. I would just make sure that for all your venues you hire someone who will keep in contact with you and who is very organized. This will save a lot of headaches.
What was your biggest challenge in planning?
Trying not to go over our budget! We planned to stay around the $20,000-25,000 range, which we did!!! YAY! But it was hard because we knew a large chunk of money was going to the photographers and toward my dress. Luckily, I had one of the best wedding planners ever and she made it happen.
What lessons did you learn from planning or from the wedding itself?
It’s really really nice to have a timeline and make sure you stay on top of it. in one of my first meetings with my wedding planner, we went over what had to be done every month so I knew what to expect. I was soooo excited about planning my wedding that we were way ahead of schedule on most of everything which was soooo nice. I know several of my friends who got married that same summer didn’t have a set timeline, and it was very challenging for them about 2 months out from the wedding since they had so much to do.
What were your top 5 favorite things about your wedding?
1. Having the most amazing wedding planner, Laura Besher.
2. Our photographers and our photos that we now have forever and ever.
3. Our beautiful four-tiered cherry blossom cake.
4. My dress.
5. The Bill McMosley Jazz Band.
Top 5 least favorite?
1. How hot the church was with over 300 people in it and the A/C was on full blast.
2. Not being able to breathe before walking down the aisle.
3. People walking in last minute right before you walk down the aisle.
4. Landon’s father and my grandfather were unable to be there physically. (But they were there spiritually.)
5. Having to decide who to cut from your close friends on the invitation list so that you don’t max out.
What was the best wedding advice you received?
We had been given this advice from several people, “Enjoy and cherish every moment you have at your wedding, because it will fly by.” This was especially true for us because we didn’t have our wedding until 7 in the evening. This was honestly the best advice because we can remember and enjoy almost every moment from our wedding because we took the time to enjoy it and not worry about the little things.
Any other bits of wisdom?
Be yourself and have a blast!! Just remember that this is your special day with the person you are going to be with the rest of your life. It’s kind of awesome.
Cherry Blossoms for Cake: $50.00
Unity Candle/Decorations: $80.00
Guest Book: $25.00
Hair and Makeup (6 people): $500.00
Wedding Gown: $1,700.00
Pastor Fee: $150.00
Jazz Band: $800.00
Return Postage: $88.00
Shirley Temples: $584.28
Decorations for Reception: $1,900.00
Food for 300 people: $5,842.80
Lunch for Bridal Party: $150.00
Wedding Planner: Laura Besher, Every Little Detail
Ceremony Site:Blue Heaven Studios
Reception Site & Catering: Salina Country Club
Wedding Dress Shop: Reni’s Bridal Boutique, Wichita, Kan.
Photographers: We Are The Parsons
Hair Dresser: Terri Hajny at Hair Connection in Salina, Kan.
Cheers, Brooke and Landon! Looks like a rockin’ good time. xoxo!
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