The True Life of a Bay Bride

When my best friend asked me to marry him, naturally, I said “Yes!” Immediately afterwards, the whirlwind of excitement and planning began.

10 Months Before

The very first move I made was to secure the church. The ceremony site was my “deal breaker” – the one thing my entire wedding weekend would be centered around. Figure out your deal breaker early on; it will serve as a great starting point. I booked Sacred Heart Chapel within two weeks of my engagement. I didn’t have an officiant or much else, but it didn’t matter because I had the church – and consequently the date!

A couple of weeks later, I invited a group of my girlfriends over for a champagne celebration and to see the ring, of course. One of the first things I wanted to do was ask my best friends to be in the wedding. That way they would be with me through all the planning, shopping and parties. Your wedding party will be a huge support to you throughout the process. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help; that’s why they are there.

7 to 9 Months Before

After the church was booked and my wedding party was in place, I moved on to the reception venue and the photographer. After viewing a handful of reception sites, I settled on the Point Clear Tennis Club. It worked for me because I wanted an intimate location that offered a blank slate where I could design the party any way I wanted. It was perfect.

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Photography was very important to me so I did a fair amount of research on local options. The talent in Mobile Bay is impressive, which made me feel great about my choice. I decided to go with Admoni Photography.

Once the reception venue and photography were confirmed, my next move was to buy a dress. Wedding gowns can take up to six months to be made and altered to your specifications. So I started looking right away to make sure I had the perfect one – and because shopping around is a blast! I scoured Mobile and Baldwin counties, as well as New Orleans. After hunting for a couple of months, I chose an Amsale gown from Mobile’s own Something New. I decided to purchase locally because I knew if I needed anything, I could just drop by anytime to try on (or hug) my dress. Plus, it was easier to get to my four or five fittings.

Tip: Have your maid of honor plan a mimosa party at a wedding dress boutique to make it extra fun!

5 to 6 Months Before

Oh the joys of finalizing the guest list! Most brides will tell you this is the most complicated process of the entire engagement. They are right. Before we began formulating the list, I chose an exact head count I wanted to stick to, and this more or less happened. If you find yourself wondering why there are several people on your list you’re sure you’ve never met, just remember that your wedding is really important to a lot of people – including your future mother-in-law’s bunko partner Sally. So let her in on the fun; you’ll be glad you did.

Once I had my wedding list wrapped up in a pretty bow, I started registering for gifts. My fiancé and I registered at a handful of stores and online to give my guests plenty of options and price points. I also sent out save-the-dates during this time. These can be informal and fun so I used shiny silver envelopes and custom stamps with my wedding logo to add flair. 

3 to 4 months before

I had my wedding invitations designed and printed four months before my wedding. They were mailed out eight weeks prior to the event to give people plenty of notice and time to RSVP.

During this time, I began confirming rentals and flowers. Furniture and tablecloths can really add to the design of your wedding so it’s worth spending the extra time to see all the rental companies offer. This goes for flowers, as well.

1 to 2 Months Before

While I was so busy with all the big details of the wedding, I forgot about the small things like bathing suits for the honeymoon and my outfit for the rehearsal dinner. Depending on the time of year you are getting married, swimsuits might be hard to find. Order them early, and try them on to make sure they’re perfect. 

I also enjoyed a bachelorette party during this time. It served as an amazing getaway and vacation from all the planning madness.

The Week of the Wedding

Get your nails done, enjoy a massage if you have time, delegate like crazy, and breathe. My 10-month engagement went by with a blink of an eye. So it was important to me to enjoy this week and soak up every minute. This was the time for me to reflect on the important things, get my mind centered on how I got here in the first place, and enjoy my big day.


Photographer Admoni Photography • Reception Entertainment Park Avenue Band 
Rentals Port City Rentals • Flowers Cleveland the Florist • Catering Bay Gourmet Catering
Wedding Cake Pollman’s Bake Shop • Wedding Dress Amsale, Something New • Make-Up and Hair Sanctuary Salon  
Bridesmaid Dresses Coren Moore, Something New • Bridesmaid Gifts Hobo clutches from Private Gallery

Vanessa Reyner

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