Lesley truly is an example of what it means to be an Alicia's bride. Her first visit to Alicia's Bridal & The Formal House was in the Fall of 2015. Over the next few months, she was able to put the finishing touches on her look as well as find the perfect suit for, her now husband, John. She was recently able to share some of the amazing photos from her wedding and we also touched base on the planning process as well as the big day itself. Here is what she had to say:
What three words would best describe your wedding day? Special…it was special to share it with the people we invited. We had a small wedding with less than 60 guests. We had kids since we had many nieces and nephews. But most importantly we were surrounded by love. Each person in attendance had touched our life in some way so it was special to have each of them there. It was also an honor to have so many people travel to our wedding from near and far. Aside from my immediate family, all our other guests were from out of town - China, California, Alberta, Wyoming.
Tell us about your wedding dress? My dress fit me perfectly. It is classic, timeless, unique, and “one of a kind”.
Was there anything especially creative or unique that you included in your ceremony or reception? John and I are quiet people. We do not like a lot of attention so our perfect wedding probably would have been a destination wedding on the beach in Hawaii or something similar. But at the end of the day, we did not want to get married without our family. Instead of having a bridal party, our family was our bridal party. I had small hand bouquets made for all the females - my sister and sister-in-laws. And our brothers, sisters, parents and their families walked down the aisle during the procession instead of bridesmaids. It was a family affair.
What song did you play for your first dance? We broke tradition again by not having a first dance or a father/daughter dance or a mother/son dance. Most of our guests are not dancers so I hit the dance floor with my girlfriends for a line dance to Shania Twain’s “Man I Feel Like a Woman”. My good friend, Alethea Alexander (Core Kinetics and Bellingham Repertory Dance), taught us a line dance during my bachelorette party.
What was one of your favorite moments of the big day? Walking down the aisle and looking for John at the end waiting for me. We did not have a long aisle, but I savored the moment by taking my time. To see all the faces of family and friends in the seats to both sides brought tears to my eyes.
Which vendor did you especially enjoy working with? All our vendors were fabulous. Everyone did a wonderful job, but the person that made it happen for us was our officiant, Marilyn Knipp. From the first conversation, she made the process easy for us. We are in Bellingham and she is in Vancouver, but she made the effort to come down to Bellingham to meet us and get to know us. At the end of the day, she was the most important person at the wedding. Without her, we would not be married.
What tips would you give other brides who are planning their weddings right now? Pick the three most important elements of the wedding and focus on them first. These are the elements that you would regret if you did not spend the time to do it right. This keeps the overwhelming pressure under control and the cost as well. For me, it was the dress and shoes, venue, and officiant (cannot get married without one). The venue was important. We live in the NW so I was planning for rain. The venue was specifically chosen for its covered patio for the ceremony and later dance. It was also part of a hotel so our guests had accommodations and the hotel catered the dinner. It was also located next to Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada, which made for an ideal wedding photo shoot. Once I got my three important elements, then I allowed myself to add other elements. Then it was a photographer to remember the moments as they do go by quickly. Next it was the flowers. Once the flowers were ordered, then I allowed myself to consider a musician for the ceremony. I never worried about the cake. I always assumed I would get the cake at the same place as my parents did 40 years ago. That was special. The owner of the store is retired and still remembered my parents and offered us a special.
1. The internet is your friend. Save photos that give you inspiration. I had ideas of flower arrangements I like and found photos that were exactly what I wanted. The florist duplicated the arrangement exactly.
2. Things will be forgotten the day of the wedding, but nobody will know but you. We had pre-made thank you cards that we had written and signed to hand out when guests left. We forgot completely and still had to mail them.
3. Have a go to person for vendors etc the day of the wedding. Chose someone who will have time and not part of the wedding party...and who naturally likes to coordinate. My sister was my one woman army. She made sure everything kept moving smoothly. Besides she's a natural with those types of tasks.
For the brides...pick a venue where you can easily go to the bathroom wearing a big dress. You will need help with that dress. My venue was also chosen for the private bathroom.
Dress: Justin Alexander - Original
Tuxes/Suits: The Formal House
Venue: The Westin Bayshore Hotel (International Suite) - Vancouver, Canada
Photographer: D'Soleil Photography - Vancouver, Canada (Daniel Ha)
Hair/Makeup: Sandalwood Salon and Spa - Bellingham, WA (Hair - Toby-Lyn Heaven; Makeup - Caitlyn Irene)
Flowers: Postmark Flowers - Vancouver, Canada (Shannon McCluskie)
Music: Guitarist David Feingold - WWU, Bellingham, WA
Cake: Anna’s Cake House - Vancouver, Canada