Real Wedding :: Brooke + Nathanael
September 16, 2015
At this point, we all know that I love weddings.
They’re just kind of my “thing” (read more on that here and here!). So when I see a wedding that does no less than take my breath away — for a really long time — you know it’s got to be good.
And that is no exception with the real wedding I’m sharing with you today!
Think sequined bridesmaids dresses + gorgeous, vibrant flowers + a jaw-dropping bridal gown + a darling couple + the presence of God, and you’ve basically got this wedding in a nutshell!
Meet Brooke and Nathanael:
a ministry-minded couple currently residing in Mississippi — a girl from the South and a guy from the North who connected over Mexican food + a several-hour coffee date! Eight hours after their first date and they’ve talked every day since that moment. And when they got married last year on September 26th (happy almost-one-year-anni, you two lovebirds!) their wedding was seriously the stuff that dreams are made of.
Brooke is sharing some of her planning secrets, DIY tricks, and just a little bit of what made her wedding day so special — not only for her and her hubby but for every guest that was in attendance! Keep scrolling for more amazing images and a story that will melt your heart until it’s a melting puddle all over the floor.
When we asked Brooke about the planning process of her wedding, her response was that she had a “love-hate relationship with it!”
She says, “I knew exactly what I wanted with some things but had no clue with others — which made things very difficult. I knew I wanted a classic yet unique wedding so that was the overall concept that I focused on. The little details were very important to me and figuring out what little touches would add ‘wow factor’ took a lot of time.
I could have never in a million years planned my wedding without my family — they all added their own unique touches, helped wherever they could, offered advice when needed, and kept me laughing and focused through the more difficult times.
We had a long engagement — I think it was eleven months; it was not supposed to be that long at first but we were trying to work with our minister’s schedules as well as ours. The date actually changed drastically three times. I wouldn’t recommend long engagements!”
I love everything about Brooke’s dress; she talked about that “wow factor,” and her gown definitely exhibits more than a little bit of wow!
As most of us are aware, it’s not easy finding a *beautiful* modest wedding gown, and Brooke shares a little bit about her own shopping excursion for this special dress:
“My dress … Oh how I loved it! When my cousins, mom, aunt and I went dress shopping I had no idea what I wanted, but I told them all, ‘I want it to make a statement.’ That’s all I knew. So the hunt began.
They were all wonderful, throwing out ideas of what we could add to the sleeves, how my hair should be, et cetera. We had it narrowed down to two, and I was TORN! We all were. The one I bought was significantly out of the budget I had given myself though. My mother called my father and he said to just get it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I will never forget this moment though, I had the dress I did not choose on and my cousin Allison (my matron of honor) came up close to me and said, “What was the one thing you wanted?”
I answered, ‘To make a statement.’
‘Then which dress is it?’ she asked. ‘The other one,’ I replied.
So off she went to test out her bargaining skills — and we discovered that Allison is like a wizard business woman. They reduced the price of that dress nearly $1,000! I only paid $100 over my dress budget!
My best friend Abigail decided how we would add the sleeves. We did not have a picture, all we had was a thought, and the poor seamstress had to take it back four times, but she did it perfectly.
I also chose not to wear a veil. I tried many on and didn’t like how any of them looked and once we chose the dress, we all agreed that it didn’t need one anyway. Nothing needed to take away from the back of that beauty.
My dress was everything I could have ever dreamed of!”
Not only was Brooke’s gown absolutely fabulous, her bridesmaids dresses were pretty amazing, as well.
One word, girls, one word: sequins. Lots and lots of sparkly, colorful sequins!
“I knew I wanted the colors and theme of the wedding to be classic and elegant but fabulous. I wanted sequins and charm. The color scheme kind of just came together to be honest. Finding modest sequin gowns was hard, I started buying what I could find and it all came together. I did have an idea from Pinterest of the color flowers I wanted though, so I tried to start in those categories.”
With all of the planning and preparation it takes to pull off a large, church wedding, Brooke actually had an easy philosophy to keep everything running smoothly: simplicity.
“I knew I wanted the actual ceremony to be very simple. We actually did not decide how the platform would be until a couple weeks before the wedding. I just didn’t care. I knew I wanted a grand piano up there because it would take up space and the big Cinderella mirrors came about by accident, my mother just happened to see those mirrors at the rental company where we rented tablecloths.
We actually did Communion in place of lighting a unity candle. Our wonderful friend Kristin Keller sang ‘Holy Spirit’ and transitioned into ‘Oceans.’ I have never heard her better and more anointed than she was on our wedding day! Pastor Dillon prayed over us after communion and then he invited all the ministers in the building to come surround us and pray over us. The presence of God was so strong. I have never been to a wedding or heard of a wedding experiencing what we did that day, and it was a confirmation to us that God’s hand was on not only our marriage and future but also our ministry. God was indeed there.
The most important thing to me on my wedding day was to feel peace, love, and the presence of God on our wedding day. And we had all of those things.
Other important aspects of our wedding day — as far as tangible things went — were the food and the wedding invitations. I LOVED BOTH OF THEM!
Kaylin Dye did our calligraphy for the invitations, save the dates and programs. I literally still have people come up to me to this day and tell me how amazing our invitations were. She did exactly what I had envisioned and they will always be one of my favorite things about our wedding.
I personally believe most of the money spent on a wedding needs to go into the reception. People have traveled, taken off work, booked hotels, and purchased gifts to come enjoy the day and most of the evening is spent at the reception. Providing good food, giving them a place to sit, having beautiful center pieces to look at, and good music will set the atmosphere. That is my two cents on wedding planning!
We served breakfast hors d’oeuvres at the reception even though it was a very formal evening wedding because we love breakfast! And it was amazing, people adored it. We had tiny little chicken and waffles, tiny biscuits with gravy, shot glasses with yogurt parfaits, and that’s just to name a few things. We also had a coffee bar, which of course was a huge hit.
We were not traditional at all about ‘the day of.’ The bridesmaids and groomsmen (including Nathanael and I) actually all had lunch together the day of the wedding, and it was so much fun. We laughed and ate until we couldn’t breathe. The joy was very imminent amongst our family and wedding party. It was wonderful.
There was absolutely not one thing that went wrong at our wedding. I hear all these horror stories about things catching on fire, preachers running late, the cake falling over and I feel so bad for them, but our day was perfect to me. The worst thing that happened was our MC’s plane was delayed so my father ended up having to MC (so funny), and he forgot about the tossing of the bouquet and garter. We didn’t even care though. There were so many people there we would have rather talked to anyway. The day was so smooth and peaceful.
Our one year anniversary is actually the 26th of this month. People have told me that the first year of marriage is the hardest year, but I don’t really understand that because we have had the most amazing first year!
If I were to give advice to brides-to-be and young married couples, I would say that I have learned that communication is of utmost importance. I know everyone says that, but it’s true. Ask about each other’s day, remember to tell them when toilet paper needs restocked and so on! Communicate day-to-day stuff, communicate your feelings, your dreams, and ideas.
Laugh at each other, laugh with each other. I’m pretty sure we laugh every day. Even when we are mad at each other, we start laughing, because we realize how stupid we sound — haha!
Last but not least, learn to be a praying wife. Pray for your husband. Pray together, pray apart; read the Bible together, read it apart.
I love my husband more today than the day I married him.”
Girls, if this beautiful story doesn’t make you want to start a million wedding inspo boards on Pinterest then I don’t know what would! Thank you so much for sharing your wedding day with us, Brooke — we wish you and Nathanael the best in your second year of marriage and the long-term future, as well!