» wedding profile: alyssa + bradley «
Alyssa and Bradley met six years ago when they worked together at a real estate developer’s office in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It was not love at first sight. They were both in relationships for the first year that they knew each other. They hung out socially at a couple office functions and a friendship formed. At first Alyssa thought that they had nothing in common and actually tried setting-up Brad with several of her friends, but their friendship grew as they got to know each other better. Both newly single, it took a while for anything to develop, but after about 6 months of mingling outside of work, they realized that they really liked each other.
Alyssa and Bradley had dated about 4 years when Brad proposed. They were married 11 months later on August 13, 2011.
Where did you get married and how did you choose this location?
Alyssa: We searched online for a couple months before finding the perfect location in Union Pier, Michigan. We wanted something on or near water, that could sleep several of our friends and family members for a weekend party.
What song did you walk down the aisle to?
We were married on a beach with no chairs or anything, so I had our guests form my aisle. As I walked past them, I got to see everyone who was there. Then they filled in the aisle behind me as I walked and ended up in the front where the ceremony took place. My brother played his guitar as I walked. I have no idea what song. I just told him to play!
What did you wear?
I am a bargain shopper so I found a dress for $100 at a bridal shop. I tried for about two months to make it work. I got it altered. I purchased dozens of different belts and necklaces. Nothing I did made it feel like the perfect dress. Thanks to my husband-to-be - he urged me to “just get the dress I really want”. So I did. It was the first dress I had seen, and so I ordered it from Bloomingdales. I found feather earrings to wear and that was it for jewelry. For Christmas, Brad had made some white high-top sneakers with my married initials on them, so I saved those as my wedding shoes.
Describe your wedding…
The wedding was very casual. We wanted everyone to feel comfortable. There were no specific colors or themes. I didn’t want to spend alot of time and money on small things that don’t really matter (flowers, colors, favors, etc). All those things are great, but they don’t make a great party. I wanted great food, an awesome band, and drinks flowing. Those were my top 3 priorities.
How many guests did you have?
What was your favorite part of your wedding day?
At one point, everyone was dancing around under the tent and the band was just rocking! I looked up and noticed some of the neighbors were hanging out around the edge of the property watching us. A little while later, one of them came up to me with a bottle of vodka and told me this was the best wedding he’d ever seen! He said it was a tradition where he was from to give the new couple a bottle of vodka. I forget where he was from.
What was the hardest thing about your wedding or what didn’t turn out as you had hoped?
I loved every minute. Since I didn’t over plan, there wasn’t much that could go wrong! I just went with the flow. It was a virtually stress-free weekend.
The only hard part was figuring out the guest list when planning. It’s really hard to decide who is and isn’t invited.
In planning your wedding, what was the most important aspect? Why?
Brad and I wrote our own vows. Actually, we wrote the entire ceremony. That was important to us. We also had Brad’s step-sister marry us. We didn’t want some cheesy old guy we didn’t know cracking stupid jokes and giving a boring sermon. Our ceremony meant alot to us.
My dress was important. I felt beautiful and wore it all night.
Other than that, I mentioned before, we wanted a laid back party. So food, drinks and music were all we cared about.
What was the wedding planning processes like for you?
I’m overly organized, so it was easy for me. The week after Brad proposed I was starting the guest list, looking at blogs and researching locations. We set our budget at $10,000 and started shopping! We had spreadsheets for everything; the guest list and addresses, different venues, rental places, bands…. Brad was very involved, but I didn’t bore him with minor details, just the important things. We both had fun planning. Honestly!
Any specific vendor info you’d like to share (any vendor rockstars)? Please include links.
We used friends or family for everything!
Photographers: Friends of friends
Caterer: My best friend’s Mom
Florist: Local farmer’s market
Band: Local (the Concussions)
DJ: My MacBook, iTunes and a wireless speaker
Anything else you’d like to share about your wedding?
My advice is to keep it simple. Nobody remembers how many times their napkin was folded or what their name placecard looked like. A wedding should be a time where the bride and groom can relax and enjoy themselves. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and so did our guests! I can’t tell you how many people told us it was the most enjoyable wedding they’ve been to.
This is a new series I’m hoping to do, highlighting friends’ weddings - many that I helped plan or design. Alyssa and I grew up together and have been close since middle school. I met Brad even before they were dating and it was fun to watch them develop their relationship and it was a joy to witness their union last summer.