“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. January, Margaret Bush!*
Tell us your engagement story…
Matt and I had started some wedding plans so I knew the engagement was coming; but he still managed to take me by surprise. We often take walks in the evening. Without fail our walks always wind up in the park right next to my house. In the park is a bench; ‘our bench’ that we always sit on and take a brief pause (and maybe a couple of smooches) before heading back home. One cold but sunny day in March our post work walk ended up in the park, with us sitting on the bench. I was getting cold so I said, “Lets Go.” Then when I turned towards Matt he said, “hold on a minute” He got down on one knee, said some sweet gushy things and asked me to be his wife.
Who was your photographer? Where did you take pictures throughout the day?
Lisa Hunter–Even So Photo. My goal for the day was to keep it simple for people involved. For that reason we did most of our pictures in the park next to my house (where we got engaged, a few at the church, and a few outside the reception venue. I was excited to have our pictures in a place that was such a big part of our love story– and also convenient for our friends and family. I didn’t want people to be standing outside in 90 degree August heat 🙂
What month did your wedding take place?
What was your venue & why did you choose it?
The Knickerbocker–New Holland Brewing Well planning a summer wedding for more than 200 people on short notice didn’t leave a lot of options 🙂 But before Matt and I were even engaged I thought that it would be a cool space to have a reception. Part of why we chose it was the fact they could accommodate so many people. I also loved that there were separate spaces( the Zeppelin Lounge and the Barrel Stave Loft) so those who wanted to dance could live it up and relatives and friends who wanted to catch up could have a conversation in a quieter space. plus– New Holland Beer and Cocktails you can’t go wrong with that!
Who was your band or DJ? Are they from the area?
My brother in law and nephew were our DJ and they were awesome. Matt, my brother in law meticulously curated cocktail hour, dinner and dancing playlists to set a great vibe for the night. He was awesome. My 9 year old nephew served as assistant DJ and he was the star of the show. He was on the dance floor the whole night and was so excited to be involved. It was one of my favorite parts of our wedding.
What was your favorite part of the planning process?
How excited our families were that we had found eachother and shared in our joy. One of the things I was blown away by during our engagement and wedding was how generous people were with us. From all of the offers to help, to generous gifts, hosting of parties, and sweet cards in the mail I regularly felt loved and celebrated. I was honored to have so many great people in my life to support us.
What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
Had a few more posed pictures with various members of my family. I had a list but in the excitement of the moment I didn’t make sure we had gotten through all of them.
Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
We did a first look in the park before the wedding. It was so fun to have that moment to look forward to all day!
What was your least favorite part of the planning process?
All of the details that I knew in the end didn’t really have a huge impact on our wedding day but still needed to have a decision made about them. I enjoyed some of the bigger picture things but not all of the little details.
How involved was the groom in planning the wedding?
Matt was always supportive of planning and would be my sounding board. I am much more the planner so I took on the responsibility of most of our planning. When I asked him to look into something or run errands he was always more than willing to help.
Where did you find your bridesmaids’ dresses? Were they all the same or different styles?
After many experiences buying expensive dresses that I only wore once I wanted the bridesmaids to find a dress they liked and fit their budget. I gave them a few colors to choose from and let them pick their own dress and color. In the end I thought everyone looked fabulous, the colors complemented each other well and it let each person involved show off their personal flair.
Favorite moment from your wedding day?
If I have to pick one…Before dinner my dad said a quick few words and a prayer. He was so sweet and cute about things and what he said was so unexpected. Many of our friends and families commented on how special they thought that was. And–walking out of the church through a cheering crowd to the convertible waiting for us.
Describe your wedding dress & where did you find it?
I found it at Renee Austin Wedding on Plainfield. They were awesome. My dress was lacy, had straps, fit through the torso and hips and flaired slightly at the bottom. The back had a deep V in it. I felt like it fit me perfectly and hid some of my not so great features and accentuated some of the better ones. I had a silver/rinestone belt that highlighted my waist.
Did you have a Bachelorette party? If so, where did it take place and what did you do?
yes- we stayed local It was so fun! We kayaked on the grand river (which was an experience). My friend purchased a veil for me to wear while kayaking and throughout the day. From there we went to dinner at City Built and then went out on the town. We stayed at City Flats hotel and it was so fun to see friends I had not seen in awhile.
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you have received?
Be forgiving. We all make mistakes or say things we wish we wouldn’t have said but always be quick to extend grace.
What’s your best advice for staying on a wedding budget? / Where could you have saved better?
Avoid caring about all of the little trinkets and extras–they don’t make the event and people forget about them quickly. We decided to splurge on food and drink since we felt that was important to the party vibe.
Where did you get your bouquet? Was it from a place in West Michigan?
My aunt–Muriel Westra– does florist work on the side. She is amazing. I met with her one evening and talked about what I liked, shared my pinterest board with her and she took it from there. I wasn’t quite sure what my flowers would look like until she dropped them off on our wedding day. I LOVED THEM. it was so fun to be surprised by what she put together. I was blown away but her creativity and the amazing bouquets she put together.
What was on your wedding menu & who catered?
All of our food was through New Holland. We had appetizers: veggies and hummus, spinach dip and pepperoni pinwheels Our dinner was family style: Chicken, Pork, Market Vegetables and Mashed Potatotes. Four our friends with gluten/vegan/dairy restrictions there was a vegan ratatouille available. We had mini cupcakes from Connies Cupcakes: Chocolate, Vanilla and Vegan/GF chocolate.
What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
I think you better ask my Mom and sisters this one. I think they did a great job of managing any of my anxiety or Bridezilla ness 🙂 I know there were a few but nothing major comes to mind right now.
What wedding detail was worth the money / splurge?
We ended up spending more than initially anticipated on our Bar Bill. But it was totally worth it. All of our friends repeated how much fun they had and how they loved the fun drinks from New Holland.
Best idea that you stole (from Pinterest, magazine, or other wedding)?
My whole goal was to avoid pinterest as much as possible so I didn’t get sucked into lots of little details. I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Our names both start with M so I borrowed the idea having candy jars from my sisters wedding. W e had jars of M and Ms on our cupcake table that people could grab a few of.
What’s YOUR best advice for brides-to-be?
don’t lose sight of what the end game is…marriage. I think towards the end I felt so overwhelmed with all the details I lost sight of that.