How does the weekend always go by so quickly?! At least, another Monday means another new bride to meet! Our bride this week planned the fairytale wedding of her dreams. Can’t wait for you to check it out 🙂
Meet Christa!! Christa and her husband Craig had a beautiful winter wedding! They were married on December 28, 2013. Enjoy reading all the details. Their day was full of rich music, personal touches, and of course the love of their friends and family.
How did you and your husband meet?
Craig and I met halfway through our freshman year at Concordia University Wisconsin, and started dating about one year later. We started to get to know each other well when we in choir together.
Length of engagement?
Our engagement was 15 months. We became engaged on September 21, 2012 and married December 2013.
Favorite part of planning?
While also stressful, I loved trying on wedding dresses. I think I was hesitant to fall in love with my dress because I had so much fun trying on so many different and beautiful dresses.
Hardest part of planning?
I had a hard time keeping everything organized. My Mom is awesome at creating tables and labels with the necessary information, so she was very helpful in keeping all the information we needed in an easy to read format. We also had a very hard time with our guest list. We were in our last semester of college when we created the guest list, so it was hard to know at that time who we would stay connected to years later, and who would be remembered as “college friends.”
We got married in the Chapel of Christ Triumphant at Concordia University Wisconsin. This was our school chapel that we attended many chapel services and concerts in during our time as students at CUW.
I was a Parish Music major, and I’ve always loved weddings, so this was a super important (and HARD) decision for me. I am a traditionalist, so most of our music was pretty familiar.
- Seating of the grandparents and parents: “Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring”
- Bridesmaids and flower girls processional: “Canon in D”
- My procession: A piece our organist (my organ prof and mentor) had taught me in college, “Festive Intrada” by Walter Pelz
- Sung during the service: “We Praise You and Acknowledge You, O God” and “Go, My Children with My Blessing”
One of our friends wrote a hymn text and tune for a choir made up of my cousins to sing during the ceremony. Here is the first verse:
“Lord Jesus, grant your blessing to these, your servants, so that in the bond of marriage through you their love may grow. And just as you first sought out the church with boundless love, Lord, show forth grace and mercy and blessings from above.”
- Recessional: “Now Thank We All Our God” by J.S. Bach.
This was an incredibly special place for me to have our reception. The Club was a mansion built in Milwaukee in 1848. The ballroom was where my Grandma and Grandpa celebrated their 50th and 55th anniversaries when I was 6 and 11, respectively. We had a few Thanksgiving dinners and other celebrations there, as well. It was so beautifully decorated for Christmas, too!
Christmas. I know it was cliche, but two of my favorite things are weddings and Christmas, so to have my wedding be at Christmas was truly a fairy tale for me.
Cranberry red was our main color, accented with gold, and a little evergreen. (See, Christmas!)
I really don’t know much about our bouquets. When I began planning, a florist’s name was given to me by my cousin and grandma, two ladies I trust very much. When I called her and described our wedding to her, she came up with a plan and I let her run with it.
I believe my bouquet was mostly white roses, and the bridesmaids had red roses. One detail I specifically requested was to have a poppy in my bouquet in honor of Grandpa, who we called Poppy. He died when I was in Kindergarten, so I didn’t know him well, but he’s family, and I wanted him to be a part of my day.
Wedding party size?
I would guess fairly average- 5 Bridesmaids, 5 Groomsmen, 2 Flowergirls, and 3 Ushers
Overall size of wedding?
I think slightly above medium- about 215 guests.
First dance song?
“Wouldn’t Change a Thing” by Matthew West
“It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” by Travis Tritt – This was a song my Dad often would play on our family trips. He’s not very sentimental, so a “Butterfly Kisses” or “Cinderella” wasn’t right for us. I looked through his entire iTunes library to find any songs that were somewhat suitable for a Father/Daughter dance, and knew this was the perfect choice! We danced and sang our way through the whole song 🙂
“Make Someone Happy” by Jimmy Durante. This song was on the Sleepless in Seattle soundtrack. My mother-in-law would often play this CD in the car when she (and Craig) would take trips from Milwaukee to her mom’s house in Rockford, Illinois.
What did you DIY?
The favorite thing that I DIY’d was the flower girl head pieces. When I was a flower girl in my cousin’s wedding, we had beautiful floral headpieces, and I wanted to replicate something similar. I had a lot of fun creating the (artificial) evergreen and berry headpieces, and so many people commented on them when they saw them or looked at pictures. We also created the centerpieces ourselves, using bowls and glasses of various sizes, Christmas colored ball ornaments, and candles.
What was a fun personal touch you added to your day?
I have already mentioned a few of the personal touches from our day. The music was specifically and intentionally selected. The poppy in my bouquet had special meaning. Our reception venue had a family history behind it.
Any fun stories from planning?
The first place I went to try on wedding dresses was David’s Bridal. I hadn’t really settled on a style yet, but knew I was getting married in December and would want a dress that had at least a little sleeve. At the time, they were still selling their Kate Middleton replica dress, so I tried it on. I really loved it, but it wasn’t quite right for me. While I had it on, however, the mother of the bride next to me asked to feel the dress. She was blind and always wanted to “see” the dress. I didn’t get that dress, but that moment has stuck with me. It was neat that I had the opportunity to share that dress with the lady next to me.
Favorite part of your wedding day?
The ceremony was probably my favorite part. I loved worshipping with so many of our friends and family, next to this man who was becoming my husband. The songs were beautiful, and the sermon, while very personal to us, shared the Gospel of Christ in a clear and prominent way.
Two other fun moments come to mind as near favorite. One was taking “awkward family photos” with our wedding party at an old, country building near our ceremony venue between the ceremony and reception. The other was our best man’s (my husband’s brother) toast. He was kind of a quirky kid in high school, and shocked everyone with an incredibly funny and sweet toast. Proud of you, Kirk!
Any resources you loved to use?
I have always loved weddings, so Pinterest and Wedding magazines were enjoyable resources before I started planning my wedding, but I once I was in the middle of the planning process, I found them very overwhelming.
I relied heavily on recommendations or personal connections for many of my vendors. Florist was recommeded by family members. The cake came from a woman my Father-in-law was connected to in a small business trade group. A friend from college was our photographer. We found our D.J. when he DJ’ed the wedding of two of our best friends. Our #1 resource was friends and family.
Any ways you were able to save money?
We were able to save money in a number of ways. I asked a friend to do my hair and we did our makeup ourselves. We also found a few of our vendors (D.J., cake baker) by recommendation. These connections often resulted in discounts.
We got our invitations from Ann’s Bridal Bargains, which was a great place to find them. They were well done, and very reasonable. A few pieces of my outfit came from family members. My veil had been my cousins, and the fur shawl I wore outside was my Grandma’s. These were items I needed for a winter wedding, that I didn’t have to spend money on.
What advice would you share with a bride-to-be?
Make the day your own. One of my greatest joys in remembering our wedding has been looking back at the day and seeing all the ways it reflected exactly who we are and the new life we were beginning together. This is your and your future husband’s day, but also remember that your parents have been dreaming of this day for so long. Don’t let them dictate your plans, but make sure they know you value their opinion and want them to enjoy the day, too!
Christa’s photographer: Our photographer was a friend from college who is a professional artist and photographer, Sarah Schempf Bernhardt: Sarah Bernhardt Photography.