I'm excited to bring back one of my favorite things! The Wedding Inspiration-bridal Series! My past brides share insights into their wedding planning with future brides, girls- this is the INFO you're looking for. Just married brides breaking it down for you! 

First up the gorgeous Marissa! It was so fun working with someone in the wedding industry. Being the Wedding Dress stylist Guru at Marah's Elegant Bridal- she is, she had a ton of insight into weddings. She knew things, behind the scene things that really mattered when it comes to photography.  Like Lighting, space, design, direction, and so much more.  Marissa and I have known each other for quite some time, industry events like the Wisconsin Bride Magazine Awards and Wedding Shows.  Something I loved about Marissa from the get go is she knows what she wants and she sticks to it. She had a vision but never expected perfection, she was ready for things to not go exactly has planned and never lost sight of what really mattered.  I think I was  EXACTLY like that as a bride. So I really understood her intentions and it made for a perfect pairing of bride and vendor. 

You guys are going to LOVE what she has to say!  Thank you SO much Marissa for contributing! 


1. What was your favorite memory? 
TOO MANY! But if I had to pick two I would say the moment during the reception where we snuck away to escape to the back of the ballroom with a plate full of our yummy desserts to just sit and take it all in. It was so humbling to watch the people we love most have so much fun and recognizing the fact they were all there to celebrate our love! The second memory was when I looked at Kane during our first dance and said, "we are killing this!" I swear he got even more pep in his step!


2. What could you have done without?
Holy cow did we go overboard on our programs. Bought way too many. I would say order 1/2 of the number of RSVP-ed guests. 


3. What was the best advice you received?
Be present and not lose sight of what the day truly is about. 


4. What did you book first? Venue, Dress, Photographer.....what order would you suggest?
Well, the first vendor we contacted was Dani! Dani and I met almost 5 years ago at a Wisconsin Bride event. We stayed connected ever since. I knew she was our person. Our personalities and style just meshed and I'm the type of girl that when I know I know. I didn't even reach out to any other photographers! But, the first official booking was our venue as I knew we had to have a date to really book any other vendors. It is so exciting to have a date and a venue. In my opinion it really sets the tone for everything and is such a big chunk of your wedding budget. 


5. What were you nervous about and was it worth it?
Nerves set in during those last few months. I was most nervous about the flow of the day. I wanted our day to be thoughtful and memorable for our guests. I was so terrified of a potential "lull moment" during the reception. Safe to say, it didn't happen! The thing is with nerves, you can't avoid them. It is a HUGE day! If you didn't have nerves of some kind I would be a little worried. 


6. What tips do you have for planning brides?
DO NOT OVERTHINK.  I repeat do not overthink. You have to remember that your wedding day is just 1 day. Yep, I know it kind of stinks but its the reality! I'm a firm believer in choosing businesses and vendors that you would be proud of and above all else you trust. Honestly, I knew almost all the vendors before we even got engaged! And, I totally get that I have an advantage from working the wedding industry, but I have worked with so many brides who may feel like that need to go to multiple shops to know they found "the dress". Sounds exhausting right? Just be present. If you feel a connection with your stylist, she genuinely cares about you and your wedding day vision, and is giving you an amazing experience that my friends is something you will always remember. This goes for all your wedding vendors. Did you love the first photographer you met with? Do they just get you? Does their price fall in line with your budget? BOOK them before someone else does!


7. If you could do it over again what would you change if anything?
The thing about weddings is that the trends change the moment you walk down the aisle. It's the truth! Brides always say they want to look back on photos 20 years from now and still love their dress. Well, you will always love your dress or flowers or decor because of the memories that come flooding back with each and every part of your wedding! But the fact is you would absolutely change it! Trends change and that is normal. You will always love what you wore the colors you chose but its okay to say, "now I would do this" or now "I would do that". 


8. Tell us about how you chose your dress and bridesmaids dresses
I have been styling brides for almost 9 years! So lucky for me I knew exactly where I was going to have my say yes to the dress moment. I knew I didn't want lace even though I LOVE lace, but I just wanted something super clean and fresh that I could totally make unique with my accessories. Choosing a two piece dress made customizing so much fun! I worked with Monirose, a custom gown designer out of Madison, to bring my vision to life! She transformed a pretty dress to MY dress by adding the sweet little flutter sleeves. 

11 gals + 4 flower girls stood by my side on our big day. Nuts, right? So fun tho. I am not a matchy matchy person at all, so I knew I would want to create some kind of palette. I wanted something airy and springy but a little boldness, too. The lilac and light blue gave me the whimsy feels but the navy was the perfect pop to bring it all together. My girls all chose a dress they loved. All different fabrics, all different designers, and they all flowed so beautifully together. 


9. How did you stay organized? 
I used theknot.com for my montly/weekly checklist for planning. That was a huge life saver! 


10. Anything you'd like to add?
Remember that your wedding day should be a day designed for you and your fiance. From the dress, to the colors, to the music, to the first dance it should be a genuine reflection of your love. It's good to have opinions, but don't lose sight of what truly makes you, you.