Tuesday, September 19, 2017

April 15, 2017

On April 15, 2017, just a little over 9 months after we got engaged, I married the best man a girl could ever ask for. We got married downtown Indianapolis, and being the Midwest, we were preparing for a rainy, 40-degree day just as much as a sunny, 75-degree day. We lucked out with the latter. People talk about their wedding day...how amazing it was and how fast it went by. I had no idea just how amazing the day would really be and just how fast it would really go. One thing I know for sure, I'd do it again in a heart beat. 

Reading a letter from JR. 

My beautiful bridesmaids! From left to right: Katie (my cousin), Taylor (childhood friend), Hannah (younger sister), Natalie (older sister), Kelsey (JR's sister), and Casey (childhood friend).

One of my favorite shots from the entire day. Hannah helping me with my dress. 

The moment JR saw me for the first time! We did a first look before the ceremony so we could get pictures out of the way and enjoy cocktail hour with friends.

Spending a few quiet minutes together before the crazy. How amazing was the view from our suite?!

JR wore this hat on his bachelor party in Nashville. I love that Landon brought it to the wedding! 

My gorgeous sisters, Hannah and Natalie.

JR and his groomsmen! From left to right: Kyle, Jason and Jordan (all brothers, all childhood friends of JR), Josh (JR's brother), Luke (our friend from graduate school), Landon (childhood friend). 

JR's brother, Josh, and sister, Kelsey. 

We lucked out with a beautiful day in April! In Indiana, you never know if you're going to get 40 and rainy or 80 in sunny in the spring. We got 75 and sunny! The only semi-bad part was the wind, but it did make for some cute pictures!

I was OBSESSED with my bouquet from Andrea with Bella Sorella. 

While JR and I were taking some pictures alone, the rest of our bridal party managed to find a group of body builders in the park and snapped a few pictures! 

 My older sister, mom, and younger sister. The most important women in my life!

 The Foster family + JR. My dad was happy that day, I promise.

 JR's sister, mom, and brother. 

 JR's sister, grandpa and grandma, stepmom and dad.

 JR's niece and newphews! Hannah (our flower girl), Evan and Seth (the ring bearers)

 This is very typical of our relationship. Me in my own world messing with my flowers, and JR making sure we're on time. 

 JR's dad's cousin (did you get that?), Chad, got ordained to officiate our wedding. It was perfect.

After the ceremony, we took a few quiet minutes to ourselves. I highly recommend it to any future couples! The rest of the night flewwww by. 

Some of my very best friends from living in Milwaukee. 

We danced to "Old Pine" by Ben Howard. 

I still can't believe our wedding is over! Such an amazing and perfect night. 

In thinking about all that went into our wedding, I don't even know where to start! That's probably why it has taken me five months to write this post. JR proposed on July 4, 2016. After realizing most of the venues were already booked in May and June the following year, we decided it was probably either April or July (we didn't want to wait until the fall). Because we were in the dead of July when we were looking for venues, we decided that the Indiana heat and humidity would be a little too much, so April it was! After looking into our must-haves for venues, bands, and photographers, I was super happy to see that April 15 was open for pretty much everyone. It was only after we signed the contract for our venue that I realized it was a late Easter year and our wedding would fall on Easter weekend. After a minor panic attack, we rationalized that most of our guests would be local and could still be with their families on Easter morning. Crisis averted.

We decided on Canal 337, which is a beautiful building on the canal in downtown Indianapolis. It has three levels, so we had our ceremony on the top level, came downstairs and outside for cocktails, inside for dinner, and back upstairs for dancing. The venue was gorgeous and I absolutely loved our wedding day, but I don't know that I would ever host an event there again. The food was amazing and the staff the evening of the wedding was nice, but I was very unhappy with the company owners and management. But no need to damper the story of our wedding day with that bad experience. 

Our photographer was Stacy Able and, as you can see, she was amazing. Stacy is probably one of the calmest, kindest people I have ever met. Just the type of person you want around on that crazy, hectic day. She is insanely talented and I would recommend her in a heart beat. The same can be said for our amazing florist, Andrea Carroll of Bella Sorella. The first time I cried on my wedding day (literally burst into tears out of nowhere) was when Andrea bought in my bouquet. She is so incredibly sweet and extremely hard working. Our wedding video was done by Toast Wedding Films and I could not have been happier. The guys we worked with were so nice, and completely discreet, we didn't even know they were there. JR did not want to get a videographer, but I pushed for it, and now we are both so happy that we did. I watched (more like cried through) countless wedding videos looking for the perfect company, and I am so happy we landed with Toast. I'm obsessed with our wedding video, and they were more reasonably priced than some other vendors I checked out.

The girls got ready at the JW Marriott downtown, while the boys got ready at our home in Butler-Tarkington. I opted to stay in a hotel room by myself on Friday night, which was one of the best decisions I made as a bride. I of course love my sisters and friends, but it was so nice to wake up by myself, call JR in the morning, and take some time to get a coffee and soak in the morning before all of the madness. Because let me tell you,  a wedding day FLIES by. Everyone says that, but you don't really realize how quickly it goes until it's your day. 

After having mimosas and getting ready in the hospitality suite, Danyelle, our amazing day-of coordinator, arranged for JR and I to meet up in our hotel suite. Even though I planned the wedding on my own, I could not have made it through the day without Danyelle. She is AMAZING. She helped with all of the little things, and stayed calm and collected the entire time. She is such a sweet soul and everyone commented on how wonderful she was. Ok, so then JR came up to our hotel suite for our first look. I know it's not for everyone, but I'm so happy that we did a first look prior to the wedding. He and I were able to take a few minutes to ourselves...to see each other, laugh, and soak in the afternoon. After that, we jumped on a party bus to take some pictures around downtown at the War Memorial. After pictures, we headed back to Canal 337 to meet the rest of the family for the family pictures. Again, I'm so happy we did all of that before the ceremony, because after the ceremony, JR and I were able to enjoy the cocktail hour and the beautiful weather outside. 

Even though JR and I saw each other before, I was so incredibly nervous for our ceremony. We wrote our own vows, and I knew I would get emotional. JR's mom arranged for a beautiful string trio to play music as guests arrived and as we all walked down the aisle. But hands down the best part of our ceremony was our officiant, Chad Renbarger. Chad is technically JR's dad's cousin, but he has always seemed like a close cousin or big brother to JR. Neither JR nor I have attended the same church regularly, so we were struggling with who should officiate the wedding. One day, JR's mom suggested Chad and we immediately knew it would be perfect. We adore Chad, his wife Holly and their kids, Ellison and Jay. As soon as Chad accepted, we were extremely excited. Chad was an amazing officiant and we both say the ceremony could not have gone better. 

Aside from JR's beautiful vows, my favorite part of the whole day was when Chad pronounced us husband and wife. We turned around to face the crowd and just seeing all of the people we love in one room, clapping and smiling and crying and laughing was a moment I'll never forget. In our wedding video, you can actually see JR look at me and start to walk down the aisle, but I lightly pulled him back because I wanted to soak in a few more moments of that amazing feeling.

After the ceremony, we took a few minutes to ourselves downstairs, before joining everyone upstairs for cocktails. It was a liiiittle windy, but all in all, a beautiful evening outside. We then moved inside for dinner and speeches, then it was upstairs for dancing! I was really nervous about having everyone move from their dinner tables to go upstairs for dancing, but it worked out fine. I don't know that I would have done it that way all over again, but our venue couldn't accommodate our guest count for dinner and a dance floor on the main level. However, it was fun to go upstairs and see the room transformed with the hanging lights, bars, and big white balloons for pictures.

Our first dance was to Ben Howard's "Old Pine." It's a beautiful song that I remember JR playing for me on warm nights down in Bloomington in his apartment with the windows open. After our dance, the band took over. Our wedding band was The Doo! which I also highly recommend. They were a BLAST. I have to admit, I may have had one too many cocktails the night of our wedding, but I remember a lot of laughing, dancing, and admiring my new hubby as he got on the microphone to sing Garth Brooks's "Friends in Low Places." He actually has a really great singing voice and I'm happy everyone got to hear it! 

Like everyone says, the night went by way too quickly. Thinking back, there are little things that went wrong and a few tiny things I may have done differently, but I will always always look back on that day as the best of my life (so far). To be surrounded by so many people you love, committing yourself to the person you love most in the world, is such an amazing feeling and we are so lucky to have found each other and gotten to celebrate with our family and friends. 

"It has made me better loving you. It has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter." -- Henry James

Here's to growing wiser, and easier, and brighter...together. 

The day wouldn't have been possible without our amazing vendors!
Day-Of Coordinator: Danyelle Andress
Florals: Bella Sorella
Videography: Toast Wedding Films 
Venue: Canal 337
Caterer: Thomas Caterers
Cake: Classic Cakes 
Bridesmaid's Dresses: David's Bridal
Bride's Hair: Abby Plough from Bobby Cooper Salon
Bridesmaid's Hair: Ashley Grant
Bride's Makeup: Kelly Brannon 
Bridesmaid's Makeup: Kelly Brannon and Karina Reske
Groomsmen's Suits: Menguin
Band: The Doo!
Party Bus: Indy Limo Bus
Late Night Food: Kilroy's Breadsticks 

Invitations: Minted
Save the Dates: Minted

 The cutest bridesmaid's robes: Wedding Peonies via Etsy

 Wedding Makeup: Kelly Brannon with Chanel 
She's so amazing and she also bakes via Macarons by Kelly!
 She also enlisted Karina (yes, that's the beauty behind Karina Style Diaries!)

String Trio

 I did place cards, menus, programs, and signage myself with templates from Bliss Paper Boutique via Etsy. These were so easy and turned out beautifully, I highly recommend!

 Again, stunning flowers via Bella Sorella

We used an IU flag for our guest book!

Balloons and streamers for photo backdrop: Revelry Party Company via Etsy

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