Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples: Kindra and Stephen

Remember Kindra Graef and Stephen Rangel's pink and girly wedding with a Man-of-Honor and lots of dancing? I know that I adored Kindra and Stephen's wedding because of it's obvious focus on family, friends, and fun so I'm super thrilled to have them both sharing their wedding planning experience with Tulle Nation!

Bride Bridesmaids and Man of Honor
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

Kindra remembers their September 17, 2011 wedding as, "… absolutely the best day of our lives! It was
filled with family, friends, and fun!!!" while Stephen felt it was, "Amazing. We were completely
relaxed and excited. There was no drama. Our guests enjoyed us and we enjoyed
them. The staff catered to us as if they were Disneyland crew members! They did
everything they could to make our day unique to us."

Reception Sign
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

Read on for an exclusive interview with Kindra and Stephen and their "Wedding Advice for Newly Engaged Couples"…

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

Kindra: Like any girl, I dreamt of what my wedding would be like
since a very young age. Once Stephen proposed, he begged me to not talk wedding
for exactly one month. And we did exactly that, it allowed us to enjoy the
moment. Looking back that was the most serene time of our engagement. As soon
as that one month was up… look out world I was a bride on a mission for the
biggest bang for my buck!!!

Stephen: My wife and I always said we would wait a month after
the engagement although I’m pretty sure my wife had everything planned before I
even thought about popping the question.

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

Kindra: We were very fortunate that each of our parents assisted
us with the cost of the wedding. The thing that worked best for us was the
envelope system. We created an envelope for each major expense. Every month we
would cash our paychecks and set money aside to pay off our big ticket items.
We used this versus a bank account because for us it was too easy to access
money in the account.

Reserved Ceremony Seating
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

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

Kindra: Lists, Lists & more Lists! I kept a binder with me
nearly every day during the final planning stages. It was important to me to
keep the costs low so I constantly wrote lists of what I needed and then went
coupon hunting! Joann's online coupons are the best for decorations,
invitations, and last minute items.

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

PhotographyTeresa K Photography = AHHHHMAZING

The Experience – We wanted our guests to have
the time of their lives!!!

Reflection of Relationship – The wedding should be a reflection of our

MusicDJ Jo

Location – If your heart's not feelin’ the
location, you’re not going to be comfortable

Getaway Car
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

did you incorporate those 5 things into your wedding?

– We looked into a few local photographers and it was convenient that they were
located in the same area, but they really didn’t gel with us. It’s really
important to find a photographer that you are comfortable with and that will
try their best to make you look good on your day. We continued our search by
looking for photographers that have worked at the venue we selected. As I was
browsing the Internet, my husband walked by and saw one of Teresa’s photos and
just said, “Book her!”

– We didn’t want our guests to worry about anything. One of the
things I really don’t like about weddings I have attended in the past was that
I had to move the chair I sat in for the ceremony over to the reception
location. I would recommend spending the extra couple of bucks to ensure the
comfort of your guests. We also made sure there were plenty of adult beverages
available because that usually makes the mood lighter and carefree. We tried to
get the crowd involved as much as we could by having them dance and we made
them sing a love song before their table could be released for dinner.

of Relationship
– Stephen and I are an out-going couple that really like to
have a good time! We had a surprise procession as we exited the aisle. Everyone
in the wedding party had their own dance routine as they danced down the aisle
to "Forever" by Chris Brown.

– We really wanted to have a DJ that understood what type of vibe we wanted to
have at our wedding. Jammin’ Jo understood us from the start and she is such
a great entertainer!!! We really wanted someone that had MC experience – it
really helps the flow of your wedding day.

– We are Christian folk, but we did not want to be cooped up in a church for
our special day. We love the outdoors so we found a place that was green and luscious. Remember the location will be the backdrop for your photos.  

you register for gifts and was it a good experience?

we registered at Target and Bed, Bath, & Beyond. Registering at Target was a
relaxing experience with my husband and myself. Bed Bath & Beyond was a
totally different story! We were assigned a consultant that seemed to have a
quota to meet. We ended up registering for everything under the sun! By the
time we left, we had registered for over 800 items. Thank goodness we could
edit it after we left because I surely did not want to end up returning an
Elvis duvet cover!

you share some wedding planning advice for newly engaged couples?

Kindra: Set your priorities and make sure you know exactly where
the money is going! Plan time alone with each other the week before your
wedding. My husband and I packed a picnic and headed off to the lake to enjoy
an afternoon free of wedding chaos. This really gave us time to regroup and
refocus on our relationship.

Stephen: Let your wife get most of what she wants…It’s basically
her day.

Bouquets from Costco Flowers
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

did you splurge and where did you save?

to all brides ~ SPLURGE on photography. After you put in all the time, money
and effort into planning your special day, the pictures are going to be the
only thing left to remember how awesome it was.

saved the most on flowers and decorations. If you are willing to do your own
flowers, Costco is extremely reasonable. You need to make sure you place the
order at least two weeks prior to your wedding. If you are having flowers that
open up like lilies, it is best to have them delivered a few days sooner
because it will take a while for them to open. As far as décor goes, I used a
lot of paper products.  It’s really nice
to have things labeled such as wedding party chairs, candy bars, & reserved
signs. You can get multiple prints, textures and colors that will compliment
your wedding. I was constantly watching for Joann's 6 sheets for $1.00 sale.

specific cost surprised you (pleasantly or unpleasantly)?

know this sounds chintzy, but the bridesmaids dresses were from Forever 21. The
dresses were the exact style I was looking for and they were only $19.50!!! My
Bridesmaids really appreciated the savings and they were excited that they
could splurge a little more on shoes.

Origami Bird Garland
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

you share a favorite DIY project from your

add a beautifully delicate touch to a wedding. They are time consuming, but
they look beautiful!!! I made approximately 300 cranes and the strung them on
fishing line. They were beautiful, but after looking at the pictures I would
have doubled the amount. Recruit a few of your friends and you should be able
to knock them out in no time!

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

really did not want children at our wedding. First off, we didn’t want to have
the added expense and secondly, we really wanted our guests to have a good time
without any distractions. However my mom really thought people would be
offended if we formally asked them to leave their kids at home. At first, I
intended on writing something to the effect of, “This celebration is an adult
affair. Please keep the little ones at home.” For my mom’s sake, I needed to
find a way to be more subtle. I simply wrote on the response cards “We have
reserved ___ seats for you at our wedding.” If there was a family of four with
two children, we only wrote that we reserved two seats. People did not seem to
comment and we only had one youngster in attendance.

you share some wedding day advice for newly engaged couples?

Kindra: I was nervous about tearing up on my way down the aisle. I
looked up a few suggestions and the only one I could remember on my wedding day
was to repeat the word, “watermelon” in your head over and over. It really did
help because I was so focused on that it kept me calm.

Take time during the wedding to really thank everyone that
helped you put your wedding together.

Plan extra time for each aspect of your wedding so that when
you’re running late, you will already have extra time added into the equation.
I would suggest at least one hour for photography and plan something for your
guests to do in the meantime.

When it gets stressful, remember why you are there. You are
there to CELEBRATE your love for one another.

Stephen: Drink plenty of water – the excitement can really
distract you, but it’s important to stay hydrated. The last thing you need when
you standing at the altar is to faint in front of all of you guests.

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

Bride and Groom Recessional
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

love this picture because it really captures us right before we started dancing
down the aisle. It really displays our fun-loving relationship.

Bride and Groom Alone
Images Courtesy of: Teresa K Photography

also love this one because Teresa was able to pull us away for a minute from
the wedding and the look we exchanged in this picture says a thousand words. We
are ready to embark on this new chapter of our lives completely and 1000%


Thank you, Kindra and Stephen! I loved how you discussed the importance of remembering that a wedding is about being a couple and about your relationship (but you can still plan a fun party)! Would you like to ask Kindra or Stephen any questions about their wedding experience? Leave a comment and we'll try to get back with you!