“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 September, Alexis Reame!*
Tell us your engagement story…
A week before we were engaged, Brandon and I were involved in a very serious car accident. Thankfully, we were okay after being t-boned by a semi. Needless to say, it put a major dent in our plans to go camping the following week. I was having a hard time getting around and didn’t want to go. Brandon insisted we still go up north and relax at our campsite on Lake Michigan in Charlevoix. We compromised and kept our campsite but rented a condo so I didn’t have to sleep on the ground. When we got up to Charlevoix we stopped for provisions before heading to our campsite. We set up our camp chairs on the water and Brandon quickly went to get the champagne and dips we had just purchased. Before I knew it, he was pulling the ring out of the grocery bag. After the shock of what just happened wore off, I said yes. I also quickly inquired on the dips because I was rather hungry.
Who was your photographer? Where did you take pictures throughout the day?
Brian Van Wyk. He is a Vancouver based photographer but originally from South Africa. www.bvweddings.com
What month did your wedding take place?
What was your venue & why did you choose it?
Our venue was the Sea to Sky Gondola in Squamish, British Columbia, Canada. We knew we wanted a destination wedding and we knew we wanted it in the Pacific Northwest. We came across the venue randomly on Instagram after a travel photographer posted a picture of it. The next thing I knew we were calling the venue to get their available dates for 2018!
Who was your band or DJ? Are they from the area?
DJ Pri out of Vancouver, BC.
What was your favorite part of the planning process?
My favorite part of the process was working through all of the details with my soon-to-be-husband. We are strong at different things so we knew who needed to jump in to negotiate and who was better at communicating out details to our friends and family. Things can be tricky with a destination wedding but we also had a great event planner to help!
What is one thing you wish you would’ve done on your wedding day that you didn’t?
We really tried to slow down and enjoy every moment but as everyone says, it goes REALLY fast. I wish I would have taken a few moments by myself in my dress with hair and makeup because I don’t think I ever looked at myself! I threw the dress on and we were out the door. You spend all of this time picking out your makeup, hairstyle and dress and I’m not sure I really gathered what it all looked like together until I saw our wedding photos.
Did you do a first look? Why or why not?
We did not. We’re not very traditional but this was one thing we wanted to keep a tradition. There’s something about seeing each other for the first time at the ceremony that was very special.
What was your least favorite part of the planning process?
I found shopping for a wedding dress to be my least favorite. I am a very petite person and had a hard time imagining what a dress would look like on me in “my size.” I also really enjoy shopping alone so I wish I would have gone out by myself a few more times before committing to a specific style.
How involved was the groom in planning the wedding?
Very! He was with me every step of the way. We both have strong opinions and love design so we knew we wanted things to look and feel a certain way. I couldn’t imagine going through the planning process without all of his input and coordination.
Where did you find your bridesmaids’ dresses? Were they all the same or different styles?
I ultimately found the dresses on Brideside. They are based out of Chicago but have a really great website that allows the bridal party to order their dresses online. It was very convenient since I had bridesmaids out of state. The dress was a convertible Jenny Yoo gown that could be worn several different ways. The bridesmaids each wore it a different way.
Favorite moment from your wedding day?
My favorite moment of our wedding day was having the officiant take a moment during the ceremony for us to pause and look back at all of our friends and family who had traveled so far to join us. We had 62 guests and nearly all had traveled to British Columbia from Michigan. We knew it was a lot to ask of them but seeing them all there felt so special.
Describe your wedding dress & where did you find it?
I found my dress at Renee Austin Bridal in Grand Rapids. My dress was a very simple, fit and flare style in white crepe. I knew I needed to travel with it so I wanted it to be light. I am also drawn to clean, modern designs so I wanted my dress to represent my style.
Did you have a Bachelorette party? If so, where did it take place and what did you do?
Yes. It took place in Spring Lake on Lake Michigan. My girlfriends threw a 90’s themed party complete with slap bracelets, koosh balls, butterfly hair clips, and ring pops. It was the party I always wanted to have in middle school!
What’s the best piece of marriage advice you have received?
Never go to bed angry.
What’s your best advice for staying on a wedding budget? / Where could you have saved better?
We TRIED to update our wedding budget spreadsheet frequently but I can’t say we did a great job. I’m sure we could have saved more on the desserts (did we really need dessert AND wedding cake? probably not.) Otherwise, I’m not sure I would have changed a thing!
Where did you get your bouquet? Was it from a place in West Michigan?
Celsia Florist in Vancouver.
What was on your wedding menu & who catered?
Our dinner was served family style so we had dishes of salmon, chicken, veggies and salads. I ate so fast I hardly remember what we served! Our venue catered it. Our wedding cake was lemon raspberry and one of the top five things I’ve ever tasted in my life. I still dream about that cake.
What was your biggest ‘bridezilla’ moment?
I had quite the experience getting my dress altered. The person who was doing my alterations really cut it close and gave me my dress two days before we were set to leave. I didn’t try it on when I picked it up (big mistake). The day before we were set to fly out to the wedding I tried my dress on and realized it still didn’t fit (the chest had a 2-3 inch gap which showed off far too much than I cared to share). I immediately broke down crying/panic attack and called my fiance at work. After talking me off of a cliff, he called every single alterations place in West Michigan that he could find on Google. It was July 3rd so naturally every place was closed for the holiday. My guardian angel, Olena at SewingCinderella answered his call and saved the day. Within fifteen minutes I was at her shop and twelve hours later she COMPLETELY re-altered my dress. She also gave me a great pep talk! She was amazing!
What wedding detail was worth the money / splurge?
Our ceremony/reception was at the very top of a mountain that was connected by a long suspension bridge. It was $250 for them to close the suspension bridge from tourists so I could use it as my “aisle.” There was another path I could have taken but the suspension bridge added so much drama. In the end we opted for the $250. Our photos turned out amazing and it’s all people could talk about!
Best idea that you stole (from Pinterest, magazine, or other wedding)?
Probably our venue – thanks to Instagram! Our family thought we were totally crazy for having a destination wedding in Canada (who’s ever heard of Squamish?!) but we kept asking them to trust us. When they saw the venue in real life they were blown away. In the end, they realized that Canadians we’re basically like us Michiganders – we both apologize for everything and we call soda “pop”!
What’s YOUR best advice for brides-to-be?
Trust your gut and speak up. If you think something shouldn’t be a certain way, say something. I went along with my seamstress because I was afraid to speak up and say I wasn’t happy. In the end it caused a ton of unneeded stress before the wedding and extra cost I wasn’t planning on. Had I spoken up months before it would have saved a lot of stress. SPEAK UP!