Wedding planning, while both a blessing, and a stressor can become one of the most beautiful times in a person’s life. Throughout your time planning, you will be asked only days after your engagement “Did you plan a date yet”. We found this crazy, as we decided to wait awhile before planning anything, and to just enjoy the “now”. However, for those of you who know me, well …. I’m a planner.
Picking a venue is one of the first steps to wedding planning, and where to get married is always one of the biggest questions. We had a hard time deciding, as we live in Dallas, TX, both of our families live in the Midwest, and our closest friends are spread out all over the map. Talk of a destination wedding crossed our minds, as we discussed and processed how many people would be able to attend a wedding so far away. As we looked into venues in Dallas, TX a few caught our eye, however this would still be considered a destination wedding for all of our family, and most of our closest friends. As we continued to discuss our pros and cons, we found Iowa (where we both grew up) would be the perfect spot.
In searching venues in Iowa, we had to find a place that was close to an airport, for our traveling friends, as well as in the middle of all of our family so majority of our guests would not have to travel far, or stress over doing so. As we searched Google, TheKnot.Com and other websites we just could not find a place we fell in love with. Finding a venue that we could view via Skype, as well as finding a venue that could meet what we were looking for- it appeared our options were slim. However, we both knew in our hearts that there was a place we already had both fallen in love with long ago.
Flash back to two years ago, and the oldest of the three blondes was getting married herself. She was visiting venues, searching vendors, planning photographers, attending bridal shows, and planning her own fairytale. The venue she chose to get married in, not only turned out to be a picture perfect fairytale venue, but the employees of the venue, especially the Event Director turned out to be one of the easiest, and nicest people to work with. She helped Meredith throughout her time planning, ran the rehearsal, as well as the day of events keeping everyone in line (especially the boys). She took the stress out of all of the day of events, and made everything run so smoothly.
Now the venue: the venue itself is beautiful. It is a perfect little vineyard that sits right outside of Des Moines, IA. As you enter the venue it has a quaint little bar area, with a large fireplace that adds so much character. There is an upstairs loft area for a changing room, and bridal party gathering room. Also a perfect little corner window to add to any photo op. As you enter the reception room, from the wood floors to the windows all around which allow for natural light, you are filled with a sense of bliss. Outside, might I add, is no different. From the all-around wooden deck, which overlooks a gazebo sitting amongst a vineyard it is breathtaking.
The Chateau at White Oak Vineyard, which is located in Cambridge, IA is our perfect little place of heaven. (Thx Mere!) Jenna Eichinger is the Director of Events, of which she is amazing to work with. Kenzie Greiner has been no different throughout my experience and she is the Event Coordinator for the location. Each have provided us with all of the information we needed, and have been so great to work with, even though we live in Dallas. We are beyond excited to continue our planning. *Braden likes to joke I will have nothing to plan, because I have done everything already*.
Another big item is the dress. It’s amazing how something so little, can cause so much stress. It is something you wear for one day, and one day only and so it has to be “perfect!” Trying on wedding dresses, to me, was very difficult. I wanted to make the best possible decision, and truthfully I wanted to have the “feeling” all of the brides on “Say Yes To The Dress” have. I was told multiple times, that you don’t have to cry to know it is you dress- however, I pressed on. I tried on many dresses all of which I had pictured as my day of gown. There are so many options of fabric: Satin, Chiffon, Organza Tulle, Lace. With all of these choices each dress became more, and more difficult to decide. I would fall in love with certain aspects, and pick apart others. I didn’t like this crease here, or that part of lace there, or how that strap looked. Honestly, I felt it was difficult to commit. For one of the first times in my life, I was having commitment issues. I only went to two different Bridal Boutiques. One of these Boutiques was called Modern Dress located in Boone, IA. Some of the designers this Bridal Boutique features is: Watters, Maggie Sottero, Pronovias, and Mori Lee. Ashley, the store owner is fabulous to work with. She is patient, and knows how to make a bride feel comfortable. She also helped my sister Meredith find her dress. I tried on what felt like 100 dresses at this quaint little shop, and finally narrowed it down to one specific dress, but I continued to feel a sense of confusion and wonder “what if”. I just couldn’t commit.
The very next weekend I went to a&bé in Dallas, TX. This store, a&bé is the perfect spot for a bride looking for a more out of the box, type of gown. This store first originated in Denver, CO and then opened up in Minneapolis, MN before opening up in Dallas, TX. The type of designers a&bé carries is: Anna Campbell, Rue De Seine, Made With Love, Katie May, Sarah Seven, Truvelle, Noel + Jean, & more. These dresses all have a little sense of boho feel with hints of elegance and romance. The Boutique itself is laid out so it is not overwhelming, and the dresses are very well taken care of.
Victoria, one of the Bridal Stylists helped me each time I went in. She was also very patient, knew what I was looking for, and helped me in making certain decisions, while throwing out others. At the end of the day it came down to three different dresses, all different designers, and style for that matter. I continued to be stuck on this specific dress, I didn’t want to take it off. This specific dress did not have the fabric I pictured myself in for my wedding day, nor was it the style of dress I pictured myself in on my wedding day. It took me over an hour in that specific dress, FaceTiming my family, bouncing ideas off of my friends, and having a moment alone, before finally saying “This is my dress”. It is crazy to think that one little item, took that much deciding, but I am relieved to have found a dress that I cannot stop dreaming, and thinking about.
We have lots more to plan, stress about, and finalize, however we have been so blessed to have the people we do in our lives, our family and friends have been nothing short of amazing. We are continuing to plan little things here and there, I will keep you updated along the way!
Until next time…