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2020 Bride

Well friends, I planned on doing this blog post as a “5 months til the big day wedding update” with vendors, where we are in the planning process, and all that fun stuff. But, coronavirus.

I want to preface this blog post by saying I know we are extremely lucky. So many people that I know have had to cancel/postpone their spring weddings and my heart breaks for them! We are not at that point yet, but I think it’s safe to say that there is SO much unknown, and every bride getting married this year is kind of freaking out. Virtually sending hugs (and wine) to anyone who has already had to make these really hard decisions.

When we set our fall of 2020 wedding date back in January of 2019, we never would have seen this coming! As dramatic as it may sound, the last month has been such a rollercoaster of emotions. 

Where am I now? Honestly, kind of mad! Mad isn’t quite the right word, but let’s go with it. I’m mad that when I now tell people I’m getting married this year they feel sorry for me- instead of saying ‘congrats how exciting!”. That’s childish of me, I know. But it’s a crappy feeling. 

I’m mad that everyone has an opinion on what we should do- yet no one really knows the right answer. Can someone just secretly tell all the 2020 brides what the future holds?! We will keep it to ourselves, we promise 😉

I’m mad that the months leading up to our wedding feel “tainted’ by the uncertainty and stress of this virus and what the next 5 months will look like. I’m sad for my friends getting married before me, and mad that we can’t spend these next few months in our bubble of almost married joy and bliss this summer!

I’m mad that the next few months seem to have a cloud hanging over them, when they should have been spent at bridal showers for some of my closest friends and myself, flights to bachelorette parties, and shopping for numerous white dresses for all the fun occasions.

But, some things I need to remind myself of:

  • I am marrying the love of my life, either way! It may not be in 2020, but it will still happen! That in itself makes this all worth it. I’d go through this all again and again if the end result was marrying Justin!
  • Our wedding will look the way I’ve always dreamed of, regardless of the date. For some reason I have to keep reminding myself that our wedding will literally be the exact same event even if it happens next year. We’ve decided that if our original date doesn’t work, we will wait until we can do the full out thing we planned rather than do a smaller version, and that brings me a lot of peace.
  • Honestly, as of right now I’m not as worried about the actual wedding date as I am the things leading up to it like the shower and bachelorette party. I know this isn’t what getting married is all about, but these are precious, joy filled memories I was so looking forward to sharing with my favorite people. I have to remind myself that if they can’t happen when they are originally planned to, I’ll still get those memories. They will happen before our new wedding date, if it comes down to that. We won’t just totally forget about these things and never do them.

Again, if I’m being super transparent, I have the most anxiety about these next few months being tainted by the coronavirus cloud of doom. But… I have come to realize no one can taint that unless I let it. 

If I can walk through the next five months, happy, filled with joy to marry the love of my life, filled with hope and light- nothing can take that away. I really am in control of what our attitude can be like leading up to this experience, and I am now determined to walk through the next 5 months full of hope and joy. 

What’s the worst case? I walk through this time with hope & joy, and have to reschedule? Fine! We will still get our day and I saved myself a LOT of stress and sadness  🙂

What’s the best case? I walk through this time with hope & joy and get to marry my future husband as planned? AMAZING. We proved our strength and didn’t taint our experience by giving into fear and anxiety.

Either way, it’s a win! Either way, memories will be made with my best friends, my family, and Justin!

Imagine this: I give into the fear and anxiety and spend the next 5 months a ball of stress, bad moods, and tears (aka my last week lol)… and THEN our original planned date works out? I will be so, so mad at myself that I didn’t fully enjoy those months and that ME and ONLY me, tainted those memories. 

So friends, and 2020 Brides, I FREAKING FEEL YOU. Here’s to raising a virtual glass of wine, and filling the rest of our year with hope, joy, and positive vibes. WE. GOT. THIS. If anyone is set up for a long happy marriage, it’s couples planning a wedding during COVID-19 😉


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Wedding Check-In

I did an Insta-poll last week to see who was interested in hearing about our wedding planning thus far, and I am so excited to finally be sharing! I wanted to write this post almost as a “diary entry”, since I know these days are going to fly by and sentimental me is going to want to remember all these exciting details!

I’m going to start by sharing some of the vendors we have selected/used so far and our thoughts as we were selecting them.

Photography: Ben Ramos Photography

Confession: I reached out to Ben BEFORE we even announced our engagement on Facebook or to a majority of our family LOL. If that doesn’t tell you how good he is, nothing will. Ben is a true professional, but also such a hype-man! I don’t know about you, but I want that kind of vibe surrounding me on my wedding day!

We have already done our engagment shoot with him (featured photo), and we cannot wait to see all our photos! The shoot was so fun- even Justin said it was a blast and the 1.5 hours flew by. It helps that I know Ben from high school, but honestly even if he was a stranger- it would have been the same amazing experience!

This was one area we KNEW we were going to splurge in- I have heard horror stories about wedding photographers and knew I didn’t want to skimp here. To each their own of course, but I am already so confident with our decision to invest in Ben!

Reception Venue: Hotel Arista, Naperville IL

With so much event experience under my belt from my career, I thought this step would be easy. Spoiler Alert: it. was. not.

I thought I was sold on Elements at Water Street, before even seeing it in person. I had always dreamed of having my wedding there! So, when we toured and it didn’t live up to our expectations, I was crushed (there may have been actual tears… #NotACrazyBride).

We continued on our venue search, and eventually came to find Hotel Arista. Hotel Arista and Katie, their wedding coordinator, had amazing reviews! We made an appointment, and from the first step in, everything was perfect.

Hotel Arista is a boutique hotel, so it is decorated very unique! Think white marble, gold fixtures, leather couches, navy velvet curtains… totally our vibe! When we stepped in, we were greeted with the most friendly faces and given a very through tour of the actual hotel and their amenities before even seeing the event space, which was a great touch!

Katie totally understood my vision, and was so great to talk with from the very first moment. That was the kind of vibe I was looking for. At this point, it was a no-brainer that Hotel Arista was where we wanted to be!

Ceremony Venue: Our Lady of Mercy Church

DJ/Photobooth: DJ D.JONES // Spark Entertainment Group

I found DJ D.Jones via The Knot- and I am so glad I did! Durrel is so professional, but also so friendly and outgoing. From the first conversation, he gave so much amazing advice and insight into our day as a whole that I was 100% sold on him.

He will be sure to keep our wedding feeling more like a party- which is exactly what we wanted!

Durrel and his company also have Photobooths for rental. What we loved about his photobooth was that they will set up hours beforehand, even if the photobooth will only be open for a part of our reception. We deff did not want workers setting up our photobooth as our guests tried to eat dinner.

The final selling point on DJ D.Jones was his website! All his couples get access into a custom portal where we can give song suggestions, make a do not play and must play list, and enter in our run of show. If you know organized me- you know that is amazing!

Suggestions from Others:

A couple of weeks ago I asked my insta-friends to share their biggest regrets/suggestions from their wedding days, here are some of my favorites:

Get a videographer

Don’t party the night away at your rehearsal dinner

Have a well seasoned photographer to keep you on track

Don’t leave for your honeymoon the next morning

Eat a good meal before- you won’t eat a bite during your reception

Signage asking guests to not take cell phone pics during your ceremony


Planning Thoughts:

So far, the easiest parts of planning have been choosing decor and colors (not sharing this til the day of!), and everything with our bridal party (they are all seriously the best!)

Hardest parts so far have been deciding how much we want to invest in flowers (not a big flower person), finding a videographer (send your recommendations my way!) and WEDDING DRESS shopping.

As I am sure you all know, we went to Klienfeld’s in NYC to dress shop! Although I didn’t ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ there, it was such an amazing experience that I wouldn’t change a thing about! It gave me a better idea of exactly what I was looking for… fingers crossed that clarity is given at the next appointment we have back home in Naperville later on this month!

I am honestly loving every second of this planning so far, and am already wondering what I am going to do when it’s all done! Good thing we have until October 3rd, 2020…or 473 days… but who’s counting?! 😉