Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wedding Wednesday: Post-Wedding Q&A with the Bride

The timing of yesterday's post on the McGowan Images Blog was just perfect to play into today's "Wedding Wednesday" post. Several weeks ago, our fabulous wedding photographers sent me an email asking if I'd be interested in participating in their "Ask a McG Bride" series. Well, duh! I'm more than happy to participate in anything related to The.Best.Day, so I very willingly filled out Chelsea's questionnaire and waited for my responses to be posted on their blog. Well, yesterday was the day! I've copied all of the questions and responses below, but click here to see McGowans' original post. 

All photo credit within this post goes to our phenomenal photographers, Mack and Chelsea of McGowan Images.

Below are a few of our engagement photos {taken in late April of 2013}. The photos were taken at Fort Worth Botanical Garden, and The Modern {art museum}, also in Fort Worth.

And now, on to the Q&A...

Wedding Date:
November 2, 2013

The Oak Water Ranch, Granbury, Texas
Granbury, TX; Lukens Martin Wedding
Dancing under the stars {and twinkling lights} at The OW Ranch

How long was your engagement?
Just over 10 months

Why did you choose that wedding date, and do you think your engagement period was “long enough” to get everything done?
We knew we wanted a fall wedding, but we weren't set on a specific date {except I was told it couldn't be the opening weekend of hunting season}. We set the date based on when our venue was available. The length of our engagement was the perfect amount of time.

Did you enjoy wedding planning, or was it stressful for you?
I enjoyed wedding planning...but I never in a million years could have done it without our planner, HeidiBeth Ramirez {The Wedding Connection}. She coached us through all the decisions and made us aware of all the little things that have to be done that we wouldn't have thought of {or thought of too late!}. I can't even imagine how stressful the planning would have been without HeidiBeth. My advice to all brides would be that a wedding coordinator is worth their weight in gold! Not only did she get us through all of the wedding planning, but because of HeidiBeth and her team, Ryan and I {and our families} were able to enjoy our wedding day without worrying about a thing!

How involved was your fiancé/parents in wedding planning?
Ryan was very involved...more than I ever expected he would be. One of his friends who'd gotten married a couple of years before us advised him never to say "I don't care" when I asked him anything wedding-related, so he always had an opinion. My mom was also very involved in the planning process. We couldn't have done it without her help. Our parents always gave us their opinions when we asked, but the final decisions were up to Ryan and me.

What was most important to you in the planning of your wedding?
After we booked our venue and had a date set in stone, finding the right photographer was our highest priority. Photos are really the only tangible thing to keep from your wedding day, so having a photographer that would really capture "us" was very important.  We stalked photography blogs and met with several photographers. We fell in love with McGowans' style of photography...and the albums that Mack puts together to document the entire day really sealed the deal. Going with Chelsea and Mack was a fabulous decision. We L.O.V.E. our photos and have gotten so many compliments on how great the images turned out.

Was there one vendor in particular that you really loved? 
We had an A-MAZ-ing team of vendors! As I mentioned above, I'm not sure there even would have been a wedding if it hadn't been for HeidiBeth's coordination. The McG's gave us beautiful images that we can keep forever...and captured photos of things I didn't even notice on the day of the wedding {details, etc.}. Chelsea and Mack obviously have lots of experience and know what they're doing bc one of them was always in just the right place at just the right time to capture images that are truly bursting with emotion. I also want to give shout outs to:
  • DJ Rod Baker {DFW Parties} for making our reception a great party! 
  • Adrianne and Aytek {Turquoise Video Productions} for a phenomenal wedding highlight video. {Click here to see the blog post about our wedding video!}
Did anything surprise you about planning your wedding?
It's nearly impossible to find an invitation suite that can be mailed with standard postage. In the budgeting process, you should just plan that your invitations are going to require additional postage {it adds up fast!}. 

Were you able to stick to your wedding budget, if you had one? 
We stuck to the budget for the most part. Cutting our guest list was the biggest challenge for us, so anything over budget was due to having a few more guests than the original budget allowed for. We were told, on average, a wedding in this area costs about $200 per guest, and that proved to be pretty accurate for our big day.

What was the major difference in planning your wedding vs. the way things actually came together?
I really have no idea how things actually came together on the day of the wedding. I'm telling you...having a coordinator and vendors you trust is crucial if you're going to truly enjoy your wedding day. We didn't think/worry about a thing on the day of our wedding. When we arrived at the OW Ranch for photos, I was blown away with how perfect everything was set up. I can't imagine all the work that went on behind the scenes to make everything so beautiful, but I am forever grateful to HeidiBeth and our fabulous vendors for taking care of everything and ensuring that the day went off without a hitch.

Rustic Chic Wedding Decor, Fall Wedding Flowers, Lukens Martin Wedding

I will say that 10 months of planning does go by in the blink of an eye when it comes to the actual wedding day. Everyone will tell you that the day will fly by, but you'll still not be prepared for how quickly time will pass. Just be sure to enjoy every moment. Take time to chat with as many guests as you can. You'll never have that many people who love/care about you all in the same place again. Don't forget that the day really is all about the two of you becoming as long as you're married at the end of the day, it will have been a success!

What was your favorite moment of your wedding day?
The first moment I saw Ryan was, hands down, my favorite moment of the day. One of the best decisions we made was to do a "first look" before the ceremony. Not only did it allow us to save time between the ceremony and reception, but it also gave us a few moments to just take it all in fully absorb what the day was all about just the two of us. It was the calmest few moments of the entire day. It truly felt like we were the only two people in the world during that time.

Fall Ranch Wedding, First Look, Lukens Martin Wedding

For couples having a hard time deciding whether or not to do a "first look," I say do it! I don't feel like it took away from Ryan's reaction to seeing me walk down the aisle. That's a totally different situation that spurred different emotions/reaction. In fact, I think I got a more genuine reaction to him seeing me in my wedding dress for the first time because it was just the two of us. Some of our best photos are from before the ceremony. I will go ahead and admit that I might be a little vain and wanted to make sure we got images when my hair and makeup were at their best! 

What, if anything, would you change about your wedding day?
I wouldn't change a thing. It was PERFECT...better than we ever imagined. The absolute best day!


  1. So I just watched your wedding video and cried my eyes out! How precious are those words to each other! Gahh! You guys are perfect!

  2. Your pictures are beautiful!!!!

  3. Your wedding looks absolutely incredible! SOO gorgeous

  4. Beautiful wedding and awesome photos!

  5. I was so afraid that trying to help Leslie & Ryan with their wedding would be very difficult since I live in Kansas but thanks to HeidiBeth we were able to do a lot by phone & email. It was a gorgeous, fun and enjoyable wedding. I would recommend a wedding planner to any mom or dad that is preparing for their daughters' wedding. I love you both & have tears of joy everytime I watch the video.

  6. Those photos are stunning!

  7. I love everything about this! The pictures are beyond beautiful...and the details on everything are so perfect! :)

  8. Oh..My...Goodness (how did I miss this yesterday?) First of all the ceremony site is incredible with the monogram and all and second of all I love your wedding planner shout out! (I'm a certified wedding planner on the side) Planning a wedding was the most amazing and stressful thing I did for myself hahaha great post and great pictures! B-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

  9. Girl! We got married the weekend after you! I love every little details and pops of orange you had in your wedding! You are a stunning couple! Congrats to you!!