GRAND RAPIDS, Mich (WOTV) – “I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” -The Chaos of Stars
A woman’s wedding day is often viewed as the biggest day of her life – a night she thinks about from when she’s just a young girl. It’s the night she marries her love, her best friend, and her forever roomie.
It’s not until you’re planning a wedding that you really realize all that goes into this magical day. Bring on the stress, the laughter, the tears, the romance, the nerves, the “bridezilla” moments, and more!
Each month we’re choosing one West Michigan bride to feature her wedding day and all the fun, crazy steps in between.
Meet our bride, Kristen Bryson of Grand Rapids! Her big day spanned from a gorgeous ceremony near the lakeshore, then headed out to a posh, downtown GR hot spot during artPrize. Read on to hear how she planned for the night of her life…
Question 1: Tell us your engagement story…
Anyone who knows me very well knows that I can be very nosey and for that reason I am very hard to surprise. While using my then fiance’s computer for school work, I clicked an open link to a facebook message telling a friend how he was planning to propose soon. My eyes were glued to the screen and I could not stop myself from reading their whole conversation. After I realized what I had done and that I may have possibly ruined the surprise of my engagement I instantly had to tell someone.
“After I realized what I had done and that I may have possibly ruined the surprise of my engagement I instantly had to tell someone.”
I called my best friend Rachel, who also ended up being my maid of honor, and told her everything. Little did I know that she knew everything about the engagement and was faking how she had no idea that he was going to propose during our whole phone conversation. After calming me down and convincing me that she “didn’t think” he would propose anytime soon we hung up and she instantly called my now husband with the news that I knew everything.
My husband was beyond mad at me but he kept a calm and cool demeanor up until the proposal. The weekend he planned to propose he told me that he was planning to go to the Jake Geils concert in Detroit and he would spend the rest of the weekend with his best friend, who was on leave from the Air Force. That Friday he made sure to send me several snapchats showing he was actually there and living it up with his friends.
I had made plans weeks before to have a girls day with my best friend Rachel, conveniently getting our nails done together, she even offered to pick me up and drive. After getting our nails done she said that she got a text from her mom saying to swing by their house to pick up her groceries. (Not only are Rachel and I best friends but we grew up across the street from each other in a cul-de-sac.)
We agreed that after we could get dinner together. When we made it to her house I could see across the street my parent’s garage door was opened and my dad was putting around, probably fixing something like he usually does. Rachel told me that I should go say hi to my dad and that she would only be a second inside. I declined saying that it was fine I could help her carry things to the car. She told me again to go say hi to my dad, this time in a much stern voice.
So I walked across the street, up the driveway, and into the garage. My dad was showing me something on my old car I sold back to him and then said he had a gift for my now husband and wanted my approval. I approved of the wrench set and started to walk away when he told me about how he was doing some work in the back yard and he wanted to show me.
As he opened the back door of the garage he placed his hand around my shoulder and gave me a loving squeeze saying how much he loved me. All of a sudden I see a camera and the hands of my younger brother reaching out around the corner.
I instantly knew that this was the moment that I was getting engaged. As we turned the corner I see all of my family and all of my husband’s family surrounding the deck, my husband kneeling on the deck surrounded by our two dogs with signs around their necks saying “will you marry our dad?”. After I said “Yes” all I could say to my husband was, “You were supposed to be in Detroit!”
Question 2: What month did your wedding take place?
We planned our wedding to take place in September, this was mainly because we did not want the outdoor ceremony that we had planned to be during a terribly hot part of summer. The second reason we chose September is because we got engaged in September as well, so we would be engaged for just over one year.
Question 3: What was your venue?
Our ceremony was at the Christian Reformed Conference Grounds in Grand Haven, MI in a gazebo overlooking Lake Michigan. The reception was downtown Grand Rapids at Eve which is the top 4th floor in The Bob.
Question 4: Band or DJ?
We had a friend DJ our wedding who has his own professional DJ business.
Question 5: What was your favorite part of the planning process?
Finding my wedding dress was definitely my favorite part of the planning process, I’m still obsessed with it and wish I could wear it every day!
Question 6: What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
We did not confirm our vendor for our ceremony music, we booked a violin and cello duet to play and placed down a deposit. They forgot about our wedding until we called them right before I was supposed to go down the aisle. Thankfully our sound lady had a CD that was used the day before in a wedding, I have no idea what I went down the isle to but thank God we had music!
Question 7: Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
I personally did want to do a first look, however my husband did not. The reason that I wanted to do it was so I could get all of my initial emotions out and not be so emotional during the ceremony. My husband did not want a first look for that exact reason, he wanted the raw emotion to show for the first time we saw each other at the alter.
Question 8: Worst part of the planning process for your wedding?
The last minute details were the most stressful. We waited until literally the day before our wedding to write our vows to each other and to complete our seating chart. Not to mention we had 12 people from out of town staying at our house for the wedding!
Question 9: How involved was the groom in the planning process?
He was VERY involved in the planning of the wedding. He pretty much attended every meeting and contributed to every part of the wedding day except picking out my wedding dress.
Question 10: Was your wedding a black tie affair or casual?
Our wedding was a mix between black tie and casual, it was not fancy enough for any one to wear a tux to but it was not casual enough for jeans either. Most people wore nice cocktail or sundresses and dress slacks and button down dress shirts.
Question 11: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?
The ceremony was my favorite part of the entire day. We did not want anything in our wedding to be very typical, for example we did traditional vows and also personal vows and instead of a unity candle we did a unity painting that had a stencil underneath.
Question 12: Describe your wedding dress…
Oh my, as I said before I am still obsessed with my wedding dress and I would wear it every day if I could. It is a mix between a mermaid dress and a fit and flare. The lace on it reminds me of a flower garden with floral lace on the straps and the bottom flare lace is like sticks. It is classy, sexy, but not too revealing. Shows off my curves in a modest way.
Question 13: Did you go wedding dress shopping with an idea in mind? Did you end up liking that style?
I knew my husband wanted something that showed off my curves so I knew I wanted to try a mermaid or fit and flare style dress. I did make sure to at least try many different styles to see if my mind would change but it didn’t! Once I tried on my dress I instantly knew and once I came out of the dressing room everyone who came dress shopping with me knew that dress was the one too!
Question 14: What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?
The best piece of marriage advice that I have received is to never stop dating. Even when we do have children and careers that take off, to place our marriage first.
Question 15: What’s your best advice for staying on budget?
It is so tempting to look online at all the cute wedding decorations and little things that could make your wedding even cuter, but in the end no one is going to remember them. We were blessed to have our reception at a place that was so beautiful that if we added all of these little cute decorations we would be taking away the beauty of the venue already. Plus all those little things add up very quickly!
Question 16: Weirdest gift you’ve received?
We got a membership to a wine club! Neither one of us had heard of that being a wedding gift but we absolutely LOVE getting two free bottles of wine every month. Turned out to be the best gift!
Question 17: What was on your wedding menu?
We had a roasted tomato and cipollini salad, house vegetarian lasagna, pepita pesto natural chicken, beemster’s gouda scalloped potatoes, and roasted asparagus with lemon butter.
Question 18: What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
My husband could not choose between all of his best friends who to have stand on his side and also who to have as his best man, so he ended up with four best men and a total of eight friends standing up for him. The friends that I choose to stand up totaled to six making us have uneven sides. We went back and forth about adding one more friend to my side but I had a ‘bridezilla’ moment and told him it was not going to happen and I was sticking with the six friends I had already selected. We had everyone walk down single file instead of together in pairs. No one even noticed or cared about the uneven sides.
Question 19: What wedding detail was worth the money? What could you have done without?
Our photographer was fa-nominal. We booked her before she increased her pricing too so we felt that we got a pretty great deal, plus she is an awesome person and we really clicked. I feel that everything we booked and paid for was well used and the only think that comes to mind was our musicians that didn’t show up for our ceremony. It proved that we really did not need them!
Question 20: Best idea that you stole?
We attended a couple friend’s wedding the summer before we got married and instead of all the guests tinking their glasses to get the couple to kiss the rule was that your whole table need to stand up and sing a song that included the word “love”. This way hardly anyone actually did it and we didn’t feel interrupted form socializing with our guest to kiss.
Question 21: What’s your best advice for brides-to-be?
My husband and I think back to our wedding day and say to each other how it was the best day of our lives. It had a couple hiccups but it was still perfect to us because of how much the day meant to us. We wish we just relaxed more and took everything in. This is not a day you can repeat so make sure you soak it all in!