“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 dream since she was just a little girl. It’s the night she marries her love, her best friend, and her forever roomie.
Although… it’s not until you’re planning a wedding that you really realize all that goes into this magical day.
Therefore, each month we’re choosing one West Michigan bride to feature her wedding day and all the fun, crazy steps in between.
Bring on the stress, the laughter, the tears, the romance, the nerves, the “bridezilla” moments, and much more!
*Meet Mrs. April, Jackie Blankenship.*
Tell us your engagement story…
It was a few days before Christmas and we were celebrating the holiday a little early with some family at our apartment. It was my first time making a large meal for more than 2 people and I was more than overwhelmed. I had gotten everything prepared except the mashed potatoes when my (now husband) started needling me to make them early. I told him we had a few hours left, no point in making them now just to get cold, and he kept saying just make them now! Finally I gave in, good grief he wants some mashed potatoes! I began piling my ingredients onto the counter tops and opened the refridgerator to get the butter and milk when I noticed a big red box. “What is this red box in the fridge?” When I turned around he was on one knee with a beautiful ring.
Who was your photographer? Where did you take pictures throughout the day?
As a former National Miss Captivating pageant queen I used our pageant director, Rick Martinez of Studio RM LLC. He is also a photographer and drove down to Grand Rapids from Ohio for our big day. We took our photos at the church, as well as outside at Ah-Nab-Awen Park, and the Blue Bridge.
What month did your wedding take place?
What was your venue & why did you choose it?
Our ceremony was held at Fountain Street Church in Grand Rapids. I chose the church not only because of the history it has here in Grand Rapids but because it’s beautiful, and they cater to so many different faiths. The reception was held at The Goei Center on Butterworth near downtown Grand Rapids. I loved the Goei ever since I had been there for a holiday party for work. The beautiful hard wood floors, the koi pond, the industrial style ceilings. It all makes for such a unique venue.
Who was your band or DJ? Are they from the area?
We used Shawn Dostal ((DJ ShawnyD) from Hot Traxx Entertainment). We had met Shawn in college up in Cadillac where he was Dj-ing and we thought he had such a wonderful personality, he could make you laugh so easy that we knew years later that he was who we wanted to Dj our wedding.
What was your favorite part of the planning process?
I loved planning the decorations, and centerpieces. It was so amazing seeing how we could take two well known venues in Grand Rapids and make them our own.
What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
I wish I could turn back time and have a videographer. It was the one thing we were on the fence about that we didn’t do and I kick myself whenever I think about it.
Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
We did not do a first look. We chose to wait until I entered the church at “go time” to see each other. We wanted to keep it traditional in that way.
What was your least favorite part of the planning process?
The little details like addressing envelopes, making seating charts. Those kind of things that are time consuming but need to get done.
How involved was the groom in planning the wedding?
He was involved in every decision but was very agreeable with everything I came up with.
Where did you find your bridesmaids’ dresses? Were they all the same or different styles?
We chose a short stapless dress from Fantastic Finds in Lansing. They were all the same style and color.
Favorite moment from your wedding day?
The garter toss! My husband and the groomsmen secretly learned the opening number sequence from Austin Powers and came out dancing to the song from the movie.
Describe your wedding dress & where did you find it?
I chose a white mermaid fit with a lace up back. It was strapless with a sweet heart neck line. I originally wanted something sparkly but the fit of this dress just won me over. The bottom was layers and layers of tulling. To get my sparkle fix I added a rhinestone embellished belt and earrings. I also chose a veil that had rhinestone trim. Everything was from Memories Bridal in Kalamazoo.
Did you have a Bachelorette party? If so, where did it take place and what did you do?
I had a bachlorette party in downtown Grand Rapids. We had a limo from Affordable Limousine pick us up at our hotel and drive us to The Intersection for their Mega 80’s night. Then we hopped around town to all our favorite local bars and breweries.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you have received?
Never go to bed angry. While I’ve heard it before, our pastor reiterated it to us at our pre marriage meet up. He gave us his thoughts on why it’s so important to never end on a bad note and I truly believe he was right.
What’s your best advice for staying on a wedding budget? / Where could you have saved better?
My husband is very financial minded and lucky for me he came up with an excel spreadsheet with our total budget, and then filled it in with everything as we went. I can say we were down to our last dollar of the budget by the end of the reception.
Where did you get your bouquet? Was it from a place in West Michigan?
My Aunt Colleen who is an amazingly talented florist made my bouquet as well as my bridesmaids. The rest of our flowers and decor was done by Eastern Floral here in Grand Rapids.
What was on your wedding menu & who catered?
We went through Marthas Catering. We knew when we sampled that Steak Diane that we were sold! For appetizers we had meatballs on bamboo skewers then when we sat for dinner, we had salads and rolls. After for dinner we had the steak Diane as well as a chicken option with twice baked yukon golden potatoes on the side. We chose to have the dinner family style, where baskets, and platters come to each table and you enjoy your meal much like you would at a family dinner.
What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
I would say it was after the ceremony, before the reception. It had been in the 40’s all week and on our wedding day it was 22 degrees out, with out the wind chill! Trying to get photos was very difficult and I had a teensy tiny melt down about it…
What wedding detail was worth the money / splurge?
The photographer! At the end of the day, the only thing I have to look back on our those photos, so I am so glad we went with someone we trusted.
Best idea that you stole (from Pinterest, magazine, or other wedding)?
We used candied popcorn as our “gift” to our guests. I saw it in a magazine and thought it was so cute! Luckily Grand Rapids Popcorn is amazing, they do custom personal sized bags, with candied popcorn to match your colors, with custom labels!
What’s YOUR best advice for brides-to-be?
Relax! While it seems like one wrong thing can ruin your day; it really won’t. Your wedding will be beautiful, and you will have a fabulous time. All the little things that you worry about are gone the minute you walk down the aisle.