Libby and Dustin were able to create their dream wedding day celebration just the way they wanted.
Date of event: May 28th, 2016
Location: Cherry Barc Farm in Vermontville, MI
Photographer: Kimberlee Kiefer and her partner Jenny of Birch Photographers
Libby and Dustin met when they were both stationed at Shaw Air Force Base while in the U.S. Army. The two were best friends for over a year before they ever realized that they had feelings for each other. They threw a wedding celebration that was 100% ‘their way’ with a barn reception, and a pig roast. Since Libby was stationed in Virginia while planning the wedding, it was a large task, but she pulled it off with the help of Dustin’s mom and Stop-mother.
Caterer: We cooked all the food ourselves on the day before the wedding. Had a big pig roast, it was a lot of fun!
Officiant: One of Dustin’s best friends, Adam Parr, directed the ceremony for us. It turned out beautiful, not a dry eye in the audience!
Florist: Smith Floral and Greenhouse, Lansing, MI. They did a great job!
Wedding Planner: I Didn’t have one! Thankfully Dustin’s Mom and Step-Mom are both very experienced with large family gatherings and made it all possible!
Videographer: We opted to use WedFlix hand-held cameras instead of a traditional videographer. In hindsight, we wish we had organized it better or had hired the professional. We got most of the major moments, but the cameras stayed on the tables forgotten most of the night.
How he proposed: We had just returned from a deployment. Dustin made me wait to open my Christmas presents because the other half “hadn’t come in yet”. Really, my ring hadn’t come in yet! He got to pick my diamond out and the style so it took longer than expected to come in. Once it did (he pretended he had to work late, and snuck a drive into Columbia to pick it up), he let me open my present. It was an ornament that said, “Will You Marry Me?” And while I was opening it and reading it, he got down on one knee right there in the middle of our living room. It was so unique and beautiful, it was perfect!
Theme of wedding/ design aesthetic: Rustic-Chic
Wedding Colors: Shades of Blue. This way I didn’t have to worry about finding all the same color for decorations!
Linens: I bought all my “Caribbean blue” table linens off of Linentablecloth.com. I shopped their flash sales and was able to get all my linens for under $200. I’m trying to sell them to another bride on Facebook now to make some of the money back, but I’m not having much luck!
Did you hand-make or DIY any wedding items? Almost all of the décor. We got a lot of cute stuff from Hobby Lobby on sale, but we put a lot of elbow grease into it. Even the chalkboards used to be old picture frames we painted with chalkboard paint.
Cake: Whipped Bakery in Lansing, MI. Our cake was soooooo delicious and beautiful!! We had a chocolate layer on the bottom, and then raspberry for the rest of the layers. Its the most delicious cake flavor I’ve ever tasted. Unbelievable!
Chaircovers: We didn’t use them. Our wedding had a rustic theme so they didn’t look out of place.
Lighting: Provided by our venue.
DJ/ Band: DJ Lucas from Jump Start DJ’s, Lansing, MI. He did a PHENOMONAL job. I couldn’t believe how many people were on the dance floor, and stayed on the dance floor the whole night!
Flowers & Centerpieces: Baby’s Breath, centerpieces were wooden discs cut by Dustin and his friends, 3 wine bottles we spray painted and hot-glue twine on, with baby’s breath.
Wedding Party: 5 Bridesmaids and 6 Groomsmen.
Bridesmaids Dresses: David’s Bridal, each had a different shade of blue. Their collection suits everyone’s body types and I liked that they could all find a dress they liked!
Tuxedos: President Tuxedo. Dustin had a gray jacket but the groomsmen just wore the shirt and a gray vest. Their ties were an ombre blue pattern so that they would match the bridesmaids.
Photo booth: We used the ‘Perfect Wedding Package’ through Birch Photographers and President Tuxedo. It included 5 WedFlix cameras, 2 photographers for 8 hours, all the tuxes, and Swaggerbooth Photobooth for 3 hours. It was an amazing money saver. Birch Photographers and all their employees were very responsive and always ready to answer my questions throughout the whole process.
Wedding Dress: I bought it on sale at David’s Bridal. I was just trying them on so my family could have the experience of shopping with me while I was in town (St. Louis, MO) and fell in love with it!
Hair: My bridesmaids and I got our hair done at Main Street Stylers. Peg was amazing. She’s a family friend, but I still would be raving about what an amazing job she did. All of our hair looked beautiful and it is all thanks to her!
Makeup: I found Shay Paris Make-Up on Facebook, and hiring her last minute was the best thing I did. After seeing the results of her airbrush make-up, I would’ve been really disappointed if we had done anything else. I loved my make-up!!
Shoes: Flats from Steve Madden! I was comfortable and I’ll be able to wear them again.
Jewelry: I wrapped Dustin’s great-grandmother’s necklace around my bouquet. My bracelet matched the ones I bought my bridesmaids from Kay’s. They’re so simple and elephants have a special place in my heart. By giving my bridesmaids an elephant bracelet, I gave them something that will make them think of me, without being cheesy!
What was your old, new, borrowed, blue? Old and borrowed – Dustin’s Great-Grandmother’s necklace. New – My bracelet! Blue—My garter
Rings: My engagement ring was from a jeweler in Columbia, SC. We got our wedding bands from Helzberg Diamonds using a $100 off a $500 purchase sale.
Vows: We wrote our own. We had agreed to half a page, but Dustin wrote a whole page! He couldn’t get through his during the ceremony. Made us both cry (and most of our guests too).
First Dance Song: I don’t dance, by Lee Brice
Honeymoon details and location: We stayed a week in Jamaica at the Sandals Ochi Beach Resort. It was absolutely beautiful!!
Most Memorable moment: My Grandma got out on the dance floor and had a great time dancing with all of Dustin’s friends!! It was hilarious, and she had the time of her life. All this was after catching my bouquet too!
Plan something you are going to enjoy. Don’t make it about anyone else. We wanted kegs, pulled pork, and a barn and that’s what we did. And everyone loved it because they love us, and they know it was exactly what we wanted.
What was the biggest roadblock that you ran into while planning the wedding? Being so far away. I’m stationed in Virginia right now, so we had to do almost everything over the phone.
Who/what gave you the most help in the planning process? Dustin’s Mom and Step-Mom were amazing and helped me do everything! Online reviews, Facebook groups, and Pinterest were really awesome tools to use in gaining inspiration and picking out our vendors. We had to go up to Michigan almost a year in advance for only a week to contract all our vendors, so having them all lined up and prioritized was important.
How much influence did your family/ fiancé have in the planning process? I checked with Dustin on every step. He didn’t always care… (LOL!), but was always there for me to talk through my ideas. Our families were awesome and didn’t try and change our ideas or plans. They helped us achieve our dream wedding!
Which part of the process gave you the most stress? All my DIY projects. I didn’t think I would get it all done. I got most of it done, and what I didn’t, no one will ever know was missing!
What did you do that you found helped out with stress the best? Beer!!! Just kidding, honestly just talking to Dustin about it all really helped.
What was your favorite part of the experience/ event? Just watching our family have so much fun. It was the first time they were all together and they got along wonderfully. Its crazy how two families from different parts of country can have so much in common.
Is there anything that didn’t go as planned? There were a couple of things. We ended up taking longer getting ready than we had planned and didn’t get to the barn until 10 minutes before the ceremony was supposed to start! We had to rush to get our dresses on and we didn’t get to take pictures before (like we had planned) and we still started late.
Also, we used a shuttle service to take our out-of-town guests from the hotel to our venue and back home at the end of the night. We were very disappointed and wish we had saved our money. He didn’t even show up to take our guests to the venue, and then sat in the parking lot for the other two contracted hours. Not a single person used him to get home, since they all had to find their own way to the venue and didn’t wish to leave their cars. He never called to tell me he wasn’t showing for the first hour, or to apologize. He charged us for the second two hours with a card he had on file, with no comment. Not a good experience.
If you could go back in time, what would you have changed? I would have re-thought some of our expenses. We didn’t need to pay for a shuttle (since it wasn’t used). Also, I would’ve wrote down details on where all the decorations should go so setting up would’ve gone smoother. But our family set-up crew did amazing and was able to get everything out, even with my crazy self running around!
What did you do to save money? DIY! And sales! We had over a year to plan, so I picked out what I wanted and waited for it to go on sale. Black Friday, Memorial Day Sale, etc were really great and I always seemed to catch flash sales when I was looking.
What was your biggest splurge? The honeymoon!! But we used Honeyfund.com instead of a registry, and our family was so generous. It really made it affordable and we didn’t have to lug a bunch of gifts back home to Virginia!
Congrats and thank you for sharing your wedding story with The Wedding Cat!