Stephanie and Kevin weren’t expecting much when they signed up for match.com, but when they were “matched” and went on their first date, they both had a feeling they had met “the one.” These two Ohio natives quickly found out that they had even more in common than hobbies and personalities. Their grandmothers, who both grew up in the same neighborhood in northern Ohio, were also childhood friends!
It was fate that brought this beautiful couple together, but it was Stephanie’s creativity and background in graphic design that really brought their breathtaking wedding to life. Their Art Deco-inspired winter wedding was beautifully captured by 1326 Studios. These pictures are literally a dream come true for anyone looking for some amazing winter wedding inspiration. And Stephanie’s tips on staying sane while planning a wedding are the best!
-native and posh
Stephanie’s Wedding Planning Tips
1. Keep the bridal party small
I love that I kept the bridal party small (two people on each side, plus a ring bearer). It just made it feel like a more intimate experience, and it made it much more manageable in terms of planning.
2. Use the Same Venue for Ceremony and Reception
If your religious beliefs allow it, having one location for the whole thing worked out really well. Our ceremony and reception were in one place, and better yet, it was a hotel, so at the end of the night, we (along with many of our guests) simply walked up to our rooms. No transportation budget required! Speaking of budget, having an off-season wedding saves money, too.
3. Stay Away from Peak Wedding Season
Not only did we get a big venue discount for having a December wedding, but the venue was already decorated for the holidays with garland and Christmas trees and poinsettias, which saved big time on our flower budget. Having a unique wedding does not mean it has to blow the budget!
4. Take a “Mini Moon”
We went on a “mini-moon” with a big European honeymoon planned for a few months after the wedding. After you put your heart and soul into planning a wedding, I think there’s a period of crashing…like, “what now?” We had a couple days to get away from it all and just focus on each other, but then there was still something really fun to look forward to.
The wedding was about Kevin and me, but I also wanted to honor family, who helped us become the people we are today. I displayed old family wedding photos on a table by the entrance. The ring bearer’s basket was made by Kevin’s grandfather, who is no longer with us. The recessional (“All You Need is Love” by the Beatles) was the same at my sister’s wedding and my mom’s wedding. The officiant, a family friend, also performed my mom’s and sister’s weddings. She knew me since I was in first grade, so she was able to add a personal touch to the ceremony. I attached a picture of my father, who passed away, to my bouquet so that he was there in spirit when I walked down the aisle. They were very small touches that the guests probably paid no attention to, but to me, they were very meaningful.
In the end, as much as I loved all the detail that went into it, the most memorable experiences were with Kevin. Our first look, saying “I do,” dancing with him. I think sometimes in the craziness of planning a wedding, it gets lost that it really just is about two people celebrating love for each other.
The venue was launching point for everything. The Netherland Plaza is one of the finest examples of French Art Deco in the country. It is absolutely stunning. Colors (black, silver, gold) and the sparkle and the details were really pulled from that era. The time of year was also an inspiration. Our favorite time of year is the holiday season. It’s so cheerful and about celebration and family and friends. We nestled our wedding in between Christmas and New Year’s, and it couldn’t have worked out better. Many family members were already in town to celebrate Christmas, and those out-of-tower friends that came were able to be with their own families for Christmas and then home before New Year’s.
I handmade so many of the details, so I inserted my personality whenever possible. J I collect Christmas ornaments, so that was the favor. They were also displayed as centerpieces, which were such a simple and cost effective focal point. Music is so meaningful to me, so we were pretty explicit on what we wanted played. We both really enjoy country music, but I realize it is not for everyone. So our first dance was to a Brad Paisley song Kevin played for me when we first started dating, and after that, no more country. But I think that one song hinted at what we love as a couple.
I love that I feel like I have a partner in whatever I do, that we’re tackling all of this together because we have the same goals.
What part or detail of your wedding are you most proud of?
My background is graphic design, and I personally designed every detail of the wedding. The save the dates, invitations, programs, menu cards, escort cards, tags on favors…the list goes on. I am so proud of that (plus it saved us a ton of money!). Even if you’re not a graphic designer, the key is to tie everything together through color and a simple monogram you can stick on everything. It will make it feel very cohesive. I also loved our “cake!” I didn’t want to do anything traditional, and in the spirit of French Art Deco, we did a croquembouche. I had to call 15 bakeries before I found someone who would do it, but I’m so glad I did. It was a focal point of the reception room. I love that it had the shape of a Christmas tree — and it was delicious!
How did your groom/ family participate in the planning process?
Kevin was the “rubber stamper.” I would run ideas by him and he would say yay or nay. There were a few things that were important to him, and we made sure to include them. My mom and sister were there for all the big decisions – dress, venue, etc. But honestly, I’m kind of a control freak and I had a very specific vision, so I did quite a bit of the work.
What part of your wedding was the most stressful?
As much as I tried to plan ahead, a lot needed to be done right around the holidays. When I should have been shopping for gifts, I was planning seating charts. It got a little crazy, but I had certain goals for each day, and I just tried to take it one day at a time. The key is to stay organized. I had many Google spreadsheets to tame the chaos!
What did you enjoy the most about your wedding?
Everyone says how fast it goes, and it really does. I couldn’t have been happier with doing a first look, which allowed us to attend our cocktail hour and mingle with the guests. When I am rushed, I get stressed. The day was planned in such a way where I never felt rushed, so we were able to truly relax and just enjoy it.
How can other brides create a unique wedding?
Use Pinterest as an inspiration, but put your own spin on it. Make it meaningful to you. I looked at Pinterest constantly, but I didn’t use any of the pins precisely. I’ve attended weddings where I can pick out exactly what they gleaned from Pinterest. Not that that’s a bad thing, but if you’re looking for unique, you have to go beyond what other people are doing.
Photographer: 1326 Studios
Venue/catering: Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza
DJ/lighting: All the Right Tunes
Flowers: Blossoms Florist
Cake: Artrageous Desserts
Hair: Eros Salon
Dresses: David’s Bridal
Suits: Men’s Wearhouse