Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Cris Stone of Kiss My Tulle

I have the coolest interview for y'all today… it's another installment of the wildly popular "Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples" and features one of the online wedding community's most popular, witty, and stunning bloggers.



Alright, alright. I've been planning on doing one of these since The Boy and I found out last July that my dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer and we rushed up to Alaska and got married in a quickie civil ceremony. So, Onward!

Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

First and foremost, how great was your wedding day?

Rushed but fun. It felt more like a church picnic than “I’m getting married!” but everyone loved it. And the most important thing was that I got to have my dad see me get married. That was the sole purpose of this whole thing. He was so upset when he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and thought that he wouldn’t be around to see his friend marry his daughter – my mom told me that it was the one thing that he said after hearing the news… “I won’t be able to marry Cris. She’ll be so upset.” Come hell or high-water – we were getting married… and it was great because he got to share that with us.

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

There never was a set budget – we just paid for the bare necessities (the license and application) and kept everything else to “Oh, this is cheap – let’s do this!” Remember, we’ve already paid for one wedding and last-minute plane tickets to Alaska – we certainly couldn’t afford to throw a second full-out wedding. Most stuff was free or donated plus my mom and sister pitched in and paid for some of the food.

Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

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

  1. Getting married
  2. Having my dad officiate
  3. Writing our own vows
  4. Getting The Boy a ring
  5. Getting to dance with my dad

How did you incorporate those 5 things into your wedding?

  1. We raced to get a marriage license application filled and do all the paperwork to process it quickly.
  2. We also did all the paperwork to have my dad declared a marriage commissioner for our ceremony.
  3. I wrote the entire ceremony the night before and then read through it with my sister while my mom listened.
  4. Spent an entire day trying to find The Boy a ring and ended up having a friend of The Boy make him one.
  5. Got my dance – to Trace Adkins’s “Then They Do.”

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

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

Luckily, we had already registered for gifts after we got engaged so we were able to direct people to our wedding website for that information. However, we also included a (tastefully written) note that let people know that all we really wanted was their presence… but if they were dying to give us a gift then cash would be best since we were only using carry-ons for travel. It worked out fine.

Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund 

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

I know that this has been said a million times over but it bears repeating (especially after my experience)… all that matters at the end of the day is that you’re married and surrounded by those you love.

That. Is. All. That. Matters. PERIOD.

Where did you splurge and where did you save?

We actually splurged on a fancy-schmancy commemorative marriage certificate. Since I had absolutely no control over this whole situation – I just wanted something really nice to display in my home. Also, we splashed out and bought The Boy a “new” dress shirt from a thrift store the day before because it was nicer than the one that he brought with him. Unnecessary, but at a whopping $1.25 – who was I to say no?

Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

We saved on the photography and the food. We didn’t have the time or the money to cater a reception so it ended up being a potluck. And somehow (you know how small towns are) people spread the word about the impromptu wedding and a very sweet woman, Amber Westerlund, contacted me and volunteered to take photos and a video of the ceremony and my dance with my dad.

What specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?

The cost of getting the marriage license was a financial surprise! Be sure to research all the costs involved before heading down there.

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Images Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

Could you share a favorite DIY project from your wedding?

I loved these pompoms – mostly I loved them because they were an idea in my head that my whole family pitched in to make happen at about 9PM the night before the ceremony.

Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

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

Yeesh. Well, it’s not pretty but…

I have this one sister who hates me (when I told this story to my Mother-in-Law she said, “That girl doesn’t just hate you. She REALLY hates you!”). Anyway, she’s not invited to the wedding in May but I didn’t have the time or energy to care about not including her in this one. Unfortunately, she ended up trying to make the entire thing about her (instead of… oh, the couple getting married or my dad).

First, she arrived the night before the ceremony (when we were supposed to do a rehearsal and get chairs for seating) with a bag of material and announced to my mom and my sister that she needed them to make her a dress. A WHOLE DRESS. From scratch. And oh yeah – she’s had this pattern and material since 2008 (the receipt was still in the bag). So, all the little things I needed my mom and sister to work on so that we could have a rehearsal and set-up the ceremony site did not happen. Can you say frustrating???

Also, at the ceremony she kept shoving herself into pictures and it was really pissing me off. I only had the photographer for a few hours (and for free) so I really didn’t want to waste time getting seven million individual shots of her and her son.

And lastly, you know how at the end of the ceremony the parents of the couple always walk down the aisle with each other? Well, not in my wedding. No, no! Apparently, at my wedding, it’s totally normal for the sister of the bride to bumrush the ceremony after the couple kiss, grab the dad’s hand, and walk with him to the reception site (leaving the mother standing around without an escort). That? Pissed me off, too. Luckily for her I didn’t find out that stuff until days later when I looked at the pictures… because that might have been the point where I got stabby.

Handling this? I just grinned and beared it. She’s done this shit my entire life and my mom never stops her and acts like it’s everyone else’s fault when it happens. There was no point in getting angry (to anyone except The Boy that is) so I just moved on.

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

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do up some stuff on your wedding day. On mine, I made four bouquets, three headbands, and my wedding cake. It can be done – you just have to tackle only what you’re able to and stay relaxed!

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

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Image Courtesy of: Amber Westerlund

I know that this should be a photo of The Boy and me but since this ceremony was really for my dad – I’m picking this one. It’s from our dance and I love all the emotion in it. ‘Nuff said.


So there it is, y'all – my planned-in-three-days-and-without-any-control-over-anything Alaskan civil ceremony wedding. Wanna ask me any questions about this wedding experience? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to get back with you! In the meantime, check me out on Facebook, view my boards on Pinterest, and be sure to follow me on Twitter.