Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio

Stephanie DeCaprio is a proud member of Tulle Nation and the bad ass behind the blog, All Things Beautiful. Stephanie is a beginning wedding planner from the Hudson Valley in New York. Yet. She managed to have her dream wedding for under $10k! Today, Stephanie is sharing her wedding planning experience.

Stephanie DeCaprio is a proud member of Tulle Nation and the bad ass behind the blog, All Things Beautiful. Stephanie is a beginning wedding planner from the Hudson Valley in New
York. Yet. She managed to have her dream wedding for under $10k! Today, Stephanie is sharing her wedding planning experience.

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Stephanie remembers her destination wedding day as, "so wonderful. The whole day went by so quickly
but I enjoyed every moment. I was so nervous all morning. Not nervous as in
cold feet, but just worried about everything going “according to plan”. Not
everything was perfect. Some little things went wrong and those butterflies in
my stomach were going crazy…until I was linked on my father’s arm, going up the
aisle and I saw him. He smiled at me and immediately I knew that nothing else
mattered. The missing video camera, the cake without a topper, and a crazy
mission to find “something blue” were minor details to a much bigger picture. I
made sure I focused on enjoying our day and nothing else.

The rest of day we
made sure we spent plenty of time together just dancing, laughing and enjoying
good company. Our guests seemed like they had a great time too and some stayed
at the bar with us a few more hours to keep the party going. In the end, it was
an amazing day with amazing memories, and the beginning of what will surely be
an amazing life together."

Read on for an exclusive interview with Stephanie and her "Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples"…

How long after
you got engaged did you begin planning the wedding?

I started gathering ideas and attending
bridal expos right away. We decided to have a long engagement to save money and
plan carefully, but a few months after our engagement we found out that I was
pregnant with our first child! It did put a damper on our budget so we didn’t
start the real planning or bookings until about 10 months before, when we knew
what we could afford. It turned out to be a blessing though because we had the
most beautiful flower girl!

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

How did you
determine the wedding’s budget and who contributed what?

We had to pay for mostly everything ourselves
so once we found out I was pregnant, the budget goal was “spend as little as
possible”. With some help from our families and some saving, we were able to
work with a $10k budget. Without their help it would’ve been more like $5k.

How did you keep
track of your wedding planning (book, planner, Excel, other)?

EXCEL! I made a workbook with spreadsheets
for every part including guest list, RSVP, seating, supplies, DIY projects,
To-do lists, and budget tracker….It worked very nicely. It was easy to update
and keep things organized. I tried notebooks, calendars and you name it. Paper
planning just did not work for me. It ended in many crumpled up papers and a
lot of re-writing.

When you
discussed the wedding, what 5 things where most important to the two of
you?

Photography was number ONE, always. I think
that should be every couple’s priority. It is the one thing that truly captures
the memories of the entire day and makes them last forever. Also important was
personal touch, meaningful date, making sure EVERYONE has a good time/entertainment
and the dress, of course, all while saving as much money as possible!

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How did you
incorporate those 5 things into your wedding?

Meaningful
Date:

The date we picked was our anniversary date from the beginning. It was the day
we became official, the date we said I love you, the date we got engaged, then
the date we got married. January 27th….so it was a winter wedding!

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Personal
Touch:

We did an adorable photo display themed “Love Throughout the Years” featuring
pictures of us over our seven years together. We used engagement photos for our
guestbook, we wrote our own vows, his mother was our officiant, and we used our
engagement shoot for table numbers using a chalkboard.

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Photography: It was difficult
finding a photographer we loved within our budget, but we took our time, did a
lot of shopping around, and found the perfect one. She worked with us on the
price since we had a winter wedding and she did a wonderful job capturing the
day.

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Entertainment/Fun: A bad DJ can really
ruin a wedding in my opinion so it was important to us to have someone with
experience and could get everyone dancing. Same as we did with photography, we
did a lot of shopping. We booked a DJ with a great winter special at a bridal
show. I was a bit wary about how low the price was so I asked around and he was
highly recommended by the DJ I would have booked if I had a bigger budget. He
did great. I saw almost every single guest on the dance floor at some point,
from ages 9 to 80.

The Dress: You can’t go wrong
with David’s Bridal! They made it super easy and I looked great while saving
money! I went to DB during their semi-annual clearance not expecting to find
anything I would LOVE. I tried on seven dresses and the one I chose was number
six. I felt like it was the one when I put it on but when I came out of the
dressing room and saw the faces of my mom, mother-in-law, my maid-of-honor and
my cousin, I really knew. It was exactly my size, the last one left, and it was
marked down from $600 to $200! Basically, it was made for me.

Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprioWedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprioWedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Stephanie DeCaprio
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Did you register
for gifts and was it a good experience?

We registered online with Bed, Bath and
Beyond. We lived together for a while already so we had mostly everything but
we did get some good stuff we didn’t have already and some upgrades. I do wish
we did it together at the store though. I spent way too much time on that
website. I think it would have been much smoother with a helper and seeing
everything in person.

Could you share
some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

If you can take your time to shop around for
vendors and décor ideas, do it. The great deals are out there and you don’t
want to start your marriage in debt. If you can hire a planner, do it. It will
save you stress, money and time during planning so that you can have more fun
with it. Also, go to bridal expos! If I didn’t, I wouldn’t have found the great
deals on my vendors and they help you find out who you have the best connection
with.

Where did you
splurge and where did you save?

We really didn’t splurge on anything. Half of
our budget was spent on the venue, so technically that was our biggest expense.
Our venue offered a generously priced package that included buffet dinner,
cocktail hour Hor d’oeuvres, full open bar for one cocktail hour and 4-hour
reception, champagne toast, a custom cake from the best bakery in the Hudson
Valley (The Pastry Garden, Poughkeepsie, NY), and white linen tablecloths and
linen napkins of our color choice. We figured out how to save and budget in
many aspects of the wedding; our venue choice, winter discounts, and asking his
mother to officiate our wedding. Another way we saved a lot was by going to
bridal expos and taking advantage of show specials. We also won a few things
that helped us out such as a pair of wedding bands and money. Yet another big
saver came from shopping online and DIY projects. We made our centerpieces,
seating chart, memorial candles, the invitations, photo display, ring pillow, groomsmen
gifts, signs for the candy/hot cocoa buffet, bouquets and boutonnieres.
Anything we needed to buy, we found great deals on various websites and
Amazon.com.

I would like to share this shopping advice for
engaged couples:

9 bouquet
9 buffet
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Could you share a
favorite DIY project from your wedding?

It
is hard to choose, I loved them all but I would have to say our seating chart
and photo display. The photo display was made with a wooden display we had
laying around, twine, clothespins and pictures of us from our 7 years together.
We made the seating chart out of a cottage style window, a paint pen, and a
piece of pine garland with “snow” and pinecones. That was one idea I had from
when I started planning and it might be the only one I stuck with. It came out
beautiful and we put the photo display in between the two window pieces, making
it into a great big beautiful display for the entrance.

10 DIY
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

I
have to add another and that is the votive holders that surrounded our
centerpieces. We left some plain, some we frosted with etching cream and some
we SALTED. We used glue and Epsom salt to create an “ice” effect and they
looked so pretty when lit up for our reception!

10 DIY 2
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Did you use any
tutorials or downloads from other websites/blogs while planning your
wedding?

Just a lot of advice from blogs and ideas
from  Pinterest. There was one particular
idea I want to share though which I found on Pinterest via Martha Stewart
Weddings. Use a poster board and post-it flags to arrange your seating chart!
It is easy to move people around as needed and it was definitely a necessity
for me. I would have gone insane without it.

11 seating chart

Did you have to
handle any tricky or delicate issues while planning your wedding and how
did you cope with them?

There was some family drama with the seating,
but after changing the seating chart about a hundred times I decided I can’t please
everyone. The bottom line is that if they care about us, they will put their
differences aside for the day and be there for us…and they did. One of my
cousins passed away a couple weeks before our wedding which was difficult, especially
when her funeral fell on the same day of my bachelorette party. I told my MOH
we will still go through with it because Jen wouldn’t have wanted to ruin this
time for me. She would’ve wanted me to have fun and she would have encouraged
it. Then there was the religious factor. We aren’t religious but my parents and
grandma really are and they seemed a bit disheartened that we weren’t getting
married in a church with a pastor. To remedy that, we added a little religion
into the officiate readings. The ceremony was beautiful and I think they were
pleased. When it comes to parents and grandparents, a little compromise is
necessary.

12 hands
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Could you share
some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?

Whether your wedding is $500 or $50,000, just
remember what is important. Remember that it is YOUR day to enjoy each other
and not worry about the little things. No matter what, you both need to have
fun and enjoy the first day of the rest of your lives together. Make sure you
actually spend of the majority of the wedding together dancing, laughing and
kissing. Hint: Hiring a “day of coordinator“ will help make that happen. I wish
I did.

Could you share
your favorite photo from the day and tell us why you love it?

14 favorite
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

Well that’s a tough one!! I have to go with
this photo from just after the ceremony….Chris and I just came back down the
aisle and had this amazing moment together and just took in what just happened.
We looked at each other and smiled and this may sound cheesy but for a moment,
it felt like nobody else was there. We both said “I love you” and shared a
kiss. It was one of my top favorite moments of the day and I’m thrilled that my
photographer caught it!

*******

15 the end bye
Image Courtesy of: WishTree Photography

See more
photos by our amazing photographer at WishTree Photography!

Thank you, Stephanie! Be
sure to follow her blog for more ideas and tips, All Things Beautiful, and on Facebook! Would you like to ask Stephanie any questions about her wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you!

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