This week's Wedding Story comes from Rhode Island's own Holly Allan. With that, here's Holly...
When did you get married?
We were married on October 4, 2009.
The morning of the wedding Holly had her makeup done by Kristin Greene and hair done by Jen Dwyer from Salon Sante.
Where was your ceremony? Reception?
Our ceremony was held at Slatersville Congregational Church in North Smithfield, RI. This is the church that I was baptized and confirmed in and my parents are a big part of to this day. Our reception was at the Providence Biltmore Hotel.
Holly's bouquet, and all of the flowers, was courtesy of Jeff & Co.
What made you choose that reception location?
Bill and I dated for 8 years before we were engaged. I did not want a long engagement. We got engaged in October 2008. We lived in Newport for 5 years together and I always thought we would be married in Newport, it's where we met, where we dated, and where we lived together and met so many of our friends. Unfortunately, every place we looked at was booked well in 2011. With the beach wedding out of our minds and not possible to do within the next calendar year, we decided we wanted to have an elegant, sophisticated city wedding, and picked Providence as the location.It allowed us to get married in my church. We looked at every feasible reception spot in Providence. We loved the Biltmore. It had this old school elegance about it with the beautiful ornate lobby and the grand ballroom. I loved the view of the entire city of Providence from the ballroom, the high ceilings, rich colors and it allowed us some leeway with our guest lists, as they could accommodate up to 300 people. It was also a huge plus that our guests could stay at the hotel, since Bill is not from RI and half our guest list included guests from out of town.
The centerpieces at the reception.
What was your favorite aspect of your wedding?
I spent the majority of my time worrying about cocktail hour and the reception. While I enjoyed both, my favorite part of the wedding was our ceremony. Our minister was fantastic. She allowed us to design our entire ceremony. We picked the readings and chose all the elements. We also wrote our own vows. Instead of reading them all at once, we each read one vow at a time to one another. It allowed me to really listen to each one, instead of being nervous about saying mine after him. The ceremony was the easiest thing to fall in place and my absolute favorite part of our wedding.
Another favorite aspect of the wedding was all the personal touches we were able to add. We had tissue packets made with tissues with our last initial on them handed out at the church. We had our engagement pictures framed and displayed on a piano during cocktail hour as well as a guest book with all our engagement pictures in it for guests to sign.
Welcome table at cocktail hour
My husband is a cigar lover and we made our card box from old cigar boxes and had personalized matches and cocktail napkins. My mom and stepdad are beekeepers. We were able to use their honey as our favors at each setting. All these little things were a way for us to add our little touch to different aspects of the wedding.
What was the best resource you used during the planning process?
I used a lot of message boards and blogs. Message boards were helpful because it was a way to tap into some local resources and also get a first hand and candid review of a vendor. It was also a great way to exchange ideas with other brides to be and learn how to accomplish some DIY tasks.
One of Holly's DIY Projects: Dancing Shoes!
Blogs were also a huge resource for me. I loved to look at local photography, videography, and other design blogs. I'd often find other weddings that used my venue and was able to get ideas of what might work there. It was also helpful to get different design ideas from other local weddings.
What's the one thing you would have done differently?
I would have found money in the budget for a live band. While our DJ did a great job, we had such a beautiful large ballroom and a band would have been the icing on the cake!
Speaking of cake...
Any advice for future brides?
We knew from the beginning of our planning process that one of the most important things was photography and videography. We made the decision to set aside a large chunk of time to spend with our photographer to take pictures. Our wedding was at 2 and our cocktail hour did not start until 5. This allowed us 1 hour with our wedding party jetting to all sorts of different spots around Providence to take pictures at a variety of different locations. Our photographer was able to take pictures that truly had a city and urban feel to them. We dropped off our bridal party at cocktail hour and had an additional hour to take pictures with just the two of us. This really slowed the day down for us and the whole day didn't fly by or turn into one big blur.
Some of the fun city shots Holly spoke of... Another bit of advice- we took 2 days off before we left on our honeymoon. I would HIGHLY recommend this! It allowed us to get all our wedding related stuff home, pack, relax and then go on a fabulous 2 week honeymoon. I wasn't stressed out about packing for a honeymoon in those days before the wedding and it truly made our honeymoon feel so long.My last piece of advice that no newly engaged girl wants to hear- it's just one day. While it's a fantastic and special day that you will remember for the rest of your life, it is just one day. Take things in stride, the world will not end if something goes wrong or some little detail is overlooked. I always kept telling myself that. I had faith in the professional vendors I chose and I always tried to keep a realistic expectation of the day and not blow it out of proportion or stress myself about trying to make it this perfect, elaborate, over the top celebration and more just a celebration centered around us with people we love.
Holly & Bill's super fun entrance to their reception!
Holly makes good points about the photography and videography; it was definitely the most important aspects to us as well. There's so much going on that you end up missing things! I guarantee you will look back at your pictures, and even moreso your video, and say "I didn't even see that happen!"
All photos courtesy of Melissa Robotti Photography
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Here is clip from Holly and Bill's wedding: