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, Victoria Hansen of Grand Rapids! She planned a winter wedding in downtown Grand Rapids but mother nature had different plans. Read on to hear more about her charming love story and picture perfect day…
Question 1: Tell us your engagement story…
Erik proposed in a beautiful Northern Michigan cottage (my favorite place on earth!) overlooking Lake Michigan on February 6. We spent the entire weekend playing games snuggled up by the fire, sipping champagne, snow shoeing, and traipsing around Traverse City. A few weeks prior, I had a pretty major surgery and Erik surprised with me this fancy camera as a “feel better gift.” Little did I know he had planned on using it to record our proposal. He proposed on Saturday night and we went to our favorite brewery to celebrate – Short’s. I was in such a state of shock, he suggested we call our parents at the same time when we got to Short’s. We walked in and all of my very best friends and my parents were there! We spent the night celebrating, drinking great beer, and dancing the night away. Erik had rented a 20 person cabin on Torch Lake for all of our guests and we ended up sleeping on the couch surrounded by our friends and family. Exactly one year and 5 days later, we got married. It was a dream.
Question 2: What month did your wedding take place?
February 11, 2017. We were hoping for a white winter wedding and got a hazy fall day – we were just as happy.
Question 3: What was your venue?
Ceremony: Park Church, downtown Grand Rapids
Reception: City Flats Ballroom, downtown Grand Rapids
Question 4: Band or DJ?
We had the Heritage Hill String Quartet play during our wedding ceremony and they were fantastic! We had a DJ at the reception because we had too many guests and were unable to fit a band. Our company was the most important thing to us! We worked with Moments In Time DJ’s and they were awesome.
Question 5: What was your favorite part of the planning process?
My favorite part of the planning process was with my two maid of honors, and bridesmaids. Getting to spend time with my very best friends, picking out dresses, and giving them their gifts on the wedding day meant the world to me. Their support and ability to make me laugh is what got me through the entire wedding process.
Question 6: What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
I wish that I would have kept my garter! My garter was made of out of the lace from my mom’s wedding dress. I would we would have thrown a different one so that I could keep mine. Luckily, our ring bearer pillow was also made from my mom’s beautiful wedding gown, and that I will have forever!
Question 7: Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
No! I know that it makes more sense time-wise, but this is such a special day, and it meant everything to me to walk down the aisle with my father, and get to see my groom standing at the alter. Erik felt the exact same way so this was a no-brainer for us.
Question 8: Worst part of the planning process for your wedding?
If I’m speaking honestly, I can’t say that I loved the wedding planning process. It’s like a full time job! I had a phenomenal planner/floral goddess/friend, Kaci Muller of Damsel Floral that was a life saver for me. I would strongly suggest to any brides overwhelmed by the planning process to ask for help! What I kept in the forefront of my mind was that I was going to get to marry the man of my dreams. As cheesy as it sounds, that’s the main purpose of this day – to share you love for another person while being surrounded by your closest friends and family. Everything will fall into place, and if it doesn’t – just remember the purpose of the day.
Question 9: How involved was the groom in the planning process?
Erik was a great partner in crime through the entire wedding planning process. He had very few ‘must haves’ and shared his opinions when asked. Most importantly, he knew when to plan a fun little date night, or change the subject when his stressed out fiance needed a night off from wedding planning.
Question 10: Was your wedding a black tie affair or casual?
Our wedding was a black tie affair. Being in February, we really wanted our guests to have a fun, fancy night out on the town to celebrate with us. Winter can get boring, so we wanted to shake things up a bit.
Question 11: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?
The speeches! Erik and I are blessed with the very best friends and family ever. So many tears, and so much laughter. Both of our father’s spoke, and we had two maid of honors (Carly Gordon & Sammee Schaller), and two best men (Tyler Hansen & Nathan Roersma). It was an awesome walk down memory lane, mixed with new memories to be made.
Question 12: Describe your wedding dress…
My wedding dress was a low back, strapless all lace gown with a mermaid silhouette and a gorgeous long train. I had a custom lace, off the shoulder top made to go over the dress for the ceremony and photos. My veil was gorgeous and super over the top, I didn’t want to take it off!
Question 13: Did you go wedding dress shopping with an idea in mind? Did you end up liking that style?
Wedding dress shopping was my one fear to overcome. I had no idea what I wanted, and waited until very last minute to shop for the dress. I took my mom and most stylish girlfriend and after a few mimosas, I finally had the courage to start trying on dresses. The dress I ended up with was the second dress that I put on. After that I tried on a few more and nothing even came close to comparing. I had all of my girlfriends come up to Grand Rapids a week later and tried it on for all of them and gave the official “yes to the dress” after their awesome reaction.
Question 14: What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?
This best piece of marriage advice that I received is to remember why you got married. One year later, ten years later, forty years later. Never forget that your significant other is your very best friend. One of my favorite wedding traditions is the anniversary dance. All couples start off dancing, and the DJ will announce the numbers of years you’ve been married and you must sit when your year is called. The last couple standing at our wedding had been married over 60 years! It is always such a touching representation of love.
Question 15: What’s your best advice for staying on budget?
There is no such thing! ha! My advice would be to DIY what you can. Don’t over extend yourself but there were a few projects we did ourselves that saved us money. Also, stay local. Find a local calligrapher, floral designer, and talented friends that can help.
Question 16: Weirdest gift you’ve received?
The weirdest was also the funniest. We are a house divided, Erik is a die hard Michigan State Spartan, and I am a Wolverine. Our friend Brian (also a Spartan) gave us a full sized Michigan State football helmet, along with a tiny U of M helmet to always remind us who the better team is.
Question 17: What was on your wedding menu?
We started with goat cheese, cherry, and pecan salad and guests had their choice of stuffed boursin cheese and spinach chicken breast with twice baked potatoes or grilled salmon with dill sauce and white cheddar potatoes au gratin. Dessert was a gorgeous cake made by Mary Briggs out of Rockford and lots and lots of champagne.
Question 18: What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
I surprised myself with how laid back I was in regards to the wedding process. I’m a self proclaimed control freak but somehow I just knew our wedding day was going to be perfect. BIG shout out to our parents who 100% made our wedding day as perfect as it was and making my dreams a reality. My mom, mother-in-law, two maid of honors, and myself took a trip down to Venice Florida the week before the wedding for a quick sun tan, and relax just before wedding. It’s now become an annual trip and I think it helped me avoid becoming a bridezilla!
Question 19: What wedding detail was worth the money? What could you have done without?
Hands down – Videography! We really went back and forth if we wanted to spend the money on a videographer. We are both SO thankful that we did. Mitch Pater is a friend of ours and I still cannot even get 35 seconds into the video without tearing up. He captured our day so flawlessly, and made the most moving video. We’ve received an outpouring of love for the video and I will cherish it forever.
Question 20: Best idea that you stole?
Hand embroidered handkerchiefs for the bridesmaids and moms. I made beautiful white, vintage handkerchiefs embroidered with the words “no ugly crying” and the date of our wedding. It was supposed to lighten the mood right before we all lined up for the wedding, however it back fired and ended in lots of ugly (beautiful) crying.
Question 21: What’s your best advice for brides-to-be?
Relax! Have fun! Dance! Have a glass of champagne! The advice that I was given is that no one will know if the flowers aren’t just right, or the napkin fold wasn’t the one you wanted. You’re the only one who knows exactly what everything is supposed to look like. The night is about dedicating your life to another person, and having fun celebrating that with all of your favorite people. Also, put a time limit on Pinterest!
Photography: Arielle Teft Photography – http://www.arielleteft.com/
Wedding Planner: Just Delightful Events – http://justdelightfulevents.com/
Floral: Damsel Floral – http://www.damselfloral.com/