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, Stephanie Chandonnet of Jenison! Her surprise proposal was picture perfect with a fairytale day to follow. Read on to hear her charming love story…
Question 1: Tell us your engagement story…
My husband, Drew, surprised me with an actual proposal at the end of a “mock” engagement shoot for one of my friends from college who is a photographer. The day started out with taking normal pictures in downtown Grand Rapids. During an outfit change at my work, I had a conversation with my colleague about how Drew was not going to propose like I had suspected. At the final location, set in a field, it started to sprinkle while we ran out to grab the last few shots. The photographers said the cue, “one last picture” while we stood back-to-back. Upon hearing this, Drew pulled the ring out of his back pocket and got down on one knee. When I turned around and saw him down on his knee, it began to downpour. He asked me to marry him and of course I said yes!
Question 2: What month did your wedding take place?
Question 3: What was your venue?
We got ready at the JW Marriott in the Griffin Room, our ceremony took place at The Cook-Dewitt Chapel at GVSU, and we had our reception at The Pinnacle Center.
Question 4: Band or DJ?
DJ- provided by our reception venue.
Question 5: What was your favorite part of the planning process?
My favorite part was how it brought together so many people who mean a lot to me.
Question 6: What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
There is truly not a lot of regrets about what we should or shouldn’t have done. One thing is that I wish I would have arranged for someone to bring my dog out to the chapel. It would have been nice to see her and have a few pictures with her.
Question 7: Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
Yes we did! We wanted to get the majority of our photos done before the ceremony started. We didn’t want to have a big time gap between the ceremony and reception. I’m glad we did because it also helped to calm my nerves when I finally got to see him!
Question 8: Worst part of the planning process for your wedding?
Planning a wedding can be quite stressful. Finalizing our guest list was probably the worst part of it though.
Question 9: How involved was the groom in the planning process?
He was involved in what was going on and helped make the big decisions with me, but my mom and I really took on the majority of the planning.
Question 10: Was your wedding a black tie affair or casual?
Question 11: What was your favorite moment from your wedding day?
The entire day was unbelievably special and it is hard to pick just one moment. My favorite memory is just the overwhelming love and joy I felt throughout the day. I was ecstatic to marry my best friend and commit our lives to one another. Our family and friends were all there in one spot to celebrate with us and that’s something you’ll only get to experience once in your life with those exact people.
Question 12: Describe your wedding dress…
My dress is made by Justin Alexander and I purchased it at Renee Austin Wedding. It is a big, elegant, ball gown. It has a princess cut with a sheer sequined top that flows along my collarbone. The whole top of the dress down to the top of my waist is sequins/jewels. It then flows out in waves and layers.
Question 13: Did you go wedding dress shopping with an idea in mind? Did you end up liking that style?
I did not know exactly what I wanted but knew what I didn’t want. I ended up with a dress that I feel like fits my personality and it is how I dreamed of looking and feeling on my wedding day. It made me feel like a beautiful bride!
Question 14: What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve received?
Never go to bed angry at each other, and just the importance of communication between each other.
Question 15: What’s your best advice for staying on budget?
Set strict boundaries and stick to them. If you save in one area then allocate the leftover in that category to another category you may end up needing or wanting to spend more in.
Question 16: Weirdest gift you’ve received?
We didn’t receive anything out of the ordinary!
Question 17: What was on your wedding menu?
We had a plated meal so the guests chose between pesto chicken and BBQ chicken when they RSVP’d. The sides were salad, vegetables, and garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert we had cake. Our cake was from the Cakabakery!
Question 18: What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
I only had one moment that I felt like a bridezilla. I had a meltdown at home right before our engagement shoot because we were trying to get my hair to look how I wanted it to and it took longer than planned. We were running late and I was extremely stressed out. Once we got there I was fine.
Question 19: What wedding detail was worth the money? What could you have done without?
Everything that we invested in for our wedding, I felt was worth the money. The two that stand out to me are photography and videography. They captured our day perfectly and it allows us to relive our day over and over by looking through the pictures and watching the videos. We can also share these with others who were not able to be there. Kyle Bultman Photography did our photos for our engagement and wedding and 730 Eddy Studios did our video. There isn’t anything that I would take back that we did if I had to go back and decide again!
Question 20: Best idea that you stole?
The best idea that we stole was the memory table set up at our reception. My husband’s father passed away about a year ago and it was hard not to have him physically there for our day. We wanted to recognize that he was there in spirit.
Question 21: What’s your best advice for brides-to-be?
Take in every single moment and enjoy it. From the planning to the wedding day itself. It all goes so fast!