OMG, I’m actually engaged?
A simplified guide for the overwhelmed bride (or groom)
By Jordan Killam & Athena Cocoves
Not everyone dreams about their wedding day while growing up. For some of us, getting married is exciting— but also a totally scary and anxious adventure. Relax. It doesn’t have to be like that.
This guide is dedicated all the people who are very much in love with each other, but not so much with the wedding-planning process. Planning a wedding doesn’t have to be like mobilizing an army— and you don’t have to be a couple who spends $50k. It’s your day, you can do what you want, and you should enjoy it.
Wedding photos— Give it your best shot
Local photographer Mary Wyar creates cinematic, stylish images. Wyar loves to make her clients comfortable by providing services like styling to bring out the best in her subjects. We thought she’d be the perfect person to give camera-shy couples advice about taking great wedding photos.
4 Tips for Finding a Good Wedding Photographer (For You)
1. Pick up on their vibe. Don’t just look at their photos— try to get a sense of their personality. Do they sound like a person you’d enjoy being around?
2. Scope their social media. An active social media presence hints that a professional photographer is engaged with their audience. Overworked photographers typically don’t
keep up on social media.
3. Reach out for more than just pricing. If a photographer is committed to working well with you, they’ll want to see if your personalities are a match. After all, you’ll see them as much as you’ll see your spouse on your wedding day!
4. Trust is key. If you sincerely trust your photographer, you’ll be more relaxed and happy and it will show in your photos. Remember to laugh, smile and show off your love!
Small & Simple
Bryan and Catie’s 10-Guest Pared-down Wedding
This is the story of a couple who thought they wanted a large, lavish wedding at one of Toledo’s most exclusive locations. Six months after they were engaged, with the venue booked and over 170 save-the-dates mailed, Bryan and Catie Price chose to turn the ship around. They re-did everything. Their way.
Catie: We always thought we wanted a small wedding. That’s us. But then, all the societal norms get to you and our families were all excited. So we decided to have a big wedding. “We can do it. We can handle all these people!” I literally asked Bryan, “Can’t we just run away?” One day, we just looked at each other and decided that we weren’t doing the big thing anymore— and that was that. Right after we decided, we were both so relieved.
Catie: We looked online for small chapels and the Wolcott House Chapel was perfect for keeping our ceremony small and intimate. We wanted to go out for a nice meal afterwards and NINE, at Hensville downtown, met our needs.
What other arrangements were simplified?
Catie: Surprisingly, not much. From the beginning, I wanted a simple dress, so I kept the dress I had originally bought for $200 from David’s Bridal.
What did your family and friends think of “Wedding 2.0”?
Catie: They were all supportive. My sister kept saying “This is so you!” She was proud of me for following my heart and not letting other people pressure me into doing something I didn’t want to. We’re not the most outgoing, extravagant people, so everyone understood our choice.
Were you pleased with how everything turned out?
Bryan: It really felt exactly right for us. Everything was perfect. I remember saying to Catie, “Can you imagine if we had done the big wedding today?” There was already so much emotion that day… I couldn’t imagine having to deal with all the people and arrangements on top of that.
What do you love most about each other?
Catie: He’s so caring and laid back about it. Sometimes, he’ll just look at me and know I need a hug. That’s what hooked me. He’s just so genuine about what he does!
Bryan: She stole my answer!
Catie: And that too! So many times when I go to say something, he says, “I was just about to say that!”
Bryan: Catie just has a special way of brightening my day no matter what.
Catie grew up in Maumee and Bryan hails from Davison, Michigan. They currently live in Brighton, MI. Bryan work as a software
developer for an insurance company, and Catie will soon
finish school where she is working towards a degree as a Physical Therapy Assistant.
The Semi-Spontaneous Brides
Angie and Erica’s 24-hour whirlwind wedding
Angie and Erica Cucunato knew they wanted to get married in 2017, but the results of the 2016 election left them feeling uneasy. Concerned that their right to marry may be threatened in the next administration, they kicked into high gear and planned a wedding— immediately. In one day. Here’s what happened:
Did the outcome of the election influence your decision to get married?
Angie: I can’t explain how overjoyed and hopeful I felt the day gay marriage was legalized. While I knew that I wasn’t going to lose my right to get married the day after the election (as so many of my friends joked), I did feel a sense of urgency. So, I guess we did get married sooner than planned, but we got married because we are in love and that is what matters.
So, how do you get married in 24 hours in Toledo?
Erica: We decided at 10am to get married and the wedding was at 6pm the same day. We went to Simply Married for the ceremony. The venue is not some cheesy Vegas chapel. It is really beautiful. Even though it was short notice, the chapel was full of friends and family. Afterwards we went to The Attic on Adams for celebratory drinks. Amelia Jarrett [bar manager] was an absolute gem. She made sure everyone was taken care of with a food spread and drinks… complete with a champagne toast when we walked in.
What do you love most about each other?
Erica: Angie is my favorite person to hang out with. She makes me a better, more responsible person. She encourages me to push myself further.
Angie: Erica keeps me grounded. I have a tendency to overreact. She brings me back to reality and makes me laugh harder than anyone I have ever met.
Angie is a Toledo native, Erica is from Columbus. Angie currently works as a Coffee Roaster and Account Manager. Erica is a Family Advocate for Accelero Learning.
Let botanical beauty blossom
Two young local floral designers are taking arrangements to the next level. Jenny VanHoutte of Gardenview Flowers and Audrey Ackerman of Floral Pursuit both create modern sculptures that range from unusual and artistic to romantic and color-saturated.
For the “your fairy-tale ending”
If you’re a romantic at heart, check out Gardenview Flowers in Grand Rapids, OH. Work with Jenny VanHoutte to create storybook arrangements to be worn, carried, or displayed.
Jenny’s propensity for unapologetically colorful arrangements set her work apart. Clients have raved about her ability to turn raw spaces into fairy dreamscapes. Whether you seek a tablescape overflowing with bursting garlands or a tidy bridal bouquet, she can help you realize your vision.
11160 S. River Rd., Grand Rapids, OH
419-832-3373 | gardenviewweddings.com
For the creative soul
Stop into Floral Pursuit, where you’ll discover hard-to-find plants or otherworldly bouquets. Design a unique centerpiece or carry eye-catching fauna and flora.
Owner Audrey Ackerman takes special care to ensure that very piece in her shop is sculpture-worthy and evocative of wild natural beauty. There, you’ll discover hard-to-find plants or cleverly composed arrangements. If you work with Floral Pursuit, it’s quite certain no one else in town is sporting the same flower scheme and you’ll be supporting a downtown business to boot.
48 S. St. Clair St.
419-260-3532 | facebook.com/Floral-Pursuit
Something borrowed, something new…
Planning a personalized, Pinterest-friendly wedding? Get your DIY on at the annual “After ‘I do’ Sale.” Shop for gently-used items from newlyweds, selling accoutrements from their wedding, during a fun, garage sale-style afternoon.
Brides-to-be can purchase those extra spools of ribbon, mason jars and more— without breaking the bank— while former brides clear out their craft closet. Not a DIY-diva? This year, local wedding professionals will show off their work with themed displays called Vendor Snapshots. Each Snapshot will include live models, cake samples, reception displays and more.
Brides interested in shopping for their upcoming nuptials— without the competition— should register for the “Early Bride” shopping tickets. For $15, shoppers get in the doors 30 minutes early. Limited tickets available. Please register in advance.
Your friend, the Minister?
These days, it’s not uncommon to hear about people being married by family members and friends, as opposed to clergy. TheKnot.com reported an increase, from 29 percent in 2009 to 40 percent in 2015, of weddings performed by a couple’s family member or friend.
For local arts and community activist Ryan Bunch, becoming an ordained minister was the beginning of a fun new adventure.
“I always tell people, ‘it’s not about what they want, it’s about whether or not their grandma is going to be happy when it’s over!’” Bunch said. “I have yet to receive any complaints from grandmas!”
Since 1962, Universal Life Church has ordained more than 20 million people.
To learn more about becoming an ordained Minister through the Universal Life Church, visit ULC.org for details.
DJ Jon Zenz’s tips to get everyone busting a move
Jon Zenz knows how to read a crowd. He’s one of the founders of uptown’s most popular dance party, “Wait, Wait, Don’t Touch Me,” in addition to being a sound engineer. We asked him how to keep everyone dancing.
1. Remember to include everyone. Sure, Aunt Sue might be into Skrillex, but not everyone is.
2. Group dances, while corny, rule. Open bars and formal wear are the perfect ingredients for Chicken Dance success. See also the Electric Slide or the Cupid Shuffle.
3. Go slow. Don’t forget slow dances. Everyone loves them.
4. Get personal. Make sure the songs reflect your personalities— it’s your wedding. Not sure if a song is right? Submit to this simple test: is it your favorite song that you want to hear on the best day of your life? It’s on the list.
5. End with something epic. Think sing-a-long, think dancing on top of the bar, think choreography, consider pyrotechnics. Go nuts.
Handcrafted Invitations Custom Printed For You
A customized creation can act as more than an announcement for your upcoming nuptials— stunning stationery can serve as a sentimental symbol of your special day.
Opt for something unique with locally-made, handcrafted invitations printed just for you by Amy Lesniewicz of Alice-Louise Press. The printmaker treats each order as a piece of art, and has made a name for herself since opening her studio in 2015. Lesniewicz recently completed a stationery order for late-night talk show host/comedian Jimmy Kimmel and debuted a wholesale line at this year’s National Stationery Show in NYC.
For custom orders, and to view samples, which include invitations, programs, place cards, coasters, event cards and more, visit the shop in person or see online.
Alice-Louise Press, 107 Louisiana Ave., Perrysburg
For customized orders, call 419-345-8045 | alice-louise.com
Find the right bite
The buzz around Toledo is that Cynthia’s Catering is “ridiculously good.” Proprietess Cynthia Gehring Bunch loves to make creatively personal dishes for parties, both large and small. Want to makes sure your wedding is delicious? We asked Cynthia for tips on making sure everything is served well.
Cynthia’s Guide to a Having a Deliciously Successful Wedding
1. Timing is everything. Contact your caterer early in your planning. I always appreciate it if the prospective couple can give me their date at least six months before their wedding, so that they are sure to secure that date.
2. Meet in person early on. You can discuss your vision and make sure that everyone is on the same page. Keep in touch and then finalize the details a month before.
3. Make sure your caterer is aware of any food allergies/sensitivities. Food should be labeled with a card at the event so that if someone has an allergy they know what meals to avoid. This practice is appreciated by guests.
Something borrowed, something new…
Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue….
Make a statement and surround yourself in romantic lace by opting for a vintage wedding dress that will keep you under budget.
Allison Dow, owner of House of Dow, has a large assortment of vintage bridal wear, available in all sizes. Her curated collection of dresses and accessories are beautiful, timeless and unique— perfect for a bride with a matching personality. Stop by the shop to browse her collection.
2-6pm, Monday-Tuesday. Noon-8pm, Wednesday-Saturdayday. Noon-5pm, Sunday.
1501 Adams St., 419-214-0944 | houseofdow.com
Back in Time— Vistula District
So your wedding isn’t traditional, but you love age-old aesthetics. You don’t have to step back into historic customs to enjoy a bit of history on your big day. Tucked into the Vistula Historic District is The Casey-Pomeroy House Bed & Breakfast, a massive, handsome mansion built in 1870 and restored in 2003.
With a handful of luxurious, spacious rooms adorned with elegant and lavish surroundings, newlyweds can even enjoy a couple’s massage during their romantic getaway. The house also has a small chapel, bridal suite, kitchen and entertaining space.
The best part? You definitely won’t be able to lodge your entire wedding party. Your extended family will just have to stay somewhere else… perhaps far, far away.
Prices from rooms and suites range from $145-$185 per night
For event rates, call 419-243-1440
802 N. Huron St.