**Note: I’m breaking our wedding into two segments: the planning of the wedding, and the actual trip and wedding itself.**
August 9th, 2014….call me cliché, but that was hands down one of the best days of my life. Wanna know why? Because I married my best friend and the love of my life that day. In the gorgeous Smokey Mountains of Gatlinburg Tennessee with thirty of our closest friends and family.
Chadd and I knew early into our relationship that we wanted to marry each other. We had always talked about what kind of wedding we wanted and how that day would go. Our plans changed A LOT from some of our original conversations about it. And boy am I glad they did.
Here is what we were originally thinking: get married here in Wisconsin on a lake, with our entire families and all of our friends and have a reception in a rustic themed barn. I started looking into venues and the prices blew me away. That didn’t even cover the cost of food that we would need for what seemed like a million people. We made a guest list of everyone in our family and all of our friends. Almost 150 people later and I almost fell over. There was NO WAY we could afford that. And let’s be real, you don’t even want half those people on that guest list there anyways because you only see them at holidays and blah blah blah. SO, onto the next plan.
Second thought: destination wedding somewhere tropical i.g. Jamaica, Bahamas, etc. If we did this, we were going to invite everyone on that guest list, and whoever could afford to pay their way and was interested enough to come, they would. However we always knew we wanted our immediate families there no matter what. And with Chadd having four younger siblings, we knew this would be A LOT to ask of his mom to pay for this for all of them. Not to mention, a lot for ANYONE to pay for. We had mentioned this to Chadd’s mom at one point and that was when she mentioned our final plan….
Gatlinburg, Tennessee in the Smokey Mountains. She married Chadd’s step-dad there years ago and loved it. Chadd loved the south as he has been there before on family vacations and it is a place I’ve always wanted to go to. I got the name of the chapel his mom used and BAM! We were planning our wedding. Ask any of our friends and family, we did everything ass-backwards. (All my fault, not Chadd’s.) We had just about everything planned before we were engaged…oops…crazy girlfriend move…but hey, he married me anyways! But I have my reasons. Chadd’s best friend is in the Marine’s and we knew we wanted him there. So we asked what days would work for him and planned our wedding around that. Chadd had a ring for around three months before he proposed so I knew it was coming which justified all the planning I was doing ahead of time. Kind of. We told our families about it ahead of time so they could plan because we knew we were going to have a short engagement. Which I honestly absolutely loved.
Unfortunately, the chapel we chose could only hold 50 people. So that means we had to cross AT LEAST 100 people off of our guest list. Although this wasn’t easy, it had to be done. I’ve lost numerous people in my life because they didn’t understand this and refused to support Chadd and I. THEIR FUCKING LOSS. We ended up inviting our parents, grandparents, siblings, and two friends each. And that is exactly who we had as our guests and looking back, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I was a bit overwhelmed with the planning process because we didn’t get a whole lot of outside help. We did nearly EVERYTHING on our own, but I’m glad because then we know we had it the way WE wanted it without anyone else’s input. Luckily, the chapel we chose offered a package that included nearly everything you could need for a wedding at a reasonable cost. This was perfect as we were coming from out of state and I couldn’t see the chapel or venue or anything beforehand. (Which I was surprisingly more okay with than I thought I would be.)
Things not included in our package that we had to get: my dress and accessories, Chadd’s outfit, wedding favors, the flower girls/ring bearers outfits, rings (obviously), and to find a venue for a reception and figure out food for that. So as you can see, there wasn’t a whole lot of planning we had to do as most of it was taken care of. But if you’ve read any of my previous blog posts, you know how Pinterest-obsessed I am and I had to add my own touches to our wedding. I sent a list of photos I wanted to the photographer ahead of time (also included, which made me nervous not meeting our photographer beforehand but she was AMAZING! And I would recommend her for anyone down there!) and I asked what other things I could bring and do of my own. They were flexible with all of my requests except one…we wanted to take a shot together on opposite sides of a wall before the wedding and get a photo of it. This wasn’t allowed because the chapel doesn’t condone drinking…who made that fucking rule?! Oh well.
We were engaged for a short three months, and before I knew it, we were driving down to Tennessee to get freakin’ married!!!!!!! Stay tuned for Part 2: The trip down there and the actual day of the wedding!