2011 Wedding Guide Bridal Re-cap

Tina and Andrew
Photo by Lauren Weber of LCPhotography

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Tina Vincelli

What lessons did you learn/advice do you have for future brides when it comes to the:

Invitations? My final product was perfect. My only regret is that I ordered a little too close to when I needed to send them out. I should’ve given myself more time. The person who did my invitations had a few mistakes (ex.: wrong wedding date) which required multiple proofs before sending them to the printer, so I wish I would have ordered them about a month earlier than I did, which would’ve been three months before I planned to mail them. The whole process took about five weeks, and addressing them takes some time, too (plus there are always a few returned to sender and you have to track down the correct mailing addresses).

Rehearsal dinner? We had ours at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul and it was awesome.  We had shuttles from the hotel to the rehearsal dinner and then back to the hotel for overnight guests, and it worked out really well. I say whatever you do, make it convenient for your guests—either near where the rehearsal will be, or where most guests will be staying that weekend.

Food? The Saint Paul Hotel and Happy Gnome had amazing food, I have no complaints.  My only advice would be to try the food in advance, to make sure you like it.

Venue? I couldn’t have asked for a better venue, I had both my ceremony and reception at the Saint Paul Hotel, the atmosphere and staff was incredible. I didn’t have to worry about anything, including the décor (the room is already beautiful on its own).

Tina and flower girl
Photo by Lauren Weber of LCPhotography

Flowers? We used Indulge & Bloom, and they were wonderful!  The flowers were beautiful, and exactly what I wanted.  Amanda also did all the set-up and tear-down, so it was completely worry-free for me and my family.

Gown? I loved mine.  Honestly, it was the first dress I tried on, I bought it at Macy’s my mom and I went kind of on a whim over her lunch break and I tried on a bunch of dresses, ended up going back with two friends and my mom and dad and showed them “the dress” and bought it. It was pretty simple but fit really well. I had it altered twice over two months, and would definitely recommend putting some money into the alterations—it should fit perfectly!  I also added some bling with a jeweled belt I ordered from Etsy.com for a quarter of the price of a comparable belt at bridal shops. A belt is an easy, economical way to change the look of your dress.

Hair/makeup? I used my regular hairdresser (Jana Sherrif) who has done my hair since I was 15 years old, and had my makeup done by Lisa, the owner of Eclipse Salon.  They were both wonderful and came to my room at the Saint Paul Hotel the morning of my wedding so that I didn’t have to try to run around that morning, especially with all the traffic and closed roads for the Twins Cities Marathon.  I would recommend having your hair stylist and makeup artist come to you, so that you can relax before the ceremony.

Tina and bridesmaids
Photo by Lauren Weber of LCPhotography

Professional photos? I used LCPhotography, and it was wonderful.  Lauren made us all feel comfortable and did an amazing job!  The photos speak for themselves.

Videography? I really regret not having a videographer.

Entertainment? Our DJ was great (Bellagala) and I would definitely recommend the Traveling Photo Booth, it was a big hit and a great guest book.  I don’t really see the point in just a signature in a book, the pictures were way better and we got to see it that night.  It also doubled as favors for guests; they got to keep a copy of their photo strip.

Décor? We added lighting and I thought it made a big difference and was beautiful.

Guest list? It takes time and ours all worked out.  But I’m glad we were able to include all the people we wanted to.

Registry? Our honeymoon registry was a big hit, and a big help.  We were able to register for specific items and we loved it.

Did you have a wedding coordinator? Why or why not? Mary Jo at the Saint Paul Hotel did our coordinating, she was part of the package and I can’t thank her enough for the fabulous job she did.

What investment, in your opinion, was worth every penny? The Saint Paul Hotel.

Tina and father
photo by Lauren Weber of LCPhotography

What do you wish you would have done differently, if you could do it all over again? Nothing!

What was some of the best wedding advice you received before the big day? If possible, let some one else deal with it : )

What did your guests seem to appreciate the most? The open bar, the fun music, and an atmosphere that makes it hard not to have a great time.

When you think about your wedding day, what stands out in your mind? The celebration. From the moment Andrew and I kissed and walked out to “Signed, Sealed, Delivered” it was just a really happy night.  I also loved looking out from our table and seeing everyone there to support us and celebrate with us.


Bethany and Kevin Fitzgerald
photo by Dave Dettman of capfoto.com

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Bethany Fitzgerald

What lessons did you learn/advice do you have for future brides when it comes to the:

Invitations? Save some money and do it yourself! Buy a kit and some stamps to personalize, type the text, and bring to a store to print quickly.

Rehearsal dinner? Let your groom plan it! We went to Vic’s, in the Saint Anthony Main area of northeast Minneapolis. The rehearsal dinner is a great place for an open mic so that those who want to say a few words have an opportunity.

Food? We opted for a buffet so that we could get what we wanted but provide options for guests. An added bonus is unlimited platefuls, so no need to spend additional money on a late night snack.

Venue? Pick a place that feels personal to you and your fiancé. It was rewarding for our guests to show up and say, “This is so you!” We were looking for a fabulous setting for music and dancing, and the Varsity Theater delivered!

Flowers? Be sure to have vases at the venue so that you can proudly display your bouquets at the reception.

Gown? I bought my gown at Priscilla of Boston in Edina after trying countless dresses in ever style at almost 10 different salons. I went in with an idea of what I wanted and bought the complete opposite. Practice your bustle BEFORE the wedding. I spent 45 minutes in the ladies’ room with three women kneeling on the floor trying to figure mine out.

Bethany and Kevin's wedding party
photo by Dave Dettman of capfoto.com

Hair/makeup? Practice with a trial run (or two) as you’ll want to look fabulous on your big day without stressing. Be comfortable with who you hire – I’ve known my hair and makeup people for seven years and they gave my ladies and me the royal treatment.

Professional photos? Do some comparison-shopping online, and meet in person before hiring your photographer. We were instantly comfortable with ours and had no qualms about him fitting in at our wedding and keeping pictures fun.

Videography? This was something we really wanted to do, but opted to spend the money elsewhere. We have tons of photographic proof and memories. In hindsight, we should have had someone tape with a cheap handheld device.

Entertainment? Before you shell out money on a DJ or band, I recommend “wedding crashing” (the polite way) and watching them in action.


Bethany's bouquet
photo by Dave Dettman of capfoto.com

Décor? If you pick an exciting venue, you won’t need to spend a dime on décor. Varsity Theater has plenty to look at, why add to it?!

Guest list? Always assume that 15-30 percent of your guests will decline, and plan for four not to show up even if they accept.

Registry? Do an inventory at home before you start zapping away. Getting all new stuff means you can make some great donations. It is fun to close your registry after the wedding; most places provide coupons. Biggest tip – write each and every thank you note when you receive the gifts so that you’re not left with so many to write after your wedding.

Other (please specify) Be prepared for sore cheeks! 48 hours of smiling and greeting guests left my face a little tired!

Did you have a wedding coordinator? Why or why not? Because I’ve planned several corporate events at work and have been a guest at many weddings, I was my own wedding coordinator. Kevin and I knew what we wanted and are pretty savvy with comparison-shopping.

What investment, in your opinion, was worth every penny? Our band, The R Factor, kept people on the dance floor all night. By far the biggest compliment we received from our guests. And my dress! I spent more than I had planned to but never regretted it. Another investment was our honeymoon (Napa Valley was a dream come true). A honeymoon—big or small—a few days after the wedding is a nice way to relax with your spouse before going back to the “real world.”

Bethany and Kevin's wedding party
photo by Dave Dettman of capfoto.com

What do you wish you would have done differently, if you could do it all over again? Even if you feel nervous or unprepared or you think that everything’s been said by someone else, get on the microphone and say something! I waited too long to grab the microphone and missed my chance. Fortunately, I made a pretty good effort to stop at each table.

What was some of the best wedding advice you received before the big day? Don’t expect everything to go as planned, but don’t expect your guests to know the difference! Take a moment to step aside with your husband and soak it all in. The day and night go by very fast, it’s important to capture it all.

What did your guests seem to appreciate the most? Good food, hosted bar, and fantastic music and dancing! Above all, they were touched to be a part of our big day.

When you think about your wedding day, what stands out in your mind?  Apart from the day I met my husband, our wedding day was one of the best days of my life. It was an incredible feeling to bring our family and friends together to celebrate such an important milestone in our lives. We could feel the love and support in the room. 

Heather and Chad
photo by Spencer Combs

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Heather Wicklander

What lessons did you learn/advice do you have for future brides when it comes to the:

Invitations?  I made my own invitations after several trips to Paper Depot for supplies and inspiration. DIY is definitely time-consuming, but was completely worth it for the cost savings.  One tip: Know  exactly what you want to do before buying the supplies.

Rehearsal dinner?  We had a very low-key rehearsal dinner at Gulden’s Restaurant in Maplewood and it was a great way to celebrate the night before the wedding. The rehearsal dinner doesn’t necessarily have to be anything fancy, it just has to include all the important people!

Food? As bad as it may sound, food was not a huge priority for us. With that being said, our venue, the White Bear Country Inn, happened to have a fantastic restaurant on-site and we had prime rib (amazing) and a mozzarella stuffed chicken breast.  Overall, make sure you’re getting something you like, even if it’s not “fancy” or traditional wedding food.

Venue? We loved our venue because it was very inclusive.  We had a fantastic separate cocktail space, as well as a ballroom with a separate gift/candy buffet room.  The coordinator at the White Bear Country Inn was very helpful and made it so easy to plan and set up the day-of.

Heater and bridesmaids
photo by Spencer Combs

Flowers? Flowers were an area where we tried to get the biggest bang for our buck.  Our florist was Inspired Stems, based in Maple Grove. We went with two different kinds of centerpieces, one tall and one small, to add a bit of drama and differentiation to the room.  My bouquet was made from a gorgeous variety of yellow flowers and the boutonnières were made to match.

Gown? My dress is from The Wedding Shoppe on Grand Avenue in St. Paul. Overall, I went to two different stores and probably tried at least 20+ dresses before deciding on “the one.” My number one piece of advice is to at least consider comfort on your wedding day. My dress was gorgeous and I absolutely loved it, but perhaps strapless was not the best way to go for me.  But I made the best of it and danced the night away anyway.

Hair/makeup?  It’s 100 percent worth it to hire someone to come to you for hair and makeup the morning of the wedding.  It was wonderful to wake up and not have to rush out to a salon, and be able to get ready in the comfort of my hotel room with all my best girls surrounding me.

Professional photos?  In my opinion, the photographer is the most important decision a couple can make for their wedding.  Sure, you’ll always have your memories, but a good photographer is going to capture things that you maybe didn’t even notice that day and allow you to relive the moments you do remember.

Videography? I would have loved to hire a videographer, but we decided to spend our money on the photographer.

Table Setting
photo by Spencer Combs

Entertainment?  Our DJ with Midwest Sound was so much fun! His participation really made the dance portion of our evening a blast. He even came out on the dance floor when I said that I wanted to learn how to “Dougie.”  I think it’s absolutely important to be aware of how much interaction you want out of a wedding entertainer, because I can absolutely see how some other couples might not like our DJ, but he was perfect for us!

Décor? Décor was the hardest part for us to figure out, because there are so many options and it is really hard not to change your mind! Once you’ve got a color scheme or theme figured out, promise yourself that you’re not going to change it!

Guest list?  The guest list was the most difficult part of wedding planning, for sure. Determining the guest list is a test to how well you and your fiancé can compromise, especially with differing sizes of families.  Overall, my advice is to make sure that the people you are inviting are those that you really want to share your day with.  Yes, there are certain family obligations, but don’t forget that this day is about the two of you and the people that you want to be with that day.

Registry?  Make sure that the items you’re registering for are something you really want and will work well in your space.  We received a few gifts that we loved, but realized after the wedding that they didn’t work with the rest of our décor.

Did you have a wedding coordinator? Why or why not?  Yes and no.  I work as a wedding coordinator, so I was lucky enough to have some wonderful friends who helped set up my décor the day of my wedding (and with ideas along the way!).  However, if I wasn’t so lucky, I would absolutely have hired someone for the day of.

Treat Table
photo by Spencer Combs

What investment, in your opinion, was worth every penny? Our photographer, Spencer Combs, was worth every penny and more. He’s a young guy who’s just so much fun to be around.  He made us feel incredibly comfortable—it was like we had another friend with us the entire day. Beyond that, we were so pleased with the end product and couldn’t wait to show our photos off to all our family and friends!  I would recommend him to everyone I know.

What do you wish you would have done differently, if you could do it all over again? We wouldn’t have forgotten our ring bearer’s name in the program!

What was some of the best wedding advice you received before the big day? At the end of the day, what matters most is that you’re going to be married to the person you love. Something is going to go wrong (and it did), but nothing else matters as long as you’re together when it’s over.

What did your guests seem to appreciate the most?  The candy buffet!  It was a big hit, and there were many guests wandering the ballroom with blue tongues from the Laffy Taffy!

When you think about your wedding day, what stands out in your mind?  We were so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing friends and family. We had a blast and did everything we wanted to (including busting a move all night on the dance floor!)