Decide what’s important to you

Wedding day

August 19, 2006 began as an ordinary day for Stephen and Stephanie. These two have been known to be impulsive and do things on a whim with little notice to anyone, so heading to the beach sounded like a good idea that afternoon. So off to Gulf Shores, AL they went. After going for a late night swim at the pool, they decided to take a walk down the beach and enjoy the sound of the waves under the evening stars. As they were sitting on the beach and discussing their future plans, Stephen asks Stephanie, “Will you marry me?” and pulls out a ring from his swim trunks. Stephanie was so excited and definitely surprised, it had been three years since they began dating and although this day had been hoped for, it was not expected, especially not today.  This may have been an impulsive day for Stephanie, but Stephen had things all planned out.

Stephanie and Stephen started the process of planning the wedding without putting much focus on the date at first. They knew that they would be paying for some of the expenses themselves so they needed time to make their special day perfect.  They both picked up a side job at a local catering company to make extra money by working weddings on the weekends. This was perfect in a sense as it provided a means to help pay for their own wedding and also served as the perfect opportunity for them to see and experience many different aspects, designs, and details to weddings. I say it was perfect in a sense because Stephanie said the more she saw the harder it was to decide what she really wanted, which can make planning any event hard, but especially for a wedding. When I asked Stephanie what were some learning experiences she had during the planning journey, she said it was mainly in deciding what she and Stephen had really wanted. Two things in particular were choosing the date and vendors. She quickly concluded she needed to be flexible, and decide what was the most important to her and how it fit within her budget. It is a give and take kind of thing and compromise must be readily on the scene.

~If you have a date which is very special to you, then by all means make it the top priority in your decision-making, but  don’t automatically expect all the potential vendors you want to be available.

~If a certain vendor is important to you such as a photographer or caterer or even a venue location, then you will need to work around their availability for the remaining planning aspects.

~If you are trying to cut costs to work within a certain budget then cutting the guest list a good place to start.  The guest count affects several aspects in your wedding planning from the caterer, the baker, the florist, the rental company, and invitations.  You can also look at alternative dates such as having your wedding on a Friday.  Many wedding venues and vendors offer discounts if the event is on another day besides Saturday.

After many decisions had been discussed, Stephanie and Stephen decided on a wedding date of November 20th, 2009.  The setting would take place at the beautiful Hermitage Rippy Estate and she was even able to obtain the majority of all the vendors she originally wanted.  With all of the wedding details set, the day had arrived they had been planning for three years.  It was a beautiful day and the weather was absolutely perfect.  Stephanie said it was unlike any wedding day she had ever been a part of… “I was so relaxed, the weather was perfect, and everything went as planned.  It definitely exceeded my expectations.”.  While Stephanie says she does not have any regrets, however she wishes she would have done the “first glance” pictures.  She said, “We were given the opportunity to do so by our wedding planner and photographer, but at the time we thought it was silly.  It is a moment I wish we would have put a little more meaning into.  My husband (“to be” at the time) helped me pick out my wedding dress and choose my bridal portraits, so I just didn’t feel like it was really necessary at the time. We did choose to have some alone time just before the wedding though and I am so glad we did.”

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I asked Stephanie for some advice she would give to other brides and grooms.

~A good, experienced wedding planner and coordinator is invaluable.  However, regardless of whether or not you hire a professional like we did, you definitely need somebody who is “in charge” the day of the wedding to sweat all the small stuff so you don’t have to; it will save you much stress in the long run.

~Take a few minutes after the wedding to have a moment with your now husband.  It is your special day so take a moment for just the two of you.

~Act like a guest, not a host.  Enjoy the food, entertainment, your guests, and all of the special things you spent so much time to create for this day.

~Enjoy your day.

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Stephanie Holland Burrough

Pictures Provided By: Melinda Mercer Photography

Venue Location: The Hermitage Rippy Estate, Mobile, AL

Wedding Planner: Agape Special Events

Caterer: Tyner’s Catering

Florist: Belle Bouquet Florist & Gifts

Baker: Charlotte Farmer

Rentals: The Hermitage Rippy Estate and Port City Rentals

DJ: Perry Bozeman

Bridal Hair Stylist: Phrankey Lowery

Bridesmaids Hair Stylist: Allure Studio

Tuxedos: Francia’s Formal Affair

Bridesmaids Dresses: Bridesmaids Galore and More

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