Real Brides: Nicole’s Christmas Wedding

Nicole originally wanted an October wedding, but a scheduling change pushed the wedding to December – and it turned out perfect!

Nicole's Christmas Wedding


Date: December 10, 2016

Venues: Ceremony- Founders Hall at Saginaw Valley State University, reception- The Golden Glow Ballroom, Saginaw, MI.

Photographer: Collier Studios. Ryan is a fantastic photographer. He gives great direction so we were never wondering what to do or how to pose, and he captured so many beautiful shots.


Real Bride Nicole's Ceremony at SVSU


Nicole has always loved Christmastime and snow, so a December wedding was actually very fitting, even though it wasn’t the original plan.  Although it barely snowed on the big day, she is thrilled to have a little bit of snow in the background of her wedding photos.  A student at Saginaw Valley State University, Nicole chose to get married right on campus.

Dustin and Nicole met in high school, where they were assigned lockers next to each other.  Her locker would often get stuck, and she would ask Dustin to open it for her. After attending Junior prom together, the two started dating and have been together ever since!

How he proposed: For Labor Day weekend 2015 we went to Mackinaw Island with three other couples. While riding bikes around the island, my friends stopped to take pictures in front of a gazebo. After they had all taken their couple pictures, my friends, who were in on it, told Dustin and me to get up there so they could take a picture of us. I said we didn’t need one but they insisted, and as they took our picture he knelt down and proposed.


Nicole's Christmas Wedding


Officiant: Reverand Joseph Atchinson.

Florist: Two of a Kind FloralThese girls are amazing. I told them a very general idea of what I wanted and I can’t imagine my lack of specifics made it easy on them. However, from there they showed me some things they’d found on Pinterest and asked what I liked and disliked about them. After that, I put my faith in them to make a lot of the decisions. On the day of my wedding I arrived to the most beautiful bouquets, far better than I had even imagined. Amanda and Jessica are so kind, talented, and dedicated!

DJ: Hyper Tech DJ. Pete was so much fun during our reception. He interacted with the crowd and got everyone involved.

Cake: Cupcakes- by The Cupcake Lady. The cupcakes were PHENOMINAL! We also had a beautiful small cake for the two of us to cut and another to save for our one year anniversary, both made by a talented friend of my mom’s.


Nicole's Cupcakes


Linens & Chaircovers: Ivory tablecloths, with burgundy napkins & ivory chaircovers with gold sashes – The Golden Glow Ballroom

Caterer: The Golden Glow Ballroom

Favors: Homemade chocolate-covered pretzels, and a photobooth- SG Photobooth. They were great to work with and I love that we got a scrapbook with all the photostrips from throughout the night!

Vows: We decided to go the traditional route and we both stuttered our way through those so it was probably a good thing that we did.


Real Bride Nicole's Saginaw Wedding


Wedding Colors: Gold, dark reds and dark greens.

Flowers/ Centerpieces used: I bought bulbs and pinecones, and my reception venue put them together in hurricanes to create my centerpieces.

Honeymoon details and location: We went to California in the beginning of April and had an amazing time exploring San Francisco, visiting Alcatraz, wine tasting in Napa Valley, and hiking through Muir Woods, Marin Headlands, and Yosemite. 

Wedding Party: 7 bridesmaids, 7 groomsmen, 1 junior bridesmaid, 2 junior groomsmen

Bridesmaid Dresses: Full-length gowns in Tarragon (with pockets!), from David’s Bridal

Groomsmen’s suits: Gray Vera Wang suits with gray vests, ivory shirts, and apple red bow ties


Real Bride Nicole's Bridesmaids


Wedding Dress:  I wore an ivory ballgown by Allure (with pockets!) that I purchased from The White Dress in Brighton, MI. I can’t say enough about what an incredible experience I had there. All of the employees were so nice and helpful, but I never felt pressured to make a decision like I would come to experience at other places. They were extremely personable and made me feel very comfortable and special. I fell in love with my dress but was scared to commit because it was the first place I had looked. The owner, Kristy, encouraged me to go to my next appointment and if I still wanted the dress they would fit me in again later that day since we were an hour and a half from home. At my next appointment, I tried on a few things but the lackluster experience and the lack of dresses that I loved told me that I had to go back. We went back to The White Dress and I got to put on my dress again so I could really have the “say yes to the dress” moment. It was perfect!

Shoes: Nina Caciana from DSW

Jewelry: Earrings and bracelet from Kohl’s

What was your old, new, borrowed, blue?: The morning of the wedding my sister surprised me with a blue safety pin. On it was my grandma’s wedding ring, my mom’s wedding ring, and a new ring my sister had bought for me. We pinned it underneath my dress.


Nicole's Christmas Wedding


First Dance Song: The Story, by Brandi Carlile

Wedding Song: The bridal party walked in to ‘Love Me Tender’, by Elvis. My sister sang ‘To Make You Feel My Love’, by Bob Dylan. We exited to ‘The Best is Yet to Come’, by Frank Sinatra.

Most memorable moment: Right before I walked down the aisle, my dad surprised me with a beautiful diamond bracelet. It was such a nice, unexpected, thoughtful surprise at the perfect moment. He put it on me and we walked down the aisle together.


It sounds so generic and obvious, but we don’t think it can be said enough- enjoy it, live in the moment, and just have as much fun as you possibly can. Don’t let anyone or anything ruin your day. And I fully understand stressing during the planning process, but when you wake up the morning of your wedding day, leave all that stress behind you.


Real Bride Nicole SVSU Wedding



Real Bride Nicole SVSU Wedding


Did you hand-make or DIY any wedding items? I made many snow-covered jars and floral arrangements for the reception, as well as the favors (bags of chocolate covered pretzels). I also made decorations for the ends of the aisles at the ceremony.


Real Bride Nicole's reception


Nicole's Christmas Wedding


What was the biggest roadblock that you ran into while planning the wedding? Choosing and booking things like venues, a photographer, and a florist was very quick and easy for me. What I struggled with was finding a DJ. The biggest obstacle was probably not knowing anything about how much DJs should cost, how to tell a good DJ from a bad DJ, etc. I was hearing prices ranging anywhere from $300 to $5000, so I didn’t even know how much my budget should be. I was going to go with a big name company but was put off after talking with them on the phone. Finally, I asked for opinions on Facebook and a couple of my friends mentioned HyperTech. They highly recommended them and the price was very affordable. By some miracle, they were still available that day!

Who/what gave you the most help in the planning process? My sister Brianne, my best friend Kyle, and my mom were all extremely helpful throughout the process. They did so much for me and they were always there to steer me in the right direction when I was having trouble making a decision.


Nicole's Christmas Wedding


Nicole's Christmas Wedding Story


How much influence did your family/ fiancé have in the planning process? Dustin gave his opinion on things he really cared about like food, drinks, and music, but other than that he pretty much entrusted me with the planning and decision-making.

Which part of the process gave you the most stress? RSVPs were very stressful. There were many we did not receive back, which made it difficult for us to give a final count to the venue. Also, decorations were a bit of a headache; I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do for centerpieces until the week before the wedding. Everything ended up working out in the end, mostly because of the amazing person we worked with at the Golden Glow, Jessica, who showed me lots of creative ideas and arrangements we could do for my centerpieces and, since we were unable to decorate the day before, made everything look perfect the day of.


Nicole's Groom Dustin


Nicole's Groomsmen photo


What did you do that you found helped out with stress the best? Venting to my family and friends always made me feel better. Also, my sister and my friends Taylor and Erin spent a day making decorations and drinking wine with me – very therapeutic.

Is there anything that didn’t go as planned? Our two-year-old ring bearer did great at the rehearsal, but just as he started walking down the aisle at the ceremony he started crying and had to be carried down by my brother while our flower girl adorably and confusedly walked down by herself. But, hey, if the worst thing that happens on your wedding day is a toddler not quite making it down the aisle, I’d say you’re in excellent shape!


Nicole's ring bearer SVSU


Real Bride Nicole's Wedding


What was your favorite part of the experience/ event? It’s impossible to pick a favorite part because the whole day was beyond perfect. I will say that the time between the ceremony/pictures and the reception was even more fun than I thought it would be. The bus was a blast and I loved seeing all of our friends and family interact and have fun together, whether they knew each other well or not. Even though we were rushing to go from pictures, then to one bar, then to another bar before finally rushing to the reception, it’s actually the most relaxed I felt all night.

Also, we did have an extra enthusiastic and entertaining groomsman who led to not one but many memorable moments throughout the night. Here’s to you, Kevin!

If you could go back in time, what would you have changed? I think I would have had a videographer. I was trying to save money and thought that was where we could make a sacrifice, but now I wish I could relive the day. There’s so much that we missed out on. I didn’t get to see my ring bearer and flower girl walk down the aisle because I was hiding in the back. We didn’t get to see the wedding party make their entrance to the reception because we were waiting outside. We missed out on a lot of the dancing in the beginning of the night as we were mingling and making our rounds. It just feels like I only saw a small part of the day, and it would be really nice to have something to look back on to fill me in on the rest of it.

Nicole's Christmas wedding theme


Nicole's Christmas wedding theme


What did you do to save money? First of all, I created a separate savings account that we used as our wedding fund so we knew how much we had to spend at any given time. I also saved hundreds of dollars by having my alterations done by a local seamstress.

What was your biggest splurge? My dress. It was a couple hundred dollars over my budget, but totally worth it.


Nicole's Wedding at SVSU


Nicole's Christmas theme wedding


Thank you so much for telling us your wedding story Nicole!  Christmas and winter weddings are always special.


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