As wedding planners and designers, we work hard to make sure every single bride's wedding day is perfect. We work hard making sure nothing gets overlooked. But we also know that most of the time, something won't go as planned. Whether it's the band playing the wrong song choice or a bird flying into your reception space from a door left open or a bridesmaid dress ripping right before she's supposed to walk down the aisle... something will inevitably not go as planned. We are pretty good at thinking on the spot, staying calm under pressure, and problem-solving quickly without damaging the flow of events.
Analise and I had been planning and designing her wedding for a year and a half. We spent a lot of time collaborating and making sure every detail was perfect. As her wedding date drew nearer and the weather looked more and more ominous, we had to make some last minute changes to her reception space. And then, when strong thunderstorms turned into unexpected threats of tornadoes and hail, we had to make several pretty major last minute changes to move her ceremony from Pretty Place Chapel to Larkin's Founders Room in less than 24 hours. In 3 hours, the decision was made. In another 4 hours, everything was completely rerouted and replanned, and within an additional 3 hours, her ceremony began. And the results? Nothing short of beautiful. And the photos below from Josh Jones prove that despite the weather, Analise and Frankie's wedding day was stunning.
I also asked Analise and Frankie to share some thoughts on their wedding and wedding planning process... so my hope is that you enjoy these gorgeous photos and this beautiful couple.
What was your favorite moment and/or detail from your wedding? This is such a hard question. There were so many beautiful moments from prayer circles and group hugs with my bridesmaids, first look with my dad, my mom getting me in the dress, my flower girls and ring bearer, seeing all our guests, dancing, money being thrown at me on the dance floor and stuffed in my dress.... yes that did happen. But definitely my favorite moment was right before I walked down the aisle. We spent a year and half planning our wedding. Even getting ready that day it hadn't hit me that it was finally here! This exciting intimate moment was about to happen. As the doors were about to open it all just hit me. I was walking into that room a fiance and leaving a wife. I felt nothing but pure joy and gratitude that I'd get to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man. The doors opened and there he was - eyes welled up with tears. It was perfect!
How was your experience working with us for your wedding? AMAZING!!! Less than 24 hours before our wedding we had to change our ceremony venue due to severe weather concerns. People tell you things will go wrong on your wedding day, but that was a lot for me to handle at 1 in the morning the day of our wedding. I started that day so stressed about everything, then Shannon and her team came by. They had worked with vendors to decorate the ceremony space, communicated the change to all our vendors, and had just such happy excited spirits despite the stress this no doubt caused for them as well. They told me "God knew this was going to happen. There are no surprises for Him." I immediately burst into tears and am crying again just thinking about it. It was exactly what I needed to hear and the rest of the day I didn't stress one bit. Needless to say, if they can handle that, they can handle anything. We had so many guests compliment that you would have no idea that wasn't the original plan. The space looked amazing! Throughout the entire process Shannon and team alleviated so much stress for me. I was an out of town bride and relied on them even more heavily since I didn't know the area, the venues, or the vendors. The Bespoken team made our dream wedding a reality. Booking them, in my opinion, is one of the best decisions I made through the entire process.
What would you have done differently during your planning process? My initial reaction to this was.... stress less. Honestly though I'm glad to have gone through this process. Every piece of it. The stressful times showed me even more how great me and Frankie work together as a team. He was my rock while I became overwhelmed with a demanding job, grad school, buying a house and planning a wedding all at once.
How would you describe your overall wedding experience? Overflowing with love, amazing details, and elegance. From the start of the day to the very end, we were surrounded with love. There were so many special moments with vendors, family, and friends that we'll always cherish. It was so fun at the end of the night to share moments from the day. He told me about his time with the groomsmen and guests he talked to that I didn't. I did the same for my time with the bridesmaids and guests I talked to that he didn't. You could feel the love in the getting ready moments, the ceremony, and the reception. There were so many happy tears shed. Half of our photos involve one or both us crying. The details of the wedding created such a beautiful atmosphere. The floral arch, floral installations, hair, makeup, the dress, the accessories, chandeliers, draping, the locations, music, place settings, linens, food, cake, officiant, soloist, lighting.... I could go on for hours! It was all so stunning and we had a great photographer and videographer to capture all those details and moments.
Did you see each other before the wedding? If not, did you like waiting, or would you have done it differently? Tell us why and why not! We did not do a first look. It was hard waiting but what helped is we exchanged cards and held hands on either side of the door before the ceremony. Not only did that exchanging of cards make for great video and photos, but it was such a sweet moment. We both laughed and cried. I'm really glad we didn't see each other until we walked down the aisle though. Seeing him for the first time crying as I walked into the room was priceless. When we looked through our photos and watched our video he cried again watching that moment. Definitely worth the wait.
Tell us about your dress! Where did you find it, how did you choose it, and how did you know it was "the one"? My dress was found at a shop in Orlando, Florida called Your Bridal Couture. What lead me there was a specific designer, Morilee. Morilee has a beautiful dresses and for me, as a plus size bride, it can be really hard to find designers that carry larger sizes. When I originally looked, the closest I could shop for her plus size line was in DC. I was so disappointed and tried other shops but didn't find what I was looking for. I decided randomly to check again and Your Bridal Couture had just started carrying her line. I was the first to buy Morilee in their store. I have never been a fan of ballgowns, but when I put on that dress I was in love. I still tried on more after that one but couldn't stop thinking about it. The lace details, the long train, the beautiful belt beading... all of it just looked so classic and elegant and regal. As my close friends would say, fit for the queen I am.
What was the first song you danced to as Newlyweds? Father-Daughter Dance song? Mother-Son Dance Song? We danced to Brad Paisley's "Then". I'm honestly not sure when this became our song but it did. We both tear up every time it's on. My dad and I danced to "I Loved her First" by Heartland. I actually had my dad pick the song. I think it made it extra special for him. His mom selected their song as well. They danced to "The Man You've Become" by Molly Pasutti.
What were you most anxious, nervous, or fearful about regarding your wedding day, and what was the outcome? Leading up to the wedding I was most anxious about finances. Wedding budgets get out of hand really quick. It worked out in the end! We worked hard as a team to budget and make sure we'd be okay. My other big concern was just overall guest experience. The people pleaser in me thought about our guests with every decisions I made. We had asked a lot of our guests with the wedding being a destination. Everyone enjoyed not just the wedding but the trip. It was so nice that day and in the days following to hear different stories of people's time in Greenville and at the wedding.
What wedding planning advice would you offer to couples who are currently planning their wedding? Remember what the day is really about.... the two of you and the significance of the step you're about to take. It's so easy to get caught up in the stress of all the details and the money. We both had to stay focused on what really mattered especially after our plans changed so drastically the day of. What brought us to Greenville was Pretty Place Chapel where we'd planned to have our ceremony. When we had to move it last minute it was so upsetting. We came there specifically for that venue with its stunning mountain views. Many tears were shed but in that moment we came back to focus as we did throughout the entire process. All that mattered is we had found each other. We were going to be surrounded by the people we loved and have an amazing day. And we did. Changes and all it was the perfect day and we'd live every moment of it again. We still got pictures at the chapel the next day too. It was so special to spend our first morning as husband and wife there and honestly how many brides get to put their dress on again! Just think positive and cherish all the special moments even when things don't go perfectly to plan.
Any tips on what to bring/pack for your wedding day? One thing I packed as advised by my hair and makeup artist was a touch up kit. Not only did I make use of it but so did my bridesmaids - we had eyelash glue, Stay Matte powder, and lip stains. I only had in that clutch an emergency kit with extra bobby pins, some safety pins, and a small sewing kit. They have really cute emergency kits that I found at Marshalls. It was sequin and fun to have! Even though I really only used the bobby pins, I've been at weddings where the sewing kit or safety pins were needed.
Any tips on how to prepare to work with Bespoken? No real tips. Just be prepared to be amazed! I don't think I'll ever be able to think Bespoken enough for everything they did for me and Frankie to make our day and the days leading up to it so perfect for both us and our guests. We love them!!! [WE LOVE YOU TOO, ANALISE!!!!]
And like we told her on her wedding day...our encouragement to any bride whose wedding doesn't go exactly as planned: "God isn't surprised by this. He knew this was going to happen, and THIS was His plan all along. It's going to be a BEAUTIFUL day and a BEAUTIFUL wedding."
And the amazing vendor team that made this all possible:
Planner & Designer: Bespoken / Photographer: Josh Jones Photography / Videographer: Absolute Wedding Films / Ceremony Venue: Larkin's Thomas Roe Founders Room / Reception Venue: Larkin's Wyche Pavilion / Florist: Willow Florals / Draping & Lighting: Optrics / Lounge Furniture: A Darling Day / Linens & Rentals: Professional Party Rentals / Ceremony Entertainment: Edgewire Music / Reception Entertainment: Uptown Entertainment / Catering & Bartending: Larkin's Catering / Hair and Makeup Artist: Cotton Rouge / Baker: Couture Cakes of Greenville / Officiant: 2 Become 1 Heart