Real Bride #5: Ellen Gardner
RedFish BlueFish Photography
Where did you get married and when?
We got married at Kiana Lodge on the Kitsap Peninsula in Washington (a ferry boat ride away from downtown Seattle) on June 10, 2011 (we’re about to celebrate our one year anniversary!)
What was the best moment of the day?
Everyone knows weddings are expensive and it can certainly seem outrageous to spend tens of thousands of dollars on one day of your life. But having everyone you love in one place is incredible and I think that was truly what made the day so amazing. Other highlights were seeing friends/family getting to know one another, hearing the great speeches, the “first look” (where my husband and I got to see each other for the first time in our wedding day finest), and finally leaving the after party to go back to our hotel room where we ate wedding cupcakes and candy, drank champagne, and recapped the whole day.
What was the most memorable moment of the day (different than the best- maybe something funny, someone fainting, bad toast, etc)?
There were SO many! One funny one: My mother-in-law is a minister and has officiated tons of weddings, so she had a lot of great advice. One piece of advice she gave us was to NOT tie the REAL wedding rings to the ring bearer pillow, because so much can go wrong (the rings can get lost, they can be hard to untie from the pillow under pressure, etc.). So we had two fake, decorative “rings” on the ring bearer pillow, but the best man had the actual wedding rings. Well, apparently no one thought to tell the little ring bearer that because when the minister asked for the rings, the ring bearer (7 year old cousin) was ready for his big moment. Then he saw the best man hand over the real rings. The ring bearer looked at his pillow with the “rings” and then back up at the real rings, and was completely crushed! After the ceremony he asked his mom: “What was I even DOING up there? I was USELESS!”
If you could do it over again, what would you do differently (if anything)?
I would eat a s’more! During the reception, we had a bonfire with s’more stuff and I didn’t get to eat one!
What was the most stressful part of the planning?
We had a pretty long engagement (1 year, 4 months), and I think that’s just TOO much time to plan — you end up not making decisions because you have so much time! But I’d categorize the most stressful part of the planning as “people management” — trying to keep everyone in the loop and happy.
What were you thinking while you were walking down the aisle?
My 96 year old grandfather walked me down the aisle and he made several jokes (some of which the entire audience could hear), so I was laughing along with him. I also just kept looking around at all of the guests and it felt like a giant group hug from everyone I loved.
Did you do anything special to get in tip top shape?
I joined a morning “boot camp” and worked out every day. The goal of looking good for the wedding was a great motivator (and my arms looked RIPPED!)
What is your advice for choosing bridesmaids?
I’m not sure if this is advice, but I opted to pick bridesmaids from different “stages” of my life — even if we don’t talk every day now. So I had a childhood best friend, college friends, friend from when I lived in DC, friend from when I lived in LA, etc. A sort of “this is your life” of bridesmaids. Most importantly, the girls were all fun and helpful during the entire wedding weekend — love them!
What was your first dance song?
“You are the best thing” by Ray Lamontagne
What shoes did you wear and were they comfortable?
I think I was actually more in love with my shoes than my dress — and I definitely bought them first. They were hot pink Kate Spade “Clarice” peep toe heels — and were super comfortable. My feet didn’t bother me at all.
Were you able to enjoy the reception or did you feel that you needed to “work the room?”
I probably didn’t “work the room” enough! I was in the photo booth and dancing all night and probably neglected some long-lost cousins!
What is your best “day of wedding” advice?
Take as many pictures as possible ahead of time so that you can fully enjoy the cocktail hour/reception. And speaking of pictures, I think one of the best things we did was have our photographers take one, giant group picture after the ceremony. So we have a picture of us with EVERYONE who attended our wedding. Priceless!
Did your relationship feel different after the wedding?
Yes, which was actually surprising to me. We’d been dating almost 10 years before we got married (and lived together for 4), so I figured we had the commitment thing down, but the wedding made it all feel real and legitimate. Plus, there was the whole combining finances/changing my last name stuff that we chose to do that made us feel like a real team when we got married.
PS: You can get Ellen’s cute robe here (shameless plug).