Everygirl Wedding: Stephanie Zeller

Our last Everygirl wedding perfects the art of executing a formal wedding without the fuss. We adore the champagne colored bridesmaid dresses paired with J.Crew and Kate Spade baubles, the bride’s contagious smile, and of course, the fact that the couple’s adorable pup made a cameo in the ceremony. Read on for more details about how this bride created her perfect day, and her advice for you to do the same.

Brides Name:
Stephanie Zeller

We got married on August 27, 2011 in Kansas City and had the reception at Mission Hills Country Club. We had about 250 guests, six bridesmaids, three attendants, six groomsman, and three ushers. We did not have a wedding planner throughout the process, however, the country club where we had our reception has a Wedding Coordinator who was very helpful and amazing to work with.  We also had a family friend help out as the Day-of Coordinator.

How did you settle on a budget that you felt comfortable with? What factors went into coming up with that number?
After visiting a few venues and researching different options for photographers, florists, etc. we got a rough idea of a budget, then we had to sit down with our parents and decide on a final budget amount.  My husband and I had to save our pennies for anything over that amount, if it was important to us.

What was the most important aspect of the wedding to you? (i.e. photography, wedding gown, venue, food, etc.)
More than anything we love having a good time with our family and closest friends, since our wedding day would be the time they would all be in town celebrating our marriage, the reception itself was definitely the most important to us.  We wanted a great venue in Kansas City, to serve good food, good drinks, and have a fun band.

How far in advance did you start the wedding planning process?
We got engaged in May 2010 and started planning within a few months….so a little over a year.

How did you save money on the big day?
We saved money here and there on little things, such as wearing my sister’s veil, having a good friend do mine and the bridesmaids makeup, using my grandma’s silver trays for the place cards, printing the programs at kinkos then putting them together myself, and using Pottery Barn candlesticks that my mom and I found on sale as some of the centerpieces.  Also, my sister has pretty cursive handwriting, so she wrote out all the invite addresses and place cards for us, rather than using a calligrapher. My husband discussed with his groomsman that they would all rather buy suits than spend money renting tuxes – it ended up being a little more expensive at the time, but definitely worth it because all the guys got to keep their new black suits after the wedding.  We gave them each a monogrammed white dress shirt, black bow tie, and white pocket square as their gift from us to wear that day.

What was the most stressful part of planning your wedding? What was the most fun?
I was the most stressed about how much money we were spending, because it starts to add up quickly and you’re forced to prioritize what is more important to you because you don’t have an unlimited budget.  But planning everything with my mom and sisters was definitely the most fun. I loved styling the bridesmaids with their dresses, shoes, and jewelry.  Seeing how happy my mom and sisters were being a part of picking out my dress, helping pick out the food, and flowers, etc. It’s all such a fun process to bond over. It was also fun for my husband and I to pick out music for the ceremony and reception.

How did you make the wedding feel personal to you and your fiance?
Although the ceremony was pretty traditional at our Methodist Church, we added a few little touches to make it personal to us.  At the ceremony I walked down the aisle to the string quartet playing “I Melt With You”, and a good friend of ours sang one of our favorite Adele songs “One and Only”.  Also, my husband and I treat our dog as if he were our child, so there was no way he couldn’t be included somehow.  Once we ok’ed it with the church, our 95lb. boxer Rosco, looking dapper in his bow tie, walked down the aisle just ahead of me with one of our ushers.  At the reception, aside from dinner, we served late night snacks of pizza, grilled cheese, and tumbleweeds (a chocolate milkshake made with liqueur)…which are just a few of our favorite things!

How did you decide on the type of wedding you wanted? Did budget have an influence? (i.e. did you have a traditional wedding, a destination, eclectic, formal, casual, etc)
I’ve always been drawn to classic, elegantly styled, formal weddings, and having a traditional ceremony at our church was something both my husband and I wanted.  Our budget definitely affected the number of guests we could invite, and since we both have big families scattered around the midwest, in order to include all of them we knew we wanted to have the wedding in our hometown of Kansas City.

What did you choose to splurge on for the big day? What did you decide to save on?
We decided to splurge on a band and an open bar for the reception.  But we saved on little items here and there as I mentioned above, and in addition to that we worked with our florist on how she could provide the look that we wanted of full arrangements of white flowers as centerpieces, by using flowers that were in season, less expensive, and still gave the look we wanted.

What were your favorite sources of inspiration for your wedding?
I found inspiration on blogs such as Style Me Pretty and Brooklyn Bride, as well as on photographers blogs & websites.

Would you do anything differently?
Since I still love all the little details of weddings in general, I always like to see new ideas that I think would’ve been great at our wedding, however, on that day and in those moments everything was perfect and we were so happy.

What advice do you have to Everygirls in the midst of planning their own weddings?
I was indecisive about the little things because there are so many different options to choose from….so whether it be the décor, attire, or accessories, once you make a decision just stick with it, and stop yourself from looking at the other options.  And to all the other control freaks out there J, try to delegate as much as you can (and that you feel comfortable with) so that you’re stress-free not only the day-of, but the week-of as well.  Enjoy every moment, because it goes by so fast!

( Venue: Mission Hills Country Club // Reception Band: The Boulevard Band // Florist: Maple Lane Designs // Wedding cakes and desserts: Kodi’s Cakes // Photographer: The Smiley Face Collective // Our Wedding Video // Videographer: Scout Photo // Bridal Gown: Enzoani // Bridesmaid Dresses:  Lula Kate // Bride & Bridesmaid accessories:  Kate Spade & J.Crew // Brides Shoes: Tory Burch // Bridesmaid shoes: Nine West // Flower Girl Attire: J.Crew // Groom & Groomsmen Suits:  JoS. A Bank )