If any of you follow this blog regularly, you’ll know that Real Wedding posts are supposed to go out every Friday afternoon. However, it’s a Saturday! SO. Here’s the deal. Real Wedding posts will go out on MOST Fridays, except for those when nothing is going right, mini emergencies are popping up left and right, and laptops BREAK. Yep. That was my day here yesterday. But it’s ok! I’m back (though my laptop won’t be for 2 – 4 weeks ha. ha.), and I have the dreamiest Real Wedding to finally share with you Honeys!

I’ve been dying to share today’s Real Wedding couple with you, so you can imagine how anxious I was yesterday knowing that I had to wait ANOTHER day. So without further ado, meet gorgeous bride Hayley (who actually now works at a wedding venue so stay tuned to learn more from her in the future!) and hear all about her and Matt’s dreamy day.

Hayley and Matt - bride

Hayley and Matt - groom

All Photo Credit: Pam Cooley Photography

How Hayley and Matt Met:

We met our sophomore year of college during rehearsals for our school’s variety show competition. Matt was the main role in the video portion of the show, and I was one of the choreographers for the live stage portion. Matt was taking a break from learning choreography while I was teaching a group of girls a dance. He was intrigued, so he turned to a (what we didn’t know at the time) mutual friend of ours to ask who I was. He needed to know who this girl was. I was dating someone from back home at the time, so Matt patiently waited until I became single…but not without leaving an impression on me that first night we met. He introduced himself and asked me to rehearse a swing dance with him. He swept me off my feet (literally) from that first moment. Once I was single again, things moved quickly. We started dating a few short months later, and I knew he was someone special very early on.

Hayley and Matt - bride and groom kiss

How Matt Proposed:

Matt proposed on our year and a half anniversary (July 3, 2015). I had no idea this was coming. He told me we were going to spend some time in Chicago but needed to stop at school for him to do something for work. (He worked in our school’s admissions office.) When we pulled into our college town we stopped at Noodles for lunch — a frequent easy, quick dinner place for us. He had us reminisce on our time together starting from our most recent memories and going back in time. While we were going through our time together, we ended back up at the building where Matt first saw me. (This is where the work task was supposed to be). I was still oblivious and only half listening at this point because I was just eager to get to Chicago. Long story short, he proposed to me in the building where he first saw me and coordinated it so that we were each standing in the exact spots we were standing in when he first saw me. I love personal details and close personal moments, so this was perfect!

Hayley and Matt - bride and groom laughing Hayley and Matt - bride and groom looking at each other

Wedding Day:

I would have to say one of my favorite parts of my wedding day was just to be able to see everything come together. I planned my wedding myself (with the huge help of family and friends), so seeing everything all set up was so rewarding! We had a huge hiccup the morning of the wedding with the piece of decor that was supposed to be our ceremony entrance, but my dad and his best friend didn’t rest until they found the solution. Seeing everyone come together on your day is the best feeling!

Hayley and Matt - bride and bridesmaids

Hayley and Matt - wedding party

Hayley and Matt - bride and flower girl

Hayley and Matt - ceremony

Wedding Day Continued:

Of course I also loved Matt and I’s first look and any time we could sneak a moment away alone, including the time we got to spend together during our ceremony to pray. It was so important to us to start our marriage off by keeping God at the center of it all. Spending time together is so important because your day really does fly by! One thing I wish I would have done is been more purposeful with creating emotional moments i.e. a first look with my maids and with my dad and brothers. Although it’s not a bad thing that I was just crazy excited all day, I wish I would have incorporated more deep emotional moments.

Last but not least was just to dance the night away. I am a lover of music and of dance (I danced for 15 years), so once that dance floor opened, I never left it!

Hayley and Matt - bride and groom embrace Hayley and Matt - bride and groom hug Hayley and Matt - toasts

Hayley and Matt - cake cutting

Budgeting Tips:

Pay attention to sales that are happening at stores like Hobby Lobby, Home Goods, Marshalls, etc.

DIY and borrow from others where you can and see what you already have around you i.e. home decor! Saving a little bit here and there can really add up.

Pretty much everything I had at my wedding decor wise was bought on sale from home departments at stores, made by my father or father in law, borrowed from family friends, or was found around my parents’ house! My mom and I also built my invitation suite ourselves! We had them printed and ordered some “extras”, but we put everything together ourselves. I also made my own wedding programs and printed them at Office Max as well as had my mom hand write all of our signs on frames we borrowed from a family friend. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune on a DJ, so I just rented equipment and had my brother in law run the system while having a friend of ours act as our emcee when we needed one! This isn’t always the case for everyone (my brother in law is in a band, so he was familiar with the equipment), but it’s definitely something to consider. It is definitely weird for me to be saying all of these things now being a vendor, but my budget savvy bride side still stands by doing as much as I could on my own and on a budget!

Hayley and Matt - reception venue
Hayley and Matt - desert table

Hayley and Matt - flowers

Planning Tips:

It is important to know from the beginning if you will be planning this yourself or if you need to hire someone to do that for you. I get it! Wedding planning is not for everyone. I can tell you it is worth the money to hire someone if you don’t think you can put in the time. Planning and details are my jam, so I was so excited to be able to follow my passion by planning my wedding (again with A LOT of support by family and friends), but after being in the industry for about a year, I definitely know planning your own wedding is not everyone’s cup of tea.

Planning a wedding takes a lot of hard work and long hours. Make a new best friend, take all the stress off of you but keep all the fun, and hire a wedding planner if it is the right move for you! If you are planning it yourself, I highly suggest creating a planning timeline. Like I said it’s a lot of hard work and long hours and since you will have real life still going on while you are planning your wedding, it is important to have this timeline as a guideline and reminder of what you need to be getting done and keeping you on track! It should include things such as booking your vendors, when payments are due, finding tuxes, sending out invitations, doing a final walk through at your venue, etc. Planning timelines are easy tools to find online or in wedding planning books!

I also think it is really important to know what your budget is from the beginning. I know this can lead to awkward conversations with parents, but it is important to know what you are working with before you start searching for vendors, dresses, photographers, planners, etc. Then SHOP WITHIN YOUR BUDGET. Don’t get yourself excited over something that you know you can’t afford because you can still have a gorgeous, amazing wedding even on a smaller budget. After you get your overall budget, figure out where you want to spend the most money (what is most important to you). I didn’t really have one part that was most important, so I worked from the most expensive part to the cheapest essentially. So I started with my venue, booked vendors, and then looked at dresses, decor, extras, etc.

Lastly, remember that this. is. your. day. I don’t say this to suggest to disregard what any of your family says, but just remember that this is the day that you and your significant other will remember forever and will retell stories about for the rest of your life. It should reflect you as a couple…not what the trends or traditions are. Obviously if the trends and/or traditions are who you are then include them! There is no right or wrong way to plan your day!

Hayley and Matt - photobooth

Hayley and Matt - photos


Photographer: Pam Cooley Photography
Videographer: Mackey Wedding Films
Venue: Ravina on the Lakes
Dress: Adore Bridal & Specialty 
Tuxes: Men’s Wearhouse
Bridesmaids: Lulus
Floral: Kim Goodwin
Cake: Cake Crumbs Limited
Earrings: Katherine Reed Jewelry
Officiant: Aaron Yoder
A/V: Prospect Sound and Light
Catering: Barracks Catering

Hayley and Matt - bride and groom kiss under trees

Wasn’t their day a total dream? I love Hayley and Matt’s love story and wish them nothing but the best! If you want your special day featured too, click HERE.