Image: One Love Photo


I have expanded this blog into a website that deals with similar themes (Balance, Beauty, Balls!), but addresses life beyond wedding planning. Click HERE to check it out. See you soon!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

#51: Brave Wedding: Kristy & Matt

I received this Brave Wedding submission in my inbox late last night and instantly knew that I had to unveil it to you, IMMEDIATELY! Because seriously, Kristy is the physical manifestation of the tagline for this blog: beauty (of the outer AND *inner* kind), budget (she kept it under 10k - wow!) and balls (she planned a wedding in the shadow of some mama drama, financial limitations, and her parents' complex personal situations. Kristy was also able to blend her love of friends, family and faith through a pre-ceremony activity that was beautiful and humble. (I loved it in an oh-my-goodness-I-got-teary-and-inspired-when-I-read-about-it kind of way.)

PS. Just wait until you see her amazing DIY paper flowers. (Sigh!)

Matt and I met 2 years ago on a trip to South Africa with our church. Going there has really helped us see that we are very blessed and that joy does not come from "stuff."  The little orphans in Africa are so joyful and they have nothing. So how can I spend thousands of dollars on a wedding? Therefore, Matt and I worked hard to keep things under $10,000 which is very difficult when living in Orange County, California!

In what ways were you a brave bride? 

I really wanted the wedding to be about family and love. I wanted God to be the center of the wedding and the center of our marriage. I wanted our wedding to be different than traditional weddings. One way we did this was by pulling in people we knew to help us with the details.

Our photographer, Aaron Young, is a friend of ours that went to South Africa with us. His pictures are amazing, and it was so much fun having our picture taking by a friend. 

For our officiant, Matt and I asked another one of our friends, Alan, who also went to South Africa with us. He had just become head of the elder board at his church, and he was able to become ordained for us through his church. Alan knew both Matt and I and saw first hand when we began to fall in love. We knew that he would be able to tell our story at the ceremony and make God the center of the ceremony. 

For our desserts, Matt and I asked Matt's Aunt Tina to make a dessert bar for us. We knew we didn't want to have a traditional wedding cake, and Matt's Aunt makes some killer desserts as a side business. Her desserts ended up being a wedding present from her, so it also saved us some money too. :)

For our flowers, I couldn't justify spending that much money on flowers. I researched a little about making my own flowers and discovered paper flowers. I have made some paper flowers for birthdays, so I thought I'd try it out. I also liked the idea of feathers in the bouquets. So, I bought some feathers and gray bird cage veil material and cute paper, and went to town with a glue gun. They turned out way better than I thought they would and they were really inexpensive!

For the centerpieces, I went to a design center and bought a bunch of vases for about $5 dollars each. As I walked around I started to dream about a vintage styled wedding with vintage labels. Our colors were yellow and gray, so I decided to buy jars to be painted to look like honey jars, and baskets to be painted as lemon crates. I printed out old vintage labels that I had found online onto sticker paper and stuck them on the jars and crates. I also picked up hat boxes from Ikea and wrapped them in paper to make them look like a 3 tiered wedding cake. All in all, I spent about $200 on the centerpieces! :)

For the table numbers, I used pictures of the kids that we know in Africa. Did I mention that Matt and I have gone back every year now to the same place? We love it!  Each table had a frame of one of the kids with their name and a number on it.

For our wedding favors we printed out mini moo cards that had a picture of one of our friends in Africa, and on the back a message saying that we had made a donation to Bridges of Hope in place of a favor.
The mini cards: 
The charity:

As for a DJ, we went with an ipod and our officiant grabbed the microphone and introduced everyone and led us through the day.
Every time I planned something my goal was for it to be not like most weddings. Including the dress. I didn't want strapless which is really hard when looking for a wedding dress. I found Dolly Couture by searching the Internet for 1950 vintage wedding dresses. I didn't want to break the bank on a wedding dress, so I was really excited to find Dolly. I loved my dress. I loved that it was a high neck line and I loved that it had yellow accents to it.

Oh, and the boys all designed their own vans, and that was their wedding present from us. They just had to be yellow, gray, black or white.

    What was the most emotionally challenging part of wedding planning OR getting married?
      My parents split up when I was 15. My father is an alcoholic. He has been sober for a few years now. Which is very exciting and weird to have a dad back. The last few years my mother has become an alcoholic. For the past year I have been struggling with my mother and realized that in order for me to heal from past issues with my mom I needed to distance myself from her. I sought out counseling and starting to heal. In the process, I got engaged.

      The wedding planning season was so exciting yet heart breaking at the same time. I planned the whole wedding on my own, and I didn't have mother/daughter moments that usually occur during this process. When I picked out my wedding dress it was really important to have my mom there. I invited her along, but realized that it was more painful to have her there. That was the theme through this process. I wanted those mother/daughter moments that we see on tv or in the movies, but it was not going to be a reality. It hurt, but I knew that being around her would hurt more. 

      Since my parents split up, my father also didn't understand the point of having a wedding and didn't understand why we would want to spend money on a wedding. Matt and I realized that we would be funded the wedding ourselves. We don't have a lot of money, and we didn't want to go broke just because we were planning a wedding.

      Was there any aspect of the wedding that you spent WAY too much time worrying about? (Or what “went wrong” that didn't bug you as much as you thought it would?)

        I worried a lot about having the perfect time with my mom and getting along. When it came down to it, my mom was on her best behavior, for the most part, and it really didn't matter the day of. I think the best advice I got was that as long as me, Matt and our officiant was there on the day of, then nothing else mattered. 

        There were little things that went wrong like not having all of the dessert table stuff put out, and not having the cups we bought put out for the communion table, but on the day of nothing really bothered me. I was getting married, or better yet, I was starting a marriage and that was all that mattered to me.
        To be quite honest, I really didn't want to be a stressed out bride, so my constant prayer request was for peace the whole day.

        About a week before the wedding I got the idea to have a short Bible study before the wedding with all the women involved in the wedding, and Matt had one with all the men. It ended up being one of the best parts of our wedding. I will say it didn't make sense to have one. Our wedding was at 11am and we already had to wake up super early to get ready, but at 8 am, we all stopped the wedding preparations and sat down and listened to one of my bridesmaids lead us in a Bible study. Then my family and bridesmaids prayed for me. It was amazing, and I didn't get stressed once! Matt's study was great too. His dad led it and talked about how to be a good husband. Matt was able to bond with his dad even more. It was so special. 

        What big lesson(s) did you learn?
          What I learned is that a wedding can be planned on a small budget. I also learned that the details are so much better when they are from the heart. I also learned that by having family and friends be involved throughout the wedding, not only were we able to save money, but it meant so much more than having someone we didn't know. God really blessed us on our day and it was absolutely perfect. 

          Gown: Dolly Couture
          Photography: Aaron Young Photography
          Venue: El Adobe de Capistrano Restaurant, San Juan Capistrano, CA       


          1. Ugh, I'm sorry about your mom. Mine isn't ... that bad. But without going into specifics, I sympathize.

            Beautiful wedding. Thank you for sharing!

          2. What a beautiful wedding!

            It's funny, I've just discovered Brave Bride this week through APW and I've been going back over the old posts. Every time I see a Brave Wedding post I keep thinking, I'm sure I've seen these photos somewhere else. I've finally figured it out - they're all Dolly Couture brides and I've seen them on facebook! I myself will be a Dolly Couture bride in 6 weeks time & can't wait.

          3. Hi Cass! Welcome. :)

            Yup, I pretty much own a button that says "I support Dolly Couture brides" and wear it around all day. Ha! ;)

            Actually, I love interviewing Dolly brides because any woman who goes against the grain in terms of style usually has lots of unique, mindful, and interesting things to say about wedding planning and marriage. (Not that traditional brides don't!)

            I'm getting married in a Dolly dress (but a long one). Which dress did you order??

          4. A custom dress actually but it is short & in the usual style of the Dolly dresses. In fact, it has just arrived at my work & it is sitting here in a box next to me. I am fighting the urge to rip it open & try it on right here but given I work in an office full of boring male engineers I somehow don't think that's appropriate :P

          5. Cool! How exciting. :) I hope you'll tag some photos on Dolly's FB so I can see.

            Or who knows, maybe you'd like to be interviewed for Brave Bride. ;)

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          7. Wow, this is the first time ever reading about this couple and it made me cry a little. I have so much in common with the bride (I bought a Dolly Couture dress as well!) especially with her relationship with her mother and what makes things harder is that my Dad passed away 2 years ago. My fiance are getting married on 10.10.10 and have done the same-recruited family and friends to help out as we are paying our own. A few of my Aunts/Uncles will be BBQing, fiance's Aunt is officiating, long time neighbor/friend is doing photography, a friend has offered to help with my hair, and i've basically planned/DIY everything else. The bride is definitely an inspiration. Knowing she had such a beautiful and meaningful wedding gives hope that ours will be just the same. =)

          8. Nightingale, comments like yours remind me of why I started this blog in the first place. :) I'm so glad that Kristy & Matt's wedding has affirmed your choices and inspired you to remain optimistic.

            The good, the bad, and the ugly within our relationships with family (especially our parents) are often highlighted while wedding planning. I've found that one of the hardest things is finding happiness amidst the imperfect. Sigh!

            But it's comforting to know that people like you, Kristy, and other brides out there are struggling to be brave, too, and open to talking about it. We need all of the support we can get! Hope to see more of you here on the blog. :)

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          10. Just so for they cannot really out of place, additionally have display options for individuals to perform just a few perform programs from which get acquainted considering the medicine along with pictures with game playing.


          Babbling about weddings is so much more fun when people babble back. :)

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