Wedding Venue, Photo, and Dress Updates!

Wow this weekend flew by! So much has happened and I have some big wedding news to share with you guys!

1. We found our venue! Josh and I will be getting married July 6, 2013 at the Atherton Hotel in State College. Over the weekend we met with Jessica, the wedding coordinator there, and fell in love with the place. Everyone seemed really nice and professional, they were willing to work with our vegetarian preferences, and the rooms have the look and feel we’d like for our wedding.

I only photographed the upstairs lobby because the rooms we will be having our ceremony and reception in were being set up for a wedding while we were there. The upstairs lobby is where we’ll be having our cocktail hour. I think it is so gorgeous.

2. We found our photographer! On Saturday we met with Katie from Lovely Photographs and loved everything about her and her photography style. She is from the Poconos like me and has such a fun, romantic, quirky style that is so perfect for Josh and I. She was so sweet and said I could share some photos from her site, which I really recommend checking out. It’s also a good sign that a lot of the songs on her website are some of Josh and my favorites.

I could totally see Josh and I doing something like this, except with mustaches.

We’re dorky and we love it. 😀

I am in love with the layout of this picture. It is such a cute save the date.

I love the close-up of the detailing on the dress with the light shining through and how she captured the bride’s happiness as she was being laced up into her dress.

I love how in love they look and how there is such a crisp focus on the couple while the background is blurred out. It feels very romantic.

She also does amazing baby photos that are so freaking adorable but I’d feel weird posting a picture of someone elses baby on here without their permission so to see those out I’d definitely go check out her site.

I’ve never had professional photos of any kind done so I am beyond excited to have found someone so amazing to not only be my first experience with photos, but to capture the images I am going to cherish for the rest of my life.

3. I bought my wedding dress!!! It should be here by the end of the week and I am so so so excited/crazy nervous since I didn’t get to try it on before I bought it. I’ve always wanted a fabulous wedding dress but Josh and I are on a tight budget so I knew as much as I love Say Yes to the Dress (and have been watching it all day today in celebration) I would never be able to have the wedding dress budget that the girls on the show do. When Debbie and I tried on wedding dresses last weekend at a local wedding boutique I fell in love with a Justin Alexander dress. It was the first wedding dress I ever tried on and it was perfect. The sample was a size 6 and the attendant said it was a perfect fit for me. The only problem was the $1600 price tag.

I went to a big box wedding dress shop after that and didn’t like anything I tried on. Nothing fit right, the material felt cheap, and they didn’t have the look I was going for. Determined to find a gorgeous wedding dress that was within my budget I headed online to look at used wedding dresses. Through Once Wed I was able to find a Justin Alexander dress that is very similar to the one I tried on at the store, and that has details I love even more than the original one I saw. Amazingly the dress was my size and the original owner had the hem taken to my exact height (I plan on wearing Toms) and didn’t alter the bust or waist in any way. She only wore it for six hours, had it professionally cleaned, and was asking a very reasonable price. I am going to be running to the mail box every day between now and Friday! 😀

Planning a wedding is a lot of work but one thing that has helped Josh and I tremendously is having a to-do list and an Excel spreadsheet budget that we can adjust as costs change. We had originally budgeted $250 for flowers but managed to get them all for $70 by using silk flowers and making our own. I’ll be posting a tutorial of that tomorrow!

Question of the Day: Have you bought used clothes before? Would you buy a used wedding dress online? Part of me thinks it’s a crazy thing to do but the other part of me thinks its crazy not to for how good of a deal you can get! You just have to make sure you know your measurements or I could see it being a nightmare where you order something and then it doesn’t fit.


  1. says

    I bought my wedding dress from Sears – outlet store – online. It was for a “petite” (I’m 5 foot 9) and after taxes it cost $90. It was a pretty strapless dress but nothing fancy. And you know what? Nobody cared. It’s 7 1/2 years later and people care even less now. It looks nice in my wedding pictures (and isn’t that what really matters?), and has been hanging in my parents closet ever since.

    As long as the dress you bought fits and looks nice, who cares if it’s second hand? I can’t imagine spending thousands and thousands on a dress you literally wear once, and if you can save $$ I say go for it! :)

    • says

      Aw thanks so much! Yeah it’s something I’m very happy I’m doing since it’s saving us a ton of money. Pretty much everything we’re doing is DIY so it’s fitting that the dress has its own story too. The bride I bought it from is super nice and looked so beautiful in the dress, I’m excited to be able to wear it for my wedding and continue the dresses story.

      And girl I’m sure you rocked your dress! As much as I want to feel like a princess on my big day, the photos are what you have to remember so how it looks in them is much more important to me! I think it’s going to photograph beautifully! 😀

  2. says

    I didn’t do that, but my friend got her dress from her friend (for free) and that had alterations to add some of her own touches to it! It was awesome!!! Congratulations and enjoy the wedding planning!!

    • says

      Thank you so much! And that was such an awesome way for your friend to make the dress her own for cheap. I’m hoping I don’t have to do any alterations but if I do I saved so much money already it will be worth it!

  3. says

    We had our reception at the Atherton!! You will love it. They did an awesome job. Make sure your photographer takes advantage of the awesome mirrors in the large ballroom.

    • says

      Omg what a small world! I’m so glad you were happy with how everything turned out! I’m sure you were a beautiful bride! :) And I love the mirrors in the ballroom, I’m so excited to see how that turns out in photos!

  4. says

    I almost bought a sample wedding gown – one that was just used for the runway. I loved it and would have totally bought it but my Mom strongly stated that she would prefer that I didn’t buy a used wedding dress. It was more because she had to borrow a dress for her wedding and wanted me to have my own. That said, I would have loved to have saved the money from the dress and put it towards our reception. Your photographers pictures are so great!

    • says

      I love her photos! I’m so excited to have professional photos of Josh and I together!

      And that was really sweet your mom wanted you to have your own, I’m sure you looked stunning! :)

    • says

      Isn’t it adorable? I love her work!

      And yes, I think I’ll be very comfortable with this dress. My goal is to be able to walk. ;p

  5. says

    Planning a wedding is a lot but is so fun! I love the save-the-date picture idea! We sent ours as post cards and saved on stamps…which is a lot when you send out 300!!! Kudos to you for your size 6 victory!!! I found my dress and told the woman that I wanted it ordered a size smaller than what fit in the store…it was lose on my wedding day! Keep working hard!

    • says

      Thank you so much! I’d love to be able to order the dress in an even smaller size but then I’d be too nervous it wouldn’t fit! haha I love the idea of post cards! How cute!

  6. says

    What a beautiful venue. Looks like things are coming a long for you! I hope you’re enjoying this process of planning. I know it might seem overwhelming, but have fun and keep sharing your updates with us. We’re all so very happy for you, girl!

    • says

      Thank you so much Katie! It has been stressful at times but mostly a lot of fun! I’m just so excited to get to spend the rest of my life with Josh, and that all the planning seems to be falling into place! I love the venue and our photographer is amazing!

    • says

      Thanks girly! Yeah she was the original owner and only wore it one day and then it was stored away in a box for nearly a year. I’m happy to get to wear such a pretty dress at such a great price!

  7. says

    You’re giving me so much anxiety about getting things accomplished. you did so much in such a short amount of time. GAH. hahaha. so happy for you though. the venue looks gorgeous & those photos.. my goodness you picked an amazing photographer!!!

    xoxoxo!!! 😀
    & in my experience the more affordable dresses are more comfortable. you can find very similar styles to the fancy 6 zillion dollar ones in a cheaper fabric, making it fit better and not be as heavy (this was a huge thing for me. i didnt want to wear the heaviest thing ever made all day on my wedding day)

    • says

      Thank you so much! We couldn’t be happier with the venue or the photographer! I’m so excited with how great everything’s coming together so well, I did not expect it to be able to come together so fast!

      And I’m sooo excited to get my dress, it should be here in a couple of days!!

  8. says

    Lovely pictures :)
    I agree with all the comments, wedding is about two people who are madly in love with each other and wants to be with each other through marriage. This is what matters most second hand dress is what you know don’t tell anyone about it simple and enjoy your wedding day to the fullest. its a lifetime moment to remember and cherish and so live it to the fullest :)

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