So when my friend Margaret got married in September, we had to have a night on the strip before her big day!

Ready to hit the town!

All the out-of-towners showing off VEGAS visitors guides.

We drove down to the strip with a scavenger list of things to accomplish:

First, Marge found a guy whose name started with an ‘N’ (she married a Nathan).

She also had to find bridal gown or tuxedo – yay for Build-a-Bear!

Next came a coffee cup autographed by the barista!

Picture with a group of guys holding a sign with her wedding date.

Not on the list, but we found another bachelorette party!

Also not on the list, but it’s always fun to pose with street performers🙂

Another to-do: a picture with a couple who has been on the marriage road for quite awhile. This couple had so much wonderful wisdom to share.

Since “Tony & Tina’s Wedding” was playing in Vegas, it was easy to take a picture of Margaret with the word “wedding”.

She was supposed to find a woman with a first name starting with “M” (like Margaret!), but the woman with an “M” middle name was the closest we got.

After a quick obligatory stop by the Bellagio, we continued on our way…

Being serenaded by random men. I can’t remember what they sang, but they were pretty good!

After searching high and low for months, I found a flower to wear in my hair for the wedding – Margaret’s sister Krystle got one too.

At the end of the night we found a guy to hold a sign saying “Margaret & Nathan”

These ladies really wanted to help us out, but we had already completed our scavenger hunt!

It was a successful scavenger hunt – the only thing we spent money on was the ice cream from Serendipity (as a New Yorker, I was impressed!). We had so much fun along the way:

Playing favorite childhood games before heading home.

Posing for one last picture…

And at the last moment we found amazing sunglasses! I love the Elvis one’s I’m wearing – they had awesome sideburns🙂

I’ve been so excited to post about this wedding ever since I wrote about it here.

While this wedding took place in Las Vegas, it was not the typical Vegas wedding. The ceremony happened at Lakeside Weddings. It was an incredibly beautiful location; even though it was early September, a light breeze kept the temperature palatable.

Margaret was my college roommate and one of my closest friends, so it was an honor to serve her and Nathan (a super fantastic guy!) as a bridesmaid. The ceremony was small, but incredibly intimate and meaningful.

Margaret’s mom Lynda sang “A Mother’s Prayer” while the bride and groomed prayed together.

The bridesmaids wore a simple black, cotton dress from Davids Bridal (the most comfortable dress I’ve ever worn!) along with black flats from Payless and jewelry of our choice. The men wore black slacks, white shirts, and black ties.

Flowers for the guys and gals were combinations of roses, baby’s breath, and stephanotis. As you can tell, Margaret and Nathan planned their wedding with a black, white, and red color pallate.

The reception was an informal cake, chocolate dipped strawberries, and champagne. Everyone mingled and chatted before heading to Timbers, a fantastic bar nearby.

At the bar, we played pool, ate yummy food, and caught up with old friends. Pictured above, Margaret and myself are so happy to be reunited with other friends from college.

I am so pleased for my friend Margaret and my new friend Nathan!! They had a beautiful wedding and are so great together!

Margaret’s jewelry was a gift from her dad when she was younger (she saved the pearls for her wedding) and her grandmother (who passed away a few weeks before the wedding) made her veil. I love the specialness of every single moment of the day!

I promise more posts are coming soon!

Until then, help me raise money for Charity:Water by clicking on the badge I added…it will only take you a few minutes, but you will go a long way in providing people with clean drinking water! I just spent some time playing and I have already started making a difference.

And when you’re done you can check out the Charity:Water website.

I’ve realized recently I haven’t shared much about my own experience as a bride. Here’s the details:

Background: My husband Keith and I met at a mutual friend’s production of “Grease”. We only barely knew each other, but ended up sitting next to one another (after a little encouragement from my mom and his sister). After dating for a few years and being separated for all of them {I was in New York and London and he was in Maine}, we decided it was time to get married!

One evening in July 2007, Keith took me out to a lovely seafood dinner in Mystic, CT {which turned out to be the restaurant where my parents had dinner the night they got engaged!}. He had wanted to propose while climbing a mountain or on a hike with spectacular views, but he was waiting for a diagnosis on a swollen, painful knee and I had just sprained my ankle. Instead, we hobbled out to Ender’s Island and watched the sunset. He pulled out a pint of Ben & Jerry’s “Everything But The…” and we ate it with great views of the Long Island Sound. He explained there was duct tape along the bottom of the pint because it had been leaking, so he encouraged me to take it off. Not wanting to get my clothes dirty, I politely refused. After much coaxing, I finally took the tape off and an engagement ring came with it! He told me the ice cream was “Everything But The…RING!”

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The Wedding: Since we were getting married just after I had graduated college and while Keith was still recovering from chemotherapy and radiation, our budget was tight. To make things more challenging, we both come from huge families and wanted the day to be shared with them. We ended up having a simple English Tea reception after the ceremony and made sure everything was personal and intimate.

Research: Anything and everything I could get my hands on! I mostly spent time on TheKnot.com and other similar sights. Google Images was a huge help. Also, all the Davids Bridal catalogues helped me to decide what styles, colors, and aesthetics I liked the most.

Website/Blog: Our wedding website was through Bed Bath & Beyond. Free and customizable.

Photosharing: Snapfish and Facebook.

Gift Registry: Bed Bath & Beyond and Macys

Rehearsal Dinner: Held in a friend’s backyard with catering by friends of the family and an altogether laid back and relaxing atmosphere. Keith re-wrote the words to “When You Say Nothing At All” and sang it to me. So special!

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Ceremony Location & Officiant: Groton Bible Chapel, Groton, CT. Officiant Bob McCoy {my Father In Law}

Reception Location: The Wauregan Ballroom, Norwich, CT

Bridal Party Members:

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  • Todd McCoy {Best Man, Keith’s brother}
  • Jonathan Bayreuther {Keith’s best friend}
  • Dan Widlicka {Keith’s brother-in-law}
  • Nick Reed {Keith’s cousin}
  • Josh McCoy {Keith’s nephew}
  • Molly Giannattasio {Maid of Honor, my sister}
  • Margaret Nitzel {my college roommate}
  • Gwynne Widlicka {Keith’s sister}
  • Jen McCoy {Keith’s sister-in-law}
  • Maggie McCoy {Keith’s niece}
  • Avery Widlicka {Keith’s niece}

Flowers: Fresh flowers done by a local gardner. My bridesmaids and I carried hydrangeas and roses. Since pink hydrangeas weren’t in season, the woman who did the flowers sprayed them pink with floral spray. The guys wore hydrangea and rose boutonnieres with gorgeous leaves to contrast the flowers. The two flower girls carried baskets of sweet william potted plants. The reception flowers were mostly wildflowers in vases that we bought on sale at A.C.Moore, Michaels, and Joann Fabric. The ceremony had silk flowers donated by the woman who does the arrangements for the church. The total came just under $200 for all of the flowers. See more pictures of our flowers in these two posts: Silk Flowers and Fresh Flowers.

Music: For the ceremony, we had Keith’s aunt play a selection of hymns arranged by Chris Rice. I walked down the aisle to “For The Beauty of The Earth”. During our lighting of the unity candle and time for prayer, my friend joined her on violin to play “Great is Thy Faithfulness”. It was really lovely. We exited the ceremony to Henry Purcell’s “Trumpet Voluntary” for piano and trumpet. The reception music was simply a playlist on an iPod.

First Dance: “1000 Miles” by Mark Schultz
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Caterer: Jen Sanford with Bonne Bouche Catering out of Wenham, MA. Friends of ours work for her and she is an incredible person to work with! Her menu consisted of tea sandwiches of several varieties as well as lots of other yummy finger foods appropriate for our English Tea.

Cake: A gift from a family friend. White cake with a raspberry filling. Decorated with dark brown ribbon, roses, and hydrangea. In the July heat it started to melt a little bit, but it still tasted good!
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Bridal Party Gifts: We gave each of our bridal party members a framed picture of us as well as individual gifts such as gift certificates, trinkets, books, coffee, and soaps/lotions. We gave the flower girls lockets and the ring bearer his own personal ice cream bowl and spoons.

Guest Favors: Since not everyone at the ceremony was able to attend the reception, we handed out favors along with the ceremony programs. Each guest got a small heart-shaped cookie cutter {eBay for $0.50 per piece} with our theme verse: “The Lord has done great things for us and we are filled with joy.” Psalm 126:3

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Pictures: By Sheila Emsheimer of Ian Puwluk Photography, assisted by my aunt. Portraits were taken at the Connecticut College Arboretum in New London, CT. Engagement photos by Keith’s sister Gwynne at Bluff Point in Groton, CT.

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Rings: All three of our rings were bought from a local jeweler who works out of his home. My engagement ring is a solitaire and our wedding bands are simple white gold {mine has small diamonds on the top}.
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Invitations: From Wilton, Simple Yet Elegant in Ivory. We used thin brown ribbon instead of the white provided and since we printed them at home, it cost just over $1 per invitation {including stamps and ink}.

Wedding Dress: From Davids Bridal. I did not like the picture in the catalogue, but once I saw this dress in person, I knew it was the one!

Bridal Party Outfits: The bridesmaids and flower girl dresses were from Davids Bridal. The guys wore basic tuxedos from Mens Wearhouse.

Bridal Shoes and Accessories: My shoes were simple heeled sandals on sale at JCPenny. The bridesmaids wore Payless sandals died off white. All jewelry was found at Kohls.

Honeymoon: A weekend at The Norwich Inn & Spa and then a week at a family member’s lake house in Ashford, CT.

Thank You Cards: Within a few weeks of the wedding, I sent out the thank you cards since we were about to move and start graduate school. We picked our favorite portrait from the wedding and secured it to the front of an ivory colored blank card {found at Michaels}. This way, our guests got a picture of us from the wedding as well as our gratitude.

Wedding Book: I used Blurb.com to create our own wedding book as well as smaller ones for our parents and grandparents. They pricing was very reasonable!

Blog: Soon after we got married, all of our other friends did too. As an effort to catalogue all my ideas and methods for planning a wedding, I started this blog. I hope it will help other brides gather ideas and encouragement for elegant weddings under a tight budget!

Funny Moments: We forgot to give the bridal party directions to the photography location, so some of them took quite a bit of time getting from the ceremony to pictures. Before the ceremony, I locked my keys in my car – everything was in there except for my dress! Keith’s brother found out the week before that we were calling our wedding day “Happy Naked Day” and honored it by making us t-shirts which he presented during his toast. There were many other crazy and unpredictable moments, but they made the day that much more memorable.

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Over a year later, we look fondly on our wedding day and are so thankful to have shared our marriage with so many people! We look forward to the adventures ahead.

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If I’ve forgotten to mention anything, feel free to ask: wintheweddinggame@gmail.com

I recently found this wedding blog and love it! iDiY has loads of crazy, fun, beautiful, elegant ideas for any wedding. I’m definitely adding them to my reading list.

Check it out, I’m sure you’ll love it too!

Victoria With Roses featured this great DIY wedding project. Instructions can be found at iDiY.

wedding scratch off

I love this idea and, if you’ve got the time, it would be a fun favor for guests at any event.

I always love when Nancy Liuchin posts something new on Brown Bag.

Recently, she wrote an extensive post on cost saving tips for flowers. Topics include: Modest Flowers In Abundance, Let Vendors Help You, Be Within Reason, Downsize and Value Size, and Avoid Pricey Shipping.

As always, Nancy is helpful, thorough, and creative!

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