Danielle-RyanDanielle is the master planner, I’ve never seen a bride so organized. I asked if she wanted to contribute to the blog and she delivered!  Some great advice about planning from a bride’s point-of-view and how not to get stressed out in the process. From the bride:

Ryan and I met in a way most people would not have imagined: a blind date. Very good friends of ours, Cori and Nick had told us about one another. Then, one day Ryan called me and the rest was history. We went on our first date to 'The Gin' in Belton. We talked all night and connected right away. The workers had to ask us to leave as we were the only ones left after they cleaned up and were trying to close. He makes me laugh like no other person has. He has the ability to allow me to be myself. I knew from the way he spoke about his job, that he was a hard worker. From the way he spoke of his family, I knew he truly loved them. From that first high five, (yes he high fived me on our first and our second date) we became inseparable and made it a point to see each other as much as possible. As I drove home one August afternoon after spending four straight days with him, I realized how much I missed him after only being apart for about thirty minutes. As cliché as it might sound, that's when I knew he was the one. I loved him more than I could ever imagine loving someone. It's funny because when we talk now, we both realized on the same weekend that we wanted to marry one another. I knew from the first day that there was something different about him, but that day in August I knew for sure. During a vacation in March to California where Ryan is from, Ryan asked me to marry him. He planned an amazing dinner at a restaurant on a cliff with his family present. He knows I absolutely love photos so he pretended as if we were going to take a photo together. He got down on one knee and I immediately burst into tears and said "yes". Looking back at the pictures and seeing how much emotion we both had is priceless. It was definitely a night I will never forget and will remain one of the best days of my life. But as long as I live, our Wedding day would be my number one memory.The wedding day is something most girls dream about. The dress, the wedding cake, and mostly, marrying their Prince Charming. My wedding and marrying Ryan far outdid any childhood dream. It was perfect! Of course a little planning had to occur In between the two best days of my life. So our planning began soon after our engagement. We started with our guest list and then decided on our colors. We wanted a classic wedding, so we went with black and white. We then planned out our budget and then began looking into venues. We immediately loved the Intercontinental Stephen F. Austin when we went for our meeting and told them that day we were saying “yes" to the venue. Unfortunately, that was not the first venue we had looked at. We looked at about 14 places and even decided on another one, celebrated about it and found out a few days later that they accidentally overbooked. Remember things happen for a reason, and luckily for us, it brought us to an even better venue. After booking the venue I went to Boston where I’m from, to pick out my dress from a little boutique with my mother, sister, aunt, and one of my bridesmaids. To be honest The Knot was my best friend while doing a lot of wedding research, including Austin wedding photographers. We found Mike Reed Photo through The Knot. After sitting down with Mike once and getting to know him, his style and how he works we fell in love with him. We decided to forego engagement photos however Mike was able to take photos during our rehearsal dinner which was awesome. Our rehearsal venue 'The Vineyard at Florence' was absolutely perfect and Mike was able to take advantage of the Tuscan feel and great light. Mike and his assistant Barbara were so much fun to work with on the wedding day. Mike and his team were right on time and worked great with the event coordinator at the venue. During our initial meeting we decided to do a first look (highly recommend) before the ceremony. Mike and Barbara were awesome, we barely knew they were there and the moment was perfect. They were able to drive the train in a compressed timeline and get both families and an unruly bridal party together and walk 4 blocks in downtown Austin. Not an easy task. Mike and Barbara were great though and able to get every picture we wanted and then some done and get the whole bridal party back to the hotel in enough time for a drink or two before the ceremony started. During the ceremony and reception Mike and Barbara continued to be amazing. We hardly noticed them. We were able to have the time of our lives without ever really noticing either of them. The pictures were awesome. Another thing we did that we would highly, highly recommend is the photo booth. Unlike your average photo booth, Mike and his team simply have a photographer and a back drop. What this means is that your photo booth experience is limitless. We spent $20 dollars on some props and were able to get awesome and hilarious pictures with as many people as we could fit in frame. SO MUCH FUN! Long story short, Mike and his team made our wedding special, they were awesome to work with and the pictures were amazing. We couldn't have asked for anything more. Mike recommended Greenbelt DJ and told us how he creates ta fun atmosphere that keeps the party going, which was exactly what we were looking for, so we booked him as well. My bridesmaid, Jennifer Keating did our makeup on the Wedding day. She is an up and coming makeup artist who did an amazing job and truly loves what she does. The day after we got engaged we decided to book our cake from our favorite bakery Lilly’s Cakes. Ryan would get me these cupcakes for as a surprise several times while we were dating, so we had to share these delicious cupcakes with our family and friends on our day. We had a mini two tier cake to cut with about 5 different flavor cupcakes for our guests. As far as flowers go, while at the cupcake shop for our tasting I saw a magazine that featured that company in it and went from there. We used Magnet Street for magnet save the dates and Wedding Paper Divas for beautiful black and white lace invitations. They matched our theme and we loved how they both turned out. Planning for our wedding was exciting and I loved that Ryan and I made it a point to go to almost every meeting together. I am a little OCD (maybe a lot) so I made a wedding binder with tabs on it for all the vendors and aspects of the wedding (I had contracts, notes, receipts, and emails sent printed out). This was a great way to stay organized. I also made excel documents of my timeline, guest list, and table arrangements so that they could easily be altered, and believe me they will be several times. Don't let the wedding stress you out, try to make it fun. Take a break when you feel overwhelmed. People may show up late and vendors may call you with last minute things the day of your wedding. These things are out of your control, remember to enjoy your day. I'm glad my friends and husband gave me this advice and it allowed me to relax and have the best day. Good luck to all future brides planning their dream wedding, it's an amazing time in your life, enjoy every minute of it!! Thank you, Danielle