Every personal detail of Justine and Christopher’s wedding day was done with their guests in mind—that they wrote individual letters to all 200 of their guests shows how above and beyond this couple went. From the individual cold brew coffees to the refreshing pop of color, this celebration goes down as a favorite in our book!
Photography by Jenna Bechtholt.
What was the best advice you received as a bride? How to manage the stress. They would give me great tips to survive the wedding process. Towards the end of the planning process I was so overwhelmed but I still made time for dinners and my girlfriends even the night before the rehearsal. I needed the people around me to keep me sane and calm.
What advice do you have for other couples in the midst of planning a wedding? Stick by your decisions. I had so many opinions coming at me about every little detail and I was getting swayed by some of the smallest comments. It was good for the two of us to be on the same page and to be confident about our decisions and it helped. Once you are firm, everyone around you tends to respect that and their opinions won’t resonate so strongly. Another thing is the budget…that DARN BUDGET. Make a budget you’re aiming for and be realistic about the wiggle room you can have. Wedding costs can quickly add up. We gave some room for certain areas in our wedding but for others we were good about minimizing the extra costs and sticking to our budget.
Justine carried a sweet and cheerful bouquet of peonies, roses and hydrangea wrapped in a satin blush ribbon. The bright colors strewn throughout this entire day is so refreshing.
Do you have any budget tips for other brides? We did our wedding for $30,000 – paying for everything ourselves forced us to keep to our budget. I did a lot of research for our wedding and the best advice I can give is to compare companies and always be willing to negotiate. I was shameless about asking for a lower rate and most of the time they gave me a better rate. I never went for the first vendor because I could usually find someone lower and most of our vendors were willing to work with our budget.
Justine and Christopher set the tone for their big day by enjoying a sweet slice of pie together at the Pie Hole. Cutest idea ever!
“We wanted our ceremony to reflect our personalities and feel intimate with 200 people. We checked out a good amount of venues and honestly we weren’t going to check out BOXeight because it would have been a little tight but when we arrived we knew it was the one. We intentionally wanted the ceremony to be outdoors and the patio area was perfect. We wanted to bring in our own pieces for the ceremony and the gray cement well paired really well the decorations, so we knew that BOXeight was it!”
Your ceremony in three words. Intimate, casual, emotional
How did you go about planning your ceremony? We met and worked for a church while we were dating so we knew we wanted a spiritual element to be incorporated into our wedding. We got a framework from all the different weddings we went to and so we were able to identify certain aspects and elements we wanted. The flow of the ceremony came quickly because we didn’t want to pack it in, so we did all the basics, honoring the parents, the message, and communion. We had someone make the decorations around the ceremony. He made these beautiful wood and rope pallets that had quotes that we wrote to one another in a card. Our florist did a beautiful job with the wood and flower arrangement and it all fit together.
Floral Design by Caitlin Johnstone of Johntone Floral Works.
Who officiated your ceremony? I’ve known our officiant for over 10 years and Christopher actually lived with his family for a season so we both were extremely close to him and knew that he was our guy! Because of our long history together he was able to really cater the message to the two of us and he was one of the first people to watch our relationship from the very beginning to the road of marriage. It was very meaningful that he was the one to officiate our marriage.
What was your ceremony music? (processional, recessional, hymns, etc.)
We didn’t go with traditional hymns—we opted for songs that reflected our relationship. So most of our music were songs that we loved and Christopher was able to trim and cut the songs to fit into the ceremony perfectly.
What were your ceremony readings? We chose a Bible verse for Christopher’s sister to read that was a reminder of the meaning of marriage.
What were your vows like? We went with traditional vows because of the history and timelessness. I loved that we were reciting vows that so many others have declared before us. It was a powerful reminder about the sanctity of marriage.
Did you include any traditions in your ceremony? We opted for communion together because we wanted our faith to be incorporated in the wedding and we spent some time honoring the parents.
Is there anything else that you’d like to share about your wedding ceremony? We asked our officiant to personalize the message as much as possible and he definitely did that. He shared so many wonderful memories and even inside jokes about us and it was my favorite aspect of the ceremony. I appreciated that it felt so intimate even with so many people watching us.
What was your favorite thing about your wedding ceremony? Honestly, all the dang tears. I cried so hard during the entire ceremony, and not just a few tears or a pretty cry, I mean uninhibited, no shame, ugly cry. And I loved how hard Christopher cried too! Our relationship never came easy and we overcame so many hardships directly and indirectly involving our relationship, so I was extremely grateful that we finally arrived at the place of marriage. Everyone in that room played such a big part in forming who we were individually and together as a couple that it was really overwhelming for me when I saw everyone. My heart was bursting with love!
If you had it to do over again, is there anything you would do differently? I definitely would try to get as much done as possible. I didn’t realize that the littlest errands before the wedding would be so daunting. Do it all ahead of time. Nobody wants to run around town looking for a cash box—trust me, it’s not fun. I also wish I was more detailed in the e-mails with my vendors; I think it would have saved a lot of time and e-mails back and forth. I tried Googling information you should have a head of time before you contact your vendors and that helped me a good bit. I didn’t realize for the venue you would need to know around how many guests, how many children, what kind of menu you would want, what kind of chairs, even down to what time you would want it to start. So once I caught on that I couldn’t just walk in with “I have a wedding in 6 months, can I have some flowers?” it helped to know that I needed to do some research too. Knowing specifically what kind of flowers I wanted helped.
“We did so many things the unconventional way and I’m so happy we did. I look back and the wedding was exactly the way I wanted it. We picked what was our nonnegotiable things and everything else was up for discussion. I’m grateful we incorporated what we wanted and took out things that didn’t mean too much to us.”
How would you describe your reception? Minimal and casual. We definitely did not want a lot of programming for the reception. We hear about couples packing it in and then not getting time with the guests or not remembering a lot about their reception because they were so busy. So we opted for minimal programming and basically had a dinner party with our friends and family.
What inspired you when you were planning your wedding? Our community. We wanted the focus to be more on our guests then on us because we were so grateful for the people who have impacted our lives as individuals and as a couple. Everything we did, we thought about the people in the room and how they would feel the most loved and appreciated.
What was your wedding menu? O.M.GEE, our caterers were excellent. I’m probably not doing this menu justice but we had Shrimp Cocktail with Chipotle Sauce / Berry Salad / Watermelon and Heirloom Tomato Salad / Portabella Mushroom Stack with Sweet Potato, Summer Vegetables, and Arugula / Tender Chicken with a Red Pepper Sauce /
Please tell us about any other special details or moments from your reception. We tried to personalize the wedding as much as possible, from the “You’re the Best” cold brew coffee, to the “You’re Brilliant” linens, and the most ambitious element of all were the individual letters we wrote to each guest. We wanted to thank them for their relationship, share a funny/happy element, and just extend our love for them.
Are there any DIY details you’d like to tell us about? Our table settings were all about our guests. We gave away cold brew coffee as favors and each coffee jar had a label that said you’re the best. We bought linens instead of renting them because they were cheaper and ended up getting them printed. We printed a you’re brilliant design on them and it looked really nice on top of the place mats. We have amazing amazing friends who gave so much to this wedding. Instead of doing a slideshow we did a picture wall instead. Our friends made the backdrop and the vinyl frames and put it up for us. They also made the beautiful cone garland behind our table.
What type of cake or dessert did you serve? We had the best cupcakes on earth from Sprinkles! I am a die hard fan of Sprinkles and we knew it would be easier to do cupcakes, so we had cupcakes for everyone.
What was your first dance song? We danced to Holley Maher and Spencer Combs’ “You are Mine”.
Reception Music by DJ Sleeper.
Did you include any other traditions in your wedding? We wanted to create our own traditions for the wedding. Instead of having a normal bouquet toss we opted for a little girls’ bouquet boss. Anyone 10 and under were invited to take the bouquet and we ended up giving away our bridesmaid’s bouquets to the other girls. We ate dessert before dinner and we spent a good amount of time with our guests.
What was your favorite moment or part of the reception? DANCING. The crowd could not be stopped. We hired the most amazing DJ ever and he did a great job of playing a good mix of the songs we requested and crowd favorites. He was too good. He would feel the crowd so well and if they weren’t feeling it he would quickly mix in another song that everyone loved. We hate weddings where no one dances and it’s so forced but that was definitely not the case at our wedding. We couldn’t stop the night—my feet were numb for the next two days because of how much we danced the night away.