On tonight’s episode of The Beck Street House, we’ll be sharing something else fun and exciting that’s not related to our house renovations. Yes, we have a million and a half unfinished projects that we need to wrap up, and yes, decorating for Christmas is still underway, but tonight we’re sharing a post related to our wedding on September 7, 2019.
Now that we’ve been married for a few months and the dust has started to settle [even though our garage is still a mess], we’ve had some time to think over our wedding day and think about things that went well, the things that we’re super proud of, and the few things we wish we would’ve done a little differently. Tonight we’ll be sharing eight of our 16 “No Regret” items from our big day, and we’ll be back later this week to share a few more.
And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for…
HIRING OUR PHOTOGRAPHER AND VIDEOGRAPHER
Hiring our photographer and videographer were easily the best two decisions we made while planning our wedding. Like we’ve mentioned in a previous post, our photographer was our friend Andrea Kerbuski who owns Blonde Bedhead and ak stories. She is also a complete badass and a hell of a photographer.
We signed a contract with Andrea months before we even had a date or a venue selected, however, our videographer was another story. Hiring a videographer for our wedding was something we really wanted, but the high cost made it hard to justify.
About a month or so before our wedding, Laryssa found a Facebook post from a videographer named Franz Knight of FM Visuals with his available dates for 2019, which, to our luck, had our date listed. Because he was trying to fill up the rest of his 2019 dates, he offered us a generous discount and threw in a second videographer as well. And when we watched a few of the wedding videos that he had done, we knew we had to hire him.
And here’s a 60-second teaser of the awesome work that Franz did on our wedding day. Worth every single penny.
GOING WITH OUR GUT FEELING ABOUT OUR VENUE AND LOCATION
Yup, we got married in Jackson, Michigan. Yup, it’s where the state prison is. Yup, we knew that when we booked the venues. Every time we told someone where our wedding was, this was the conversation we had out loud and in our minds. Usually the person would respond with “Ohhhhh Jackson. That’s, uhhh, an interesting choice!”
Yes, we got married in a city that we have no connection to (other than our dear friend Carolyn), and yes, we have absolutely no regrets. The only reason we looked at Jackson in the first place was because we found the perfect venue, which ended up being about half way for both of our families. When we visited Jackson for the first time, the downtown area was beautiful. And to top it off, our wedding was the same weekend as an art festival called Bright Walls, where artists from around the world paint beautiful and vibrant murals on the sides of downtown buildings. This event made for beautiful backdrops for our photos, something for our guests to do in between the ceremony and reception, and it made us feel like the whole city of Jackson was raising a glass with us.
And for our venue, we hit the jackpot when we came across Art 634 for the first time. We knew we wanted our wedding to be affordable, yet still look elegant, and we wanted to have complete control of every decision related to the reception. Every other venue we had looked at was so pre-packaged and standardized, and their prices were through the roof, including a venue that quoted us at $58,000 for a 180-person wedding.
With Art 634, we had complete creative control, could make the space look exactly like we had envisioned, and could use whatever vendors we wanted. It was also affordable. The guys who run the place were a hoot, yet maybe had too much fun in the 70’s. But they were absolutely great to work with. Except for when we asked to move some art when setting up for our rehearsal dinner (“That’s not kosher man.”)
BUYING A CRICUT
We’re people that develop and stick to a brand. And when it came to our wedding, that meant we had Pantone color swatches, mood boards, and of course a set font list. Our interest in buying a Cricut started when we cut wood to make our own table number signs, and decided our calligraphy skills were subpar. And as we continued to debate buying a Cricut, the list of potential signs and projects we could do with it grew and grew.
Eventually on our way back from one of our many trips to Jackson, we bit the bullet and bought a Cricut Air Explore 2. We stood in Michaels and honestly didn’t know what the hell we needed or what the hell we were doing. Once we got the hang of it and figured out how the machine worked and what we needed for various projects, we Cricut-ed all day and night, mostly because we were on a time crunch and had shit we needed to get done.
Our list included table numbers, menu boards, various signs, flannels and hangers for the bridesmaids, and Laryssa’s iconic leather jacket. Our only regret with the Cricut was not buying it six months earlier and not having two of them to speed up production.
BEING INTENTIONAL ABOUT OUR CEREMONY
We got married in the most beautiful church in downtown Jackson, and when summer started, this meant we started “church camp” with the pastor and church wedding coordinator. During one of our first meetings, the pastor went through what a wedding in the church typically looked like. On our drive home, we talked through the many ways we wanted to tweak and change the ceremony to make it ours, and in our next meeting, we made sure to ask the pastor about making these changes.
These changes included the addition of our letters to each other, playing A Thousand Years when Laryssa walked down the aisle, bringing in our own unity candle, and discussing the layout of our signs and memory table so all guests would see them. One thing that we have learned through our careers is to be mindful of everyone’s beliefs and values. We also worked with our pastor to make sure the ceremony was inclusive to all regardless of their religious beliefs.
As our rehearsal began, a few things that we had discussed previously with our pastor and church wedding coordinator weren’t being carried out. And that’s when the claws came out. Just kidding – we were in a church (but have you ever met Laryssa’s sisters? Actions were going to be taken) And we didn’t mean White Claws either. Long story short, the squeaky doors didn’t squeak, the groomsmen followed Alan in, and the bridesmaid were capable of finding their spots on their own.
When all was said and done, our ceremony turned out exactly as we had hoped. The ceremony wasn’t rushed, but also wasn’t dragged out. It was humorous but also sincere and meaningful. By the end of it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room – except for Alan’s, which he still gets shit about.
OUR BRIDESMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN GIFTS
Before we were even engaged, Alan really wanted to give Fossil watches to all of his groomsmen, but they were always a bit pricey, especially when buying five at a time. We struggled and struggled to find the right groomsmen gifts, but then, it happened. About a month before our wedding, we stopped at a Fossil outlet store, where watches, which originally priced for $100 to $150, were $32 each – the lowest price we had ever seen. We went in for a new wallet for Alan, and walked out with seven new Fossil watches. We drove about 10 miles down the road, turned around, and went back in for seven more Fossil watches for Laryssa and her bridesmaids. We were excited to give these watches to our groomsmen and bridesmaids as they were personal, practical, and personalized as we spent time picking out the perfect watch for each person.
SKIPPING THE TRADITIONAL WEDDING CAKE FOR SOMETHING MORE MEANINGFUL (AND COSTCO CAKES)
Alan loves cake, but Laryssa does not. And although we both have connections to people who make beautiful and delicious wedding cakes, neither of us were really set on the traditional cake for our big day. Instead, we opted for a smaller german chocolate cake from a local bakery for us to cut. Our cake was from Zehnder’s Marketplace, and our plan is to order the same cake every year for our anniversary. And for our guests? Costco cake. And let’s set this straight. Costco cakes are damn good. We also bought a generic, unpersonalized cake cutlery set and sold them to a friend right away.
Both of our moms would have probably loved for us to have a traditional cake, but for us, spending less money on the cake made it easier for us to justify spending more money on our personalized cake topper from Little Clay Land.
SAYING YES TO PRACTICAL PARTY FAVORS
For quite a bit of time, we struggled with what we would give as our party favors, and also debated if we would do favors at all. We both knew we wanted to give our guests something that was practical, but had a difficult time determine what that looked like for us. We eventually landed on gold stadium cups, which were personalized with a graphic that Laryssa made herself. We put off ordering these for a long time, as we tried to find the best deal on the world wide web, to the point where our only choice was to pay for expedited shipping to our hotel the day before. Worth it.
GOING ALL OUT ON THE BAR
This was a priority for us. Period. Neither of our families are huge drinkers, but all of us know how to have a good time. When it came to the bar, we knew wanted a pretty good supply of beer, wine, and spirits, along with a few specialty items like Beck Street Blasted Pudding Shots and Grandpa Jerry’s Duck Fart Shots.
We built the main bar for our reception about a week before our wedding. And we have absolutely no photos of it because we were on such a time crunch to get it done. Hell, Laryssa’s dad had to bring the bar top with him as we were still waiting for polyurethane to dry.
We had the BEST bartenders in the world. Kristen (one of Alan’s co-workers) and her sister did an awesome job of keeping the drinks flowing, and made us the best raspberry vodka lemonade we had ever had when we first got to the reception. Additionally, they followed Alan’s request of “make them strong!” as he wrote in the subject line on their check.
Although this is only Part 1 of our “No Regrets” post, we wanted to make sure to highlight the awesome vendors included in this post: