Ringing in the New Year and New Marriage
On New Year’s Eve, Emily Birdsong and Aaron Bailie celebrated their personalized wedding with lots of greenery and a glamorous dress fit for the occasion. After a beautiful ceremony, their venue transformed into the perfect reception, filled with classic love songs and ended with a late night snack of pretzels and beer cheese to ring in the new year.
Each aspect of this wedding was intentional, drawing inspiration from things the bride and groom enjoyed instead of from Pinterest, Emily says. Bulk ordering flowers allowed Emily to place that personal touch on each piece, and she loved that. “I got to make my own bridal bouquet along with the help of my maid of honor, which was something really special that I’ll be able to look back on,” she says. The bride and groom value the time they spent with others. “We spent the three days leading up to our wedding with our wedding party. It was special to be with our closest friends all in one place,” she says.
In the end, Emily wants you to know that the price of your wedding will never mean as much as those involved. “Don’t hold yourself to anyone else’s standards. Weddings are not about how much you spent, they’re about your marriage and celebrating with the people that care about you most,” she says.
Wedding Style: Romantic, Classic, Vintage
Color Palette: Burgundy, Mauve, Light Pink
Must Haves: A wedding party that will have your back and be stress-free
Inspiration: I originally started using Pinterest to get ideas, I quickly realized that a lot of the ideas I found on Pinterest were on the more expensive side… I resorted to drawing inspiration from the little things that Aaron and I enjoy.
Bride’s Favorite Memory: A less sentimental memory that I’ll remember for years to come was taking off my dress after photos, before the ceremony, to eat tacos in my undergarments! Ha!
Advice to Others: Enjoy the chaos, all your planning comes down to one day and it goes by all too quickly.
One thing you would have done differently: Communicated more with our DJ on sequence of events, this is the one area we severely procrastinated.
Best Planning Tip: Go with your gut, ultimately you know what you want out of your big day. Don’t lose sight of what the day is truly about, your marriage and devotion to your partner.
Best Money Saving Tip: I created the majority of my decor. While it was time consuming, it gave everything a more personal touch that I really loved. Bulk ordering my flowers from Sam’s Club was absolutely worth the extra work. My bridesmaids really enjoyed being able to make the boutonnières and coursages. I got to make my own bridal bouquet along with the help of my maid of honor, which was something really special that I’ll be able to look back on.
Location of Ceremony/Reception: Patrick O’Shea’s Downtown
Why it worked: The venue really fit the theme of our New Years wedding vibe. It had dim lighting, hardwood floors, and exposed brick to compliment our romantic feel. It was convenient communicating with one person for venue, food, and drink rather than separate people for each. The layout of the room was perfect, it easily transitioned from ceremony to reception with plenty of mingling space for guests.
I would have changed: Nothing, I loved everything about our venue. Jessica Clark, Patrick O’Shea’s Event Coordinator, did an outstanding job and was very easy to communicate with if I had a question or concern.
Photographer: Katie McBroom
I would have changed: Nothing. Katie was professional and worked to accommodate our needs while guiding us in the right direction. She was cool, calm, and collected the whole day. Everyone is afraid of looking uncomfortable on photos but Katie is able to make everyone feel at ease while enjoying their time being photographed.
Planner: Self-planned wedding
Why it worked: I kept to a plan and stayed organized.
I would have changed: I would have kept a better log of my budget.
Floral design: Self-designed
Your inspiration: Simple florals with lots of greenery
What I loved most: Being able to explore options and play with the design, being hands-on made it a more personal experience.
I would have changed: I would have loved to have more set-up time on the day of my wedding. I am thankful for the friends and family that were able to make my vision a reality.
Dress: Rebecca’s Bridal
Why it worked: I am typically a more simple girl, but for a New Years wedding I had to go a little glam! The lace pattern on my dress tied in perfectly with the three large chandeliers in our venue. A subtle touch that made all the difference.
I would have changed: I would have practiced bustling my dress a few more times: bustling is harder than it looks.
Alterations: Beth Blair
Bridesmaids Dresses: ASOS
Why it worked: I was able to get a great deal on dresses by ordering online rather than in-store. I mixed and matched dresses of the same color and it turned out wonderfully.
I would have changed: I ordered all the dresses to my residence rather than sending them to my girls. Each of my girls ended up with a different dress than I anticipated due to sizing. I’m thankful that I have minimal sewing skills and was able to do some mild alterations a few days before the big day.
Grooms Suit: Express at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass
Why it worked: The groom’s suit was from Express at the Outlet Shoppes of the Bluegrass, we were able to get a great deal for him. His gray jacket, black pants, and black accessories were chic and easy to pair with groomsmen attire. The groomsmen were given guidelines for their attire which were black pants and a white shirt. We were able to save money for the wedding party and ordered matching accessories to tie it all together.
Catering/Food: Patrick O’Shea’s Downtown
Special Choices: Finger foods and appetizers only. O’Shea’s has a wide variety of food to choose from, our favorite choice was the late-night serving of pretzels and beer cheese. Our guests were happy to get a snack on the way out after a few cocktails.
Why it worked: Working with one vendor was an outstanding choice. O’Shea’s was able to guide our menu based on what we wanted and what we could do with our budget.
I would have changed: Nothing. I am very happy with the way our food menu played out.
Drinks: Patrick O’Shea’s Downtown
Special Choices: Miller Lite and Blue Moon, accompanied by a champagne toast at midnight.
Why it worked: Sticking with your budget can be challenging. Of course you want to provide as much as possible for your guests, but that may not be realistic. Providing just a few options kept guests happy and entertained. The great thing about using O’Shea’s is the private bar for your event. If your guests wish to purchase a drink or cocktail other than what you are providing, they don’t have to be inconvenienced by going to a different floor or bar location. The champagne toast at midnight was a great way to ring in the new year, this was a suggestion made by Jessica that I think really elevated our event.
I would have changed: I would have made my bar sign more apparent. A few of my guests didn’t see the menus of provided drinks, but these things happen.
Cake: Plehn’s Bakery
Special choices: Three-tiered cake with a simple design including strawberry cake, yellow cake, and chocolate cake.
Why it worked: It was simple, elegant and beautiful. Plehn’s did a great job of accommodating our requests and going above and beyond when it came to the execution.
Music (both ceremony and reception): Axel with Elite Signature DJ
Special choices: Classic love songs for big events throughout our wedding included Frank Sinatra, Billy Holiday, and Louis Armstrong. The First Dance song was fun and full of classic love to La Vie En Rose by Louis Armstrong.
Why it worked: Axel did a wonderful job of incorporating fun songs to dance to and took requests throughout our event.
What you would have changed: We could have done a better job of communicating with our DJ prior to the event.
Décor (rentals, diy, extras besides flowers)
Special Choices: All decor was hand-made by the bride, groom, family, and wedding party.
Why it worked: Though having a DIY wedding can be time-consuming, it made the experience more personal. We were able to go thrift antique pieces that made our decor more unique. We used beer bottles from the groom’s beer brewing kit. The Arches were built by Cliff, the bride’s father. Emily, Aaron, and Nancy, the bride’s mother, cut out and assembled giant 2020 letters out of the bride and groom’s moving boxes. It was beautiful because it was made of things that were unique and personal to us.
Rings: Etsy – Minimalvs and Luxuria Jewelers
Why it worked: Our rings were both ordered from Etsy shops. They’re beautiful, handmade, and unique.
Stationery: Designed by Emily on Canva
Why it worked: I enjoy being hands-on so getting to design our invitations and signage was fun for me.
I would have changed: Don’t forget to spell-check.
Favors: The pretzels and beer cheese acted as favors.
Why it worked: After a few cocktails people were eating up the late-night dish as they exited the venue.
Makeup/Hair: April Noble
Why it worked: April brought along another makeup and hair artist. Together they did a great job of tackling the huge task of hair and makeup for seven people.
Rehearsal Dinner: 21c Museum and Hotel
Why it worked: Beautiful private room with outstanding food and drink.
First Dance: La Vie En Rose – Louis Armstrong
Special Memories: Practicing our “moves” in the lobby of 21c. Of course, achieving “The Dip” in our first dance.
Rituals: Something old, new, borrowed, and blue
Why it worked: It was just fun to think about the tradition behind this.
Honeymoon: Cross country road trip
Why it worked: We are taking roughly two weeks to explore national parks in Texas, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah, Colorado and more. While we are roughing it and sleeping in the car, we get to enjoy each other and have lots of “firsts” sightseeing the United States greatest treasures!
Other Special Touches: We spent the three days leading up to our wedding with our wedding party. It was special to be with our closest friends all in one place, because we all live in different states.
Length of Planning Time: 5 months
Budget: $4000 total budget for food/drink
P.S. The other side of love — sometimes.