I'm SO excited about this post. Laura and Travis are on of my favorite couples and it was definitely one of my favorite weddings, one I will always remember with a big smile on my face. Laura really thought about things like lighting! throughout the day ( a photographers dream client) and they both just let go and embraced the day with open hearts and free of any expectations. For lack of better words I like to think Laura wore her heart on her sleeve that day.  I mean that as a huge compliment, I believe Laura expressed her emotions freely and openly for all to see, capturing these moments made my heart burst inside, I actually felt her joy.  It was written all over her beautiful face.  That is the reason this is one of my all time favorite weddings.  I could go on and on but since this post is about wedding planning I will attempt to stick to that.  Laura is sharing some pivotal advice for planning brides including timeline, vendors (local vendors! YAY) and guest experience.  I can say, as a guest, having the local food and beer vendors made a big impact on the day!  Scroll ALL the way down for the full blog preview of this memorable wedding.  

1.  What was your favorite memory from the wedding?

I have so many favorite “little moments” from our wedding weekend but if I had to pick one favorite, I would say it was during the ceremony when Travis and I were finally seated together in church and I looked out to see the church filled with our family and friends.  All I could think was “when are we ever going to have all of our favorite people in the world all in one place TOGETHER?" I’ve never felt surrounded by so much love and and support in all my life.

2. What could you have done without?

I really enjoyed planning the small details and tried to strike a balance between having a wedding with a cohesive style while not letting all of the little details consume me. A detail I could have done without was the flowers/greenery on the dinner menus.  I found this idea on Pinterest and thought it would be the perfect addition to the place settings. It ended up being more of a hassle because half of the greenery wilted and half was misplaced; something that would never happen in Pinterest land! Our awesome catering staff improvised with some left over flowers/greenery from the centerpieces and it turned out beautifully, but I’m certain the menus would have been just as pretty without this unnecessary detail. Lesson learned- cut some of the smaller details and spend your time/energy on details that will have more of an impact. 

3. What is your best advice for planning brides? 
Before selecting a venue or hiring vendors, have a discussion your fiancé about top priorities for your wedding.  You will have to make some difficult decisions, but if you have identified your shared priorities, these decisions will be easier to make.  It will also help guide discussions with family and friends who offer their suggestions and advice for your wedding. 

Travis and I wanted to create a day that reflected us as a couple and gave our guests a glimpse of what our life is like in La Crosse. We identified priorities including serving guests a delicious dinner featuring locally grown food, top notch beer from our favorite local brewery, decadent desserts from my sister’s gluten free bakery and finding a venue that allowed guests to have a relaxing evening while enjoying the beauty of La Crosse. People are still talking about the food, dessert and venue at our wedding.

In addition to identifying priorities, try not to get overwhelmed with what you “should" and “shouldn’t do.”  We spent time thinking about many of the wedding traditions such as the grand march, wedding favors, a bouquet toss, etc. and decided only to incorporate the traditions that we found meaningful. No one missed any of those things! 

4. Looking back, what was the MOST important?

Travis and I wanted our day to be scheduled in a way that allowed us to spend time with our wedding party, our immediate family, our guests and most importantly, each other. I consulted with a few different people (including Dani) who helped me plan our “day of” timeline that allowed us to really have time with these people to celebrate. I had a relaxing morning getting ready with the bridesmaids and my mom at a local bed and breakfast, while Travis was able to spend time with the groomsmen.  A very special moment was the first look with my dad; it was incredibly special to have time with him. The wedding party and close friends went to our favorite brewery and enjoyed a beer after the ceremony.  As quickly as the day went, I am so glad we planned our day this way. 

5.  What did you plan/Book first? Dress, venue, Photographer ?

Photographer, venue, dress.  We like to do things out of order! I had been following Dani’s blog for some time and knew that finding the right photographer (Dani!) was a priority. Travis contacted Dani to inquire about her availability, etc. before he even proposed. 

After we got engaged, we booked a venue that didn’t end up being large enough. Although this was a very stressful discovery, it turned out to be a major blessing.  Once we decided on our new venue, then I started shopping for my dress. 

Travis and Laura's wedding preview can be found here: WEDDING