Saying "YES!" was the easy part, planning the wedding is an entirely different story. My OCD and Type A personality traits were on high alert, and soon every decision turned into the one that would either make or break our wedding.
Heather Allen, of Table 6 Productions was our wedding planner. Heather is a family friend of the Mark's and graciously gifted her wedding planning services to us. There were not enough thank you's or hugs or words of admiration that could have ever repaid her for that gift. She was my dream come true. With the weddings of Broncos Wide Receiver and country singer Eric and Jessie James Decker and Jodan Elway, the daughter of football legend John Elway under her belt I knew we were in fantastic hands. She was perfection.
Choosing the wedding location and venue was one of the hardest decisions for Phil and I to make. I am from Ohio, Phil is from Florida, we met while we were living in California, we were currently living in Massachusetts and our wedding planner was in Colorado. Whoa. We didn't know where to begin. After perusing countless venues online we narrowed it down to our two favorites. Phil flew to Florida to meet Heather and together they looked at The Birchwood Hotel in St. Petersburg and the Tampa Museum of Art. I unfortunately had to work so I joined them for the tours via FaceTime. Soooo 2014. After weighing the pros and cons of each we decided on The Birchwood Hotel (because I am a sucker for quaint downtowns and roof decks) and we couldn't have been happier.
Oh the dress. The dress. The dress. The dress. This was the hardest part of the wedding planning process for me. It was a decision I had to make all on my own. Heather couldn't help me, my mom couldn't tell me what to do, and I couldn't rely on Phil's opinion. Add that with the pressure I put on myself to find the perfect dress and there was a fairly good chance I would be walking down the aisle naked. No joke.
For my first round of try-ons I brought my mom, my sister and my best friend to a local bridal shop in Ohio. We grabbed lunch and made a day of it, like you're supposed to. My expectations and high hopes were quickly crushed by heavy fabrics, dominant necklines, and over the top embellishments. Everything I saw had been done before, and nothing I tried on suited me. It was disastrous.
Fast forward a few months and about 50 wedding dresses later, I had a photo of a Lazaro dress that I knew would be perfect. Based on the likes and dislikes of previous dresses, this dress was IT! I found a bridal salon on Newbury Street in Boston who had the dress in stock for me to try on. I called Phil's cousin, Megan, desperately hoping she would come to the appointment with me (because honestly what is more pathetic than trying on wedding dresses alone?!). Thankfully, she agreed and met me at L'elite Boutique the morning of my appointment. The Lazaro dress was waiting for me in the fitting room and upon first glance it wasn't as stunning as I had originally hoped, but I still had faith. I was quickly zipped into the dress and before I even saw myself in the mirror, I hated it. Talk about heavy fabric. If I bent my knees there was an 80% chance that the dress and I would crash to the floor.
As I stood on the platform surrounded by mirrors and disapproving looks, I was distracted by a dress on a mannequin over my left shoulder. I asked Lucia, my hot pink lipsticked attendant if I could try on that dress. Her face lit up, she exclaimed that the dress had just arrived and that she had been dying to see it on someone. She undressed the mannequin, unzipped me from the 500 pound Lazaro and the rest was a blur. I didn't know the brand or the price (big oops) of the dress I was stepping into, but I loved it. Before I emerged from the tiny changing room my eyes were filling with tears. As I stepped up on the platform the entire salon gasped, mothers left their own daughters appointments to come tell me how stunning I looked in the dress. Megan's smile said it all and Lucia was on cloud nine. The next thing I knew the owner had been summoned from the back room and was telling me what I already knew, "this dress was made for me."
I couldn't buy a dress without my mom seeing it. This wasn't how it was supposed to go, so I left the salon without the dress. "The Marchesa."
A few weeks later my mom and sister flew to Boston just to see "The Marchesa" that I had built up and talked about endlessly. They too fell in love with the dress and the next thing I knew the three of us were were toasting and celebrating the purchase of my wedding dress.
My wedding dress was my absolute favorite part of my wedding. I don't regret the process or the price tag of that Marchesa gown, I loved it. I still love it.
Two months after our wedding Olivia Palermo graced the cover of Brides Magazine in none other than "The Marchesa." I have that issue sealed in an envelope to show Ruby twenty years from now when she questions my wedding day fashion choices (as I am sure she will). That magazine cover is all the proof I need. I think.
While planning our wedding was time consuming and often stressful, it was MORE than worth it. It was one of the best days of our lives and not one we will ever forget. Wedding Sneak Peek!
Splurge, enjoy and soak it all in! You won't regret it.