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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Norfolk,VA Bride Shares her Wedding Experience in Springfield, MO {Real Bride} Springfield, MO Wedding Vendors

Michelle & Ethan Miller wed on September 10, 2011 in beautiful Ozark, MO just outside of Springfield. Michelle shares her story about planning their nuptial from over 1000 miles away! Pretty cool :) Check out images from their special day here
"Planning a wedding is difficult and fun, but planning to have it in a place that you are both unfamiliar and over 1,000 miles away from is even more… challenging!  My husband and I live in Norfolk, Virginia and got engaged and decided to, marry in Ozark, Missouri on his parent’s property. 
I suppose part of the hassle was removed in that we already knew where we were getting married, so I had no need to find a venue.  The first step I took was booking the caterer.  I talked with my (then soon-to-be) mother-in-law, who has lived in that area for years, and asked her to ask around for recommendations.  It was a very scary thought that I was going to base my wedding food off of people I had never met’s recommendations.  We came up with Dining By Design, they were without a doubt the most often and highest recommended for the area.  I emailed Scott LeMaster, sent in our deposit, and crossed it off of my list. 

Well, little did Scott know how much I needed from him!  I looked online and read blogs for a florist, tent rental, cake, and everything else you need for the Big Day and became so overwhelmed.  So I called Scott.  He recommended to me All Event Rentals (for the tent, linens, chairs, etc.), Artistry in Bloom, and Travel Tunes DJ.  Being this was my first real wedding planning experience, I had no idea how important it was that all of the vendors knew each other.  This truly made our day go by smoothly. 

We originally booked (off of a recommendation) a different photographer.  Here is the lesson learned:  it is your wedding and a very special day- the photographer should treat it as such also, if the photographer has not updated his or her website in over 3 months, then they are probably not doing too well; if you call and email without any reply- it is time to find a new photographer!  Originally, everything sounded great.  We talked to the photographer on the phone and we were ready for the day to come.  2 months away from the wedding date (which was September 10, 2011) I tried frantically to get in touch with the photographer.  Emails and phone calls were not returned and his website was not updated.  I went to the computer and called 4 different photographers… all were booked.  So once again I called my faithful caterer for advice and he gave me “the best and sweetest photographer [he] knew”~ Christine Bonnivier.  I am so blessed that this happened this way!  We are so pleased with the pictures from Christine.  She was an udder delight to be around and fit in with my family as if she had been with us all along. 

All of our vendors were amazing.  The tent rental company (All Event Rentals) came out on Thursday and put the tent up (the rental term is Thursday through Monday, which was fabulous!)  I second guessed myself and decided Thursday night at 8pm that the tent was not big enough.  I called and left a frantic voicemail on their machine and Friday morning at 9am there was another truck in the yard, they even brought me 2 tents in different sizes to choose from.  I know we would never have found that kind of service back in Norfolk.

Jill, with Artistry in Bloom and I never even met in person.  We had several talks regarding what I knew I wanted and what I knew I did not want for flowers.  (here is a tip- send your florist as many pictures of what you don’t want and what you do want, it will help them share your vision).  She absolutely nailed it!!!  My bouquet was breathtaking!  She even left some extra flowers which my bridesmaids ended up carrying. 

I was probably most nervous about the DJ.  That can really make or break a wedding reception.  Travel Tunes did not disappoint.  They got the crowd involved, danced with my grandma, and I can honestly say that I think they genuinely had a great time as well. 
 The food from Dining by Design was worth every penny!!  The cheeseburger sliders were fabulous!  Their wait staff was a blast.  I am so lucky to have had the vendors I did!  Scott was such a help to me for every step of the planning and he was very prompt in his replies, never irritated with me and my silly questions. 

When planning a wedding from afar, it is so important to be in contact with everyone and even better when all of the vendors are familiar with each other.  Another really important thing to have is a day of coordinator.  In our case, we had my husband’s aunt who offered to do it.  I would suggest paying for one if you have to because it takes all of the pressure off of the bride and bridal party on the day of.  My husband’s aunt was my point of contact for all of the vendors and she made sure we all ran on time. 
Another big tip is to do a reveal with your husband-to-be and the photographer.  Make it s special moment for the two of you.  I was really against this idea at first, as it is so nontraditional.  However, I am SO glad we did it.  We had 30 minutes or so of just the two of us.  We were both so nervous that this quelled a lot of our nerves and it was an amazingly special moment (it didn't stop the tears for the ceremony though!).  I would recommend all brides and grooms take this time out on their day, it really is the last time before you go to sleep that night, that you will have with just the two of you (and the photographer too, of course).  Most of all, it is your day, even if it rains (as it did on our wedding…. Which made for really magical pictures!!) it will be amazing!  
Lastly, smile and have fun!!!"  - Michelle Miller {Married 9/10/11 in Ozark, MO}

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