Real Brides: Nicole’s Formal Hometown Wedding

Tim and Nicole are high school sweethearts that grew up together in their small hometown, so naturally they wanted to have a wedding in their local community.


Real Bride Nicole


Date: October 22, 2016

Venues: Ceremony- Fairgrove Presbyterian Church. Reception- Merritt Township Hall, Munger, MI

Photographer: Lori Cooper Photography. I loved EVERY SINGLE PHOTO Lori had on her website and Facebook. Not just wedding ones, all of them. She has an eye for a great photo and captured it well. My photos were amazing and I could not be happier with them.


Real Bride Nicole's hometown wedding


Since Nicole was already interested in wedding planning, she thoroughly enjoyed planning her own hometown wedding with high school sweetheart Tim.  The couple’s families have been friends for a long time (before Tim and Nicole were even born) and grew up together.  They started dating in high school, and have been together ever since.

How he proposed:  On Tim’s birthday I had planned for my family and his to go to dinner then have cake and ice cream. He was EXTREMELY adamant on having the cake and ice cream back at our home, even though the restaurant we went to was local and allows cakes and such for birthdays. So I thought it was a bit fishy, but I was like “alright whatever, it’s your birthday.’ He was really quiet during dinner and more of my family came than was invited. Suddenly even my cousins (best friends) were at our teeny, tiny, rental home in town Caro. He asked me to go get him a bottle of water. When I came back and set it on the table, I turned around and he was on his knee. My family took videos and pictures. My grandparents had no idea and everyone was extremely happy and excited. My ring was MORE than I ever imagined would be on my finger. It was the style I wanted but BETTER. He took my mom, his mom and one of my younger sisters with him to go look at rings with him. He was extremely nervous to buy it because it wasn’t exactly what we looked it, it was better. We had been together close to 6 years so I was anticipating a proposal. Even though we are young and I knew it would be soon, I was still surprised.

Real Bride Nicole's Wedding Story Michigan

Caterer: K & K catering Sebewaing MI. I had Carol Kata and she is the better of the 2 K & K’s.  We heard nothing but amazing things about our food. Even now, 4 months later people are still talking about it and asking. They have a very wide variety of food to select from at an amazing price. If your hall/venue has a kitchen they can cook in it is all fresh cooked the morning of your wedding. If not they are limited and often have to cook stuff the night before and reheat. We had the fresh stuff and it was amazing.

Officiant: Pastor Richard Lawther. He was my Pastor growing up and retired in March of 2016 to Florida. When I asked him to officiate I didn’t even think about his trip here to Michigan and back so I was worried. His gift to us was flying home and performing our ceremony. It touched my heart because I never imagined my day without him. He did everything we asked and more. Made my ceremony so personal but not super long at the same time!

Florist: Lasting Impressions, Caro, MI.  Bouquets, boutonnieres, corsages and loose flowers for cake.  The owner was great to work with, took her time and sat with us, wrote everything down, cut us deals, made sure prices were okay with us, offered a payment plan, took pictures of what I wanted. Also decorated nice vases with some ribbon for my head table with no extra charge, as long as we brought them back when we could. Very precise, delivered on time. Just all around a great vendor to work with. My flowers were one of my favorite things about my wedding. Prices were not horrible, real flowers are pricey,especially the bouquets and types of flowers I wanted. She was willing to work on price if I wanted and everything. She was much cheaper to comparable shops in the area.

Table flowers for reception: Sam’s Club. I got light pink Gerbera Daises, white roses, leather leaf and babies breath. You pick the delivery date and they deliver them to your home the day you pick online. They came all wrapper in boxes BEAUTIFUL flowers. They were perfect and beautiful. The prep for the day before is pretty easy. They lasted so long and looked amazing the entire time of the reception. I got them the 20th, decorated the 21st and they were still amazing and beautiful the day of. Extremely cheap also. You could easily use them for a bouquet if you had time and someone to make them 2 days before the wedding.


Nicole's Hometown Wedding Story


Wedding Planner:  Nicole, herself. I have contemplated getting into wedding planning. I enjoyed planning my wedding! There were a few stressful seconds or so but nothing that wasn’t fixed with a little step back! So if anyone wants a wedding planner 😉

Videographer: Hil Productions. Jeff did amazing. He was trying to build his wedding portfolio when we booked him so we got an extremely good rate. I was a little nervous with him not having a ton of wedding experience but his preview video he posted on Facebook, I could not stop watching. I cry every time I watch it. He captured my day so greatly and my full DVD ended up amazing too. He was very nice and personable. I would recommend him ANY day.

DJ/ Band: Dr. B’s (family friend). Hands down the best DJ’s EVER. I have been to so many events with DJ’s. Many with them and many with others. They will get you any music you want, if they don’t have it they will look it up on the spot and download it. They made it so fun for me and my bridal party towards the end of the night with a fun little dance with the guys and then the girls. 1,000% satisfaction!


Nicole and Tim's first dance


Cake: I used  a local business who did my sisters graduation cake – and it was amazing. She also did my ‘Friends’ TV show-themed bridal shower cake- and that was AMAZING. But, I was so disappointed with my wedding cake, which made me so sad because she had done so well in the past and was local (my mom taught her kids in school, etc). I wanted a 4-tier, round cake. Blush colored buttercream w/ gold flakes covering the entire top tier and trickling down getting more sparse as you went down. Then I wanted to have her place the flowers on the cake from the flower shop. I got 3 additional sheet cakes (in the kitchen) because we were feeding 400+ people. A few weeks before the wedding I had asked if she could include an extra on very back of the cake/bottom tier: A Michigan State University ‘S’ and a University of Michigan ‘M’, since we are MSU & U of M fans. I wanted it to be a surprise to my husband.  Although it was nothing big and outrageous, I was still very understanding if she couldn’t do it. She agreed and said ‘oh yes she could.’ The cake was suppose to arrive at the venue at 4:00, and guests to the venue at 5:00. The cake did not come until 4:45, it was COMPLETELY crooked, the top 2 tiers were smashed in (thank God I had enough flowers to cover) and the cake was covered in SPRINKLES, yes SPRINKLES. On my wedding cake. Thank goodness not many people saw it because immediately after dinner we cut our cake and passed it. It tasted wonderful, but didn’t look good. She did not do the ‘M’ and ‘S’ I requested, yet she told me she would. That was upsetting….I paid over $1,000 for that cake. The sad thing is, I am a forgiving person. Especially to someone I know, from my area. But she didn’t even have the decency to come to my wedding (she had RSVP’d!!) or contact me AT ALL after and apologize for ANYTHING!!! I would be forgiving and understanding but she never even attempted.

Linens: Oriental Trading Co. Black plastic table coverings. We were having so many people attend that real linen would have been outrageous. No one cares about linens when they come to a wedding, at least I do not.


Nicole's Cake


Photobooth (favors):  SG Photobooth, Saginaw, MI. THEY WERE AMAZING! Every question I had she responded within 10-12 hours by email or phone. She was understanding, punctual, did what ever I asked. Amazing props, set up and staff. Great prices and the package included a lot. Was so happy to have a photobooth. I would suggest SG any day.

Flowers/ Centerpieces used: Gerbera Daisies were the main flowers, roses, calla lilies, hydrangeas, fillers, gold painted berries.

Wedding Party: 8 bridesmaids, 8 groomsmen, 3 flower girls, 1 ring bearer, 4 hostesses and 2 ushers.

Vows: Traditional. We did not write our own. We are Christian and practice our faith actively so we wanted a more Godly, churchy wedding. 1 Corinthians 13, the love verse. Something unique to our wedding was instead of a unity candle or unity sand we did a unity cross that my dad got for us. We love it and have it set up in our home.

Honeymoon details and location: We went on a very short 3-night trip to Traverse City, MI because my husband is in his last year at Northwood University and couldn’t miss much school. We have booked and planned a honeymoon to Las Vegas in early May.

Theme of wedding/ design aesthetic: Almost like a great Gatsby but never really said it was that. Formal, elegant, classy.

Wedding colors: Black and Gold with just the slightest hint of blush.


Nicole's Wedding Story Party


Bridesmaids Dresses: Black Chiffon Bill Levkoff dresses. They were flowy and comfortable, full-length dresses with a lace over lay from the waist to the top.

Tuxedos/ suits: Black pants, jacket, shoes, shirt, vest, gold tie, fitted, satin tux. Groom and Ring Bearer: Black pants, shoes and jacket, Ivory shirt, vest and Bow-tie. Same type of tux as groomsmen. I wanted to say one thing about my tux rental place. Sempliners Bridal and Formal, DO NOT I REPEAT, DO NOT GO THERE. Read my review on Facebook if you ever have time. Too lengthy for here but wanted to give brides a warning.

Wedding Dress: Ivory strapless gown with a sweetheart neckline, A-line shape.  Satin buttons ran from the corset to bottom of train, with lace and sequin detailing, and I added a beaded belt.

Bridal Shoes: My moms wedding shoes! 

Rings: My big rock/engagement was from Sam’s Club. They have amazing prices and we saw a  Discovery Channel show about jewelry and Sam’s was up with the top name-brand stores. Both of my wedding bands, and Tim’s band are from Ostermans. Mine is a Princess cut, with 5 big diamonds in the middle, a bunch around it, and then to bands going down the side full of diamonds. Both of my wedding bands have prong-set diamonds down them. His is a white gold, thin wedding band.

Jewelry: and Teardrop-shaped, dangle earrings, and teardrop shaped necklace. Plus a circle diamond bracelet.


Real Bride Nicole's Caro, MI wedding


First Dance Song: Two is Better than One, by Boys like Girls feat: Taylor Swift.  This is the first song we danced to at our first high school dance.

Wedding Song: I walked down the aisle to ‘Canon in D’ played on a piano and violin. ‘All of me’ played on piano and violin for the processional and ‘Smile’ by Uncle Kracker over the speakers after the ceremony to walk out to.

What was your old, new, borrowed, blue? Old- My great grandmas handkerchief that my mom used at her wedding (kept in my bra). New- my wedding dress. Borrowed- my moms wedding shoes. Blue- my mom bought me a blue garter. She also gave me a sixpence for good luck, to put in my shoe.

Did you hand-make or DIY any wedding items? I cleaned and removed labels from wine bottles that the bridesmaids and I spray-painted. Made hand-glittered candle votives, advice cards, the ‘Heaven’ signs, all table flowers, vases, votives, and pew bows.

Most Memorable moment: Watching all of the people at my wedding dancing the night away. My ceremony was perfect, I love all of the guests who came, as well as the party bus in-between the ceremony and the reception.


Real Bride Nicole's DIY Wedding Items


You and your husbands’ wedding advice: DO NOT STRESS. Enjoy planning your big day. I know this is the only wedding I ever plan on having, so I wanted to enjoy every second of it!!! Do what YOU want, no one else. Be happy, relaxed and open to advice. Something someone told me was “Something will not go as planned and guess what?? It’s okay!”  The day-of all your worries go away and all of your hard work pays off. I would recommend getting your venue then your vendors and then go from there. That is the most important.


Real Bride Nicole's Church Wedding


What was the biggest roadblock that you ran into while planning the wedding?  Deciding what to put on invites, how much alcohol and beverages to buy, MY TABLE DÉCOR (worried so much about and then the day of decorating I didn’t much care). 

Who/what gave you the most help in the planning process? My mom was extremely helpful, the most help. My husband, sisters and best friend/cousin Samantha. Also a lot of my family, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents. Everyone was so helpful. I am soooooo lucky to have such an amazing and supportive family. I am the first grandchild on my mom and dad’s side to be married and also the first in my immediate/kid family to be married.


Real Bride Nicole's Wedding Story


Real Bride Nicole's Michigan Church Wedding


How much influence did your family/ fiancé have in the planning process? A LOT, I appreciate everyone’s advice. Especially my family who I trust and look up to.

Which part of the process gave you the most stress? Worrying about my décor before the wedding. I was worried it wouldn’t look good or it wasn’t right or there wasn’t enough. But the most stressful event was problems with the tuxes. They were horrible. Like I said previously, read my review on Facebook to get full effect. 3 of the 15 tuxes we bought and paid over $140 for were correct as we ordered them. So 12 weren’t right. They were also extremely rude about it and didn’t care.


Real Bride Nicole's Candy bar


Real Bride Nicole's Michigan Wedding Fairgrove


What did you do that you found helped out with stress the best? Talking about it with someone and making lists of what I needed to do and crossing it off one by one. Realizing no matter what it will be perfect.

Is there anything that didn’t go as planned? I wanted to start the dances at 7:00, but they didn’t start until 7:30. Wanted to go to a bar before we went to hall, but we did not have time. Also, I wanted some specific pictures taken, but then I forgot to ask the photographer for them.


Nicole's Church Wedding Fairgrove MI


Real Bride Nicole's DIY Wedding Items


What was your favorite part of the experience/ event? My amazing family. Everything about my day was more than I imagined and more perfect than I ever thought my wedding would ever go. It was more than I dreamed of. I loved the party bus, the ceremony, dancing, EVERYTHING.

If you could go back in time, what would you have changed? The major snafu’s with the cake lady and tux place.  I would have chosen different vendors for those.

What did you do to save money? Lots of cutting corners, cheaper vendors (but good ones), some DIY, bought lots of stuff off of the sale sites and Facebook pages, borrowing items, help from family.

What was your biggest splurge? My flowers, dress, and extra décor items that were not necessary.


Real Bride nicoles wedding


Nicole and Tim's Wedding Story


Thank you Nicole for sharing your sweet wedding story with us.




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