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, August 11, 2010

#61: Brave Wedding: Alissa & Matt

You guys. So I've had this particular brave wedding up my sleeve for a while now, just waiting for the perfect time to unveil it. (Yup, because it's THAT special.) It's the first official wedding wisdom Wednesday after my own nuptials, but since I'm holding off on writing about my wedding until the photos come in, I thought I'd feature a celebration that has me going "Damn, I wish I thought of that myself!"...or perhaps wishing that I had pulled an "I Love Lucy" by wearing a fake mustache, claiming I'm the groom's long lost Filipino second cousin, and crashing this couple's fabulous wedding. 

Today I give you Alissa and Matt, who hosted a wonderful day-long celebration of fun activities including a bike ride with their wedding guests (and you KNOW how much I love brides on bikes), and a yummy brunch. All within a reasonable  budget, of course.

But most of all, I love this wedding because it is the result of creativity and *loving compromise* between two brave people who knew no bounds. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Alissa...

Considering I was the girl who was never going to have a wedding, I found I had to be brave from the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I love going to other people's weddings. Who doesn't? However, the thought of being the bride was never something that interested me. I was more of an elope kinda girl. However, with marriage comes compromise, and my future husband's feet were firmly planted in the “We are having a wedding” camp.

So the negotiations began. For me, the wedding should just be about me and my husband, throw in some place scenic, a good two week vacation and wallah! Married. For Matt, weddings are huge affairs with hundreds of friends and family. Factor in the cost of an average wedding, and the planning process was quickly turning into my nightmare. Needless to say, it took a while to find a middle ground. As far as I was concerned we could stay engaged forever. However, my parents and my fiance weren't having that option either.

So I really had to get creative. For those of you who find yourself in a wedding planning dilemma, and aren't sure where to start I offer this advice:

Think of the things that matter most to you. Focus on making those things a part of your wedding and THROW THE REST OUT!

For me the things that I wanted to incorporate into the wedding were:
1. Bikes- My fiance is a big cyclist and it is our #1 shared hobby.
2. My favorite things in terms of dining out: Brunch and Happy Hour
3. Making our guests feel like we went out of our way to thank them for being a part of our day.
4. The outdoors. (Ok, so I failed at this one, but considering it was snowing 6 days before my May 22nd wedding, I was glad I had indoor venues.)

In the end we settled on a morning wedding at a park-owned historic house in our neighborhood. After the ceremony, my husband and I climbed on a tandem bike and about 50 of our guests joined us as we paraded a couple of miles through town to the brunch.

A fantastic restaurant nestled in a historic hotel in town served up a decadent family-style brunch for our guests. There were mountains of food. We feasted on everything from homemade pastries, crab cakes, chicken enchiladas, and eggs Benedict, just to name a few. As our guests sipped creative mimosas, Bloody Marys and cappuccinos the traditional toasts were given and we all began to relax and enjoy, as all the typical wedding reception events were over (short and sweet)!

After brunch we took a break from the festivities, and our guests were free for a couple of hours to enjoy the town. Our final event was a happy hour(s)/cocktail party that we threw at a small local art museum. There we served up margaritas (our favorite drink), wine and beer, and we had the event catered with heavy appetizers. At about 9pm the happy hours ended and we hit the town!

I had a good amount of anxiety that people wouldn't “get” my nontraditional wedding. After all, we had no cake, there was no first dance, there was no dancing at all really (we had music playing at the museum, but everyone tended to mingle), no DJ, no band, etc. Our guests didn't seem to miss these things at all. Instead they raved about the food, reminisced about the bike ride, and loved the relaxed atmosphere of the cocktail party. In the end I think it worked out because

1. We stuck to things that represented “us” as a couple.
2. While we cut out a lot, we didn't skimp on anything that we committed to (good drinks and food!)
3. I did a lot of DIY projects that added a personal touch (thank you Martha Stewart for the inspiration, although I was cursing your name as I struggled through some of your “easier" projects!!!!)
4. While I shopped around A LOT for vendors and I negotiated a ton, I ended up collecting vendors who were excellent.
5. I have great friends and family who helped me in so many ways!!!

For those of you out there wondering, it all came in under the budget of a typical wedding, which still surprises me because our wedding was not small (we had 85 guests to brunch and a little over a hundred to the cocktail party). I did a ton of research on how to cut corners without anyone realizing it, as well as which corners NOT to cut. If anyone needs tips, I will be happy to share!

If I, the anti-bride, can pull this off, so can you! Just don't give in to going with what you think is “expected”. It isn't easy to pull it off (I wished so many times I had caved in and let some pre-packaged venue plan the wedding!!!) but it is worth it. Make it yours!

In the end I am so happy with the way the weekend turned out. My husband just loves to point out how he was right and that I would be happy we had a “real” wedding (how am I EVER going to live this one down! ;) ).

Photography: Dana Romanoff Photography
Gown: Dolly Couture


  1. OMG! I saw this bride on Dolly's fb and am in LOVE with the photos! Fantastic feature!

  2. Mkonieczki, isn't this fabulous?! Actually, Alissa and I "met" on Dolly's page because we had been following the production of each others custom gown, and we began chit chatting about our wedding plans. :)

  3. Ha! Yup, I come over here to get the scoop on all of the awesome pics I see on Dolly's FB!! Got my custom Dolly gown a few weeks ago and I am so in love, can't wait for 3 weeks time so I can wear it for real.

    Love love love this wedding - it looks so intimate & down to earth despite being a larger wedding. And brides on bikes - yes!

  4. Your wedding was so damn cool, Alissa. Congrats to you and your man on your marriage xx

  5. @ Cass - I hope I get to see you in your gown! (On Dolly's FB page? On Brave Bride?? On APW??? I'm flexible, really. Hehe.)

  6. Oh wow! Can I also have her wedding dress? It is beautiful and it looks great on her. And the whole wedding ceremony looks so fun! When can I attend such a ceremony as that? It would be better if my wedding (in the future) would also be like that. =)


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

Related Posts with Thumbnails