“I’d choose you; in a hundred lifetimes, in a hundred worlds, in any version of reality, I’d find you and I’d choose you.” -The Chaos of Stars
A woman’s wedding day is often viewed as the biggest day of her life – a night she’s dreamed about since she was just a little girl. It’s the night she marries her love, her best friend, and her forever roomie.
It’s not until you’re planning a wedding that you really realize all that goes into this magical day.
Bring on the stress, the laughter, the tears, the romance, the nerves, the “bridezilla” moments, and much more!
Each month we’re choosing one West Michigan bride to feature her wedding day and all the fun, crazy steps in between.
*Meet Mrs. December, Laura Zuzelski!*
Tell us your engagement story…
We had planned to take a hike to the beach on a hot July afternoon at Hoffmaster State Park. As we walked Pete, my boyfriend at the time, was playing music. About half way I started to realize they were all love songs, and a few were songs that were some of “our songs.” I tried not to get too excited but I was starting to think that maybe it could be the day he would propose. When we got to the top and we were overlooking the water I realized it was the same spot we hiked to on one of our first dates. At the top of the dune overlooking Lake Michigan he got down on one knee and proposed. Then we spent a few hours swimming and enjoying the day together.
Who was your photographer? Where did you take pictures throughout the day?
Tina Rae Photography was our photographer. We took photos around our venue, The Downtown Market. We also took photos at SiteLab’s artprize venue, the Grand Rapids Ballet Mural, and a white patterned wall.
What month did your wedding take place?
What was your venue & why did you choose it?
We chose the Downtown Market. I loved the idea of getting married among trees and lots of natural elements, but getting married outside felt a little risky. The downtown market was the perfect mix of natural greens and modern design.
Who was your band or DJ? Are they from the area?
Our DJ was Dewitt DJ Services. They are located in Holland
What was your favorite part of the planning process?
I really enjoyed creating a vibe and a feel for the wedding and then working with all the vendors to bring that look and feel to all the aspects of our wedding so that it would be cohesive.
What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
I totally forgot about creating something for the guests to sign. I would have loved to have something to look back at with fun notes from our friends and family.
Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
We did not. We got married at 8:30 in the morning and there was not enough time. Plus we liked the idea of seeing each other for the first time walking down the isle.
What was your least favorite part of the planning process?
Figuring out the knitty gritty details like the seating chart and budgets.
How involved was the groom in planning the wedding?
He had a few things that he had opinions about, and took care of himself, but otherwise was happy with things I was choosing. I did a lot of things myself and enjoy doing that. I had a blast doing a lot of the planning.
Where did you find your bridesmaids’ dresses? Were they all the same or different styles?
The bridesmaids all found their dresses in different places. I wanted them all to be floor length, have a floral pattern, and have blue in them, but other than that they were all a little different.
Favorite moment from your wedding day?
The wedding ceremony was both of our favorite parts. Making a commitment to each other with all of our family and friends surrounding us was so much more special than we anticipated. It was overwhelming and full of so much love.
Describe your wedding dress & where did you find it?
Because we had a short engagement I knew I would not be able to shop in traditional bridal stores. So I went to BHLDN in Chicago to try on dresses and ordered it online. I got separates. The top was a modern lace corset that was strapless. and the skirt was high waisted with a high low hem line that created a small train in the back.
Did you have a Bachelorette party? If so, where did it take place and what did you do?
I had two bachelorette parties. My first was in Traverse City with some of my close girl friends. We rented a house downtown and did a wine tasting tour. My second was right before my wedding so that my family from out of town could join in. We did a cooking class at The Local Epicurean.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you have received?
We received lots of great advice through pre-marital counseling and talks with our pastor, but I think the thing that has stuck with me the most is to be willing to be selfless to your partner. That every day you need to choose them over you.
What’s your best advice for staying on a wedding budget? / Where could you have saved better?
Budgets are not something I like to think about, but using The Knot’s app for budgeting really helped me. You can put in your budget and then it gives the amount you should be approximately spending on each item. This gave me a good perspective on what I could spend on different vendors and services. The one thing I wish I had budgeted better for was the catering. I did not take into account people possibly eating multiple different entrees from the buffet, and the bill ended up being larger than I thought.
Where did you get your bouquet? Was it from a place in West Michigan?
I got my bouquet from Eastern Floral in Grand Rapids.
What was on your wedding menu & who catered?
We had a morning wedding, so we did a brunch buffet, with chicken & waffles, parfaits, quiche, breakfast potatoes and fruit.
What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
Our honeymoon location sadly had a natural disaster and we not able to go there. A few people suggested just going on a honeymoon later in the year and I broke down crying a few times, because I did not want to miss out on a honeymoon. We were able to plan a new location last minute and it all worked out fine!
What wedding detail was worth the money / splurge?
Since we had a morning wedding we did a mimosa and bloody mary bar. I thought that it was a fun extra touch that was not necessary, but created a unique aspect to the wedding.
Best idea that you stole (from Pinterest, magazine, or other wedding)?
An idea I had seen on pinterest and did, was using colored vintage glassware for the table settings. It was a great way to add color to the table settings. My husband’s grandmother, who had recently passed away had collected colored glass, so it was a great tribute to her as well.
What’s YOUR best advice for brides-to-be?
Decide what you want the feel and vibe of your wedding to be before you begin planning and then you can make all your decisions around that idea. Don’t sweat the small stuff, make it fun and add personal touches that mean something to you and your fiance!