This is my favorite photo, because not only is it perfect and magazine-quality, it was fun to take, as I remember my sister-in-law Emily Hickerson flipping up my veil and hurrying to get out of the way before the photo was taken. So, not only is it a beautiful image, it’s a fun memory as well,” Kelly says. Photo by Dana Burress. Photosculptor

Having a good celebration is the perfect combination of inspiration and successful preparation. If you are planning a wedding, you can learn from this local couple’s celebration of love. If you would like us to feature your celebration, send a note and one photo, with the subject line: celebration.

Kelly Hickerson and Eric Johnston were married on May 21, 2016; #2Become1onMay21

Bride’s Favorite Memory: The entire day was amazing – from waking up early and having that special getting ready time with my mom and bridesmaids, to dancing the night away with my new husband and our family and friends. Oddly enough, though, the memories I like to think about most are the things that “went wrong” – Eric trying to kiss me when I met him at the altar, my sister-in-law Emily Hickerson stepping on my veil during the ceremony, and forgetting to do the unity candle. All of these events were captured on the wedding video, and they are so funny to see and relive again; they make the day seem real, and fun.

Advice to Others: Do what you want and not what other people want. Because in the end, you’re the one who is going to hold the memories forever. As for the others, it’s just another day to them.

One thing you would have done differently: I would have assigned a person (my mom) to approve any changes and to deal with issues that arose the day-of and make sure each vendor present was aware of this.

Best Planning Tip: Stay organized and work ahead! Don’t be afraid to get the ball rolling and start planning what you can ASAP (we had our date set with ceremony and reception venues booked within five days after we got engaged). Use binders/folders for important papers/contracts, maintain a Word or Excel document with vendors’ contact information, and save all emails with vendors for future reference if needed. Have a wedding planning buddy – preferably someone who is organized and wise! Mine was my mom.

Best Money Saving Tip: Given the nature of the event, it’s going to be expensive. Try to cut corners wherever you can and ask yourself whether what you want is really worth the money.

Location of Ceremony: St. Louis Bertrand Catholic Church
Why it worked: Downtown location near the reception venue; beautiful, ornate, elegant
I would have changed: I would have preferred an earlier ceremony time. Ours was at 6:30pm, and it would have been nice to have it an hour earlier so there was more time in between the ceremony and the reception.

Location of Reception: The Foundry at Glassworks
Why it worked: Downtown location, which was exactly what I wanted; rental time of five hours; one large room for bar area, eating, and dancing allowed for a cohesive experience for us and guests.

Dress: Lis Simon, Grayson style, Couture Closet
Why it worked: I was torn between choosing a lace dress or a dress with ruffles. My dress incorporated both elements, plus it was 65 percent off!
I would have changed: It was strapless with a low-back, I could have used a little more support and security.

Bridesmaids Dresses:
Jasmine Bridal, B2078 in Sweet Pea, Couture Closet
Why it worked: It took me awhile to find the simple, elegant dress I wanted in the perfect shade of pale pink. Most of what I found was either too pink or too blush. Once I came across this “sweet pea” color, I knew it was exactly what I was looking for! The color photographed perfectly.

Tuxes: Classic, timeless, elegant look from Men’s Wearhouse

Photographer: Dana Burress with PhotoSculptor
Why it worked: Dana was very organized and enthusiastic with a take-charge personality, which was great for me since I didn’t hire a wedding planner. She made taking all of the pictures fun. We love our pictures and will cherish them forever.

Video: Erick Donley Videography
Why it worked: He was flexible, and much of the time I didn’t even know he was there, which is exactly what you want in a videographer. He was there the entire day with the package we chose, and I loved this. The DVDs and footage are absolutely perfect; we love watching them and reliving the day.

Food: Masterson’s Catering; sit-down meal with salad, two meat entrées, potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, roll
Why it worked: Sit-down meal for an evening wedding was definitely the way to go. It made it formal and elegant. There was a large amount of food that they made look beautiful on the plate. We heard from many people that it was the best food they’d ever had at a wedding. Needless to say, we were beyond pleased. We worked with Sueanna Masterson, and we couldn’t have asked for a better person to help us create the delicious meal we had. She was also there during the reception to make sure everything went smoothly.

Drinks: Open bar with beer, wine, liquor; courtesy of Morris’ Deli
Why it worked: Morris’ Deli was a very pleasant company that provided us all we needed for a great price.

Cake: Carol Smith
Special choices: Strawberry, orange, and lemon flavors with buttercream icing.
Why it worked: Carol made my wedding cake vision come to life. The price was right, and it was beautiful and delicious.

Flowers: Dixie Florist
Why it worked: My vision was fulfilled – beautiful, romantic bouquets with ivory, pale pink, and peach; ivory rose for the groom; pale pink roses for the groomsmen, ushers, fathers, grandfather, and ring bearers; small bouquets for the mothers; wrist corsages for the grandmothers; and flowers shaped like a pomander for the flower girl. They even let us preview the flowers the day before the wedding. I would have changed: I chose ivory and pale pink for my bouquet. Looking back, I wish I had incorporated the peach of the bridesmaids’ into mine.

Music: More Than Entertainment DJ Services and Lighting – Jay Campbell
Special choices: We had prepared a lengthy list of music we wanted, and Jay took our preferences into consideration. We were able to plan the flow of the reception down to the minute with him, which was a great relief for this organized bride.
Why it worked: Jay was fun and great at making sure the dance floor was never empty. Plus, the pink uplights he did were absolutely perfect and exactly what I wanted.
I would have changed: Nothing

Décor: Masterson’s Catering; some DIY decorations; uplights by Jay Campbell; tables and chairs by The Foundry at Glassworks
Why it worked: Sueanna Masterson did a fabulous job, and incorporating some of my own decorations helped with cost.
I would have changed: Nothing

Planner: My mom and I
Why it worked: We chose to save money here – we’re both very organized and on top of things and felt we could handle the planning effectively on our own without hiring someone else. We were right! Plus, it was fun and special to share the wedding planning experience with her.

Rings: Shane Co.
Why it worked: Because we love them!

Invitations: Invitations from Invitations by Dawn

Make-up: Denise Cardwell – Image Works Studio
Special Choices: Included eyebrow wax the week of the wedding for my mom, bridesmaids, and me; fake eyelashes
Why it worked: Denise was great to work with! As with all things, I am particular about my make-up and she was awesome during my trial and on the morning-of, letting me have input and make suggestions as we went along.

Hair: Tony Renfro
Special Choices: Romantic up-do
Why it worked: I have fine hair, so I knew the best hairstyle for me on my wedding day was a beautiful and romantic up-do that would stay in place and complete my look.

Length of Planning Time: We gave ourselves a year and a half, but I feel confident we could have done it in under a year. Budget: $20,000-$24,000